We had a few days off over the Christmas holiday, so we watched more than our normal number of movies. Two of them really impacted me and I have been struggling with how to write my reaction.
The first was 12 Years a Slave. An historical account of a man who had a productive life in the north, but was sold off into slavery. What I struggle with is the slave owners’ use of scripture to justify their abuse and exploitation of human beings. The second was Angels and Demons, which is a highly fictional storyline, but includes several references how the church responded to scientific discovery that led to torture and death of human beings.
I’m about as far from a biblical scholar as ever was created, but I’ve never been a big fan of the Old Testament and the God that is portrayed. I’m even not a big fan of the Psalms. It seems people want to read the verses of praising and glorifying, but want to leave out the vengeful and spiteful depictions of God. In the New Testament, Pastor Andy Stanley points out that parables are big stories to make big points. That we shouldn’t get so caught up in the details, but we should get caught up in the lessons being taught.
- So is it God who changed between the Testaments? Probably not.
- Do we disregard men who were describing God in scripture in the context of oppressing leaders, difficult circumstances, and being passed down by oral history? Seems like we do.
- Is God all powerful? I believe so.
- Does God exercise that power in hateful, bitter, or merciless ways? I don’t believe so.
When we parse out pieces of the Bible to serve our needs, or our point of view, we discredit God.
When we use scripture to inflict any kind of pain or odious actions, we dishonor God’s love. When we use the church to divide and separate instead of unite, we disgrace God’s role.
Should I stop watching movies? Probably.