Question: I get the idea that you just have a bad attitude about movies. Is that the case?
Response: You are only partially correct. My “bad attitude” is primarily directed at biblical movies. As someone who was trained and who worked professionally in the film industry and has a great love for the Bible, I’ve tried to explain in many writings that the Word of God cannot be presented visually without destroying its truth. On the other hand, I do like some movies, although the number of them you could put on the head of a pin with room to spare. Chariots of Fire and Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed have made my list of favorite movies with Christian content, if that personal information is of any interest to you.
Here is a brief synopsis of my concerns regarding biblical movies and the body of Christ: Movies are the most influential communication medium today. The power of a movie itself lies in its ability to influence and even control the emotions of the audience. Scenes are put together to elicit emotional responses from viewers. Powerful images combined with heartrending music all too often compel the person to react beyond his or her control. Who has never unexpectedly shed a tear at a movie?
Sadly, that can even be a problem for Christians who have a personal relationship with the Lord and are somewhat familiar with the Scriptures. Discernment can easily take a back seat to emotions that have been manipulated by compelling images. For example, believers may supply or fill in what they know about Jesus from Scripture when the screen version doesn’t warrant it and may even contradict what the Bible says. Consequently, they can easily miss the obvious biblical errors. What results may be a kind of emotional catharsis, that is, a fleshly experience mistaken for a spiritual experience based upon truth.
Furthermore, visual screen errors have a way of clinging to the mind of the viewer. As I mentioned elsewhere (TBC, 07/13), I have interviewed young adults who were biblically literate, questioning them about scenes they remembered from “biblical” movies. More often than not, they couldn’t discriminate between scenes added by Hollywood that were in their minds and those they thought were in the Scriptures. At best their understanding of the Bible was terribly confused. That is a huge problem in these days of apostasy where biblical discernment is vital for the spiritual welfare of believers.