Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Do You Noah the Story?

NOAH, the movie
Given that we seem to be undergoing one of the larger movie advertising campaigns in recent memory, a logical question that a Christian might pose is: does this movie provide an evangelism tool (as some claim) or is it one more pagan attack to defend against?

One thing is obvious.  This film was made to appeal to both Christians and to the perennial fans of typical blockbuster special effects type movies.  As a marketing ploy it is probably a sure fire winner.  The "blockbuster" appeal will bring in most of the regular movie goers, and the Christian theme stands a good chance of drawing in many who tend to stay away from most movie fare due to their disgust with the typical sexual content.

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So how does the movie measure up for the Christian?  Well, admittedly I have not seen the movie (at this writing it has not opened yet), but that did not stop me from doing a little research.  A number of people have seen early screenings of the film, still subject to further cuts. Some "less than flattering" reaction led to the following disclaimer aimed at smoothing things over (or muddying the waters, depending on your point of view):

"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

It seems that Darren Aronofsky, the director, is a self described atheist who was willing to employ a number of words not commonly used in polite conversation to proclaim his lack of sensitivity about negative audience reaction.  A couple thoughts come to mind.    A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.  Luke 6:45  And I don't just mean Aronofsky's comment.  I believe this verse may apply equally to the whole movie.

So, you may be wondering what I found when researching the movie.  Well, here are some miscellaneous quotes:

Joseph Brean in the National Post said this: "Noah has been re-imagined in a new movie as a virtuous eco-warrior in an age of global calamity, so appalled by humanity’s sins that he accepts, even encourages, their deliberate extinction by a vengeful god."  and  "The sins for which humanity is punished in the film include wanton disregard for the sustainability of their farming and mining, which ravages the Earth. Noah, in the movie, broods over this, comes to think humans deserve it, and even threatens to kill his own grandchild."

Billy Hallowell said this on The Blaze: "...For instance, at one point Noah is preaching to his family and telling the story of creation – one that is presented through an evolutionary lens..."  and  "Noah's character is conflicted about whether or not human beings should survive,” he added. “I think he borders on looking crazy and it’s hard to match that to the Genesis text..."

From Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis:  "In the movie, it seems Noah is a far cry from the Noah of the Bible. He’s angry, even crazy . . . . It makes a mockery of Noah’s righteous nature and is actually anti-biblical. . . . [In the Hollywood version] he’s a delusional, conflicted man, more concerned about the environment, animals, and even killing his own grandchild than he is with his family and his relationship with God."  and here  "Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather) is a type of witch-doctor, whose mental health is questionable." and  "It appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today."

(If you are not familiar with the Biblical term "kinds" as it applies to the animal kingdom, I would suggest that despite the indisputable fact that there is such a thing as a birddog, most of us would have no problem distinguishing between a bird and a dog as different "kinds" of animals.)

Now, armed with mostly negative  feedback from people who have seen early screenings of the Noah movie (or have spoken with those who have), in what areas do I think the film got it right?  Well, there really is a God.  There really is a man named Noah who built an ark (I believe I will get to meet him in heaven one day).  There really was a flood caused by God.  Noah, his family, and animals were saved from the flood by entering the ark.  Other than those points, there very well may be little or nothing recognizable from the Bible in this movie.  It seems to be the 180 degree opposite of the old tag line "the story you are about to see is true; the names were changed to protect the innocent."   The Noah movie tag line should be, "the story you are about to see is false; the names were kept to protect the guilty."

But back to the original question; does this movie provide an evangelism tool or is it one more pagan attack to defend against?  Isn't the answer obvious?  As an evangelism tool the Noah movie is about as useful as "The Last Temptation of Christ (another movie I have never seen) which reviews reveal to be equally anti Christian fiction.

So what about this so called disclaimer that runs with the commercials?  "... we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith ..."   Really?  They wrote that with a straight face?  If so, then surely they will have no problem with everyone who goes to see the movie, but finds that claim to be false, demanding their money back.  Ah, but my guess is that Hollywood is counting on the biblical illiteracy of the American people at large to be such that soon most of what they think they know about Noah will have come from this movie ...and that is a larger condemnation of our country than it is of this film.

As a matter of fact, I admit that when I read of this complete twisting of Biblical truth to line the pockets of Hollywood, my first thought was, "why doesn't God just strike them dead?"  Of course upon further contemplation, I remembered that this movie is just one of the symptoms of a much larger national drift away from Christianity.  Certainly the perpetrators of this movie would love to speed that along in any way possible.  That may be reason enough not to help finance their efforts but rather pray for their repentance.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Note in Passing

As it so happens, right now I have two sets of Evolution cylinder heads in my shop that I have seen before.  Both of them were previously ported by me.  What make this worth mentioning is the "when" that I last saw them.  One set has a porting job which I performed in 1994; 20 years ago.  It was the 131st set of heads that I had ported.  You may wonder how I can be so sure about work that I completed so long ago, but its simple.  I stamp an ID number into the heads I port and keep records.

Now, I don't know much about the life this particular set of head lived in the intervening years, but it was ready for new valves and guides.  Not totally shot, unusable junk; just out of spec on the valve to guide clearance and stem taper.  The present owner is not the one who I did the work for originally, and since another local shop brought them to me to freshen up, I don't know how many miles or owners they have gone through since '94. 

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16 year old porting
The second set of heads received my porting work a scant 16 years ago.  They were the 273rd set of heads that I ported.  I have a little more info on this set due to the fact that I count the owner as an old friend, though I suppose that he would point out that it would be more accurate to say that I am his old friend, since I am about 10 years his senior.  This set has gone in excess of 100,000 miles, many with sidecar attached,  since I last saw them.  The rest of the motor is quite worn out, to the point of needing a new crankcase pinion race, oil pump, and even an oversize breather gear due to the amount of debris that has passed through it.  Somewhat surprisingly the guides did not need replacement on this set of heads, which is a testament to the design of the Evolution valve train.

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guides still good - seats after valve job