Christian opinions about the new Darren Aronofsky film 'Noah' run the gamut, and the contrast among the views seems to be helping the movie off to a strong start at the box office.
You don't have to visit too many websites or flip through many magazines before your find someone's take on the big budget, blockbuster Noah. The movie started last Friday and is already number one in ticket sales. If you are a Christian, then you can also find more than one of your fellow believers willing to share their opinion, too. But don't expect all among the Body to see it the same way.
Just two days ago, well known creationist Ken Ham called the movie an unbiblical fable, while others, like Christian writer and media consultant Phil Cooke, don't take issue with the movie, at all.
Ham, doesn't mince words when it comes to his opinion.
"It may be the worst film I have ever seen," he writes, in an opinion he shared with Time magazine.
Ham had trouble with the liberties the filmmakers took with the telling of the story.
"Except for some of the names - like those of Noah, his sons and Methuselah - hardly any remnant of the Bible's account of the flood in Genesis 6-9 is recognizable in the movie," Ham said.
Phil Cooke thinks this perspective is misguided, and pokes fun at it in a satirical piece he shared on his website titled, 'The Noah movie opens today: Christians, run for the hills."
"It's good so many of us agree that there are no grey areas, no room for interpretation, no room for hits or misses, and more than anything, no room for a non-Christian to look at a Bible story and share his or her perspective. I truly worry how God will defend himself without us," Cooke joked.
For his part, Ham seems to think that the movie amounts to not much more than environmentalist propaganda, and thinks that some of the parts that he sees as misrepresentations could do harm to those who believe it, especially those not overly familiar with the scriptural telling of the story,
Darren Aronofsky, the film's director has gone of the record saying that he purposefully had to take the liberties, because the account in the bible is short and didn't give him a lot to build on, and he was trying to make the story relatable.
Cooke doesn't have a problem with that, and respects the creative license Aronofsky took. In fact, he seems to think that is good, and adds to the effectiveness of the story to reach people.
"So the filmmakers added to the story," he writes in another article on his website. "And honestly, there are "extra-Biblical" elements in the film."
He points out that he would not have added these elements if he were in charge, but he doesn't count it against Aronofsky for doing so,
He says that the movie opened his mind to parts of the bible that are left unexposed, and he appreciated that. He likened it to a Flannery O'Connor story.
" In this version, the filmmakers made Noah a complex character,' he writes, "and helped me see possibilities I'd never considered for how details in the story could have happened. This isn't the Sunday School sanitized version of the story, and for that I'm grateful."
Ham, however, did not find this perspective amusing or enlightening. In fact, he found it dangerous.
"It grossly distorts the Genesis account of the creation and the flood and totally denigrates the godly character of the Noah of the Bible," he said. 'In good conscience, we can't encourage this strategy of evangelism."
Cooke says we should appreciate the film because, afterall we have been asking Hollywood for biblical movies for over a decade now, whereas Ham believes this film is going to make it tougher to market bible-based movies to Christians.
Obviously all the numbers are not in yet, and it would be hard to figure how much of this total represents Christian viewers, but many estimate the movie has already brought in around $95 million at the box office.
Where the tide of viewers flow from here is yet to be determined, but Paramount Pictures has to be happy with the attention the film is getting if it keeps this type of flood rolling in.