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Affluent Christian Investor | August 23, 2017

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Aronofsky and Apostasy: Expect Noah to be an Anti-Biblical Biblical Epic

Noah Movie

Darren Arnofsky’s first successful film was Pi, a brilliant and disturbing indie production which centers on the lives of obsessed mathematicians.  The protagonist discovers a number, buried within the non-repeating, non-terminating number known as Pi. The discovered number is actually the name of God. It contains mysterious powers and the young mathematician finds himself hunted by the usual villains, Wall Street and the military. The obsession with the number gradually drives him insane, and he find his ultimate safety (or is it salvation?) in taking drastic action to forget the name of God. In a gruesome and disturbing act of auto-lobotomy, he takes a drill to his own head, destroying the part of his brain in which the name of God is memorized.

Not exactly the kind of story for Sunday (or Saturday) School (or Shul). It is a thinly veiled assault on religious belief, portraying it as a source of unhealthy obsession, and aiming it at the Judeo-Christian tradition (mostly the former). And in case you doubt my interpretation, let’s look a little more closely at Aronofsky’s bio: Raised by conservative Jewish parents, he himself attended synagogue in a way which he describes as purely cultural, eventually describing himself as ‘godless’.  He has made public statements indicating that he is passé about whether to raise his children (from his short marriage to Rachel Weiss) even in a nominally Jewish environment. Pi was filmed shortly after Aronofsky spent time in an orthodox kibbutz, during which he conceived the idea for the movie. In the case of his protagonist, literal godlessness (the physical ablation of the name of God) is the final heroic act of liberation.

The Fountain represents no real change in message, though a definite change in tone. Pi’s bleak and grainy mood gives way to kaleidoscopic beauty. But in the end, the message is the same. Hugh Jackman plays one man in three different time frames half a millennium apart, or is it three men, or one man and two imaginary flights of fancy? We never quite get a clear resolution to the narrative ambiguities. But we are left with little ambiguity about Aronofsky’s rejection of the Biblical view of the world. Tomas (played by Hugh Jackman), the conquistador who believes the Torah account of the Tree of Life, seeks to save his queen (played by Weiss) from the evil Inquisition by searching for said tree. He must slash his way through Mayan guards to find it (okay, Inquisition bad? Check. Christianity and imperialism linked? Check. Mistreatment of native meso-Americans? Check). Later, Tom (also Jackman), the 20th century scientist engages in an obsessive (one cannot write about Aronofsky without that word, I dare you) attempt to save his wife (also Weiss). Both Tomas and Tom fail, and even worse they fail to spend meaningful time with the dying queen/wife who repeatedly urges him to simply accept death, live in the moment and then bury her beneath a tree where her body can decay and be reincorporated back into the universe and its great cycle of life. 500 years later, Tommy the astronaut tries to resurrect his dead wife (Jackman/Weiss again) in a dying star. Eventually he comes to accept things as they are, assumes the Lotus position and enlightenment is achieved. Message received: Christianity is the religion of the crusaders. It shows up in modern times as the scientific quest to create pharmaceutical remedies for disease, and finally our hero leaves all of this behind, renounces both and all desire and becomes a Buddhist of a sort. No God will save us, we must simply accept the inevitable triumph of time and entropy and find escape in a godless mysticism.

As I write this article, I stand where you do, among the general public (not professional movie reviewers) awaiting the release of the epic film Noah. So I don’t know what we’ll see, not for certain. But Aronofsky has made public statements distancing his movie from the Biblical account (dropping F-bombs for emphasis), and the film is reported not to mention the name of God. So it is, like its (but not our) creator, literally godless.

 

Article originally published on Forbes.com.

Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.

Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.

Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.

Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.

Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.

Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest five of their seven children.

 

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