As a child and teen reared in church I was not taught to read the Bible critically. The first article of our church’s Declaration of Faith states that we believe “In the verbal inspiration of the Bible.” This being the first article in our statement of faith is not incidental. It suggests that the Bible has priority; that all other statements of faith proceed from our confidence in the veracity of the inspired Scripture. Therefore, the words of Scripture are to be accepted by faith. As a teen I began reading the Bible in earnest. When I read “difficult” passages – Joshua’s genocide of Canaan, or Samuel’s execution of the Amalekite king – it never occurred to me to read these texts critically. In other word’s I was never taught to ask questions.
Many of my colleagues have expressed objections to my reflections about Aronofsky’s Noah. As I have said in various venues even though the movie deviates from the biblical text, I found it to be filled with theological images that faithfully reflect the meta-narrative of the Bible. Further, there are many extra-biblical variations on the Noah story, and various hermeneutical traditions, from which Aronofsky drew in producing his film adaptation. I find it somewhat ironic that some who object with great passion choose to ignore some of our own non-biblical adaptations. As a child I was taught that the curse of Ham was God making people black. Therefore, all people of color were cursed and if a white person married a colored person their children might be animals. Really, I learned that in Sunday school! Believe it or not, I still hear that from time to time. So let’s dispense with the hypocrisy.