Monday, March 31, 2014
We are all Noahs
This weekend we took a couple of hours off from trellis-building and egg-gathering and went to the movies. I go to probably two movies a year, no more than that because it's really difficult to get me to willingly go inside a dark room for two hours and miss whatever's going on in real life. I'm just not a movie person.
But I went to see the film mainly because 1) Big Ag and Groceries were both keen to see it, and 2) it was a bit chilly outside and the idea of sitting someplace warm with a bowl of popcorn sounded good for a change, even if it did mean sitting in the dark.
So since I'm obviously not much of a film connoisseur, I'm also not a very useful critic, but here's my verdict on the "Noah" biblical extravaganza. Two thumbs up.
I say that because, at the heart of the film was a great environmental message -- that our position as stewards of the planet comes with responsibilities. Being the dominant species is not a free ticket to do whatever we please with this world we live in. And sometimes, no question, the battle really does feel like an "us" versus "them" situation, within our own species, where compassion battles selfishness and wisdom attempts to override foolishness.
(As an aside, there was also a point in the film where Noah recites, voiceover-style, the first several verses of Genesis, only as it unfolds on the screen we see it from a Darwinian perspective, with each "day" happening over millions of years as first the planet, then its species, evolve. That has always made more sense to me than 7 literal 24-hour days, as some Judeo/Christian faith sectors believe. And in this case, it was beautifully illustrated.)
And I also believe things come down to this: In some ways, we are all Noahs. How we live on this planet should be our first concern, ethically. Specifically, how we treat each other and the other creatures who share the planet with us. We will all be called upon to do what we think is best in our little corner of the world. If you believe in God, then you follow what you think He/She wants, and if you don't, then you take the path that agrees with you best morally.
But either way there can be no question that we have an accountability to those who come after us -- to leave them with the kind of world we'd want to live in ourselves. In fact, without a supernatural flood to wash everything clean in order to start again, it becomes even more important to leave a world worth living in. The old stories in the Bible may or may not be literally true, but they do bring up larger talking points and moral issues we grapple with, even today.
My guess is there will be no worldwide flood to cleanse the earth in this day and age. Cleansing the earth need not be as hard as all that, if we can just pull consciously pull together as a species in order to care for the world with an eye to its overall health and future.
"Noah" is, to me, a worthwhile film because it's a story with those morals at heart. And besides, who doesn't like hot buttered popcorn on a cold afternoon?