My Thoughts on Exodus: Gods and Kings

If you were an atheist who wanted to ride the Bible movie craze and did not really care about the material or the beliefs of a few billion people, you’d make Darren Aronofsky’s Noah movie.

If you were an atheist who wanted to ride the Bible movie craze and thought it necessary to be respectful of the beliefs of a few billion people, you’d make Ridley Scott’s Noah.

The movie is not without its faults. But I enjoyed it and came away a bit disappointed from a faith perspective, but entertained and not insulted as a movie goer. To understand why requires some mild spoilers.

If you were an atheist, or at least not a person of faith, and wanted to do a movie about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, your movie would look a lot like Ridley Scott’s movie. In other words, you could not avoid God, but you’d minimize him and play up natural phenomena as explanations for the plagues as best you could.

And that’s where the movie is interesting.

In Noah, the lead character is a psychopath and the deity is a delusion and dream. In Exodus, the lead character is a psychopath too and God comes in the form of a boy first seen in a delusion following a rock slide on a mountain.

But they cannot stop there. God could be a delusion for Noah, but he cannot for Moses because of the ongoing interaction. He is minimized, but is not the bit player as in Noah. God appears throughout the movie as a boy. The effect is to make Him seem both juvenile and prone to tantrum. At least that is how it starts.

But God’s hand is always present in the movie. God may not always be seen, and he may be an abstraction, but he is there. The Passover is, for instance, given short shrift, but it is clearly the work of a Deity and that is not minimized. When Pharaoh confronts Moses while carrying his dead child, he yells that only fanatics could worship a god who kills kids. You get the sense that both actors — Joel Edgerton as Pharaoh and Christian Bale as Moses — really believed that.

But then Moses says no Hebrew children died. And the God who’d been being built up as some tantrum prone, …read more    

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