I haven’t been able to watch the History Channel series on the Bible because I only get basic cable. But what’s odd is this: with all of my doubt about and even hostility towards organized religion, I am still happy when people are getting excited about God, or when prominent people give a stamp of approval to religion.
This has been the case in the past, especially when I was more of an evangelical. When The Prince of Egypt came out in the theaters, and all these big-named actors and actresses and musicians were a part of it, I was excited. I thought it was cool that “godless” Hollywood was recognizing the importance of faith in people’s lives and was seeing some value in the Bible. When Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ came out, I was happy that a big-named star, Mel Gibson, was stepping forward to proclaim his faith and to make a movie about Christ, and that actor James Caviezel was associating himself with that project. I felt the same way when the first movie for the Chronicles of Narnia came out and made a lot of money. Now, I feel that way about the History Channel’s Bible series.
I think that many within Christianity would like for big names to endorse Christian beliefs, or for the entertainment industry to stamp those beliefs with some measure of approval. I share some of that sentiment. But it’s about more than that for me: it’s about admiring when Hollywood reaches across the aisle to acknowledge those who have beliefs that may not be widely held within the entertainment industry, or admiring when someone is bold about his or her beliefs, as unconventional as they may be within certain settings. Part of it may also be some evangelistic hope that remains within me that people might come to know a loving God.