Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Prince of Egypt

Back when we were Lutheran, The Prince of Egypt was one of our favorite movies. One of my daughters requested that we see it this week, so we pulled it out, dusted it off, and watched it. I still enjoy the music and the animation, but the religious content-- errrrghhh.

I remember trying to justify God's actions to my kids as a Christian, but even as a believer it wasn't easy. (Some people have no such reservations; this review applauds the movie, saying, "The triumphant result is a story that Christians can wholeheartedly applaud: a magnificent retelling of the Exodus story that gives full credit to the saving works of God.") God, in Exodus as well as in The Prince of Egypt, is no better than the Pharaoh, and quite arguably worse-- he visits pain and suffering on innocents, and both the first Pharaoh and God slaughter children with no apparent remorse.

God is also noticeably a small god, not an omnipotent one-- he doesn't know whom to smite and whom to pass over without a little guidance from lamb's blood, and he doesn't simply do the obvious thing, which would be to appear to Pharaoh himself and avoid all that messy plague business. And it's interesting to note that one of God's lines from the Bible regarding the tenth plague (And there shall be a great cry in all of Egypt, such as never has been or ever will be again!) is attributed to Rameses. When the line sounds equally reasonable coming from the mouth of God and the villain of the movie, you have a problem.

In short, I don't think watching The Prince of Egypt, or reading Exodus, is likely to create believers out of my kids. If you watch it with an open mind, it leaves you reeling with shock that anyone could possibly believe that God is one of the good guys.

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