Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The New Horrible Ten Commandments

My husband is difficult when it comes to religion. I can't bring it up without him getting upset. Sometimes, he brings it up and gets himself all upset. He's very much a believer in spirituality, and living by moral codes, caring about one another, being non-materialistic *he knows this is a flaw of his, but he does acknowledge it* and so forth. He can't stand being judged by others, and being told he's going to hell. Nobody has actually yet told him he's going to hell, but there is always that possibility...he feels it whenever he walks by a Christian store, enters a church where an actual mass is being held *walking into an old empty church is more of an archaeological and architectual fascination and doesn't make him cringe* so anyhow....

He starts watching the second half of the new Ten Commandments, and I'm just glad he didn't watch the first half. I don't know if this was an anti-Christian movie, an anti-Jewish movie, an anti-God movie, an affirmation for those Christian diehards who think everyone who doesn't follow God should be slaughtered, or just a movie that the producers thought needed some more blood. By the time the movie was over, I received yet another rant about how he didn't see anything redeeming about religion in this film, since anyone who didn't follow God got killed, and hell, half of those that DID follow God, still got killed. It wasn't clear on who actually made it to eternal happiness, so he's assuming they all went to hell.

So let me go on to tell you what this is about, as briefly as possible. It resembles the biblical story somewhat, but the two should not be confused. And it's not really brief.

Moses is a Prince of Egypt, go him.
Moses finds out he's really not. Bummer.
Moses tells the Pharoah, Let My People Go.
Pharaoh says, No.
Moses unleashes ten plagues, one involving frogs. Now I admit, I honestly didn't believe there were frogs in Egypt. For some reason, I think swampland, anyhow, maybe there weren't any before, but then God sent them, and the ones that survived the fall, survived and flourished? Okay and the river of blood, always fun, that one.
So then Pharoah says "No." So the big bad one comes. The Angel of Death, still a sneaking, low-ground-cover mist that infiltrates the homes of all those that didn't smear blood on the door and kills the first-born sons. The version in Heston's film was more spooky. Okay, this is in the bible. Here's the thing, in the bible, Pharoah was clearly evil. In the Charlton Heston version, Pharoah, still evil. In this version, he's such a good father. Oh, he dotes on his cute son. He loves his son. Moses' made-up step-brother also has a son, who he loves. So the mean Angel of Death comes, and kills them all! Yikes! I felt sooo bad for the Pharoah and Moses' step-brother, they loved their sons, their sons were cute! How mean! Bad angel. Okay so then they each are shown carrying the bodies of their son as they anguish and grieve loudly, and you're like, why, why oh the poor babies...
Moses' step-brother asks 'Why?'
"Because a long time ago, your people came and killed my people and their children."
"I didn't, my son didn't."
"Well, God punished you anyhow."
"Your God is cruel." /agree.
Moses just looks pained. And mopey. He whined a lot, for the leader of a free nation. Okay so they go and get chased.
Flee into the desert.
They part the sea and Moses feels bad about all the Egyptian soldiers that die. Okay, I read that part, I didn't see it. I came after they fought the Philistines, I think, and then the Armaciens? (sp) who knows but by the time I got downstairs, they've already lost like, a gazillion people and had fought two battles.
I'm at the part where this woman and some guy that's close to Moses is having an affair. The scene makes no sense, until the husband catches them and loverboy kills him.
'Oh what did we do, lets hide the body' and then pretend nothing happened.'
Some little boy finds the body, and they decide to blame some poor schmuck no one likes, but Moses somehow knows the truth. So the people, the chosen promised more-worthy-than-anyone-else people descends into mob rule and just wants to stone the guy, just cuz. No proof, but man, if he's stoned, it's like, justice. Moses pulls the woman aside and talks to her and she pretty much confesses, but I gotta tell ya, she realized her mistake pretty much right away. The next thing that happened is he's yelling at the guy who he loves like a brother or something, because gee, now the mob rule and his enemies insist on justice. The justice? The woman he comforted, who confessed to him, and the guy? Well, Moses throws the first stone. Ouch. And then he blames God for making him kill them. Okay okay justice was cruel then, and really, they knew it, but like, in retrospect, shouldn't have confessed, and next time, leave him in the water and pretend he drowned. Hell, throw alcohol over him. He drowned while drunk. The two die looking at each other lovingly, while crying. Go Moses. Oh, the compassion.
So then Moses goes up the mountain and then down the mountain and offers the people a bargain. They all say yes. Silly silly people.
So then Moses goes up the mountain and comes down to a scene of debauchery and pagan partying and knocks down the false icon god and tosses the magic tablets that had God's word burned into them onto the ground... 15, no 10, 10 commandments... and there is an argument of words which results in two camps, the Moses camp, and the 'this God is too hard with his rules' camp. Of course, they all fight. There's lots of blood. In the end, there's a group of prisoners.
"What do we do with them?" *children and women included*
"Kill them all." says Moses. "It's God's will and they broke their word."
Okay so I'm like, wow man. This God is mean. I'm going back to the happy hunt god and the fertility and wine goddess and the love goddess and god of not killing lots of people.

This movie is supposed to be an uplifting tale of a nation of people freed from slavery who make it through the desert, get a few lectures from Charlton Heston on "Why Your Pagan Party and False Icons Are Bad" and then find their land and rejoice. Instead, it's this depressing story about a people who follow a moping Moses who keeps crying to God about how it's too hard to lead these people and how he just wants his wife *Who he sent away with his two sons* and not to be the guy that treks through the desert... talk about faith... The people are portrayed as blood-thirsty, cruel, mob-ruled brigands and thugs who don't value life at all, and this God apparently in this movie, is all about the mob justice... so it's totally depressing, not uplifting, and in the end you think, wow, Egypt was civilized and orderly. Pharoah wasn't such a bad guy, just a leader who loved his sons and had slaves. If he realized how angry and uncivilized and whiny this lot was, he would have let them go a long time ago. Really there was no need for all those plagues. Everyone in the bible had slaves, nothing new there.

This new nation? Wow. By the time they got to the promised land, 40 years later, I think there were ten of them. The rest either died in fights, were killed by stoning or murder, or just snuck off because they were scared if they went to the promised land and walked on the grass God would smite them.

Old Testament God = angry, jealous, vindictive, very much a war-lovin' kinda fella, intolerant, controlling and um, yikes, bit scary.
New Testament God = well, this has GOT to be a new God. Nice, loving, kinda guy you'd confess your sins too because he wouldn't smite you for it if you sincerely repented... etc etc. *Must have found himself a good PR firm...

Now keep in mind, this refers to the movie, not the actual bible, well, except for the bit where the old testament God is kinda scary and smite happy... /looks over shoulder...

bzzzt zap... fry....

/smited

1 comment:

Walt said...

The old testament is old school. - http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/2kg/2.html#23 - That's just one story of many many many old school stories - http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html

Course, it is a bit more reasonable than xenu - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenu