The Washington Times (Saturday, March 15, 2014) reported that “during a conversation on the biblical story of Noah,” Bill Maher called God a “psychotic mass murderer” who “drowns babies.” Maher asked, “What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at?”
If Maher is going to attack over a billion Christians and Jews around the world, he should at least get his facts straight. The story of Noah in the book of Genesis does not portray God as punishing “everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at.” According to the story, the whole earth was “filled with violence” and “ever inclination” of people’s heart “was only evil all the time,” “all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” and the whole “earth [was] filled with violence” (Genesis 6:6-12).
The story implies the culture of the entire world was thoroughly and pervasively wicked and violent. We might imagine a culture in which rape, robbery, murder, torture, retribution and revenge were the norm, with no hope of turning things around. I haven’t seen the Noah movie but if I were going to produce such a movie it would have to be rated R for violence.
By way of modern examples, think of cultures in which lying, cheating, stealing and corruption are a thoroughly ingrained part of life. Think of cultures in parts of the world in which children are taught lies from earliest ages in an attempt to foster rabid hatred against Jews; or other cultures in which children are taught how to shoot and decapitate anyone who gets in the way of whatever they want. Think of cultures which imagine they are serving God by kidnapping, raping and torturing innocent women and children—often by the hundreds or even thousands (or in Sudan, by the millions)!Think of the honor killings and revenge killings that go on in the world. Now imagine an entire world like that with no civil restraint and no mediating good influence. That’s the story of Noah.
When Maher goes on to attack Christians for “the restrictions they put on themselves” it sounds like he is actually angry at the restrictions that the biblical God would put on human behavior.
Those of us who side with Noah in the story, believe that God, as the creator, has every right to restrict the behavior of his creation—especially since those restrictions, if actually followed, would produce a much more loving and peaceful society. We also believe that the Creator has every right to put an end to horrible wickedness and start over, which is the story of Noah.
Those who hate God’s restrictions and oppose the God of the Noah story, are unwittingly siding with a culture of pervasive corruption and intense, world-wide violence.
I’m sure Maher doesn’t believe a word of the story, of course, but if he’s going to criticize it, he should at least take a few seconds to read it and criticize it for what it actually says rather than creating a straw man that he can blow down.
Maher's response tells us much about his own rabid hatred of Christians, but nothing about the story of Noah. (And by the way, he needs our prayers, not our hate mail)!