When I was young it was common to watch movies based on the Bible after Sabbath services.
Some were fun and the stories had good lessons, but I had issues with some as well. Yes of course most of us know that Bible movies or movies based on any book seldom follow the book exactly. So the lack of Biblical accuracy could be expected to some extent and is a problem in some cases more than others.
But there were other problems besides not following God’s book word for word that bothered me. The people who were supposed to be wicked were often presented as unattractive and the righteous people were presented as beautiful or handsome. It was soon pretty easy (no pun intended) to judge in advance who would be wicked or good based on their looks alone, due to this not so subtle conditioning to associate appearance with character.
So, ironically while watching Bible movies, we learned to do the exact opposite of what the Bible says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7. Sin may not show on one’s face, but it shows in one’s actions. So looking on the outside instead of getting to know what is within is wrong. Yes, society in general does this in movies too, but believers in God should not encourage this logic.
Obviously trying to make the villain look ugly is not the only problem. Another problem I noticed with the appearance of the characters was accuracy, not in all cases but in many. Now, I know Jewish people can be of any race as it is a religion as well as an ethnic group, however considering Yeshua and his followers lived in Israel you would think that the director would try to make them look believably Jewish or Israeli at least.
I mean, it would be one thing if the movie cast were all random people who happened to be available for the role or something, but while watching one movie I wondered why the only people who happened to look as if they could be believably Jewish or at least Middle Eastern in any way were the person who betrayed Yeshua and the Torah teachers who didn’t like him? That is pretty messed up. When all the people for the “good roles” look like random foreigners on vacation compared to the rest of the actors, while the “bad roles” are Israeli Jews, this is teaching anti-Semitism by ignoring the fact that basically everyone was Jewish-both those who were kind to Yeshua and those who were not.
This sort of thing happens in movies set for the Old Testament too and it is annoying. Don’t demonize the Israelis or Jewish people; just like any other group of people there are differences. Now many Non-Jews who accept Yeshua would never consider themselves to be anti-Semitic , yet many Christians’ presentation of the Bible, like the movies, are not factually accurate; in fact they may be just as bad a representation of history as the movies are. Many say the Jews rejected Yeshua and ignore the fact that initially it was mostly Jews who accepted him. This needs to be corrected because subconsciously or consciously many people falsely associate truth with non-Jews and rejection of truth or good with Jews.
This isn’t just a matter of being politically correct, but Biblically correct. Yeshua himself said, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22 and Jews both accepted and rejected it. In every people group you may find good and bad. Yeshua said the wheat and tares will grow together until the end of the harvest at the end of the age. If you try to distance yourself from this fact and make wickedness out to be something that is only associated with others you are missing the point of the Bible. Evil is not “out there” evil is all around us and it is most likely to be found within you own heart. You cannot put trust in religious groups or ethnic affiliations, we can only trust God.
Picture originally found here