By Diana Anderson-Tyler, Contributing Writer
The basic cable and satellite channel WGN America is just eight months old, but isn’t wasting any time taking on ambitious, original projects. It has just teamed with the renowned Weinstein Company (THE KING’S SOPEECH) to produce a ten-part event series about the Ten Commandments, the first such endeavor since Cecil B. DeMille’s classic 1956 epic starring Chalton Heston. Each installment of the series, set to begin filming in March, will focus on one commandment, such as idolatry, theft, or murder, and will be presided over by a different topnotch director.
As Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, Sandra Bullock’s THE BLIND SIDE, and this year’s THE BIBLE docudrama proved, religious themes perform phenomenally well at the box office and in living rooms across America. For example, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST exceeded the expectations of critics and skeptics alike by grossing over $600 million during its theatrical release, becoming the highest grossing R-rated movie in the United States. Similarly, the first episode of THE BIBLE was remarkably successful as it was tuned in to by 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable television audience of 2013 to date. In total, the miniseries has been seen by more than 100 million people.
Such indisputable data proves that biblical material and Judeo-Christian values are striking a chord within the hearts and minds of moviegoers and entertainment consumers at large. And, in light of society’s growing unfamiliarity with and disinterest in Scripture, the timing of such media couldn’t be better.
In THE SCANDAL OF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY: IT’S OUR PROBLEM, the Reverend Albert Mohler writes:
“Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments.”
It’s worth noting here that Barna Research Group has discovered that one out of every five adults (18%) contend that the Ten Commandments isn’t relevant for people living today.
“No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time,” says George Barna. “They don’t know what they are.”
While it’s certainly worth celebrating the fact that the Ten Commandments series will likely pique viewers’ curiosity and perhaps improve biblical literacy, what isn’t so certain is whether its underlying ideologies and subtexts will lead people closer to or farther from the truth of the Bible.
Harvey Weinstein, the series’ producer and major donor to President Obama, said recently in an interview with Piers Morgan that “Obama’s not embarrassing – the country’s embarrassing.”
In a nation where the Ten Commandments have long symbolized American ideals, it will be interesting to see just how the message of the millennia-old, Mosaic tablets and their eternal, God-breathed principles will be treated by leftist individuals such as Mr. Weinstein.
Editor’s Note: Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House’s Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Total Fitness. Her popular website can be found at www.fit4faith.com, and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana also can be reached on Twitter.
- Source: Deadline, 11/21/13.