The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
On Reading The Bible
Many cinema or television programmes which purport to be historical do not justify the description. What viewers want is action, and facts do not always offer the narrative arc required by a good plot (beginning, middle, end). As the film director, Sir Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980), is reported to have said, ‘Drama is life with the dull bits cut out’. Sometimes the truth is lost, too.
There is a scene in an old biblical picture in which Cain, plotting to kill his brother, Abel, uses the pretence of confidentiality to get Abel alone. ‘Let’s go over there,’ he whispers, ‘where no one can hear us.’ Or something like that. According to the account in the film – incorrect by the way – besides the two brothers, there was only mother and father, the admonition always struck me as unnecessary. Only four people on the entire planet and Cain is worried about being overheard!
The present generation of Britons have honed their impressions of the Bible and Christianity largely under the influence of the visual media. Year on year, British culture loses its honoured connection with the real, majestic story of the Bible. I don’t mean Bible stories, the tales told only to children. True and useful they may be, but they are often simplified to make an elementary point. The Bible is for adults, too. But the proliferation of secular ideas tends to undermine practical Christian ideals and portrays a view of religion – and religious people – as silly and unworthy of respect. Time was in this land when a working knowledge of the Bible was the ordinary inheritance of the citizen, and the precepts and principles of the Scriptures informed behaviour and the social consensus. We are all the poorer for the change. (AP)