By Comic Relief
If you are a Hollywood film enthusiast with a hunger for biblical content you have no doubt heard of three esteemed projects in the development pipelines. Many have heard of development for Steven Spielberg’s Moses film , Darren Aronofsky’s Noah film  and even Mel Gibson’s Judah Maccabee film  might qualify. If you are familiar with these directors, then you will likely be bored by descriptions of how they required their reputations. We will have some time before those movies are released, until then let’s review some of the history of this genre.
If you are discussing specifically Hollywood’s Christian films they generally fall into these categories:
- Biblical Narratives
- Inspirational Narratives
- Negation Narratives
This example is the most illustrative of the set, and illustrative would have been a good title if extracting audience experience weren’t one of the goals of the Bible. When a film hopes to surround the reader in a specific experience of places, attitudes, customs, and beliefs it hopes viewers will be honest about their current previous or expected feelings, ideas, and notions. Though many have expressed the contrary, the interactive and comparative aspect of the Bible diminishes its strength as a purely explicative or demonstrative manual. Unfortunately, this may be exactly where readers may find their greatest resistance. Should the reader reject the book as a whole or possibly just specific sections and/or interpretations; that may be just fine. Believers would likely presume a change in reader attitude might come with time. For Christian feature film producers, believers believe God offers a caveat if the audiences never finds an interest or agreement. Believing scriptural messengers, below see a scriptural self-assessment regarding an assertive unbeliever.
- New International Version (©1984) “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
- New Living Translation (©2007) “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.“
- English Standard Version (©2001)“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” 
These movies actually expect the believer to remember the Bible stories, parables, verses, and all range of Christian references, yet these films frequently situate the narrative outside of an original biblical document. The literary scholar may be crying fowl! Why? Because you may interpret that these stories “preach to the choir.” If the Bible were a standard piece of literature, there would be reason to claim one was receiving a poor narrative.
Yet believers accept that the Bible is the word of God. As entertaining as it might be, it’s not entertainment. As didactic as it might be it’s not opinion. And as descriptive as it might be, it is not interpretation. And for those reasons, despite how fanciful, metaphoric and allegorical it is the book should not be approached as a work of art. It is easy to make this mistake because the tome is printed in book form. Why should a cinematic story help you make associations that you would find in another narrative? Why, because Christian’s are a community. Sometimes communities congregate purely to reinforce ideas, reinterpret feelings and reexamine ideas that were already specified and held dear. According to these translations, believers are relieved, when scripture reiterates:
- New International Version (©1984) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
- New Living Translation (©2007) ”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
- English Standard Version (©2001) ”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 
In a transitory world, Christians prefer this. Therefore they hope these movies will restate, and reinforce many of the tenants of their faith. When sought after, this reinforcement is warmly appreciated.
This last category may be the greatest because it demonstrates what many believers think is one of our greatest liberties; the ability to reject or ignore God entirely. Though all are not entirely dismissive, many of these examples explore being critical in some way or another. Based upon the imaginations of conspiracy theorists, one claims the Vatican is run by a secret society of despots. Another is a not so veiled challenge to Catholics; the second makes drama out the Priestly sex abuse scandals of a few years back. And the third, championed by a famous comedian, is a celebration of atheist rebellion. With so much disinterest, (all of these movies scored box office totals above the million dollar mark), we can still be out done by Biblical expressions of love for us.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” 
Proving both comfort and controversy, after a more than 80 year history this list proves Christian religious themes do earn well at the multiplexes. Still with all the debate concerning its messages,
All three of these categories were combined into one list with the latest entries being the first and the later work appearing last.
Recognize each clip was selected due to its categorization, its title, it’s date, its director, its lead actor, and it’s box office accomplishment.
Negation/Angels and Demons/2009/Ron Howard/Tom Hanks/$133,375,846
Negation/Doubt/2008/John Patrick Shanley/Meryl Streep/$33,446,470
Negation/The Da Vinci Code/2006/Ron Howard/Tom Hanks/$217,536,138
Negation/Religulous/2011/Larry Charles/Meryl Streep, etc./$13,011,160
Inspirational/Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail/Tyler Perry/Tyler Perry/$90,508,336
Inspirational/Couragious/2011/Alex Kendrick/Alex Kendrick/$34,522,221
Inspirational/Fireproof/2008/Alex Kendrick/Kirk Cameron/$6,836,036
Inspirational/The Chronicles of Narnia: (TLTWATW)/2010/Andrew Adamson/Tilde Swinton/$65,556,312
Biblical/One Night with the King/2006/Michael O. Sajbel/Tiffany Dupont/$13 MILLION
Biblical/The Nativity Story/2004/Catherine Hardwicke/Keisha Castle-Hughes/$7,849,304
Biblical/The Passion of the Christ/2004/Mel Gibson/Jim Caviezel/$370,782,930
Please join our discussion Tuesday 3/27/2012@7pmE/12UTC