One of my favorite Bible characters is the prophet Daniel. When I was a child the story of his faith in the lion’s den thrilled me; it still does. Faith gave him courage to do the right thing even in the face of dire circumstances.
NBC is now hawking its own version of faith in its upcoming series “The Book of Daniel”. Not being one of those privileged few with access to screenings, I cannot comment on the actual show with the veracity of an eyewitness. I can however comment upon the pervasive latitude that Hollywood is taking with Christian values in increasingly unbiblical measures. (I know, I know, this is nothing to be surprised about.)
From what I can gather, Aidan Quinn plays the role of Daniel Webster, an Episcopalian priest who struggles with medication abuse, an alcoholic wife, and morally bankrupt children. Jesus supposedly visits Quinn personally on a regular basis. Various Christian leaders who have previewed the scripts have expressed concern over the cavalier attitude that “Jesus” demonstrates towards the sins of the characters.
Executives at NBC are trying to pitch this as a “look into one American family’s life”. They claim that they are trying to demonstrate how a person’s faith can help them deal with issues of life. While it is true that American families, (even Christian families) can and do have moral issues, faith does not merely help us come to grips with these problems, it helps us overcome them.
An element of biblical faith is repentance. Repentance helps us to identify our sins, confess them to God and forsake them. I John 5:4 describes faith as the victory that overcomes the world. While I take comfort in the fact that I can experience personal fellowship with Christ (via the Holy Spirit), I find it offensive that He would be portrayed as one who winks at wickedness.
If I have a choice between a weak-kneed faith that offers no hope in the face of the trials of life, and the powerful faith of the biblical Daniel, I’ll take the lion’s den anytime.