Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why Ten Commandments Won TV Ratings

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

The Ten Commandments movie was made 58 years ago, yet it had the highest ratings of any show on television last Saturday night.

We are constantly told how the culture has changed over the past 58 years---and it has.

Perhaps people have not changed so much.

The old movie, made in 1956, starring Charlton Heston as Moses beat everything else on TV. But why?

It's not exactly a premiere release. ABC has been showing the movie every year since 1973---everyone has already seen it.

Why is there so much interest in seeing it again and again and again?

More people who watched TV last Saturday night watched a movie about Moses leading God's people out of slavery and bondage in Egypt than watched NBC's Dateline, Fox's UFC or CBS's Mike and Molly.

As the evening progressed, Ten Commandments also beat out CBS's Criminal Minds, CBS's 48 Hours and NBC's Saturday Night Live.

What is the attraction?

Charlton Heston who plays Moses?

Heston was a liberal during his early days in Hollywood. As he got older and wiser, he became more conservative, even campaigning for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

He also served as the outspoken, often controversial leader of the National Rifle Association.

In fact, he is so controversial with some that those who are now trying to get a postage stamp with his picture are meeting considerable resistance.

Some would say the Ten Commandments won the TV ratings because it is a religiously themed movie and it played the night before Easter.

But there were other religiously themed programs on cable TV the same night and no one watched them.

The Travel Channel showed "Greatest Mysteries: Holy Land" which included a segment about the ever popular Shroud of Turin. Travel Channel even made the program interactive by asking the audience if they thought the cloth's impression was actually the face of Leonardo da Vinci. They also revealed that Jesus and Judas were "best buddies." That's a quote.

The Science Channel did a documentary on "The Gospel of Mary," arguing that "the male dominated Church did not want to deal with a woman," thus the Gospel of Mary was not included in the New Testament.

The Science Channel also ran a religiously themed program following "Mary" which called into question the biblical accounts of Christ's birth, death and resurrection.

Nobody watched.

But, some would say, cable channels never have the number of viewers the major networks have anyway. Right?

Wrong. "The Bible" series last year ran on cable and it set records beating all the major networks. Duck Dynasty is on cable and it regularly beats the networks.

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, told CNS News, "It only goes to show that the average American is a lot smarter than the elites who seek to manipulate them."

It also shows that many Americans are searching for Truth and they believe the biblically based religious movies and programs are closer to what they are looking for than those programs designed to undermine biblical Truth as the so called "science" based programs. They are not looking for yet another attack on the Christian faith.

Several weeks ago I went to see the movie "God Is Not Dead". I was profoundly impacted by it. The people who produced the film and those who acted in it understood the message.

It hits the mark. Actor Kevin Sorbo, a Christian himself, plays the role of the atheist professor who directs his university class to sign a statement that God is Dead and they can skip that section of the course he teaches. One student cannot do so because of his Christian faith. He is then asked by the professor to defend his position in front of the class. More than once during the movie I shed a tear.

I went to see it again recently because my son-in-law rented a complete theater and he and some of his friends had invited a number of non-Christians to come see it.

Again I was deeply touched.

The film deals with real issues, in real ways---that's why Hollywood is calling it a "box office surprise."

We should not be surprised.

I believe what I and others experienced in the theater is a microscopic section of America that still exists today.

In spite of a generation of bashing God, god-less academics, pop culture trends, all out war on marriage, family and life itself, there is a part, perhaps a larger part than some realized, of America who define the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:6--

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

There is a growing hunger for Truth and authenticity in this generation.

Can the Christian church put away its distractions of "reconciling," "emerging," "social justice advocacy" and be single minded enough to tell this generation the Truth?

I pray so.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.