Actor Christian Bale has ignited a religious row after claiming the Hebrew prophet Moses was a barbaric schizophrenic.
The 40-year-old plays the religious icon in the upcoming biblical epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings." While he says he knew nothing about Moses before preparing for the role, he believes his research has given him a peek inside Moses's head.
During an interview with reporters last Friday, the Academy Award winner said, "I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life. He's a very troubled and tumultuous man who fought greatly against God, against his calling. He was a very troubled, tumultuous man and mercurial."
Not surprisingly, some have taken offense. Christian screenwriter Brian Godawa wrote on his blog that Bale's comments reflected nothing but his own bigotry. "Yes, Moses murdered a man," he wrote. "And he had a character arc that went from being adopted and raised as a pagan Egyptian to a conversion to his troubled and tumultuous faith. [...] And he even had arguments with God. But schizophrenic? Barbaric? Really?"
Other religious scholars are defending Bale. Jonathan Kirsch, who published "Moses: A Life," believes Moses is shown to be capable of appalling violence and, at times, appears to have different personalities.
Kirsch also offers that this can be because the Bible is written by multiple authors who wrote at different times with different motives.
"Exodus: Gods and Kings" was bound to anger people eventually, as director Ridley Scott has disparaged religion in the past. Back in 2012, he told Esquire magazine that "the biggest source of evil is of course religion."
"Exodus: Gods and Kings" hits theaters this December.
More to see:
Could Mama June lose her kids?
Kim Kardashian paid $500,000 to appear at Tao for her birthday
Amy Poehler once bombed a date with John Stamos
Meredith Vieira admits to not wearing underwear on 'The View'