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February 24th, 2004

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08:34 pm
OK, I need to hear from as many of you as I can in the next 90 or so minutes: do I want to go to a midnight showing of "The Passion of the Christ"? Doing so will not have a terribly huge bearing on my work tomorrow.

Comment! Quickly!

(18 points | Discuss)


[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2004 05:18 am (UTC)

Too late to respond

Okay, I know you're going to immediately assume that my opinion is tainted by my being a Christian, but bear in mind I am BY FAR more liberal than most Christians. I have to respond to some of the above.

The film, while made by a religious director/producer with the goal of showing the gospel of Jesus, is only partially intended to be a religious film. It's supposed to be a historic film. I know, I know. It's a history tainted by religious interpretation. I know. But the vast majority of people believe that Jesus really existed and that his crucifixion really occurred. The film is supposed to focus on the final twelve hours of his life. Yes, there are flashbacks that I understand show some of his miracles. Yes, there is a brief resurrection scene at the end. If you consider the Bible as literature, then take those scenes as stories. That's fine. I have no issue with that.

But if you're taking the Bible as literature, this film is basically "the movie of the book." The representation of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus are as realistically accurate as possible if the story is taken at face value.

And I hate the statement that any representation of the story of Christ is going to be anti-Semitic. I understand why people say that -- the crucifixion of Jesus has long been an excuse by anti-Semitic people for why Jews are "evil". But to me, that's taking the excuse of an ignorant, stupid sect of pseudo-Christians who believe in violence and hatred, and deciding that their racism must have been the goal of the story.

For ages, people have taken writings and stories and interpreted them in negative ways. But unless your claim is that Christians who believe the gospel are inherently anti-Semitic… or, as I believe may be more proper, anti-Jewish… then the story itself is not to blame.

I am a Christian. Most of my friends are Christian. Almost everyone I grew up with was a Christian. I have known, literally, thousands of Christians. And while I will wholeheartedly agree that many of them are rat-bastard ass-hats, I have never -- never -- heard any of them claim that Jews are to be held responsible for the death of Jesus – or anything even remotely similar. Yes, there are racist Christians out there (a two-word phrase that shouldn't exist), but they are, despite media hype, rare.

I can't stress enough how much I hate the idea that the story of Jesus could be inherently anti-Semitic. It can be interpreted that way, yes. It can also be interpreted, as it has been, as an allegory. Or as a secret message that we all have evolving miraculous powers. Or as a hidden numeric code that reveals the galactic birthplace of the human race. All of these interpretations have been given. The anti-Semitic one, unfortunately, gathered quite a following at various historical times, even as late as Nazi Germany, but it is an interpretation, and not the story itself.

That being said, I can't wait to see it. Even if I weren't a Christian (and many of my Christian friends no longer consider me one), it's the movie of a book about a rebellious philosopher whose story inspired sweeping world changes. Historically, even if Jesus didn't exist, people believed he did, and this is the story they believed… which alone gives it huge significance.

The reason I don't think YOU should go see it is because a lot of the people in the crowd will remind you, very strongly, of me during freshman year of college. That is to say, deeply faithful to their unquestioning beliefs and easily moved to tears with religious fervor. I grew up surrounded by crowds like this, and it's bothersome if you're not part of it.

[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2004 05:18 am (UTC)

Re: Too late to respond

Oops. Open tag. Sorry.
[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2004 10:25 am (UTC)

Re: Too late to respond

A question:
Don't Christians regard the crucifiction as a good thing? Don't they celebrate it as God's will, Jesus giving his life for the good Christians, etc, etc? If that's so, how can Christians hate Jews for killing Christ? Shouldn't they be thanking them?

Also: "rat-bastard ass-hats"... I'm amused.
[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2004 11:45 am (UTC)

Re: Too late to respond


I'm not sure if "thanking" anybody, Jews, Romans, or otherwise, for the torture of Jesus is on any Christian's agenda. See, this is where this gets mentally sticky for me... bear with me on these hypotheticals, and keep in mind I am saying these things as a Christian. If as a Christian I believe that Jesus rose from the dead to save the world from sin... and if I believe this was inevitable and foretold by prophecy...

...then it kind of distorts the whole concept of free will. Somebody had to kill him. It happened to be a few soldiers acting on orders from politicians bending to the will of a mob riled by authoritarian egomaniacs in fear for their power. But somebody had to be responsible. Somebody, like Judas Iscariot, had to betray him. If it's foretold, it had to happen, or what's the point of foretelling?

And if it had to happen, were those people truly responsible? And if they were not truly responsible, and free will was not a factor, then is free will ever a factor? And if not, why did we need a Savior?

So, yeah, it's a bit complex even for me, and I've spent a lifetime asking myself and theologians questions like these.

But yeah, if he hadn't been killed, then we wouldn't be saved, so his death (and resurrection, can't forget the resurrection) is a good thing, so why be pissed off at the people who helped bring about the salvation of the world? In my opinion, even the torture was "necessary". So there's no point in being mad. But some of those aforementioned rat-bastard ass-hats (I like that phrase, too), particularly the ignorant, stupid, racist types, decide that hey! We don't like that race of people, and here's another reason to hate them! Grrr! Get 'em!

And as I posted on my own LJ recently, the concept of deicide is rather weak. At best, if you believe in Jesus as the resurrected Savior, it was attempted deicide. (By law, as far as I am familiar with it for most states, if a person is killed but is then resuscitated, the perpetrator can't be charged with murder... just attempted murder.)

So, yeah. Necessary bad stuff, free will in question, rat-bastard ass-hat racists misusing misinformation for evil purposes, not the fault of the rest of us.

[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2004 11:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Too late to respond

The reason I don't think YOU should go see it is because a lot of the people in the crowd will remind you, very strongly, of me during freshman year of college. That is to say, deeply faithful to their unquestioning beliefs and easily moved to tears with religious fervor. I grew up surrounded by crowds like this, and it's bothersome if you're not part of it.

I dunno. Unless there was, like, genuinely angry talk behind my back, I had fun with being around people like that (I recently realized that I should have just appointed myself the Church of Satan's missionary to Valpo). Now, my interest in seeing it is primarily filmic, but to some degree I also want to watch the audience, and gauge how they're reacting and who they are. But then, I'm a little strange.

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