Who’s the devil?

Who’s the devil?
:

Mel Gibson’s Passion would make me an atheist. Who would chose to believe in the God he portrays — a God who demands such incredible suffering of his own son to balance the sins of man?

Gibson’s Passion would make me a Jew. For if this is his view of Christianity, then maybe it’s wrong and I’d want to revert to the previous version of religion.

Wouldn’t that be ironic if Gibson’s Passion turned people away from God and Christianity? It would do that for me if for one moment I thought that Gibson had some hold on the truth.

But I went to see a very late show of Passion last night and I was appalled. It was more abhorrent and disturbing and disgusting than I ever would have imagined. It borders on hate speech in its portrayal of the Jews and in its effort to whip up hatred. This is a movie the Nazis would have made or at least endorsed.

Now I’m not calling Gibson a Nazi. I’m not sure about calling him an anti-Semite. In his mind, he thinks he’s telling the truth about the events of Christ’s Passion. But that mind is skewed to make this all about violence and vengeance — the Jews’ and ultimately God’s — and apart from a token moment on the Mount and the postscript at the end, nothing about grace and redemption. The result is a truly frightening portrayal of violence against Jesus and of Jews that, I fear, will lead to hate crimes.

Many other reviewers have dissected the movie better than I can or care to. I went to see it (my wife thought I was nuts) just so I could write this after having seen it.

I left the theater angry — not at Jews or Romans but at Gibson.

  • button

    The figure you refer to I have seen briefly in clips on TV. The character who appears somewhat ambisexual or hermaphroditic seems to resemble a character from a science-fiction tv movie called Stargate. That character was an extraterrestial. One couldn’t tell whether the creature was male or female. I found it odd that Gibson thinks this is a sign of Evil.

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    Jeff,
    Maybe I’m being unfair, but as long as we’re talking about anti-Semitism, I should mention that your first two sentences would strike some as anti-Christian. Even if you would disagree with Gibson’s portrayal in the film, isn’t it a bit broad to say “[w]ho would choose to believe in the God he portrays — a God who demands such incredible suffering of his own son to balance the sins of man?” Well, the answer is every Christian, who sees the willingness of God to offer his own son for this purpose as the central point of their religion. To me, you’re basically saying you can’t understand how anyone could be a Christian, aside from the movie.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ Carson Fire

    Well, seeing it just to write about it might not have been such a hot idea. One of the best analysis I’ve seen of the film so far is by sci-fi writer/Christian Orson Scott Card, and it may be worth reading to understand how a devout Christian really views this film: http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-29-1.html
    Also, it’s not really fair to expect a sanitized version of Christian scripture just for entertainment’s sake. If a Muslim were to make a serious film about Mohammed, we, as a non-Muslim audience, would take it just as seriously as he, and respect the vision and the religion presented, even if it’s more difficult for us to understand. We wouldn’t chide and lampoon him, and you wouldn’t want to be associated with those who do.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Hubris: I’m trying to say that if this were your only exposure to Christianity, then it is — in the isolation in which Gibson presents it — unappealing, to say the least. To me, Christianity is much more than this.

  • Joshua Johnson

    I’m a Christian, and I have to say that I had the same visceral disgust after leaving the theater.
    However, my disgust wasn’t at Mel Gibson. I was disgusted with myself. It is harrowing to think about a God that is so righteous he can not abide our sins, but so loving that he is willing to let his own perfect son suffer the punishment for them in our place.
    Maybe your problem with the movie was with the concept of sin itself. If sin doesn’t exist than the torture and death of Jesus was a colossal horror. On the other hand, doesn’t the horror of it just prove sin’s existence?

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    Thanks for the response Jeff. I now have a better understanding of what you meant, although I think that it is reasonable to make a movie about the enormity of this central act without making the movie about the overall lessons of Christianity. After all, most everyone knows the context, and a lot of movies have covered the context and overall message. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can respect the idea of trying to emphasize the reality of the suffering involved, rather than the glossed-over Hallmark version.

  • http://www.stevegigl.com Steve Gigl

    The statement I’ve heard that rings most true for me (disclosure: haven’t seen the movie yet) is from Dennis Prager on one of the cable news networks. I’m paraphrasing here, but he basically said that when some people see the movie, they see the Jews killing Christ, and when other see it, they see Christ dying. PoV may be important here, and you might be right about some non-Christians being completely put off by it, Jeff.
    Raised Catholic myself, I was taught–whether directly or indirectly–that it didn’t matter who killed him or the manner of his death, but the fact that he died for us. So, I guess I expect to fall into the latter camp in Prager’s description, but I’ll reserve further judgement until I see the movie.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ Carson Fire

    “To me, Christianity is much more than this.” Of course it is, Jeff — it’s a *movie*!
    Seriously, it’s important that art be thematic. Mel had an artistic vision, and has apparently explored a very real, existing aspect of Christianity that has thus far been ignored in cinema. You could just as easily say that earlier Hollywood biblical epics fall short of depicting Christianity, since the emphasis has always tended to be on the melodramatic and the spectacle — things which are certainly not representative of Christianity as a whole. Watching the chariot race in Ben-Hur wouldn’t make me want to be a Christian either.

  • Person of Choler

    I think the reason the lefty reviewers and Hollywood types are so exercised over this movie is that Gibson is going to make a lot of boodle from a movie about Christianity that is not going to upset fundamentalist Christians.
    Is the movie “true”? Well, Michael Moore got an Oscar for “Bowling for Columbine”, so I don’t think that Hollywood cares about veracity. Is the movie violent? Not much bellyaching about “Kill Bill” from these folks. Anti-semitic? Suddenly, brows are furrowed in concern that hordes of pitchfork-bearing hillbillies are going to descend from the highlands and start rioting and burning synagogues. I presume to doubt that this will happen.

  • Jerry

    So, Jeff: Pro-Howard Stern, against Passion. As litmus tests go, this pretty much says it all. Regarding the Gibson film, it looks like you read the usual suspects beforehand — Denby, A.O., etc. — and went already primed to dislike it. As you frequently remind people, you had a hand in creating Entertainment Weekly. So why shouldn’t we expect the standard Hollywood/showbiz/lefty response touched up with an artful liberterian gloss?

  • http://www.therattler.net Bobby A-G

    Jerry–right on.
    I went to see it (my wife thought I was nuts) just so I could write this after having seen it.
    This pretty clearly shows that Mr. Jarvis formed his opinion against the movie and then went to see it just to justify his trashing of the movie. When you go into something intending to dislike it, well, it takes close to a miracle to change your mind.

  • Mark

    Jesus was jewish, living in Judea, who else would have him killed, asians? hispanics? maybe white people from europe? I don’t see the anti-semitism.
    The violence was definately overdone, but it certainly drove the point home. Christians believe they killed Jesus, that he paid the price for their SIN. This is what was relayed to me from the Christian friends I attended the movie with.

  • http://ihaveabadfeelingaboutthis.blogspot.com Jediflyer

    Excellent point Mark.
    Christians belief they bear responsibility for Jesus suffering because he came down to cleanse them from their sins. The reason Gibson tried to show all the violence and the suffering Jesus went through and how much sinning hurts God.
    This was a movie for Christians made to enable them to take a deeper look at their faith. This was not meant to evangalize to non-Christians.

  • TomP

    Jeff: From your writing here, my impression is that you’re an active and serious Christian. So, I’m surprised that you could make a statement like “Mel Gibson’s Passion would make me an atheist”, because the story Gibson is showing us here is nothing more than the story told by the Gospels, themselves. It’s like you’ve been reading the Gospels all these years and never thought about the reality of the events described there. It’s right that there’s more to the Gospel than just the events shown in the movie, but it’s equally important to realize that you cannot understand Jesus without remembering and coming to grips with these events; as he repeatedly tried to warn his disciples, it was to die this death that he came into the world.
    You say “Who would chose to believe in the God he portrays — a God who demands such incredible suffering…”. It’s not right to say God “demands” any suffering at all. What God came to teach us in the person of Jesus was not “be nice”, but rather that “God is love”. The suffering that Jesus opened himself to is nothing but the response of fallen, sinful humanity to the perfect divine love and justice that Jesus showed us. [see Wisdom 2:12-20 "Let us beset the just man, for he is obnoxious to us... let us condemn him to a shameful death."

    the story Gibson is showing us here is nothing more than the story told by the Gospels, themselves
    I’m a bit confused. Where in the Gospels does it say that Jesus was scourged by Roman soldiers to within an inch of his life only to be saved by a man Jesus had cured carying a knife shaped by a cutlass, exclaiming, in in indignant tone; “Cease! scourge not this innocent man unto death!”
    Oh, right. It doesn’t. That’s the musing of an eighteenth century Catholic nun named Anne Catherine Emmerich. As is most of the thing. It’s as accurate as the Last Temptation of Christ, just instead of some random Greek guy admitting he was making interesting stuff up, here you have a rabidly anti-semetic nun proclaiming she was having visions.
    The outline of Gibson’s Blood-Cult-Fantasy are the gospels, but the details are just hate hate and more hate, piled with gore and a bit of hate. And hate.

  • anne

    It really amazes me how uptight and critical people are about the possibility of anti-semitism in this film (which I haven’t seen and don’t plan to) and except for you, Jeff, and a few others, most of them would never attempt to criticize the real anti-semitism coming every day from the majority of Muslim authorities and worshippers around the world (not in the U.S.–at least not yet).
    That’s actual violence and hate coming from residents of the Middle East and Islamic majority countries. And as a Jew and an American, I can assure you it’s much more scary than worrying about people watching The Passion of Christ.
    It isn’t the Christians in this country who exhibit the loudest anti-semitism. It seems to me the most anti-semitic speech these days comes from left-wing agnostics and atheists who abhore Christianity, Zionists and the oh-so-nefarious Jewish cabal.

  • Hipocrite

    It isn’t the Christians in this country who exhibit the loudest anti-semitism.
    Stormfront, CODOH, World Church of the Creator, National Alliance, Aryan Nations, Christian Defense League, Sons of Liberty, SS Regalia, American Nazi Party.
    Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the Christian Anti-semitism in this country. Could you speak up?

  • anne

    Yo Hipocrite,
    How many of them are strapping suicide bombs to their chests and blowing them up once they get near Jewish kids, women and civilians? And don’t even mention Tim McVeigh. One or two crazy guys don’t amount to a hill of beans when you compare them with the multitudes of Muslims out there seeking salvation through murder.

  • naz

    why does everyone fail to give Gibson credit for portraying extraordinaly sympathetic Jewish characters, like the guy who helped JC carry his cross or the young epitomically Jewish-looking woman who passed JC a wet cloth on his way to Golgoth. The encounters with those ppl are the best breaks from ongoing brutality of the last hours of Christ. Let’s also not forget JC’s disciples, as well as his brother and his mother. I only wish Gibson cast a different, more semitic-looking actor for the part of Christ, which would be more true to what He really looked like.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH
  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    I thought Caviezel was the most Jewish-looking Christ in any film I’m aware of…
    Describing Nazis as “Christians” is an old, debunked smear. Nazis wanted to end Christianity.
    http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/endC.htm

  • finlay

    Noe-Nazi hate groups are Christian??? Come on, you can’t be serious. Quit painting with such a broad brush. If anything your inability to discern between mainlaine Christianity and neo-nazi thugs renders your opinions suspect. Where do you get off telling someone of another faith what their interpretation of the tenets of their faith should be. I would never dare tell a jewish person how their celebration of Passover offended me. Why should I listen to someone of another faith criticize a peice of Christianity?
    Jewish people have no better friends than evangelical Christians, why is that so hard to accept?

  • J. W. Patterson

    I have not seen the movie yet, but have talked to some folks who have. They are all admittedly Christians, and they have all expressed amazement and satisfaction at the fidelity Mr. Gibson shows to the Gospels. Are people also going to claim the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are anti-semitic and promote anti-semitism?
    I was raised as a Roman Catholic, but have been an agnostic for many years now. I am backing no particular horse in this race.
    I do feel that someone needs to say “It’s just a stinking movie! Have you people lost all sense of perspective? Get over it!”

  • naz

    all in all, i think it’s impossible to portray the story of Passion and make it into an interesting movie. The Gospells just don’t give enough material to put togethter into a truly great movie.

  • Hipocrite

    anne – you were earlier saying that “the most anti-semitic speech these days comes from left-wing agnostics and atheists who abhore Christianity.”
    This, of course, is malarky. You realized that when I pointed out that the most anti-semitic speech comes from a bunch of Neo-Nazi groups, so you decided to pretend you didn’t accuse atheist and agnostics of being the worst, but rather Islamists. Of course, suicide bombers in the Mid-East are on the same scale as Nazis in the US. Both of those massivly exlipse the far-left.
    why does everyone fail to give Gibson credit for portraying extraordinaly sympathetic Jewish characters, like the guy who helped JC carry his cross or the young epitomically Jewish-looking woman who passed JC a wet cloth on his way to Golgoth.
    Well, because Simon of Cyrene wasn’t Jewish.
    Veronica’s Veil was not in the gospels, by the way – so much for the accuracy, eh? But, don’t you worry – Veronica leaves the veil to Clement after her death, so she’s a convert.
    German Nazis were a-religious. American Nazis call themselves Christians.
    At no point have I critizied Christianity. Christianity is a wonderful religion filled with acts of love and deeds of charity. It’s a shame that Mel Gibson couldn’t write a movie about that religion, but instead wrote a piece about a blood-cult of death.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Simon is portrayed as Jewish in the film, so accuracy aside, anne’s point has some validity.

  • Hipocrite

    HH, no offence, but either the film is accurate or Simon is portrayed as jewish.
    Both cannot be true. If the film is just made up stuff that looks like the Passion, then it’s just a sick twisted derangement into blood-cultism. At least Last Temptation had an interesting story.

  • weimdog

    “Mel Gibson’s Passion would make me an atheist. Who would chose to believe in the God he portrays — a God who demands such incredible suffering of his own son to balance the sins of man?” -
    If the death of one innocent man could save the entire human race from nuclear annihilation would it be worth it? I think so.
    Anyway, if you believe the gospels of the New Testament, the Jews, who had a hand in killing Jesus, should be thanked. Yes, thanked by all Christians, the death of Jesus was preordained by God, IT HAD TO HAPPEN, and doesn’t matter one iota who did it, and anyone who thinks it matters hasn’t read or doesn’t understand scripture.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    “they have all expressed amazement and satisfaction at the fidelity Mr. Gibson shows to the Gospels. Are people also going to claim the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are anti-semitic and promote anti-semitism?”
    One more time. The movie is NOT faithful to the Gospels. The movie is NOT faithful to the Gospels. People who think so haven’t read their Gospels very carefully.
    Actually – above and beyond Gibson’s liberties – the Gospels themselves do promote anti-Jewish feeling. They were written over 50 years after Jesus’ death by followers who wanted to cast their lot with the superpower of the age (Rome) and not with the oppressed group they came from (Jews). They wanted to attract converts beyond their own ethnic group. So they made the Jews look bad and the Romans look not so bad. This is simply history.
    Gibson’s film shows Pilate being conflicted about the sentence and being bullied into it by the nasty Sanhedrin. Pilate was known as a very brutal ruler and imperial Rome would certainly not bow to the wishes of an occupied people. So that’s another aspect of the movie that is ass-backwards.
    Also, the idea of focusing on Jesus’ torture and death rather than his life came about in medieval times. Before that time, Christian iconography showed a young healthy Jesus looking down on humans from heaven. So there is nothing particularly sacred about focusing on the crucifixion.
    I could go on and on but read the links.

  • finlay

    “the Gospels themselves do promote anti-Jewish feeling. They were written over 50 years after Jesus’ death by followers who wanted to cast their lot with the superpower of the age (Rome) and not with the oppressed group they came from (Jews). They wanted to attract converts beyond their own ethnic group. So they made the Jews look bad and the Romans look not so bad. This is simply history.”
    The early Christians suffered tremendously under Rome. Nowhere is there an attempt by early Christians to “get in with Rome”. Because most of the new testament letters were written by Paul, we are more aware of his dealings with the Roman empire. As a jewish Roman citizen his ministry was directed towards the gentiles. However, Peter was still preaching to the Jewish communities in Judea. In fact there is a sense of the conflict within the early church between those who want to claim Paul as their leader and those who claim to follow Peter. Of course this was confronted by Paul in the famous passage that talks about how there is no longer Jew, or Gentile, but only those who are one in Christ (paraphrasing here).

  • Doctor Slack

    Given that we really don’t know that much about early Christian history — the records are so spotty that it’s hard to even pin down the dates of Jesus’ life or if he even existed per se — I’d say arguing over the movie’s fidelity to “history” is something of a blind alley. From what I’ve heard, however, the movie goes far beyond the Gospels and goes out of its way to portray the Sanhedrin as baying for Christ’s blood. If that’s true, the case for anti-Semitism there is pretty solid.
    (Well, at least evangelicals and “Christian Zionists” who have been posing as philo-Semites for so long will have to start coming clean in order to defend it. So Gibson may wind up serving a useful purpose after all.)

  • paladin

    I am so sick of all this bs – since when does an artist/actor/director/person have to get permission to make a movie from Jews, various Christian factions, agnostics and atheists? How many denouncing the movie as “anti-semitic” are Arafat/Palestine terrorists champions in “real life”. When traditional Christians complained about the “vision” of Martin Scorsese’s movie, I remember the elites defending him for his “vision”, his artistic freedom, freedom of speech, etc. etc. Where are these people now? Yes, they are the ones who are shocked and mortified at Gibson’s vision. Gimme a freakin’ break hypocrites!

  • paladin

    One more point – this is America – if you don’t like Mel’s vision of Christianity – pony up the 30 million and make the movie of your vision – if the ADL thinks Christianity causes anti semitism, let them spend the money – if other Christian denominations believe their religion is about “love” and not sacrifice and redemption, let them raise 30 million to make their movie – to expect Mel Gibson to satisfy the Jews-Christians-Muslims-Hindu-Sufi,etc. vision of Christianity, is a bit much. Put your money where your mouths are!

  • finlay

    Actually compared to most other ancient texts the original source material for the new testament is remarkably close chronologically to the events they describe. Most scholars date Mark, which was the first of the four as being written only 80 years after Christ’s death and resurrection. Compared to the teachings of the ancient greek philosphers like Plato which weren’t recorded in written form until hundreds of years later, I’ll take the historical value of the gospels any day. Of course I’m sure when you studied Aristotle that the written record of his teachings was something you didn’t question as accurate, correct?

  • Doctor Slack

    since when does an artist/actor/director/person have to get permission to make a movie
    He doesn’t. And others don’t need permission to have an opinion of it, and communicate that opinion to others. Get it?

  • cbk

    The film is faithful to the Way of the Cross/Stations of the Cross, a Catholic tenet that will be ritualized tonight and every friday night from now until Easter.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15569a.htm
    1. Christ condemned to death;
    2. the cross is laid upon him;
    3. His first fall;
    4. He meets His Blessed Mother;
    5. Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross;
    6. Christ’s face is wiped by Veronica;
    7. His second fall;
    8. He meets the women of Jerusalem;
    9. His third fall;
    10. He is stripped of His garments;
    11. His crucifixion;
    12. His death on the cross;
    13. His body is taken down from the cross; and
    14. laid in the tomb.
    Go into any Catholic church and you will see these “stations” depicted on the church walls. Or any monestary will have some example of this on their grounds.
    My husband’s church has them depicted in stained glass, beginning on the right side as you enter. Seven up the right. Seven up the left.
    Of course this movie is not intended to exemplify the whole of Christianity. As the title suggests, it is “The Passsion of Christ”.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11527b.htm
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11530a.htm
    CBK

  • Doctor Slack

    Of course I’m sure when you studied Aristotle that the written record of his teachings was something you didn’t question as accurate, correct?
    “Aristotle” and “Plato” as we have them are mostly literary figures. It’s never mattered much to me how “historically accurate” the versions we have of them are, any more than I’m that interested in the historical accuracy of, say, Confucianism or Lao Tze.
    Of course, you’re quite right to imply that there’s a lot less controversy over the historical status of those figures. But then, when was the last time you heard someone quote the “facts” of Aristotle’s life at you in order to support a law they’re proposing, or to urge you to see / not see a particular film, or to give them money?
    What makes the gospels suspect as history isn’t so much their dating as the kinds of documents they appear, and the context. That is, they appear to be theological documents rather than reportage — and they’re at odds with a body of contemporary Christian epistles which don’t mesh with or seem to be aware of the Gospel narrative, which is where the mythicist case springs from. Really, we can’t know conclusively one way or the other with the evidence we have — that’s why I say it’s a blind alley.

  • paladin

    Yeah, I get it, Dr. Slack – now put your money where your mouth is. Not so easy is it, to “do” and not just “have an opinion”?

  • Hipocrite

    Sorry, cbk, I was looking and looking for something that substantiated Jesus being scourged by Roman soldiers to within an inch of his life only to be saved by Abenader saying: “You were ordered to punish him, not to scourge him to death.”
    I know, I know, it sounds substantially like the musings of raving anti-semite delusional nun Anne Catherine Emmerich, who had, at best, a weak understanding of the gospels.
    I mean, really. She just makes stuff up
    http://www.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta-elements/texts/education/emmerich_elements.htm

  • Doctor Slack

    Yeah, I get it, Dr. Slack – now put your money where your mouth is.
    Wow, you really, truly think that’s knockout reasoning, don’t you? So, if you don’t like, say, how Michale Moore portrayed Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine, I don’t have to respect your opinion until you can produce your own documentary on the subject?
    Oh, right. That’s different.

  • paladin

    Yeah, you’re right, Dr. Slack, it’s better to just bitch about something, than to actually do something about it. What was I thinking?

  • Doctor Slack

    So, I shouldn’t respect your opinions about Michael Moore. Right? That’s what you’re saying?

  • cbk

    Hipocrite,
    I didn’t make my post in answer to the scourging, or any other minutia of the film. My comment was in answer to the contention that the film didn’t coincide with the gospels (IE: the veronica incident, et al). And in comment to the notion that the film doesn’t exemplify the whole of the Christ experience. It was not intended to coincide specifically with the Gospels but did broadly coincide with the Stations of the Cross. That was my point. The film is not titled “The Four Gospels with all their Discrepancies” it is “The Passion of Christ” which specifically refers to that period of his life when he accepted his fate unil his death and entombment, not the entirety of his life.
    If you or anyone else expected this to be about the Gospels, you were wrong and the films title is indication of what this film was about.
    Honestly, I’m not sure how Veronica found her way into the Catholic Way of the Cross.
    But regarding the scourging…
    One gospel says one thing in regard to when he was flogged. The other two say another. I believe another leaves it out all together.
    None say to what degree he was flogged. None say…Oh yeah, he was flogged a wee bit. None say…Yeah, verily, he was flogged within an inch of his life. They only say that he was flogged.
    CBK

  • Hipocrite

    Yes, but NONE of them, as long as NOTHING ELSE ever mentions a guy named “Abenader,” or a guy with a knife or anything like that.
    See, the making shit up is not the scourging, it’s everything else. It’s just created out of whole cloth by raving anti-semite delusional nun Anne Catherine Emmerich, who, by the way, is an authority on exactly nothing.

  • http://twistedspinster.com/ Andrea Harris

    You know, hipocrite ([SARCASMOTRON ON] great name, by the way [SARCASMOTRON OFF]), maybe you should see the movie before making judgments about it. I’m just sayin’. Don’t worry — see, Jeff saw it, he hated it! Maybe you’ll be lucky too. (Hey, I thought I had turned the Sarcasmotron™ off! Sorry. Click. There.)

  • Hipocrite

    Seen it. Disgusted.

  • http://twistedspinster.com/ Andrea Harris

    And bereft of words too, I see. Oh well, a silver lining…

  • cbk

    RE: making stuff up
    None of the Gospels mention Veronica either.
    Nor do they mention meeting his mother.
    Nor do they mention meeting the women of Jerusalem.
    But all these events are listed in the Stations of the Cross according to the Catholic tradition.
    I don’t recall if any of these incidents are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles or any other books of the Bible.
    So, I suppose your gripe, Hipocrite, could be with the Catholic creed as well the Ven. Catherine Emmerich and Mel Gibson. While we’re at it, let’s deride the Pope and mock all those little kids who made stuff up about that statue in Medjugorje…and all the old ladies who foolishly pray there too.
    Let’s suppose that the entirety of the movie…yes, the entirety of the story was made up. Never was there a Jew named Jesus who traveled to Jerusalem.
    How exactly does this detract from the story? Suppose the whole shabbang is a myth. Does that detract from the tale of an innocent man brutally and willingly martyred for the sins of the world? Martyred, one could argue, in degree and concordance with the vile sins of the world?
    Many don’t believe in the divinity of Christ. Many don’t believe that the Gospels are the truth, let alone historical documents. One could argue, how could they be when they don’t coincide exactly?
    Do you, or does anyone, expect that, true or not, the Gospels tell the whole story with no deviation?
    What does any of this…the assertions of historical inaccuracies, the notion that the story was padded, have to do with the story?
    And more importantly, what does any of this have to do with Mel Gibson’s interpretation of that story? Or Catherine Emmerich’s visions?
    Suppose he does another movie. The story of Christ as the Quran tells it. Are you going to gripe because in that tradition Christ is not crucified but rather whisked away? If the director of that story embellishes or fails to point out any contradiction within the Quran, would you cry foul?
    Or could you at least appreciate that a man took great effort to tell a story that moved him?
    Are you going to gripe that this version is not historically accurate according to the Gospels? That would be rather silly since we have to validation that ANY of this is “historically” accurate. All we have are the stories as we know them.
    And faith.
    And if not faith, a potential appreciation of the story and its symbolism.
    It seems to me that your complaints about what was brought into the story that was not mentioned in the Gospels is akin to saying Catholics are nuts and just make stuff up.
    And maybe that’s so. But you could cast similar dispersions at any faith. However, you don’t.
    There is no evidence that Moses parted the seas. There is no evidence that Jibril ordered Mohammed to read. There’s no evidence that the Buddha existed.
    Let’s gripe about that whole Buddha thing, shall we. That Chinese Buddha is fat but the Central Asian Buddha is skinny. And what’s up with his hair being curly in one sculture but bald in another. Obviously, one school of art just “made stuff up”. Eh?
    I don’t recall the Bible mentioning that Moses’s robe was red, but that’s the way Cecil B. De Mille saw it as Heston wore it coming down from the mountain. I don’t recall people stirring up a lot of fuss about “historical” inaccuracies or whining that “it didn’t say anything about that in the Old Testament.”
    Again…the title of the movie is “The Passion of Christ”. It is not “The Complete and Unembellished Documention of the Gospels with all the Discrepancies Therein.”
    CBK

  • cbk

    And while I’m thinking about evidence and accuracy.
    Where is your evidence, Hipocrite, that Catherine Emmerich was anti-semitic?
    Or are you just “making sh!t up”?
    CBK

  • Hipocrite

    CBK – TomP wrote that “the story Gibson is showing us here is nothing more than the story told by the Gospels, themselves.” This, of course, is not true. It’s the story told by ravenously delusional anti-semite nun Anne Catherine Emmerich.
    At no point did I say that the stations of the cross are “made up.” I reserve that for the bull that ACE spills and is repeated. I’m not casting aspersions on your faith, unless you are a SPX freakazoid anti-semetic ass. I’m casting aspersions on Mel Gibson and his blood-cult, which I doubt you belong to.
    I don’t really apreciate that Leni Riefenstahl told me a story that moved her in Triumph of the Will. And it’s an objectivally better film.
    I did not demand evidence of the gospels. I did not denouce the gospels, and no matter how many times you accuse me of doing so, it’s not going to be true. I denounced anti-semetic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich, and her false “making shit up” vision, no more, no less.
    Finally, you ask for evidence that ACE was an anti-semite. That’s easy. Did you read The Dolorous Passion? I doubt you’ll need to spend more than a few minutes reading about the “cruel,” “ungrateful,” or “wicked,” jews, and that the “the sight of His sufferings, far from exciting a feeling of compassion in the hard-hearted Jews, simply filled them with disgust, and increased their rage. Pity was, indeed, a feeling unknown in their cruel breasts,” before you realize that you’re reading something more akin to Nazi literature than the bible.
    Gibson makes a mockery of The Criteria for the Evaluation of Dramatizations of the Passion, especially the section titled “Avoiding Caricatures and False Oppositions.”

  • cbk

    No worries about me, Hipocrite. I have no faith. I’m completely agnostic.
    BUT…if you are concerned with “made up sh!t”, clearly you could say the same of the stations of the cross, a deep tenet in the Catholic faith. The events depicted are not part of the Gospel.
    I think your inference that the movie is based entirely on Dolores Passion is false.
    I got curious about Veronica and looked it up. She is mentioned in the Apocrypha, Acts of Pilate. Catherine did not “make that sh!t up”. But I still found nowhere that she wiped his face. Was it made up? Maybe, but not by Catherine.
    According to that Ante-Nicene document, she tried to testify on Jesus’s behalf and was refused because she was a woman. She claimed he healed her from profuse bleeding by simply letting her touch the hem of his garment.
    Her name, Veronica, seems to be some transliteration of the Greek “true image” in reference to the veil.
    And I NEVER said you denounced the Gospels. What I said was, if you expected this movie to coincide with the Gospels you were foolish to to do so and the title tells you so.
    When you read the entirety of “Dolorous Passion”, did she say all Jews were “cruel,” “ungrateful,” or “wicked,” or was she talking about the clerics who brought him before Pilate? And perhaps the crowd who were cajoled into aquiescing to their will?
    Did she include the disciples in this description? Did she include Jesus in this description? Were Mary the Mother and Mary Magdelene also “hard-hearted”? The women from Jerusalem and Joseph of Armithea, were they “cruel beasts” in her visions?
    Maybe she was contrasting the Jews in the crowd and those Jews that brought him before Pilate against the Romans.
    The film clearly shows the Romans to be cruel. Did Catherine mention the cruelty of the Romans?
    Or does that not count?
    What did she have to say about the Buddhist who were present? Were they apathetic? Or did they grieve for Christ? The Muslims there, what was there emotional investment or attitude toward Christ’s trial and punishment? I’m sure she mentioned that the Sufis mourned for Christ’s humanity. If not, no doubt she is a bigot.
    Admittedly, I’m playing Devil’s Advocate with you, Hipocrite. But only because I believe you are taking this completely out of context. The excerpts you gave to present Catherine Emmerich as anti-semitic are not convincing, for reasons I’ve infered above. I don’t believe the film is anti-semitic. To believe so I’d have to believe the Gospels and, yes, Christian believers and Catholics, are anti-semitic.
    There were only two groups of people in this story. The Jews and the Romans. OR, from another point of view, the establishment and the non-establishment. The Christian tradition holds that 4 groups killed Christ.
    First… God killed Christ. It was predestined for our sake.
    Second… humankind killed Christ because of our sins.
    Third… The Romans killed Christ as they were the ultimate authority in the physical world.
    Fourth… The Jewish clerics (with the assistance of Judas) killed Christ to thwart his revolution.
    All are true to the story. The only important ones are the first two. The third and fourth are only instruments of the will of God. Judas’s betrayal, Peter’s betrayal. All part of the plan. Believing Christians should be thankful for the Jewish clerics. Without them there is no salvation.
    Had the setting been Turkemenistan at another time, it would have been the Mongols as earthly authority and some Persian clerical system as the ultimate earthly conspirators. Then we could accuse some crazy nun as being anti-Persian.
    But that’s really not the point of the story, is it? The key players could be Martians and Venusians and it simply wouldn’t matter. Only those looking for anti-semitism or already indoctrinates of anti-semitism will find it in this movie. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
    The point is, he accepted his brutal destiny, submitting to the edicts of God for the sake of humanity, whether we deserved it or not.
    You mentioned earlier (I think) the “Last Temptation of Christ”.
    Many believed this “temptation” was about Mary Magdelene.
    I don’t believe it was. It was about the fulfillment of his destiny, whether he had the strength to follow through. The temptation was to bail on his destiny. To back out of the deal.
    In this way, that movie also highlighted the sacrifice by emphasizing his dread of the ordeal.
    That’s what the passion is about. Christ and God’s capacity of passion for humanity’s salvation.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11530a.htm
    If I may emphasize myself a bit…
    This is from an etymology site:
    ******************
    Passion: Latin pati meant suffer’ (it is the source of English patient). From its past participle stem pass- was coined in post-classical times the noun passio, denoting specifically `the suffering of Christ on the cross.’ English acquired the word via Old French passion, but its familiar modern senses, in which `strength of feeling’ has been trasferred from `pain’ to `sexual attraction’ and `anger,’ did not emerge until the 16th century. Also from the Latin stem pass- comes passive, etymologically `capable of suffering.’
    **************
    Again, that is the point of the story…
    He suffered immensely for our sake.
    In this, Mel’s interpretation was spot on. We are vile and sinful and the brutality as he portrayed it probably pales in comparison if the goal was to make it commensorate with our (the collective of humanity’s) shortcomings.
    At least, that’s the way I understood it to be. As an agnostic. Who appreciates a good telling of a story.
    CBK

  • cbk

    If I may add…
    All of those who deplore the violence and brutality in this film…
    There are a few ways to look at it.
    If you wanted to create a film where your audience doesn’t have any qualms about watching Kill Bill, Saving Private Ryan, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etcetera… but you wanted them to FEEL the sacrifice of Christ despite being desensitized by popular movies of the day…
    would you make it any less brutal then Mel did?
    OR…
    If you wanted to make a film, that truly depicted man’s inhumanity to man, to realistically display how truly horrific brutality can be, brutality not unlike what we hear about in the nightly news when some girl gets abducted or some body is discovered…
    would you make it any less brutal than Mel did?
    OR…
    If you wanted to create a film whereby the viewers were wretched, dragged, thrust into the perspective that Christ’s sacrifices were a fair exchange for the sins of man, the unlimited and vile sins of man…
    would you make it any less brutal?
    I’m just asking.
    CBK

  • Hipocrite

    Catholics would readily recognize that the stations are not in the four Gospels, because they are not. You, on the other hand, would say that since Catholics know they are true, they are in the Gospels. Look back at what I’ve said, not what you’ve heard. I’m consistant. Someone said that the Movie was taken from the Gospel, but it clearly was not. Now even you admit that.
    Finally, the Catholic church has guidelines for how to portray the Passion in theater. Perhaps you should read them. You’ll note the movie pretty much spits in all of their faces.
    Trying to convice someone that Ravenously Insane Anti-Semite Anne Catherine Emmerich is an Anti-Semite is an excersize in “Wait for them to actually read her writings.”
    I’m still waiting. They’re free online, you know.
    http://www.emmerich1.com/DOLOROUS_PASSION_OF_OUR_LORD_JESUS_CHRIST.htm
    Finally, I’m done with your “Just Asking” “Devil’s Advocate” crap. If you don’t believe it, don’t write if. If you have a non-leading question, feel free to ask it, but addressing your tedium has become tedius. It’s relativly clear to all that your introduction to religion is via this discussion and this movie(witness, you use some random Apocrypha to show that everyone agrees with the Veronica story, which, as an argument, is a travesty on its face, because in Nicodemus, the mention of Veronica is about a woman attempting to testify about Jesus stopping her Menstruation. Please.)
    Oh – one last thing – Agnostics call him “Jesus.” Perhaps you could come clean? I forgot, was lying a mortal sin?

  • cbk

    I understand you’re upset that your expectations were dashed. But I don’t see how you can blame Mel for that.
    “You, on the other hand, would say that since Catholics know they are true, they are in the Gospels.”
    I ALWAYS knew the film wasn’t taken directly and solely from the Gospels. I knew it from the moment I read the title. If you didn’t that shows your ignorance, not mine.
    I’m not saying the stations are in the Gospel, altough they do coincide in some places.
    Again, I’m saying if you or anyone else expected this film to coincide completely with the Gospels you were foolish and ignorant. In many ways the film does coincide with the Gospels, which should be expected as Passion plays in general and broadly coincide with the Gospels.
    Don’t get mad at me because you misunderstood what the film was about. A devout Catholic made a Catholic film and you’re pissed because it isn’t a replica of the inconsistant Gospels! That’s hardly mine or Mel’s fault.
    No doubt, the Catholics gleaned these stations from somewhere or a number of somewheres. I’ve not taken the time to discover all the sources used to construct the many mysteries Catholic faith. But anyone who’s read the Gospels and knows the stations KNOWS there’s no complete consistancy.
    That you didn’t is your own fault.
    In fact, anyone who knows anything about Catholicism in general knows that Catholics do not adhere strictly to the scriptures. I mean really, where does the Bible say anything about a Pope and red pointy hats? Yet, there they are, integral in the Catholic faith. Another mystery!
    “You’ll note the movie pretty much spits in all of their faces.”
    Did the Pope tell you this or did you poll all Catholics to determine this?
    As to these strict “guidelines”. I’ll read them if you provide a link. I’ve seen a number of Passion Plays and they are never exactly the same. Kind of like the varied interpretations of those Buddha’s, huh?
    Who you call a “Ravenously Insane Anti-Semite Anne”, the Catholic church calls a Venerable “Augustinian nun, stigmatic and ecstatic.”
    I’ve read through a great portion of her text… where she calls the soldiers dark and swarthy, mean and nasty, ugly little men. I guess she’s anti-Roman too.
    from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11527b.htm
    “Though such writers as Justus Lipsius and Father Gretser, S.J., at the end of the sixteenth century, and Dom Calmet, O.S.B., in the eighteenth, did much to illustrate the history of the Passion from historical sources, the general tendency of all devotional literature was to ignore such means of information as were provided by arch

  • Honest Person

    Can anyone explain to me why a person with an IQ in triple digits takes any of these Biblical and Koranic stories literally? This is the modern world, folks.

  • Doctor Slack

    I’m saying if you or anyone else expected this film to coincide completely with the Gospels you were foolish and ignorant.
    So what you’re saying is, Mel Gibson was foolish and ignorant — or just plain dishonest — to make that claim. And those attempting to defend the film by saying that those who disagree with it are disagreeing with the Gospels are also ignorant and foolish.
    Except that, AFAICS, that’s exactly what Hipocrite was saying. So what you’re basically saying is you can’t substantially disagree with him, but you don’t want to admit this because you’d lose face.
    Who you call a “Ravenously Insane Anti-Semite Anne”, the Catholic church calls a Venerable “Augustinian nun, stigmatic and ecstatic.”
    The Catholic Church also still calls Pius IX a Pope. But so what? The Church has obviously and quite explicitly moved on from the views of both these figures — that’s why schismatics like Hutton Gibson and his son exist.
    So Nicodemus and the Acts of Pilate agree that Veronica tried to testified on Christ’s behalf because Jesus healed her bleeding problem. I fail to see a contradiction here.
    The “contradiction” is that you tried to use this story to defend Gibson’s inclusion of a completely unrelated story about Veronica in his film. Which is just really, really stupid.

  • cbk

    There is no contradiction in Gibson including Veronica in the story…
    Like I said in my first post, she is included in the Catholic stations of the cross as shown in every Catholic church. Not as a potential witness for him but as a woman who wiped his face while he toted the cross.
    Of course he would include Veronica even if the Gospels don’t. He’s Catholic. It’s a Passion Play.
    Station #6: -Christ’s face is wiped by Veronica.-
    http://www.catholic.org/clife/prayers/station.php?id=6
    How she got in the Way of the Cross, and why she’s depicted in every Catholic church in the nation, I don’t know. But she is there. So no surprise that she showed up in the film too.
    Can’t you guys read?
    As the Gospels don’t agree with each other, how could anyone agree with them completely? One would have to make 4 different movies.
    Was Mel dishonest? I never heard Gibson say his movie depicted all four Gospels completely, with no padding and no deviations, unerringly. Like all Passion Plays, the film depicts the Gospels broadly.
    I never expected it would. Mainly because he’s Catholic and the Catholic Way of the Cross, their model for the Passion Play, does not jive completely with any of the Gospels. Nor do the Gospels jive with each other. He titled his movie The Passion, ergo, anyone with familiarity with Passion Plays in general would know it would not be in lockstep with the Gospels.
    If one is not familiar with the tradition of Passion Plays, there are links above to help clarify things for you.
    Do I think the Catholic tradition is without faults? Certainly not. But I respect that tradition none the less. And even if I didn’t respect that tradition, some knowledge of it certainly helps to understand Mel’s point of view regarding this film.
    If an Islamic director made a movie of the life of Mohammed, one might want to make oneself aware of the director’s proclivities and perspective, the traditions and tenets of his faith.
    Same goes for Mel and this Passion.
    I can’t figure out if you guys are ignorant or just stubborn.
    And yes, to expect unadultered Gospels from a Catholic Passion Play is to set oneself up for disapointment.
    You were disappointed.
    Too bad.
    I suppose if Mel’d followed only Matthew some would be mad that he didn’t follow John.
    It’s a story, for Christ’s sake, not a documentary.
    CBK

  • Doctor Slack

    I never heard Gibson say his movie depicted all four Gospels completely, with no padding and no deviations, unerringly.
    “Critics who have a problem with me don’t really have a problem with me in this film,” Gibson said. “They have a problem with the four Gospels. That’s where their problem is.”
    – Mel Gibson
    So, you’d agree that’s not an honest statement, because the film goes beyond the four Gospels. Right? And you’re going to stop pretending that Mel never made this claim and defenders of the film have never made it, right?
    I mean, I don’t have a problem with him including scenes from the Stations of the Cross, his being a schismatic Catholic and all; he just shouldn’t be promoting the movie as based on the four Gospels alone. I do have a problem with him including anti-Semitic glosses from Anne Catherine Emmerich, “Venerable” or otherwise, if in fact that’s what he did. It’s really that simple.