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.