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Passion passions

New York Daily News - Home - Jami Bernard: Week of real hatred

I haven't seen "The Passion of the Christ" but I have seen enough clips and read enough reviews to sadden me. Something is dreadfully wrong here - we're talking about the Prince of Peace - and the above linked column is just one indication that what this movie is generating is anything but the values for which Christ died.

As this critic says:

My main objection to "The Passion" is that Gibson has used the tools at his disposal to disguise sadism as piety.

My main objection is that from all I've seen and read, Gibson has once more nailed Christ to the cross and the angry mob of true believer's is playing their traditional role of egging on the executioners. "Sick" isn't a strong enough word for this. "Evil" might be. And what's saddest? I don't believe Gibson, nor his fans, understand what he has done. I believe their intentions are pure. What a tragedy. You despair for the human race when acts of essential good and life values of love and kindness get packaged and regurgiated so that all that emerges is meaness and hate.

It's an old, old story - violence begets violence, hate begets hate. Dwell on the cruelty, the lashes, and the pain and you will only generate more of the same.

Posted by Greg Stone at February 29, 2004 04:39 AM

I haven't seen this movie, but I've read interviews with Gibson, Caviezel (Christ), and numerous reviews and comments from people who've seen the movie. My comments are based primarily on what Gibson's said about the movie, but I also assume that the fifteen-minute torture scene does exist, and that the characterizations are as they've been described in the reviews I've read.

This is the part of the bible that interests Gibson most, at least that is what I've read. It makes me wonder what he understands of Christ's teachings. Perhaps he just gets very excited by the magic and the mumbo-jumbo.

He's not a scholar (the infamous beating scene was based on the Shroud of Turin, a medieval hoax). I don't think he's even a very thoughtful man. I think he's a man who loves violence, based on the movies he makes.

The thing about this movie that upsets me so much is that nobody involved has addressed the source of the gospel upon which it's based (what percentage of christian writings of the era comprise the books of the bible, when the books of the bible were written relative to the lifetime of christ, the political situation when the books of the bible were written); that's taken as "truth," and nobody involved has addressed that the characters in the movie are fictionalized. This movie is an interpretation of an interpretation. Gibson is pushing it as "the gospel," and people are buying that. Given that I've read the characterizations have a very anti-semitic slant (it is subtle, I'm afraid), this is very upsetting. If it weren't for that, it's just a slasher that Christians can feel good about watching.

Posted by: Maggie at March 1, 2004 10:17 PM

I should probably add that the interview I read with Mel Gibson appeared in Reader's Digest. I don't own the copy, but he said something along the lines of --
if somebody has a problem with my movie, then they have a problem with the gospel, not with me.

Somebody's kidding himself.

Posted by: Maggie at March 1, 2004 11:18 PM
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