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The Passion Of The Christ

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Boring Introduction To Myself

As you may have noticed, I’m a new blog critic. My weblog is here for those who are interested. My About Me page can be found here. My posts at this website will be almost entirely on movies and books. I don’t listen to music; when I do decide to listen to something it is generally talk radio. I hope to maintain a one book a week review-average, because my new year’s resolution was to read 52 books this year. Plus, it is the section of this site that is given the least attention. The frequency may vary due to lots of homework, a few days off school, or any number of other things. I watch a fair amount of DVD’s, and I will also review those. I believe I can offer up a somewhat more unique perspective than some others since I’m younger, but who knows. Anyway, on with the review!

Review of The Passion of The Christ

I went to see the Passion of The Christ yesterday with my family, have thought a fair amount about it, and I’m finally ready to review it. I’ve already made an attempt to dispel certain complaints lodged against the movie: That it is anti-Semitic; The torture couldn’t have been lived through; and the most common response: The movie is a nice fiction, but all religions are really the same. After all there is no heaven or hell.

The movie was very realistic, with a gruesome detail never left out, but above all it was accurate to what the Bible says. Gibson has produced an artistic masterpiece. If you see it, and instead of wishing to become a Christian or crying profusely, you wish to harm a Jew it was not the movie’s fault, you are an anti-Semite. When I saw it I became angry. Not at Jews, but at the sick people that were beating him well cruelly laughing. But as I noted on my website they were forgiven, not as some would say because God wanted them to do it, or because it was destined, but instead because Christ asked his father in heaven to forgive them, for they know not what they were doing.

This movie has hit a chord with Americans that many of the more “artistic” butcheries of the Christian faith have not. My only regret after seeing it was the knowledge that most people will look at it and say “that man was a kind of good prophet. That was mean of them to kill him,” while not realizing that is the way to heaven.

When the movie began, there was a note that a portion of the proceeds would go to “inter-faith relations”. No matter how much you may not like this, all the major western religions are exclusory. Namely, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The Koran noted this. The Bible noted this. In both cases believing in that religion is the only way to paradise. I just thought I’d throw that in for the many who believe otherwise.

One thing that has become remarkably clear through this movie is how out of touch Hollywood moguls are. The movie was to be produced for $25 million and they didn’t want in on the deal, after all, what Christian movie could make very much money? They didn’t think it would be worth their investment. It has made 230 million so far, according to Box Office Mojo. The studio that produces the movie generally makes 55% of the gross; the rest goes to the theaters. The movie will continue to make money and will probably make a good deal from DVD sales. This will almost certainly continue the trend of commercial Christianity. Is this a good trend? I think so. It’s just another way of Christians asserting themselves in a market that is increasingly secular. Isn’t that one of the tenets of democracy? Allowing a vocal minority to have their voice heard by showing their buying power.

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About Clay Whittaker

  • Eric Olsen

    Many interesting points made and very well written. I won’t even mention that you are 13 – great job and welcome!

  • http://www.corinna-hasofferett.com Corinna Hasofferett

    Dear Clay:
    Welcome to the club. While you have a clear voice, some the voiced statements are not entirely exact:

    1.

    …Christians asserting themselves in a market that is increasingly secular. Isn’t that one of the tenets of democracy? Allowing a vocal minority to have their voice heard by showing their buying power.”

    I’m afraid this was not Jesus’ idea of Cristianity. He might have let everybody in for free since Faith Power and not Buying Power was the goal of his teachings.

    2.

    “…Not at Jews, but at the sick people that were beating him well cruelly laughing.”

    The people beating him were Romans. They held the buying power at that time.

    3.

    “…above all it was accurate to what the Bible says.”

    You mean the New Testament. It’s a different book altogether. Note also that the story was adapted to the times of it’s writing, which was much later, (a hundred years or so, if I recall correctly). At that time the new sect – namely Christianity, was a partisan one, persecuted by the Romans not because of it’s message but because it signaled rebellion and disobedience. This might have had some influence on the edited narrative.

    4.

    “…all the major western religions are exclusory. Namely, Judaism, Islam and Christianity.”

    Islam is not a western religion, but an eastern one. Judaism is originally an eastern religion as well, although a large number of our people lived in exile in the West for two thousand years, following the crushed Hebrew rebellion against the Roman occupation.

    It is not easy to be accepted into the arms of Jewish faith, but that is so mainly because unlike Islam and Christianity, Judaism never served as the vehicle of Empires and Colonizations.

    At the root of all religions is the sincere desire to find meaning in chaos. Since there are many religions and many secular philosophies, it could be that there is more than one meaning to life.

    Viktor E. Frankl wrote on this theme in his important book: Man’s Search for Meaning (Publisher: Pocket Books; Revised and Updated edition, December 1, 1997 ISBN: 0671023373)

    A good book to include among your 54 for this year.

    As for music, why not try J. S. Bach’s (1685-1750) Matthauspassion. It’s not as graphic as Gibson, yet, come to think of it – this music has withstand quite a few winters. I think you’ll love to hear it more than once, which usually happens with real Art & Masterpieces.

    Your friend by now,
    Corinna

  • Shark

    Corinna: “I’m afraid this was not Jesus’ idea of Cristianity. He might have let everybody in for free since Faith Power and not Buying Power was the goal of his teachings.”

    Corinna, please, don’t confuse folks by speaking the truth.

    btw: Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” –what a great book; you should review it for Blogcritics! I’m sure a lot of people would never find it without some help.

    Do it!

  • http://www.claywhittaker.com Clay Whittaker

    1) I’m no saying it is something necessarily christian, but something democratic. And I certainly wouldn’t say it is in opposition to the teachings of Jesus.

    2) I know. I was making the point that this movie would not make someone hate the Jews; It would make them hate those particular romans, if they were to be angry at all.

    3)Strictly speaking, in matters of thelogy, you may be correct, but if you go to Merriam Webster Online, you will see that the common use definition is the sacred writings of christians comprising the old and new testament.

    4) My usage was correct.

  • http://www.corinna-hasofferett.com Corinna Hasofferett

    Hi Clay!
    In 4. we were discussing the term Western”.

    Actually all three were conceived in the Middle East. Like some kind of exchange: One religion and a few million followers of the two other made immigration to USA while from USA another religion made immigration to the Middle East, (among other parts of the globe: The MacDonald or, more correctly, The Buying Power.
    (I’m joking).

  • http://www.claywhittaker.com Clay Whittaker

    Why yes, they were indeed conceived in the middle east. I didn’t say that was incorrect. I simply stated that they are western religions, a fact which I tried to illustrate with my link.

  • shaun

    yes, islam is a western religion. If you are going to call it an eastern religion, then so is Christianity and judaism because islam is an evolution of Christianity just like Christianity was an evolution of judaism

  • Eric Olsen

    I believe the terms used for the Big Three monotheistic religions is “world religions,” because they are indeed that. Each has informed, and in turn been informed by most of the world’s cultures.

  • http://www.corinna-hasofferett.com Corinna Hasofferett

    Hi Shaun. I’m happy to see you communicate in an almost Eastern polite way (and I mean it. I admire the politnes imbued within the Eastern cultures in daily communications).

    Now I might even consider inviting you to Israel so you could volunteer a bit with Jewish-Palestinian peace advocating organizations and educational programs…
    But before that keep in mind that while Moses (another Jew) is so much respected, Islam never drew it’s wisdom from Christianity.

    I’m going to post now an article on this very issue, actually an excerpt from my fifth book, “Once She Was a Child” – from my conversation with the Egyptian writer Niam elBaz.

    Keep growing!

  • molly

    Do you know where the proceeds are going? My friend says Gibson is keeping most of the proceeds. How do we find out? Thanks. Love your site.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    He is, Molly, about $200 million according to news reports. And, I don’t think they are counting the merchandising tie-in. Talking about riding Jesus to the bank. . . .

    Right Wing Christians are eating “The Passion’ up. But, I think the rest of us realize it is a gaudy vehicle to spread reactionary views about Christianity.

  • Rich

    Come on people, NOW when the movie proved to be a box office success, NOW were are leaving the premise of anti-semitism and jumping to whatever accuse we can find just so it can fit our “pre-conceived “views about society/humanity(hatred for Mel, his father, religion, violence, I mean whatever…) It is pathetic.

    What is he going to do with the money??? I think he deserves it to make that judgement himself…

    According to latest industry estimates (I think BBC published that), he stays to make more than $300 mil. worldwide(just for himself, before taxes, including DVD, VHS and tie-ins sales…):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/3532085.stm

    BTW, there was a poll recently published on a PRNewswire:

    The Passion of the Christ’ Having Unexpected Impact: Film and Surrounding Debate Might Be Lessening Hostility Toward Jews, Says IJCR Poll:

    http://finance.lycos.com/qc/news/story.aspx?story=200403152036_PRN__SFM108

    I’m not even Christian but I have to give to him for standing up for his beliefs. I mean the guy has spent a couple of millions to built a private church (not that I necessarily agree that this is the best way to help people, in Christian sense)…

  • Rich

    I’m adding it here, as some readers above were speculating on what Mel might do with his money…

    You have to take it with grain of salt (I mean it is NYPost…) but article speculates that Mel might donate about $100mil to Catholic Church (from the movie proceeds)… BTW, the $700mil, stated as “The Passion” profits, are wildly overestimated…

    Oh, the article:

    http://www.nypost.com/business/20905.htm

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Sorry for the possible error in my message above. I said Mel Gibson would ride to the money changing place (not on a donkey) with $200 million from “The Passion,” not counting merchandising fees. Rich says $300 million. Since Rich has apparently been appointed by God to be Gibson’s spokesman at Blogcritics I defer to his information. (However, I don’t think Rich needs to post hosannas to Gibson on every thread that mentions “The Passion,” as he is doing. That’s spamming the site.) Besides, we know some people love the movie and see nothing wrong with Gibson recouping half of the proceeds from it.

  • http://www.shortstrangetrip.org Joe

    John 8:7

  • Rich

    As I was “appointed by God to be Gibson’s spokesman at Blogcritics” (as MacDiva canonized me already, even though I’m non-believer, I must add, again…), I have an another tid-bit about Mel Gibson’s plans for his newly found riches:

    “Mel Gibson May Develop Maccabees Film; Source: Entertainment Weekly Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    The Passion of The Christ director Mel Gibson told Sean Hannity on his radio show today that his next entry in the genre may be the story of the Maccabees, the Jewish guerilla fighters who led a successful rebellion against Greek conquerors 165 years before Christ, inspiring the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

    According to Entertainment Weekly, Gibson said the story “fired my imagination.” Recounting the story, which occurred in biblical times but is not recounted in the Bible, Gibson said: “It’s about Antiochus, the king who set up his religion in the Temple, and forced them all to deny the true God and worship at his feet and worship false gods. The Maccabees family stood up, and they made war, they stuck by their guns, and they came out winning. It’s like a Western.”

    The story ends with a miracle: When the victorious Jews cleansed the Temple of its sacrilegious, they found only enough oil to light the Eternal Flame for one day, but it managed to last eight days, until more oil could be rendered. Hence the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah, when Jews light candles on an eight-branch menorah each night.

    Here are the links:

    http://comingsoon.net/news.php?id=3955

    http://www.reuters.com/locales/newsArticle.jsp;:40591a0c:2ca95c67ae6061b2?type=entertainmentNews&locale=en_IN&storyID=4591315

  • http://www.islamzone.tk/ Mohamed

    I have a lot of Questions about Christianity I would like you to kindly answer them it will help me understand little more about your religion.
    because now I don’t believe Christianity Is a religion as the most Muslims say that Christianity died wen the real pebble was lost and some people wrought the pebble using there Ideas making up there own rules instead of Gods. from that time christianity changed from religion by a God to Advice from a human being unlike Islam. Muslims kept there Holly book made a lot of copies in fact it is the world’s most read book and more than 4 million people memorized the Qura’n from the heart including me. let me get to my point.
    my Question Is why under all this pressure Islam is still the fastest growing religion
    If you think any of these things I am saying is wrong please reply or send your answer as a comment to Islamzone.tk so more people including I and my friend can see your answer.

    and one other thing English is not my first language so excuse me if I made mistakes.

  • troll

    Mohamed – the Christian bible (pebble) is just another book not unlike yours…words written down by megalomaniac men used with regularity to justify murder

    troll

  • gazelle

    troll: you really are a troll, best

  • gazelle

    corinna:

    world religion is correct. but i’m puzzled when you say islam didnt draw wisdom from chrisianity.

    Islam affirms all the prophets of christianity and judaism. In fact it reveres the bible (with jesus), the old testament (with moses), zuboor (with David) and Quran (with Mohammad).

    also if you look at the byzantium (syria and turkey etc) much greek and christian thought was absorbed by the muslims through interaction between scholars as these beacame muslim lands.

    that is why moses maimonides, the jewish philosopher, wrote in arabic – because it was the lingua franca and the language of knowledge at the time.

    best

  • troll

    re #19…gracias

    and here I’ve been thinking that I’ve become far too conciliatory of late

    troll