Saturday, March 20, 2004

In Defense of Mel Gibson's Passion

As everyone has no doubt heard (and if you haven't you need to get out of that backwards ass third-world country) Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" is doing rather well at the box office. Well, that's actually putting it mildly. However, some are not so impressed with Mel's work. Now, I'm going to be honest, I haven't seen the movie yet. I don't know if I will ever see it. Not because I don't want to, but because I know the story and don't need a movie, however well made it may be, to tell it to me again. But some are coming down pretty hard on the movie. Not because of the quality of the film or acting or anything like that, but because of what it is. I recently went to the Ayn Rand Institute webpage and read this op-ed about the movie. For once, I have to disagree with the writers at the ARI. The article is written by someone who obviously has no idea what Christianity is all about. I'm not condemning him for not knowing Christianity, hell, a lot of people don't. That's their choice, and I have no problem with that. I am criticizing him for writing an article about something which he is obviously clueless. Mr. Ghate has taken the extreme PoV of a few "extreme" Christians, and made it appear to be the PoV of the majority. The fact is, he's gotten it quite wrong. Christians do not view the worlds population as murderer's guilty of killing Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus died FOR us, not BECAUSE of us. Get real people, Jesus was hammered to the cross by the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE for crying out loud. That was 2000 years ago. Last time I looked, there weren't any wooden crosses standing up in my back yard. The movie was made by a Christian, for Christians. If you are not a Christian, then chances are pretty good you won't like the movie, and you won't get what the movie's about. It's simply taking the most important moment in history (from a Christian PoV) and putting it on film. It's no different than making a movie about D-Day or Vietnam or whatever. Remember the defenders of these films? "Yeah, the movies are graphic but it's a story that we want to tell.". Well this is just a story that Mel Gibson wanted to tell. Nothing more. Now honestly, Gibson is a little out there. I mean, he is Catholic after all (jk). But let me explain to you how I see Jesus and his story. To do so, I'm going to use the above analogies involving the war movies. To me, Jesus was/is the ultimate soldier. The war he fought was/is very different than what we would view as conventional war. But he was a soldier. And just as today's soldiers go out to risk/give their lives for their people and beliefs, that's what Jesus did. And just as many soldiers have gone into a battle knowing they would never make it out alive, so did Jesus when he was crucified. From a Christian's PoV, the best thing we can do as Christians, just as we as Americans believe of our own soldiers, is that we should strive to live the best life we can and be worthy of the sacrifice made for our benefit. Now some don't believe in Christ obviously, but you understand the analogy I'm sure. And there are many stereo-types out there about Christians. But just as other stereo-types out there are generally not true, so most of the stereo-types about Christians are not true. The fact is, this is America and we are guaranteed freedom of religion (and contrary to popular belief this does not mean freedom FROM religion, read the constitution). If you don't believe in Christianity, fine, don't go to church. If you don't wanna see "Passions of the Christ" then don't go see it. I have never, ever tried to cram my beliefs down anyone's throats. I will gladly discuss my beliefs with anyone WHO WISHES it. I have never tried to force anything on anyone. Come on people, one of my best friends in the world is a RAGING HOMOSEXUAL!! Do you think he would consider me a friend if I sat around beating him in the head with the Bible all day? And really, we don't do that anyway. We use baseball bats, much more fun and effective:). I prefer the old school Louisville Slugger myself. Wooden, none of that aluminum crap for me. One more thing to complain about. I have recently heard a local radio talk-show host say that if Mel was really such a holy man he would give all the profits to charity. WTF?? Since when does being a Christian exempt someone from being a capitalist?? That's the biggest croc of crap I've heard in a long time. And this is from a fairly right wing talking head. You would think people would take this movie as an example of what America is really all about. No, not the religious aspect (though it should be noted George Washington himself said man cannot rightly govern without God and the Bible *gasp* how dare he??). I'm talking about a man, taking a concept he believes strongly in, investing over 50 million of his own dollars (that includes the marketing and stuff) and making a CRAPLOAD OF MONEY!!!!!! That's the American dream baby!! What the f**k is everyone's problem? You would think that these right wing talk show hosts, and especially the ARI would be proud share a country with someone like Mel Gibson. Instead it turns into an anti-Christian tirade. All in all, I have to say I'm fairly disappointed with the way the critics have reacted towards this movie. Most are criticizing not on quality or ability, but instead criticize the beliefs behind the movie. I am especially disappointed in the ARI, who wrote about a topic which he was apparently uninformed about, and for the first time that I've ever seen, made the ARI appear anti-capitalist.

UPDATE: I think it important to note that when I mentioned being disappointed in the ARI, I was referring specifically to Onkar Ghate and was not generically referring to the ARI as a whole.