This review by Leon Wieseltier is quite possibility the most obtuse review of "The Passion" I've read yet. Since I won't see the movie until this weekend I really can't fisk it .... YET!! But I do have a few remarks now.
The only cinematic achievement of The Passion of the Christ is that it breaks new ground in the verisimilitude of filmed violence. The notion that there is something spiritually exalting about the viewing of it is quite horrifying. The viewing of The Passion of the Christ is a profoundly brutalizing experience. Children must be protected from it. (If I were a Christian, I would not raise a Christian child on this.) Torture has been depicted in film many times before, but almost always in a spirit of protest. This film makes no quarrel with the pain that it excitedly inflicts. It is a repulsive masochistic fantasy, a sacred snuff film, and it leaves you with the feeling that the man who made it hates life.
First of all, the crucifixion was violent, incredibly violent. It was, in fact, one of the most painful forms of execution. I find it absurd that critics of the movie are condemning for the violence. They seem to believe that either the death of Christ was not violent in its nature, or that noone should think about it. The realization of what Christ went through and the pairing of that horrific reality to its spiritual and eternal meaning is the basis of Christianity. You cannot have the beautiful salvation accomplished upon Golgotha without the brutality that occurred. My gut tells me that one's reaction to this movie is going to be somewhat in proportion to the condition of one's heart. As we read reviews of this film, it would behoove us all to keep that in mind.
Okay, I know a maniacal rant when I see one. (courtesy of Jeff Jarvis) I find something interesting happening lately. A lot of people, I mean a lot of people, who have said they liked Bush are now finding a lot of reasons to not like him. I personally would like to know why their views have changed all of a sudden. Bush really hasn't changed that much over 4 years. He hasn't pulled any big bait and switch but instead has stayed pretty consistent. Jarvis' rant and his cursing show him not only to be a reactionist but a vulgar one. I have trouble believing in the viability of an educated opinion from someone who using profanity to express a point. But, hey I'm a Christian and so that is probably an intolerant thing to say...right?
UPDATE: Read this email of the day from Andrew Sullivan's blog from a Jew who USED to think the religious right(which by the way is his way of saying Christians) was okay, but NOW KNOW THEIR NOT!!
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Here are some other opinions and reactions to the whole gay marriage debacle. Check them out, most of them are fair and well stated.
The whole world is responding to the President's call for a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage. Andrew Sullivan has decided that a war has been declared. Sullivan expresses some valid points and gives some of the most lucid impassioned pleas for gay marriage that I have ever read. I do, however, disagree with him on this issue.
I never wanted to touch the Constitution on this issue, I think it's not smart and very inefficient. In fact, in an earlier post I spoke of my reluctance and resistance to such a move. The events of the past two weeks, however, have changed my mind. Society must determine it's normative values. This is not a discrimination issue, it's an issue of cultural morality. Though, Sullivan and others make a comparison with the civil rights movement, it is diametrically different. It is because homosexuality is a moral issue, always has been and always will be. You cannot claim that one segment in our society involved in an immoral lifestyle is any better than another. If we allow homosexuals to marry, then why not allow pedophiles to practice under regulated conditions? If we allow gay marriage then why shouldn't someone be able to marry an animal and have sex with it openly? The analogies keep going and they aren't wrong. The people of this nation must decide what they will and will not accept morally and they must be allowed to do it. With this said, let me qualify something, I will never think that homosexuality is okay. It is sin and immoral just like lieing and stealing and murdering. Should people be hated for it, NO! Also, my religious convictions should not bind the rest of nation. This is the reason I want the voters to decide this issue. If America decides that gay marriage is morally okay for our society then that's okay by me. I'm going to hold to my convictions and I'll hold to former statement about the difference between my marriage and anyone else's whose isn't right before God. With that said, read on....
As of this moment, there exists a minority who have decided what the nation's morals ought to be and are working in every way possible to establish their code without the support of the majority. In my view this can no longer be allowed and if the only way to address the issue as a whole is to amend the constitution(I can't believe I'm going to say this) then so be it.
This is a disturbing decision by the Supreme Court today. The decision allows states to withhold EARNED scholarships from anyone studying religion, or even more to the point Christian theology. Here is the background on the case.
With the current debate about gay marriage, I feel that we would be remiss to ignore actions such as these. There is no doubt that while the homosexual community is fighting for its right to marry, the Christian community is beginning to fight for its right to exist and participate in public life.