Sunday, February 22

The Passion of the Christ

All the hubub comes down, once again, to world view and presuppositions.

Theologically conservative Christians believe the Bible is good history (for being written between 1500 BC and 100 AD). They also believe that God is personal and cares about the world and acts in it. Therefore, He came as Jesus.

Other people (often labeled 'liberal', but I'm not trying to narrow down labels here, just to paint with broad strokes), don't believe that the Bible is good history. They think it's more myth (or, at best stories that communicate truth, like folklore) than history. Additionally, if they believe in God (this is not a disparagement), they generally do not believe in a personal God who cares about individual people and acts in the world.

I think this is why we talk past one another so often. With these widely divergent views, it's no wonder we don't see eye to eye on issues like Jesus and movies about him. There's almost no sense in arguing such things, given the differing presuppositions. It make make sense, if we wanted to debate, to debate our presuppositions, but most of us are so convinced we're right that it would seem a waste of time.

Historically speaking, we theologically conservative Christians (I make the distinction because you know I'm not politically or economically conservative) believe the Bible is good history when it says that leaders of the Jews in Jerusalem called for Jesus' crucifixion and told Pilate to let it be on their heads. We also believe that everyone is guilty, to some degree, for Christ's death, because He died for our sins. In fact, we believe He took our sins upon Himself on the cross. And, further, we believe that He was responsible for His death because that's a big part of why He chose to come. By extensions, Trinity-wise, we believe the Father sent the Son for this reason.

Now a big part of the problem here is that the church has been anti-Semitic in the past, a black eye for Jesus. We in the church need to take responsibility for that. And too many so-called 'Christians' have been complicit in anti-semitism, even in the last century, including the horror of the Holocaust. Ironically, largely because of dispensational teaching in the last hundred years, now many conservative Christians are very pro-Jewish and pro-Israel, to the point of supporting the nation of Israel no matter what they do. It's a mixed bag.

The other big question in the media: is 'The Passion...' too violent? Reading about it has increasingly made me think of not seeing it. I don't do well with graphic violence (like in war movies). I'm still planning on going, maybe on Wednesday, but I've got serious reservations. You can argue that it's too violent and you can argue that it's true to the text. The question is moot. (We do want to be careful about children seeing this movie.) However, it seems out of place to have people playing the violence card on this movie when so many movies are violent to no purpose. Maybe those people don't go see them or roundly decry them. Furthermore, plenty of movies are violent and considered worthwhile. 'Saving Private Ryan' stands out in this category. I've heard it's great and I'm never going to see it.

I still think this issue comes down to world view/presuppostions.

(Brad's post and Steve's article prompted me on this topic.)
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