Gibson's Christ vs. the HJ
- Like everyone else, I suspect, I've been reading the outpouring of
commentary on Gibson's film from popular religious leaders with
great interest. This past Saturday, the Detroit News featured side-
by-side comments from four local religious leaders - Catholic,
Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim. This was not, of course, intended to
be a scientific sample, nor were these four men necessarily major
leaders in their respective faiths. Rather, they were folks that the
newspaper often turns to for commentary on religious matters -
consultant "talking heads" as it were. In any case, the contrast
between Christian and non-Christian views was striking. The two
Christians focussed on the twin doctrines of universal guilt and
universal atonement ("We all killed him and he died for all of us").
The Catholic, for example, said that his initial reaction included
"a sense of culpability". The Protestant was worse. He stated (and
as Dave Barry often says, I am not making this up) "The emphasis of
this film was Jesus' love for me."
As opposed to this Christian emphasis on the Death Tradition and its
attendant twin doctrines, the two non-Christians focussed on the
Life Tradition. The Muslim commentator, for example, stated that
"Collective guilt is not God's justice - we are all responsible
for our own sins." (Although he had in mind Jewish collective guilt,
the same remark would be applicable to the Christian doctrine of
universal guilt still present today as a remnant of antiquity.)
The Jewish commentator was by far the best, as far as I'm concerned.
To my mind, he showed an understanding of the historical Jesus that
puts popular non-scholarly Christian commentators to shame:
"The life of Jesus is a story of kindness and compassion, of love
for the poor and disadvantaged, a story of courage to fight the
status quo and pay for those beliefs with one's life. That story
is the one I wish Mel Gibson had made."
(Rabbi Aaron Bergman, Director of Jewish Studies at the Jewish
Academy of Metropolitan Detroit in West Bloomfield)
Thank you, Rabbi Bergman. Me too.
Mt. Clemens, MI
- Thanks Mike,
I hope you might be encouraged by the fact that this is how the people at my
church¹s youth group saw it. Jesus fought the status quo not by crusades,
building walls, or launching a jihad but by absorbing the evil thrown at him
and forgiving it. No doubt some/many Christians read it as per your
theologians. But I can vouch for the fact that not all.
On 1/3/04 12:08 PM, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
> "The life of Jesus is a story of kindness and compassion, of love
> for the poor and disadvantaged, a story of courage to fight the
> status quo and pay for those beliefs with one's life. That story
> is the one I wish Mel Gibson had made."
> (Rabbi Aaron Bergman, Director of Jewish Studies at the Jewish
> Academy of Metropolitan Detroit in West Bloomfield)
> Thank you, Rabbi Bergman. Me too.
> Mike Grondin
> Mt. Clemens, MI
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