Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Steyn On Passion

Mark Steyn's review of the Passion of the Christ is now available online. As per usual, he nails it on the issues surrounding the film.

That's the real argument over The Passion Of The Christ. It's not between Christians and Jews, but between believing Christians and the broader post-Christian culture, a term that covers a large swathe from the media to your average Anglican vicar. Some in this post-Christian culture don't believe anything, some are riddled with doubts, but even the ones with only a vague residual memory of the fluffier Sunday School stories are agreed that there's little harm in a Jesus figure who's a "gentle teacher". In this world, if Jesus were alive today he'd most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally-friendly car with an "Arms Are For Hugging" sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams. If that's your boy, Mel Gibson's movie is not for you.

Indeed, though Mel is Catholic, his Passion is a hit thanks to evangelical Protestants - those who believe the Bible is the literal truth and not a "useful narrative" culminating in what the Bishop of Durham called a "conjuring trick with bones". Instead of Jesus the wimp, Mel gives us Jesus the Redeemer. He died for our sins - ie, the "violent end" is the critical bit, not just an unfortunate misunderstanding cruelly cutting short a promising career in gentle teaching. The followers of Wimp Jesus seem to believe He died to license our sins - Jesus loves us for who we are so whatever's your bag is cool with Him.
Go read the whole thing.
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