Added Wednesday, 11 August 2004 are some new scriptures; Added Tuesday, 24 August 2004 are supplemental summaries of selected major religions to be balanced and fair treatment. God loves all people and deems them important. The new material appears following the three (3) reviews. Added: Wednesday, 25 August 2004: Ways that we can hear God's voice, which compliments the existing section on the ways God has helped us humans - a summary.
The Passion is set to open in theatres nationwide Wednesday, 25 February 2004. (Film by Mel Gibson)
The Register has not reviewed this film, but we will provide you with other reviewers -and our best attempt at translating the meaning of "The Passion," based on our best knowledge.
Updated as of Wed 11 Aug 2004: I found other scriptures which verify my initial suspicion that Jesus' big "human"
contribution was being an example for us, in addition to having authorized our entry into heaven. They are listed with the John 13:15 finding.
(.1.) The first reviewer is Register editor-in-chief, Gordon Watts:
** This review might just be the most important, so please pay close attention. **
I am told that this film depicts the last hours of The Christ, but just how could His involvement into the affairs of mere humans possibly "save" us?
How can He "pay for sins," or "be a Savior," by "dying on the cross?" ~~ If that was so important, then why didn't He die on the cross as a youth?
ANSWER: Of all the people on earth, only one showed me BY EXAMPLE that life is possible to live without sin or getting discouraged --and He also showed us BY EXAMPLE that we could resurrect, if/when it becomes necessary, and if He hadn't...well, we humans would all still be left wondering "Is it possible?"
I needed an example -to show me life is not hopeless -that we could live without sin. Only You, Jesus, could pull that off.
(I.e., this guy's example to us, one of a kind, was what made Him a savior, not a mere "dying on the cross" thing, which loads of prisoners did back in the day, under Roman rule.) In truth, it was His entire life that was the reason He is Savior, not just "dying on the cross & raising from the dead, or else He would have done all that at, say, birth, or, say, at age twelve! But, rising from the dead is something we needed because we needed someone (The Christ) to show us (by example) that is was possible. We have hope!
1. CREATOR: They made us ("Let US make man in OUR image," plural: Genesis 1:26) --I'm a Biology major, and even I can't make life de novo, such as a dinosaur. I can't even make a dinosaur by "cheating" with technology! (So, how'd it all get here -by itself?) "Plural": The Hebrew words used in Gen. 1:26 are a "3 or more" plural, meaning at least three participants created the worlds, implying at least the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit aka The Holy Ghost.
JESUS created ALL things: "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3, Holy Bible, KJV; Verse 1 identifies Jesus as God, and this makes sense: Verses 1 and 14 of this chapter to clarify that it was Jesus who created all things, and since he created ALL things, this sounds like Jesus really is God and worthy of worship.)
2. FIXER and REPAIRER: They can certainly repair us (E.g., fixing), for fixing and repair are not more difficult that making (E.g., creating, manufacturing). (I.e., we CAN be repaired in answer to prayer.)
3. EXAMPLE and ROLE MODEL: The claim was made that it's possible to live a Holy life (Leviticus 20:7; 1st Peter 1:15-16). In order to prove this is possible, Jesus, our example and role model, was sent to "test drive" a body, to show us ***by example*** that it is possible. (John 13:15; John 14:12; 1st Peter 2:21) If the human genetic code had defective DNA in it, then Jesus would not have been able to live a sinless, holy life. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that we, humans, do NOT need to be recalled and destroyed like a bad, defective vehicle.
4. OUR LAWYER in HEAVEN'S COURTS: Jesus is the prosecuting attorney of the bad guys (Matthew 25:31-46, where He sends them to Hell for simply not giving His "brethren" a cup of water when they were thirsty), and Jesus is our defense attorney (1st John 2:1, where he is our righteous advocate, that is, attorney, if we sin, --not "when" we sin, but "if" we sin).
5. SAVIOR: You can't be saved by being righteous, but you can be righteous by being saved = We can't gain the "love of parents" by being "good kids," (even though they are pleased) ~~~ WE CAN become "good kids" through the love and support of our parents... including our Heavenly Father... How do you get saved? If He's a good Father, you must conclude that all you need to do is ask.
We always want to talk too much, but God gave us two ears and only one mouth, so listening to God is more important:
1- "God the Father" gave us humans a brain: We should use it to think with reason, logic, and intelligence. Sometimes, we can get an answer from God through this simple means. (God didn't just give us our head as a hat rack, so we should use it.)
2- "God the Son" was an example for us humans. Intellectually, this is educating. Emotionally, this is encouraging. So, Jesus (a human) represents other people (humans), who sometimes are a means for God to speak to us.
3- "God the Holy Spirit, AKA Holy Ghost" represents Himself: He speaks to us through the still small voice of gut feeling and intuition, different and distinct from intellectual reasoning and intelligence.
4- "God's Holy Word" is a way for God to speak to us. Those of the Jewish faith generally hold to what Christians call the Old Testament as authoritative and divinely inspired writings. For Christians, however, this is the Holy Bible, both Old and New Testaments. For Christians of the Catholic faith, this includes Deuterocanonical books, the Apocrypha. The Jehovah's Witnesses have their own translation, and the Koran (sometimes spelled "Quran") is the holy book for Muslims, the followers of Islam. ("Deuterocanonical" means "Second Cannon" or the second set of authorized Holy writings.) Other religions have holy writings as well.
5- "Large Miracles" include, but are not limited to, the following: Dreams, Visions (waking dreams), Visitations by Angels and/or God, Extraordinary Coincidences, Out of Body and Near Death Experiences, Miraculous Healings, etc.
6- "Small miracles" include, but are not limited to, the following: Ordinary Coincidences, Daily Circumstances, Standard means of assistance, like the normal process of healing.
7- "The last method" is when the first six (6) methods above say the same message at the same time. Be careful - not all messages are from the Almighty. therefore, carefully weigh and consider the messages that come to you.
Jesus, who is depicted in this Mel Gibson film, "earned" my respect the old fashioned way: He worked for it. So, that's why when Jesus says that we will do *greater* works than He did (John 14:12), I am encouraged. Other writers, under the inspiration of Jesus Himself, tell us that it is possible to live a life without sin. (Romans 6:1-2 and I John 2:1 -- careful, that's First John, near Revelation and Jude, not the Gospel of John. See also Mark 14:15-18: We are asked to preach the Gospel and told that lots of signs follow those that believe. See also II Timothy 1:7: We should not fear. See also: James 1:17: If it's good, it's automatically from God.
For those religions who believe miracles, dreams, and visions are gone (namely certain Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses), please see: Joel 2:27-32 and Acts 2:17-21. Can your salvation "die?" See Revelation 3:2, which makes one wonder. I don't know, but I don't want to take any chances.
HERE's a scripture many won't like: Matthew 17:21. Here, the disciples ask Jesus why they were unable to case out a certain demon. In addition to faith, Jesus tells them that this type of fallen spirit/angel *ONLY* is case out through prayer and fasting. (Fasting, when done properly, cleanses the body and saves money otherwise spent on food, but you might want to flush your system of toxic wastes with a laxative first, however, don't proceed without proper medical direction and advice first.) ~~ Many people regularly fast for up to a week, as have I, on occasion, and suffered no ill effects, and were, like myself, able to continue with our daily routine.
Our High Priest, feels our pain, knows our temptation, yet without sin: Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15.
Please see Joshua (Jesus), the High Priest, or did you not know that "Joshua" (pronounced something like "Yeshua") in Hebrew literally translates to Jesus in the Greek and now in English: Zechariah 3:1-10 must be perhaps the most moving passage of all scripture, even more so than (and with all due respect), John 3:16. ~~~ From Zechariah, chapter 3: "...Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD,...clothed with filthy garments [our sins]"
NEW: (John 13:15 is perhaps the best scripture in all the Bible, even besting John 3:16. John 13:15 verifies my claim that Christ's main role of Savior was that of example: Even as He loved us, so He wants us to love others! John 13:15, in general; John 13:34, in specific.)
This is the update mentioned above: John 13:15 says the Christ is an example for us to follow, but there are verifications in other places, and shall simply be quoted, and let the words speak for themselves:
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is also an example for us humans in day to day life.
We, in turn, are supposed to follow suit and be an example for others -a positive one, I might add.
I hope to God that I am a good example of Jesus to others, because if I am not, then I am not showing gratitude for all that Jesus has done for me in His long and hard, thirty-three and a half (33 1/2) year life here on Earth --and beyond. Jesus help me follow Your example in case someone decides to emulate and follow my example. Help me not lead someone to danger, including myself.
I have not even seen the film, The Passion, and yet I am touched --by the accounts below. May God help us all.
(New: I have now, and my recommendation remains the same: VERY Good Film. --Editor, Watts)
(.2.) The second reviewer is KTVT-CBS-TV-11 (Dallas, TX) anchor, Jody Dean:
(Used with permission as indicated by the "Email This Page To A Friend" link suggests you can do.)
Dallas/Ft. Worth anchor, CBS News
(.3.) The third reviewer is Keith A. Fournier, a constitutional lawyer:
(Used with permission as indicated by the "E-mail to a Friend" link suggests you can do.)
By: Deacon Keith A Fournier
I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled to have been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion” but I had also read all the cautious articles and spin.
I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion to anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought, language or actions.
I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion", held in Washington D.C. and greeted some familiar faces. The environment was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the words. I moved out of Northern Virginia over three years ago and realized at that moment that I did not miss this kind of approach at all. I live in southeastern Virginia now, among people who are neither geographically nor constitutionally close to "the beltway" mindset or manner. The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room darkened.
From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross, the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced. In addition to being a masterpiece of film making and an artistic triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the same.
When the film concluded, this "invitation only" gathering of "movers and shakers" in Washington, D.C. were shaking indeed, but this time from sobbing. I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place. The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate. We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth.
One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the weight of the cross. His mother had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed back to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road out side of their home. Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to touch his wounded adult face.
Jesus looked at her with intensely probing and passionately loving eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said "Behold I make all things new." These are words taken from the last Book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelations. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful. They had been borne voluntarily for love.
At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to recover, a question and answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions included the one question that seems to follow this film, even though it has not yet even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be "anti-Semitic?"
Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this film) "the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer. A law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and responded "After watching this film, I do not understand how anyone can insinuate that it even remotely presents that the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued "It made me realize that my sins killed Jesus"
I agree. There is not a scintilla of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were, I would be among the first to decry it. It faithfully tells the Gospel story in a dramatically beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way. Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have another agenda behind their protestations.
This is not a "Christian" film, in the sense that it will appeal only to those who identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all men and women. It is a profound work of art. Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble. History demands that we remain faithful to the story and Christians have a right to tell it. After all, we believe that it is the greatest story ever told and that its' message is for all men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth.
We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel narratives to which "The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world.
The problem is not the message but those who have distorted it and used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor the message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion". It should be seen by as many people as possible. I intend to do everything I can to make sure that is the case.
I am passionate about "the Passion." You will be as well.
Don't miss it!
Keith A Fournier is a constitutional lawyer and a graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University and the University of Pittsburgh. He holds degrees in Philosophy, theology and law. He has been a champion of religious liberty and appeared as co-counsel in major cases at the United States Supreme Court. He is the author of seven books and, along with his law practice, serves as the president of both the "Your Catholic Voice Foundation" and "Common Good".
Please copy this and send it on to all your friends to let them know about this film so that we'll all go see it when it comes
Here is new information on selected major religions:
Because this page focuses solely on a movie review of “The Passion of the Christ,” it necessarily touches only on the Christian religion from a historical perspective of the Jewish witnesses back in the era in question.
However, it does not compare of contrast the various religions, and this is unfair, because in other religions, the followers are people too.
I shall try to briefly mention the high points of some of the main religions, but this review is not meant to be comprehensive, and if I miss mention of your religion, know it is not intentional, but based on time and space restrictions, so here goes:
Buddhism is based on a man believed to have lived around 500 BC, and many, if not all, followers hold him to be a sage and wise man, not a deity. This religion is known for the fat Buddha statue, which is a symbol for its founder, a prince named Siddhartha Gautama, who was from northern India. Zen Buddhism focuses the follower to find enlightenment within himself, practiced by seated meditation, however earlier traditions focused more on addressing poverty and humans needs.
Christianity is based on the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, which is savior or liberator, one who sets free. While some Christian religions vary in details, most hold Jesus to be worthy of worship and maintain that a belief in Him is necessary for salvation, but also hold that good works are evidence of salvations, even if not necessary to obtain salvation. Since this religion is discussed in the movie review here, it need not be explored any further here.
Confucianism, like Buddhism, is based on a man who lived around 500 BC, and it is less interested in metaphysical theology and more concerned with human suffering and right moral conduct, with an emphasis on relationships. This religion originates from China and is known for the wise sayings attributed to its founder, many of which begin with “Confucius say…,” such as “Confucius say: ‘Man who stand in rain is all wet’. And Confucius say: ‘Man who cut self while shaving lose face’.” However, in reality, Confucius’ sayings were of a more serious nature: "An oppressive government is fiercer and more to be feared than a tiger," and "A ruler should…love his fellow men.”
Hinduism originates from India and has many religious and metaphysical belief systems, some monotheistic (believe in one God), some polytheistic (many Gods), and some even atheist (don’t believe in a God). Some followers practice yoga and meditation, and most believe in the concept of “karma,” whereby moral behavior on earth allows the next life to be on a higher plane, and one gains salvation by works. Many relate karma with a sense of payback or justice as in “what goes around, comes around,” not unlike a major theme of the old American Twilight Zone TV series. The bad guy always got punished because of indirect consequences of his action. This sense of karma is not totally unlike that in the Hindu religion, and the goal is to escape the cycle of death and rebirth and enter into liberation, “moksha,” or sometimes called nirvana.
Islam was founded by Muhammad, slightly after 600 AD, revered to be the prophet of God, and its followers are called Muslims. Its followers comprise many ethnic backgrounds and are known for their daily prayers and pilgrimages to Mecca. Muslims believe that performance of good deeds is rewarded by salvation, and the “Five Pillars” of faith are belief in Allah with obligatory witnessing that Allah is God and Muhammad His messenger, daily prayer at least 5 times a day, mandatory charity or almsgiving to the poor and needy, fasting during daylight hours during the holy month of Ramadan, and a pilgrimage or journey to Makkah (sometimes spelled “Mecca”) for all those who are able. The self-purification through fasting involves denial of food, water, and even sexual relations, if it does not interfere with health and with exceptions to menstruating or nursing women. There is a wide variety of beliefs in Islam, with some hoping to destroy all nonbelievers and many, if not most, others very peaceful and accepting of other belief systems.
Judaism is the religion of the Jews, but anyone can theoretically become a follower and believer voluntarily. Followers believe what Christians call the Old Testament to be the Holy Scriptures, and, like Christians, believe in “One God,” but many Jews do not accept the ministry of the historical Jesus of the New Testament Bible as anything more than a great teacher. While a few Jews accept Jesus as the Christ and Messiah and a few outright reject Him, contrary to widespread prejudices, most Jews either do not hold a strong opinion or believe that Jesus was at least a very wise religious leader and teacher. Judaism has its roots in a “covenant” or contract that God made with Abram, who was later renamed Abraham and who lived about 2,000 years BC. The followers of the One God, Yahweh, sometimes called Jehovah, nowadays have at least three main variations: Orthodox (strict observance of ritual in keeping the Sabbath and a kosher or clean diet), Conservative (same as Orthodox except flexible in need to evolve and change traditions to meet current contemporary needs), and Reform (do not believe the Talmud, the oral law, to be divine but instead emphasize moral ethics in worship of God). The Jews, unlike most Christians and many other religions, do not place a high emphasis on proselytizing or preaching, seeking coverts to their faith.
Taoism, a major religion of China, is sometimes called “the way,” and holds the humans need not strive to accomplish virtue or attainment, because that would be unnecessary and even counterproductive. The person is taught to merely accept what happens and deal with it in the accepting way of Tao, simplicity that the universe transcends reality and is the source of change, being, and non-being. Breathing exercises and attempts to regulate the energies of the body are methods used to help the Taoist accept the spontaneity of the moment and fit in with the larger universe and the principles of yin and yang, the balance of forces in the universe.
The above pic of Jesus receiving His own home: Used with permission. Credit given to Jean Keaton, who graciously captures the Spirit of children who have passed and recreates what is believed to be their reception home. God bless you, Jean. Principal Web site: http://www.keatonprints.com. Related sites: http://auniqueperspective.fateback.com/jesussmiles.htm and http://www.ldsgames.org/wallpaper/images.asp?choice=keaton
LINKS OF IMPORTANCE
"First, they [Nazis] came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to speak for me." (Martin Niemoller, given credit for a quotation in The Harper Religious and Inspirational Quotation Companion, ed. Margaret Pepper (New York: Harper &Row, 1989), 429 -as cited on page 44, note 17, of Religious Cleansing in the American Republic, by Keith A. Fornier, Copyright 1993, by Liberty, Life, and Family Publications.