about the danger of the passion

Some Individuals are inteligent. But people for the most part are inherently stupid, and lazy. People would rather be told what to think than to think for themselves. Doubt me? Simply look at christianity. How many billions(trillions, more?) of people do you suppose have died in the name of christ in the past 2000. Something which ironically is the exact opposite of Christ’s teachings (love thy neighbor as thy brother, he w/out sin cast the first stone etc) is the realism of the conservative view that many people and leaders have not only in america but throughout the world. Mel Gibson’s passion of the christ worries me because after having seen, regardless of the roman soldiers part in flaying and crucifying Jesus there is no way to leave the theater without feeling an anger or animosity toward the jews. Gibson even keeps the aramaic line “his blood be on us and our children” in the film although he takes out its subtitle. Given the depiction and the claim by gibson that the film is about the “12 hours that are the beating heart of his faith” couldn’t middle america interpret this film in ways such that fuel is poured on the embers of the anti semitic fire? It has to be irresponsible of gibson to release this without a postscript at the end of the movie- which he claimed would “suggest something was wrong with his film if one was added” - please someone weigh in on this… i welcome any debates. I posted a smiliar discussion weeks ago and didnt get the response i was looking for. I look forward to any and all discussions.

if you ask me, people who think the passion is anti-sematic are reaaaaally reaching. Is the four feathers racist because the british are shooting up african savages? To leave out the jewish peoples “participation” in the life of christ would have been critisized for its lack of facts. Also if you watch the movie its kind of OBVIOUS that the jewish leaders in the movie are acting out of their own ambition. How does this tarnish the reputation of any group of people other then to say that a couple of them didnt deserve the positions they held at the time.

But im curious as to bens opinio nof the movie, he might have posted it somewhere here but i dont know.

i think you missed the point- the filmn is not anti semtic. it is as according to the gospels and mel gibson’s view. what worries me is that it can insprie anti-semitism in areas of this country that jewish populations are either non existant or extremely small. Think about McCarthy’sm and the hollywood blacklists -things like that. remember people are suggestible and too lazy to think for themselves. that is what i see as the danger of this film. and no a post script of any sort warning against acts of hatred against jews or whoever else involved is no where in the film

I think that concerns over The Passion are all too often overblown and wrongly politicized. You don’t like Christianity? Don’t see the damn film; it’s that simple.

Well there must be a way, because the film produced no such feeling in me or in anyone I know.

No is the answer. Or at least, it’s highly unlikely. For one thing, “Middle America” is overwhelmingly pro-Israel–so it is quite a stretch to call widespread anti-semitism a danger in America (although it seems there really is growing anti-semitism in Europe). Further, as you said yourself, people don’t like to think when they go to movies. Why in god’s green earth would someone see a group of Jewish religious leaders beating up another Jew (with a Jewish mother and Jewish friends, by the way) and infer that this behavior reflects the character of all Jews 2000 years later? Most people just aren’t creative enough to come up with such wild conclusions on their own. In his interview with Diane Sawyer Gibson invoked the example of Schindler’s List, which depicts Germans carrying out what are probably the most depraved actions imaginable. Did you hear about this movie generating German-hatred?

It probably would have been prudent of him to take this line out entirely. But c’mon: who understands Aramaic? Again, I don’t see this as being much of a problem.

Now this I agree with. I think that given all the contraversy surrounding the film, Gibson should clarify (in the dvd perhaps?) what exactly he meant to convey. My biggest complaint about the movie was that it displayed gratuitious violence that, for someone unfamiliar with the great meaning the passion story holds for Christians, must be truly disturbing.

“I think that concerns over The Passion are all too often overblown and wrongly politicized. You don’t like Christianity? Don’t see the damn film; it’s that simple.”

It’s not about liking or not liking christianity. You cast off the fact that as group people are not smart but rather are suggestible, lazy, and (gasp) even stupid. There is a staunch argument to be made against the culpability of the Jews in the death of jesus- remeber the original passion plays produced an overwhelming response of animosity of europeans to their jewish neighbors when these plays first appeared.

““Middle America” is overwhelmingly pro-Israel–so it is quite a stretch to call widespread anti-semitism a danger in America (although it seems there really is growing anti-semitism in Europe). Further, as you said yourself, people don’t like to think when they go to movies. Why in god’s green earth would someone see a group of Jewish religious leaders beating up another Jew (with a Jewish mother and Jewish friends, by the way) and infer that this behavior reflects the character of all Jews 2000 years later?”

Just because america is pro-israel does not mean that it is pro-jew. Where in the movie do we see that jesus is a Jew. Gibson does a tremendous job of separating Jesus, Mary and the entire crew from the Jewish mob lead by caiphus. Going into the movie blind say w/out any religious affiliation one leaves with an animosity towards those who cause the torture and torment of this innocent man. Like it or not for a number of people the behavior of jews in this film toward jesus still reflects the character jews 2000 years later. keep in mind, most of this is taken directly from the gospels- and the movie is also partly inspired by the opriginal passions by anne catherine emmerich who was a known anti-semite and a fact that hitler refers to the passion plays as an inspriration for his final plan.

Your point is convoluded because in addrssing the passion plays it is imperative that you address the fact that for over 2000 jews have been persecuted for this reason alone-the fact the gospels identify the jews as christ killers.

“It probably would have been prudent of him to take this line out entirely. But c’mon: who understands Aramaic? Again, I don’t see this as being much of a problem.”

Good point on that one- it was more of a reach, but the fact that its in there in aramaic doesn’t mean it’s not still there.

Finally when looking at the gospels i think that one should examine the hostorical accuracy and take into consideration a few things.

  1. the fact that the romans were he rulers of much of the world at the time & that christians were being wrongly persecuted at the hands of the romans for years.
    2)Mendelssohn points out that judaism is the religion of the father (moses) and Christianity; the religion of the son (Jesus). Judaism is an “exclusive” religion- “we are the chosen people” it was not part of Jewish teachings to go out and spread the word of G-d, Abraham, and Moses but rather keep it in the faith. Christianity its completely opposite in that respect as Christianity urges the spread of Jesus love and the word of G-d and the eventual push to convert all “savages” to christianity
    3)at the time of Roman empire the jews were not converting romans to judaism, and logically a christian would argue tha tthe best way to to avoid continued persecution would be to convert their tormentors. So historically one has to legitmately at least consider the fact that the gospels, and the original bible that tells of the pathos of christ has some political lining in it.

Just some thoughts - but back to my main point- Mel Gibson is irresponsible for not discouraging any anti-hebrew feelings a person may have after viewing his film. I think oliver stone put some kind of post-script on natural born killers…which suprise suprise - idiots eventually copycated in real life.

Yes, although the scholarship paints a picture that is far from clear. It remains quite likely that the Jewish religious establishment had a hand in Jesus’ demise. Whether they are as culpable as the Gospels make them out to be is unclear, but early Christians must have had some reason to dislike them. Either they really did turn Jesus over to the Romans, or the Gospel writers are trying to get back at them for their cruel treatment of the Christians after Jesus’ death (my guess is it’s a little of both). This shouldn’t be contraversial: corrupt religious establishments are nothing new. I mean, the Jews persecuted the Christians, and then a few centuries later the Christians turned round and did the same thing to the Jews. It’s a disturbing reflection of the darker side of human nature; every religion is capable of such things.

But the history is really irrelevant. Who says that a movie has to be historically accurate? Gibson is filming a work of religious literature, and I think it ought to be treated that way.

Yes but they weren’t the cause of the ant-Semitism. They were simply used to feed the prejudices that were there to begin with. And you had the church leaders pointing to the plays and telling people, “see, the Jews are evil; they killed Christ.” Do you see anyone using Gibson’s film that way? I don’t.

How does that work? Israel is a Jewish state, created to give Jews a collective homeland. What could it possibly mean to be both pro-Israel and anti-Semitic?

The phrase, “King of the Jews” gives us a not-so-subtle hint. As if most people didn’t already know Jesus was a Jew…

But why should Jews identify more with the religious leaders than with Jesus and his disciples? I mean they were all ethnically Jewish. If you look closely, most everyone in the mob is wearing temple garb. That means that the people betraying Jesus are religious leaders and their disciples–not ordinary Jews. This image stands in contrast to the more sympathetic crowd lining the road to Cavalary.

Well I don’t know who these people are, but from my vantage point the film hasn’t exactly sparked off waves of anti-semitism. For sure, there are still bigots around…but they’re a very small minority in this country. Jews are very well integrated and accepted in American society–probably more so than in any other country in the world (save Israel, of course).
The movie’s been out for months now…plenty of time for the bigots to get their message out. But it hasn’t happened because Americans are largely pro-Jewish.

Again, so what? Just because this story has been misused by anti-semites throughout history doesn’t make it inherently anti-semitic. Hitler especially distorted any element of European culture that would serve his political goals.

I realize the concern, and it shouldn’t be blindly overlooked. But your claim is that this movie is going to spark a new wave of anti-Semitism in America. It hasn’t done that, and I don’t see any reason why it would in the future. I highly doubt that historic Passion plays would have been such powerful anti-Semitic tools if they hadn’t played into a majority prejudice that just does not exist in America today.

But to do so is to admit/acknowledge that the film is encouraging anti-semiticism, or at least potential capable of being so, which is clearly arguably not, and achieving the very opposite of the intent.

Hi Logo,

It is an unfortunate and tragic fact that the Passion of Christ is recorded in Johns Gospel with distinct antisemitical statements. This is transported in the liturgy leading up to Easter, which is what Mel Gibson seems to have wanted to bring to film. I doubt whether he was particularly moved to be antisemitical, but the undertone can’t be ignored. However, the Prophets, if we regard them by the same light, were often prophets of doom for Israel and the statements of the NT only reflect the consequences of OT criticism of Israel and Juda.

What the point is here, is that Mel Gibson regards the biblical story as being completely historical. Of course there is a lot of theology flowing between the lines too. Theologie that is metaphorical and needs translating in our day. The “Jews” should be rendered: “the pious” or “the rightteous” which plays upon what Jesus himself often criticised: the “righteous” were often the opinion that they only had to steep up their “righteousness” by overdoing the commands of Torah to force the hand of God.

Jesus, on the other hand looked for the faith of the “righteous” and often to no avail apparently. He asks what can a “righteousness” without faith be worth? If you don’t trust God, why obey his commandments? If, on the other hand, the commandments were good, then why shouldn’t the “righteous” show trust in God?

The key is in the “shema yisrael” that Jesus is recorded as saying (Mark 12:29-33): Jesus answered, The first commandment is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.

The opposition that Christ had amongst his own people is an issue that is theologically relevant, to describe Christ as the “remnant” of Juda, or as the suffering servant, which was what was intended to bring Jews to place their faith in Christ. The early Church, however, being seperated from it’s jewish origins, oversubscribed to the “inner-jewish” polemic and brought about the catastrophy that Jews have suffered since.


see the problem i have is that there is very large number of people in america who don’t know jews. Consider the bible belt, or even out in the midwest where there is a very large population of evangelists. People who take the scripture of the NT literally and whole heartedly believe it is 100% historically accurate.

I’ve actually had someone ask me if my mother had horns when he learned that my mother is jewish (my father isn’t)…

Is it too far fetched to argue that Gibson should have put a post-script or disclaimer at the end of the fillm dissuading people against feeling anger toward the jews depicted in the film (and ie those who are jews today)?

Ofcourse A select number of idioits may choose to act outwardly against jews after seeing the film, a few always do (look at natural born killers copycats). But in terms of cooling and amending feelings of animosity that the death of christ causes many of the catholic face to feel toward jews, it has to be irresponsible of GIbson for not adding a post-script.

As Gibson says in his interview with diane sawyer, to be anti-semetic goes against everything he believes… OK and i agree and i do not charge him as being an anti-semite. However, paying attention to world history for the past 2000 years, isn’t there some kind of obligation for Mel to add a sentence or two at the end. It wouldn’t mean that anything was wrong with his film, but rather help to dissuade people who leave theaters feeling angered instead of inspired.

Isn’t it his christian duty to do this? Jesus preached acceptance, love, and kindness. (Gibson can’t be too kind with his sneer at homosexuality-just look at the way herrod is portrayed in passion. If you want further prood of personal beliefs of Mel creeping into his film making; in braveheart the kings son-is both cowardly and very homosexual -easily one of the most dispicable characters in the film)

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that Mel harours certain resentments toward certain classes of people. A post-script should be in there.

anyone please help to explain this to me. thanks

dude, you worry too much. take a chill pill.

I respect Mel for what he did. His personal view point or not, he did it and made millions doing it! If people want to be ignorant, let them. There is no way you could become a Jew hater after watching that film if you weren’t one already. I saw it, loved it, and I even cried throughout the damn thing. It moved me. But I didn’t hate Jews.

I’m pretty sure the scriptures say that Jesus chose to die. Nobody killed him. Plain and simple.

HAHAHA! The passion, it was like, like pure shit. I remember going to see the movie and while i was buying the movie ticket this church type of guy with a lovely black fanny pack gave me a brochure on how i could be saved by god. As he was handing it to me he said “it looks like you could use this” Just Silly.

Basically, millions paid to see a man get beaten to an unrealistic extent. (can anyone really bleed that much) the Hollywood aspect that was added was great to. Sick, millions went to see that but no one hardly anyone went to go see the gospel of john. ( A movie about Jesus and his message that came out a little before the passion.) Well sorry Jesus but your crucifixion turned into entertainment. We said we were watching it to see what you did for us to justify the feeling we would get from watching the son of our creator be beaten.


Its history. It was prophesied, and it was delivered. The Jewish rejected Christ, but the Gentiles did the actual killing. There is Jew in my lineage but I was raised as a Gentile. Both are equally responsible. It is the ignorance of the person to be angry at the truth. It had to be done.

Dear Heather,

I actually understand you, I was there once, where you are now. But it is a simplified view of life and the world, which is so complicated and complex. History is far more than some words in a book. It’s emotion and pain, it is being forced down a road you don’t want to go, it is violent oppression and frustration, it is love and hate, clarity and confusion, celebration and suffering. Life is so contradictory that you sometimes have the feeling of being on a roundabout.

When you find relative harmony - even in your explanation of life’s mystery - you should grasp it and work on it. Of course you need to find others with whom you can develop and learn to adress the various problems in life. We all need a community of people with a common understanding and a common goal. To you it may be your church.

To others, it may be a different social gathering, and a different understanding may be shared there. Especially where emotions flow, we need to listen and be careful not to go like a bull at the gate. You may think you have a moral responsibility to hand out broschures to people like “Inonothing” - but you don’t. Each of us must find our own way.

If you trust God, then trust Him to show others their way. Be helpful to people for peoples sake, not because you want to win them over. That way you’ll win more people than otherwise. It is your own discipleship that is more important that evangelism, it is your own “way” that is more important than being able to tell others about it.

The pretension of Gibson, that he has made an historical film because it is biblical, is not true. He too has included elements of his imagination, just as the Evangelists have also written in the style of their day, using common metaphers. They were writing an account, not history. They were trying to understand and gain perspective for the way ahead, not portray Jesus historically.

The most important thing to me is that Christ is portrayed as someone who’s love held on through, as well as his certainty that his suffering had a significance for his followers. He didn’t run from danger, he didn’t send others ahead, but took the brunt himself and protected his followers. A far cry from the attitude of many today.

I don’t know whether my understanding of the “Passion” is correct, but I don’t believe that that is the point. The Passion of Christ is the ardent love that pulsated in his veins in faith that God had a job for him to do. If we could find the same kind of love that could inspirit us, we would be further than we are today.


Thank you for being a person with an empathetic view. I echoe your feeling to allow God to work for people, however we can a be seed planter every once in a while. I am not an ambulance chaser or a crusader, though I admitt because of my passion and enlightenment if I am given permission by another to speak of Christianity, I can be zealous. That’s just my age.
So thank you for being a voice of older wisdom! Peace and love be with you always.

A sort of irony, my father is a history teacher. I was raised with complexity, so much so that it overwhelmed my child right to be innocent of so much. Before I scraped my knee I knew what the classifications of wounds were. Before I lost my first tooth, I learned the names and places of my permanent teeth. It seemed my father was so aware of the complexity of history, that history actually became future. In which case One is destined rather than doomed to repeat. So I in “regressing” simplifying, creating well defined lines for my life, I can finally experience that inner child. For now at least. I guess I call it drama. And I have had plenty, however in my moment of complexity I have tuned out the orchestra just because I feel like listening to the vocals. My dad used to say, “Where there once was a battle, there is now peacefulness. Where there once was peace there is now a battle. Is there peace without battle?”
I often question that. Whether its a battle within yourself or not. Must we always stuggle to be content? Is that what God meant when he said,“by the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food…”? Was that a double meaning? We were cursed into working for our peace by our Adamic nature. well if one sweats it means they are working or doing something with effort. Then eating food, is rest and pleasure. So we are either working or we are resting. Can everything be tied into these two categories? Think about it. Does anything else exist?
Work Rest

We can’t rest unless we work for if there was no work we wouldn’t know what rest was. And if there wasn’t rest we wouldn’t know what work was. One needs the other to exists.
So history to me involves the work rest pattern. And at the moment of my life, I’m in rest. And I feel like complexity doesn’t exist in rest.

I find it interesting that so many people are worried that the movie will promote anti-semitism because of it’s portrayl of the Jews, but nobody seems to wonder if the portrayl of the Romans will promote anti-Italian sentiments. It may seem like a stretch, but it’s the same damned thing. Cultures do stuff to other cultures. Did anyone complain about massive anti-British sentiment when Braveheart came out? Is everybody going to start hating Mexicans because of the Alamo movie coming out soon? This same argument, as weak as it is, could be made about virtually any war movie. Yes, the Jesus movie was more graphic, and yes, it deals with a more sensitive subject, but it’s hard to imagine anybody becoming an anti-semite because of that movie. What’s more, the worry that something like that will happen should be of absolutely no concern when making a movie, especially a movie about historical events. The only concern should be if the movie itself was negative towards Judaism beyond what was necessary to cover the subject matter, and I think that’s the case at all.

Hi Killer!

I know, it really digs in doesn’t it! Everybody worried about the Jews and the fact that imperial Rome was more imperial than even Geoge W. seems to be what everybody ignores - and yet the Romans, er, Italians are different today. Even the Mob is Sicilian and Pizza is better anywhere else than in Italy.

Perhaps it’s because everybody knew about the appalling behaviour of my ‘beloved’ Nation - or rather certain elements that still hold fast today. And it is these certain elements that are always disturbing. The remnants of ‘Nazi-ism’ in Germany still claim that the Jews had it coming to them because of all the reasons Goebbels told them to believe.

No, I don’t think so. Of course the sight of Germans watching Schindlers List or some of the old war movies makes me ask what is going on in the head of these people - mostly it is something self-critical that I tend to admire. But many of the recent films on war have tried to portray things as they were and in particular, the fact that war changes anyone, whatever Nation or culture you’re from.

I am not afraid of people becoming antisemetic, I just think that the portrayal goes overboard - with the violence, with religious imagination, and with old prejudices that have become obstinate and grim with the years - almost incorrigible and fanatical. These are the things that we need to overcome in our world today and are elements of a fundamentalism that seeks Armageddon as though it has to be.

We know today that very few Jews actually knew that Jesus had been crucified and it wasn’t the Jews (if at all) that cried out: “Take away, take away, crucify him” or “His blood is upon us, and upon our children!’” If at all, it was a few - and probably those with influence - who had something to gain. To make out of a few “the Jews” is polemical and to amplify this with a modern film is irresponsible.


I should point out that I haven’t seen the movie, that said.

This film is the main thing that bothers me about a lot of christians. At first the religion seems okay, they talk about some nice guy a few millenia ago who came up with some radically unusual ideas for the time period. He’s no Sidhuartha Ghuatama but still, if you want to follow him that’s your choice.

Then they start talking about how this guy was murdered and they go on about it a lot. They talk about his murder being a deeply spiritual event and the very core of their faith. What’s with all the focus on his death? If his life was so great then why don’t you guys talk about that a little more.

If you guys stopped talking about death, eternal torture and some nice guy getting whipped for the sake of symbolism then maybe, just maybe, you’d be a little less creepy.

Bob- other than the demons and satan flying around, I didn’t see the movie showing another other than what was alleged to have happened. The idea that some historical events should not become movies because of the reaction they may provoke seems really odd to me.

No, 'we all' don't know that. Traditional holds that scene to be a mob of Jews led into a frenzy by their leaders, and while I agree it wasn't every Jew on earth, and may not have been the sentiments of the majority, the movie depicts it the way I was always taught it happened, and the way the Bible says it happened- that some liberal bible scholars believe it to be otherwise doesn't obligate Mel to anything. An atheist may tell me "We all know now there never was such a person as Jesus"- would that mean the movie ought never have been made at all?

He’s not some nice guy to us, he’s our Christ.