A quote from an ABC interview:
It’s one of the biggest censorships of history. So, I thought somebody should say this, and then others might disagree, say, “Ahhh, this could not be! This is blasphemy!” But it’s OK â€” this is the 21st century. It’s time for information. It’s time for communication. They can go check it out.
It must be Easter…and the latest debunking of orthodox Christian belief is getting press coverage.
The latest twist? It’s a film on the “life of Jesus” as told by the devout Iranian Muslim government.
Ironically, it was released at a time when “youths” are “rioting” because they are…well the police think they might be bored.
Or could it be because the Danish press, instead of cowering when told a death squad was planning to kill the publisher of the dreaded “cartoons of death“, decided to publish them as a protest for freedom of speech.
But depite the protests, no one thinks that the Dutch government is promoting the cartoons that ridicule Mohammed.
Yet when the Iranian government releases a movie blasphemous of Christian beliefs, the film wins praise at an “interfaith” film festival in Rome, for “generating interfaith dialogue”.
Well, why not.
Every religious holiday, the elites “discover” another “proof” that Christians are wrong about Jesus. Last year it was that Jesus was just a loud mouth preacher who got in trouble with the Roman authorities and ran off with Mary Magdalen and lived comfortably until a ripe old age.
And every year a similar “discovery” is touted. Last years’s the Da Vinci Code was only the latest.
And then you have the (now debunked) Jesus tomb story and the (now debunked) Gospel of Judas as front page stories generating oodles of publicity and TV specials, never mind that scholars, not theologians, have debunked the latter two as shoddy scholarship.
What few people understand is that these alternative stories about Jesus go back to the early days of Christianity, and in some areas for awhile became the most popular version of the creed. After all, it was a lot easier for those who believed in Zeus begetting Apollo and Hercules to change their religion to believing that Jehovah begat a superhero son than in believing that the one deity of the philosophers actually got his hands dirty by becoming a man in the old fashioned way, by being born….and into a dirty stable, of a poor working class family.
Better to believe Jesus was a minor god like Hercules, or a descended master, or a man whose body was used by a god (who conveniently flew the coop when Jesus was crucified), or that he wasn’t a lowly non Aryan Jew, but the son of a Roman soldier…. and of course he didn’t die and rise again. Like the Muslim story, someone else took his place, or he was taken from the cross and revived in the first century version of an ICU within three days, or…well, you get the picture.
Any story will do but the one preached by orthodox Christians.
What all these stories have in common is two things: One, that Jesus was not God, and that he didn’t die and rise again.
Two: That the alternative story is true, and the story told by the Catholic church is a lie. (place latest Catholic conspiracy theory here).
Mohammed in some ways had an excuse: The only Christianity he knew about was the non deity Christian type, so it is that version that got into the Koran.
Yet the filmmaker is presenting the same anti Catholic line as the DaVinci Code and a dozen other modern fictional novels: that the Council of Nicea tried to destroy the real version of Christianity…but this film adds the twist that Jesus was merely a man who prophecized the coming of Mohammed….but the rest of the story is the same: That the evil church tried to destroy the gospel that told the real truth.
Catholics might gingerly point out, however, that Constantine and his son Constantius, and later the Emperor Valens actually backed the Arian (Jesus as superman) version of Christianity, and for awhile the strongest supporter of what is now called Christian orthodoxy, Bishop Athanasius, was on the run from the authorities. The Catholic version of this tells the story of Athanasius who once hid in a well to avoid capture by the Emperor’s soldiers, leading one writer to wryly comment: At the time, there was only one Christian, in a well, but the truth triumphed in the long run.
Ah, yes, Truth.
In a world of multiculturalism, one might echo the words of Pilate: What is truth?
Let’s all be reasonable, and insist that religion is a psychological way of coping with difficulties, god is our projection of a father figure, and why argue about theology when we are all good people, so just shut up about your beliefs.
Such ideas are tempting now that leading writers see religion as the source of all wars and hatred (conveniently ignoring the “isms” of the twentieth century that pointed to scientific reasons for their murders, and also conveniently ignoring the numerous wars of China, whose 3000 year history is as bloody as Europe, but not as well known).
But if one believes that truth matters, then one has to answer the question that Jesus asked those who followed him: Who do you say I am?
If you believe Jesus is a prophet, an avantar, a superman, a loudmouth revolutionary, a fraud, or X (place latest fad here), then no problem. If these ideas are true, you can go on and make up your own religion, and see orthodox Christians as narrowminded deluded bigots.
But, at least be aware that there is another version of the story that might be true, one that has implications: That the maker of the galaxies saw men getting into trouble on their own, and realizing they didn’t understand the mystics, decided to teach them about how to live.
And if this happened, then maybe the lessons of the Sermon on the mount mean more than a warm fuzzy feeling.
For unlike preachers who impose legal strictures, and unlike mystics who use hyperbole in seeking God, Jesus used simple stories: stories better understood by the farmers of Luzon or Africa than the intelligencia.
Jesus talked of things we see every day: The sprouting seed, the lost sheep, the son who preferred parties to hard work but came back to be forgiven by a loving father.
The response of the authorities back then to such radical teaching was the same as it would be today: to silence the voice by a show trial and ridicule.
So the latest response to silence the teaching of Christ is that in the name of “religious understanding” we will promote a film that repeats the alternative story: that Christ found a patsy to die for him.
And the response of the politically correct will be praise.
But the response of Christians will be…prayer.
And maybe for those of us who are lowly bloggers, an explanation on why we think such films distort the true story of Christ.