What's behind all of the "Passion" bashing?

I'm starting to get tired of this stuff.
Gibson Detractors Plan Campaign to Counter 'Passion'
NEW YORK -- Jews and Christians who fear Mel Gibson's (search) epic on the crucifixion of Jesus will fuel anti-Semitism are planning lecture series, interfaith talks and other programs to try to mute the film's impact.
Somebody finally makes a movie about Jesus that isn't so cheesy that it makes even the non-lactose intolerant run for the lactaid and people flip out. It's really disturbing to see so many "Christians" buy into the notion that a movie based on the gospels is a bad thing. As usual at the heart of this business is what you believe about God. If you actually believe the claims made about Jesus Christ in the Bible and that the Bible is the inspired Word of God then you probably think "The Passion of Christ" is going to be a good movie. If, however, you are say of the Jesus Seminar crowd you will have lots of problems with this movie.

The "this movie will incite anti-Semitism" charge works only if you check your brain at the door and don't know how to read. Pick any translation of the Bible that you want and read it. Only those with blinders on will miss the fact that Jesus, his disciples, his friends, his family, his enemies, and the people who recorded the Bible were all Jewish. And only those with blinders on will construe the stories told by these Jewish people as anti-Semitic. But then again, if you don't believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God you don't really care what it actually says now do you?
Critics of the film hope to explain how dramatizations of the crucifixion, called Passion plays, were used in the Middle Ages to incite anti-Jewish violence, and emphasize that many Christian denominations now reject the idea of collective Jewish responsibility in the slaying of Jesus.
Um, it's 2004. If the best objection to this movie is based on what people did some 500 to 600 years ago (when most people couldn't read and weren't allowed to read the Bible even if they could read) then the claims of anti-Semitism are pretty lame. I would dare to say that any Christian denomination that holds to the idea that Jews and Jews alone were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is seriously missing a significant part of the gospel. All of humanity had a voice in the crowd chanting for Christ's crucifixion. All of humanity had a hand on the hammer that drove the nails into Christ's hands and feet. All of humanity had a hand on the sword that pierced his side. But none of that changes the fact that the people immediately responsible for the events surrounding Jesus Christ's death and resurrection were Jewish. What you conclude from that fact is on your own head.
The campaign is being undertaken in the face of a massive evangelistic effort by many American churches in conjunction with the movie's release. Several prominent conservative Christians, including the Rev. Billy Graham (search), said the film was among the most powerful depictions they'd seen of Christ's last hours.
This statement suggests to me that the real problem with "The Passion of Christ" is not that it is anti-Semitic but that it may lead people to re-examine their lives and what they think about the claims that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died for their sins. I can't help but think how this is similar to the reaction of the Pharisees and Saducees to Jesus' popularityamong the Jewish people. These leaders feared losing control of the masses as more and more people began to Jesus. Today people fear losing influence if the masses decided that maybe the Bible was right about Jesus Christ and a whole lot of other things.


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