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A Freeper Review of The Passion of Christ
Vanity | 2/21/04 | John Fields

Posted on 02/21/2004 3:50:43 PM PST by jonboy

I'm not sure where to start. I'm a fellow Freeper who also happens to be minister. I was invited today to see a screening of the Passion of the Christ at our local theater. I have been fascinated, and you might even be able to say obsessed with this movie ever since I heard about it a few months ago and first saw the trailer (I cried every time I saw it).

Given that I have watched and listened to several interviews and read several news stories about this movie I was as prepared as I thought I could be to watch it. I HAVE NEVER BEEN THROUGH ANYTHING LIKE THIS MOVIE! I sobbed, I throbbed, my Kleenex became a fairly useless mess that occupied the hand not tightly gripping the seat. IT WAS HARD TO WATCH. The cruelty was overwhelming, but approximated what we have a glimpse from in scripture. The violence and horror of what was done to Him nearly overwhelming, but not gratuitous as some have claimed.

As to the charges of anti-semitism, I can understand how a Jew who does not believe that Jesus is their Messiah would be frightened by this film. However, it was NOT anti-semitic. I could just as easily be moved to be against Italians for what the Romans did as I could be against the Jews. If one were inspired to hate the perpetrators if this event, they would be anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-Arab, anti-Japanese, and anti-__________ (fill in your own blanks). I was filled with the grim overwhelming knowledge of my own guilt as much as anything else. As I watched Him writhing in pain, the ribs virtually exposed from the beating that He had taken, as I watched His shoulder ripped out of socket as they stretched his hand to make it to the pre-drilled nail hole, as I watched the blood flowing and the breath ripped from His body from the pain, one thing entered into my mind above all else. I PUT HIM THERE! He could have come down, He could have called in excess of ten-thousand angels. He could have stopped that horrible mockery and evil in its tracks by coming down off of that cross, healing His own wounds, and then saying go to it boys as He releases the angels to take care of business. BUT HE DIDN'T. I am in awe.

I admit that I has moments when I felt like ripping the Jewish and Roman perpetrators apart. How dare they laugh in the face of such agony! How dare they spit on Him! How dare they stand in pompous, arrogant, self-righteous judgment of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (how dare MYSELF go on sinning after what He did for me)! But as the High Priest is walking away from making fun and mocking. He hears Jesus softly say, taking up precious breath, "Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing." The High Priest pauses in uncomfortable silence, then walks on. Later, after Jesus has died and the earthquake has damaged the temple and they are very aware that they have done something terribly wrong the High Priest is seen crying out and holding his face in grief and horror.

This movie was about love and forgiveness and about our sin and what God and His Son did together about that sin. It is about the horrible things that men do to their fellow men which can still be forgiven if they will but repent. Some of the Jews were depraved and some were compassionate. Some of the Romans were depraved, and some of them were inclined towards compassion. Anti-Jewish? NO WAY! Besides, the early church was exlusively Jewish. The movie is not about Mel Gibson having some kind of point to prove to anyone, let alone the Jews. It was Mel's passion, a labor of love. Will it profit Him? Unbelievably! Did he do it for the money, not a chance.

Were there any liberties taken with the scripture? Maybe a few. Poetic/artistic license was taken to a degree. There were some scenes with Judas that were extra Biblical, but imaginable. Surprisingly, he was shown as a somewhat sympathetic character, which is something I've felt to a degree for him. I doubt that he was a completely depraved man, he just wanted to speed things along so that Jesus would have to rise to the throne and have to take His true place. When he realized he had been horribly mis-lead he admitted guilt but then went out and killed himself. There was a scene in which the unrepentant thief had his eyes pecked out by a crow. I thought that didn't gel well with the theme of forgiveness and should have been left out. It seemed to represent Divine retribution since the thief had just been blaspheming Jesus. But the cross wasn't about retribution, that will come later at Judgment, it was about mercy.

As to this movie being appropriate for children? That's a hard call. I think it would be best if conscientous parents screened it for themselves first. It is hard enough for mature adults to stomach. However, there is something to be said for exposing young tender hearts to the truth of what He did. Maybe knowing what He did at a younger age would lead to more mature Christians later. Again, it's an individual call.

Is this movie Catholic? Yes and no. Those who see the relationship between Jesus and Mary who are Catholic will likely see Mary as divine. Those of us who believe that Mary was a mere woman who was blessed enough to have been chosen to be the mother of the Christ will see the relationship between a mother and her Son. THIS MOVIE IS FOR ALL!!! I can wholeheartedly recommend this movie to others for personal devotion or to touch the hearts of those who are lost. I believe very much that it will be a culturally defining movie and that it will break most IF NOT ALL of the box office records both nationally and world-wide. The Lord will not be silenced. I truly feel He has spoken through this movie. Maybe its His way of saying WAKE UP before He comes again. If it is, this Christian is awake (wiping away tears).


TOPICS: Current Events
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I hope that this helps for those who have been concerned about the movie based upon what they have been seeing and hearing. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. By the way, I stand by every comment I made in a previous post about the larger political and cultural implications and ramifications of this film. Now just as the world is polarized pre and post 9/11 it will be polarized pre and post Passion. You may read that post HERE.
1 posted on 02/21/2004 3:50:43 PM PST by jonboy
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To: jonboy
Thank you for the review. Well done!
2 posted on 02/21/2004 3:54:47 PM PST by JennysCool
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To: jonboy
"Those of us who believe that Mary was a mere woman..."

No critisism here on your wonderful review. I still can't comprehend the above statement.

Yes, I was raised Catholic, but more importantly, I was not raised Anti-Catholic but if you believe that Jesus Christ was truly the Son of GOD, how could NOT Mary be more than a "mere woman" ???

Please let's not debate this (this time around) - Let us discuss this movie without the prejudiced remarks.
3 posted on 02/21/2004 3:57:22 PM PST by steplock
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To: jonboy
I've chatted with three VERY Christian women who don't know if they can make it through the whole film - and, more than likely, won't go to see it.

I'm sure the DVD release will make it into even more homes - maybe just in time for Christmas...

4 posted on 02/21/2004 3:58:23 PM PST by Libloather (Charter member - VRWC - # EIB-04151982)
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To: jonboy
How dare they laugh in the face of such agony! How dare they spit on Him!

They had no choice. It was all foretold hundreds of years earlier, and there was no other way it could have happened.
5 posted on 02/21/2004 4:00:48 PM PST by WayneM (Cut the KRAP (Karl Rove Amnesty Plan). Call your elected officials and say "NO!!")
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To: jonboy
Thanks. I can hardly wait to see it. Tomorrow on PAX at 8:00 pm central, will be a special on the making of this movie.
6 posted on 02/21/2004 4:01:50 PM PST by BlueAngel
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To: steplock
Let the review stand, please. The Mary remark is not anti-Catholic, he gave both sides. Maybe we should start another thread. ;)
7 posted on 02/21/2004 4:04:56 PM PST by madison10
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To: BlueAngel
Thanks for the heads-up on Pax.
8 posted on 02/21/2004 4:05:12 PM PST by secret garden (Go Predators! Go Spurs!)
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To: jonboy
Thank you for the review. Although I am not inclined to watch violence, I am going to see this movie. I feel the need for something to make my faith more solid, and I believe this film has been sent by God for just such a pupose.
9 posted on 02/21/2004 4:05:59 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: jonboy
Thank you. As a Freeper, I trust other Freepers. As a Jew, I trust other Freepers.
10 posted on 02/21/2004 4:06:34 PM PST by Pharmboy (History's greatest agent for freedom: The US Armed Forces)
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To: steplock
Yes, I was raised Catholic, but more importantly, I was not raised Anti-Catholic but if you believe that Jesus Christ was truly the Son of GOD, how could NOT Mary be more than a "mere woman" ???

With all respect, as a Protestant I do believe Mary was more than a mere woman, in much the same sense that Moses was more than a mere man. They transcend "mere" men and women because they were specially chosen by God to perform a special mission on his behalf.

It does sound like a good topic for discussion on some other thread.
11 posted on 02/21/2004 4:08:26 PM PST by WayneM (Cut the KRAP (Karl Rove Amnesty Plan). Call your elected officials and say "NO!!")
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To: BlueAngel
Tomorrow on PAX at 8:00 pm central, will be a special on the making of this movie.

Reposted and "bolded" for publicity!
Thanks for the heads-up!
12 posted on 02/21/2004 4:08:39 PM PST by VOA
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To: jonboy
Those who see the relationship between Jesus and Mary who are Catholic will likely see Mary as divine

Catholics see Mary as the first Christian, the first follower of Jesus, the one who said 'yes' to God and cooperated with the Holy Spirit - not divine, that is a Protestant misunderstanding of Catholicism.

13 posted on 02/21/2004 4:09:51 PM PST by pbear8 (no complaining...Thanks be to God)
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To: jonboy
Could you go into a little more depth about this? Specifically, I'm wondering about a scene where Jesus is chained and thrown or dangled from a bridge. Did that scene stand out to you, assuming it's really in the movie?
14 posted on 02/21/2004 4:10:12 PM PST by RoseyT
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To: jonboy
great review of the movie and the political implications...I have been waiting for this movie for a year and like you I'm not prepared.
15 posted on 02/21/2004 4:10:37 PM PST by votelife (Elect a Filibuster Proof Majority)
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To: jonboy
Thank you for this heartfelt review. I cannot wait to see this movie, and yet I fear seeing this movie more than anything in my life.

I know that the Lord gave himself for my salvation, but I cannot help but feel unworthy of seeing his sacrifice. I do not want to see Jesus suffer, because I know he does it for me. My heart will feel the sting of each blow, and my soul will cry out for them to stop.

16 posted on 02/21/2004 4:11:45 PM PST by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
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To: jonboy
Thank you for a great review. My wife and I are going with 17 others to see this movie on Friday night. We're looking forward to it -- for ourselves and for this movie's impact on America.
17 posted on 02/21/2004 4:12:09 PM PST by sruleoflaw
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To: jonboy
Well written review. Thank you for your comments and opinions.
18 posted on 02/21/2004 4:12:18 PM PST by Castro
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To: WayneM
What Wayne said. Please.
19 posted on 02/21/2004 4:13:16 PM PST by madison10
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To: WayneM; jonboy
Would "mortal" be a better word choice than "mere" and still make the point?
20 posted on 02/21/2004 4:14:08 PM PST by NonValueAdded ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people." GWB 1/20/04)
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To: jonboy
. . . who are Catholic will likely see Mary as divine . . .

Catholics do NOT see Mary as divine! I'm sick and tired of this canard by Protestants who should know better.

21 posted on 02/21/2004 4:16:45 PM PST by choirboy
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To: jonboy
Super BTTT...
22 posted on 02/21/2004 4:16:54 PM PST by LowOiL (Christian and proud of it !)
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To: jonboy
As to this movie being appropriate for children? That's a hard call. I think it would
be best if conscientous parents screened it for themselves first. It is hard enough
for mature adults to stomach. However, there is something to be said for
exposing young tender hearts to the truth of what He did. Maybe knowing what He did
at a younger age would lead to more mature Christians later. Again, it's an individual call.


RE: viewing of The Passion by minors
I heard a good suggestion on a Christian talk-radio show on this topic.
One family had decided that they'd would go to the same screening...
but be "split up" with separate transportation. Thus, if an older child(ren) wanted to
see the film (and could endure it), one parent could stay...and if sibling(s)
couldn't endure it, they could bail out and have the other parent drive them home
(and help them process the experience).

I suspect there will be at least a few adults who will probably won't make it through
a first screening of this film...and they shouldn't be embarassed.
A cursory reading of the clinical aspect of a crucifixion (and all the
attendant punishment proceeding) is brutal enough; seeing a realistic portrayal
MUST have be at least an "R" experience.
23 posted on 02/21/2004 4:18:56 PM PST by VOA
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To: steplock
Please let's not debate this (this time around) - Let us discuss this movie without the prejudiced remarks.

Then why did you start it, then?

24 posted on 02/21/2004 4:19:08 PM PST by mcg1969
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To: BlueAngel
Which channel is PAX? I get 200 plus channels, but I don't remember that one. Just wondered before I flip though my channel guide.
Thanks!
25 posted on 02/21/2004 4:19:09 PM PST by LisaMalia (In Memory of Sgt. James W. Lunsford..KIA 11-29-69 Binh Dinh S. Vietnam)
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To: jonboy
"Those who see the relationship between Jesus and Mary who are Catholic will likely see Mary as divine."

As a Roman Catholic, I have never been taught that Mary was "divine" nor do we worship her. As the Mother of God, we love and venerate her for her obedience and humility and for her role in bringing the Saviour to us. We love her also because He gave her to us from the Cross.

That said, I want to thank you for posting this review. I felt as if I was sitting next to you! Our country needs something like this so badly and isn't it ironic that this great gift comes from the movie industry. God bless Mel Gibson and all the people who helped in producing "The Passion".
26 posted on 02/21/2004 4:20:21 PM PST by Flora McDonald (Stand the Storm!)
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To: VOA
My wife has already indicated that she may not make it through the entire movie, so we are doing the two cars thing. She wants to see the movie, but just is not sure if she will be able to handle it emotionally.
27 posted on 02/21/2004 4:21:54 PM PST by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
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To: jonboy
Thanks for the review, except for the misrepresentation about the Catholic view of Mary -- she is NOT divine and the Catholic Church has never taught that.
28 posted on 02/21/2004 4:21:56 PM PST by padfoot_lover
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To: NonValueAdded
"Would "mortal" be a better word choice than "mere" and still make the point?"

Well, let's see if I've gotten your point. Mere is not good, in and of itself it is a dismissive word, not insulting necessarily, but minimizing.

Mortal is good, if what you're getting at is the Mary was not mortal, that is she did not die, she ascended into heaven, as did a few other worthies of the Old Testament, if I am not gravely mistaken.

Obviously from my Bible-ignorant reply, I'm a Catholic, and no, to us Mary is not divine. Unless you're not well educated. I remember one fellow (I think on these threads) telling me his mom thought that the Holy Trinity was God the Father, Jesus, and Mary. But, er, that was a mistake.

29 posted on 02/21/2004 4:22:10 PM PST by jocon307 (The dems don't get it, the American people do.)
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To: Diva; Paleo
Well this is interesting.
30 posted on 02/21/2004 4:30:53 PM PST by WritableSpace
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To: JennysCool
"I always thought my past sins would come back to haunt me" Quote from Gibsons character in the Patriot.

I must dry the tears from my eyes everytime I read a review, your's was no different. I will see the movie and will make sure I bring plenty of tissue. God forgive me for my many sins.

31 posted on 02/21/2004 4:31:46 PM PST by OneVike
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To: jocon307
I think a lot of the confusion for non-Catholics in regards to Mary involves the "Hail Mary". Many non-Catholics look on this as a prayer to Mary, and ergo if one is praying to her then by fiat one must consider her to be devine.

I have many catholic friends who have cleared things up for me, but I think that may be the sticking point for a lot of others.

I think the suggestion of another thread, or maybe just a good explanation of Mary and her role in Catholic Religion would be very enlightening.

32 posted on 02/21/2004 4:32:57 PM PST by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
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To: steplock
Mary discussion.
33 posted on 02/21/2004 4:33:58 PM PST by madison10
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To: Miss Marple
Me too....
34 posted on 02/21/2004 4:34:18 PM PST by bellas_sister
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To: padfoot_lover
Catholic view of Mary -- she is NOT divine and the Catholic Church has never taught that.

I don't know what is taugh at the local Catholic Church here in my small town, but I do know that of people at my work most are Hispanic and Catholic. I can count no less that 4 or 5 images per day on cars (at any time of day or night at our work) that have pictures of Mary with the halo holy style. Most the cars have a small statue of Mary on the dash of the car too. When you see a full size van daily with Mary on the hood then you have to wonder if Mary is not a saint to these particular people. Call me bias, call me simple-minded, call me over for supper, I don't care, but that is my daily world life work senerio.

35 posted on 02/21/2004 4:34:59 PM PST by LowOiL (Christian and proud of it !)
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To: commish
by fiat one must consider her to be devine.

Not to be confused of course with Andy DEVINE, who while a god in many ways is certainly not DIVINE ;-)

36 posted on 02/21/2004 4:35:00 PM PST by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
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To: jonboy
But the cross wasn't about retribution, that will come later at Judgment, it was about mercy.

*bump* to grace, and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

37 posted on 02/21/2004 4:36:23 PM PST by Cboldt
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To: jonboy
I think I will see this---still undecided, as I just don't know that I can sit through the gore. That said, I KNOW the violence is accurately represented, and this is what is so remarkable about that:

The physical pain on the cross was, as unimaginable as it may be for us humans, the easiest thing Jesus did for us.

Before He ever got to the cross, He had to walk, as a human, a totally perfect life and never sin, despite "being tempted in all respects" as we are. How hard is that? Day after day, year after year, to always make the right decision, to always deny self. Satan's petty temptations were probably nothing to Him by the time He got to that point, having "seen it all."

More amazing is the spiritual death He died in the Garden and the sin of the world that He took upon Himself. For One who "knew not sin" to be "made sin for us" had to be a far greater pain and involve far more suffering than even the torture of the cross.

What really ought to get Christians is that what they see on screen is the EASY part of what Jesus did. Think about that!

38 posted on 02/21/2004 4:39:07 PM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrack of news.)
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To: Pharmboy
I was raised and schooled as a Catholic. I've never understood why Jews were blamed for Christ's death. He was a Jew who lived among Jews. Jesus Himself said that a prophet is never accepted in his own country. He chose His fate. Those who crucified Him were individuals who acted out of free will, but the fact that they were Jewish was incidental. There were undoubtedly just as many, if not more, Jewish people who loved and followed Him, as there were who brought about His demise. Why has history chosen to forget about them and emphasise those who destroyed Him?
39 posted on 02/21/2004 4:41:35 PM PST by giotto
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To: Libloather
My mother is a devout Catholic (mass every day) and she said she won't see it. I think it's the violence.
40 posted on 02/21/2004 4:41:59 PM PST by ladylib
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To: jonboy
I appreciate the honesty of this review. As a Catholic I'll add my two cents worth that no Catholic ever saw Mary as divine. The "Hail Mary" is mostly made up of a collection of biblical texts. The traditional Catholic view is that Mary is willing to intercede for people with her Son, and that He is pleased to grant her wishes as he was at Cana.

As for what I have heard about the movie, it is this: Mary teachers the viewer, who can barely stand watching some parts of it, how to view the Passion. We see it partly through her eyes and with her help. If she can look, so can we.

As I understand it, Satan is another witness of the Passion. He also is an interpreter, but a false interpreter, of what is happening. Mary and Satan are, as it were, proxy witnesses for the theater audience, who help teach us how to view it.

I would add that if you read the collected works of Martin Luther, you will find great honor and respect for Mary throughout. He only denied her the title "Queen of Heaven." It was some later Protestants who feared that Mary would detract from the centrality of Jesus. But she always points us back toward Him.
41 posted on 02/21/2004 4:48:21 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: jonboy
Thank you for this informative and heartfelt review.

My adult daughters and I have talked about how difficult it will be to see the portrayal of such suffering, yet knowing that it does depict reality.

Judging by your account, I can assume it will be as difficult as we imagine. However, I trust that the horror will touch us as it touched you.

All Christians know that the perfect and sinless lamb of God, Jesus, suffered and died for imperfect and sinful us. The visual may be hard to withstand, but the message knows no equal. We should think of it every day and then celebrate the gift of the Resurrection and the life everlasting.

42 posted on 02/21/2004 4:53:06 PM PST by Southflanknorthpawsis
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To: jonboy; deadhead; gatopfs
Those who see the relationship between Jesus and Mary who are Catholic will likely see Mary as divine.

You know it's funny. I just got done explaining this to my son in law who is an Episcopalian from my Catholic pointof view.

We do not see Mary as divine, we see her as the moratl, divinely chosen to bear Jesus Christ and as one of the first true Christians.

Nor do we pray to Mary as one does to the Lord. We merely ask her to pray for us as most freepers do here on a daily basis. Nobody would mistake asking deadhead to pray for them as sacrilege, would they?:-}

Other than that I enjoyed your review.

43 posted on 02/21/2004 4:56:03 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Pharmboy
As a Jew, I trust other Freepers.

ROFL!!! As a fellow Jew, I hear you loud and clear!!

I WAS wanting to see this film. I am a little scared of the violence. Maybe I can get it together to go and see it. I distrust almost all Jews' reviews of this film, though I would trust Rabbi Lapin's or Dennis Prager's or even a fellow Jewish FReeper's review.

I think Mel Gibson was brave and inspired to go through with this project, and I am so glad to see how a truly religious film with conservative values is sucking up box office money over the liberal drivel out there.

44 posted on 02/21/2004 4:59:12 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: pbear8
Thank you. Now I do not have to post about the Catholic understanding of Mary.
45 posted on 02/21/2004 5:00:13 PM PST by TheGeezer (If only I had skin as thick as Ann Coulter, and but half her intelligence...)
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To: jonboy
Even if this had turned out to be the most poorly made movie of all time, I would have paid $10,000 and walked bare-foot through glass to see it, just because of Abe Foxman and the others who launched such an ugly and vicious campaign to smear Mel Gibson and traditional Christianity.

Since I won't have to do any of those things and it sounds like a pretty good movie, I will go several times and drag with me as many people as I can.

46 posted on 02/21/2004 5:02:46 PM PST by Knock3Times
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To: steplock
The church Council of Ephesus, circa 600 A.D., taught that Mary was the mother of GOd, and was yet only human, not Divine.
47 posted on 02/21/2004 5:03:14 PM PST by TheGeezer (If only I had skin as thick as Ann Coulter, and but half her intelligence...)
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To: Southflanknorthpawsis
My adult daughters and I have talked about how difficult it will be to see the portrayal of such suffering...

This is the second article I've seen written by a pastor, and even with all of the time they have spent talking, living, and breathing the story of Jesus, they have had a difficult time dealing with the feelings the movie has evoked.

I've taken from other threads that many people believe this movie will have conversion value, but it is impossible to know what effect this film will have on people without formal religious training, or even anything other than a distant Sunday school set of ideas about Christianity. It may not have the effect that many here on FR think that it will.

48 posted on 02/21/2004 5:04:04 PM PST by hunter112
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To: Yaelle
I love you, man.
49 posted on 02/21/2004 5:05:04 PM PST by Pharmboy (History's greatest agent for freedom: The US Armed Forces)
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To: Pharmboy
Judaism is the parent religion of Christianity. The Commandments stipulate that we must respect our parents.

God bless and protect you.

50 posted on 02/21/2004 5:05:16 PM PST by TheGeezer (If only I had skin as thick as Ann Coulter, and but half her intelligence...)
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