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QUESTIONING 'PASSION' AND THE GOSPEL TRUTH (crossing over into Christian-hating)
NY POST ^ | February 21, 2004 | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Posted on 02/21/2004 2:55:03 AM PST by Liz

Edited on 05/26/2004 5:19:41 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

A movie about the Gospel sparks outrage, but movies that depict graphic sexual activity, romanticize criminals and constantly bombard us with violence are not criticized. If those movies are released without outrage, let he who is without sin cast the first stone against Gibson. Mary Maresco Sarasota, Fla.


(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...


TOPICS: Current Events
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To: wimpycat
if the Southern Baptist Convention or someone like Billy Graham thought there was something "wrong", scripturally speaking, with the movie, the evangelicals would be leading the charge against the film

Speak for yourself, because you have no idea what I think.

51 posted on 02/21/2004 6:36:22 AM PST by kcvl
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To: Caipirabob
You are so right. The opposition to this movie is due to the unseen forces of evil who KNOW the impact this movie will have, and will stop at nothing to destroy Mel and the movie.

Has anyone connected the dots between this movie and the homosexual marriages? In my opinion, there is a swell of demonic activity that is rising in pure hatred of this evil, and one evidence of that is what is happening in San Francisco.

52 posted on 02/21/2004 6:39:42 AM PST by Haddon
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To: Liz
Are these the same people who, if we object to Hollyweird's gratuitous violence and sexual perversion which is polluting our culture, smirk and haughtily tell us to "just turn it OFF if you don't like it!"?
53 posted on 02/21/2004 6:39:45 AM PST by Gritty
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To: kcvl
Speak for yourself, because you have no idea what I think.

Pardon moi!

54 posted on 02/21/2004 6:42:08 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: Caipirabob
You are so right. The opposition to this movie is due to the unseen forces of evil who KNOW the impact this movie will have, and will stop at nothing to destroy Mel and the movie.

Has anyone connected the dots between this movie and the homosexual marriages? In my opinion, there is a swell of demonic activity that is rising in pure hatred of this movie, and one evidence of that is what is happening in San Francisco.

55 posted on 02/21/2004 6:42:26 AM PST by Haddon
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To: Liz
What this article claims is as a matter of fact, false!

There was no Gentile Christianity of any size in existence yet when the Gospels were written. The believers were just as much Jews [ethnically and by faith] as their mortal enemies the Pharisees were.

The authors were themselves Jews [Luke is now understood to have already been a convert to Judaism, or perhaps his PARENTS had been, before he met St Paul and embraced Jesus as the Messiah.], who had fled Israel because of the terrible war, the First Jewish Revolt of AD 66-73.

There were earlier notes and source materials [no longer extant] in Hebrew and Greek, but the best scholarship now is, that these were written in their final form as we have them by:

Mark, c 60-75 AD, Italy or having just fled from Italy because of the persecution under Nero Caesar.

Matthew, c 72-84 AD, Egypt having just fled from Israel.

Luke, c 78- 92 AD, probably Antioch, or certainly in what we now call Turkey and its offshore islands.

John, c 100 AD, Ephesus, now on W coast of Turkey S of Izmir. This book is an as-told-to because although John was a highly educated priest and a kinsman of Jesus, his Greek was a little rough, as shown in Revelation which he DID write with his own hand.
56 posted on 02/21/2004 6:51:16 AM PST by Chris Talk (What Earth now is, Mars once was. What Mars now is, Earth will become.)
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To: wimpycat
As a Southern Baptist, you must be proud of your trashy remark. You sound more like a seminar caller on C-Span; "as a Conservative Republican, I hate George Bush".
57 posted on 02/21/2004 6:52:57 AM PST by kcvl
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To: kcvl
What in the world are you talking about??!! You have obviously misunderstood me. My #49 and your #50 state essentially the same thing. Exactly what did I say that was so upsetting to you?
58 posted on 02/21/2004 6:55:54 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: kcvl
I would not put Foxman, Jesse or Al in the same (low) class as David Duke. Abe Foxman does some good, but is way off-base on other things. Jesse is a poverty pimp and hustler. Sharpton is a hustler and a clown. David Duke is for all intents and purposes a Neo-Nazi. He's also in jail for embezzlement.
59 posted on 02/21/2004 6:57:24 AM PST by veronica ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people." GW Bush 1-20-04)
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To: wimpycat
This is staying true to the gospels?

Gibson is not merely telling the Gospel account, but adds to it in ways that consistently accent the culpability of Jews and mitigate that of the Romans. He adds violent beatings of Jesus--by Jews--that are not in Scripture. He changes the entire feel of the story as the Gospels tell it. In the Scriptural account, Jesus is snatched quietly, at night, to avoid the crowds. Jesus is willing to go quietly, and keeps the disciples from fighting back. He is held while the high priest gathers his council. During it, there is some physical abuse by the guards and some taunting and one slapping of his face, but the Evangelists don't elaborate on this or draw it out. Then he is delivered to Pilate. Gibson changes the tenor of all these scenes, making them more dramatic, more violent, more frightening. He also adds scenes that contradict explicit statements in Scripture. According to John, the Jews refuse to enter the Praetorium. No Jew--not even a disciple--is depicted as present in the Praetorium. But Gibson has them there.

In Mel's version, the beating of Jesus begins immediately upon his arrest, contrary to the Gospels. He is wrapped in chains, and at one point thrown off a bridge. These added beatings, by Jews, and the behavior of the Jews in subsequent scenes, make them a bloodthirsty, barbarous people--the only exceptions being those who believe in Jesus or are sympathetic to his cause. Jews are depicted in customary stereotypes, as greedy and money-grubbing, who can be easily bought off in the middle of the night. The Jewish leaders are seen as the equals of or more powerful than the Romans, which is contrary to history. The Jewish high priest at the time was a Roman appointee, answerable to Pilate--not in Mel's version, though.

The Jewish violence which began in the garden is unleashed without mercy in the court of the high priest. Jesus arrives, a bruised and bloody mess--perhaps a hundred people are crammed into the room, anxious for the spectacle to begin. Immediately after the "trial," the priests take turns hitting and spitting on Jesus, and then the guards and observers join in, beating him with sadistic glee. In this melee Peter, who is in the room itself, is grabbed and manhandled, and accused of being a follower of Jesus.

Gibson's Pilate is a weak and indecisive administrator who grouses about the rabble and about being stuck in this stinking outpost. When the excessively large crowd gathers in the courtyard of the Praetorium, Pilate goes out and, seeing Jesus for the first time, is disgusted by what the Jews have done. He asks the priests, “Do you always punish them before you judge them?” In the scenes which follow, Pilate appears as a lone and weak representative of Rome, with inadequate troops at his disposal, not the brutal governor know from history. He muses, “If I don’t condemn him, Caiaphas will rebel. If I do, his followers will. Either way there will be bloodshed.” Soldiers inform him that there is already an uprising. The priests, temple guards, and people are growing ugly. But instead of putting them in their place, as the historical Pilate would have done, they are appeased.

Pilate decides to have Jesus beaten, thinking this will satisfy the bloodlust of the Jews. Jesus is taken within. The leading priests go in, watching through a gate--but clearly on Roman soil, contrary to the Gospels. Jesus is beaten first with rods until he collapses. There’s a pause. Jesus stands. The Romans are perturbed. They get the flagella. One hits the table—the metal embedded in the strands of the whip sticks fast in the surface of the table. They begin to apply it to Jesus’ back. It sticks, and rips skin away. The violence goes on longer than any human could withstand. The camera lingers, fascinated, voyeuristic. The only breaks are to follow Mary as she leaves the scene, unable to watch any more (yes, she is there--and she will wipe up the blood afterwards, using towels given to her by Pilate's wife).

A Roman comes and orders them to stop: “You were ordered to punish him, not to scourge him to death.” This is but the first instance where Romans are depicted as having a conscience, or at least a limit to what they will inflict on a person. The Jews have none. The Romans are egged on by Satan, wandering through the crowd--the Jews need no such encouragement.

In the version I saw, after Pilate gives in to their demands the crowd shouts, gleefully, “His blood be upon us and our children.” Pilate gives up, and says to his men, “Do as they wish.” Rumors say Mel has taken this line out. That's good, as it was traditionally understood by Christians to extend the guilt for Deicide through history to contemporary Jews; but it doesn't minimize the exaggerated depiction of the Jews that we've endured to this point. And more is to come.

The procession to Calvary appears to be a religious event, led by priests riding donkeys; flashbacks recall Palm Sunday. The crowds lining the road this time are hostile and merciless, berating and pummeling Jesus as he passes. The Romans beat them back. Arriving at Calvary, Jesus is nailed to the cross--again, the violence is exaggerated and excessive, with the camera lingering over the scene as the cross is flipped over, with Jesus face down; blood dripping; the protruding ends of the nails are bent over, and then the cross is flipped over the other way.

A thief taunts Jesus to save himself and them. The crowd joins in the taunting, as does the High Priest, who says, “If he is the Messiah, let him come down that we may believe.” Caiaphas walks around as if he is the senior official presiding over the execution. He does not protest at the sign nailed to the cross by the Romans. There is no division of roles here--they are doing his bidding.

When Jesus prays, "Father, forgive them," the good thief says (as in Scripture), “Listen, he prays for you. We deserve this, but he doesn’t. Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom” Jesus promises that he will be in paradise. The bad thief, Gesmas, laughs. A crow drops from heaven and pecks out his eyes. Hardly an answer to that prayer for forgiveness, is it?

The sky darkens, and the priests leave. The Romans let Mary approach. Throughout, they've shown her sympathy, assisting her in the crowd, casting nervous glances at her, talking amongst themselves.

Jesus dies. The camera looks down on Calvary. A drop of rain condenses, and the camera follows it down to the ground. It hits with explosive force, and an earthquake rocks the hill. Pilate is rattled. The temple is hit hardest; a chasm opens in the floor, and rocks fall on the priests. The sense is clearly one of divine judgment (like the crow eating the eyes of the thief). The drop of rain is like a divine tear; we see a picture of God as grieving in human fashion, his grief quickly turning to anger, and lashing out, not at the Romans, but at the Jews, and particularly at the Jewish religious authorities.

It is an awful depiction, and recalls the worst of medieval passion plays. Yet most of the Christians in the usually select audiences that have seen it so far are oblivious to these things. Even a handful of politically conservative Jewish commentators claim to have seen nothing problematic. But those Jews who have seen it who are not predisposed to be generous to Mel have been shocked by the portrayal. A special screening in Houston included local Jewish community members and representatives of the national offices of the ADL and American Jewish Committee. All had similar reactions. They sat like strangers in the auditorium, unable to understand the emotional reactions of the Christians around them, and unable to understand, when they spoke with those Christians later, how they could have missed the parts of the film that so troubled the Jews.

Thoughts?

60 posted on 02/21/2004 6:59:12 AM PST by joesbucks
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To: wimpycat
What in the world are you talking about??!! You have obviously misunderstood me. My #49 and your #50 state essentially the same thing. Exactly what did I say that was so upsetting to you?

You touched someone's third rail. So instead of engaging in debate or seeking to clarify, you were attacked. That's not uncommon here.

61 posted on 02/21/2004 7:07:47 AM PST by joesbucks
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To: joesbucks
My thoughts are that whoever wrote this review of the film is highly subjective in his characterizations; that's about the best thing I can say about this review.
62 posted on 02/21/2004 7:10:18 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: wimpycat
Highly subjective or scripturally correct?
63 posted on 02/21/2004 7:13:30 AM PST by joesbucks
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To: veronica
And is it similarly not possible that Gibson has done this as a combination of his Christian faith and his artistic sensibilities?
64 posted on 02/21/2004 7:43:53 AM PST by gogipper (Judgement at Nuerenburg ...... Judgement at Baghdad)
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To: joesbucks
In attacking the scriptural accuracy of the film, in accusing Mel of injecting his own opinion into the film, the reviewer proceeds to inject his own opinion and mention as "fact" things which the Gospels do not address. In other words, he attacks perceived bias with bias of his own. What is an "excessively large" crowd? The gospels don't mention the number, so who's to say what is "excessively large"? What is "weak and indecisive"? The gospels don't mention whether Pilate was a strong or a weak leader in the big scheme of the Roman Empire. Who is this reviewer to say Gibson portrayed him as "weak and indecisive" when the gospels are silent on the point? What is "exaggerated and excessive" violence? I could go on and on, but it's not worth the effort. The reviewer is injecting his own negative bias into his review.

As far as scriptural accuracy, such as Jews being in the Praetorium, when scripture says otherwise, I can only point you to my favorite Jesus film, Zefirelli's "Jesus of Nazareth". Zefirelli switched a lot of stuff around, a whole lot. He switched around who said what, who did what, where Jesus was when he said certain things, and also certain sequences of events. He added non-Scriptural characters (such as Veronica and Zerah) while leaving out certain other characters (such as Simon of Cyrene, the Samaritan woman). Yet the movie still sells very well in Christian bookstores and is still shown on TV, and like I said, it's still my favorite movie about Jesus. So, your idea of what it means to be "scripturally accurate" is obviously different from mine.
65 posted on 02/21/2004 7:47:04 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: wimpycat
I believe there are two debates about Mel's film. Those with something to capitalize on and those who may question the authenticity of the depiction based on the scripture.

I find it funny when those of faith run to the aid of someone taking literary liscense with the scriptures. <pIt may be one thing to amplify, it's quite another to be contrary to the text.

66 posted on 02/21/2004 7:54:37 AM PST by joesbucks
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To: joesbucks
In Mel's version, the beating of Jesus begins immediately upon his arrest, contrary to the Gospels

How is this contrary to the Gospels? Is there a hidden passage somewhere that says "And they didn't start beating Jesus until after His arrest"? The Gospels don't record each and every event of the Passion. I'm sure Our Lord was subjected to pain and indignities that we'll never be aware of until the Last Judgement. And Gibson's film, as brutal as it is, is probably even tame compared to the truth.

67 posted on 02/21/2004 8:10:31 AM PST by Clintons a commie
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To: wimpycat
Zefirelli switched a lot of stuff around, a whole lot. He switched around who said what, who did what, where Jesus was when he said certain things, and also certain sequences of events. He added non-Scriptural characters (such as Veronica and Zerah) while leaving out certain other characters (such as Simon of Cyrene, the Samaritan woman). Yet the movie still sells very well in Christian bookstores and is still shown on TV, and like I said, it's still my favorite movie about Jesus. So, your idea of what it means to be "scripturally accurate" is obviously different from mine.

These are great points. I love Zeffirelli's film too, and I love some of the filling in of the gaps(ie, Ian Holm's Zerah, a masterful character and performance). But it's very true, much of it is pure speculation. Gibson's film, from the sound of it, is much truer to the Gospels.

68 posted on 02/21/2004 8:15:26 AM PST by Clintons a commie
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To: joesbucks

 

This took about 10 minutes work, and I think it refutes the strongest scriptural objections of the reviewer.  The reviewer's test precedes scriptural quotations.................

 

“beating of Jesus begins immediately upon his arrest, contrary to the Gospels”……  Luke  23:63   Meanwhile the men who guarded Jesus were mocking and beating him

 

So is the reviewer quibling about the meaning of the word beating? 

 

“The priests, temple guards, and people are growing ugly. But instead of putting them in their place, as the historical Pilate would have done, they are appeased.” …….John 18:38  and with that he (Pilate) went out to the Jews and said, “I find no case against him . But according to a custom of yours……    John 19:4  Pilate came outside again and said to them, “Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case.

  

Sounds like appeasement to me.

 

“According to John, the Jews refuse to enter the Praetorium. No Jew--not even a disciple--is depicted as present in the Praetorium. But Gibson has them there “………….John 18:17  So Pilate came outside to them and said…..

  

Are we really objecting to the background selection of the director?

 

“The temple is hit hardest…....Luke 23:45”   The veil of the temple was torn down the middle

 

Another area the review hits upon is the politics of Roman rule vs. Jewish subjugation.  I have seen several of these discussions and frankly it is like listening to a foreign language.  The meaning of Jesus' sacrifice was not political and the 'players' in the drama (Pilate, Caiphas, Judas, etc.) are far less important than the meta-meaning of our salvation.

 

One last point of the review is how much elaboration Gibson uses.  Well if you read the Passion together out loud it probably doesn't take more than 20 minutes.  It is a narrative, not a drama.  If we are going to translate a narrative into a drama.... which is very important in our increasingly illiterate world.... then there will have to be dramatic touches.  That is the nature of the art. So yes. The reviewer is scriptually incorrect.

69 posted on 02/21/2004 8:26:29 AM PST by gogipper (Judgement at Nuerenburg ...... Judgement at Baghdad)
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To: joesbucks
I appreciate your candor, and I have no negative feelings about you personally because we don't agree. But quite frankly, I'm tired. Jesus was, is, and always will be a divisive figure in the world. We have been told from the beginning that we will always be under attack. But sometimes it just wears me out. I have seen so much constant trashing of the film and the filmmaker that I've forgotten all the good things that the film has generated, such as Christians of different denominations coming together and working together and celebrating what we share. It isn't spiritually healthy to constantly wallow in negativity. I can only say that what you see, and what I see when we look at the film are two very different things. We'll just have to leave it at that. I'm looking forward to seeing the film, and I want to view it in the right spirit; that means I'm going to go to the theater with an open mind and an open heart. I will not be thinking of those who attack the message of the film (no matter in what guise they choose to carry out such attacks-whether diversionary or direct). I will be pondering the central message, an example of which can be found in John 3:16-21. Next to that message, details such as Jews inside or outside the Praetorium or how many people comprised the crowd, or how many lashes Jesus got are put into their proper perspective.

Besides, it's warm and sunny outide, I've got laundry and housework to do, so not only do I not have the energy, I also have neither the time nor the inclination to be constantly focusing on the negative today.

70 posted on 02/21/2004 8:31:40 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: Clintons a commie
The events I give are not mine depiction, rather they belong to someone else. I'm asking for verification. Does the movie in fact reflect the story as described in the gospels?
71 posted on 02/21/2004 8:36:58 AM PST by joesbucks
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To: wimpycat
Appreciate your thoghts and candor. Have a great day.

Besides, it's warm and sunny outide.

Trade you places. Dismal, overcast and chilly here.

72 posted on 02/21/2004 8:39:37 AM PST by joesbucks
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To: kcvl
well-stated!
73 posted on 02/21/2004 8:42:27 AM PST by 2nd Amendment
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To: veronica
"Others besides Abe Foxman have objected to both aspects of the movie and the manner in which Gibson has promoted it. From the get-go there were CHRISTIANS who found fault with it, yet, only the small number of Jews who sniped with Gibson have gotten press play."

And the Christians you mention that are most often quoted are the 'Jesus Seminar' types, who all but deny who the Christ was, despite written scripture ( in case you've missed the irony, one of the tenets of Christianity is to believe in the Resurrection, and the unique nature of Jesus as God and man ). The media, at least in the articles posted here, always seems to omit this important fact.

"The fact is that Gibson's father is out there saying things David Duke and Streicher might say, and there is no reason to ignore his rantings, just because he is Mel Gibson's father. The old man is in fact injecting himself into the debate."

Just as Christians are not to hold Jews responsible for the actions committed by their forebears ( and, I would point out, both Jesus' followers and detractors were Jews. The point of the Gospels is that it is the sins of mankind that was responsible for the events of the Passion--the Pharisees were bit players in the larger scheme of things ) in the Gospels, one cannot hold the son guilty for the words and actions of the father.

"I have not seen the movie and I have not opined about it, neither calling it awesome or not. I have reacted to various articles on, and what I KNOW, from my years working in Hollywood is, a very well-orchestrated and in fact brilliant PR campaign to generate interest in the film."

I haven't seen the movie, but allow me to play Devil's Advocate to your comment here.
If you produced a movie that challenges a lot of cherished sacred cows in an industry that has the ability to prevent distribution, would you not also approach the audience for which it is intended directly, rather than attempt to pass through a brick wall?
If indeed, there is truth to your assumption, that does not necessarily detract from the merits or lack of merits of the work itself.
Also, do you know for a fact that the controversy is an intentional PR campaign? Have you been told by those working closest to the film that this is what was intended from the beginning? If not, then you are engaging in speculation ( no law against it, just an observation).
Foxman has injected himself into the scene. Unless there is proof that he is on Gibson's payroll, he has inadvertently provided more publicity for a movie whose theme he obviously loathes.

74 posted on 02/21/2004 8:48:19 AM PST by Tench_Coxe
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To: joesbucks
I'd be happy to trade places with you if you're willing to clean out these two closets of mine, sort everything out, throw a lot of other stuff out, and move the rest to my brand new shed...As you can see, I'm procrastinating. :-) Even though I tell myself I'm just trying to map out an organized, disciplined plan of action.
75 posted on 02/21/2004 9:28:19 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: R. Scott
Devalued? On the contrary, I have elevated the term. It's especially relevant here because, in American culture, the word is consistently used as a political weapon, especially against conservatives.

Ever hear of so-called "Hate Crimes?" These are "crimes" which only "Thought Police" are allowed to define.....usually against conservative speech.

Other good synonyms for hate are despise, detest, abhor, abominate, execrate, loathe, contemn, disdain, scorn.

Scornful....now that's a good word---- with Biblical connotations----to describe those who disdain The Passion of Christ movie.

76 posted on 02/21/2004 9:55:46 AM PST by Liz
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To: Liz
Some Jews are either very paranoid or out and out anti-Christian, or some of both. Jews had a hand in killing Jesus and Jesus was Jewish too, duh. Listen to some of what Jews are saying about Christians these days and you would think you are listening to an atheist or a muslim. And the funny thing is, many Christians are the best friends Jews could ever have, very supportive of Judaism as it is also an important part of their faith. If Christians start to feel some anti-semitism it won't be due to what Jews did to Jesus, it will be due to what Jews of today do and say towards Christians.
77 posted on 02/21/2004 10:28:58 AM PST by Contra
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To: Liz
It's especially relevant here because, in American culture, the word is consistently used as a political weapon, especially against conservatives.

It is used so much in the political/social context that it is rapidly losing its meaning.
I still refuse to go along with the anti - whatever crowd.

78 posted on 02/21/2004 11:08:49 AM PST by R. Scott (My cynicism rises with the proximity of the elections.)
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To: R. Scott
No problem. Suit yourself. And if you come up with a good word to use for hate, let us know.
79 posted on 02/21/2004 11:42:43 AM PST by Liz
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To: kcvl
My Southern Baptist grandfather - a racist who vehemently hated Catholics (we're Huguenots) - once said that you shouldn't ever say anything bad about Jews in general, because "they're God's chosen people".
80 posted on 02/21/2004 11:51:35 AM PST by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Contra
Mel's movie is about the last 12 hours of Christ's life.

It would be a great experience to see a movie of Jesus as a young man, traveling here and there, preaching the Word of salvation.

But then you'd want to see Mel's film again to see the horrendous results of His efforts to preach the Word of God.

81 posted on 02/21/2004 11:56:31 AM PST by Liz
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To: Liz
There are several good words to use to express hate - among them “hate”.
82 posted on 02/21/2004 12:57:45 PM PST by R. Scott (My cynicism rises with the proximity of the elections.)
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To: R. Scott; All
The posts to this thread have been informative, insightful and, with few exceptions, exhibited a level of intellectual curiosity that I found exhilirating.

The thread demonstrates that an enlightened discussion can take place on the subject of religion even though our antagonists would have everyone believe otherwise.

I want to thank you, RS, and everyone who posted, for their commendable contributions.

83 posted on 02/21/2004 1:10:35 PM PST by Liz
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To: Liz
But they have never been able to remove belief from the hearts of the people. This is where they've failed miserably.
--
Amen to that.
84 posted on 02/21/2004 4:48:39 PM PST by Gal.5:1
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