Do you agree that society should condemn or discourage anti-semitism, racism, sexism, etc wherever it exists?
Only if it is obvious that anti-semitism, racism or sexism is clearly present. From what I have heard from all parties thus far, I suspect it is not. I won't know for sure until I see it. A lot of people in this country equate things that are contrary to their basic point of view as "against them", instead of being just another point of view. I think that's what's happening here. There's a differnce between a movie being "contrary to Jewish belief" and being "anti-Jewish". Some people don't get that distinction.
Anti-semitism implies hatred and a will to do harm to Jews. ADM themselves state they don't contend Gibson is anti-semitic... this (indirectly) tends to support my conclusion. Would a man who is not thought to be anti-semitic, really be likely to make a movie that blatantly IS anti-semitic? Or is this really an uproar over one man's interpretation (because that's all it is)? I seriously doubt there is anything in this movie that would move a rational-minded person to be "swayed against all Jews".
Those who can easily be swayed by a movie to act against an entire race of people, will be easily swayed in some other way if they don't see the movie. You can't stop people who are "looking for an excuse" to find their excuse. Sad but true. The rest of us shouldn't be shamed or censored out of seeing this movie because some whack-job might get the idea to go paint a swastika on an overpass. This is America. The movie needs to be seen by people of all stripes so they can make up their own minds and a real consensus reached.
It's their policy: "ADL believes that it can best promote change and raise awareness through making our voice heard." Individual instances are certainly worthy of attention, but this is far greater than just a film. People have called it - and critics may even agree- quite possibly the greatest evangelizing tool ever.
And in so far as it can actually be shown to be blatantly anti-semitic, then I'm all for the ADL speaking out loud and clear. The thing that is kind of peculiar (and the turn this thread has taken bears it out), is that now all of a sudden everyone is saying "This movie is based on the book of John, and the book of John isn't as accurate as the other books. That's bad, mmmm-kay?" [By extension] it seems that the ADM and other groups apparently also think the Book of John is anti-semitic. Let me explain...
....since I was a little kid attending (standard non-Gibsonian Catholic services), I have heard the story of how the Jewish priests resented Christ (because he was bad-mouthing their greed and thus their hypocrisy basically), and how eventually, the decision came to the Romans who said "so before you we have Jesus -- a man who has broken no Roman Law that we know of -- and Barabas... a man who has committed many crimes. Who shall we send to death?"
"...and the Jews in the crowd shouted for Christ and not Barabas." And in the story, the Roman governor WAS sort of dismayed. He didn't really CARE which one he put to death -- or so the story seems to imply -- but he doesn't know why they are willing to overlook an obvious criminal in order that Christ be sent to an "official death". In the end, the crowd gets their hands on Barabas (literally I think) and so they get their cake and eat it too... but all this is not new.
This whole storyline and the preaching of it by MANY churches (not just the Catholic church) is no state secret. Preachers and Priests and Ministers have been "shouting it from the Mountain top" since the days of Colonial times. So it seems to me, all the scenes in the movie the ADM is angry about... are nothing more than the cinematic (and therefore more dramatic because it's visual) retelling of the same exact story noted above. A story many of us have heard dozens and dozens of times over the years. Surely they must've have heard something of it as well?
So if they really believe this interpretation is so off-base and dangerous and anti-semitic... why have they never said anything about it before in the mass media?
I think their problem is not a movie about John's interpretation of events leading to Christ's death, it's about the interpretation itself and only now when it's in the spotlight do they make a big deal about it. Perhaps because in other times, when there was no controversial movie, no one would listen to them, or the Jewish leaders themselves might be looked down upon for bad-mouthing other religions? Just a thought. This movie has given them a sort of distraction to say what -- perhaps -- they've wanted to say all the time, and so it appears to many that "they're just mad about the movie", when what they really don't like is the story. A story which Gibson certainly didn't invent.
From everything I have read and heard about this movie, Gibson is not "making anything up"... he's taking this story straight from the same book (John) we Christians have had read to us by our church leaders for decades and decades. The part about Satan being incarnate (if true) would be the only exception to this AFAICT, and the only one that would be really distasteful, absent something visual in the movie (not spoken) that I haven't yet seen.Segovius
I understand where you're coming from, in terms of not looking upon Jesus as being truly human, when analysis of his sacrifice is the topic at hand. I think what most Christians believe (for whatever reason), is that Jesus -- when it came to his very life being taken and not just being socially shunned -- also had moments of doubt. He believed he was special in some way relating to God, but he wasn't sure, and so the possibiilty existed in his mind that perhaps he was just throwing his life away. Enduring great social anger and hostility, and great pain... for nothing, essentially.
It is taught to many Christians that while he is hanging on the cross but still alive, he loses faith for a moment and believes he has done this horrible thing to himself, only to endure a bitter human death. That God is not coming to his aid. That is sort of the reason why we believe the magnitude of the sacrifice was as it was. We don't believe that in the hours leading up to his death he was saying to himself "hey no sweat, I'll suffer for a few hours and then everything will be Roses". He was taking a big chance in his own mind, and ultimately that was his faith in God that he showed when he went through with it...
...again not entirely satisfying from a "pure logic" point of view, but just trying to convey why many Christians consider Christ's sacrifice to have been every bit as mentally (and not just physically) trying as those of others who have sacrificed themselves since.