With the release of Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion of the Christ,” the controversy concerning the film has become a familiar issue. Any discussion about Jesus Christ has the tendency to turn controversial due to clashing beliefs among Christians, Jews, and those with other religious beliefs.
Gibson has been accused of being anti-Semitic for pointing the finger at Jewish people for Christ’s death, taking the graphic scenes too far and basing Christianity upon violence. Some think he is forcing his own beliefs upon everyone, claiming it is the only way to believe.
Secular therapists are even telling parents to not let their kids see the graphic movie, while well-respected religious leaders are recommending the movie to entire congregations. With all these views, it is easy to see how the film can stir up a range of emotions, such as anger, fear, joy and confusion.
Upon seeing the film, I felt Gibson did just what he said he’d do — create a film which focuses on the last 12 hours of Christ’s life according to the Bible. Gibson made a point to include only facts which are related in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and even goes so far as to have the movie spoken in Aramaic and Latin.
In my opinion, the reason his critics are having a hard time with the film is because it is not politically correct. Gibson did not try to avoid stepping on any toes. He did not eliminate the fact that a lot of Jews wanted Christ dead because of his teachings. He also did not leave out the fact that the Romans were the ones who brutally beat and crucified him.
But most importantly, Gibson did a beautiful job of causing you to look inside yourself by using the words in the Gospels. So who really killed Jesus? During his ABC interview with Diane Sawyer, Gibson said, “The big answer is, we all did. Jesus Christ was crucified for all men, of all creeds, for all time. And he died for all of us.”
When I was watching this film, I did not care what ethnic group was killing him. You get so caught up in the brutality of the movie, and the unbelievable extent to which the scourging and mockery is taken. You realize that this man is receiving all of this punishment to save the world — to save you.
Jim Caviezel, the actor who plays Jesus in the film said, “People turn their eyes away when they see it, and what they’re seeing is their own sin. It’s that hard to look at. But this film forces you to see yourself, not the way you want to see yourself, but as God sees you. There are no passive onlookers here.”
Every person who sees this movie will see it very differently, which brings me back to the critics. Lots of people do not want this film to be successful. Gibson referred to “a dark force” during his interview with Diane Sawyer. The dark force does not want people to see this movie perhaps because there is too much truth in it, perhaps because it is so convincing. No matter what your opinion is, there is one thing you cannot dispute — this movie shows the ultimate sacrifice of one man — a man who, to some people, represented salvation.
Ashley Earnest is a junior accounting major from Houston