The Passion of The Christ

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mrcolj
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The Passion of The Christ

Post by mrcolj » Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:32 pm

Now that it's out, has anyone seen The Passion of The Christ? Can you comment for us on the historicalness (outside of quoting scripture)? Was it actually pronounced in classical Latin, not church-Latin? Any first-century early-christianity historians here? I'm just looking for some good discussion on the movie, that's not just pro- and anti- jewish jobless folk venting... ;)
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Post by Emma_85 » Fri Feb 27, 2004 10:19 pm

Nope, haven't seen it yet (because it's not out here :wink: ). Anyway... I'm very busy right now, but next friday... I think I may have the afternoon off...
Before I spend my money watching this film I think I'll read your critiques on it first though :P.
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Post by Raya » Fri Feb 27, 2004 11:28 pm

I knew someone was going to bring up Passion sooner or later! ;)

No, I haven't seen it either - it hasn't come to Mauritius yet, and if it ever does, I wouldn't expect it before a month after the US release date
(and that's an optimistic guess; a realistic one would be 2-3 months after...)
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Post by klewlis » Sat Feb 28, 2004 7:17 am

I saw it opening night.

The latin is pronounced mostly ecclesiastical, occasionally classical. They weren't very consistent. But it was intelligible anyway, unlike the aramaic (although I suppose the aramaic will always be unintelligible to me ;)

I was happy to be able to understand some of it without reading the translations :P

Their use of the languages was a little odd. I was expecting to hear Aramaic only among the Jews and Latin elsewhere. But they had the Romans speaking Aramaic to the Jews, and Latin only with each other. I thought that was odd.

As for the historicity, I can't speak to that because I really don't care. I know that sounds odd since I really do love to study the ancient history, but I am tired of people picking apart this movie (and others) based on tiny details that don't matter in the slightest--yes there are things that are "wrong" in the movie, but the purpose of the movie was art and worship, not picky historicity. Had Gibson wanted to write a scholarly thesis, he would have done that instead of making a movie. Is the value of Michaelangelo's "Last Supper" lost because of his anachronistic depiction of them sitting at a table in a 16C setting? Of course not, because its value does not lie in how historically "accurate" it is.

Anyway, that's my little rant, sorry. You didn't ask for that but it's something that really frustrates me whenever this topic comes up. :)

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Post by tdominus » Sat Feb 28, 2004 11:30 am

Nice post, klewlis. I agree entirely. People will do such "nit picking" even with entirely fictional films like lotr!

I was a bit disappointed, but not surprised, that they spoke mostly with an ecclesiastical accent.

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passion

Post by Jefferson Cicero » Sat Feb 28, 2004 3:00 pm

I am going to see the movie sunday night, and will give my critique, for what it will be worth. I'm also not really interested in politics concerning the movie. Will give my neophytical appraisal of the Latin. As for the Aramaic, it's one of those languages I've wanted to study for a long time but haven't gotten around to it yet. I wish I had before this movie came out!

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Post by mrcolj » Sat Feb 28, 2004 5:10 pm

So is there no Greek in the movie? Would it not be more accurate to take all the Latin out than to take all the Greek out? (I'm sure most people spoke all three, but most people in Rome spoke Greek at that time.)

And no, I'm not looking to pick apart the movie, and like I said, I asked you guys about it because I was looking for something other than picking it apart. I, personally, am not going to see the movie at all, because I'm afraid of influencing myself too much with an R-rated movie on the atonement. I just don't want to focus my mind on anything that's going to make me mad when I go to church, nor do I want to set an example of watching R-rated movies. But that's irrelevant. I just want to hear some commentary from classicists on the movie.
Last edited by mrcolj on Sat Feb 28, 2004 6:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by klewlis » Sat Feb 28, 2004 6:03 pm

mrcolj wrote:So is there no Greek in the movie? Would it not be more accurate to take all the Latin out than to take all the Greek out? (I'm sure most people spoke all three, but most people in Rome spoke Greek at that time.)

And no, I'm not looking to pick apart the movie, and like I said, I asked you guys about it because I was looking for something other than picking it apart. I, personally, am not going to see the movie at all, because I don't think an R-rated Jesus movie could do much for my views on the subject. But that's irrelevant. I just want to hear some commentary from classicists on the movie.
There is no greek in the movie. It may have been "more accurate" to use Greek instead of Latin, but again, that wasn't necessarily his purpose. Latin was used because Gibson is devoutly Catholic... hence the ecclesiastical pronunciation as well. Of course, considering that they only used Latin for the Romans speaking amongst themselves, that part's actually pretty realistic, since I'm sure that the Romans probably did speak latin amongst themselves, and Greek to others.

As for whether the movie would do much for your views on the subject, you might be surprised. But it may depend on what your current views are. I know that everyone I have talked to so far has said that their views have been changed, deepened, and enriched. Of course, I have talked to only Christians about it so far, so that makes a difference. I'd be interested to see what non-Christians think of it (aside from the highly emotional and irrational critiques I've read so far).

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Post by mrcolj » Sat Feb 28, 2004 6:10 pm

Speaking of critiques from those who haven't seen the movie, no one had better say the term "anti-semitic" aloud in front of me... :D
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Post by PeterD » Sat Feb 28, 2004 11:05 pm

If and when the movie starts playing in countries like Russia or in the Middle East, then anti-semitism is a big concern -- it won't be pretty.

From the clips I saw on TV and the reactions of movie-goers, it is a pretty sadistic movie! I will leave it for the S&M crowd -- enjoy :twisted:

Were not the apostles Hellenized Jews? What's with all the Latin? Last I checked the bible was written in Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the people.

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Post by mrcolj » Sun Feb 29, 2004 12:26 am

Well, the people mostly spoke Aramaic in that particular region. An earlier post said most of the Latin was between Romans, and that could be the case, too. We don't have any reason to believe either way in that case.

And while the oldest New Testament we have is in Greek, that doesn't mean much of it, if any, was necessarily written in Greek. John was written in clean enough Greek that we assume it was written in Greek. But don't let that imply to you that the New Testament happened in Greek.
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Post by Bert » Sun Feb 29, 2004 12:27 am

PeterD wrote:
From the clips I saw on TV and the reactions of movie-goers, it is a pretty sadistic movie! I will leave it for the S&M crowd -- enjoy :twisted:
Sadistic for the sake of sadism or because it is historicaly true?
PeterD wrote:


Were not the apostles Hellenized Jews? What's with all the Latin? Last I checked the bible was written in Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the people.
Greek was not the native tongue for the jews.
Some bible books (eg. Matthew) were almost for sure written in Aramaic and later translated into Greek. Some others (eg. John's writings) were probably written in Greek but Greek was a second language for the author.
Luke and Acts were written by a Greek.

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Post by PeterD » Mon Mar 01, 2004 2:21 am

According to historians and archaeologists, most Roman centurions in the Middle East -- particularly Jerusalem -- spoke Greek rather than Latin. The notion that Pontius Pilate and Jesus conversed in Latin is farcical, and is just one of the many historical inaccuracies in the movie.

In reply to Bert ( by the way, thanks Bert for the NT Greek Help :) ), any form of execution, let alone crucifixion, is brutal, there is no denying that. That said, to make a 2 hour movie that focuses on the protracted torture of Jesus -- or any human being -- is in my mind sadistic. The Gospels themselves do not go into the gory details of Christ's death -- their message was love not cheap thrills.

On a final note, does this mean no more Lethal Weapons movies from Mel?

Have a great week :D

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seen it

Post by Jefferson Cicero » Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:00 am

I have now seen the movie, and while the Latin was often rather rapidly spoken, I did manage to understand some of it. Reading it and understanding it spoken in such manner are two different things. I managed to learn a new word from the movie. One Roman soldier called another 'Idiote!' I think the meaning is pretty clear.

Even so, the pleasure of hearing Latin spoken-even if it wasn't spoken the way the Romans would have at the time-cannot be denied.

This is a really powerful movie, and the movie itself overcomes the excersise in Latin comprehension. This cannot be overstated. Those who think it too graphic have it wrong in this case. This is a work of art, and a masterpiece. It's detractors may as well get used to bellyaching, because it will stand the test of time. It's the best movie I've ever seen, and it may be the greatest movie ever made.

As for the detractors, I see nothing anti-semitic about the movie. I think that most of those who hate the movie are not Jews, but rather are atheists who are using the charge of anti-semitism as a cover for their own anti-Christian bigotry. That is not to say that all atheists feel this way, but clearly many do. They just cannot stand to see a truly Christian movie get made, let alone draw crowds to see it. They wish to eradicate all Christian influence in society, and this movie will set them back in their efforts. Peel the charge of anti-semitism away, and there is revealed a venal hatred lying under it.

All this, by the way, comes from someone who is not a church goer.

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Post by mingshey » Mon Mar 01, 2004 12:03 pm

Well, I'm one of the anti-christians at large. But the reason I would detest the way a christian movie is made is a little bit delicate. I don't mean to persuade anybody here to my opinion, but describe what is my line of thought here: I think the christian religion can be beneficial in many ways. But not in the way that the biblical events are believed to be what actually happened historically. But in the way that it is accepted as rich allegories and metaphors. Moreover, in old times christians used the term "murderer of Jesus" to provoke anti-semitism. That was a striking example that they propagated hate by the name of love. It is partly because they understood the story as a historical event, not a story where you could learn to forgive them who persecute you.

(My company network began to refuse to connect to textkit. It is probably unhappy about my frequent visit to this site. I'll have to get in here at weekends only. if my baby allows me some leisure ;))

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Post by mrcolj » Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:49 pm

The problem is, it did happen.
PeterD wrote:On a final note, does this mean no more Lethal Weapons movies from Mel?
Well if we have any indication from the enlightenment of the Dalai Steven Seagal, he'll release his next soft-porn vengeance film starring another ex-felon rapist rapper co-star in 3 weeks. (...not to mention the enlightenment of fellow soft-porn star Richard Gere.)
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Post by Kopio » Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:28 pm

Saw it....it was pretty brutal. I felt that it was a fairly accurate attempt at portaying what the 4 gospels tell us about the of Jesus. It was buckets of though....not for the fainthearted. Of course, the Romans were pretty accomplished at t0rture and executi0n. One thing I can't figure out though....why Italians aren't up in arms about this movie. Gibson casts the Roman soldiers in a very negative light, he makes it look like they even enjoy crucifying and executing Jesus. If I was Italian I'd be pretty upset! As far as anti-Semitism....the Temple Guards were some pretty serious bruisers, and the Temple Preists and Sanhedrin were (mostly) arrogant and hypocritical.....anti-semitism or accurate portrayal? I'm not sure, I suppose some could see it as anti-Semite, but it didn't seem necessarily so to me.

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Post by klewlis » Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:56 pm

For both the Romans and the Jews, the movie depicted some as good and some as bad. I think that that is both true to the gospels and true to the nature of humanity. :)

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Post by mrcolj » Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:57 pm

Kopio wrote:anti-semitism or accurate portrayal?
That's the million dollar question, whether anti-semitism and accurate portrayal are necessary exclusive.
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Post by Kopio » Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:11 pm

I think my biggest beef with the whole film was the lack of Greek.....I spend all of this time learning Greek.....it would of been cool to hear it spoken.

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Post by Episcopus » Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:50 pm

Last year I studied Judaism for one year. Traditions like swinging chickens about their heads and stamping on glasses don't help.

'It would have...'

Jews are the chosen people. They were chosen by God that they might set a positive example of decency and selflessness which all sinners were to follow, signed and sealed by the Covenant. I am sure that arguing in such a pathetic manner that some film is saying nasty things about them is not going to help their cause. Moreover it is quite selfish to exert oneself for the mere sake of winning some dispute about some film from a biased Catholic about oneself when one forgets that one should be selfless, meaning that one spends time endeavouring to make the world a better place helping eachother, not going to the synagogue every Sunday slapping a putrid piece of poultry on the Rabbi's desk inquiring "That's not trefah is it?" "Hmm I don't know I'll just have to stick my fist up the chicken".

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Post by mrcolj » Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:52 pm

I didn't understand much of that... :P
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Post by Kopio » Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:24 pm

Episcopus wrote:Last year I studied Judaism for one year. Traditions like swinging chickens about their heads and stamping on glasses don't help.

'It would have...'

not going to the synagogue every Sunday slapping a putrid piece of poultry on the Rabbi's desk inquiring "That's not trefah is it?" "Hmm I don't know I'll just have to stick my fist up the chicken".
huh??....I feel like I'm walking into the middle of a conversation....care to flesh it out for us a little??

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Post by Emma_85 » Mon Mar 01, 2004 7:35 pm

So is there no Greek in the movie? Would it not be more accurate to take all the Latin out than to take all the Greek out? (I'm sure most people spoke all three, but most people in Rome spoke Greek at that time.)
Yes, quite a few wealthy or aristocratic Romans did speak Greek, Cicero for example ... his private letters to friends are full of Greek words and quotes - but not the stuff he wrote for the public-he translated Greek words (philosophical termini) into Latin. It seems that only certain people thought it was ok to use Greek words, others were maybe a bit like the French today (trying to banish all English words from their language).
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the passion

Post by Jefferson Cicero » Mon Mar 08, 2004 7:54 am

I think that some people see antisemitism where it isn't. Some do so from paranoia, others from prejudice, but I dont think most Jews are all that concerned with the movie. It's mainly just a small but loud and annoying group of Jews, probably mainly leftists and not religious Jews, who are being supported by the leftist, anti-Christian media who will use anything, and ally themselves with anyone, to libel or attack Christianity just because they hate it.

As for the allegation that believing the story of the passion to be historical truth necessarily leads to persecution of Jews, the fact is that you can use just about any excuse to persecute anyone. Of course Christians have persecuted Jews, but this does not impugn Christianity in the least. Christians have also been persecuted at times. Right now Palestinian Christians are being persecuted by Jews. This, however, does not make me think that there is something inherently wrong with Judaism.

An example of what I mean: generally speaking, Southerners have always been far more inclined to think of the Bible as the literal word of God and historical fact, Northeasterners, less so. The South is still today the so-called 'Bible Belt', yet the South has historically seen far less antisemitism than the more free-thinking, more atheistic Northeast. In fact, almost all the Jewish men of military age in the South fought for the Confederacy. Those who say that the Confederate battle flag is akin with the Nazi swastika are delivering a hard slap in the face to thousands of Southern Jews who's ancestors fought for Southern independence. You cold not insult anyone any worse than that.

We also shouldn't forget that the Nazi leaders were a strange mixture of atheists, agnostics, and neo-pagans, not Christians.

There are other examples that could be brought up here, but I could turn this into a thesis if I did.

I I were Italian, I wouldn't be insulted by the portrayal of the Roman soldiers as sadistic. It clearly wasn't intended to slander the Italians or their ancestors. Likewise with the portrayal of the Jews. In my view, people really should get a better grip on reality and quit being insulted by things that shouldn't insult them. They need to quit being such big ole' whiney babies, grow up, and get a little sense. In other words, the problem is with them, not with what they are ( or very often, choose to be) insulted by.

Nor must we forget that allegations, and alleged 'insensitivity' to others feelings, are at the root of the political correctness that every year becomes more oppressive to us all. The tyrranical mindset, the will to despotism, lies at the heart of this. Anything to suppress those you dont like, who refuse to adopt your ideology, etc. The point is that today, it is not religion, but ideology, that motivates most who wish to dominate others, and most of these ideologues are atheists, hence their attack on the movie. It's just not politically correct enough for the ideologues who hate religion because it competes with their own ideology, which, in fact, is a form of religion. Hence, this is a religious war being waged by one religion against another for control and domination of society. But the ideologues will never admit to this. :!:

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Post by Kalailan » Mon Mar 08, 2004 2:14 pm

being insulted is always a matter of choice.
It's mainly just a small but loud and annoying group of Jews, probably mainly leftists and not religious Jews, who are being supported by the leftist, anti-Christian media who will use anything, and ally themselves with anyone, to libel or attack Christianity just because they hate it.
sorry to dissapoint you, but the people who see anti-semitism in art, like the incident in sweden, are mainly rightist jews.
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Post by mrcolj » Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:55 pm

Remember our paradigms here:

Jefferson Cicero is presumably in the US, where those who insist on seeing anti-semitism are the left. In the US, Judaism is dominant in the media, the socially liberal political party, and really into revisioning history. The US left are pro-abortion, pro-welfare, and for higher taxes.

Kalailan is in Israel, where those who see anti-semitism are on the right (relative to their government.) In Israel, "right" means the military federalists. Sharon, the terrorist, is "right." The Israeli left are anti-abortion, anti-welfare, and against higher taxes.

So both extremes merge.

My wife's from Israel, and called me up a few weeks ago and said, "I finally understand what all the Americans mean when they stereotype Jews!" She moved to the US, and never understood how "jewish" meant to most people anyone who would sue anyone for anything, and consider it a legitimate source of income. Demanding overly-blunt people who are always willing to play any card they are able. Yet to her, Jewish meant happy family people who were against lawsuits in general. Now she's getting sued for no reason, and overtly told that the prosecutor will bring up extra lawsuits just to annoy her, "because he's from a fine Jewish family of lawyers and can do stuff like that."

I apologize for the stereotypes, but the charicature helps show the point.

Would this movie have made half as much money if the ADL hadn't given it all that attention? $212 million?!
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Post by Kalailan » Mon Mar 08, 2004 8:31 pm

Oh, yes, i did forget to mention that i ment israeli rightists.

leftists here aren't anti-abortion. anti-welfare? seems that netanyahu is more anti welfare then the leftists.

anyway, i am stoping here, this is not a politics disscusion.
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thanks

Post by Jefferson Cicero » Tue Mar 09, 2004 4:49 pm

Thank you, mrcolj and Kalailan, for your insights. It's not easy to find input like this just anywhere, even if this is not really the forum for such discussions. I had no idea about the difference in attitudes between right and left in Israel and the U.S.

On a similar note, I know of a Southern Jew who lived in New York City for years, but moved home to Arkansas because he got tired of the leftist attitudes common in the Big Apple. He had a friend, also a Jew, who got so fed up with liberal attitudes in New England that when he moved back home to Arkansas, the last thing he did before he left a certain state (which shall remain unnamed) was stop a few feet before he crossed the state line, take a d**p, then drive out of the state.

Southern Jews have traditionally had different attitudes from Jews from the Northeast. I once heard a Southern Jew complaining about the denigration of Southern heritage and identity, and the gradual disappearance of Southern culture and traditions that seems to be taking place in the South, the very things that many liberal Jews in the Northeast, especially in the media, seem to find great satisfaction in.

As for the movie, yes, the ADL really helped it out a lot, though I think it would have been a big hit anyway. They just made it bigger. The media helped, too. There are Christians and conservatives who will go see the movie just because the leftist media attacks it. They see it as a way of striking a small blow for God, country, or whatever. Perhaps the leftists should try praising the movie instead.

Or maybe eventually they will find a way to go after Gibson, try to bring him down. I wouldn't be surprised.

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Post by mrcolj » Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:07 pm

I've tried to start a (live) discussion in a few places as to whether Mel Gibson will ever be cast in another movie. There are already multiple studios that have said they'll never produce a movie that is associated with him in any way... Miramax for example.
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Post by klewlis » Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:20 pm

mrcolj wrote:I've tried to start a (live) discussion in a few places as to whether Mel Gibson will ever be cast in another movie. There are already multiple studios that have said they'll never produce a movie that is associated with him in any way... Miramax for example.
I doubt that Gibson is worried about this, for several reasons:

1) This movie was very important to him, and likely worth many sacrifices, and I'm sure he was prepared for that.
2) There are likely still lots of producers who would still love to have Mel Gibson simply because he IS Mel Gibson.
3) Those who are miffed now will likely forget about it in a few years.
4) Even if he never stars in another movie, he's set for life anyway, financially.
5) He can always make his own movies, like he did with this one. ;)

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Post by mrcolj » Tue Mar 09, 2004 5:32 pm

Yeah, but we have so much precedent of superstars being blackballed.
Plus, whether or not he made $300M, he's no more pointlessly rich than he was earlier... it's not like he could spend the $100M he had before. Sacrifice or not, he may sit back and get bitter about never getting another real movie offer...

And we as a people, who do not formally blackball people, are quick to forgive. I still watch West Wing even though Martin Sheen was loud against the US doing anything about 9/11, let alone terrorism in general. But for as much as you never see an actor again just because he got cocky and demanded more than he was worth, I think there's good odds no one with any connection to the real media will be allowed to cast Mel Gibson again... I dunno.

But something-something about the Latin in the movie, and stuff about the Aramaic, too.
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Post by klewlis » Tue Mar 09, 2004 7:44 pm

In any case, many (maybe even Gibson himself) will see this as the high point in his career, so it's all downhill from here anyway. :)

Some may consider it his low point, but those people are generally bitter anyway. ;)

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Post by Kopio » Tue Mar 09, 2004 9:46 pm

Another note....for the most part (I am speaking very broadly here) the driving force behind this movie has been the Catholic and Evangelical world (in the states that is).....these two groups are notoriously Pro-Israeli. You will be hard pressed to find your typical "Evangelical" in any way anti-Semite....it tends to be quite opposite in both the Poliical and Socialogical spheres they...support Israel 100%.

Just my two denarii worth :P

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Post by Episcopus » Tue Mar 09, 2004 10:02 pm

Does he give any of his insane wealth to the poor and humble as Jesus would have requested?

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Post by mrcolj » Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:19 pm

It depends on what "give to the poor and humble" means. I mean, handing $300 million to a homeless guy is not the answer; and handing $300 to a million homeless guys isn't the answer either. When you're talking on that level, most charities aren't worth it. The Red Cross or United Way would spend it all on some inefficient political cause. I'd say he needs to create his own charity, or donate it to one he trusts. Do any of us really think Gibson's going to spend all his money on anything Jesus disagrees with? I mean, he probably has as big a house as he wants, and as many cars as he wants, etc. I'm thinking I trust him, at least for macroeconomic reasons, that whatever he wants to do with it is probably one of the best things that can be done with it.
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Post by Episcopus » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:53 pm

All that luxury and he follows the Bible. It seems that he be following what he wishes to follow, and not he majority thereof. :evil:

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Post by klewlis » Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:02 pm

Episcopus wrote:All that luxury and he follows the Bible. It seems that he be following what he wishes to follow, and not he majority thereof. :evil:
The Bible states that it is difficult for a rich man to be saved, not impossible. Many, many of the greatest characters in the Bible were quite rich... it's all about how you handle it and where your heart is... and we can know neither about Mel. So I'd rather give him the benefit of the doubt. I think the movie and his comments about it give a pretty good indication of where his heart is.

Also, if he is *truly* following biblical principles, then he is going to keep his charitable donations quiet, instead of advertising them for all the world to see... in which case he very well could be doing quite a lot for the poor, that we don't know about. :)

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Post by Bert » Thu Mar 11, 2004 2:02 am

klewlis wrote:

The Bible states that it is difficult for a rich man to be saved, not impossible.
Actually the Bible says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Then it is added that with man this is impossible but with God all things are possible. (I hope this won't be considered as splitting hairs. My point is that Mel cannot work his own way into the kingdom of God.)
klewlis wrote: Many, many of the greatest characters in the Bible were quite rich... it's all about how you handle it and where your heart is... and we can know neither about Mel. So I'd rather give him the benefit of the doubt. I think the movie and his comments about it give a pretty good indication of where his heart is.

Also, if he is *truly* following biblical principles, then he is going to keep his charitable donations quiet, instead of advertising them for all the world to see... in which case he very well could be doing quite a lot for the poor, that we don't know about. :)
Right on. :!:

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Post by klewlis » Thu Mar 11, 2004 3:11 pm

Bert wrote:Actually the Bible says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Then it is added that with man this is impossible but with God all things are possible. (I hope this won't be considered as splitting hairs. My point is that Mel cannot work his own way into the kingdom of God.)
I don't think that was ever at issue.

Also, check matt 19:23 ;)

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