"The Passion of the Christ" is opening in theatres on February 25th in the U.S. with a stir of controversy. Mel Gibson's movie initially brought out some strong criticism and reaction from various Jewish leaders and organizations that it was anti-Semitic and would create some hatred towards Jews.
Without seeing the movie (and knowing Billy Graham "okay" it), if it simply follows the story of the New Testament, I don't understand how it can be anti-Semitic. Yes, the Jewish religious leaders called for Jesus Christ's death because he claimed what was outrageous and blasphemous to many of them... that he was the Messiah and also inferred that he and God are one.
In Judaism, it is prophesied that the Messiah ("Christ" is Greek for Messiah) will come to restore Israel and establish his kingdom. Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah and the Jews who believed this during that time (the initial group of Christians) saw the difference in how that prophecy was to be fulfilled. "Kingdom" as many Jews hoped for was a physical kingdom on earth established by their Messiah. While "kingdom" for those initial believers in Jesus Christ was a spiritual kingdom, which even his disciples did not realize until he was crucified. Jesus was a Messiah that most Jews never would have expected during those tumultuous times. He was a meek, humble carpenter not a strong, warrior or ruler who would save them from Rome.
Anyway, this conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees led to his death, but does anyone who believes in Christ and his teaching hold hatred for Jews? It might be an excuse for the really ignorant or really, really stupid, but to simply hate Jews because they "killed Christ" would not make sense and goes against everything within the Christian doctrine and the words that Jesus spoke.
If Christians were to hate all Jews than they should also hate Jesus and all the disciples since they were Jewish. Hence they wouldn't be Christians, just haters... and not political conversatives, just haters. Simple but truthful rebuttal. More convincing is that "hate" should not be within the minds and hearts of Christians. Anyway you slice it, whether today's Jewish leaders or liberal Christian-hating people or supposed-Christians who hate Jews for "killing Christ", those that say the Bible's New Testament encourages or promotes anti-Semitism are idiots. This site gives a more direct and lengthy answer to whether "The Passion of The Christ" is anti-Semitic or not.
On a related note, Gibson's father might be anti-Semitic: Gibson Father: Holocaust Mostly 'Fiction' .
Hutton Gibson follows a tiny wing of traditionalist Catholicism that views the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council as a conspiracy between Jews and Masons to take over the church.
He reminds me of Montana Freemen or people I use to talk to once in a while when I lived in Springfield, IL (truly Middle America). Some of them really believe in the black helicopters of the U.N., seven gnomes of Switzerland ruling the world (Jewish bankers), or how U.S. insurance companies controlled many presidential administrations. Of course, his views and recent public statements don't put people that really are concerned about an anti-Semitic message in the movie at ease.
Sort of timely too since I'm reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Conspiracy cracks must have loved this book. It's been a good read, but I hit some bumps in the road that made me lose my initial excitement. I'm back on track and will soon finish this entertaining book to blog about it. Definitely amusing since it has many historical stretches, logical flaws, poor assumptions about human nature, and the twisting of facts... of course, it's a fiction book so what did I expect, right?
Anyway, I do recommend the book and I'm excited about seeing the movie, "The Passion of The Christ."