Well many of you already know my views on religion, so I will jump right to what this post is about. As I normally do before going to see a movie that intrigues me, I have been reading many reviews and articles regarding Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”. And let me tell you, there has been no shortage of words written about this movie and its supposed controversy.
Yes thats right, I call it a “supposed controversy”. Many people are upset that the film portrays Jews as the reason for the death of Jesus. Whether you believe this is what happened or not doesn’t really matter. You can believe whatever you want to with regards to his death, or murder as you might call it. What matters is that this movie just proves one of my biggest problems with religion – that people put their fanatical beliefs before reason and logic. Confused? Let me explain.
Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, KG of DreamWorks SKG, have both expressed anger at the movie and have taken the further step of proclaiming that they will never support another Mel Gibson project again, whether it be him directing, acting, etc. And let me tell you, they are not alone. You can read more about this at the New York Times.
So what do we have here? Two prominent Hollywood executives (not to mention the countless others who agree with them) are going to place their personal beliefs above that of business logic – Gibson is a very popular actor, with large box office draws, and has proven himself to be a talented director as well. This is one aspect of religious belief that I completely do not agree with. Even further, other executives have said they will avoid Gibson projects because Mel made comments to defend his father, who believes the Holocaust was “all fiction”. So now its wrong for someone to defend their family? Would you defend your father? Whatever happened to free speech anyway?
So here’s why this bothers me: “The Passion of the Christ” is work of art, created by Mel Gibson from start to finish, and paid for largely out of his own pocket. Don’t you think its funny that so many things are protected as “works of art” and yet when it comes to religion, nothing else matters? This is a personal project for him, something he feels very passionately about – listen to any recent interview to get a feel for this.
The real controversy surrounding this movie should be whether or not Mel Gibson is persecuted for creating a work of art based on his own beliefs and feelings regarding religion, NOT about whether or not the depiction of the death of Jesus is correct, or anti-semetic, or anything else. I am not religious, and so even though I do not agree with Gibson’s views, I can respect that he feels strongly enough about his beliefs that he wishes to create something which captures his emotion.
We just finished a good discussion over at Dickson’s blog, but I felt compelled to write this after reading some more articles about the movie. The fact that religion is taken so seriously by some people that it interferes with the otherwise normal way of things (executives deciding to not support a Gibson project because it tanks at the box office, not because of his beliefs) just doesn’t seem right to me. That people will turn a blind eye to everything else, ignoring logic and reason, is just wrong.
I am interested to see this movie, partially because of the controversy, but also because I am a Gibson fan and I plan to enjoy and support his latest project – or at the very least decide for myself if the movie was entertainment or not, regardless of the religious beliefs expressed. After all, what are movies for?