Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ

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3 Faces (Jafar Panahi)

In that regard, the only differences between the two interpretations are their elements of terror and challenge. Gibson essentially reduces Jesus to an action hero. His triumph is less spiritual than physical. The implication is that the incredible physical punishment Jesus endures is symbolic of the sins of mankind that he absorbs. In my mind, this is a reductive view of Jesus. JB: I understand that. As you said earlier, Gibson is certainly cynical about the material, and thus the recurring presence of Satan drives home the point that evil, sin and corruption are everywhere.

When Satan watches Jesus during the scourging scene, it suggests that the easiest thing for Jesus to do would be to become hateful of his torturers. It was about trying to live up to the model of Jesus rather than trying to avoid the clutches of Satan. And yet, again, there are the Pat Robertsons of the world extreme example, I know who try to use fear to keep people in line.

To some degree, then, it could be argued that what you see as exaggerated, someone with a more doomsday view of Christianity might see as merely faithful. What better way to make this ancient character seem relevant than to portray him as a cinematic action hero? In that way The Passion reminds me of those National Guard commercials that appear at many multiplexes.

Cut to seem like trailers for the next Jerry Bruckheimer picture, their implicit message is that by joining the National Guard one can become an action hero, a movie star. EH: Excellent—although maybe the more salient Sly Stallone comparison is Rocky, able to take the punches and keep on staggering along, covered in blood. We both seem to agree that The Last Temptation of Christ is the more substantial and complex of these films. And all that before we get to its climax, a nearly half-hour reverie in which Jesus, nailed to the cross, is tempted to forsake this sacrifice for a natural life, and death, as a normal man.

Quite to the contrary, Last Temptation is messy and wild, prone to drastic shifts in tone from scene to scene or moment to moment. Not only are the accents hilariously out of place, but there are all sorts of oddball moments that ensure that the film can never be taken as anything other than a very idiosyncratic, stylized response to Christian lore. JB: In the least, Last Temptation has more visual, thematic and narrative diversity. And yet another way to describe him would be mercurial. Judas is understandably, well, peeved.

And now you have to die. What good could that do? The avoidance of subtitles or even non-American accents wraps into this, too. It reminds that when these events played out, no one—not even Jesus—knew how it would end. At least, not exactly. Doubt, it seems to me, should be the key ingredient of any Jesus story.

Without doubt, faith cannot exist. When Jesus finishes telling Judas about his plans to die willingly on the cross, he says that afterward he will come back to judge the living and the dead. This time Judas is bumping up against the borders of his faith. He wants to believe. You can feel it. But Judas still has doubt. Belief is hard. Admittedly, the performances take a little getting used to: the New York accents and unfettered emotions that go down so easy in Mean Streets and Goodfellas produce some real cognitive dissonance in this context. When we come to a biblical epic, we expect certain things.

We expect, perhaps, a somber, respectful air, a certain amount of faithfulness to the Scriptures, even maybe a lack of humor. To be snarky for a moment, The Passion kind of suggests the same thing, just in a very different way. JB: I would agree with all of that. Fair point. The more one looks to the Bible for answers, the more elusive the answers seem to be. Is it because Matthew writes a damn good Gospel?

For the moment, at least, this takes us back to The Passion , which portrays the Stations of the Cross, even though some of the vignettes have no biblical support. As you said earlier, the Stations are depicted on the walls of many mostly Catholic churches, but they are essentially more a part of religious culture than they are a part of the religion itself, if you take my meaning. We could go down this road forever, but you get the idea. The Bible, you see, is quite vague.

The Passion capitalizes on that vagueness, too, albeit to some more troubling ends. EH: Your points about biblical vagueness bring to mind the cartoonist Chester Brown, who at one point was working his way through interpretations of the Gospels in comics form. These adaptations were, in terms of text and sequence of events, relatively faithful to the letter of the scripture—and yet in being so scrupulously faithful, without the ornamentation or filling-in-the-blanks that often goes on in Christian mythologizing, these comics present a strange vision of a cold, hard, angry Jesus that seems very unfamiliar.

Last Temptation is similarly aware of the perils of biblical interpretation, even if Scorsese and Kazantzakis take the opposite approach, abandoning scrupulous faithfulness to allow for imaginative diversions. In its subtle way, this is perhaps the most blasphemous suggestion in the film, the idea that the hope and comfort provided by religious conviction is perhaps more important than the literal truth. Gibson made his film in Aramaic and Latin, and initially wanted to release it without even English subtitles, which would have been the ultimate act of ascetic faithfulness.

It is a thoroughly unpleasant experience with no real heft behind its grotesqueries. JB: Yep. The extremeness of the violence is particularly troubling. Is it mentioned in the Bible? To a point. Blood that stains the stones on the ground. Blood that runs down the cross. The violence is so grotesque and stylized that, as you said, The Passion feels akin to a Saw film, at least for a while. In these moments, The Passion is less like a tribute to Jesus than a condemnation of mankind. The Passion is frequently eager to place blame, which is part of the reason that so many people come away from it feeling that it possesses an anti-Semitic streak; Gibson uses The Passion as a magnifying glass to reveal a multitude of Jewish fingerprints covering the handle of the proverbial smoking gun that killed Jesus.

Nevertheless, when the Jewish high priests are the only ones who come and go from Golgotha on undignified braying donkeys, the filmmaker seems to be making some less than flattering notes in the margin. Then there are the Roman soldiers, who whip Jesus with such delight as Jesus just gets bloodier and bloodier, and the blood spreads out in Pollockian smears beneath him. One walks away from this film thinking that everyone must be a sadist at heart.

Who knows? Some of the flashbacks are unnecessary Mary remembering when Jesus was being picked on as a child and she rushed to protect him and others are downright curious Jesus invented the modern table? To go from the cold, bloody images of Jesus on the cross to the warm, glowing images of Jesus at the Last Supper is indeed to feel we are being wrapped in a heavenly blanket of light and love. In that way, The Passion is no different than a horror film preying on predigested fears of things that go bump in the night.

In contrast to The Passion , what I admire about Last Temptation is the way it explores the humanness of Jesus, but as a consequence of that approach his godliness is almost unconvincing, even when he does converse with a snake or a lion, even when he does pull his heart from his chest.

Christianity in India

But does it need to? We all expect Jesus to have a certain holiness, just as we expect a snake or a chainsaw-wielding dude in a hockey mask to be dangerous. On that note, part of what makes Last Temptation compelling is that it defies our expectations. More than any other scene, this one shows a Jesus who seems equal parts man and miracle-worker. My point is that in too many Jesus yarns the only thing human about Jesus is his body and his kinda-sorta human death. His film operates with the idea that if Jesus was really entirely man and entirely God at the same time, Jesus must be allowed to be fully human.

Last Temptation succeeds in this respect, but I think at the expense of conveying that Jesus is fully holy. And maybe it simply underlines how difficult impossible? So of course Jesus is both fully human and fully divine, and of course the three beings of the Holy Trinity are actually all the same, singular entity; what would religion be without its irresolvable paradoxes? He has a family, and begins to grow old, raising his children and enjoying a quiet, simple life. It is only on his deathbed, when he is confronted by his also-aged apostles, including an angry, bitter Judas, that Jesus finally realizes how important his sacrifice is, and he gives up this other life to return to the cross.

Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ

In Last Temptation , Jesus gives up the life that his human side wants so badly—the earthly love, the family, the natural death of an old man surrounded by his loved ones—and ultimately embraces the fate that God has in store for him instead. The old Syrian Nasrani seminary at Angamaly which had been the center of Catholic religious education for several centuries was razed to the ground by Tippu's soldiers.

A lot of centuries old religious manuscripts were lost forever. The church was later relocated to Kottayam where it still exists to this date. Tipu's army set fire to the church at Palayoor and attacked the Ollur Church in Furthernmore, the Arthat church and the Ambazhakkad seminary was also destroyed. Over the course of this invasion, many Saint Thomas Christians were killed or forcibly converted to Islam. Most of the coconut, areca nut, pepper and cashew plantations held by the Saint Thomas Christian farmers were also indiscriminately destroyed by the invading army. As a result, when Tippu's army invaded Guruvayur and adjacent areas, the Syrian Christian community fled Calicut and small towns like Arthat to new centres like Kunnamkulam, Chalakudi, Ennakadu, Cheppadu, Kannankode, Mavelikkara , etc.

They were given refuge by Sakthan Tamburan, the ruler of Cochin and Karthika Thirunal, the ruler of Travancore, who gave them lands, plantations and encouraged their businesses. Colonel Maculay, the British resident of Travancore also helped them. His persecution of Christians also extended to captured British soldiers. For instance, there were a significant amount of forced conversions of British captives between and Following their disastrous defeat at the battle of Pollilur , 7, British men along with an unknown number of women were held captive by Tipu in the fortress of Seringapatnam.

Of these, over were circumcised and given Muslim names and clothes and several British regimental drummer boys were made to wear ghagra cholis and entertain the court as nautch girls or dancing girls. After the year-long captivity ended, James Scurry, one of those prisoners, recounted that he had forgotten how to sit in a chair and use a knife and fork.

His English was broken and stilted, having lost all his vernacular idiom. His skin had darkened to the swarthy complexion of negroes , and moreover, he had developed an aversion to wearing European clothes. Those condemned by Tipu Sultan for treachery were hanged instantly, the gibbets being weighed down by the number of bodies they carried. The Netravati River was so putrid with the stench of dying bodies, that the local residents were forced to leave their riverside homes. Historian William Dalrymple asserts that the rebels were motivated primarily by resistance against a move use of the Enfield Rifle-Musket by the East India Company , which was perceived as an attempt to impose Christianity and Christian laws in India.

Chaman Lal, were killed outright. Dalrymple further points out that as late as 6 September, when calling the inhabitants of Delhi to rally against the upcoming British assault, Zafar issued a proclamation stating that this was a religious war being prosecuted on behalf of 'the faith', and that all Muslim and Hindu residents of the imperial city, or of the countryside were encouraged to stay true to their faith and creeds. In modern times, Muslims in India who convert to Christianity are often subjected to harassment, intimidation, and attacks by Muslims.

In effect, they are practising Christians, but are legally Muslims; thus, the statistics of Indian Christians does not include Muslim converts to Christianity. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christians in India Saint Thomas Christian cross. Middle East. North America. South America. Main article: Saint Bartholomew. Main article: Saint Thomas Christians. See also: Pearl Fishery Coast. See also: Saint Thomas Christians. Main article: List of cathedrals in India.

Jesus and his disciples spoke the Galilean dialect, which was distinguished from that of Jerusalem Matt. Government of India. Retrieved 11 July Retrieved 14 August Eerdmans Publishing — The Times of India. Retrieved 8 March Sharma, Usha Sharma. Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Christianity. The earliest historical evidence, however, regarding the existence of a Church in South India dates from the sixth century A.

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Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ
Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ
Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ
Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ
Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ Christianity and Politics: The Attempted Seduction of the Bride of Christ

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