Warning: The following may be profuse in profanities, obtuse in obscenities and generally not fit for reading by good christians. I do not mean to offend, only to perhaps displace, for a second, faith. A temporary suspension of belief, as it were.
Spoiler: After being viciously beaten and crucified, Jesus dies. Only to be resurrected. Or so I'm meant to believe.
Last night I watched the film "The Passion of The Christ". Assuming one has the stomach to watch a man be first unjustly condemned, slowly and viciously beaten for over an hour and finally atrociously executed, the film could be described as lush and stunning. The aramaic and latin gave it an extra flavor. I kept expecting someone to break out in the King's english, but it didn't happen. The wailing soundtrack complemented the incessant shouting, screaming, crying and grunting throughout. It was a "good" movie, but not a "great" movie, as Woody Allen might say in a nightclub stand up routine.
That's all I have to say about the film. The subject matter, on the other hand, has kept me scratching my head all my life.
Although baptized as a Roman Catholic, my relationship with Jeeeysus ended after my godfather renounced Satan for me. No matter how hard anyone tried, they couldn't pull me back in. Ahem.
The teachings of Jesus aside - good stuff, really - the whole christian tradition, mythology, ceremony, etc, always struck me as oddly, and utterly, absurd. Over the years I've poked my head into many of the theologies man has come up with in our history, and well, they are all more or less the same. Some enlightened individual shows up and reminds everyone that we are all together in this and we should respect the oneness of being in nature. (We have a couple of cases of anthropomorphic depictions of nature, but these are just manifestations of such a respect and have generally not evolved into instruments of governance.)
If we geographically and historically map the appearance of said enlightened people and attach the essence of their messages, we get a rather fascinating perspective on the state of the world, I might add.
We may notice another thing: Jesus is the ONLY one we killed. And boy oh boy do we LOVE him for it! He died for our sins! Someone please tell me what that is supposed to mean. It is totally beyond me. The poor guy shows up, tells us to love one another and we kill him. From what I gather, essentially, it was a case of "wrong place at the wrong time". The socio-political climate he found himself in just couldn't handle him, and he got burnt. Oops, no he didn't, but for 1500 years after, anyone pretentious enough to think they really "dug Jesus", did. Ahem.
I've come to consider such appearances as a naturally recurring pattern. Statistically it makes sense that a small percentage of humans, here and there, every now and again, might "wake up", "see the light", etc... There is evidence of this littered all over our disparate human cultures. Once in a while, one of these people finds him/herself with enough charisma, courage and perhaps in an environment where they feel the need to REALLY share this awakening. Gautama, Jesus, Mohammed... We remember their names. We worship their words. We totally, for the most part, miss their point.
But that's not my point.
My point is, why, in the face of such a plethora of wonderful knowledge, do so many people not only have a crippling fascination with the symbols used to express it, but focus so steadfastly on the grisliest episode in the life of ONE of truth's proponents?
The whole crucifixion and "died for our sins" stuff smacks of "Oops! Oooo-kay... how do we explain this little blunder?" Two thousand years of severely messed up people all over the place because of a mistake and an overly cerebral desire to explain it away. Brilliant. That's not passion, it's stupidity. Stupidity, after all, is a faculty made possible only by intellect.
Jesus had a lot to teach us, no doubt. His murder, I suspect, was not part of those lessons. At least not in terms of spiritual growth. Perhaps a bit in human affairs and a reminder that we really still are just animals... or can be.