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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Two Crucifixes, Way Up
In their twin rave reviews of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" (a.k.a. "There's Something About Mary's Kid") in today's Chicago Sun-Times, both Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper make the argument that the film is not anti-Semitic because the lead character, Jesus, was in fact not killed by anything the Romans or the Jews did, but by God himself.
Ebert: "The libel that the Jews 'killed Christ' involves a willful misreading of testament and teaching: Jesus was made man and came to Earth in order to suffer and die in reparation for our sins. No race, no man, no priest, no governor, no executioner killed Jesus; he died by God's will to fulfill his purpose, and with our sins we all killed him."

Roeper: "Also, we must keep in mind that Jews and Romans alike were simply fulfilling their roles in God's plan for Jesus, who was put on this Earth to die. The Jews didn't kill Christ; humankind did."

Those are fine arguments, except, isn't there a large portion of the population (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.) who actually believe that the Jews and the Romans--not God or humanity--did kill Christ? Is it me, or are both presenting as fact the claim that Jesus was the son of God and not perhaps just a man? Would a simple "as Christians believe..." or "according to the New Testament" have hurt their argument?>
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