Monday, April 05, 2004


Areya Spero in the Wall Street Journal this morning writes an article that for me, is a terrific summary of thoughts I have been unable to express on paper. He is writing about The Passion of the Christ, and how both Jewish and Christians see the same movie, but afterwards describe it such that you'd think they had seen two differing ones. It depends upon point of view.

Any time there is a movie, reading or reference to faith in Jesus as the only means to salvation and heaven, many in the Jewish community become uncomfortable out of a sense of exclusion. As this movie focused only on the episode necessary for such salvation, the crucifixion, it became a target of the uncomfortable. If only, many pleaded, the movie would deal with Jesus' teachings of love, and put the crucifixion "in context." What the critics wanted, in other words, was to minimize that aspect of Jesus' life that dealt with salvation--the uniquely Christian aspect.

It is ironic that so many who themselves do not believe in a literal heaven complain of being locked out of it; that so many who believe salvation, or redemption, is achieved by other means complain of not being saved by that which they reject. This is an insecurity that can be overcome by looking within or by attaching to a belief system where the requirements to heaven are achieved by other means. Jews have such a road, elucidated in their Torah. Besides, Christian salvation theology does not exclude a nonbeliever from full recognition as a human being or citizen.


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