A Fresh Approach

NATHAN WOODARD NWOOD450 at students.bju.edu
Fri Mar 5 14:08:38 EST 2004

Hello Everyone,

My name is Nathan Woodard, and I am a senior Rhetoric and Public Address major, English minor at Bob Jones University. I guess that makes me one of those "Fundamentalist Protestant" that we have been hearing about in some of the recent posts. I have been on the list for about a year, but this is my first post. I must admit that I have only seen the trailers and the reviews of the movie, but I do fully intend to watch it once it comes out on DVD. My reason for waiting has nothing to with support of the film, and everything to do with my Mom's views of the theater, even though I'm 21 and an Intelligence Specialist in the Navy Reserve. Now that you all have had a chance to laugh at me and understand my bias I would like to point us to some areas of discussion that I think would be useful.

First, I would like to give a reasoned critique of what I know about the film from a "Fundamentalist Protestant" perspective. I must admit though that I have borrowed some of the ideas from "Fundamentalist Protestant" speech faculty and several pastor's in the area with Ph.D.'s in New Testament Interpretation. It has already been accurately been pointed out on the list that the film goes farther than the biblical account in displaying the details of Christ's physical torment. The Bible doesn't talk describe the whip as cat of nine tales nor does it highlight how bad it was for Christ physically. But the question that we must ask then in light of the film is why not? It would appear that it would be rhetorically advantageous to highlight these details, if you wanted to convert people to your religion. The answer lies in what the gospel writers choose to highlight instead of Christ's physical suffering. Instead, the Bible clearly places it's emphasis on the spiritual suffering of Christ. The gospel writers highlight the fact that all the sins of the world are placed on Christ on the cross, and that as a result of this the Father turns away from the Christ because He can not view sin in His righteousness. Thus for the "Fundamentalist Protestant" the film is not the best witnessing tool, because it stays from the biblical emphasis, although that does not mean that it can not direct peoples attention to the person of Christ. I believe that this is a reasoned and balanced view, but also recognize that there are many people in the "Fundamentalist Protestant" camp that diverge from it in both directions. I give this explanation here because I think that it can give us a richer reference point of comparison to contrast the film in light of Burkean principles, although I must fully admit, while keeping whatever academic integrity an undergraduate student may have, that I do personally believe the biblical account.

Using the Burkean concept of the redeemer in the drama, how does the biblical account differ from the film in its rhetorical emphasis, and what are the implications of these differences? One other question that I think would be interesting to discuss, is what do Muslim's in America think about the film, and what can we learn by understanding their perspective on Christ in light of Burke?

I would also like rebut the idea that came up earlier in the posts, without being to sectarian, that somehow the crucifixion is pornographic or homosexual in nature. No one would say that the video of people dying and lying dead at Auschwitz is pornographic. There is absolutely no intent to arouse any sexual passions. And if you want to believe that there are repressed homosexual overtones coming out, that doesn't fall all to far from Freudian psycho-analysis which is fine if you want to believe it, but at least recognize that it must be taken completely by faith, and that it does not have its basis in reason.

I hope that I haven't inflamed anyone too much with my opinions, but I think that they might be useful, and I am very interested in your thoughts.

Thank you one and all,
ISSN Nathan Woodard (USNR)

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
Malcolm Forbes

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