This documentary came out a while ago and I’ve been meaning to watch it because I thought it would be interesting. Well it was interesting. About as interesting as a train wreck.
This is a terrible film. This is a terrible film.
Now that being said from a purely visual standpoint and storytelling standpoint this documentary is at least as good as any of Michael Moore's films or any other good quality documentary that has come out in recent years. So visually and from an editing perspective its par for the course. But the content is absolutely atrocious. (It should be noted that I believe Moore’s films to otherwise be of a very low quality as well)
I think this film is evil. I have such a big problem with this film that I am going to dedicate a serious amount of time to debunking as much of what is claimed here as I can. The theme is essentially Anti Semitism and it’s relation to the Roman Catholic Church. At least that’s the primary theme. Other agendas are put forth throughout the film; one which is particularly disturbing is that the basis of the holocaust was the Roman Catholic Church's history of Anti Semitism.
This film begs every question it could possibly beg and provides essentially zero evidence for its claims and interpretations of certain historical events. It’s based on a book by James Carroll which I will have to read in order to give put him in the best possible light and not straw man him. But if the book is anything like the movie then it’s simply historical Christian self-hating trash.
One example is how Carroll treats the relic of Christ's robe. I have no idea if the Roman church possesses the actual robe that Jesus wore but I do know that Jesus wore a robe. Carroll actually denies this. He claims that the idea that Jesus wore a robe that was gambled over comes from the Psalms and that the Roman Church inserted this into its teachings at a later time. In Psalm 22 it says "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So Carroll is right that in the Psalms reference is made about gambling and garments which were connected to the Messiah.
But in Matthew 27 we find this passage: They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
So if Carroll is right then the idea which we find originally in Psalm 22 but here we find interpreted as the fulfillment of Prophecy by the Apostle Matthew was actually inserted at a later date and Jesus never wore a robe at all. This is what he claims. That the idea of Jesus’ robe is fiction which the Catholic Church invented based on Psalm 22. Apparently not on the accounts of the crucifixion that we find in the Gospels which interpret Psalm 22 as fulfilled prophecy in Jesus’ sufferings. Carroll was a Priest. He went through Seminary. How could he possibly make a statement like this and be serious? Unless he's challenging the historicity of the Gospels, but he doesn't do that. He lets a Bible scholar do that briefly at one point but he doesn't connect what that scholar says (which was a denial that the Sanhedrin wanted to put Jesus to death as a heretic) with his unsubstantiated claim that the Roman Catholic Church made up the idea of Jesus' Robe. And he also doesn't differentiate between Jesus clothes and the robe that was placed on him in order to mock his claims of Kingship. So which "robes" are his thoughts concerning? Does he think Jesus went around naked? This film is trash. Well made trash.
Now as I wrap this post up what I’m not saying is that Christians have never been anti Semitic. They have. I’m not denying that the holocaust took place or that anti Semitism is wrong. The holocaust took place. It was one of the great tragedies of all time. And it is wrong to be anti Semitic. Jews are just as valuable as all other ethnic groups and religious groups. But this film is ridiculous and at this point it looks to me like Carroll is just taking revenge on the Roman Church for disappointing him during his early days as a priest for not doing exactly what he thought they should about the Vietnam War. And this is why I think the Film is in fact evil. Not necessarily because it is confused and speaking falsehood, though that is bad, but because Carroll is trying to use the holocaust to take revenge on the church of his Childhood. That is simply sick and twisted. I will have much more to say soon.