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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor
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Abandon religion, pursue relationships

We’ve all heard the sermons and the endless talks about how “gruesome” the Crucifixion was. We’ve heard pastors drone on for hours about God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice.

There are two main problems with this. First, none of us have ever seen it. Generation X is a generation of rebellion and individual expression, but also a generation of visual learners.

Second, while we are overwhelmingly visual, we have also been numbed to violence by its pervasiveness in the media. However, you’ll just have to trust me when I say: no amount of movie, TV, or video game violence could prepare you for Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ.

While it has been slightly exaggerated, the bloody images portrayed in the film are incredibly graphic and not for the young or the squeamish. Yet, they are there for a reason and essential to the message of the film.

Before I get started I must mention that it was a good movie aside from my religious views. The acting was very well done, it was shot in a perfect fashion and the costumes and characters made you feel like it was actually first century Jerusalem.

All right, feels good to get that out of the way.

Now, I went into the movie with three mindsets: first, with that of a believer, hoping for an inspiring film about Christ; second, with that of a reporter for a high school newspaper; and third, with that of a non-believer. Needless to say, it was impossible for me to maintain my professionalism.

The opening scene was enough; I could see that I was in for a two-hour emotional onslaught.

About halfway through the film, after Jesus had already been beaten multiple times, slung over a three-story bridge, spit on, and condemned by the people who welcomed him into the city two days earlier, the torture began. If the following descriptions offend you then don’t see the film because it’s unimaginably worse.

The first level of torture was a relentless beating with four-foot-long rods. As the soldiers struck him over and over again the faces in the crowd slowly transformed from anger to disgust.

After Jesus was covered in fresh welts, the Romans took out the whips. No, not just whips. The tails of these whips contained shards of glass and metal that performed like fishhooks in the flesh, grabbing and ripping muscle with each stroke.

This is where I froze.

I couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t cry. All ideas I had going into the movie dissolved as I watched the lashing continue, until Jesus lay on the floor literally reduced to a pile of raw flesh and blood.

Battered and beaten, he was dragged back to Pilate and began his long journey to Golgotha, where he would pay the ultimate price for our sins.

The captivating presence of Jesus on screen is amazing. With nearly the entire audience sobbing and groans erupting with each stroke of the rod or lash of the whip, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced.

I have been a Christian all my life, and am very well versed in the Bible and the crucifixion. Sure, I knew the facts, but as I said earlier, I had never seen them. The most overwhelming aspect of the movie is not the gore, however, but the inexorable love of Jesus. His anguish is more than evident but his willingness to persevere surpasses even that.

In the most powerful scene of the movie Mary dashes towards Jesus while he’s carrying his cross to the rock. He staggers and falls, she kisses his face, and he responds by saying, “See mother, I make all things new.” The music ascends to the foreground, Jesus stands up and presses on.

With my heart pounding, I couldn’t help but think of myself and to think of our school, of the love that Jesus has for all of us, enough that he would endure the most gruesome punishment and most humiliating shame imaginable to ensure our eternity. How foolish am I as a human and how foolish our school is to take that for granted!

This year my experience on campus has been somewhat of a disappointment. The feeling in the hallways has changed and the positive atmosphere that once flooded our grounds is slowly diminishing. I’ve heard it blamed on laziness, apathy, alcohol and drugs; I challenge everyone to look deeper, because those things are meaningless.

I believe that we’ve lost sight of love in our never-ending pursuit of happiness and satisfaction, that we’ve neglected our relationships with people and even with God.

For the believers on this campus, I challenge you not to become religious. Abandon religion! Pursue God and the gift of his son. Love others, whether they drink, do drugs or hate you. This, and only this, can turn our lives around and possibly change the direction our school is heading.

To the non-believers: don’t be closed-minded. Don’t be turned off by judgmental or condemning words, and discover Christ on your own. I’m all for Bible class, but honestly that’s not what a relationship with Christ is about. Talk to God; He will reveal himself to you if you give Him the time of day.

The Passion of the Christ had an outstanding effect on me and I can’t express on paper what an awesome film this actually as. I can only hope that if you see this movie your eyes will be opened to the love one man had for humanity, and that while he hung on the cross two thousand years ago he had you in mind.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

[Please note: the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the Feather staff and/or the administration.]

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