Wednesday, October 29, 2003

News that God himself is displeased with Mel Gibson's epic of idiocy reminded me of a choice quote he gave to Peter Boyer in the 9/15 New Yorker:
Gibson is unconvinced by such scholarly interpretations. "They always dick around with it, you know?" he says. "Judas is always some kind of friend of some freedom fighter named Barabbas, you know what I mean? It's horseshit. It's revisionist bullshit. And that's what these academics are into. They gave me notes on a stolen script. I couldn't believe it. It was like they were more or less saying I have no right to interpret the Gospels myself, because I don't have a bunch of letters after my name. But they are for children, these Gospels. They're for children, they're for old people, they're for everybody in between. They're not necessarily for academics...
This is so fucking stupid it's pathetic that I have to bring it up. But, as slacktivist has noted, journalists appear to understand very little about religion (along with, sadly, many other topics):
I bring this up because Horowitz, like far too many journalists, is just this naive and credulous when relating these evangelicals' bizarre theories about the End of the World....

At one point Horowitz even uses the word "biblical" as a synonym for "Manichaen":

George W. Bush ... is a born-again, Scripture-loving Christian who sees the world in stark, almost biblical, terms (�You�re either with us or you�re with the terrorists�).
On what basis is Horowitz deciding that this "stark," dualistic view is "almost biblical"?
Go read the whole thing without my selective quoting.

Returning to Gibson, Boyer at least appears to know what manicheanism is:

Gibson's fiercest detractors see in him a medieval sensibility, an accusation that he would not necessarily find objectionable. He has a Manichaean view of the world, in which all of human history is the product of great warring realms, the unseen powers of absolute good and total evil. He believes in the Devil as fully as he believes in God; that is why his career has evolved to "The Passion," and it is how he accounts for the opposition that the film has aroused.
We will ignore the fact that there is nothing medieval about manicheanism, for the very reason that it was, and remains, by definition, not Christian. Journalists still unable to grasp this fact would do well to read the Catholic Encyclopedia article slacktivist cites.

Perhaps this is putting the cart before the horse: Gibson is not Christian, but, more importantly, he is not Catholic.

[Vatican II's] reforms bitterly divided the Church, reflecting, to a large degree, the divisions caused by the social movements in the contemporary secular culture. Church progressives embraced the reforms, and, as reform hardened into new orthodoxy, bureaucracies sprang up in the Church which were devoted to interfaith relations. But other Catholics were dismayed by the sudden, drastic changes, arguing that the Church's immutability through the ages was one of its institutional strengths. Most of those Catholics, however discomfited, eventually accommodated themselves to Vatican II; still others left the Church. But some of those who were most appalled at what they saw as a cult of modernity corrupting the Church remained intensely faithful. These Traditionalists, as they called themselves, declared themselves the True Church, and defied the reforms of Vatican II, as well as the authority of the Pope who convened the council, John XXIII, and of all who have occupied St. Peter's chair since.
Any truly pre-Vatican II Catholic would never make such a childish movie, because laypeople were not allowed to interpret the bible. That is the job of a duly consecrated priest, precisely to prevent simplistic cretins like Gibson from doing something dangerous. Get it? That is what priests are for, and that is what distinguishes Catholicism from other christian religions. It is a fundamental pillar of the fucking faith. What kind of moron claims to be Catholic and reads the gospel literally? And why can't journalists, even relatively smart ones, figure it out? You don't even have to care, or know anything about religion to notice when someone's beliefs about it are patently self-contradictory.

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