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[ violence is the point ]

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VIOLENCE IS THE POINT
Today is a day for celebration that has been far too long in coming. In case you haven't heard, we can scrap the MPAA movie ratings system because it's no longer required. Parents need no longer worry about the content of the video entertainment their children peruse. Apparently, violence in motion pictures will no longer be tolerated. At least, that's the impression I'm forced to draw from the reaction to Mel Gibson's instant classic, The Passion of the Christ.

If you're sensing some sarcasm, that's good. I'm laying it on pretty thick. The same establishment that celebrated cinematic violence in Gladiator, Reservoir Dogs, Seven, and Saving Private Ryan has suddenly developed a conscience; Gibson's work has been panned and roundly criticized as having gratuitous violence and excessive bloodshed.

All due respect to those "professional" critics, but they've overlooked the obvious: the violence is the point. We're not talking about gunning down the bad guys, kill-or-be-killed action in the Coliseum, or death on the front lines, all of which suggest violence as a means to an end. What we're talking about is the single greatest act of self-sacrifice in the history of the world. In only twelve hours, a man was arrested, tried, starved, disciplined (caned), scourged, beaten and belittled as he carried his own method of execution, and finally crucified (before his mother). All of this is depicted in a two-and-a-half hour movie. Of course it seems violent!

The images that portray this sacrifice on our behalf should be a graphic assault on our senses. The sight of blood carries with it an instinctual sense of wrongness. Therefore it is only fitting that we see so much blood in light of what is so obviously wrong with the crucifixion. Watching this movie only reinforced the depth of the love Christ showed for me by giving his life in payment for my sins.

And I can't help but feel even more shame and sorrow for my fellow man if he can't recognize the violence for what it is: redemption.
- Scott Bush
March 2004

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