Caucasian heart-throb looks, infantile adulterations to history, are only a few of the many distortions found in the latest fundamentalist push to sell the cult of “Christianity” to the already indoctrinated masses.
Son of God is a 2014 American epic biblical drama feature film adapted from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey‘s ten-hour miniseries The Bible. Burnett is a prolific British-American television producer, wingnut and former military man with pronounced fundamentalist and libertarian beliefs, which makes his expanding power in the infotainment industry something to worry about. His current series include lowbrow Anglo-Americanocentric idiocies like Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice, The Sing Off and People’s Choice Awards. Shark Tank is one of his more passable outings. As befits a medium in quality free fall, Burnett and his wife—also a religious zealot—the man has received enormous accolades. In 2013, TV Guide Magazine named Burnett “Producer of the Year.” Also, Burnett was named one of the world’s most influential people by TIME Magazine. He has won five Emmy Awards, one PGA Award and five People’s Choice Awards as of November 2013, and his projects have garnered a total of 98 Emmy nominations. In addition to his work as a producer, he has authored eight books.
The presence of highly successful coarse Christianity propagandists like Burnett makes the task of salvaging whatever is good in organized religion (not much in our view, but that’s another story) doubly difficult. Yet given the fact that religion is not likely to vanish anytime soon it is imperative to examine how this force in social and political affairs can be redirected to do the most good or minimize its damage.
The struggle for meaning and direction within the Catholic faith (“universal”) has acquired new urgency as a result of recent scandals related to sex abuse of minors (actually an old problem successfully covered up for many generations) and the arrival on the scene of an energetic and original Pope who seems bent on modernizing the institution to make it more relevant and attractive to increasingly indifferent masses in the 21st century. Against this backdrop, Americans for Middle East Understanding (AMEU) has produced a provocative paper examining some of these issues and the possible responses of Catholicism to one of the world’s thorniest issues, the plight of the Palestinian people. Fact is, the Pope will make a trip to Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories May 24-26. The trip will be 4th-ever papal visit to Israel. As AMEU points out, “as the leader of the world’s largest Christian denomination the Pontiff will visit a people who have spent more time under military domination than any other in recent memory. Who will he see? What will he say? What might this unpredictable Pope Francis do?”
“The feature article Quo Vadis? looks to the past for some guidance on what this visit might portend. The author is Charles Villa- Vicencio, Emeritus Professor of Religion and Society at the University of Cape Town, Visiting Professor in the Conflict Resolution Program at Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow and founder of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town.”
Below, the intro to the paper. As agnostics and Renaissance people we are not sure that a re-energizing of the Catholic church is a good thing for the world. Progressivism and Catholicism in the same breath seem to us to be (in large measure) an oxymoron. If we have a belief it is that is not necessary to have religion to observe moral rules, and that, in fact, religion has almost invariably made conflict in human affairs more difficult to resolve if not created them altogether. That said, this is an interesting and important paper and we recommend you give it a chance. The whole document can be downloaded by clicking here.—P. Greanville
The church has long had a divided identity, consisting of traditional believers who cling to institutionalized ritual and what they regard as doctrinal purity and activists whose faith prioritizes social action. Numerically the former is the larger group for the simple reason that most people are conformists who accept the religious and socio-political status quo of the day. The latter invariably comprises a smaller group of people who affirm that what they believe is a part of the Christian tradition that is sup- pressed, if not forgotten, by the dominant structures within the institutional church. Continue reading »