The Corner

Re: Passion

Ramesh, Rod: My intent in using the phrase “culture war” was not to inject poison into current controversies but rather to try to remove it from them. Here, in the Passion film, we see depicted the greatest injustice in human history-and yet its perpetrators do not proclaim, “Look at us, we are the proud agents of metaphysical evil.” The Temple officials consider themselves defenders of traditional theology against what they believe to be blasphemy; Pilate sees himself as a statesman in an ugly situation, making the best of a lot of bad options on how to prevent a public uprising. There is, I believe, a clear lesson in this for all people: Even when human beings consider themselves most in the right, they remain fallible, and sinners. Everybody-liberals, conservatives, nonpoliticals, everyone-stands under God’s judgment and needs His mercy. If the people who crucified Jesus-the greatest crime ever–are not Evil Incarnate, then neither are people involved on one or the other side of heated op-ed debates. When I argue against somebody’s view, and he argues against mine, both of us should remember that the line between righteousness and self-righteousness lies deep in the human heart-and all but invisible to the naked eye. This is as true of liberals as of conservatives, of Christians as of non-Christians-all of us were gathered around that Cross. This is my, admittedly fallible, attempt to apply to daily existence the message of a very powerful work of art.

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