Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ has become one of the most controversial films ever made, and it is already a blockbuster of cinematography. Its defenders passionately regard it as one of the most moving and influential pieces of religious art ever created. But its detractors argue with comparable vehemence that the violence and gore it contains, its alleged anti-Semitism, a particular take on the Christian message, and the lack of historical and Biblical accuracy, make it nothing more than a kind of political propaganda. Father Thomas Rosica hailed as one of the great masterpieces of religious art, but the secular humanist Paul Kurtz thinks of it as a political weapon in the hands of the religious right. Film critics are divided in their judgment, giving the film anywhere from no stars to five stars. Regardless of what one thinks of the film, however, its impact both personal and social is beyond question.
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