Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Grave Mistake

So, the director James Cameron has suddenly decided to jump on the Dan Brown bandwagon and unearthed the biggest scandal in history.

I don't think so.

This story is old hat... I had my panic attack over this back in 1996, when BBC's Heart of the Matter first broke the story. I did a little investigation work back then as I'll admit in those days I was a little insecure about such things.

Back then, Joan Bakewell used audio recitals from gnostic gospels set to eerie music, asserting that the life of Jesus was not what we might have believed.... and then used the very same archaeological site to back that claim up.

The major hole in Bakewell's argument is that she lacked objectivity. Never once did she point out why Christians do not accept the gnostic gospels (they were written by people who had infiltrated the Church from the gnostic sect of Judaism and they wanted credibility, they were also written ludicrously late in some cases... Judas in the 2nd century.... oh please!). Now her error (was it deliberate?), was compounded by various historical scandal authors including Dan Brown (although if his books get people talking about Jesus, on the whole I suppose that is a good thing).

Now it would appear that James Cameron is doing likewise. If you've read the BBC article, you will have read the counter argument.... about the names being common. This is true. Context is everything:
  • The Jews were an occupied race and looked for a saviour.
  • An extremely well known prophecy from the time of exile, could have been interpreted to mean that a saviour was coming at the time of Jesus. Whether you or I believe that isn't relevant... if there were Jews who did at the time, is.
  • Jesus name means "The Lord saves."

Now in a time of occupation, when you are hoping and may or may not be imminently expecting a saviour to come and rescue you from the Romans... is it really that large a leap to consider people would be naming their children messianic names... as a reminder that God would come to save them? I don't think so. As for Mary... there are several in the Gospels alone, so it's obvious that name was popular. Several prominent Joseph's were kicking around too. As for the name Jesus, some people have even gone as far to suggest that Barabbas (the criminal released when Jesus was sentenced to death), also bore the first name Jesus. It's believable because Barabbas just means "son of a father" which is the equivalent of a surname. Imagine that though - Jesus, Son of the Father stood next to Jesus, son of a father. There seems to be a lot of parallels in the Bible that point towards the principle of substitution.

I'm not biased against Cameron, I generally speaking have liked many of his films... The Abyss even ranks among one of my favourites, although Titanic was a load of hyped over sentimental nonsense... and can we ever forgive him for unleashing that awful Celine Dion song on our unfortunate ears?

I'm sure Cameron believes he is on to a winner, with the rise of historical scandal books among the bestseller lists... and the film will probably be a hit, because as the academic interviewed rightly said:

"Sceptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear."

That is why films and books like this do so well, because some tragic people like to knock the beliefs of others - especially if they have been raised in a particular tradition and come to reject it later on. I saw plenty of those archetypal sceptics being created many times over myself, at school.

This is just another example of entertainment raping history in the name of financial gain.

8 comments:

  1. HI Nick, yes, I have to admit I was disappointed by James Cameron coming up with this one. One sniffs the whiff of more money coming in from this. I love his films and,like you, love the Abyss. Great film although the ending was a bit squishy.But perhaps people who are searching will look beyond the razzamatazz and go find out for themselves.

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  2. Good comments. Thanks.

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  3. Ultimately we would all rape history in order to earn a couple of extra quid. Churches the world over do it every day. There's no God, anyway.

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  4. wow, that bit about barabbas is very poingnant. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  5. Jon Basnett3:57 am

    I have a silly outlook maybe. I say, let the heretics go for money (assuming that that is their motivation); their work makes people ask questions and wonder! It creates dialogue! I, for one, am all to happy to engage people in their questions after they see these kinds of movies, documentaries, soaps, "revelations", "uncoverings of supposed truths". Thank you James Cameron for advancing the Gospel and making my life easier in sharing the Real Truth of God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ!!! :):):) jonbasnett@jonbasnett.com

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  6. These things are to be expected. The enemy will try anything to destroy the Gospel and the deity of Jesus Christ, because it is the truth and the truth we all know sets people free. Unfortunatly many will gobbel it up and take it as gospel, so to speak. It is sad the things poeple will believe so they can get away from the gnawing feeling of guilt and emptiness that bites at their souls. But the God of this world have blinded them and as the day of our Lord's return approaches I expect to see even more of these things.

    Only by staying in God's Word and abiding in His Spirit can we see and know the truth.

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  7. Gerry Desjardins5:19 pm

    I'll have to disagree with you on the song from Titanic though. I love it, but I also have to pull for Celine. She is afterall from my hometown. lol

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  8. yes i thought "surely thats been done before" when i saw the review, so thanks for filling in the blanks. the one thing that annoys me is that it destroys the faith of others, people like my Mum who has listened ot lots of this nonsense and now believes it all

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