holy hand grenade III: character motivation

this is the first thing written about The Passion that makes me want to actually see the film:

I have to say, I found Caiaphas entirely sympathetic: he dismisses charges that cannot be substantiated, asks Christ a direct question, hears an answer that he must take to be blasphemy, and then sets himself irrevocably upon the blasphemer's destruction. Pilate, by contrast, is a contemptible bureaucrat, agonizing over the possible consequences for himself of either executing or releasing Christ, and finally condemning a man he believes innocent to death as the most prudent course. It says something about our age. Of course we cannot understand Caiaphas: he is a religious "extremist," he acts on principle, he seeks to preserve the purity of his faith and his people from a heretic, he is uncompromising. But Pilate is much to our taste: he is indecisive and relativist, we feel the profundity of his "quid est veritas?", he has "issues" to work out, he is moved by emotion, and we can see that he feels bad about what he is doing (and what you feel, after all, is what is important). Feckless and contemptible and relativistic is what we are, and our very image of the ethical person; we know that resolute religious conviction is intolerant and wicked and evil. And thus the irony of it all: it is because the people that make such complaints are the sort who understand Pilate but hate Caiaphas that they are also disposed to despise Mel Gibson so passionately.

Of course, the final assertion is pure speculation on the part of a Christian religion-partisan who isn't even trying to understand the basic blood libel argument that underlies the anti-semitism charge. In contrast, I understand the libel argument well, having had personal reasons to educate myself on the matter, and I reject the argument on its merits rather than trying to paint those who see anti-semistism in the movie as some kind of bellweather for the moral decay of society.

It seems though that Caiaphas is yet another example of the rising appreciation for religious purity in society. And worldwide.

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