No violence, no mass conversions

No violence, no mass conversions

The Los Angeles Times comes around months later to determine that all the predictions of a new Holocaust spurred by The Passion of The Christ were unfounded lunacy. But the article also concludes that predictions of mass conversions because of the film were also unfounded.

I hate to say it, but a lot of people in St. Blog’s were among those predicting that second point. The reality is that, in the end, it’s just a movie. That’s not to say that it can’t have a strong effect on people, especially those who already believe, or that it didn’t cause some conversions, such as the well-publicized confessions by criminals and the like that we saw in the media. But the reality is that a movie doesn’t have the power to transform that personal witness does. There are many people who could see the film, and who did, and came away with nothing more than either nausea at the violence or a yawn at what a big deal had been made about it.

  • Maybe so…but I also think the Holy Spirit may work quietly in a lot of places when the DVD comes out….it was triumph of catholic art.

  • Well, one conversion on earth is probably having a choir of angels singing in Heaven.  Until he provides hard evidence, Foxman’s blather is irrelevant.

  • I do think the movie had a confirming and strengthening effect on the faith of a lot of people. 


  • Wait until the DVD start getting smuggled into China. Already the DVDs are making waves amoung Muslim teenagers. From what I heard Arabic speakers can easily pick up on the Aramaic without subtitles.

    I think the $800 million or so Mel pocketed sent shockwaves thru Hollywood.  Now he’s contemplating a movie from the Book of Maccabees…the Protestants will be scrambling to find that in their KJV Bibles…..

    Stay tuned for the St. Therese movie!

  • Who can tell how many people have quietly resolved to live better lives?  History will be the best judge of this movie.

  • In some ways, the most surprising factor in the film’s success is evangelical Christians.

    A century ago, the movie might have offended them too. In the 1880s, Passion plays were outlawed in San Francisco and New York because Protestants believed visual portrayals of Christ were idolatrous.

    Even in the mid-1900s, Protestant disdain for religious imagery ran so deep that churches in the South often topped their steeples with weathervanes instead of crosses, says R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

    The aversion to devotional art goes back to the Reformation, when Protestants jettisoned Catholicism’s statues, crucifixes and Stations of the Cross artwork.

    This was to me the most fascinating point in the entire article.

    It’s a transformation we have lost sight of today.  These aren’t your granddad’s evangelicals.

  • I agree with Sheila.  It’s hard to tell what effect this had on individuals.  I’m a convert and some of the things I had heard and seen 20 years before entered into my conversion when it finally happened.

    I am intrigued also with the effect of the movie on audiences that aren’t sated with visual imput as our audiences here in the USA are.  This could have an effect in places where Christianity is quite illegal—-the middle east etc. 

    AND it is canned on DVD, VCR etc so it can be kept, passed around, treasured, etc.  These things have enormous power in bad political situations like some of the ones we see in the Middle East, Asia, etc.