I am a Pagan....There was a part of me that was afraid of this movie, afraid that it would break me, that my faith would waver and the old, familiar doubt would creep back into my life. I went anyway, and opened myself to the experience as much as I consciously could. I came out the other side feeling my faith in my Mother much stronger than it was going in. She may be a warrior, but she would find no honor in the "idea" of this kind of death, nor in the thought that this was in some way atoning.
I'm grateful that I'm not a part of a religion that believes in human sacrifice. I'm glad that I don't worship a god who mandated the murder of his own innocent child. I'm grateful that I'm not part of a religion that confuses torture and death with love and compassion. I'm happy that I don't buy the notion that forgiveness requires sadistic killing. And I'm thankful that I'm not the kind of person who praises pornographic snuff films or who can be guilt-tripped into worshipping a murderous god and his suicidal son.
I am a Muslim and I came away with an entirely different view. Everyone understands the movie from their own view of life. Jews saw a chance for anti-Semitism to surface. Christians saw the suffering and love of Jesus Christ. As a Muslim I saw a confirmation that they did not kill Christ, but was made to appear as such, as the Qur'an says. First they did not break his legs, then the blood GUSHED forth when the spear was poked in his side - not possible on a dead man. There were many more references too numerous to mention here. But overall it was a good movie.
As a non-Christian watching this, I felt moved to sickness watching what torture was inflicted on this great man named Jesus who I do believe came here with a great and profound message of love and acceptance. I do not believe he died on the cross for my own sins any more than I believe that little children die for my sins each time they are beaten, raped and starved to death by their own parents. I take responsibility for my own thoughts and actions, and know that I will reap what I sow through the law of karma.
What shocks me is that so many Christians (thankfully not all) are very comfortable with and do not mind it when changes are made to the Gospels to make them more anti-Jewish. It is very sickening and frightening to me, a Jew.
This movie made me feel sick to my stomach. I cringed. I'm Jewish and for a moment as I left the movie I hated myself. This movie is full of anti-Semitic stereotypes. Gibson goes out of his way and even outside the gospels to revel in these images. There are a lot of people who suffered a great deal more than Jesus did. Akibah was executed by the Romans for the crime of teaching Torah. His skin was flayed from his body and he died slowly and painfully.
I am Pagan, also. And, no matter what, I am moved, and I was in shock when that movie was over. From my perspective, I was able to apply it to many things, the torture that went on during the Crusades, other crucifixions, and the atrocities that have happened because a person wants to introduce a new way of thinking. That, too, scares me, because I hope that we never go back to such a horrible place in this era.
I'm not a Christian. I mention that only inasmuch as it may speak to any intrinsic expectation I may have had. I was stunned. I've been asked, "Did you enjoy the film?" and I'm not certain how to answer that question. I was moved and I'm glad I saw it; however, obviously it wasn't/isn't a "feel-good" movie so I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, per se. But I was deeply, deeply moved. I left the theater in a stunned silence and drove home in a stupor. One personal measure I use of the quality of art is how moving it is. In this regard, I've never been more moved by a piece of art.