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Shaker

BBC documentary, Mary Magdalene, Jesus's sex life ...

and Melvyn Bragg's hair.

OK, maybe not so much about the last item. Still:

Quote:
BBC accused of provoking Christians with Mary Magdalene documentary

A Bishop last night accused the BBC of deliberately provoking Christians by screening a documentary on Good Friday suggesting that Jesus had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, said the programme, presented by Melvyn Bragg would be “hugely offensive” to devout Christians because it amounted to the “sexualisation of Christ”.

He said it was all the more upsetting because it is being screened at midday on Good Friday – the moment the Bible says Jesus was put on the cross.

Last night one Christian group issued an alert to its supporters urging them to contact the BBC’s complaints line.

Lord Bragg, who describes himself as “no longer a believer”, argues that Mary’s close relationship with Jesus was effectively airbrushed out of the accepted Biblical account by “misogynist” Romans. He points to a series of ancient writings known as the Gnostic Gospels which were not included in the agreed list of books which became the New Testament. They include references to Mary being “kissed on the mouth” by Jesus, being his favourite and even, as one passage suggests, his wife.

The suggestion that Mary had a sexual relationship with Jesus lies behind the storyline of the Hollywood film The Last Temptation of Christ, which provoked a scandal, and more recently The Da Vinci Code, the best-selling novel by Dan Brown.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph last week, Lord Bragg said: “She was acknowledged by other disciples as his favourite and there is one taunting scrap of record which may well lead to the conclusion that she was his wife. “What then? What then for the celibacy which has led the organised Church into so many abuses and crimes and distorted lives?”

But Bishop Nazir-Ali accused the corporation of deliberately causing offense to Christians and questioned whether other groups would be treated in the same way.

The Pakistan-born cleric, who was the first non-white bishop in the Church of England, added that the programme could cause particular problems for Christians in Muslim countries where they are already facing persecution.

He said: “This is going out at 12 o’clock on Good Friday which is exactly the time that Christians are thinking about Christ on the cross, this highly provocative stuff that really encourages a sexualisation of Christ with references to him being kissed on the mouth by Mary Magdalene and it refers to her being his wife.

“I am concerned about the misuses of very obscure Gnostic gospels to impugne the integrity of the Bible. It is highly provocative in terms of its content for Christians on Good Friday and it attempts to sexualize Christ in the most offensive way. Biblical Christians are not given any kind of response to this. They can say whatever they like on Good Friday and nobody it seems is going to put the Biblical point of view about who Mary was and what her relationship with Jesus was. Why is the BBC doing this on Good Friday and why is it doing it in such a provocative way. There will be huge offence, here must be some way of putting the other point of view across.”

Last night the group Christian Concern emailed its supporters urging them to contact the BBC’s complaints line and offering links to online complaint forms.

Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, said: “Noon Good Friday is the precise time Christians are remembering Jesus' crucifixion. To air a programme which questions the purity of Christ is at best insensitive and at worst offensive. Who is making such bewildering decisions in the BBC's religious programming department? A programme redressing the balance based on sound scholarship - rather than pseudo-scholarship popularised by Dan Brown novels - needs to broadcast.”


Now I didn't see this documentary. It caught my eye, I fully intended to record it but forgot, so unless it's repeated (or it's on iplayer) I won't see it. Be that as it may, it's this Telegraph article rather than the programme per se that led me to create this thread because of what the odious Nazir-Ali - a loathsome man I couldn't warm to if I was cremated next to him - and the other one quoted have said.

Principally, the complaint about the programme seems to be that it allegedly implied that Jesus may have been a sexual being, insofar as he may have had some sort of sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene. I'm sure that most of us are at least tangentially familiar with this as Dan Brown/Da Vinci Code territory; equally that it's absolutely nothing more than entirely unevidenced speculation. So far, so what: but it's the terms in which Nazir-Ali and Williams spoke that caught my eye, namely:

Quote:
sexualisation of Christ in the most offensive way


Quote:
provocative


Quote:
huge offence


Quote:
questions the purity of Christ


By my reading of the article, the problem Nazir-Ali and Williams seem to have is that even the utterly unevidenced suggestion that Jesus may have had a sexual life amounts to something "provocative" which can cause "huge offence" because it "questions the purity" of Jesus. The implicit assumption here seems to be that sexuality itself is offensive - not just offensive but "in the most offensive way" - and provocative and that to have a sexual life is to be impure. Jesus was "pure" if he was sexless; if he had any kind of sexual life then he was ""impure". For the likes of Nazir-Ali and Williams, apparently their Jesus could only be pure if (a) a sexual thought of any kind never passed across his mind, (b) he never had an erection or (c) he never had a sexual relationship of the kind that the overwhelming majority of human males have and have always had. Sexuality, to them, seems to be linked with provocation, offensiveness and impurity: definitely the (alleged, potential) sexuality of Jesus and, without too much of a stretch, probably sexuality in general.

I am agnostic about the actual existence of an historical Jesus: I don't know and care less either way about the subject because from my perspective it's an irrelevance - it doesn't actually matter or make any difference to anything in the here and now either way. But I am bemused by Nazir-Ali's statement that to suggest that Jesus was an adult male human being with (presumably, in this context) heterosexual sexual desires and drives amounts to "sexualising" Jesus and doing so "in the most offensive way." Perhaps it's just me and perhaps I'm just being historically parochial, relying on contemporary cultural mores, but I'd have thought that suggesting that Jesus had sex with children and/or with animals and/or raped both categories as well as raping women (and men) would be to sexualise Jesus "in the most offensive way." That's what I regard as the most offensive kind of suggestion you can make about anybody's sexuality, not the speculation that an adult human male had a presumably fully consenting sexual relationship with an adult human female. To call somebody a sexual abuser of children and/or a rapist is, short of calling them a murderer, about the worst thing you can possibly say about another human being (and in some cases, perhaps it may be even worse). If you say that and it's true, it's a horrific thing to level at a person; if you say it and it isn't true, it's libel and you're likely to be going to the big house for some considerable time. To say that somebody - a competent consenting adult - is having a fully consenting sexual relationship with another person in the same category is none of those things. Surely that suggestion is only "offensive" if you have a prior belief that there's something inherently wrong - something "impure", something sordid, something tainted, seedy and dirty - about mature human sexuality ab initio.

Not that there's anything even remotely new or unusal about this line of thinking in Christianity, of course, but it just strikes me that when so many contemporary Christians seem to spend so much time and effort going out of their way to try to represent Christianity today as absolutely not prudish, absolutely not inhibited and absolutely not inherently anti-sex, people such as these fetch up to demonstrate the exact opposite by saying that the merest hint that the central figure and founder of their religion may have had some sort of sexual life amounts to something "provocative" (to whom?) which causes (to whom?) "huge offence" because it "questions the purity" of Jesus. (What's "impure" about being a sexual being?).

Who is right?
Jim

I found it offensive that the beeb should show this, rather than a meditation on the Cross, at noon today.
Can we have a documentary about the alleged chicanary, sexual exploits and bigamy of the moslem'ss so called prophet as well?
Powwow

Lol, I don't believe Christ to be a hypocrite. If He was running around fornicating why did he instruct the woman at the well to go home and sin no more? Christ knew this woman had been married five times and that the man she was presently with was not her husband. He basically said, ok, you know you are sinning so go home and stop it.
No sex outside marriage is not unusual at all. I follow that as does a sister of mine. An uncle and two aunts held to this as well. Sex inside marriage is a good thing. My grandma for example had nine children and she was strong in her Christian faith.
No, that program is not the story of Christ at all. But one thing that these types of smears do, is get non believers talking about Jesus. And that is a positive. We of course will be around to set His record straight.
cymrudynnion

Shaker, Jim and Pow wow, I would have no problem watching this. Sorry Shaker can't comment on your post far too long for me to read. I would like to know in precise on what evidence if any the Dirctor/Producer based the production on. By "any evidence" I accept The Bible is backed up by Roman Records regarding the Birth, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, it is up to the individual to either accept or reject such evidence.
Shaker

Jim wrote:
I found it offensive that the beeb should show this, rather than a meditation on the Cross, at noon today.

Why?
Quote:
Can we have a documentary about the alleged chicanary, sexual exploits and bigamy of the moslem'ss so called prophet as well?

I for one see no reason at all why ever not, but it wouldn't be on at Easter.
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
Lol, I don't believe Christ to be a hypocrite. If He was running around fornicating why did he instruct the woman at the well to go home and sin no more?


Perhaps because he didn't consider "fornicating" (whatever that is) to be a "sin" (whatever that is)?

Quote:
No, that program is not the story of Christ at all.


Which rather assumes that there is a definitive story of Christ, the details of which are safe and assured verifiable historical fact rather than belief.

Quote:
We of course will be around to set His record straight.


(1) Who is "we"?

(2) What record?

(3) According to whom is it "straight"?
Powwow

Good grief, so you don't know what the story is. I already knew that about you.
Silly to jump to defend something you're so confused and agnostic about. Jim,  Ketty, Lexi and I are not confused about the historical and yes living Christ.
But like I say, it's good to keep the godless talking about our Redeemer.
Jim

Why, Shaker?
Because such a documentary should have been broadcast on Beeb 2 or 4 in a normal documentary slot.
Surely those who are housebound or unable to attend a Good Friday act of worship were entitled to a programme reflecting the occasion.
This pitiful effort did not even pay lip service to the atonement on what, for many, is a day to remember it...more, of course, than every other day.
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
Good grief, so you don't know what the story is. I already knew that about you.

Oh yes, I know what the story is. And that it's just a story, of course  
Quote:
Silly to jump to defend something you're so confused and agnostic about.

I wasn't aware I was defending anything - I am however in the process of asking questions around the Telegraph article which, entirely needless to say, you're incapable of answering. Yet again I'm wondering, what do you actually do here? What are you for?
Quote:
Jim, Ketty, Lexi and I are not confused about the historical and yes living Christ.

That's a matter of opinion.
Quote:
But like I say, it's good to keep the godless talking about our Redeemer.

Yes, it's incredibly instructive from my side as well. Very illuminating indeed.
Shaker

Jim wrote:
Why, Shaker?
Because such a documentary should have been broadcast on Beeb 2 or 4 in a normal documentary slot.

Does the channel on which such a thing appears make a difference?
Quote:
Surely those who are housebound or unable to attend a Good Friday act of worship were entitled to a programme reflecting the occasion.

Were there not such programmes? A few minutes' searching uncovered At the Foot of the Cross, a two-hour-long programme of music and readings to mark Good Friday on BBC Radio 2 from 20:00-22:00. That was preceded by an hour of Easter-themed music presented by Desmond Carrington. Over on BBC Radio 4 there was a programme on the Good Friday Liturgy at 15:00. There's an awful lot more on both radio and TV on Easter Sunday itself, of course.
Quote:
This pitiful effort did not even pay lip service to the atonement on what, for many, is a day to remember it...more, of course, than every other day.

Whether it was pitiful or not I don't know, as I missed it. I am very interested in what the tempest in a teapot from the likes of Nazir-Ali says about Christianity's attitude toward sex, however.

So far I'm not seeing any sign that my prior, evidence-based beliefs on that issue are substantially misguided.
Jim

Shaker;
I have in mind a particular person, but I am sure she is not alone.
She is a believer, wheelchair user (due to MS) and deaf.
Radio 2 would be of no use whatsoever. She relies on TV with subtitles.
Again, I think some effort, no matter how minimal, should have been made by the Beeb to accomodate her needs, rather than a documentary.
I put BBC2 or 4 as they are usually considered more thoughtful channels than one or three which contain more 'froth' than substance, as a whole.
Shaker

Jim wrote:
Shaker;
I have in mind a particular person, but I am sure she is not alone.
She is a believer, wheelchair user (due to MS) and deaf.
Radio 2 would be of no use whatsoever. She relies on TV with subtitles.
Again, I think some effort, no matter how minimal, should have been made by the Beeb to accomodate her needs, rather than a documentary.
I put BBC2 or 4 as they are usually considered more thoughtful channels than one or three which contain more 'froth' than substance, as a whole.

What about Easter from King's, BBC2, 17:15 today? And tomorrow on BBC1 alone: Live Easter Sunday from Paisley Abbey, 10:00; Urbi et Orbi, 11:00; Songs of Praise, 17:25.
bnabernard

On the basis that Eve came from Adam and are seen as one flesh Eve having no earthly father, then Jesus coming from the flesh of Mary was one flesh with Mary, again having no earthly father.

By reckoning then Mary the mother would be the natural wife of Jesus in the same manner as Eve was the natural wife, of one flesh  

However as the christian teaching is that Jesus is God then there's hardly going to be a remit where God falls into the same trap as his angels who got involved with women, and at least being God he would have an extra advantage of being in charge of the switch that might get him into bother.

Confusing this trinity teaching.

bernard (hug)
Powwow

Sorry bna but Adam was created from dirt and Eve from Adam's rib. Now how does that play into your heresy about Christ and his wife the virgin Mary. LOL
Christ was begotten not created, scripture is clear on that. Begotten and the ONLY begotten.
bnabernard

pow wow wrote:
Sorry bna but Adam was created from dirt and Eve from Adam's rib. Now how does that play into your heresy about Christ and his wife the virgin Mary. LOL
Christ was begotten not created, scripture is clear on that. Begotten and the ONLY begotten.


Crist was begotten, whats that mean in your understanding?
Are you saying that his growth in the womb was not like normal growth in the womb, that there was no placenta, that he grew without aid from Mary, that he was an alien life force and not human?

What is this dust that Adam was created from? dust itself is a complexity which can be broken down into atoms, how fine is your dust?
And when you have fined your dust don't forget to add H20.

Just to help I looked up the kind of dust flesh composes of
http://www.foresight.org/Nanomedicine/Ch03_1.html

However do you not think that flesh from flesh is easier than starting a new project, especialy as the project ends up being born from flesh?

bernard (hug)
Lexilogio

I haven't yet seen the programme. I'm planning on catching up on IPlayer.

Generally, I don't have a problem with an exploration of different viewpoints - although I agree, this should be possible on all faiths, not just one. And I don't think its healthy for faiths to try to outdo each other in the "I'm offended" race. I do miss a good traditional Easter story on the TV though. Perhaps a good Passover story would make a nice change?

It must be difficult making a religious film or documentary. It is almost certainly going to offend someone. There are those who get offended by "caucasian Jesus", plenty were offended by "The Passion of Christ"....
bnabernard

I'me inclined to wonder/ask ''who are the bbc' were they appointed by God to look after the widows and orphans, the sick and the elderly?
Is there something in scripture that says dump these people in front of the box while you all gather together in one of my houses and make merry for me?

Bereft of words thank you.

bernard (hug)
Lexilogio

bnabernard wrote:
I'me inclined to wonder/ask ''who are the bbc' were they appointed by God to look after the widows and orphans, the sick and the elderly?
Is there something in scripture that says dump these people in front of the box while you all gather together in one of my houses and make merry for me?

Bereft of words thank you.

bernard (hug)


 

You are, of course, correct. The BBC have not been ordained to look after religion. Although they are (I think) charged with some regulations about society at large - but I could be wrong in that.
Lexilogio

Well, I watched the programme last night. It was interesting.

I have to say, I didn't find it offensive. Melvyn Bragg didn't present this as "Mary Magdalene definitely was the wife of Jesus - just that it was his view following the gnostic gospel of Mary. If you reject the gnostic gospel, then there is no evidential basis.

What was fascinating was the way Mary of Magdalene had been portrayed through history, how perceptions of her had altered, and how that had been linked to political events at the time.
gone

There is no reason why Jesus shouldn't have had a sex life, been married and had kids. Just because it isn't recorded in the Bible doesn't mean he didn't. The Bible gives very little away about his private life probably because it wasn't deemed important. In fact it would have been the norm for someone of his age to be married, so it would have been more likely for the Bible to record the him being single if that had in fact been the case.
Jim

Evidence for assertion?
cyberman

Floo wrote:
In fact it would have been the norm for someone of his age to be married,


So it is written in the Book of Daniel (Brown).

However, for an itinerant holy man like Jesus (of which there were many in his day) it would have been astonishingly unusual for him to be married.

Don't believe everything you read, floo.


(The first person to write "Oh, the irony" has to do a detention).

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