i just read another article which mentioned how evangelical christians are hoping to use the passion of christ as a conversion tool. i have a hard time taking their excitement seriously.
the film is shot entirely in latin and aramaic and has no subtitles. i wonder if anyone who is not already familiar with the story will be able to follow it. when i lived in chicago there was this channel that, for at least a few hours each day, was the channel for the indian community in the city. everything was in hindi and probably 75% of their programming was hindu religious epics. i liked to try to watch them. all of them were musicals and were filled with weird dance numbers and random-seeming events. like a guy with his face painted blue who would appear out of thin air and then dance across the screen interrupting a sword fight by two confused looking warriors. as much as i liked watching them, i had no idea what was actually going on. i got zero hindu education from the whole thing, and i never once considered converting to hinduism. i just liked it because it seemed so silly to my non-hindu eyes. if people who are really unfamiliar with the story of the new testament see "the passion of christ," they will probably have a similar experience
evangelicals apparently don't agree. but they are so committed to their religion and so familiar with the story, can they really imagine what it will look like to a total stranger? because the film is supposed to be authentic--even down to the language (it's not actually. at the time of jesus, that half of the roman empire was officially greek speaking, not latin)--i think the evangelicals feel that a non-believer can't help but to see the truth of what they consider to be an incredibly moving story. but it's only potentially moving if you know what it is you are watching. even though i've never seen the film, it's hard to imagine that it will convert any real strangers to christianity.
UPDATE: as CaTHY pointed out in the comments, the passion of christ will have subtitles, thus undermining pretty much the entire point of this post. oh well...