“2012” a theological disaster?

By David Waters Theologians began predicting the end of the world long before Hollywood did, so it’s not surprising that … Continued

By David Waters

Theologians began predicting the end of the world long before Hollywood did, so it’s not surprising that “2012,” the latest disaster blockbuster, contains more than a few religious images and references. But does Roland Emmerich’s box-office hit also qualify as a theological disaster? Several faith-based reviewers are raising interesting questions about the movie’s religious implications.

A review by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was disappointed by the film’s “theological glibness . . . despite a plethora of religious imagery and references to faith and prayer.” ,”What’s genuinely disturbing about this disaster movie to end all disaster movies — even taken as a popcorn flick engineered solely to entertain — is the almost sadistic way (direct) Emmerich and his computer-generated special-effects wizards kill off billions of people.”

A review on Focus on the Family’s pluggedin.com is equally troubled by circus-style attentiveness to carnage, but appreciative of numerous Christian references: two characters singing the old Christian hymn “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” another character reciting the opening of the 23rd Psalm, and several faith-based nods to the prospect of life beyond this world. This reviewer also liked the emphasis on family bonds, and “the characters’ willingness to sacrifice themselves to save others.”

A review by Christianity Today wonders why Christians — and Catholics in particular — seemed to bear the brunt of Emmerich’s wrath: The movie shows both St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the towering Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio being destroyed, but no Islamic or Jewish sacred landmarks. A Tibetan monk is among the survivors, but “the only Christian clergy shown are the Catholic prelates who die at St. Peter’s . . . If Emmerich is going to specifically show the Vatican leadership going down with St. Peter’s, I want to see Catholic (and/or Orthodox) bishops among the survivors–somewhere on the planet.”

Personally, I think that expecting to find any theological sensitivity from a Hollywood blockbuster is like expecting to find nutritional value in a jelly donut. On the other hand, there’s no doubt that Emmerich was aware of at least some of the theological implications of his work.

In an interview before the movie’s premiere, Emmerich said the screenplay included the disintegration of the Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s most holy site. “Well, I wanted to do that, I have to admit,” Emmerich says. “But my co-writer Harald said I will not have a fatwa on my head because of a movie. And he was right . . . Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with (an) Arab symbol, you would have … a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is. So it’s just something which I kind of didn’t (think) was (an) important element, anyway, in the film, so I kind of left it out.”

So which is it? Should Hollywood pay more — or less — attention to real-world religious values and sensitivities? Should blockbuster movies be theologically correct, or at least religiously neutral? And which will come first? An end to end-of-the-world disaster movies, or the actual end of the world?

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  • Carstonio

    “The movie shows both St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the towering Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio being destroyed, but no Islamic or Jewish sacred landmarks.”I would advise against reading anti-Christian or anti-Catholic bias into that. Catholic landmarks are probably more recognizable for movie audiences than the landmarks of most other religions, even the other Christian ones. And Catholic buildings and vestments tend to be visually interesting, especially when compared with some Baptist and independent churches in America. This may also have been a factor in the “devil films” of the 1970s (The Exorcist, The Omen) showing Catholicism as representing Christianity. “if you would do this with (an) Arab symbol, you would have … a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is.”If we were talking about a work of journalism, or even a movie with a strong social message, I might condemn the cowardice of that more strongly. But as Waters said, we’re talking about a blockbuster here, where the motive is to entertain and not to inform or enlighten. “A review on Focus on the Family’s pluggedin.com is equally troubled by circus-style attentiveness to carnage”I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that statement – the Left Behind series depicts the unsaved as deserving of their fates in Revelation, and essentially cheers their destruction.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, “Carstonio”, where have we seen that ID before?? Well I be “darn” there it is on the list of possible imposters. Again be aware On Faith is a semi-anonymous blog and imposters abound.

  • ccnl1

    This movie reminds one of the following comments about Revelation:Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation “the insanest of all books”.[71]Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he considered it as “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.” [72

  • ThomasBaum

    CarstonioYou wrote, “”if you would do this with (an) Arab symbol, you would have … a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is.”If we were talking about a work of journalism, or even a movie with a strong social message, I might condemn the cowardice of that more strongly. But as Waters said, we’re talking about a blockbuster here, where the motive is to entertain and not to inform or enlighten.”Quite a cop-out on your part isn’t it Carstonio?Don’t you think that Harald who made the comment about the fatwa was being serious?Seems as if the “intimidations” thru terrorism, fatwas, political-correctness, to name a few, are having the desired effects, do they not?By the way, God, the True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God, is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof and It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Carstonio

    “Seems as if the “intimidations” thru terrorism, fatwas, political-correctness, to name a few, are having the desired effects, do they not?”I agree that intimidation and absolutism are wrong regardless of the target or context. And I agree that artists who give in to intimidation are essentially letting the intimidators control artistic content. My point is that “2012” is merely a moneymaking device for its creators, as opposed to an artist’s statement of truth or meaning. The act of self-censorship that Emmerich likely made didn’t really involve him making an artistic compromise. The situation would be different if Emmerich was making, say, an adaptation of “Reading Lolita in Tehran.”

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Hollywood always finds some element in the social scene with which to work. That fact that it is wedding religion, fantasy, old(er) superstition should raise some questions about the role of religion in the culture.How far back is it about to plunge us?I’d also like to know how readers feel about Emmerich’s fear of fatwa problem. Either a group is a part of this culture or it isn’t. Surely there have been plenty of “offensive” filmic representations of Jews, Hindus, Muslims in the past. Should fear of violence give one group a “pass,” and in light of the publicity, is it really a pass? Might it not generate resentment, even bigotry?I will say regarding priests, that at least filmmakers seem to have tossed the Father Flynn cookie cutter, offering some relief, I suppose, from the decades long nauseating nonsense. Christians (Protestants), Muslims, et al, cannot be omitted even from wastes of time like this film for fear of giving offense. This is not something that we, as a nation, can support.There are reasons for us to consider asking Hollywood to get out of the religion business. Fear is not one of them.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, apparently Thomas, “God Talker/Seer” and “Moses of the NT” is back from his monthly seance with the True, Living, Triune, and Triumphant god. All hail Thomas and his god. And welcome to the latest religion, “Baumianity”!!!! One wonders if Thomas has met Gabriel yet?? Can’t have a real religion without at least one “pretty thingie” at/on your side!!!

  • mightysparrow

    DwightCollins: I try not to do things I will regret later, and I try hard to follow the Golden Rule, but anyone claiming to have a completely clear conscience is either fooling themself, trying to fool others, or both.

  • progressivePragmatic

    Obviously this movie represents a divine judgment on the career on John Cusack. Yahweh holds a grudge against anyone associated with the brat pack.

  • slim2

    God destroys the Vatican but not Mecca? Patience, perhaps he is reloading, He’ll deal with the Jews later.

  • monel7191

    Movie, people, movie…let me repeat that, MOVIE! Nothing more. Images flashed on a large screen at 24 frames per second. Not real. Expensive junk food and extra cold in the uncomfortable seats. Sometimes too loud.Now…do we feel better?

  • khote14

    Perhaps the makers of this film chose not to destroy other religious scenery as well? And perhaps they chose not to destroy Mecca for the same kinds of reasons they chose not to have lots of nipples … it freaks out a religious audience they want to have attending the movie.You know how easy it is to set off the religious. Always looking for something to be outraged about so they can demonstrate their piety and purity. I think nipples would be far more fearful to the American Christians though than would seeing Mecca melt into the desert – the primary audience, remember?

  • Krazijoe

    So I should not get butter with my popcorn, is that what you are saying?

  • jollyjacker

    Why can’t you guys leave Carstonio alone? He was just making a simple observation. If he wants to defend the terrorists it’s his agenda and freedom. And I think that lots of nipples would have been the only way to have made this a decent movie. Who cares if no Christians or catholics were in the final scenes of survivors? So they all died and went to “heaven”. And also remember the most important fact: IT’S JUST A MOVIE!!! NOT REAL!!!

  • jamshark70

    Seems to me that Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” is theologically glib in other ways, but the nutty right-wing religious loonies ate that up with a bowl of chips.

  • therev1

    Silly article – silly discussion.

  • withouthavingseen

    Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Islam is a religion of peace… Repeat sufficiently, and maybe it will become true. It is good to know, at least, that for all of elite “culture”‘s against all us “mean Christians on the right,” they aren’t afraid we’ll cut their heads off, anyway.That’s a compliment, I suppose.It’s no shock that a Tibetan monk gets to live, while all the Catholic prelates in St. Peter’s die. Really, since nobody here speaks whatever language it is they speak in Tibet, we can’t understand all the rules they have, and we can pretend they haven’t got any moral or religious impositions or restrictions, and that they are just “nice” and not threatening to our lifestyle. Those Catholics and their bishops on the other hand, they won’t shut up about right and wrong and inconvenient truths and all that medieval rubbish about human rights and so on.Lol. You know what? I just thought of something. I should like to see one admirer of the peaceful religion of Islam or of Tibet exchange this culture, built up by Christianity from the ashes of Rome, in exchange for the culture of either of those places. Even their precious secularism, notably, has grown up here, and not there. Hmmm… maybe I’ll make it my mission to promote this challenge. We’ll call it the “Vote with your feet” challenge.Mr. Waters, good article overall. I especially enjoyed your quip about Hollywood blockbusters and jelly doughnuts. That was really a good analogy.Ryan Haber

  • JohnS8

    Well, one of the posters shows a mountaintop Buddhist about to be wiped out by a tsunami. Doesn’t that count for something?Anyway, the movie is fiction, not fact. It is based on the absurd belief that because the Mayan calendar ends on Dec 21, 2012 that the universe ends also on that day. That’s ridiculous. The calendar on my kitchen wall ends on December 31, 2009, that is the day the universe ends. Boy are you guys dumb.

  • withouthavingseen

    Mary Cunningham,Actually, I’d like to correct you on one small point. What Islam has done for the 1400 years or so of its existence is not properly called a Crusade. Crusade is from the French for “marked with or by a/the cross.” It refers to Christian efforts, marked by the Cross of Christ and His Vicar, to defend Christians and Christian lands from encroachment, conquest, rapine, and oppression… witness all the lands you cite. Not to mention that Asia Minor, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), and Persia were heavily Christian until Islam intervened.What the Muslims are doing is called Jihad.Other than that, one point, you are entirely correct.yours in Christ,

  • withouthavingseen

    Carstonio,”I would advise against reading anti-Christian or anti-Catholic bias into that… compared with some Baptist and independent churches in America… This may also have been a factor … showing Catholicism as representing Christianity… If we were talking about a work of journalism… where the motive is to entertain and not to inform or enlighten.”All very well said. Good points.Ryan Haber

  • lufrank1

    Perhaps there’s the subtle suggestion that the narrow belief by so many Catholics and Protestants that only those who accept Jesus as God will survive the end of days – is a bunch of Dark Ages Crap!

  • LifeRunner

    I know I will spend eternity with God because I accept Jesus died for all of my failings and shortcomings otherwise known as sins. Those I committed before I accepted Him, those I commit today all those I may commit in the future. If I was counting on my behavior to get me to heaven I would be in trouble.So, the only reason I would care what a movie portrays is because it might serve to keep someone from making the same choice I have. God gave us free will, you just hope people know what they are choosing.Can’t speak for other “Christians”, but my faith is based on God and his word, not my fellow humans regardless of their position. Do whatever you like to me here on earth, but once you are gone I can’t help you…

  • ccnl1

    Jesus, the simple preacher man, died of your/our sins??? Give us a break!!!Some words of reason and common sense from Professor JD Crossan, an On Faith panelist:(from his book, “Who is Jesus” co-authored with Richard Watts)”Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us.” “Traditionally, Christians have said, ‘See how Christ’s passion was foretold by the prophets.” Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus’ last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God.” “In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life.”

  • Athena4

    Obviously the Catholic fatwas are less scary than the Islamic ones. 😀 I don’t plan on seeing the movie anyway, because I don’t like to reward mediocrity. I plan on seeing “The Road” instead. It has Viggo Mortensen in it.

  • Athena4

    Another comment – I agree with Carstonio. If Emmerich had filmed “Left Behind” instead of “2012”, the Fundamentalists would be loving on it.

  • andrew23boyle

    Who cares?It’s a movie.There’s a better than decent chance that Nidal Hasan was able to do what he did because of an unwillingness to offend any one’s religious sensabilities.So, if we’re going to worry about a surfeit of ‘political correctness’ perhaps we should worry about it in the real world.

  • mr-intangibil

    YES! So is Nicholas WADES new-book ‘god instinct’ also a [unfortunate Event] of a disaster too: a/k/a A PRE-APOCALYPTICarian/aryan FREUDIAN Slip of Genuine [from] Jealousy; Not of genuine Prophecy”Please see:excerpt: “In the American vernacular, >b>”theory” often means “imperfect “,b>evolution is “only” a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is worse than a fact, and scientists can’t even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we [Jesus/Moses/Muhhamad/Vyasa/Gautama.. Lovers] have in it?”

  • bob59

    The movie should’ve shown the destruction of Mecca and Medina, not the Vatican.The Muslim religion is promoting the destruction of the modern world. Jews, Christians and many other religions promote the modernization of the world.

  • eraskauskas

    For openers, one who eats jelly donuts for the nutritional value will also look to movies like 2012 for historical and spiritual nourishment. There’s probably a lot more anti religous content in these comments then there is in the movie. Bottom line, if it doen’t sound like your cup of tea, vote with your wallet and don’t go. My answer is love conquers all. To quote one of my heroes, Teilard de Chardin. “Someday, after mastering the

  • Philippo

    The infidel, Robert G. Ingersoll naturally would call the Book of the Revelation insane, as he did the whole Bible.

  • MillPond2

    Mr. Water’s article should have been titled “2012, Theological Silliness?”I recall the figurative gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by the Catholic Church back in the late 1980’s in reaction to the “Last Temptation of Christ”. That movie dealt with the speculation that Jesus might have contemplated marriage and family. Early Christian sects grappled with the issue of Jesus as strictly divine, strictly human, or a combination of flesh and divinity. So in terms of early Christian theological conflict, the view of this particular movie was truly nothing new. In contrast, I cannot recall any significant religious blowback when Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” was released in 2004. Personally, I found “The Last Temptation of Christ” to be thought provoking”, while “The Passion of the Christ” is one of the most sadistic movies I have ever experienced.As one poster has pointed out, the significance of the year 2012 is drawn from the Mayan calendar, and has nothing to do with cataclysmic disaster or religious armageddon. The date merely reflects the need to reset the cycle of the that calendar, which was significantly influenced by the Mayan’s knowledge and study of astronomy.Theologians might as well revisit Roland Emmerich’s sci-fic movie “Independence Day”. I’m sure they could find plenty of religious themes; the aliens as heretics, the battle of God’s children against the forces of Satan, etc.Silliness indeed.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    jamshark70Given the kind of BS we Js have had to put up with in the cinema, etc., perhaps we are long overdue, Fatwa-wise.Again, IMO, there are good reasons for filmmakers to keep a hands-off policy where religion is concerned, but fear of violent retaliation is not one of them. That is good neither for the US nor for any group from which fear of some extremists’ violent reaction engenders self-censorship.

  • DwightCollins

    when it happens, mecca will be destroyed along with the rest of the earth…

  • ThomasBaum

    ProudAmericaanYou wrote, “May be the director of 2012 does not think most of his viewers will connect with a scene of Mecca, simple as that. But leave it to the bigots and the ignorant to use this to insult the religion of more than a billion human being on this earth. Sad..”Maybe you should read what the article says about why they decided to leave out something that they originally were going to put in.Are you saying that Emmerich and Harald are “the bigots and the ignorant” for saying what they said about their decision to remove what they removed?As I have said, God looks at the person, not the “label”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    kycol2You wrote, “This is one of the most flatulent articles and discussions I have seen on the Post. I don’t go to church to be entertained or go to the movies for a religious experience. Seems to me that those who would might be somewhat demented. “Actually, the article is not about going to church or going to the movies, it is about WHY Emmerich and Harald made their decision.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • andrew23boyle

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum:Good point!Freedom of Speech used to mean something in this country. Now everyone tip-toes around, afraid to speak their mind for fear of saying something ‘politically incorrect’!Please take care of yourself!

  • hsroth1

    At the end of the day, this is not about political correctness, but cowardice. Hollywood liberals, like most, are at heart cowards afraid of even the slighest chance of physical threat. They will compromise their own families honor before asserting themselves in a way that may force them to face a physical confrontation. This is why they color themselves as faux intellectuals, and justify their cowardice with political correctness. With the possible exception of Sean Penn, obvbiously, who one commentator noted would beat the c**p out of someone who insinuates he is not peaceful. They talk equality if they will be praised by other liberals for it, but shun equality where coinflict may arise, such as the way they treat Muslims, and couch their fear in terms of “sensitivity.” If Muslims were actually peaceful and civil people as they say, there would be no problem showing Mecca being destroyed, along with the Vatican, Isreal…..

  • JohnS8

    Whoops! Hoo boy am I embarrassed. I just received a new calendar in the mail. It seems the universe won’t end until Dec 31, 2010. Boy is that a relief to me.Happy new year everybody.

  • RealConservative

    Doing a bit of over analyzing here don’t you think?

  • US-conscience

    Christianity says pray for your enemies, so that in Gods grace they too might have eternal joy in the presence of God.Islam ( the religion of peace ) says kill your enemies so YOU can go to heaven.which religion sounds safer to tear down ?Another question: In Islam it is a sin to drink alcahol and its a sin to have more than 4 wives. But if you die by killing a non-believer you go staight to heaven and get 40 wives and all the wine you can drink. The question is what kind of a god would reward you in heaven with sin ??? Answer that question and you will have the answer to the question of who is the author of the Islamic faith !

  • hayesap8

    Failing to show the destruction of any Islamic landmarks was certainly cowardly, but it’s sadly realistic to think that they might need to hire bodyguards if they did. Two words: Muhammad cartoon.

  • wlockhar

    Stop your whining. If you want a movie on Mecca being destroyed, then you make one.Did we see a Jewish Synagogue being destroyed? Nope.

  • TDSTim

    While this discussion is amusing. I did find the Ocean waves crossing the Himalaya more interesting on Film. The reference in 2012 to the waves crossing the 1500 meter height meant that Meca at 277 meters and only 45 miles from the Red Sea was long gone. First by the splash and then undertow of the wave returning to the Sea. An open ceiling court of the Kaaba is not as cinematically interesting as the fall of unreinforced Italian masonry. It would be interesting to see at least one Minaret topple and fall since the filmmakers chose to topple the Washington Monument.Perhaps the Pope needs to select a new group of Templar Knights to put the fear of Church into the Media and Arts.

  • coloradodog

    It’s a movie. Get a life. Go outside for a walk or back up all the comments you cut and paste here. We all would be so lost without them.

  • patrick3

    I’d be concerned if the world no longer directed its enmity towards the Catholic Church. As it is, to me, a Catholic, being reviled by a world full of war, destruction and hate is a badge of honor.Or, as Jesus Himself teaches us:”If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

  • mhoust

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that Emmerich and Harald are anti-christian and pro-islamic; but I would say that they are a couple of cowards. It’s a shame they don’t have the guts to film movies that millions of american servicemen and women have dedicated or sacrificed their lives to give them the right to do so.I’m not worried about some muslim nutcase issuing a fatwa against me. I’ve said plenty to “deserve” one, and my address isn’t a state secret. Of course I’m also not hesitant about blowing away anyone stupid enough to try breaking into my house, or shooting back at someone shooting at me.

  • nagatuki

    Really? This is how low you have to sink?Regardless of the director’s side comment on Mecca, honestly I would be concerned that too many people in this country would be cheering such a scene when that’s not the point.And two, how relevant to the American audience is Mecca, in terms of what moves people? Okay, now how moving, psychologically, is it if churches get attacked?If I wanted to go for massive impact I’d go with what draws out fear and terror in my target audience.

  • gunkmayl59

    So with all this talk about the Bible and Revelation and organized religions, it seems we’ve lost sight of the fact that is just a movie. A movie based on one of many Mayan calendars! Do any Mayan temples get destroyed? Why aren’t we complaining about that?! It’s a movie people.

  • Carstonio

    “If he wants to defend the terrorists it’s his agenda and freedom.”By “terrorists,” do you mean the religious extremists who would use threats against moviemakers, or the moviemakers themselves? Years ago I made a point of buying “Satanic Verses” as a personal gesture of support for Salman Rushdie. I also wanted to read it for myself, instead of simply taking Khomeini’s word for it. Not only was the fatwa wrong and barbaric, it was clueless because there was nothing in the book that was critical of Muhammed or Islam. “Who cares if no Christians or catholics were in the final scenes of survivors?”I haven’t seen “2012” so I can’t address its specific content. My point was more general – we can’t assume that the filmmakers intend hostility or malice toward Christians or toward Catholics specifically. We can’t assume this for any work’s treatment of any group. I propose a variant of Hanlon’s Razor where the adequate explanation is that the filmmakers were blind to how some Christians might interpret the story. But one might reasonably suspect malice if “2012” attacked Christian theology, or showed all its Christian characters as being rotten people. That’s how the Left Behind series treats any person or idea that disagrees with premillennial dispensationalism – even other Christians come off badly in the books.

  • jamil51

    The religious references in the film is taken from bible and not a single ref is taken from the Islamic religion therefore how you expect to see scenes related to Islamic sites.

  • hbc1

    You’ve got to appreciate an author who makes an argument that a movie isn’t “religiously neutral” by citing three Christian organizations. I guess “neutral” means “lining up precisely with my values and beliefs.”

  • mbcnewspaper

    In another interview, Emmerich indicated that the destruction of religious sites/icons was intentional. In his view, organized religion is not a good thing and he’s made that viewpoint fairly plain. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with this view, what can’t be claimed is that religion is treated neutrally or incidentally here. A worldview is indeed being advanced.

  • jrnberrycharternet

    Theology itself is a disaster. Both the bible and the koran were written by people that spent far to much time out in the heat of the desert sun smoking hashish and having hallucinogenic dreams.

  • RadicalGlove

    I recall the winter of 1977, when the release of “Mohammed: Messenger of God” led to a hostage situation in Washington D.C. Why rattle that cage if there is no need to? For whatever reason, Christianity is better able to shrug off this kind of thing than Islam appears to be.

  • Carstonio

    “In another interview, Emmerich indicated that the destruction of religious sites/icons was intentional. In his view, organized religion is not a good thing and he’s made that viewpoint fairly plain.”Can you provide a link?

  • Wallenstein

    Well, the Catholic Spaniards were the ones who wiped out the Mayans. Jihad doesn’t like boats for some reason.

  • steviana

    Why are the Christian “theologians” so roused up that there were no Christian clergies who survived? Isn’t it in their theology that the end of the world is a welcome event? What will that be if the end of the world leaves Christian survivors?Can someone explain that?

  • sjcsando

    Who cares? It’s only a movie strictly for entertainment.

  • norriehoyt

    ‘”the only Christian clergy shown are the Catholic prelates who die at St. Peter’s . . . If Emmerich is going to specifically show the Vatican leadership going down with St. Peter’s, I want to see Catholic (and/or Orthodox) bishops among the survivors–somewhere on the planet.”‘No way – Baal has an active dislike for them.

  • zippyspeed

    It is politically incorrect to question Islam. Christianity is a punching bag precisely BECAUSE its followers won’t suicide bomb you or cut your head off for imagined slights. If Hollywood had any guts, it would actively criticise the world’s most repressive religion, but Islam gets a pass precisely because its followers throw a hissy fit whenever it is challenged.I leave you with this question: if Islam is so fantastically wonderful, why do its followers react hysterically at the slightest question about it? Why is Islam afraid to compete with other religions, and actually forces people to stay in the religion?

  • dmm1

    I know a guy who’s writing a sci-fi book that has various pseudo-Earth religions in it. He has been urged to take out the “Muslim” one and replace it with “anything else.” And the pseudo-religions are not even put in a bad light; they’re more background than anything. So, I can understand the filmmakers’ fear of a fatwah. You only need ONE imam (or whatever they are called) to issue a fatwah, and there’s no “court of appeal.” There are thousands of them, and it’s almost a guarantee that one of them will be humorless, unsophisticated, ultra-touchy, or just plain stupid. That’s just how human beings are. Islam should get rid of the fatwah. It is a fundamental violation of human rights, on many levels, and a bad idea in the bargain. Now I’ll probably have a fatwah issued against me for saying that!

  • DoTheRightThing

    Unless the WaPo considers Islamo-Fascism/Islamic-Radicalism to be connected with the religion of Islam (which the WaPo editors keep insisting it is NOT), the movie maker’s omission of the Kaaba’s destruction is not an act so much of theological or religious censorship as it is one of social and political censorship due to physical intimidation by the said Islamo-Facists or, if you will, Islamic Radicals who are known to generate “man-made disasters.” What a rational farce the contents of the Snooze Media (or, if you will, Lame-Stream Media) has become.

  • Timray18

    cannot we all just get along….hey i have a thought, you know that bumper sticker “COEXIST” let’s send a group of tourist to say Syria, Palestinian, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan….you the idea…and put it on all their rental cars!!! we should have peace within a few weeks…..amazing!!

  • jcmsdaf

    It’s not cowardice and it’s not self-censorship. It’s a Hollywood film made for a largely Western audience. Destroying the Vatican caries more weight for the average viewer of this movie and is more easily recognizable by said viewer. The gets destroyed for the same reason the aliens always appear over New York or DC. What American is going to watch a movie in which the aliens destroy Cairo or Tehran? N.B. District 9 finally bucked this trend, but it was a South African movie with an obvious political point, not a “blockbuster.”

  • gehrig1939

    Expecting anything theologically or philosophically profound from the great majority of modern producers and directors is like going to a theater food counter for gourmet food.

  • infantry11b4faus

    islam is a cult of death and the only reason mecca was not destroyed was fear of islamic murder and hate.

  • dmm1

    BTW, I looked up “fatwa” and it is much broader than “death sentence.” So I revise my statement above to say that Islam should eliminate “death sentence fatwahs.” I don’t have any problem with a Muslim cleric calling for a boycott, or saying that such-and-such is a sin, etc.

  • jbedia

    This movie will flop !!!

  • RichFromTampa

    Why do we have to show any specific religious destruction? C’mon,people, can’t we avoid contentiousness in relious portrayals? RichFromTampa

  • paul6554

    Should Hollywood pay more — or less — attention to real-world religious values and sensitivities?No.Duh.

  • SOSICLES

    If you managed to read the comments all the way to this point, you have wasted your time! All of these posts are IRRELEVANT because the of one major overlooked fact:The Kaaba was already an ancient place of pilgrimage for the polytheistic & pagan Bedouin tribes of Arabia when Muhammad was born in 570 A.D. The young Muhammad learned much growing up in Mecca and being witness to this already well established ritual. The corner stone of the Kaaba was a meteor, itself considered the God of all the lesser tribal gods in the region. Muhammad only incorporated the the pilgrimage into Islam long after he had been banished to Medina as part of his effort to ‘co-opt’ the Meccans into his religion. You could attend a Greek Orthodox church service at the Parthenon, but is still a temple of the Olympian goddess Athena. In other words, I am arguing that the Kaaba is NOT ISLAMIC, even if Moslems own, occupy, and use it. It has even greater ancient historical significance. While it would have been cool to see thousands of Islamic devotees being disintegrated along with this VERY ANCIENT PAGAN TEMPLE, half of college freshmen in the U.S. cannot even find Iraq on a world map! However, a giant statue of Jesus or ancient Christian church is easily recognizable to the intended Western audience, whether the know they are in Rio or Rome! People who made points of this nature did not completely waste everyone’s time.

  • rd3

    Gee, how many Crusades were launched from Mecca? How many wars against the West have been started by Muslims? It’s always dangerous when you equate an entire religion and people with a few extremists. It can even start a war…or two…

  • probashi

    Pitiful. The fact that some people take such claptrap seriously is mind boggling. A look at the website December212012.com and the ware being advertised will make you puke. And when did the Christians began believing in the Mayan calendar?December 21,2012 is not that far off. I might not be around but, if I am I’ll enjoy a few glasses of red as I do every evening. The hucksters will move on to something else to dupe the gullible.

  • ThomasBaum

    CarstonioYou wrote, “The act of self-censorship that Emmerich likely made didn’t really involve him making an artistic compromise.”You may have a point here about “artistic compromise”, what I am speaking of is a much bigger compromise.It should be obvious.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • biffgrifftheoneandonly

    This is a crap argument. Left Behind did a whole lot worse, yet I didn’t hear nary a peep from you then. Phony.

  • edbyronadams

    Of course the producers did not show Mecca being destroyed. They wouldn’t want a death fatwa landing on their doorstep.It’s better to pick on the truly peaceful religions.

  • ThomasBaum

    Farnaz1Mansouri1 You wrote, “There are reasons for us to consider asking Hollywood to get out of the religion business. Fear is not one of them.””Asking”, is this a “nice way” of telling others what is “acceptable”?God gave us free will, should one use that free will to live as one should live or use that free will to tell others or “ask them” how they should live?Intimidation does not just come thru terroristic acts, does it?Intimidation can sometimes be perpetrated on others for the “best of intentions” sometimes, can it not?One of the things that this “nation” was founded on was “freedom from tyranny”, is tyranny which is self-imposed any less tyrannical?One thing to remember is that something that is “tyrannical” to some is embraced by others as “good for order” or some other platitude.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • jdrd58

    Dan Brown’s comment (paraphased, of course)when subjected to similar accusations about The DaVinci Code is appropriate here:It’s FICTION folks.

  • coprogirl

    What? Do you mean that a jelly donut ISN’T considered a fruit serving???

  • John1263

    You folks are so insistent on seeing anti-Christian bias in a nation that is 75% Christian it would be humurous if you’all weren’t so destructive of fundamental American values.Perhaps – just perhaps – the filmakers did not destroy Mecca in the film because no one in a US audience would know what they were watching. Duh. most Americans wouldn’t know the Ka’ab from Kmart.

  • Squatty_HJ

    wait a minute… there’s no nutritional value in jelly doughnuts?

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Byrd wrote: You’re kidding right? How about:*the first Arab conquests beginnin in AD630, with the death of the Prophet (do I need to add PBUH?). Inspired by their new religion the Arabs conquer (in no particular order) Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, Syria, parts of Asia Minor, then go on to*All of Christian North Africathen by AD 700 Spain, finally turned back by Charles Martel at the battle of Tours in AD 732.Let’s see: then by 1050, the Patriarch of Constantinople appeals to the Pope for help because a new empire is beginning to march: the Ottoman Turks. Then 200 years of Christians in the Holy Land, but 30 years after 1291 and the fall of Acre, the Ottoman Turks are on the march again and this time they are not defeated. They get all the way to Vienna, Constantinople is lost, the great ancient church of Hagia Sophia becomes a mosque, all of southeastern Europe falls under the sway of Islam. They are finally stopped at Vienna by the German knights and Jan Sobieski in AD1683…much much later. America is actually being colonized when the Islamic advance into the heart of Europe is finally halted.So yes: there have been many conquests launched from Mecca, or at least inspired by it.

  • ThomasBaum

    andrew23boyleYou wrote, “So, if we’re going to worry about a surfeit of ‘political correctness’ perhaps we should worry about it in the real world.”You pointed out that it is a movie and it is but the “making of a movie” is very much a part of the “real world” and people expressing themselves is also a part of the “real world”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ProudAmericaan

    May be the director of 2012 does not think most of his viewers will connect with a scene of Mecca, simple as that. But leave it to the bigots and the ignorant to use this to insult the religion of more than a billion human being on this earth. Sad..

  • kycol2

    This is one of the most flatulent articles and discussions I have seen on the Post. I don’t go to church to be entertained or go to the movies for a religious experience. Seems to me that those who would might be somewhat demented.

  • rossacpa

    CCNL: While I have learned to skip most of you ramblings (if you seen them once, you don’t need to see them again), your ad hominem attack on Paul Thomas was uncalled for and you owe him and the other board participants an apology, or you need to stop posting.

  • sailmaker1943

    Did I miss something? Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” was fiction. He mixed enough history and legend into it to give it texture, but it was — and is — pure fiction. The movie “2012” is fiction. Pure fiction. The Mayan calendar involves The Long Count, the Haab (civil), and the Tzolkin (divine). The interaction of all these calendars indicates an ill-defined termination date of the current cycle of creation, That being either December 21 or 23, 2012. The Maya did NOT predict a cataclysm on this date, but merely the end of the cycle. Rather than get wrapped around the axles of a bad BAD eschatalogical movie, why not take it for what it is: fiction. Who cares what depictions are made inside, especially since the director — yawn — loves spectacle and likes to blow up things to drag in the credulous. This is nothing. Why make it something it isn’t? And if I’m wrong on the Mayan calendar, I’m confident some soul will gleefully point out my mistakes.

  • elizdelphi

    It’s really the truth that “anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice” for the left and the right alike. This is just a movie and such things cannot destroy the Church which Jesus founded: “You are Peter, and on this rock I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…” God’s plan for His Church depends not on numbers or political power or favorable treatment in motion pictures, but on the faithfulness and holiness of its members. The Christian message is not a popular one, it is costly and makes no sense by worldly standards to adore and follow the Crucified One. But this is perfect love, and this love is the world’s true need and deepest longing and the only thing that can heal the world.

  • mightysparrow

    I’m surprised so many people are even ineterested in seeing this movie. I have no interest, becauase I don’t believe there’s any chance the world will face apocalyptic destruction in 2012 of the sort depicted in the movie. How can anyone take the plot seriously enough, if one doesn’t believe the religious notion of the apocalypse effected by God? I would go to this movie and simply laugh and grumble alternately- how many people really can be scared by such a notion, if they don’t believe it could happen? Do vast movie audiences really take this notion seriously? If they do, I consider that more frightening than anything depicted in the movie.

  • Spiritof761

    The Kaaba is not an “Arab symbol”. It is a Muslim sacred site/symbol and should, like all that is sacred, by honored and respected by all civilized persons, of which there are precious few in Hollywood.

  • dajewell

    Organized religions are the greatest force for evil in the world today. Islam currently holds the lead but the rest are not far behind.

  • DwightCollins

    it could happen, is your conscience clear…

  • zubree

    Worst movie I have seen in a long time.

  • rslodhi

    I am amazed by the logic through which the commentator (ccnl1 | November 18, 2009 12:55 AM )has tried to link religion Islam with unfortunate events of past.If you read modern history, you will find the main cause of such incidents, not religion but global politics for power.

  • Carstonio

    Any ideas why so many people are treating issues like this as Christianity versus Islam? In my experience, the most vocal critics of Islam as a religion tend to be conservative Christians and hardcore atheists. Any ideas why? Why wouldn’t Christianity Today look at the Tibetan monk survivor and accuse “2012” of favoring Buddhism over Catholicism?

  • arminius3142

    A brief note to JJ, aka ‘Vote-Sarah-Pal-in':St Sarah the Moose Slayer – note that skilled hunters have said that shooting a moose is like shooting a parked car.Also -And also, she is representative of a newly emerging retro-evolutionary species: Bimbo Borealis.

  • persiflage

    Ref. 2012 – Mayan legends concerning this point in time are much maligned. Anyone can google for more background. The end of the world as we know it could conceivably occur in one of two ways: Either a catastrophic collision with an astroid, or a viral epidemic e.g. Will Smith’s ‘I Am Legend’. Trying to watch movies of the catastrophe genre, especially in a movie theater, are extremely bothersome due to the sheer volume associated with all that imaginary rampant destruction. I much preferred the viral quietude of the Smith epic. In either case, the real End Times is quite remote, although purely a natural phenomenon should it occur ….. if we consider biological warfare run amuck as a natural phenomenon that is. The only ones Left Behind will be those with a natural immunity – the faithful will lie in heaps and piles with the rest of us. The Rapture is yet another religiously confabulated work of pure fiction, much like the lists and other imaginary works generated by CCNL. Personally, I suspect ‘Angels and Demons’ with Tom Hanks will be much better……

  • nymec

    The most offensive thing about this stupid film is the conflict that it sets up between faith and science – resolving it, of course, in favor of faith. The annoying scene between the mother (faith) and the daughter (sceptic) is really horrible. The smug smirk on the mother’s face is really something to behold. My guess is that the film is funded by the mormon church.

  • ThomasBaum

    rslodhiYou wrote, “Dear Editor, And, “I demand immediate expulsion of such remarks from the newspapers website and banning of such commentators in the future who hurt the feelings of billions of people while making careless statements about sacred religious personalities who are held in the highest esteem by people belonging to all religions.Then, “I also demand an unconditional apology from the commentator and the newspaper for printing of such views unchecked.I don’t know where you live but I live in America and as far as I know ccnl1 also lives in America and here in America we have “freedom of speech”.Your “demands” are not only against the very foundings of this country but they are also against God.God gave us free will and this free will is to live our own life not to live other people’s lives and “demand” that they “kowtow” to our “demands”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • rslodhi

    Dear Editor,

  • ccnl1

    RSLODHI,So the following atrocities were not committed by the koranic followers of Islam ???? 1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops, 3,476 killed in action, 889 died in non-combat and 94,130 – 102,710 Iraqi civilians killed, 4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.8) UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban. 10) Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops killed in action 649, 192 killed in non-combat situations as of 11/17/0911) The killing of 13 USA citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a “koranicized”, fanatic Islamic. And you want an unconditional apology for offending the guy whose words drive these crazies to commit these atrocities???? Clean up the insane Islamic theology, warmongering and severely flawed history and then we can talk again.

  • rslodhi

    In response to ccnl1 | November 18, 2009 9:12 AM

  • halozcel1

    Rslodhi,1-You,yourself may respect other beliefs,faith,but your cult does never respect them.Cult of Hate curses Trinity Followers,Hindus all Idolaters(Partner to Allah/shirk) namely everyone who is non-muslim.Asizk,Yasser,Look at muslims’ posts.Peace Be Upon Him is always used at the end of islam founder’s name.You are the first and only muslim poster who uses PBUH as greeting.That is what I mean.Muslims/Umayyads didnt rule Spain for 800 years.Real muslim period in Spain between 732-1039(nearly 300 years).

  • edbyronadams

    “The most offensive thing about this stupid film is the conflict that it sets up between faith and science – resolving it, of course, in favor of faith. The annoying scene between the mother (faith) and the daughter (sceptic) is really horrible. The smug smirk on the mother’s face is really something to behold. My guess is that the film is funded by the mormon church.”Posted by: nymecIf you buy the premise of the movie, that the driver of plate tectonics suddenly shifts into overdrive, perhaps you are already predisposed to ignore science. As for a conflict between faith and science, if there is one, perhaps you should find a different faith, and if it is only in science, you have my sympathies.

  • CCNL

    Rslodhi,Again, your ramblimg comments trying to defend a vicious, archaic religion is just more evidence of how engrained your Three B (Bred, Born and Brainwashed) Syndrome is.We have given you an easy cure. Get back to us when you feel free of said disease. Ditto for the other suffering Muslims out there.

  • katgurl009

    To all of the Christians out the WAKE UP. WE UNDER ATTACK There is finally a movie in America the home of Christianity, that not only succeeds in virtually eliminating them completely out of existence for ever in his fantasy movie. By the way that something that not even satan him self has been able to do. Right on Mr. Emmerich. He also is very successfull in his to the point out-ward distain for Christian by saying that he was much more concern with offending his Muslim brothers and sisters. He is also so sure that he has power that he might start a Fatwa.. Well to all my peaceful, loving Christians out there. I beseige you we should not start a Fatwa or anything like that, instead we must boycott this movie and this person who if he had decided to be religious could have used the last book of the Bible as their blus print. So whether you are a Christian or an American you should be very offended by what Mr. Emmerich said about being more concern with Muslim. I am not a racist, but I am an American. NEUCHRISTCHLD

  • ThomasBaum

    KATGURL009As I have said, the True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God looks at the person, not the “label” that either one puts upon oneself or someone else has put upon them.We should, “Proclaim the Good News”, just like Jesus asked us to do.It is not “Good News” if it is a tie, it is only “Good News” if it is Total Victory which includes not only All of humanity but also All of creation.As I have also said: God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable.God’s Plan which God has had since before creation is unfolding before our very eyes, whether we are aware of it or not or whether we believe it or not, Will come to Fruition.The night of the “sixth day” will come but the dawning of the seventh day, the new heavens and the new earth, will surely arrive in due time, God’s Time.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.