Film, at its best, can convey a hint of the overwhelming impact of religious faith on those who believe. For me, the best example of this is Jesus of Nazareth (1977), as amply demonstrated I think in the video clip above. When we read about Jesus in the Gospels it requires a leap of imagination to conjure up the scenes depicted. Some people are better at doing this than others. A good film can provide us with the emotional impact of the Gospels without the necessity of our providing the imagination to bring the event alive for us. The Church has long understood this. Hymn singing can also accomplish this, as do Passion Plays, as does the Rosary. God appeals to our souls, our hearts and our minds, and we make a mistake if we ever forget this.
The History Channel in March will have a miniseries that dramatizes portions of the Bible. Below is a trailer.
I have no idea from the trailer whether this will be good, bad or indifferent, but I do know that with so many people being raised today without even the rudiments of religion, to some of the viewers it will all come as a revelation. There is a hunger out there for God. That is one reason for the overwhelming reaction to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Good quality videos, note the emphasis on good quality, can be a useful tool for evangelization. Too much that is produced of a religious nature is well meaning and quite bad as a work of art. God asks us to be innocent as doves and wily as serpents. Judging from much that I have sat through of religious themed films, we often have the innocence of doves down pat but the wiliness of serpents, as to the quality of what is produced, is often sadly lacking. We can do much better.