An Iranian Muslim has directed a film about Jesus: Jesus, the Spirit of God.
Of course, this Jesus is just one of the many many Jesuses the world has concocted in an effort to circumvent the sin and sacrifice business, and because, well, everyone has to deal with Jesus eventually. So this Jesus is not the Son of God, he did not rise from the dead for our justification, but is merely the penultimate prophet. He did not even die on a Roman cross—something very few secular or non-Christian historians/scholars debate anymore (unless they’re woefully illiterate or just plain goofy).
But the film seems to have been made in a spirit of interreligious dialogue and not as a provocation. “I wanted to make a bridge between Christianity and Islam, to open the door for dialogue since there is much common ground between Islam and Christianity,” said filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh.
But will Muslims be willing to engage in serious “dialogue”—one that risks the possibility of conversion to the Christian point of view? In other words, how open are Muslims to having their “the Jewish and Christian Scriptures were corrupted” apologetic falsified? Will they examine manuscript lineage and how accurately scribes transmitted biblical texts (for example, the Isaiah Dead Sea scroll)? Will they read and credit ancient writers’ references to New Testament texts that predate the oldest manuscripts we have, thereby reinforcing our confidence that the Bible we read today reliably reflects the original autographs?
In which case, are Muslim dialogue partners then willing to examine the New Testament texts in light of their proximity to the actual events and reliance on eyewitnesses and community-controlled oral histories—making the crucifixion of Jesus one of the most “provable” events in history, one that does not require an act of faith on anyone’s part?
In short, I see “dialogue,” but I hear “monologue.”
By way of Herr Veith at Cranach.