Observation

"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

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Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bettany's Dilemma

Avowed atheist and British actor Paul Bettany plays a self-flagellating and strange Opus Dei member in Opie's Da Vinci Code. His role is self-described as part monk, part assassin. In an interview with David Germain, Bettany is quoted, with respect to the nature of the movie, "And if we have offended anybody, if I have offended anybody, they're Christians, so I'd ask them to forgive me."

This is a tongue-in-cheek remark made in attempt to fend off criticism, and to "teach" the Christians a little un-Christianity. Non-Christians have this natural compulsion to teach Christians their faith. This is akin to a popcorn salesman teaching a course on brain surgery.

Bettany is fortunate Christians generally don't respond in a spirit of vindictiveness and hold him accountable to his statement. For example, if Bettany's life savings were embezzled, leaving him broke, would he forgive the person if he appealed to Bettany's definition of forgiveness? Not hardly. He'd remind/instruct the thief that extending forgiveness is their obligation, not his, and demand his money back. But what if the thief countered with, "I respect your opinion, but you have to forgive me" then go out and spend Bettany's money. Bettany could walk away frustrated, take the matter to court, or execute vigilante justice. However the matter played out, if the thief retains both the money and his orthopraxic proclivities, only coercive and manipulative tactics could spare Bettany from engaging the fabulously expensive justice system.
The world can only make sense when interpreted and lived through the lens of Biblical revelation. All other -ocracies (choose your governance system de jour) lead to wealth-draining and relationship-straining methods that devalue our personhood.

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