Christianity is nothing more than one of many interpretations of reality, neither more nor less. Ideally, it would be nice to believe that there is a God somewhere out there, but it looks to me as if the whole Christian religion is a major symptom of schizophrenia in half the world’s population: civilizations scrambling to rationalize their chaotic existence. — Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven

RoboChristThe director of RoboCop, Basic Instinct and Showgirls hopes to make the life of Jesus the subject of his next film. Paul Verhoeven thinks the world is ready for a “realistic” portrayal of Jesus, an ordinary man freed from 2,000 years of Christian mythology.

I can imagine Verhoeven’s Jesus at the wedding in Cana, making a drunken pass at the bride before being tossed onto the street. Or, better yet, Jesus threatening the money changers with automatic weapons!

My [portrayal of Jesus’] life will be much more realistic and much more historical. I just want to go for what is historically, sociologically and politically real, and is defendable. I mean we couldn’t have the scene of Jesus praying at Golgotha when everyone else is sleeping. How could we have a report of that when everyone’s sleeping? That’s a contradiction in the text already. So all those will be eliminated. — Verhoeven Talks Jesus, Empireonline

One hopes Verhoeven may actually read the Gospels at some point, where he will discover the disciples falling asleep at Gethsemane, not Golgotha. Oh, those troubling, historical details.

Actually, I think it might be interesting to see what Verhoeven’s Jesus would look like. Paul Verhoeven is a secular modernist, an atheist — in other words, he’s a typical 21st century intellectual. It could be instructive to see Jesus through the eyes of a modern skeptic, especially one with Verhoeven’s cinematic talents.

And we should remember that more than a few skeptics have opened the Gospels only to find themselves changed by the Jesus they discovered there. I wish Paul Verhoeven success in this project and hope that he does, in fact, encounter the historical Jesus.

Thanks to First Things for the scoop.

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  1. Your optimism for Verhoeven disarms my cynicism somewhat.

    However I can already imagine this movie will be somewhere between Andrew Lloyd Webbers ‘Jesus Christ: Superstar’ and the latest book published by the Jesus Seminar.

    Interestingly Verhoeven already cancels out his interpretation of the ‘realistic’ Christ being “much more realistic and much more historical” in his previous quote. That being “…nothing more than ~~one of many~~ interpretations of reality”- which is exactly what his movie will be.

    But yes, I join you in hoping he does meet the historical and real Jesus.

  2. Charlie,

    I’m so glad I read Verhoeven’s description of Christianity. I had no idea it was merely schizophrenia I’m suffering from. I feel so much better now, knowing the truth…

    Great post.

  3. That’s a contradiction in the text already

    You know Charlie there are so many people who say things about Jesus but don’t actually read about him in the gospel accounts. A friend of ne (a relative actually) was amazed when I told her Jesus said not to pray using vain repititions. And people say all kinds of things about his “transendence” – with their meaning being he didn’t experience suffering in a human way.

    I really wish they’d read the accounts. And our conversations can help. I liked The nativity Story because the Director and script writer did look at the accounts.