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THE RELIGIOUS POSSIBILITIES OF THE MOTION PICTURE, VOL. 1 (CLASSIC REPRINT)

ISBN: 9780260446589
Excerpt from The Religious Possibilities of the Motion Picture, Vol. 1When Jesus desired to set forth the essential meaning of Christianity in a universal language that should speak to men of every age and all races, he chose a dramatic story. He told the parable of the Good Samaritan, and therein gave an example of ideal preaching which many preachers of the present day, alas! Seem to have completely overlooked.Note some of the details of that sermon-story. It was not taken from the Bible - the Old Testament used as a Bible by Jesus auditors - but from contemporary experience. It was the sort of thing that might have happened any day and to any one in his audience. Secondly, it was an exciting story. Robber-tales always thrill the emotions, and much more in the ancient world perhaps than today, because then the risk and the likelihood of such deeds of violence were immeasurably greater than now. Thirdly, this narrative-sermon frankly introduces morally negative elements and leaves them negative to the end of the chapter. Was it not dangerous to the church establishment of that day to have its priest and Levite pictured as failing so utterly in the grace of compassion, held up to ridicule as hypocrites and poseurs? And as for the robbers themselves, not only did the story give a most realistic description of precisely how they perpetrated the cowardly crime of violence, but it leaves them victorious in their wickedness, scurrying off with their booty, unrepentant of their sins, probably chuckling at the folly of the traveller for venturing upon the notorious jerusalem-jericho road without a caravan to protect him from the highwaymen. And yet, despite these three dubious characteristics of not being Scriptural to the people who heard it, of being exciting, and of having realistic and morallynegative features in it, who dare assert that the story of the Good Samaritan has wrought harm in the world? Rather, has it not earned for itself recognition as b