In the event you missed it, on the evening of February 16, 2004, Diane Sawyer interviewed Gibson on the ABC television network for the basic purpose (but not the only purpose) of learning what motivated him to produce "The Passion of the Christ." [Note: "Christ," which should never be capitalized, is a translation into English from transliterations of Hebrew and Greek words meaning "messiah", or more technically "anointed one."] Gibson explained that 13 years before the interview he experienced a life crisis. Suddenly he realized that all the money, fame, and material gratifications in his life were eventually to go for naught if the end of life is eternal obliteration of self. In an effort to escape from the terrible depression that then enveloped him, he turned for succor to the New Testament scriptures and accepted all of the stories in them as established fact.
When Sawyer pointed out that scriptures are not historical fact (they are nothing more than the propaganda of a given religion sect), Gibson shrugged off that consideration and replied that he "had to believe" because "I want to live" and the scriptures provided "hope," otherwise not available, that his mortal death would not be the end of life. Consequently, Gibson continued, he treats the stories in the New Testament as documented facts, he considers the story of God's creation of everything in six days as true, he views Jesus and Mary Magdalene as "real persons," he has no doubt that there really is a Holy Ghost, God and the Holy Ghost guided him to produce "The Passion of the Christ," and the Holy Ghost "is looking favorably on this film." [All of this is from notes that I took while watching the interview.]
Gibson's Teacher: A Jew-Hating Nun
In the part of Sawyer's interview concerning Gibson's possible ill feeling toward Jews, Gibson denied that but admitted he "got the idea" for his film from a Jew-hating nun who gave him an amulet which he continues to carry with him. Though professing to believe that Jesus "died for all of us," Gibson added that he believes it is "easier" for Christians "to get into the Kingdom of Heaven" than it is for Jews. [If Gibson has actually read the New Testament in its entirety as he claims, then he ignored the scriptural rendition of what Jesus said on this subject: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). No gentile wrote that. Neither did any Christian write it, because at the time it was written there was no such person as a Christian. Neither was it written by anybody named Matthew. It was written by an ancient Hebrew scribe, whose name will never be known and who was the member of an Israelite or a Judaist or Hebrew sect, espousing belief in the coming end of the world to be offset by a messiah, and revolting against the rich Hebrews (or Jews) of the Roman Empire and the high priests of the Jerusalem Temple.]
Now the issues are more than the question of whether or not Gibson's tirade was the release of his innermost beliefs under the influence of alcohol that uncorks true attitudes otherwise inhibited by social pressures. There is the issue of Gibson's presenting "The Passion of the Christ" as a realistic reenactment of the crucifixion story in a deliberate effort to engender hatred of or at least prejudice against Jews; and there is the issue of the presentation as based on Gibson's abysmal ignorance.
Regardless of whether you construe the New Testament scriptures as fiction or purported fact, the crucifixion story is claptrap. The gentiles of the Roman Empire executed offenders by piercing their bodies on a stake. The Jews of the Roman Empire executed criminals or sinners by hanging them on a tree. The authors of the Peter section of the New Testament scriptures claim that the executioners of Jesus "put him to death by hanging him on a tree" (1 Peter 2:24), and that occurred so that human sin could be redeemed and the spirit of Jesus could reach human souls (Acts 10:41-43, 1 Peter 2:24-25, 3:18-21). The author of one of the Paul sections of the scriptures calls the crucifixion on a cross story a fraud. "Who has bewitched you," the writer asks, "before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?"(Galatians 3:13). The truth, states the writer, is that Jesus was hanged on a tree to redeem humanity from the curse of the law set forth in the Old Testament that "a hanged man is accursed by God" (Deuteronomy 21:23).
The story of Jews and others nailed to crosses is fiction of the kind presented in the Spartacus film starring Kirk Douglas. The cross was a religious symbol long before Christians adopted it. To crucify means to martyr, not to nail somebody to a cross. The image of Jesus nailed to a cross stems from prior legends such as that of the martyrdom of Prometheus, the savior of humanity in classic Greco-Roman mythology: he is nailed by the hands and feet, with arms extended, to the rock of Mount Caucasus. Ancient tales of the Phrygian god Attis and the Syrian deity Tammuz, both viewed by their worshippers as saviors of humanity, have them martyred, after which they arise from their tombs. Long before the era ascribed to Jesus and the Apostles, worshipers of the god Osiris celebrated him on days called "Resurrection of Osiris" or "Passion of Osiris." He was one of numerous deities who, long before Jesus, arrived on earth through virgin birth.
After studying ancient crucifixion stories paralleling the tale of Jesus's crucifixion, Professor James H. Charlesworth wrote, in his book Jesus Within Judaism: "According to a popular celebration of his [Jesus's] life, he was...trapped in the Jews' Sanhedrin, and murdered following diabolical outcries for his blood from the Jewish leaders and their followers in the Holy Land...he was exalted above the earth on a cross...this account does not derive from ancient history; it is medieval - even modern - fiction."
Mel Gibson generated such belief in Christian hogwash through the combination of his celebrity status, ignorance, and hatred of Jews. For that reason, no matter what he says now about his drunken tirade against Jews, he comes across as an evil human being.