Kingdom of Heaven Dialogue

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Scott, Feb 20, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    I watched Kingdom of Heaven recently and was just analyzing some of the key scenes. Here is what I think is the dialogue that most explicitly reveals the worldview of the movie. It is a dialogue between the hero, Balian (Orlando Bloom) and the hospitaler, a wise hero in the movie.

    How would you critique this?

  2. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Yeah, I remember that scene. Hollywood really likes to make 21st Century men out of every "historical" movie they make. The only "fanatics" in that movie are the Christians. Salladin is portrayed as a wise ruler drawn into conflict by a bloodthirsty Christian.

    I think that particular dialogue is most instructive. It is religion (or a form of dogma) that corrupts. God is best sought within each man's heart as he discovers God for himself. In the end, we're not judged by what we believe but how we behave.
  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Wasn't Saladin a wise least in secular wisdom? Were not many of the "Christians" in the Crusades bloodthirsty?

    The Roman Church joined civil and ecclesiastical swords and wrought a great evil.

    The Crusades were a just war politically (a defensive war against an encroaching aggressive empire of Islam). They were justified from a civil state standpoint.

    From a religious standpoint, however, it was one of the most vile evils ever done in the name of Christ.

    Both "religions" that fought in the Crusades were composed of lunacy and fanatics. Evil men fighting evil men - both thinking that they are honoring God.

    Christians ought not to have their own "Jihads,."
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't dispute there were bloodthirsty Christians. My issue is that the Muslims are portrayed as hapless victims of a Christian encroachment. The opposite is the case.

    It's harder to separate the sword in the hands of the state than in the hands of the Church at that point in history. I'm not arguing that all is commendable and noteworthy.

    Nevertheless, without a counter-offensive by the Christians; without Constantinople guarding the door to the West for centuries; without Spain that fought its own crusade earlier when they finally drove the Muslim rule out. Without all these things, Europe could have been conquered by Islam. Citizens of Spain, in fact, were exempt from service in the Crusades because it was viewed they had "done their duty" within their own country. I'm not an expert in the period so I'll defer to others.

    I guess from my standpoint I can fault the theology behind the whole mess but I can't fault the outcome or the desire too much. I don't much like frowning on the idea that I'm not Muslim today because Europeans beat back the Muslim invaders with the sword. I look at it as God intending for good what men intended for evil.

    When European might began to wax in strength against the Muslim world they began to "take back" Christian lands in their estimation. Assuming they had been successful then (or the Great Powers had been able to get along at the end of WWI) and the Middle East fell back under "Christian" rule and, at least, open to intellectual development and the Gospel, would the nations in that region really be worse off then they are today?

    I know it's all hypothetical but God even uses lunacy and fanatics to good ends. I'm glad I'm in a country founded by imperfect Christians rather than one founded by imperfect Muslims.

    [Edited on 2-21-2006 by SemperFideles]
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Amen was all providence.

    I wish it had been done politically, without pimping out Christian Indulgences to get people to fight, but I am glad that the Muslim hordes were fought back.
  6. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    To me, this movie is a humanistic condemnation of all religion. At every point religion is portrayed as fraudulent, hypocritcal, and dangerous. Christianity comes out worst, but even Islam is portrayed as bad. In one scene Saladin is confronted y a religious muslim. The religious muslim tells Saladin to rely on God. Saladin says that we should rely on human wisdom. The religious muslim (who is not depicted as fanatical) says that Saladin won't rule long with that kind of attitude (a vague threat perhaps). Saladin says that in that case he "quakes for Islam." Wise Saladin advocates the human and earthly over the transcendence of the religious muslim. Saladin is essentially a secular muslim - he retains the outward trappings of Islam but advocates humanism.

    This is one of many humanistic/religious confrontations in the movie. A religious figure (always depicted as foolish) advocates something religious. The wise, heroic figure counters with humanism. And the humanism is always depicted as noble in the movie.

    I will post a longer analysis later. I am collecting my thoughts on the movie and am going to reduce them to writing.

    The movie does portray some bad things about religion and Christianity that have some legitimate basis. The problem is the solution, humanism. The screenwriter could have taken the exact same problems (religious hypocrisy, incorrect theology, etc.) and provided a Christian solution. For example, consider the way Balian's wife's suicide is treated in KOH with the boy's suicide in the Luther movie. Same problem (incorrect understanding of suicide) but different answer to the problem.

    [Edited on 2-21-2006 by Scott]
  7. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    What I find interesting in the dialogue is the word "denomination".
  8. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    I picked up on that too. Seems anachronistic.
  9. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Good point Scott. I was thinking about that scene yesterday as well. I agree it was humanistic but not in a way that denied God but just that God could not be found in organized religion (an idea I find shockingly among Christians at the Church I attend).

    I think my complaint about the "imbalance" is Hollywood's love affair with showing that European or Western culture corrupts everything it touches. I don't mind seeing Western "warts" but not when the prevailing message (that is consonnant with most history curricula) that Europeans in general, and Chrisitanity in particular, are responsible for war and calamity. The poor Muslim people caught in the middle of it...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page