What if God and The Devil were to have a debate, with the world as the audience?

devil_vs_jesus_by_ongchewpengby Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

The political season is in full swing. The democrats just recently had a debate. The republicans have another debate on Thursday, the last one before the Iowa Caucus. One of the candidates, the frontrunner Donald Trump is skipping out because he thinks Fox News, specifically Megyn Kelly, has been unfair to him. All of this gave me an idea last night. What if God and The Devil had a debate, with all of us as the audience?! Who would moderate? What questions would they ask?

I imagine God the Father would be too important and too busy to show up to such a debate, but perhaps His son Jesus would accept his invitation? The Devil would no doubt show up, after all, he’s got a huge ego and probably wouldn’t trust any of his reprobate minions to give a good showing on his account. So there you have it, the candidates are set.

For the sake of argument, I’ll play the part of the moderator. We can have the debate at our own Rochester Civic Theater here in town, a small intimate setting.

I have no idea what the candidates would answer, so I’m not going to speculate. I’m just going to put out a couple of questions that came to mind last night.

This one is for both the candidates, 1. The Devil, and Jesus. Of the current candidates competing for the presidency of the United States, which one do you like the most? Which one do you like the least?

2. This one is for Jesus. Everyone says you are coming soon, but when exactly will that be, and what does that mean for the people of the Earth?

3. This one is for the Devil. They say you are a liar, a thief and a murderer. How do you respond to those charges and how can anyone believe what you say here today?

4. This one is for both candidates. Some people think that you are both mythical characters, made up out of the imagination of religious men. What would you say to such people?

5. Another question for both candidates. How old is the Universe, and the Earth specifically? Did it take a literal six days as it says in the Bible or did it take much longer?

6. Another one for both candidates. Who are the angels, and the demons? Are they the souls of humans gone to the other side, or are they something different?

7. This one is for Jesus. What will your followers be doing in the afterlife? Is Heaven really as great as they say?

8. For the Devil. What about your followers? Will they be cast into eternal punishment in Hell with you as their ruler, or will you all be cast down for eternal punishment in the lake of fire?

9. Here’s one for Christ. What did Lucifer do or say that got him and his followers kicked out of Heaven? Is there anything he could do or say to get himself back into the good graces of The Almighty?

10. For the Devil. How do you respond to the answer Jesus just gave? If offered amnesty, would you and your followers ever return to the fold, or would you continue your rebellion such as it is?

11. For both candidates. Did evolution happen, and is it happening now? What does that mean for the progression of life on this planet, both animal and human?

12. For the Devil. If for whatever reason you were to win this rebellion and take over as a god, what would your new domain look like? What would that mean for the people of the Earth?

13. Jesus, please respond to the answer Lucifer just gave.

14. For both candidates. The Crusades. During the time known as the Crusades, Christianity and  Islam fought for centuries and there was a lot of bloodshed. Who was right in that conflict, or did both sides share in the fault?

15. This one is for Jesus. They say God is good and can do no wrong, but He allows a lot of bad things to happen here on the Earth. Wars, plagues, suffering. If God is good, why does he allow all of these bad things to happen?

16. The Devil, please respond to the answer Jesus just gave.

17. Back to the Devil for this one. They say you are the ruler of the Earth and are responsible for all the bad things that happen here. You prey on the weakness of men’s minds and cause them to be tempted to be selfish and cruel to one another. Is that true, and if so, what is your motivation?

18. For Jesus, please respond to the answer The Devil just gave.

At the end of the debate I would of course allow a 3 minute time span for each candidate to wrap up their comments. I think that would be very interesting to hear the candidates give a three-minute spiel on whatever topic they wanted.

What other questions would you ask Jesus or the Devil if you had them in a room together? Write us a note and give us your question or just comment on this article. Tell us what you think. The new email address to this blog is americanmillennium@yahoo.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

FYI. There is little likelihood of such a debate as I imagined above taking place in real life. But we have the next best thing. On February 3, liberal professor and Obama ally Bill Ayers will debate conservative film-maker and author Dinesh D’souza on a live stream. Information is available here. In this day and age, that’s the best we can do people. Apparently these two men have debated before. I’ve not seen the debate, but it is apparently available on You Tube, here. I think I might watch it, since I will likely miss the next one due to work. If you see it, let me know and give your comments. It will be interesting to see since D’Souza just got out of prison after serving 8 months for violating campaign finance laws. Ayers of course was a member of the infamous Weather Underground responsible for bombing the Pentagon and a judge’s house. It should be an interesting debate.

You can contact us at our new email: americanmillennium@yahoo.com.

 

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Is Jesus real? Washington Post Writer Raphael Lataster Says the Evidence is Slim!

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Top 14 Scenes from Bible Retool “Son Of God”

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

Diogo Morgado as Jesus in "Son Of God".

Diogo Morgado as Jesus in “Son Of God”.

I saw “Son Of God” in theaters this week and I liked it. I would recommend it to any of my friends. It had all the tear-jerking drama of the greatest story ever told without the gratuitous gore and blood of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of The Christ” which came out a decade ago. While the acting was solid, it wasn’t quite up to par with “Passion”, but the viewer would be engrossed in the story without being grossed out.

 

I have to say, I found it hard to divorce the steely-eyed film critic from the Bible believing Christian I am, but I gave it a go this last Monday. I found it hard after a while to see through tears and I wondered if it wasn’t because of my faith in the story rather than the eloquence of the drama as portrayed. As I sat in the dark watching this film, I complied a best of list of 14 or so great scenes I think made this film a good one, if not great, and I added a short list of scenes I thought were not up to par. I found myself comparing the film to Passion of the Christ from film director Mel Gibson. The acting in this film wasn’t quite as good as Passion, the cinematography was excellent, the acting was good most of the time and there were just a few scenes I felt really didn’t cut it for me. Overall I thought this film would be of interest to Christians, who would appreciate the story told without all the messy gore brought to us by Gibson’s movie. I have no idea how this film would affect non-believers who are not familiar with the story in scripture.

 

Compliments go to Roma Downey who was one of the producers of the film and also portrayed the mother of Jesus in the film. I thought she did an outstanding job in the film and really connected with the audience. She really did a good job convincing the audience that she could be the mother of Jesus. That is not the most important work she did for this film however; that job was the one of bringing this movie, and The Bible mini-series to completion with her husband Mark Burnett. This movie was largely the extended version of the life of Jesus as told by The Bible Series that came out last year, but it was not a rehash that I worried it would be.

 

There were some notable characters that deserve some credit for the drama and delivery of the film. Sebastian Knapp, who played John, was one of the more believable of the disciples who connected best with the audience. Greg Hicks, a marvelously complex actor, played the charismatic and ruthless Pontius Pilate. Darwin Shaw gets an honorable mention as Peter. Diogo Morgado plays a passably good Jesus with just a moment or two where the acting and script is weaker.

 

There is one last character I’d like to mention who made an impression, the individual who played Barabbas, Fraser Ayres. He has two moments in the top fourteen.

 

And here they are; the top fourteen moments in “Son of God”.

 

#14 Jesus and Barabbas: Ayres and Morgado have a moment where Barabbas and Jesus meet for the first time. There are moments in the film in which Jesus seems to stop time with his authority from God and this is one of those times. Jesus is marching into Jerusalem on a donkey when he is confronted by Barabbas; who is trying to whip up the crowd. Jesus silences Barabbas with a gesture and you can see the loud-mouthed Barabbas instantly moved to silence by the power of the Son of God. Well played on Ayers’ part.

 

#13 Barabbas again, I like this rather minor character. The religious leaders are trying to trap Jesus in the Temple after the Lord overturns the money tables. “What shall we do?” they ask Jesus. “Should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Barabbas is there trying to start a riot, yelling that the Jews should “not pay”. He’s almost gleeful as he is enticing the crowd to violence. Jesus gives his legendary answer that one should pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Barabbas leaves, visibly deflated by what Jesus has said.

 

#12 Jesus feeds five thousand: Jesus and the disciples disembark the boat and find a crowd waiting for them. They have no food for them, only a basket with some fish and some bread. Jesus prays and then distributes the food. The Apostle John, as surprised as the rest, has a basket in his hand that was all but empty a moment before. Suddenly it is filled and John cannot contain his happy enthusiasm. It’s a great little moment.

 

#11 Pilate is practicing his fencing: while not strictly in the Bible, this scene shows how charismatic and ruthless Pilate is. He is dueling a servant and deliberately wounds him in the swordplay. The audience gets a feeling that this is not a governor to be trifled with, a hands-on guy who is willing to inflict a little pain if it serves his purposes.

 

#10 Mary Magdalene played by Amber Rose Revah is on the boat with the disciples. Thomas the Apostle played by Matthew Gravelle is griping about something, saying in essence that Jesus’s recent actions don’t make sense to him. Mary gives him an earful on having faith. I like this moment because it shows that it just wasn’t men who had contact with Jesus, but women played a role in the early church. Revah is a firebrand who I liked very much.

 

#9 Mary again: Jesus has been crucified and buried. The disciples are in morning and hiding. Mary goes to the tomb alone and finds the stone that covered the tomb opening is not only rolled away, it is shattered in half. The tomb is empty except for the burial cloths. Mary is dumbfounded. Suddenly Jesus appears in the mouth of the tomb and Mary is inside the tomb looking at Jesus backlit from the sun. I like this scene because it shows Jesus in the light of life and Mary, who represents all of us, in the darkness of death inside a tomb. Well done by both actors.

 

#8 Thomas, played by Matthew Gravelle, is talking to Jesus at the last supper. Jesus has told the disciples that he is about to be betrayed, but he tells his followers not to fear. He is going away and his friends will follow him soon where he is going. Thomas asks, “How can we follow you to where you are going when we don’t know the way?” Jesus responds, “I am the way!” Me crying!

 

#7 Peter renounces Jesus: After the last supper, Jesus is talking to Peter. Peter is adamant; he says that even if all leave, Peter will follow Jesus even to the grave, he will lay down his life for him. “Will you?” says Jesus. “Before dawn you will deny me three times!” You can see the blood ebbing from Peter’s face as he turns to follow Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Wow!

 

#6 Jesus is arrested: Jesus is about to be arrested and is kissed by his betrayer, Judas, played by Joe Wredden. A riot ensues and Peter rushes to defend Jesus, cutting off the ear of the captain of the guards. Jesus stops time again and everyone focuses on Jesus as he reprimands his disciple. “Those who take up the sword,” Jesus says, “will perish by the sword.” This is probably one of my best scenes in the movie. Well acted.

 

#5 John in exile: The Apostle John is one of the last disciples left alive after all of the others have died or have been murdered. He is living on an island all alone, exiled for his faith. Jesus appears to John and John is crying tears of joy. This is the moment he has waited for all his life, to see his Lord again. A visibly older and frailer John cannot believe his eyes as the Lord approaches him. Very moving.

 

#4 Jesus is marching his cross to the site where he is to be crucified. He stumbles and falls. His mother, played by Downey, stoops to help him and mother and son exchange glances and a few words. This is an incredibly moving moment. Not quite as strong as moments in “Passion” where Mary flashes back to Jesus’s boyhood, but still quite strong. This is one of the best moments of the film and best depicts Mary’s anguish at the event of her son’s death.

 

#3 Pilate and his wife: Jesus is being executed and you can see parts of his body marred by blood. The scene cuts to Pilate who is getting a massage with oil. His wife is there rebuking him for being involved in Jesus’s death. This scene is very well done. Now Jesus is suffering, but wait, it will be these two who will suffer later. Very well done.

 

#2 The Sea of Galilee as Jesus calms the storm: the disciples are in the boat and Jesus is not with them. This scene combines two separate scenes depicted in the Bible; one where Jesus is in the boat asleep during a terrible storm and calms the storm before everyone is killed. Another scene is where the disciples are in the boat and Jesus comes to them walking on the water. In this scene, the two stories are combined. We see the disciples in the boat about to be killed in a storm and then a ghostly Jesus, who was not in the boat, comes walking to them on the water. Peter goes out to him, walking on the surface for a while, but looking back, he loses his faith and his footing and plunges down. Jesus rescues him and rebukes him for his lack of faith. Foreshadowing? A good scene for everyone involved.

 

#1 The Great Commission: probably the most moving scene in the movie. Jesus is talking to the disciples atop a mountain. He commands them to preach the Gospel to the world and then vanishes in a brilliant light. Peter turns his back on the where Jesus once stood and strides away off the mountain. “Come,” he says, “We have work to do!” In this moment the disciples are transfigured from cowards into faithful and brave servants of Christ and Peter, who was a denier of Christ before, becomes their captain. Very cool.

 

And now for the not so great. There are moments in the Bible story of Jesus that resonate with every Christian. Sadly, in this movie, the acting or the script or something gets in the way and is not as strong as it could be. First on my list, the moment Jesus rescues an adulterous woman about to be stoned. It would be a great moment except; Jesus doesn’t follow the scrip as told by the original scripture. Instead, he makes it up and the line he delivers is not as strong as what the Bible originally reports. Very sad.

 

Number two: This is the most disappointing scene in the film and unfortunately, it is not Greg Hicks’s (Pilate) fault. Jesus is being interrogated by Pilate in prison. Pilate played by Hicks delivers his lines flawlessly and instead of getting torn down by the awe-impiring Son of God, we get a rather weak and mushy response from Morgado as Jesus. This is really upsetting because this is normally a great opportunity to show how Jesus interacted with people around him and Morgado doesn’t deliver. Bummer. Compare this scene with the scene involving the same characters in “Passion”. Jesus is played by Jim Caviezal, one of the all time best portrayals of Christ in film, and the very best portrayal in movie history of Pontius Pilate portrayed by Hristo Shopov!

 

While Shopov and Hicks are at their top of their game as the charismatic and complex Roman Governor, Caviezal and Morgado are not even in the same ball park. Clearly Caviezal is playing the World Series and Morgado is little league, but Morgado wasn’t at all helped by the script writer or the videographer at this point. Jesus as played by Morgado looked like a crazy person on acid with far too much hair. He didn’t know what he was doing, did not give the appearance of the second most powerful entity of the universe. Very disappointing.

 

Overall I think this show is worthwhile if you want to spend your time and money to see it. The characters with the exception of Roma’s Mary aren’t top billed actors, but they all deliver solid performances with very few exceptions. I would give it four and a half stars out of five, deducting half a star for some script and acting problems I previously mentioned. In comparison I give “Passion” four and a half stars as well, deducting half a star for Gibson’s obsession with dousing the audience in gratuitous blood and gore, and for scaring the B’Jesus out of us with a nightmarishly hermaphroditic Satan character. And that’s my view

 

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Faithful Catholics mark the death of Christ with a Silent March

Father Gerald Mahon and Music Director Sebastian Modarelli - photo by Jeremy Griffith

by Jeremy Griffith

Faithful Christians all over the world marked the anniversary of the death of Jesus Christ this Good Friday, as they do every year, in their own way. This year Rochester area Catholics silently marched through the city’s main streets, led by a contingent of priests bearing a cross.

Margaret Kelsey, Parish Administrator of St. John the Evangelist Church in Rochester, spoke about the importance of the event.

“This is our thirteen year participating in this event. We first began in 2000,” said Kelsey. “We observe four of the 14 stations of the cross in a silent march through the city, remembering the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus.” The march is an annual event organized by local members of Communion and Liberation, a worldwide Catholic organization begun in Italy in 1954.

The march began in front of the Government Center in Rochester and from there traveled to the Peace Plaza, Statuary Park and then the church itself. Often parishioners, numbering in the hundreds, marched two by two down the center of Rochester’s main streets, escorted by city police. At four separate times, at the locations mentioned above, the parishioners gathered to sing songs and hear a litany read. Father Gerald Mahon, pastor of the church, made comments at each of these stops.

At the government center Mahon recognized the importance of good government in protecting the rights of citizens, including the right to practice one’s faith and one’s right to freedom of expression.

With the Government Center as a backdrop Mahon said, “Good government is necessary for the preservation of the freedom of the American people. I hope and pray that our government always continues to protect our religious liberties.”

Standing at the Peace Plaza in the triangle of the Kahler Hotel, and the Mayo Clinic’s Siebens and Gonda Buildings, Mahon praised the compassion and service of the Mayo Clinic, comparing it with the compassion of Christ in healing the sick. “We recognize the service of the many doctors and nurses and other health care professionals who serve this community,” said Mahon. “We recognize in them the compassion of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the great physician.”

At the third location, Mahon spoke at Statuary park next to statues of William and Charles Mayo, the Founding Brothers of the Mayo Clinic where they sit opposite the Gonda Buiding across from the church. He again praised the Clinic, saying. “Our health care professionals do so much for us to keep us well. But sometimes things get confused, because as people they do not know us. Our Lord knows us and accepts us as we are, where we are.”

The people participating in the procession were a diverse but silent group. African American families joined Hispanic and white families. The group was as diverse as their clergy and leaders. Efforts to engage them in conversation during the march were in vain. When a reporter approached a senior citizen marching at the rear of the crowd, the woman commented only, “We’re not out for a walk, we are in procession and aren’t supposed to talk.”

There was an undercurrent to the event that reflected the national tone. Several of the parishioners marched in hoodies in remembrance of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. None would speak to reporters who approached them but only disappeared in the crowd when the procession began to march again.

Other church leaders joined in the somber event, including Father John Lashuba, Parochial Vicar of St. John’s from South Sudan, Deacon Adam McMillan, Music Director Sebastian Modarelli, Dr. Sidna Scheitel, and Margaret Kelsey.

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