If you’re a subscriber on Netflix, you may have recently come across the film The First Temptation of Christ. It is a Netflix Original (it premiered on Netflix) and was produced by a Brazilian comedy troupe, Porta dos Fundos.
The film is centred around Jesus Christ’s 30th birthday, and portrays Him as a homosexual. It mocks God the Father as if He were a seductive player, and ridicules Jesus’ family and disciples in the most unbelievably sacrilegious ways.
Since its release, nearly 2.5 million people have signed a petition to remove the movie from Netflix, and its disapproval can be seen through its 4.6/10 star rating on IMDB.
Now as a heads up, I do not recommend you watch the film; firstly, because it is blasphemous towards our Creator, and secondly, because it financially supports the producers who put it together.*
Here are some of my reflections on the film, and of the broader Hollywood culture.
Hollywood’s Mockery of Jesus Christ
The entertainment that a society produces is both a litmus test and a compass. It is a litmus test insofar as it reveals the society’s state of moral decay. It is a compass insofar as to indicate the direction where we are headed as a society.
It would not be fair to use this film as solitary evidence to justify the claim that the Hollywood entertainment complex ubiquitously despises Christians. Rather, this film is one link in a chain of entertainment that has degraded and derided the God of the Bible.
As Ben Shapiro wrote in Primetime Propaganda:
“Here’s the untold secret: For almost its entire existence, television has been gradually perverted by a select group of leftist individuals who have used its power to foster social change through cultural ‘messaging’.” (p. 2)
The only thing that seems to change over time is the lengths to which the Hollywood industry is willing to go to in order to flaunt their moral decay. This is clear if we look at just a couple of the other films Hollywood have celebrated over the years.
1988: The Film — The Last Temptation of Christ — was so profane that it led Bill Bright — President of Campus Crusade for Christ — to remark:
“Absolutely the most blasphemous, degenerate, immoral [and] depraved script and film that I believe it is possible to conceive.” (p. 287)
Christians protest outside the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan, at the portrayal of Christ in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. Photograph: Barbara Alper/Getty Images
2004: The film Saved made a mockery out of Christianity; particularly the Bible’s stance against homosexuality, and its upholding of the value of sexual purity.
It’s clear that the new Netflix film is nothing out of the ordinary — Hollywood has, and will continue to, produce films that satisfy the lusts of the human heart, and wage war against the truth of the Gospel.
Hollywood’s Distortion of Sexuality
Since the Sexual Revolution in the 1960s, Hollywood has been an indispensable weapon in the propagation of perverse ideas and beliefs about sexuality. From Game of Thrones to Modern Family, Hollywood have released films that celebrate practically every form of sexual perversion.
Throughout the late 1900s, Hollywood movies played a pivotal role in socially engineering their viewers to discard any Biblical standards for sexuality, and pursue immoral lifestyles. Thus, historically speaking, these recent films that celebrate homosexuality as a legitimate, alternative sexual lifestyle are merely the tip of the iceberg.
Albert Mohler observes:
“Intellectual honesty requires us to recognize that there was a determined group of activists who were pushing a ‘gay agenda’.” (p. 51)
This agenda was clearly stated in a 1984 issue of Christopher Street, entitled ‘Waging Peace: a Gay Battle Plan to Persuade Straight America.’
“Where we talk is important. Visual media, film and television, a plainly the most powerful image makers in western civilisation. The average American household watches over seven hours of television daily. Those hours open up a gateway into the private world of streets, through which a Trojan horse might be passed. As far as desensitisation is concerned, the medium is the message of normalcy.
So far… Hollywood has provided our best covert weapon in the battle to desensitise the mainstream. Bit by bit over the past 10 years, gay characters and gay themes have been introduced into TV programs and films. On the whole the movement has been encouraging.”
Nearly 40 years later, it is clear that The First Temptation of Christ is nothing more than the product of Hollywood’s distorted view of sexuality, and disregard for character and decrees of God as laid out in His Word.
The secular elite — including Hollywood producers and actors — have been uncompromising in their stance against Islamophobia. Indeed, an obvious observation is the fact that Hollywood would never produce a film — like The First Temptation of Christ — criticising the leader of another major world religion. Let’s turn the tables for a second.
Imagine a Hollywood producer creating a movie entitled The First Temptation of Mohammed. Mohammed is portrayed as a homosexual man, and Allah as an amorous predator. This is completely unthinkable — and rightly so. And yet the question remains: why is Hollywood more than happy to mock Christians in this exact manner?
Now ironically, two of the key values that Netflix — as an employer — looks for in their potential candidates are ‘Inclusion’ and ‘Integrity’ — both of which were profoundly undermined in the publishing of this film.
Maybe Netflix should put their money where their mouth is: accept the fact that nearly 2 million people have signed a petition to voice that the film is blasphemous to their God, accept that it was a mistake to produce this film, and then use this as an opportunity to ‘nurture and embrace differing perspectives to make better decisions.’
What we are witnessing is nothing new. The mocking of Christ and the sexualisation of society are both products of a fallen world, and they reveal to us just how broken and lost the world around us is. In many ways, it is evidence of God’s grace that there are not more of these abominable films released each year.
The fact that God does not immediately strike down those who produce — and are entertained by — such films is not a sign of His impotence, but rather His extraordinary patience. Indeed, how patient has God been us, even with the great sin we have committed against Him in our own lives as Christians. In a day and age when God is ridiculed, we must remember His words from Galatians 6:7:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
[*To carefully filter the content you consume through the media, I would highly recommend that you use Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn. Providing comprehensive reviews of movies and TV shows, you will be able to properly discern what is appropriate for you and your family to consume.]
Shapiro, B. (2011). Primetime Propaganda. Broadside Books: New York, 2.
Michael Mazur, E. (2011). Encyclopedia of Religion and Film. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 287.
Mohler, M. (2015). We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 51.
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