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Sun Nov 4, 2012, 02:58 PM

Secularise Jesus' story and watch his relevance grow

Atheists should see Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber' Jesus Christ Superstar as soon as possible, suggests Tracy Quan. Jesus is far more relevant to us when we secularise his story.

5 November 2012
Tracy Quan

A film of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar - featuring Perth-born comedian Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot - will open in 60 Australian theatres for a week starting November 8.

The new film, made during a 10-city tour of the UK and Ireland, also features former Spice Girl Melanie C as Mary Magdalene and ITV "Superstar" winner Ben Forster playing Jesus.

In 1970, when Jesus Christ Superstar was issued as a concept album, many believed that religion was gently fading away. How quaint that idea seems in 2012.

If, like Minchin, you're an outspoken atheist, you should see this updated production as soon as possible, rather than wait for the DVD Blu-ray release. Jesus is far more relevant to us when we secularise his story. The last seven days of Jesus's life take place in a fiery version of 21st century London. His tormentors wear suits, while his followers use social media and carry iPads. (Julian Assange - an atheist with a Christlike aura - crossed my mind more than once during this movie.)

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4350436.html

&NR=1&feature=endscreen

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:02 PM

1. Some things are eternal.

For example, everything by Andrew Lloyd Webber is was and always will be a huge bag of pompous suckage.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:12 PM

3. Yeah, there's quite a bit of pompous suckage floating around.

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Response to rug (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:17 PM

5. Wait, do you actually think any of his crap is good?

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:21 PM

7. Yeah, some, but not most.

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Response to rug (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:43 PM

14. Ranks up there with Sondheim? Not even in the same league.

Rogers and Hart?
Gershwin?
Bernstein?
Porter?

Seriously?

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #14)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:54 PM

16. I'd put him below Gershwin, Bernstein and Porter but above Rogers and Hart (and Hammerstein).

You don't have to sleep with him to acknowledge when he writes a good song.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:04 PM

2. without santa claus, christianity would wither away and die nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:13 PM

4. Then what would you complain about?

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:19 PM

6. Ms Quan needs to check a dictionary.

The word she is looking for is 'modernise' - not 'secularise'.

Secular means something worldly, temporal, non-religious. This is still the story of the biblical figure of Jesus - regardless of the setting.

Shakespeare's Macbeth set in a London restaurant kitchen is still Macbeth, and a passion play set in a corporate office is still a passion play.

Modernizing the story doesn't make it more relevant to someone for whom it has no relevance.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:24 PM

8. Tracey Tulley grees with you.

Tracey Tulley, who got involved with the Queensland sex workers' movement in the 1980s, remembers hearing Mary Magdalene's hit song on the radio as a child. Seeing Jewison's film (with Ted Neeley as Jesus and Carl Anderson playing Judas) changed her worldview:

"It modernized the story I'd been hearing in catechism every day and made these people seem real," she recently told me. "At first it was Mary Magdalene I was most interested in. I suddenly realised she was influential, had a lot of personal power and was the close adviser to Jesus. I think she would be a grassroots activist today, breaking the mould. I did always see her as a rebellious character, like me."

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:26 PM

9. When it first hit the scene, I experienced it as much more political than religious.

His exploration of that side is interesting.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:28 PM

10. 'Superstar' aside, I'd love to read a secular biography of Jesus, based on events as they've been

passed down in later writing or verbal histories. Like other biographies of individuals from 2,000 years ago. I'm sure there are some out there.

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Response to pinto (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:38 PM

12. Here's one but it's more of a polemic.

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/ernest_renan/life_of_jesus.html

The whole thing is online.

Here are a couple of interesting ones within the last 15 years or so but you'll need to get them from the library or Amazon.

"The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth" by Ben Witherington

"The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth" by SGF Brandon

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Response to rug (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:53 PM

15. Thanks.

In a weird sort of way the Jesus story reinforced my interest in politics. I think the political / religious dance around his arrest and trial and execution helped define my strong support for the separation of church and state.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:32 PM

11. The Jesus story was secularized

It was called E.T.

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Response to Burma Jones (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:39 PM

13. Uh huh

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Response to Burma Jones (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:58 PM

17. Must have completely missed the point then.

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