— Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs from Lethal Weapon, 1987
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October 8, 2008
Download “Prince of Peace – God of War” For Free
— Posted by John Campea
How did the command to “Love Your Enemies” get so complicated? This was the question I had for years both when I was a minister in the church and ever since I left it. It seemed to me the religious right, more a political force than anything else, who embraced policies of violence, killing and destruction, all in the name of a God they claimed to follow seemed to be at odds with the teachings of the founder of their faith.
For the first three centuries that the church existed, those belonging to the faith of Christianity understood the words and example of Jesus to be a clear directive to never be involved with violence. To be a Christian was to be a Pacifist, and during those formative years the church endured several persecutions at the hands of the Roman Empire itself without ever considering taking up the sword against their aggressors.
How did this faith, known and identified for its non-violent beliefs, go on to conduct the crusades, the inquisitions, witch hunts, and today have 87% of white evangelical Christians support President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq? How did this religion, founded by a Pacifist and known (even criticized) for non-violence, become a religion known for its aggression, war, political power and embracing of violence?
So, in 2006 I decided to travel across North America and talk to scholars, historians, authors and religious leaders on both sides of the issue (not the cheap Bill Maher tactics of only talking to crazy people on whichever side he stands opposed to) to understand why some believe the Christian faith allows for killing and others in the exact same faith believe that to truly follow the faith, one must never take life. The result was this project “Prince of Peace – God of War”
The project took me just over a year to complete and was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but at the same time one of the most rewarding. As a documentary I am very proud of how the issues are addressed and explored… but at the same time I am very humbled by how much it lacks artistic quality. A gifted documentary filmmaker I am not. But audiences across North America at various film festivals seems to quickly look past my artistic shortcomings and submerged themselves in the issues and discussion in the film. Some agreeing, some disagreeing, but all apparently talking.
Some media folks commented at the time:
“Central to John Campea’s engaging documentary is the question of how it is that 87 percent of self-defined Christians are able to rally fists in support of war when one would assume that conflict is not what Jesus would do.”
“Loved It! An Extensive look at how Christians went from preaching about love and peace to fighting for war.”
“I was gripped the entire run time”
Kurt Halfyard – Twitchfilm.Net
“People should definitely see this… they’re going to love it”
“I urge you to give it a look and in all honesty, if your Religious Philosophy professor puts Just War on the curriculum, you may want to suggest he add this film as an introduction.”
“the documenary does a great job at presenting the facts, with the leading experts on Theology and Christianity and making you stop and think long and hard on a tough topic. ”
This project was only made possible by those people who were willing to lend their thoughts, expertise and perspective to the conversation. Both those on the Just War and Pacifism sides of this discussion were beyond generous with their time and insights. To all of them, I am very grateful.
With the festivals far behind me now, and all the DVDs that were printed sold out, I decided to release the movie online for free, just to get it out there and continue to spark discussion (that’s my hope at any rate). So download it, share it, copy it, BitTorrent it, love it, hate it, whatever. It’s amazing what you can do with one cheap little camera, one very cheap little microphone, no crew, no money and a bit of time on the road. I hope you enjoy it, or at least that it makes you think. Cheers!
You can watch Prince of Peace – God of War here:
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