On Saturday Dave and I went to see this documentary, based on James Carroll's book of the same name. I haven't read the book, but I was eager to see the film based on reviews I'd read, and on the trailer below. Carroll traces the linked origins of Christian militarism and anti-Semitism, and confronts the question of whether there's something fundamental to Christianity--or to religion generally--that fosters hatred and violence. It's a question that is discussed at our house pretty often. Dave is a believing, church-going Christian. I was raised a Christian, and although I value some of the ways it shaped me, I abandoned the faith a long time ago. I'll never call myself a Christian again.
I wish I could say that the film is great, but unfortunately it's got some major structural problems. Carroll's ideas get confused as the film struggles to create a coherent historical narrative. In spite of that, segments of the film are very powerful, especially those that explore the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. Dave and I wound up discussing it during the entire hour-long ride home, so it's at least thought-provoking, whatever its flaws.
I went hunting for more info on Carroll this afternoon, and found this taped interview with him, in which he lays out his ideas more succinctly, if less dramatically, than the film does. It's well worth the 20 minutes, if you're at all interested in the subject.