The Passion of the Christ cost $30 million to make and took in more than $370 million. Many consider it the most authentic religious movie of all time.
Now it’s coming to television as a live musical. The two-hour event will air from New Orleans on March 20, 2016. Hosted and narrated by Tyler Perry, it is set in modern day and will follow Jesus from the Last Supper through his resurrection. Fox is airing the musical as the network seeks to capitalize on the success of Jesus-themed programming such as The Bible and Killing Jesus.
Despite the global popularity of religion—only fourteen percent of the world is atheistic—skeptics have been claiming for years that religion is detrimental to humanity. Richard Dawkins describes religion as “the root of all evil,” while the late Christopher Hitchens argued that “religion poisons everything.”
But a Washington Post article is making news today by showing that religion is good for families and children. W. Bradford Wilcox is a scholar at Georgetown University and directs the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project. He points to research indicating that “on average Americans who regularly attend services at a church, synagogue, temple or mosque are less likely to cheat on their partners; less likely to abuse them; more likely to enjoy happier marriages; and less likely to have been divorced.”
The good news continues: Americans who attend religious services often are “markedly more likely to report that they are ‘very happy’ in their marriages compared to those who rarely or never attend.” Research also indicates that religious parents spend more time with their children and are more likely to report praising and hugging their school-aged children.
Wilcox cites University of Virginia sociologist James Davison Hunter, whose research demonstrates that religious teenagers “are more likely to eschew lying, cheating and stealing and to identify with the Golden Rule.” A national study also shows that children from religious families are “rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.”
Why would religion be good for families?
Jesus promised, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (John 15:5). If we are disciples of Jesus, others should be able to see his character reflected in ours.
Steve DeWitt is right: “Christianity’s answer to the question of why creation is so beautiful is that it flows from the character of a beautiful creator. Nature is God’s self-portrait. . . . God creates beauty so we can know what he is like.” Out of all that God created, you and I are uniquely made in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit begins to conform us to the image and character of Christ (Romans 8:29). Therefore, we should reflect our Lord in all we do.
C. S. Lewis explains Christmas like this: Jesus “came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life he has—by what I call ‘good infection.’ Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing less.”
What is your purpose today?