Film Commentary 03: A.D. Kingdom and Empire

People of the world have long been influenced by multiple religious ideologies. In history, it can be seen how people see utmost beauty and perfection when it comes to perceiving the different great religions of the world. With this view, society has placed religion, as well as its formed institutions and collectives, as divine and unmatchable. It is perceived as a source of endless love and peace. Basically, with religion, people are able to hold upon a sense of hope and perfection that can be found in the world. However, this perception on religion is destroyed and defied with the manifestations of the series “A.D. Kingdom and Empire”, provided that it traces the roots of Christianity’s beginning, highlighting the aspects when it was bloody.

While it is clear in Christian history that Christ was a victim of violent acts, and with this story serving as a symbolic part of his rise, it is also important to note that, on the part of His disciples, there were clear instances of how bloody it was when Christianity was beginning. This can be highlighted in the story of Saul, a jewish of Tarsus. Saul was well-known for being an avid hater of Christ’s teaching, as well as his followers. He believed the teachings of Jesus violated Mosaic Law, and jailed anyone who followed those teachings. In fact, there was even a part in his story, before he is converted, where he just stands by and watches his fellow jews stone St. Stephen because of his preachings.

Now, the story on the Damascus road highlights how Saul fell when a shattering bright light from the heavens came upon him. Subsequently, Jesus’ voice questioned on why he is persecuting, and is eventually invited into the fold. Basically, it served as Saul’s calling. From that, he is converted, and now is referred to as Paul. This confuses a lot of people because he was an avid hater, and now he is rooted on serving and spreading the Gospel.

I believe that the two narratives that are being attacked here is how people despised the religion that was being propagated, and how those people (particularly, Saul), was the one called upon to continue propagating the religion. Firstly, it was violent enough to identify how the people despised being pressured to accept a different form of teaching. As said, it was perceived to be against Mosaic law. This circumstance or case is, somewhat, a manifestation of repression, but in the form of what should be believed in. In other words, the people felt threatened with this new form of religion, and the response was actually to even stone the preacher.

On the other hand, Saul’s calling is an ironic phase in history, because the very person who cause the distress and killing of many followers of Christ was killed by this new converted preacher. In a general perspective, it appears that the spread of Christianity, which was a result of the preaching of those called upon by Christ, originated first from people who killed those who were already followers. The conversion, which led to preaching, was grounded upon killing first, and that’s why it appears that Saul was brought into the fold. As a whole, the way the television shows portrays the history of Christianity’s roots is to reveal how it was not all beautiful, filled with sunshine and rainbows. It was not a religion that immediately stemmed out the love and happiness from the people. But, rather, it was one that even instigated politics and contestation, causing the death of many of its initial followers. The masterpiece found in A.D. Kingdom and Empire is an eye-opener to the reality of politics, especially violence, that exists in one of the most influential religious views in the world today.

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