CAP Alert Reviews III

It occurred to me recently that I haven’t done a post poking fun at the CAP Alert site in quite a while. Well, I intend to correct that oversight right now. For your entertainment, here are some of the more laughably bizarre reasons why the CAP reviewer saw fit to deduct points from various movies:

Dungeons & Dragons: “many, many images of a form fitting breastplate – female”

How dare those depraved Hollywood liberals imply that men and women are different shapes!

King Kong: “human skulls, repeatedly”

Why is an image of a skull a negative mark on a movie? One would think a creationist like the CAP reviewer would want to praise the skull as an example of God’s wise design, but no. Does he walk down the street with eyes averted, so that he doesn’t see the shape of people’s heads and be reminded that there are skulls inside?

The Matrix: “tattoos (Lev. 19:28 ‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.’)”

The CAP reviewer quotes a verse from Leviticus as evidence that Christianity considers getting tattoos to be sinful. I might be inclined to overlook this if he also deducts points from movies that show people eating shrimp (Leviticus 11:10) or wearing mixed fabrics (19:19), but inexplicably, I can find no such references on his site.

The Patriot: “humans as property”

For someone who so often quotes scripture as support for his claims, the CAP reviewer seems to have acquired a sudden case of absent-mindedness when it comes to slavery. Otherwise, he’d remember that the Bible not just condones but explicitly permits slavery (Leviticus 25:46). Even Jesus gets in on the act, comparing God to a slaveowner who whips his slaves (Luke 12:47).

Ocean’s 12: “below navel skin – male”

Evidently, good Christians should pretend that all areas of the body between the navel and the knees don’t exist.

Bedazzled: “secular humanism = ‘yummy’”

This one speaks for itself.

In this post, I’d like to focus on the CAP review of one particular movie, The Da Vinci Code (see also my review). There’s much to comment on here, such as this bit of hilarious paranoia:

“I fully believe getting this single analysis report published was plagued with more obstacles than any other of the more than 1000 other reports we have done. Hint: It all has to do with lack of donations/funding. Something tells me the adversary did not want this report published.”

I’ve always been curious – what, according to Christians, are the limits of Satan’s power? His ability to tempt humans is a well-established part of Christianity, but the above remark would seem to suggest that he can even influence the minds of faithful Christian believers to the extent of causing them to not donate money to the CAP site. Is this indeed something the Devil can do, and if so, how does the CAP reviewer know? Or are Satan’s abilities merely defined by whatever is most convenient to feed the believer’s demoniac paranoia at any given moment?

And then there’s this:

“claim of Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute”

The CAP reviewer lists this claim under “Offense to God”, implying that it would be an insult to God to say that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. Yet on this point, he has quietly substituted his own assumptions for the wording of scripture. Simply put, the Bible never says this.

Though Luke chapter 7 mentions a “sinful woman” who washes and anoints Jesus’ feet, this woman is never named in the text. John chapter 11 alludes to the same episode, or possibly a similar episode, but names the woman Mary of Bethany. Generations of Christians, beginning with the medieval Pope Gregory, simply assumed that Mary Magdalene was one and the same as the woman in these two stories, but the evidence supporting this inference is nonexistent. In fact, the Catholic church, which gave this assumption life in the first place, has now repudiated it and no longer believes that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. In light of this, it is rather ironic that the CAP reviewer blasts the movie for the following sin:

“portrayal of the painting “The Last Supper” as holy fact rather than one man’s interpretation”

Beam, meet mote!

But all these other offenses don’t hold a candle to the following themes:

“claim of Mary Magdalene being pregnant by Jesus as He hung on the Cross”
“claim of Sarah being Jesus’ daughter by Mary Magdalene, repeatedly”
“claim of nothing said about Magdalene being Jesus’ wife and Sarah being His daughter”
“claim of ‘living descendant(s) of Jesus’, repeatedly”

I have labored hard to understand why the CAP reviewer finds these aspects of the movie so unacceptable. In fact, he lists them under “Offense to God”. What, in his eyes, is so objectionable about the idea that Jesus could have been married and had children? After all, Christians believe that Jesus was fully human in addition to being divine, and nothing could be more human than the desire to start a family and have children. The Da Vinci Code depicts Jesus as married to Mary Magdalene, so it could hardly be said that there was anything sinful or adulterous about the idea. And the gospels hardly rule it out: in fact, the gospel of John closes with, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” What makes the CAP reviewer so sure that marriage was not one of these other things?

The only answer I can come up with that fits is that the CAP reviewer, like many religious fundamentalists, holds a warped and distorted view of human sexuality (one that shines through in his obsession with eye movements and below-navel skin), and believes that sex itself is bad and sinful. This fits with the way which most conservative Christians treat gay marriage, birth control, and other sex-related issues, acting as if sex was not just the supreme moral issue but the only debate worth caring about or getting involved in. To someone who holds such a view, it would make sense that any claim of Jesus having had a sexual relationship would be seen as the ultimate blasphemy.

Other posts in this series:

Bangladesh Is Killing Atheists
The Rebirth of Nullification in Alabama
Thoughts on the Chapel Hill Shooting
What’s Behind the Appeal of ISIS?
About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • lpetrich

    This reminds me of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s rather eccentric theology, in which Adam and Jesus Christ were supposed to create perfect families, but had failed to do so. In fact, he believes that JC’s crucifixion was a sign of his failure to create that family.

    Not surprisingly, he believes that he will succeed where those two gentlemen had failed, turning all of humanity into his family with him the father-figure. In effect, a theocratic world government with Rev. Moon as its leader.

    One marvels at how the Religious Right puts up with his heresies and conceits. He is on their side on moral and political issues, and he has been willing to spend a LOT of money on supporting them, like financing the Washington Times and bailing out Jerry Falwell’s “Liberty University”. So such support might make them look the other way, as many right-wing Protestants have done for Catholicism, and to a lesser extent, Mormonism.

  • Alex Weaver

    Heh. I should email him.

    “As a parent, I can only say that your site has given me plenty to think about. I sincerely hope you’ll still be doing these reviews when my daughter is a teenager–I’m looking forward to sitting with her and mocking the site together.” ^.^

  • Shishberg

    What, in his eyes, is so objectionable about the idea that Jesus could have been married and had children?

    The only thing that comes to mind is that the posterchild Jesus prophecy in the Old Testament, Isaiah 53, says

    By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    And who can speak of his descendants?
    For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
    Isaiah 53:8, NIV

    But that’s one translation (others just vaguely talk “his generation”), in a chapter that is already fairly heavily twisted to fit; so I have no doubt it could be interpreted away if it came to it.

  • Alex Weaver

    Heh. I wonder how long it’ll take him to write a review deducting points from a movie for “portraying Christians as puritanical misanthropes?” ;/

  • Katie Osle

    Alex, I think you should include something about how you’ve even gotten your little sister into it.
    “Dear soandso, I’d just like to congratulate you on your site. It really is a family site. In fact, my brother, husband, niece, and I all love to sit around, reading it, and mocking it mercilessly.” :)

  • lpetrich

    You might find it fun to read what the CAP guys say in response to Why Don’t You CAP the Bible? — I did a thread on that in IIDB: CAPping the Bible?

    It seemed rather weaselly to me, like claiming that the Bible is much less vivid than a movie. Which means that a Bible movie can easily score VERY low. And the CAP guys were honest enough to acknowledge that in their ratings of some Bible movies.

  • BlackSun

    Great points about the CAP site. But you neglected to mention also how GODAWFUL their site design is. ;-)

  • CJ

    Heh. I wonder how long it’ll take him to write a review deducting points from a movie for “portraying Christians as puritanical misanthropes?” ;/

    He’s come close once: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The first CAP Alert post highlighted it rather well.

    I propose the next post on this site discuss Calder’s hypocrisy regarding magic, in which he blasts Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to smithereens (He lists the talking trees [Ents] as an offense to God. I don’t think I need to say any more about that one.) while Mary Poppins doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist.

    For me, the crown jewel would be walking out on that highly offensive and blatantly Satanic movie vomited from the pits of hell…Matilda. It’s Roald Dahl, fercryingoutloud.

  • Dookers

    Someday, I plan on perhaps making movies. And I’d make sure none of them get shown or sold within a hundred-mile radius around where Cappyman lives….that is, if he’s still alive then. It’d save money, too, and save his money so he can actually support his 9,000 adopted kids instead of putting all the burden on his wife and begging for donations….I’d be doing him a favor in the long run ^_^….and his kids might actually get fed without having to pray for food every night.

    Cappyman is a huge Quiverfull freak, too, as should probably be obvious from his sitting on a throne and adopting tons and tons of kids just so he can indoctrinate them and torture his wife into bending over backwards for ‘em. It’s a shameful thing (even to one of the youngest anti-fundies who joined out of free will) and shouldn’t be supported by donating to them and being what they call a “CAP-tain”….

    It’s best we keep on posting and dissecting Cappyman…and other similar fundies like him.

    I also tihnk it’s kind of nuts how he was that offended by Matilda…..and by denying males and females being shaped differently. I wonder if Cappyman wears undies in bed, dang it.

    Another tihng I once noticed about Cappyman was that he deducted points for female shirts being off but none for males’ shirts being off, despite girls getting aroused by seeing pects / manboobs and six-pack abs…..I thought he was untraditional.

    And, referencing the Mary Poppins review (or at least what I remember of it)…..what kind of person says “we won’t go to sleep” instead of “we can’t sleep”….?

  • Steve

    I also have ambitions as a movie-maker. I’d actually be happy to send him a screener, just to laugh at his objections to whatever I happen to include that offends him.