(From "Dogma". Rufus is supposed to be one the disciples of Jesus, come back to help Bethany find her destiny. No more spoilers. Great movie.)
INT TRAIN - NIGHT Bethany and Rufus sit across from one another. They stare out the window. RUFUS How you coping, kid? BETHANY It's weird. just when I think I've got a handle on things. something wholely unbelievable presents itself. Sometimes I wish I had just stayed home. RUFUS You sound like the Man. BETHANY (beat) What was He like? RUFUS Jesus? Black. BETHANY Besides that. RUFUS The brother was centered. I mean, He was God, right? But I think He felt left out because He was more than human, you know? We used to sit around the fire - me and the other guys - and we'd be talking about what ass-holes the Romans were or getting laid... BETHANY Some things never change. RUFUS ...and He'd just sit there listening and smiling. We'd ask Him why He never joined in the convo, but He said He just liked to hear us talk; about anything. Said it was like music. I think He just wished He had unimportant shit to talk about himself. BETHANY How does He feel now? RUFUS He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name - wars, bigotry, but especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it. BETHANY Having beliefs isn't good? RUFUS I think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can't generate. Life becomes stagnant. That was one thing the Man hated - still life. He wanted everyone to be as enthralled with living as He was. Maybe it had something to do with knowing when He was going to die. but Christ had this vitality that I've never encountered in another person since. You know what I'm saving? BETHANY He was big on life? RUFUS It was more than that. He was the only person I ever knew who never engaged in that most ancient of life-affirming activities. BETHANY Sex. RUFUS Debate. That's the only way people know how to reaffirm that they're alive - by debating. In all it's forms. People spend their whole lives debating: we fight about who's right and who's wrong, we fight ourselves, we fight each other, we fight death, we fight over beliefs, we fight over fights. We believe that to stop debating - in any fashion -is to stop living and give up. People say that life's a struggle, but it's not. Life is living. I'm even guilty of it myself, the way I go on about Christ's ethnicity, fighting for the truth to come out. And I'm dead. Even in death, the only way I know how to live is through debate. That's sad, isn't it? BETIIANY Not if you believe it's important for people to know. RUFUS A belief's a dangerous thing, Bethany. People die for it. People kill for it. The whole of existence is in jeopardy right now because of the Catholic Belief structure regarding this plenary indulgence bullshit. And whether they know it or not, Bartleby and Loki are exploiting that belief, and if they're successful, you, me. all of this... ends in a heartbeat. (beat) All over a belief. Bethany nods. Rufus looks around.
Some people, it goes without saying, find all this a bit irreverent, and as a result miss the point. And yet I've personally spoken to a septegenarian Catholic priest who enjoyed it immensely and encourages people to see it.
I have an opinion in fact, that if people are afraid to look at religious beliefs objectively, then it's actually superstition.
I've accused a few people of this too, and they don't like it. But the conversation ends there, obviously.
To round off this topic, for now at least, because it just doesn't go away, I want you to do a little test for me. It's not a new test, it's been around since I was frequenting Usenet, and that feels like a lifetime ago. They've just updated it, and now you have to give an email, but you can give a fake one, as you'll get your results at the end just fine.
Don't forget to take the political one that follows.