I watched  a film the other night with my wife. We are both kind of into historical films. This one had many compelling theses.

This film, with Rachel Weisz as Hypatia and Oscar Isaac as Oresetes gives food for thought. I won’t bore you with all the issues, details, and narrative of the film and characters, Hollywood story-line liberties, etc.  Aside from being an engrossing piece of historical [fiction], the thing that really struck me was how much things have not changed.

Alexandria: full of pagan gods, taken over by Romans, who introduced more pagan gods, inhabited by large numbers of Jews, and then Christians over run the city politically, intellectually, and aggressively. The Christians under Cyril systematically eliminate the Pagans, then the Jews, then anyone who is left in a bloody bid for power and control of the city…

In today’s backdrop, I couldn’t help but compare it to our last decade or two of religious and political intolerance, ignorant rants and demagogues. How in the name of a belief, a religion, a whim, humans justify slaughter, murder, and deceit.

And perhaps most interestingly is the way ignorance and blind faith is promulgated to manipulate the masses. Today’s world seems little changed in so many ways.

An interesting thought: We often consider that the Roman empire crumbled for all kind of various reasons. Right-wing [American] zealots like to suggest it was homosexuality that “caused” this crumbling. Watching this film, and thinking about all the following wars of religion, the Inquisition, the annihilation of the American natives, et al, it seems much more plausible it was the adoption of Christianity that brought down the ability of Roman order. Tolerance and reason were thrown out the window followed soon by the dark ages….

When will we learn tolerance, love, and compassion for our fellow man?