Is There a Christian Theme in 'Pirates of the Caribbean?'

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 13, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, already "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" has grossed about $350 million worldwide. It's only been out a week. That is almost miraculous.

And while we're on that subject, the Web site says there is a Christian theme running through the pirate movie, which may be news to some of our swashbuckling friends.

Joining us now from San Diego is Dr. Marc Newman, the president of


O'REILLY: I didn't see "The Dead Man's Chest." I did see the first one. I didn't see a lot of church going in there or praying as Johnny Depp cut people to ribbons, but maybe I missed it. So what's going on in this one?

NEWMAN: Well, all of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies so far have had deep spiritual content in them. The easiest way to slip it in is by making sure that people are having a good time.

"Dead Man's Chest" is about how people in peril, wager their souls and why people are so interested in forestalling some kind of day of judgment. So all the way through the film we have people gambling for their souls or selling their souls to Davy Jones with the express purpose of holding off the time in which they're going to have to meet their maker.

O'REILLY: All right. So I get it. None of the pirates wants to die because they think they're all going to hell so they're trying to delay the grim reaper. But there isn't any reference outright to Christianity, is there?

NEWMAN: Well, there's a wonderful scene very early in the film where a couple of the pirates are rowing in a boat. They've just escaped from jail. And they used to be these immortal ghosts from the first film, but they have been humanized, as a result of getting their treasure back and having their blood sacrificed, which happens in the first movie.

And so the guy is looking at a Bible. Now, he's reading it upside down because he's illiterate. But the guy asks him, he says, "You know, we're not immortal anymore, so now we have to take care of our immortal souls."

O'REILLY: Now do you feel that this was purposely put in this movie? Or is it just, you know, somebody in the screenplay going, "How do I fill this screen?"

NEWMAN: You know, Bill, there's no way to really know, but one thing that I do know is that art has a tendency to transcend the intentions of its makers. And so I think that these stories are the kind of stories that resonate with people. You've seen a million movies where people get shot or cut or stabbed and it doesn't have nearly the resonance as it does when you look at bunch of people who are trembling over the idea of whether or not they're going to their soul.

O'REILLY: Is it their soul or their life? Because nobody wants to die.

NEWMAN: Oh, no, it's their soul. Because there's a great scene early in the film, when Davy Jones is looking at a man. And he's giving them all the opportunity to escape meeting their maker by serving 100 years before the mast on his ship.

And one of the young men is holding a rosary in his hand with a cross clearly identified and he looks at him, and he makes the offer. And the guys says, "No, I'd rather take my chances". In other words, in the afterlife he feels secure. So of course, they cut his throat and throw him overboard. But the fact of the matter is, like many Christian martyrs in the past, would rather die than serve on a hellish ship.

O'REILLY: All right. Very interesting, doctor. We appreciate it. Thanks for coming in.

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