Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a White...Jesus

Newsweek has a fascinating article about the whitewashing of Jesus in the realm of iconography.
Of course, it is a powerful human inclination to be drawn to people who look like ourselves. As Christianity spread out of the Holy Land, across the Mediterranean basin and west into Central and Northern Europe, the image of Jesus morphed to mirror each new culture—he became more white and less dark, more European and less Middle Eastern, more like an Irishman and less like an Israelite. “The whole ideology of Christian art is the remaking of Jesus in the mold of every subsequent generation of converts in order to meet their need for identification,” says Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, a professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University.

Many scholars agree that the adaptability of Christian art was integral to the indoctrination of a largely illiterate, intransient population because it allowed them to relate to the religion on a local level.
Some things never change.

In 2006, this type of uncritical thinking indoctrinates people to delude themselves into believing that there is some Divine Hand guiding the mission of gun-wielding soldiers, armed with bombs and bullets that murder other human beings. It also enables the glossing-over of systematic torture by invoking the eye-for-an-eye doctrine of foreign policy.

I don't get it. This strain of Christianity is not only dangerous (and unfortunately prevalent), it's also inaccurate. While the wingnuts like to claim that Jesus spoke about the grave ills they cite constantly as evidence of the demise of America - abortion, gay marriage, Al Sharpton - the character of Jesus in the Gospels did not.

But there was this:
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? - Matthew 5:43-47
And we wonder why we get called hypocrites by the secular left...

While I'm on the subject, one of the most obscene things I've seen in quite a while came in the guise of one of the infamous magnet ribbons over the weekend:

I think it may be enough to make Baby Jesus cry, regardless of how much melanin his divine skin was infused with.

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