Monday, February 4, 2008

Jesus Thinks I'm Hot

I saw a tee-shirt last week that said something like “Jesus Thinks I’m a Hottie”. The teenage girl it was wrapped around seemed like your typical, average Southern middle-class Jesus-freak teen. But what drew my attention was not the girl, of course, but the style of the message.

It seems that some Christians have found that young girls are attracted to the “boy-band” image, and they have managed to tailor their picture of Jesus to this model. He’s the kind of guy the chicks dig, and the kind of hunk that likes the ladies. He’s compassionate, understanding, and his eyes are soooooo dreamy!

Personal Jesus
Practically any person can have their own, personal Jesus. Conservatives have the holier-than-thou, take-no-shit, obey-or-burn Jesus; the hippies have the shaggy, peace-and-love Jesus; and now the teens and ‘tweens have the boy-band Jesus.

Of course this all misses the point entirely: that no matter what the style, it doesn’t *make* Jesus real.

There is no record of this “Jesus” outside of the New Testament – which seems pretty strange considering all of the things he supposedly did. Walking on water, healing sick, talking to thousands of people (without a microphone, mind you), and raising the dead people of Jerusalem, who then roamed around for a while. And none of this was recorded by anyone?! With all the enemies he supposedly had, none of them kept any sort of record of him either. The Romans had lots of enemies whom they wrote about and kept watch over, but no mention of this “King of the Jews” who vexed them so?

Man or Myth?
There are no ye-witnesses to any Jesus, even in the bible. The authors who wrote the Gospels set pen at least 40 years after his alleged death. Even Paul of Tarsus, the man to whom we can credit Christianity, never met Jesus.

There were historians at the supposed time of Jesus, and none of them mention him either. There is a mention in a document by Flavius Josephus, but it is a known forgery (some Christian followers went in long after he had written, and stuck in some drivel about everyone worshiping Jesus). There are only a few other first-century historians (Tacitus, Thallus, Suetonius, and Pliny the Younger), but they don’t say anything about “Jesus”, but instead mention “the Christ”, and there were several people running around in that time calling them selves “the Christ”. These historians’ writings provide no independent confirmation of the events of the New Testament. At the very most, they provide evidence of Christians living in first-century Rome.

Perhaps Jesus really did exist; perhaps he is an amalgamation of many different idealistic individuals and stories, passed down by word-of-mouth for generations, growing as legends do. Either way, believers today envision what the want when they conjure up images of their god.

My Kind of Christ
And selling a specially-suited form of a fairy tale to a child doesn’t somehow make it real. It might make it real for the child, but so does the tale of Santa Claus—who, by the way, also takes on many different forms depending on who’s doing the telling. Sometimes he’s a short, fat elf; sometimes he’s a normal sized, daddy-ish old man. Some see him as very old; others think he’s your average middle-aged Caucasian. And that’s just in America! Go overseas to any other country that has a Santa myth, and you’ll get a very different Claus.

So, if you’re sad and lonely, we have a kind, comforting Jesus to be there for you. If you like to party big, there’s a Christ to fit right in (and he’ll even keep the wine flowing!).

Be honest with yourself: when you think of Jesus, are you not imagining what *you* want him to be? I guess you’d have to, since there’s no proof of him even existing at all.


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