Sunday Sermon: Sometimes a scarf is just a scarf

atheist_melonAssuming Jesus of Nazareth really existed (and I have no problem with the notion that he did), there’s still no record of what he looked like, or what his mom looked like. Maybe he had a beard and long hair, maybe not. Maybe his mom went around in a head shawl, maybe she didn’t.

But why is it that whenever someone looks at a tree stump or a piece of toast or a pattern of light on the side of the building that looks like a guy with long hair and a beard, they think it’s an image of Jesus rather than, say, John Entwistle? Why does every image of a woman in a scarf or shawl remind people of Mary, rather than Benazir Bhutto?

There have been guys with beards and women with scarves throughout pretty much all of modern (or semi-modern) human history. And there’s no record, oral or written, that says either Jesus or Mary looked the way they’ve traditionally been rendered by European artists.

Sure, an all-knowing and all-powerful God might choose to take into account a particular culture’s iconography, and make His miracles conform to those traditional images. But wouldn’t an all-knowing and all-powerful God have created an iconography that’s a little bit less generic? Maybe a distinctive facial scar, or chin dimple, or harelip or something to make an actual image of Jesus next to Mary somehow distinguishable from an image that could just be from a sidewalk in Cairo or Riyadh (or New York, for that matter)?

And BTW, am I the only one who thinks there are lots of Christians who will fall down and worship an image of a woman in a headscarf if it appears on a piece of toast, but who make a wide path around a real, actual woman who’s dressed that way? Especially if she looks like she’s Middle Eastern — just like Mary was?

(Atheist melon pic from Mitchell and Webb sketch via Buzzfeed)

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by TrimTab on July 15, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    This also applies to the fact that God hates whatever the believer hates. Pretty sweet deal, huh. They say that god created us in his image…and therefore, god is portrayed as an oversized, past middle-aged, bearded white Anglo-American. They say that we are created in his image and yet he is never Black, Pacific Islander, Asian, Slavic, Native American, or Canine. This speakes directly to the delusions that religion creates and thrives on. Interestingly enough, they involve race. Even more interesting…I have never heard a racist remark from any of my atheist friends.

    “And BTW, am I the only one who thinks there are lots of Christians who will fall down and worship an image of a woman in a headscarf if it appears on a piece of toast, but who make a wide path around a real, actual woman who’s dressed that way? Especially if she looks like she’s Middle Eastern — just like Mary was?”

    No, bro, you are not the only one! Religious fanaticism and fundamentalism was a main reason for 9/11. The histories for both sides of this religious fanaticism is very long and quite heated. I find that having no religion makes it damn near impossible to succomb to calls to hate or kill people who are not an immediate threat.

    Reply

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