Why do women love Jesus?
April 20, 2010 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Wait! Look, what do you see? A new crucifix has been hung behind the altar at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Oklahoma City. It has caused quite the stir.

The crucifix, which the parish priest claims portrays Jesus's abdomen "showing distension" and not, well, you know, his penis. The crucifix is based upon the San Damiano Crucifix, and was created by local artist Janet Jaime, who remains publicly silent on the issue. The parish priest has stated that he has no plans to take it down.
posted by the_royal_we (198 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's funny, he doesn't look jewish.
posted by Floydd at 11:45 AM on April 20, 2010 [40 favorites]


Well in her defense, the original has a penis too.
posted by graventy at 11:47 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jesus Rises.
posted by spoobnooble at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Looks to me like the artist was having a bit of fun with them.

(which is exactly what I would have done.)
posted by dunkadunc at 11:49 AM on April 20, 2010


This is where i went to church as a kid, and to gradeschool. I am oddly proud.
posted by the_royal_we at 11:49 AM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


I didn't even notice till I read the description.
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 11:50 AM on April 20, 2010


Rule 34. No exceptions.
posted by mullingitover at 11:50 AM on April 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


The parish priest has stated that he has no plans to take it down.

From the article:
Janet Jaime, an Oklahoma City artist "who designed a crucifix some say shows genitalia on Jesus plans to modify the piece in effort to end the controversy it has caused."
Emphasis mine.
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Penidolia ?
posted by Pendragon at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anybody who looks at that and naturally sees only abs "showing distension" is a lying heathen.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


If anything has ever called for a LOL, it's this.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am oddly proud.

You're not the only one.
posted by newmoistness at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
posted by Floydd at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2010 [69 favorites]


damn, Son.
posted by wreckingball at 11:59 AM on April 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


I don't know if you noticed the url for the last link, but it is pretty hilarious as well.
posted by the_royal_we at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, for Christ's sake!

If you look hard enough, you can see cocks everywhere you turn. Are these same phallic-obsessed parishioners going to go all tumescent about the onion domes of Russia? Or church steeples in general?
posted by BigLankyBastard at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank You, Jesus!
posted by _paegan_ at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2010


Turns out the Incarnation was a package deal.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2010


He's not the Messiah—he's a very naughty boy!
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Wikipedia is your friend:

Healing a man with dropsy is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels (Luke 14:1-6).[1]

According to the Gospel one Sabbath, Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, and he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy, i.e. abnormal swelling of his body.

Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law:

"Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?"

But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.

Then he asked them:

"If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?"

And they had nothing to say.
posted by found missing at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Christ, what a dick!
posted by hal9k at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


The abs of christ compels you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:02 PM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


It just might be "inadvertently" historically accurate, too. Men often get post-mortem erections when they die. They're nicknamed "angel lust".

How does that parish priest expect anyone to pay attention to his sermons with the giant Jesus Penis hanging around?
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Naw, man, they're just distended abs. Don't worry about it.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:03 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


And um.... uh.... yeah, that was an unfortunate turn of phrase. Can I have a three minute edit window to switch my massively, politically incorrect "hanging around" to.... um... "dangling over the congregation" or something?
posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2010


If church steeples (and skyscrapers) were actually phalluses, wouldn't they be build horizontally or at a 45-85 degree angle or so? Even lying down, true verticality would seem to be pretty rare.
posted by DU at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2010


He IS risen!
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, there's a lot of medieval art that has that same basic design, but somehow it still looks like Jesus has been nailed to a massive piece of wood rather than, well, you know.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:08 PM on April 20, 2010


If church steeples (and skyscrapers) were actually phalluses, wouldn't they be build horizontally or at a 45-85 degree angle or so? Even lying down, true verticality would seem to be pretty rare.

Oh, ye of little faith.
posted by zarq at 12:08 PM on April 20, 2010


The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:09 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


mouth agape in amused shock.

but yeah, totally just anatomically correct of what happens when crucified, you suffocate and your stomach becomes distended etc.

or so my art history prof told us.

but, uh yeah, heh heh.
posted by sio42 at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Old news!
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2010


Christ is coming.
posted by item at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


You say crucified, but he looks hung to me.
posted by qvantamon at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


"She is very serious about her religion and wouldn’t in the slightest possibility ever imagine wanting to sneak a pee-pee on to Jesus.”
posted by MsVader at 12:11 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clever joke using erection-metaphor double entendre.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2010 [16 favorites]


My friends' buddy-buddy church leader wasn't kidding when they called him the Big Guy.
posted by adipocere at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2010


The artist, I'm afraid, erred on the side of graphic visibility...hightening the contrast in the details...as opposed to, perhaps, taking her cues from the original and making the detailing in the abs a bit softer.

On the other hand, it's pretty damned hard to believe no-one saw this, either in the rough drafts or before the church took possession of the finished work. QC is dead.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:13 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it looks like a rather large male sex organ!
posted by naju at 12:14 PM on April 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Something something res-erection!
posted by ALongDecember at 12:15 PM on April 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the HOLY SHIT!
posted by NationalKato at 12:15 PM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


His nickname for it? The trinity.
posted by found missing at 12:17 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Currently the first comment at the first link:
Intentional or not, the fact remains that it looks like a penis and it needs to be fixed. No matter how hard we try to not make it a penis....it is what it is. The first time someone from the parish brought up the possiblity of it looking like a penis, it should have been addressed. It should have never gotten this far. Instead we power played with each other and allowed it to get out of hand.

I do not appreciate the penis nor the skull at the bottom. The skull does not represent paradise in my eyes but instead evil. The skull serves no purpose and needs to be removed as well. Why include a skull on such an otherwise beautiful painting. [once penis is fixed] I don't think anyone questions the meaning of the cross and it's intentions.
[once penis is fixed]
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 12:18 PM on April 20, 2010


There's some sort really clever joke to be made about genetic memory, my gayness, and the connection between liking defined abs and large penises, but I just can't seem to get it together, so instead I'll just say:

Hot
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:19 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing I love about this is that the original San Damiano one has the Nazarene looking all beatifically up at the heavens, but this one is just looking straight at the viewer, like, "Hey. Wassup, man. You like what you see? Yeah. 50 roses, no recip, travel only"
posted by Greg Nog at 12:19 PM on April 20, 2010 [13 favorites]


but zarq, the "hanging around" is why I favorited your comment!
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 12:19 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of what happened to poor old Copper John, stoic guardian of the Auburn, New York, jail, after 156 years of proud service.

Sometimes I think folks just have d**k on the brain.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:22 PM on April 20, 2010


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:22 PM on April 20, 2010


There is a history in religious Christian art of depicting Christ's penis as proof of his humanity, i.e. manhood. Usually in the crucifixion context. Nothing new here...
posted by njohnson23 at 12:27 PM on April 20, 2010


Why include a skull on such an otherwise beautiful painting.

Jesus fucking Christ (until the penis is fixed) -- are people really this ignorant of the history of their own traditions? Memento mori? Nothing?
posted by joe lisboa at 12:27 PM on April 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


The supposed absence of sex in Christianity and in the life of Jesus is a relatively recent phenomenon, largely promoted by a dominant American culture that is addicted to being titillated but can't stand to look at sex directly, and most definitely can't stand to mix sex with religion.
It most certainly was not always thus. In the middle ages Jesus was certainly seen as a sexual figure, nuns literally considered themselves to be married to him, and religious fervor was very explicitly mixed up with sexual passion. Jesus was sometimes portrayed with an erection on the cross, and was frequently referred to as "the foreskin of the church", something that sounds blasphemous today but that I know to be true, but dammit I just can't find the reference.
If you don't believe me that it was all about sex, just ask Bernini.
posted by crazylegs at 12:28 PM on April 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


If that's his wenis, it's proof of divinity.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:28 PM on April 20, 2010


Oklahoma Catholics and 4Chan. We really are all the same under the skin...
posted by Naberius at 12:29 PM on April 20, 2010


A cocktological proof for God's existence, AZ?
posted by joe lisboa at 12:29 PM on April 20, 2010


I like to think this just means Jesus was a power bottom.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:30 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


For a crowd of mostly avowed, and vocal, atheists. You all spend an awful lot of time thinking about religion.
posted by oddman at 12:31 PM on April 20, 2010


oddman - that's why we're atheists.
posted by crazylegs at 12:33 PM on April 20, 2010 [46 favorites]


Hey Jesus, I can see your peter from up here.
posted by jamaro at 12:33 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I dunno. The skull at the bottom seems to have reasonable narrative, if not theological consistency. Hung up to bleed out in a field of those similarly afflicted, odds are no one really cares if there are a few bits and pieces laying about to demoralize those who'd be suffering.

Theologically, it's transcendence over death, arranged quite literally. Looks somewhat entombed as well. What is more interesting, is that there appear to be four nails used, and into Byzantine tile.

My objection: That fellow does not have the musculature of a carpenter.
posted by LD Feral at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2010


I totally read that as "St. Charles Bronson Catholic Church."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, for Christ's sake!

If you look hard enough, you can see cocks everywhere you turn. Are these same phallic-obsessed parishioners going to go all tumescent about the onion domes of Russia? Or church steeples in general?


I think the point is that you don't, uuuh, have to, like, look hard at all in this case. Huh, huh. I said hard.
posted by nosila at 12:36 PM on April 20, 2010


I think I've mentioned before that I once knew an artist who was obsessed with cocks in general, and more specifically Jesus cock. And none of this weasely stuff that looks like it could possibly be a penis, but is likely just abs. No, he once did a painting of a very well hung neon green Jesus on a red crucifix.

Or his linoleum carving of Mary holding a dying Jesus in her arms. Jesus, as usual, had a gigantic penis.
posted by wierdo at 12:36 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why include a skull on such an otherwise beautiful painting.

Can someone please educate this person about their own religious symbols? Depicting a skull at the base of the cross is traditional: it represents the story that Adam was buried at Golgotha and the fact that Golgotha is said to mean "place of the skull" in the Bible.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:37 PM on April 20, 2010 [13 favorites]


Adam was buried at Golgotha
Hadn't come across that one. Thanks, B. I'll have to take a peek.
posted by LD Feral at 12:40 PM on April 20, 2010


Follow-up to crazylegs:

Yeah, Christ's sexuality was, according to Leo Steinberg, a prominent element in the religious imagination until recently. I mean, really, what better way to show that he is both fully human and fully divine -- he has a penis, he has sexual impulses, but unlike those of fallen humans they are entirely pure.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:40 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: once penis is fixed.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:44 PM on April 20, 2010


Leo Steinberg! Yes! Thank you Saxon Kane!
posted by crazylegs at 12:44 PM on April 20, 2010


In the artist's defense, the abdominal detail on the original San Damiano crucifix also looks somewhat phallic.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:45 PM on April 20, 2010


Suddenly I want to become Catholic.
posted by Solomon at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2010


Early iconography is Extraordinarily mathematical in its layout per subject matter. One can find this pose with equally suggestive abs repeated throughout the world because it was decided that this was the visually correct way to draw iconography of the crucifix scene. This whole thing would be solved with the most minor amount of early Christian Art history. As Usual.
posted by cheap paper at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2010


Also grown-ass human beings should not say "pee-pee".
posted by cheap paper at 12:49 PM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Can someone please educate this person about their own religious symbols? Depicting a skull at the base of the cross is traditional: it represents the story that Adam was buried at Golgotha and the fact that Golgotha is said to mean "place of the skull" in the Bible.

You could comment at newsok and educate her yourself, you know. :)
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on April 20, 2010


but zarq, the "hanging around" is why I favorited your comment!

LOL :D
posted by zarq at 12:51 PM on April 20, 2010


It's both frustrating and fun to teach issues like this to undergrads -- say, Donne's Holy Sonnet 10 (or 14, depending on which edition you use) where he wants to be raped by God, or George Herbert's Love (3), where he wants God's meat in his mouth, or hell, Milton's poem about Christ's circumcision. No, it's not just about sexuality or sensuality or dongs, but those are important elements to the meaning of religious belief.

But people are so squeamish about this stuff. I think part of it has to do with the idea that every generation has that no one born before them ever had sex except for in the missionary position with the lights off. Everyone before this generation was so innocent and naive, not nearly as sophisticated as we are, no sirree. To Grandma and Grandpa "69" is just their most recent birthday; and certainly those dumb neanderthals from 400 years ago couldn't have ever considered that Jesus got boners!
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


Early iconography is Extraordinarily mathematical in its layout per subject matter.

Not only that, but all of the elements such as skulls, disciples in various places, et cetera were used by priests as visual teaching aids. Icons weren't just something you slapped on the wall because they have a vague religious smell to them, they were used by a literate clergy to assist in relating the gospels to the illiterate laity.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jesus Penis Slide Show
posted by empath at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


A tuberous cock and balls.

Rubbish art, even rubbish devotional art, redeems itself when it epates the bourgeois and makes me lol.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, Jesus, and I'm happy to see you.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:57 PM on April 20, 2010


I have a lot more sinning to before I'll be able to... let Jesus come into me and redeem me.
posted by yeloson at 12:58 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


His nickname for it? Little Jesus and the two disciples.
posted by found missing at 12:58 PM on April 20, 2010


I'm sure everyone will be happy, once the gigantic cock and the skull are removed, with their lavishly detailed snuff piece.
posted by Aquaman at 1:03 PM on April 20, 2010 [17 favorites]


We're gonna need a bigger shroud.
posted by notmydesk at 1:04 PM on April 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's telling that I'm more "offended" by the one commenter's offense to inclusion of a skull in an, uh, execution scene than the ostensible presence of genitalia. I'm sorry your theology apparently only runs as deep as an inspirational hunky-firemen calendar lady/sir, but this is basically what you signed up for: a death-and-resurrection support group. Go back to your Nancy and Garfield comics already and leave serious discussion of the human condition to those of us who haven't failed to grasp it yet, thanks.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:05 PM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Talk about a Holy Communion! "This is my body" indeed...

Makes me wonder just what he used to baptize people. Baptismal Bukake?
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:06 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


My objection: That fellow does not have the musculature of a carpenter.

But he's certainly got the wood for it!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:06 PM on April 20, 2010 [26 favorites]


I was hoping for something cool. Like Jesus giving everyone the bird. You know he's up there three days and the Roman guards are like "Crap, is this guy ever going to die?" and Jesus is just going "Fuck Yoouuu!!" His face has that defiant godly look, his mouth rounding out the "ou" sound, and he's giving them all double shotgun middle fingers. Oh, and the tips of each finger has an ethereal glow maybe with a some halos, like they just might do some smiting themselves. That's what I'm talking 'bout.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:08 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


- - I totally read that as "St. Charles Bronson Catholic Church."

Although proud of my school, I think that if I had attended that school I would be just that much cooler.
posted by the_royal_we at 1:08 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus' favorite pickup line: Would you like to see a miracle?
posted by found missing at 1:11 PM on April 20, 2010


Hey. Wassup, man. You like what you see? Yeah. 50 roses, no recip, travel only

Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise...baby.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: "Can someone please educate this person about their own religious symbols?"

My strident Christian students are often the most uninformed about Christianity's history and symbolism. Every semester, there is a least one (and usually more) student who does not know that Catholics are Christian, for example. Last year, a young woman stormed up to me after class, having been completely confused by our discussion of common iconography in medieval art, and said, "Well, I'm a Methodist Christian and I've never heard of this Annunciation thing." I honestly believe she thought I made up the Annunciation.

Art History gets a bad rap as a discipline, but the history of art of the Middle Ages is also largely the history of Christian art and there is a lot of complex symbolism to be learned that is relative to the Church today. I could never understand how someone could be so gung-ho about their religion while knowing practically nothing about its history. I really hope someone clues that commenter in to the symbolism of the skull and its link to Golgotha.
posted by Heretic at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise...baby.

You blasphemers are making me laugh. I'm not even Catholic and I feel like I should do an act of contrition.
posted by not that girl at 1:17 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heretic: Dude, you took the words right out of my mouth. I TA'd for a "Bible as Literature" type course, and man, most of the students -- including the professed Xians -- were CLUELESS. The professor with whom I worked had in the past had similar experiences to the ones you mention -- students saying things like, "I was born Catholic, but then I became a Christian," getting angry calls from pastors complaining that he was undermining their teachings.

I did have one student, a very faithful Mormon of all things, who was very well-versed in the stories but not so much in any interpretation that was non-Mormon who was a pleasure to work with, though. She was very open to learning about the history of the Bible's composition, the historical contexts surrounding the texts, etc. I remember when we were reading the Samson story in Judges, essentially discussing how when you read it from a historical and literary perspective (without the idea that Samson was a pre-figuration of Christ, that is), the story is not heroic at all, and Samson is basically a dumb thug who fucks up everything and leaves his people worse off than before. She was constantly saying with a bit of confusion and delight, "Wow, my pastor never told us ANY of this stuff!" I was really happy to have her as one of my students, because it was one of those situations you dream of as a teacher where you can actually see as the student's mind opens up.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:22 PM on April 20, 2010 [19 favorites]


"A new crucifix has been hung..."

And how!
posted by Mike D at 1:22 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


empath: "Jesus Penis Slide Show"

Holy Dongs Batman!
posted by idiopath at 1:23 PM on April 20, 2010


Lean, hard on Jesus.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:24 PM on April 20, 2010


My strident Christian students are often the most uninformed about Christianity's history and symbolism. Every semester, there is a least one (and usually more) student who does not know that Catholics are Christian, for example. Last year, a young woman stormed up to me after class, having been completely confused by our discussion of common iconography in medieval art, and said, "Well, I'm a Methodist Christian and I've never heard of this Annunciation thing." I honestly believe she thought I made up the Annunciation.

I took a class in college nicknamed "From Christ to Coolidge," which covered the history of Western and Eastern Europe and the Americas from about 400BC to the early 20th century. The professor spent most of the first few classes talking about the fall of Rome and rise of Christianity but really, most of the class was about the Church.

Out of a 35-person class, we lost 8 to outrage. Five Catholics left the class and registered complaints against him with the administration within the first month. Two more quit before the end of October. An additional two more stuck it out until the Crusades, ("...there's no WAY any Pope would have done THAT!!") then also left in a huff, declaring that the professor (who was Jewish) was an "anti-Catholic bigot who had it in for Christians." My favorite was the outraged student who swore at him for saying that her aunt's "splinters from the Cross" that had been handed down through their family for generations(!) weren't really from the original Cross and probably didn't have healing powers.

The class was fascinating.
posted by zarq at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2010 [21 favorites]


Nine students. NINE. I am the king of typos today. :P
posted by zarq at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2010


You lost 8 students out of 9?
posted by lukemeister at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2010


Oh and...

Heretic: I could never understand how someone could be so gung-ho about their religion while knowing practically nothing about its history.

Me neither, but your comment got me thinking. I wonder if it has to do with the nature of Christian (especially Protestant) faith itself. It's a very narcissistic religion in a lot of ways: Jesus died for YOUR sins. Yes, you are a terrible sinner, but God loves YOU, yes you personally! It's also, especially in many of its Protestant iterations, about individual revelation. Hey, God speaks to me personally -- I know what is true because God tells me so, so if I disagree with some interpretation based on "historical context" then I'm right and that stuff doesn't matter. In my experience Catholics in general have been less completely ignorant of the history of their religion (what with having to learn stuff for their first communion or whatever), but not by much, and given that the Roman Church was itself altered a great deal over the centuries and American Catholics especially live in a culture of individualism and narcissism, their feelings are probably not much different from their Protestant cousins. Just a though, anyway...
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:29 PM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think this link applies to just about every comment in this thread.
posted by brundlefly at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can't mention controversy over the sexual identity of Jesus without also bringing up The Last Temptation of Christ.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2010


zarq: Wow, that is freaking hilarious. Splinters from the Cross? That reminds me of the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry's in-laws came to visit -- his father-in-law was wearing a nail that had been a prop from Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, and he treated it like it was some sort of holy relic.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:31 PM on April 20, 2010


All the recent stuff about music theory makes me think that there is room for a theory of art that views every image as a dynamic of tension and resolution relating to everyone's innate desire to see a picture of a big old dong.

The hero with a thousand Dongs anyone?
posted by idiopath at 1:31 PM on April 20, 2010


I think this link applies to just about every comment in this thread.

Bazinga!
posted by Splunge at 1:34 PM on April 20, 2010


My strident Christian students are often the most uninformed about Christianity's history and symbolism.

No reason to learn it, if you're never challenged on it. This is why atheists can often argue circles around believers. They're forced to learn about it because everyone always wants to argue with them about it.
posted by empath at 1:36 PM on April 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


So... no comments on the fact that Jesus appears to have been... shaved?
posted by brundlefly at 1:38 PM on April 20, 2010


Also, when they close themselves off from any source that challenges their beliefs, that's not exactly conducive to learning.
posted by empath at 1:40 PM on April 20, 2010


*sigh*

Metafilter: it's not just about sexuality or sensuality or dongs, but those are important elements
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:41 PM on April 20, 2010


Metafilter: it IS just about sexuality or sensuality or dongs, as those are the most important elements.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:42 PM on April 20, 2010


Wow, I think that's the first time I've been quoted in the "Metafilter: ..." meme. I'm so honored!
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:43 PM on April 20, 2010


Am I too late to make a joke? Something about the Second Coming, possibly?
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:45 PM on April 20, 2010


"This is why atheists can often argue circles around believers. They're forced to learn about it because everyone always wants to argue with them about it."

Or else... Christians who are intelligent enough to think about it... end up as atheists?
posted by crazylegs at 1:49 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I could never understand how someone could be so gung-ho about their religion while knowing practically nothing about its history.

You'd be surprised (or possibly not surprised) how many Protestants think Christianity started in 1517. Or 1909.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2010


Or else... Christians who are intelligent enough to think about it... end up as atheists?

Yes, let's go there.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:51 PM on April 20, 2010


Let me edit myself:
Or else... Christians who take the time and make the effort to think about it enough ... end up as atheists?
posted by crazylegs at 1:51 PM on April 20, 2010


Yes, let's go there.

That's what the Pope said.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:52 PM on April 20, 2010


You lost 8 students out of 9?

We lost 9 out of about 35. I took history instead of math in college, and now I can't add. :P
posted by zarq at 1:52 PM on April 20, 2010


I could never understand how someone could be so gung-ho about their religion while knowing practically nothing about its history.
...
Me neither, but your comment got me thinking. I wonder if it has to do with the nature of Christian (especially Protestant) faith itself.


Eh, I think the more likely explanation is just that humans construct worldviews that allow them to get by, and if they can get by, it's just a pain in the ass to go deeper. Almost everyone I know pays taxes, votes, and is vaguely gung-ho about democracy (especially when contrasted with a political system like fascism or theocracy or whatever), but not many of them actually know a whole lot about the American Constitution's history, or even its contents.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


With the edit you're still 0 for 2, crazylegs. I suggest not attempting a third.
posted by Salieri at 2:00 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Like so.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:00 PM on April 20, 2010


Metafilter: Wow, I think that's the first time I've been quoted....

and, as for the painting of JC... heh.... that's one way to get those alterboys thinking about, you know, dongs and stuff, that and a little Pope Cologne...
posted by HuronBob at 2:05 PM on April 20, 2010


Greg Nog: Yeah, you've certainly got a point. Another thing to keep in mind is that it benefits those who hold power in any system that the members be kept as ignorant and unquestioning as possible.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:05 PM on April 20, 2010


I wonder if it has to do with the nature of Christian (especially Protestant) faith itself.

I've always thought it was a carry-over from the religion's initial history. For about a thousand years, the Church discouraged secular education in the laity -- especially when it came to history and medicine) and literacy. At the start of the Middle Ages, the Church initially worked against the Renaissance and then embraced it to a great extent. This culminated with the formation of the Jesuit movement in the 1530's, and the formation of Church-founded and supported education centers.
posted by zarq at 2:06 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, what the hell.

Or else... Christians who take the time and make the effort to think about it enough ... end up being as illusory as atheists, according to Buddhists.
posted by crazylegs at 2:08 PM on April 20, 2010


No reason to learn it, if you're never challenged on it.

More so, the majority of churches on Sunday mornings don't focus on the depth of Christian history and wider knowledge than what is covered in Sunday school classes and from the Old and New Testaments. For the student who had never heard of the Annunciation, she probably would have known about the story of an Angel telling Mary that she was to bear a child despite being a virgin. More so, art was used as the primary means of communicating lessons of Christianity, a purpose that has nearly dwindled to nothing in an age where the majority of people are literate. As a result, your common church goer won't be familiar with the painting or stain glass with Mary and Gabriel, and if they are, they likely won't realize it's formally known as the Annunciation.

While it's important to know such things, it's not necessarily critical to being a Christian, either. One doesn't need to know the history of the Papacy to follow the teachings of Christ. Nor do they need to know about the controversy surrounding filio que. Yes, knowledge of all it leads to a richer and better means to examine one's faith and religion, but they are not crucial.

If we're to point out ignorance, then it should be at society at large. The same folks who don't know basic elements of American history from the Founding Fathers to who we fought in World War 1 and why. Likewise, toward literature and other arts. This isn't a case of self-identified Christians just being ignorant about their religion's past.
posted by Atreides at 2:08 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


No reason to learn it, if you're never challenged on it. This is why atheists can often argue circles around believers.

This, a thousand times. This is why - prior to every sermon I deliver on a holy day we stole from the pagans, I give a little history lesson on where the holiday originated. St. Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, everything. I pastor a "thinking person's" church, so it's typically very well received. One of my staff members is a practicing pagan and she was very grateful when I began doing it - but she asked why I do it if I'm not required to. There aren't, after all, very many Anglo-Saxon Bede worshipers around to offer me their thanks for recognizing the theft of their religious icons during Lent. "One word," I replied, "accountability." I'm a universalist and fully expect to encounter devout Anglo-Saxon Bede worshipers in the hereafter and I want them to know I was one of the "good guys."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:11 PM on April 20, 2010 [21 favorites]


Or else... Christians who take the time and make the effort to think about it enough ... end up as atheists?

Faith or lack thereof is not a reliable indicator of intelligence. Neither are bigotry, or displays of contempt for other human beings.
posted by zarq at 2:11 PM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, lots of people have lots of unexamined beliefs, and I think it's more symptomatic of living in an echo chamber than anything to do with Christianity.
posted by empath at 2:15 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're omnipotent, then autofellatio is, obviously, not out of the question. Looks like he could do it without even straining his neck. Lucky Jesus.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:17 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


You like what you see? Yeah. 50 roses, no recip, travel only.

Same as in town.
posted by Evilspork at 2:18 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or else... Christians who take the time and make the effort to think about it enough ... end up as atheists?

I was just discussing this very thing with someone else at the church yesterday! There's a common understanding amongst much of the laity that so-called "cradle Christians" who attend seminary and are forced to confront the all the brutal history and internal inconsistencies within the church matriculate as functional atheists. In other words, much of what is taught in seminary would get your average pastor fired - if they actually preached about it. I'm not so sure - I landed in graduate school as a convert, so I didn't have a whole lot of faith to lose (or you could say my fire was too fresh to be doused) - I was going through the kind of experience that much of my cohort dealt with in their early teens. It's a test of faith! The real kind of test, i.e. "Are you willing to use the brain God put in your head to take an honest look at the universe as it is?" And thus we end up with solid, progressive, science-minded Christians like Francis Collins. But they're rare! As has always been the case. And probably always will be. The church within a church, so to speak, ever in the minority, working away at the margins of society, holding potlucks and protesting wars and quietly doing their thing to promote God's Big Idea.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:19 PM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


zarq: Wow, that is freaking hilarious. Splinters from the Cross? That reminds me of the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry's in-laws came to visit -- his father-in-law was wearing a nail that had been a prop from Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, and he treated it like it was some sort of holy relic.

There was this fun email that circulated for a while....
posted by zarq at 2:21 PM on April 20, 2010


Neither are bigotry, or displays of contempt for other human beings.
If that's directed at me I must say I don't appreciate it. Particularly in a thread with about 50 blasphemous one liners that I imagine would be far more offensive to any practicing Christian. I'm simply observing that, in my opinion, Christianity doesn't make a lot of sense. And in my experience, people who think about it for long enough stop believing it. I agree it doesn't have a lot to do with actual intelligence, which is why I edited myself.
Please stop and consider before calling someone a bigot. It really is offensive.
posted by crazylegs at 2:27 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey did anyone else notice that his distended abs look like a huge penis? Haha!
posted by cmoj at 2:28 PM on April 20, 2010


Particularly in a thread with about 50 blasphemous one liners that I imagine would be far more offensive to any practicing Christian.

My Catholicism is my Catholicism, not yours. If you were to blaspheme, that would your own problem and I have no reason to take it personally. However, when you suggest that I not "intelligent enough" to understand something or that my religious life is unexamined, that is a personal attack, and it's not appropriate for Metafilter. In short, sir, you imagine wrong, and I would like to kindly suggest that you leave this thread and not return.
posted by thesmophoron at 2:31 PM on April 20, 2010


Or, you could have read two comments past the original and found his correction to what he found to be inaccurate. You're choosing to be offended by semantics.
posted by cmoj at 2:35 PM on April 20, 2010


Or else... Christians who take the time and make the effort to think about it enough ... end up as atheists?

I think my faith has become stronger as a result of learning more about Christianity's past and evolution. Though, I can see how depending on where you're coming from, that one might find their faith shaken and not reinforced. The history of the church is very much that of man, and man is a flawed creature. If you can't reconcile this fact with certain claims and some Christian beliefs, it could be rather devastating.
posted by Atreides at 2:35 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


There was no reason for this thread to have taken such an unfortunate turn. Please, may I redirect your attention to the original problem: Jesus is hung on the cross.
posted by found missing at 2:39 PM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


> Jesus is just going "Fuck Yoouuu!!" His face has that defiant godly look, his mouth rounding out the "ou" sound, and he's giving them all double shotgun middle fingers. Oh, and the tips of each finger has an ethereal glow maybe with a some halos, like they just might do some smiting themselves. That's what I'm talking 'bout.

s/Jesus/Johnny/
posted by brokkr at 2:40 PM on April 20, 2010


If that's directed at me I must say I don't appreciate it.

Tough.

Particularly in a thread with about 50 blasphemous one liners that I imagine would be far more offensive to any practicing Christian.

Most of them made comments which poked fun at the religion itself or about a few practitioners, but didn't make a broad statement about how stupid all Christians are for believing in their religion. You did.

I'm simply observing that, in my opinion, Christianity doesn't make a lot of sense. And in my experience, people who think about it for long enough stop believing it. I agree it doesn't have a lot to do with actual intelligence, which is why I edited myself.

It took you three tries and multiple call-outs by other people within this thread to correct and/or take back two of your own comments which said that your experience tells you that all religious Christians aren't intelligent, because otherwise they wouldn't be religious Christians.

Please stop and consider before calling someone a bigot. It really is offensive.

I have thought about it. My assessment of your comments stands.
posted by zarq at 2:40 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or, you could have read two comments past the original and found his correction to what he found to be inaccurate. You're choosing to be offended by semantics.

Ah, so instead of calling Christians dumb, he calls them lazy. That's much better.
posted by kmz at 2:40 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well... so much for turning the other cheek.
posted by crazylegs at 2:41 PM on April 20, 2010


Well... so much for turning the other cheek.

I'm not Christian. Nor am I an atheist.
posted by zarq at 2:43 PM on April 20, 2010


more dick jokes plz
posted by Burhanistan at 2:45 PM on April 20, 2010


more dick jokes plz

I can do that. Jesus Loves Dick. :)
posted by zarq at 2:49 PM on April 20, 2010


I'm agnostic. The argument reminds me a lot of what I used to think when I was a kid. "If only all these poor deluded Christians would just think about it, they'd see it's all bullshit!" As I grew older, I learned about nuances and diversities within people and groups of people. One of my best friends is a devout Catholic, wicked smart, more liberal than anybody I know, and bi-poly. And she's hardly unique.
posted by kmz at 2:50 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


crazylegs is not the first to wonder such a thing
sorry if that offends anyone's religious sensibilities
posted by scrowdid at 2:51 PM on April 20, 2010


On topic.
posted by mazola at 2:51 PM on April 20, 2010


It's hermetic symbolism: Abs above, so below.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 2:51 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I never said it was "all bullshit", so I'll thank you not to put words in my mouth. Christianity, like any religion, is a complex mixture of wisdom, methods of social control, outdated superstition, wishful thinking, and "necessary illusions". It's my personal opinion that Christianity has outlived its usefulness, and I would hope that you would agree that I have the right to express it, even if it offends some people.
I would never consider interfering with someone else's right to practice their religion. In fact I would never even go to their door and encourage them to do that.
I also know a lot of smart and interesting Christians. And some dumb and boring atheists as well.
posted by crazylegs at 2:55 PM on April 20, 2010


Less arguing about religion, more pen0r.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:00 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are smart Xians, and there are dumb Xians.
There are smart atheists, and there are dumb atheists.

Neither professed worldview necessarily reflects one's capability for rational thought or analysis. As Greg Nog and other pointed out above, people like to live their lives by taking the path of least resistance, and that generally means not questioning most of the shit you're told, whether it be that Jesus was the savior, eating pork is sinful, or Larry Bird is the greatest basketball player of all time.

That said, I think that we can make a distinction between a member of a religion and a person of faith. At least, I can make that distinction. The latter are, to me, people (like Baby Balrog, it seems) who have thought about their beliefs, perhaps gone through trying periods of questioning and doubt, and are open to change; their beliefs grow and evolve with experience and thought. The former are those who are members of an institution and accept largely unquestioningly the rules of that institution; they could be Christian, Republican, Capitalist, Communist, whatever, but the point is that their beliefs are ideological and unquestioned, and they will not brook challenges to them.

Earlier when I said that Christian faith lends itself to unquestioning belief and a general ignorance about history, etc., I really meant Christian religion -- the institution. As with almost any institution, it gives people just enough info to get by, teaching its members only what they need in order to remain faithful to the ideology. There are exceptions -- like Baby Balrog's church, although I wouldn't really consider it an "institution" in the same way that the Catholic Church or the US Government are institutions, I'd consider it closer to a "community," with the ideas of egalitarianism that the term implies. But I still think that many Christian (and other religious) institutions are particularly good examples -- because they are usually much more openly hierarchical and often explicitly based on the authority of tradition over analytical thinking -- of the phenomenon of uncritical acceptance. They are often better examples than other sorts of institutions because their ideological conditioning is more obvious. Of course, in an ideal world, politics would be the exact opposite, but these days political parties are also religious institutions -- if someone has an R or D next to their name, people treat what they say as gospel.

I'm not trying to offend or insult anyone with any particular institutional affiliation, because I'm not saying that "X group is stupid." Although I'm an atheist myself, I'm not criticizing Christianity as a faith, but as an institution, the same critique I'd offer of any organization.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:00 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I also know a lot of smart and interesting Christians. And some dumb and boring atheists as well.

And some of my best friends are black.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:00 PM on April 20, 2010


It's hermetic symbolism: the exaggerated genitalia is purposeful and meant to symbolize Jesus' dickishness.
posted by mazola at 3:03 PM on April 20, 2010


I would also like to say that I'm sad that this thread has turned antagonistic. I never wanted Jesus' dick to come between us.



...Or did I?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:07 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


My strident Christian students are often the most uninformed about Christianity's history and symbolism.

One relic of the reformation is that a ton of iconography and art got ditched because it was considered too papist or even idolatry. Some religious denominations didn't really celebrate Christmas until the 20th century when the advertising blitz made it an unavoidable part of public life. There's also a very strong aniconic tradition in protestant Christianity so many protestant churches appear rather undecorated in contrast to Catholic denominations.

My childhood bells-and-smells methodist Church milked the romanesque revival for all the iconography they could slap into the limestone in the 30s (based on an earlier design from 1909). The one down the street was a more modernist affair with chairs rather than pews and clean 1960s lines done in wood. And still, while I grew up with symbols like the Chi-Rho, the Methodist pentecost symbol, and trefoils decorating every surface, iconography like crucifixes are baffling and baroque to me. While I can hazard a guess that the skull at Christ's feet has something to do with victory over death, I wouldn't catch the multiple other meanings, identify the four saints (Joseph, Mary, Magdalene, and Elizabeth?), or understand the references of the monograms which I can't quite make out in the photos.

It's one of those things that I probably would have geeked out over at one point in my adolescence, but I never encountered this sort of thing.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:10 PM on April 20, 2010


As with almost any institution, it gives people just enough info to get by, teaching its members only what they need in order to remain faithful to the ideology.

My personal experience with Christianity is entirely second-hand, but I don't think this is true. There are a number of Christian churches which are pluralistic, and I am pretty sure most Christian schools teach science (real science, not just Creationist/ID nonsense) and history classes, as well as literature that isn't strictly pro-Christianity. Mainstream Judaism mostly encourages an adaptive and inquisitive worldview.

Most religions have sects that seek to limit interaction with outside influences. (Orthodox Jews, etc.,) but I suspect that those sects tend to be more extreme, rather than mainstream, meaning that they are not accurately representative of the entire religion they are a part of.
posted by zarq at 3:11 PM on April 20, 2010


crazylegs: It's my personal opinion that Christianity has outlived its usefulness

I can only speak from what I have seen, but I will agree with you only when atheists outnumber believers at my local soup kitchens, at the S.O.A. protests, and - to be frank - it was largely due to the support of downtown mainline churches that our local employment/housing equality act passed.
I'm not stating or even trying to imply that atheists do not work at the soup kitchen or protest the DoD or fight for equal rights. I'm only saying that for as long as I observe the church faithfully filling these trenches, I don't think she's outlived her usefulness yet.

This is why I regularly and vocally advocate for the county freethinker's association to help out with Habitat for Humanity and at the two soup kitchens my church is involved with. I send them letters, make facebook messages, do everything I can. They have almost five hundred members - waaaay more than they need to make a dent in some of the problems downtown. But they never write me back or return my calls. They do send me form letters about protesting prayer meetings at the local high school, though.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:14 PM on April 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


I am pretty sure most Christian schools teach science (real science, not just Creationist/ID nonsense) and history classes, as well as literature that isn't strictly pro-Christianity.

That's definitely true as far as Catholic schools go. I was already in junior high by the first time someone told me that he didn't believe in evolution, and even then it took him something like a half an hour to convince me that he wasn't pulling my leg.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:21 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never wanted Jesus' dick to come between us.



...Or did I?


Where's his second coming going to be then?
posted by kmz at 3:24 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite was the outraged student who swore at him for saying that her aunt's "splinters from the Cross" that had been handed down through their family for generations(!) weren't really from the original Cross and probably didn't have healing powers.

Well, that's certainly an overreaction from the student, but did the professor have any evidence other than the famous quote from John Calvin?

The only study I know of is that of Rohault de Fleury in the 1800's. Has anyone looked at the question since then?

For about a thousand years, the Church discouraged secular education in the laity -- especially when it came to history and medicine) and literacy.

Having trouble finding a web accesible cite, but I think you'll have a hard time proving that.
posted by Jahaza at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2010


I think the main reason a lot of Christians are ignorant of history is because they live in a culture that is largely ignorant of history. The next time an election rolls around, note how frequently every candidate derides the past and praises the future. As a culture we have abandoned the past, which is why we are drifting without much clue as to what we're doing. And yes, I suppose that contradicts what I just said about Christianity, since admittedly it's a large part of our history. I think we need to overcome history intelligently, rather than ignoring it and/or being ignorant of it.
Also, I find it interesting how people can apparently insult Jesus as blatantly and outrageously as they can manage, and nobody says a thing, but as soon as I say something that can be (mis)interpreted as an attack on followers of Jesus, I get dumped on. It's really just thin-skinned egotism as far as I can see, not defense of a religious stance per se.
posted by crazylegs at 3:31 PM on April 20, 2010


That's definitely true as far as Catholic schools go. I was already in junior high by the first time someone told me that he didn't believe in evolution, and even then it took him something like a half an hour to convince me that he wasn't pulling my leg.

Second that. I had a wicked science and history education at this school. I had a similar experience when i was much older. It was weird.
posted by the_royal_we at 3:35 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


My personal experience with Christianity is entirely second-hand, but I don't think this is true. There are a number of Christian churches which are pluralistic, and I am pretty sure most Christian schools teach science (real science, not just Creationist/ID nonsense) and history classes, as well as literature that isn't strictly pro-Christianity. Mainstream Judaism mostly encourages an adaptive and inquisitive worldview.

I'm not saying that they train their members to be complete morons -- I went to very good Xian schools (a Southern Baptist elementary school and a Catholic high school), and I'm sorta smart. I'm saying that they generally like to keep the faithful in line with the ideology that keeps the institution chugging along and in power. Yeah, I was taught evolution (even at that elementary school), but I was also taught that the Bible gives very specific instructions about how to live the good life, and its stories mean very particular things, and if you do x, y, or z, that's very bad because the church says so, and you don't really need to worry about debating these things because we figured them out long ago, so just go along with it.

I can only speak from what I have seen, but I will agree with you only when atheists outnumber believers at my local soup kitchens, at the S.O.A. protests, and ...

That's sort of unfair in that I don't think most people who identify as atheists are necessarily part of some organization, or even foreground their atheism as the defining characteristic of their identity in the way that many Christians do. (Could be wrong, just thinking about myself and the people that I know). And also, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are not "atheists" in the strict sense of the term but aren't really church members either who do volunteer work. But, I do see your point, and yeah, I'm sure a lot of the front-line work in relief for the unfortunate gets done by people of faith.

What I want is for the values of charity and humanitarianism that motivate (some) faithful to help others become global and universal so that 1) we have a social system that doesn't NEED to rely on individual or church-sponsored charity, because we as a people are committed to everyone's well-being, and 2) the money that gets funneled through religious and other charitable institutions goes directly to the people who need it and doesn't get used to pay for cable in the Priests' quarters or a new fancy hat for the Pope or Jimmy Swaggart's hookers, or whatever (not saying your church does this, just saying that it happens). Of course, I'm a bleeding heart leftist, and none of this this will probably ever happen, so whatever.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:37 PM on April 20, 2010


Well, that's certainly an overreaction from the student, but did the professor have any evidence other than the famous quote from John Calvin?

You can't be serious.
posted by empath at 3:37 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


the_royal_we, I'm still not convinced that Creationism isn't an elaborate joke on the rest of us.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:38 PM on April 20, 2010


did the professor have any evidence other than the famous quote from John Calvin?

Did the student have any proof that the splinters WERE from the original cross and DID have healing powers?

I have a rock that repels tigers. Prove to me that I'm wrong!
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:39 PM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm quite confident that if Christianity didn't exist, good people would still be helping people in need. If they happen to use Christianity to do their good work, I have no problem with that. Not that anyone's asking my permission anyway. Carry on.
posted by crazylegs at 3:40 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was a carpenter, and I had a splinter. It hurt!
posted by crazylegs at 3:41 PM on April 20, 2010


Er...what's white and hangs from the sky?
posted by maxwelton at 3:41 PM on April 20, 2010


Looking back at the cross, I have to wonder. Jesus may have been King of Kings... but was he Master of his Domain?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:43 PM on April 20, 2010


Is this why Peter was called "the rock?"
posted by RelentlesslyOptimistic at 3:48 PM on April 20, 2010


Why is he wearing board shorts?
posted by HumanComplex at 3:48 PM on April 20, 2010


Also, I find it interesting how people can apparently insult Jesus as blatantly and outrageously as they can manage, and nobody says a thing, but as soon as I say something that can be (mis)interpreted as an attack on followers of Jesus, I get dumped on.

You were not misinterpreted. You indulged in a lazy stereotype and were rightfully called out for it.

There is clearly a difference between making silly jokes about religious iconography versus saying that all followers of a religion are unintelligent or stupid.

It's really just thin-skinned egotism as far as I can see, not defense of a religious stance per se.

Perhaps. I'm not exactly a fan of the Catholic Church. But it would be similarly inappropriate and wrong of me to stereotype Catholics based on what their Church has done throughout history, even though the Church's influence has extended to perpetuating ignorance in the name their religion.
posted by zarq at 3:58 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh Jesus. oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh.
posted by fuq at 4:16 PM on April 20, 2010


I'm not saying that they train their members to be complete morons -- I went to very good Xian schools (a Southern Baptist elementary school and a Catholic high school), and I'm sorta smart. I'm saying that they generally like to keep the faithful in line with the ideology that keeps the institution chugging along and in power. Yeah, I was taught evolution (even at that elementary school), but I was also taught that the Bible gives very specific instructions about how to live the good life, and its stories mean very particular things, and if you do x, y, or z, that's very bad because the church says so, and you don't really need to worry about debating these things because we figured them out long ago, so just go along with it.

Yeah, I'm really, really not okay with that. Indoctrination is not learning.

My wife works for an organization that supports non-Christian religious day schools. In some cases that includes helping them plan their various curriculae. My understanding is that one of the things she likes to emphasize is that formal education is supposed to be the beginning of each person's quest for knowledge, and that questioning and exploring is an important part of the learning process. This means that teachers should not discourage students who question the status quo, but rather encourage them to question and learn why things may be done a certain way. Do they make sense? Can they be improved upon? Should they be abandoned? Why or why not? These are not always easy topics for religious folks to focus on. But faith that is static: unexamined and unquestioned, really doesn't serve much of a purpose, does it?
posted by zarq at 4:24 PM on April 20, 2010


crazylegs, I'm pretty atheist and you sounded like a dick. Deliberate? I also don't see where you were 'misinterpreted'. The least you could do is say 'I'm sorry you guys are offended' and stop pushing it.
posted by jacalata at 4:31 PM on April 20, 2010


Also, I find it interesting how people can apparently insult Jesus as blatantly and outrageously as they can manage, and nobody says a thing, but as soon as I say something that can be (mis)interpreted as an attack on followers of Jesus, I get dumped on. It's really just thin-skinned egotism as far as I can see, not defense of a religious stance per se. -crazylegs

I haven't enjoyed all the jokes, but a few things: 1) The crucifixion at the heart of this post and the amazing inability of some in the church to understand is a bit humorous; 2) It's the internet and this is Metafilter; 3) I haven't seen any of the jokes as being attacks on Jesus or Christianity. To my personal sensibilities, they're all in bad taste - but it's my tastes and we all have a fine duty to try not to be a special snowflake.

What you did do is stray from this area and toward something more of a personal attack toward Christians in general and their faith by essentially saying that if they simply thought about their religion enough, they'd realize they were wrong. Do you see the difference? Making a bad sex joke about Jesus isn't an attack on Christianity (unless you feel that humorously associating Jesus with sex is an assault on the very principles of the religion), and that's what the 50 other posts were doing.
posted by Atreides at 4:37 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Infinity waltz, I know exactly what you mean. /secret handshake/
posted by the_royal_we at 4:49 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarq: Exactly. Indoctrination is NOT learning. I believe that it happens in religious schools -- I've seen it myself. But, while it is perhaps more obvious in those schools, it is not unique to them. I would say that the education system in general is, and has always been, at least in part about indoctrination. "Job training" for example. Yes, part of the reason we go to school is to learn what we need to know in order to survive out in the world, part of which requires having a job and making money. But the explosion of for-profit education and job training certificates is, to my mind, indoctrination into a capitalist worldview. Hey you: you want to eat? OK then, let us mold you into a cog that will fit perfectly in a little part of the machine. Your education is not at all about a quest for knowledge or wisdom, but information and repeatable skills, which you will then perform for treats. I posted before a bit about my general theory of education, if anyone's interested.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:59 PM on April 20, 2010


"And in other news, the controversial crucifix at St Charles Borromeo Church has been removed following an outcry by parishioners. In a related story, nearby St Bede's School For Small Boys Who Snigger A Lot received a surprise gift today..."
posted by Ritchie at 5:03 PM on April 20, 2010


In Fribourg, we spent months studying the Trinity. The idea was, there are two processions: the Father generates the Son, and he generates the Son by thinking of himself, but his thought is so perfect that it is himself, it is identical with himself, so they're consubstantial. Of course there's no time in this, because it's eternally happening. And so the Father generates the Son, and in the second spiration the Father and the Son love each other -- of course they do, because they're the same guy masturbating --

-Mary Daly
posted by generalist at 5:12 PM on April 20, 2010


[Comment removed, please crazylegs and people arguing with crazylegs drop it. If you really need to argue about this take it to the grey.]
posted by cortex at 6:02 PM on April 20, 2010


I could never understand how someone could be so gung-ho about their religion while knowing practically nothing about its history.

You have to remember that, for a lot of American Christians, their religious history goes something like this:

Everything in the Bible ------------------------->Today

They tend to dismiss that big gap in the middle. Probably because that's all that Catholic stuff. They might acknowledge Luther in there. Might.

I often think religion in America might be a lot less crazy if we had a few 800-year-old cathedrals littering the countryside here. Visible history has a way of forcing perspective on people.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:05 PM on April 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


[Comment removed, please crazylegs and people arguing with crazylegs drop it. If you really need to argue about this take it to the grey.]

Apologies for the derail. I'll drop it now.
posted by zarq at 6:06 PM on April 20, 2010


Me too. Sorry. : ( *shakes hands with all involved and goes to bed shamefaced*
posted by crazylegs at 7:54 PM on April 20, 2010


have we exhausted the boner jokes? how bout some testicle jokes?
posted by nathancaswell at 8:11 PM on April 20, 2010


Jahaza: Well, that's certainly an overreaction from the student, but did the professor have any evidence other than the famous quote from John Calvin?

I'm 37. I took the class when I was 20. The class was fascinating, and while I do have a (mostly) eidetic memory that allows me to remember quite a bit of it, I don't remember every detail from that one class I took 17 years ago. Also, my father died during that semester, so....

*sigh*

Let's just say I truly had other things on my mind than worrying about whether my history professor had properly sourced his scholarship on Christian relics that may or may not have had supernatural healing properties.

He spent quite a bit of time talking about the wide variety of Christian relics throughout the semester, with a special focus on the Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Veronica and several mentions of the mythology which surrounded the so-called "True Cross," from which the "splinter" myth descended. I do not remember Calvin being mentioned in that context, nor de Fleury, although both were mentioned (especially Calvin, Calvinist doctrine, predestination and his break with the Church,) at later points in the semester. It is perfectly possible he mentioned them and I either don't remember it, or it was part of one of the classes I missed.

Part of the ongoing discussion about relics was the sheer number of them which are claimed to be authentic without proof. From the Holy Prepuce to the Holy Lance, supposed thorns and branches from Christ's Crown of Thorns and the Holy Nails mentioned earlier in this thread, many Catholic and Orthodox churches have claimed to possess relics of importance to the life of their Messiah, which in some cases were actually worshiped by their congregations, but whose origins had been brought into question by scholars. While assertions from true believers and dismissals from non-believers don't prove them real or fake, in cases such as the "True Cross," it seems likely to me that if every splinter and shard were to be gathered from across the globe and combined, we'd have enough wood for yet another large cathedral, not just a cross.

Having trouble finding a web accesible cite, but I think you'll have a hard time proving that.

I have no need to prove it, or anything else to you. But by all means, please feel free to find an objective source (not a Catholic apologist, but a truly objective historian) which disagrees with my statement and perhaps I'll address it.
posted by zarq at 8:38 PM on April 20, 2010


Has 'iconoporno' ever happened to Islamists or other religions?
posted by Kilovolt at 9:31 PM on April 20, 2010


But the explosion of for-profit education and job training certificates is, to my mind, indoctrination into a capitalist worldview. Hey you: you want to eat? OK then, let us mold you into a cog that will fit perfectly in a little part of the machine. Your education is not at all about a quest for knowledge or wisdom, but information and repeatable skills, which you will then perform for treats.

Hasn't the vast majority of education throughout human history been essentially like this? You learn a trade. The people who can learn for learning's sake, they've been the tiny slice of the rich who didn't have to worry about making a living. The idea of a "classical education" for the middle class is a fairly new idea, I think.

I came for the dick jokes, and stayed for the discussion of the history of education.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:57 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been listening to this podcast, The History of Rome, and one comment the guy made with regards to Christianity was that part of its success had to do with it having a place for women, unlike the other popular beliefs of the era. Which I thought was pretty interesting, since religion in general seems, to me, to be pretty crappy to women.

Also, like HumanComplex, I thought this crucifix thing was controversial because Jesus had been depicted wearing amusing shorts. Heh, people hardly ever seem to mind the gory depiction of torture. But wow can folks get bent when it comes to penis.

There's dick jokes on the way, please relax.
posted by fartknocker at 11:06 PM on April 20, 2010


it was designed by a woman...maybe she didn't realize his distended belly looked like a penis. I would fantasize about jesus in church. If I only had this sort of inspiration.
posted by Carlin at 6:27 AM on April 21, 2010


Hasn't the vast majority of education throughout human history been essentially like this?

Yeah definitely. I guess I should have clarified or better thought out my statement, but I was just pointing out the current iteration of a recurrent theme in human history.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:27 AM on April 21, 2010


A skull and cross bone crucifix ... Jesus was a pirate.
posted by phoque at 10:57 AM on April 21, 2010


Jesus displaying his meta-physical being.
posted by phoque at 10:57 AM on April 21, 2010


Appears Jesus was shafted.
posted by phoque at 10:58 AM on April 21, 2010


Appears Jesus was shafted.

That's what Longinus said.
posted by Atreides at 2:39 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


*nods*











*pokes something*
posted by Longinus at 2:47 PM on April 21, 2010


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