Friday, 6 April 2012

Christianity's Holy Symbol if Jesus (Supposedly) Came At Another Time in History

Happy Good Friday!
Well today's Good Friday when we're all reminded by Christians about the bloody crucifixion of the almost certainly fictional Jesus Christ.  So I thought I would write a seasonal piece about the topic that disregards why precisely he had to get himself killed in a gruesome way to absolve us from our sins - nobody else ever seems to think about it around this time - after all, it's a hard problem.

Instead I would like to further embellish a quote of Dan Barker's from his book Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist:

A cross is not beautiful. It is an emblem of humiliation, agony and death. It represents a public execution, like a gallows, guillotine, or gas chamber. Approaching a cross is like walking into a firing squad. Try to picture a steeple supporting an electric chair; or imagine people wearing noose jewellery!

Suppose someone saved your life by blocking a terrorist's attack, but died from the bullets. Would you hang little gold machine guns on your ears?
I realize this is not a new idea and various other examples of it are out there on the web.  But for fun, let's try picturing this - it's more than a good Friday to do it, it's the best Friday for this kind of activity.  It sure beats watching Mel Gibson's gore porn Passion of The Christ movie - so it's got that going for it too!

Auto de Fe
Jesus and the two thieves burnt at the stake.
If Jesus had shown up in Europe anywhere between the 13th and 15th centuries it's a pretty safe bet he would have been declared a heretic.  Heck, the Church was declaring pretty much anyone who had a thought of their own as heretical.

The punishment de jour at the time was the auto de fe which is a fancy way of putting being burnt at the stake.
Beautiful silver Christian match.

What better way to
celebrate the life
 and death of our
Saviour? Get your
very own here.
Guillotine and Noose
Made famous by the bloody French Revolution(s), the guillotine would have been how the the ruling classes would have dealt with a rabble rouser like Jesus during the 17th or 18th century.

The noose has always been popular as it's reusable and cost effective.  It seems to have been perennial favourite.  What better way to show your love for the son of God then the wear a tiny replica of the piece of knotted rope that would have choked his airway and likely snapped his spinal chord as the support suddenly falls out from under his feet?

Death by Firing Squad
"The Deserter", Boardman Robinson (1876-1952) depicted
 Jesus facing a firing squad made up of soldiers of five
different European armies. Anti war  cartoon from 
1916 (from Bad Subject blog). 
If Jesus had shown up during 19th century Russia or Austria he may have suffered a more Kafkaesque end - death by firing squad.

So I guess by logical extension we would expect followers to wear devotional bullet jewellery or perhaps a nice silver rifle?

All of this gun-talk leads me to a requisite reference to Zardoz.

Lethal Injection
Version of Jesus Christ Superstar where they used lethal 
This is a more popular method to be dispatched these days.  I think it's seen as more humane and admittedly, if I were Jesus I would have picked this way to go over crucifixion.

But he was God after all, so I suppose he picked his method carefully - to maximize suffering and pain.  I mean not that he had to suffer, since he was God... but he did have to.  Or did he?

Actually I'm still not sure why he had to do it all in the first place.  I suppose it makes a pretty good show if you're into gory torture.  Anyway, I digress.

Even entertaining questions like this seems to get some peoples' blood boiling.  Take a look at this (rather typical) exchange on Yahoo Answers:

More humane perhaps but how can
you tell who's high on Jesus versus
high on heroine?

If Jesus had been killed by lethal injection, would christians be idolising syringes and put them on steeples?

(sic) and wear them around their necks and print them on shirts and literature? And would catholics (sic) bow to a figure of a syringe?
Some responses:
Ignorance. Death on a cross (hanging from a tree) was accursed by God, the exact reason Jesus needed to be executed this way. Everything pertaining to His life/death and resurrection was part of God's perfect plan of salvation.
Assinine Fool.
This is such a JW question...maybe you should question your own cult before questioning the habits of others?
I'm guessing a JW is a Jehovah Witness or a JeW?

Electric Chair
As far as I can tell, this jewellery may
be available for sale at 
This brings us to the electric chair.  A quote from Lenny Bruce:
If Jesus had been killed 20 years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs round their necks instead of crosses.
I believe this is true.

Is there a moral to this story?  I think that Christians should perhaps consider how the cross became the most important symbol for their religion.  It seems like a dreadfully morbid symbol to people outside of the religion - and I think you would be hard pressed to find another religion with an equally violent central symbol.

It's a symbol of Roman power during the first century - a symbol for capitol punishment, death, agony and torture.  Why not have wear a little Jesus raising into the air during his ascension?  How about the big stone that was found rolled away from the tomb door?

Growing up Catholic, I had this laid on thickly.  Jesus suffered and we must always remember how much he had to suffer for us - broken sinners.  What a tragedy.  What kind of victory over death is putting another to death as a scapegoat for our shortcomings?

makes waves in France (LA Times April 17, 2009)
"Happy" "Good" Friday!

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