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Are depictions of Jesus as having European features racist?


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Finding that just talking politics isn't inflammatory enough ... time to combine politics and religion!

It seems that some people who want to take down statues of Confederates (Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and so on) and Founding Fathers who were also slave owners (Jefferson, Washington, and so on) also want to remove depictions of Jesus as having European features, as, so they hold, these are examples of racism.

This article https://www.gotquestions.org/was-Jesus-white.html is a fairly good summary of relevant info.

One thing I would add is that Jesus was Middle Eastern, but in particular, from the western part of what we call the 'Middle East', actually the Near East. He probably would have fit in - in terms of looks - in modern day Lebanon or Syria. Yet, he also probably wouldn't have stood out in terms of looks in southern Europe - Greece, Italy, Spain, and so on. In this sense, his looks were probably fairly similar to certain whites. Would he have stood out in Holland? Probably. Scotland? Probably.

So depicting Jesus as having features similar to various whites is probably accurate. Is it likely Jesus had blue eyes? Probably not. Blonde, red, or even light brown hair (especially when an adult)? Probably not.

Are Ethiopian depictions of Jesus as looking Ethiopian racist? Probably not. Are Chinese depictions of Jesus as looking Chinese racist? Probably not. Are northern European depictions of Jesus looking northern European racist? Probably not. These are all traditions of portraying Jesus as the people around the artist looked.

Indeed, Jesus said that "whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me" - wherever someone helped someone else, they were helping him. In this sense, Jesus is associated with people of all ethnic backgrounds. St. Paul says that "in Christ, there is no Greek or Jew." In other words, in our spiritual essence, ethnic differences are not primary.

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Christ is the Lord and Saviour of all humanity, the Son of God who was preached his Ministry to begin a New Covenant of Universal Salvation and allowed his own sacrifice at the Cross to pay the Wages

I'd take it as, since Jesus was a human incarnation of God's son (in the Christian culture I was raised with, there is some debate on if he is God or God's son) to pay for the sins of us, I'd say it w

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1 minute ago, admin_270 said:

Finding that just talking politics isn't inflammatory enough ... time to combine politics and religion!

It seems that some people who want to take down statues of Confederates (Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and so on) and Founding Fathers who were also slave owners (Jefferson, Washington, and so on) also want to remove depictions of Jesus as having European features, as, so they hold, these are examples of racism.

This article https://www.gotquestions.org/was-Jesus-white.html is a fairly good summary of relevant info.

One thing I would add is that Jesus was Middle Eastern, but in particular, from the western part of what we call the 'Middle East', actually the Near East. He probably would have fit in - in terms of looks - in modern day Lebanon or Syria. Yet, he also probably wouldn't have stood out in terms of looks in southern Europe - Greece, Italy, Spain, and so on. In this sense, his looks were probably fairly similar to certain whites. Would he have stood out in Holland? Probably. Scotland? Probably.

So depicting Jesus as having features similar to various whites is probably accurate. Is it likely Jesus had blue eyes? Probably not. Blonde, red, or even light brown hair (especially when an adult)? Probably not.

Are Ethiopian depictions of Jesus as looking Ethiopian racist? Probably not. Are Chinese depictions of Jesus as looking Chinese racist? Probably not. Are northern European depictions of Jesus looking northern European racist? Probably not. These are all traditions of portraying Jesus as the people around the artist looked.

Indeed, Jesus said that "whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me" - wherever someone helped someone else, they were helping him. In this sense, Jesus is associated with people of all ethnic backgrounds. St. Paul says that "in Christ, there is no Greek or Jew." In other words, in our spiritual essence, ethnic differences are not primary.

Christ is the Lord and Saviour of all humanity, the Son of God who was preached his Ministry to begin a New Covenant of Universal Salvation and allowed his own sacrifice at the Cross to pay the Wages of Sin (Death) for all humanity with his Body and for all the needs and demands of bloody punishment, bloodshed,, blood vendetta, and blood ritual and animal sacrifice of the Old Covenant with his Blood, and then was Resurrected, and enjoined his followers to found the Church and spread his Ministry to all before Ascending to Heaven - his ultimate personal demographic is an irrelevancy, and a matter of loathsome (and sacrilegious) point-scoring in the socio-political conflicts to seeking to be, or to influence, Caesar.

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6 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Finding that just talking politics isn't inflammatory enough ... time to combine politics and religion!

It seems that some people who want to take down statues of Confederates (Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and so on) and Founding Fathers who were also slave owners (Jefferson, Washington, and so on) also want to remove depictions of Jesus as having European features, as, so they hold, these are examples of racism.

This article https://www.gotquestions.org/was-Jesus-white.html is a fairly good summary of relevant info.

One thing I would add is that Jesus was Middle Eastern, but in particular, from the western part of what we call the 'Middle East', actually the Near East. He probably would have fit in - in terms of looks - in modern day Lebanon or Syria. Yet, he also probably wouldn't have stood out in terms of looks in southern Europe - Greece, Italy, Spain, and so on. In this sense, his looks were probably fairly similar to certain whites. Would he have stood out in Holland? Probably. Scotland? Probably.

So depicting Jesus as having features similar to various whites is probably accurate. Is it likely Jesus had blue eyes? Probably not. Blonde, red, or even light brown hair (especially when an adult)? Probably not.

Are Ethiopian depictions of Jesus as looking Ethiopian racist? Probably not. Are Chinese depictions of Jesus as looking Chinese racist? Probably not. Are northern European depictions of Jesus looking northern European racist? Probably not. These are all traditions of portraying Jesus as the people around the artist looked.

Indeed, Jesus said that "whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me" - wherever someone helped someone else, they were helping him. In this sense, Jesus is associated with people of all ethnic backgrounds. St. Paul says that "in Christ, there is no Greek or Jew." In other words, in our spiritual essence, ethnic differences are not primary.

I'm fairly agnostic on "cancel culture." I do think Confederate states and states of people in white supremacist organizations or statues of any mass murderers be removed. However, even with these I'd say my level of caring about this is a 7/10. Of slave owners that didn't fight against the US, I don't really care which way it goes. I think other things are more important for a use of energy. For Jesus, also don't care which way it goes. They could keep him the same as a European-ish looking man or make him a trans-woman with tattoos of lucifer and carrying a colostomy bag. Although, to be less offensive, they should probably just keep Jesus the way he is and just let anyone create Jesus in their own image.

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I am sure that this thread will turn out nicely lol.

Let me preface by saying that I am a Roman Catholic myself : If you are concerned/consider it important whether Jesus was white, black, Chinese, etc., I have doubts as to whether you are as "Christian" as you may claim to be.  In the Christian faith (any denomination), Jesus came to save all, regardless of whatever skin colour you may have.  Cornelius the Centurion may be a good story to read up about as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_the_Centurion

Matthew 25 : 32-46

"and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35h For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41* j Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 

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5 minutes ago, CPE said:

If you are concerned/consider it important whether Jesus was white, black, Chinese, etc., I have doubts as to whether you are as "Christian" as you may claim to be.

Not sure if you're addressing this to me or a generic reader. Yes, this is correct - someone who fixates on this isn't getting the point.

The critiques are coming from people like Shaun King (BLM guy), who say these statues, paintings, and so on, perpetuate white supremacism or systemic racism.

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4 minutes ago, CPE said:

I am sure that this thread will turn out nicely lol.

Let me preface by saying that I am a Roman Catholic myself : If you are concerned/consider it important whether Jesus was white, black, Chinese, etc., I have doubts as to whether you are as "Christian" as you may claim to be.  In the Christian faith (any denomination), Jesus came to save all, regardless of whatever skin colour you may have.  Cornelius the Centurion may be a good story to read up about as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_the_Centurion

Matthew 25 : 32-46

"and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35h For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41* j Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 

The quote from Cornellius the Centurion has no indication at all of being tied to race or other inborn demographics in terms of the "sheep," and the "goats."

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17 minutes ago, CPE said:

I am sure that this thread will turn out nicely lol.

Let me preface by saying that I am a Roman Catholic myself : If you are concerned/consider it important whether Jesus was white, black, Chinese, etc., I have doubts as to whether you are as "Christian" as you may claim to be.  In the Christian faith (any denomination), Jesus came to save all, regardless of whatever skin colour you may have.  Cornelius the Centurion may be a good story to read up about as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_the_Centurion

Matthew 25 : 32-46

"and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35h For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41* j Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 

 

7 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Gasp! Cannibal! 😜

 

11 minutes ago, Patine said:

The quote from Cornellius the Centurion has no indication at all of being tied to race or other inborn demographics in terms of the "sheep," and the "goats."

Let me preface my response to my first post that I was baptized Lutheran, and raised and confirmed as an Episcopalian. I stopped going to church regularly from 16 to 18, as I often worked on Sunday. From 18-22, I was still "Christian" but I didn't go to church anymore at all. Since, 22 I've been agnostic. It wasn't through any sort of epiphany. It was just a gradual and natural evolution. I don't think I've been even remotely spiritual since about 19 either. I just don't feel anything with faith or religion. It doesn't bother me that other people are religious, except when I notice that the religion is being used as a political tactic or as a tool for hatred, supremacy or intolerance. Basically, Christians are generally okay and theocrats (term for politician that has a hard time seperating church and state in rhetoric, ideas, and policy) almost never are. I should also not that I don't like rabid atheists either. They sometimes carry the worst traits of religious fundamentalists even if they aren't religious. The best Christians and best Atheist I ever knew were those that rarely brought their faith up and never judged anyone for not being like them.

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14 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Not sure if you're addressing this to me or a generic reader. Yes, this is correct - someone who fixates on this isn't getting the point.

The critiques are coming from people like Shaun King (BLM guy), who say these statues, paintings, and so on, perpetuate white supremacism or systemic racism.

No, I wasn't addressing you directly.  Just saying that anyone who is concerned about the skin-colour of Jesus are missing the entire point of Christianity.  Anyone can be saved through him, not just one race.

 

15 minutes ago, Patine said:

The quote from Cornellius the Centurion has no indication at all of being tied to race or other inborn demographics in terms of the "sheep," and the "goats."

I had two separate thoughts going trying to prove the point.  The Bible scripture was not related to Cornelius, but the point is that all the nations (people) will stand before God and judged based on their actions.  No special treatment for being white or black was what I was trying to say.  I linked the story of Cornelius to prove the point that God does not really care about our race; Jews and Gentiles were two entirely separate "cultures" (if you will) at that point, and had Peter not had the vision of being told to eat "unclean" foods, he may not have ever visited Cornelius.  Thinking of Jesus in terms of race is one-dimensional thinking that divides people rather than bring them to Him.  Point being that God's salvation is available to anyone who desires it, regardless of skin colour.

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7 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Let me preface my response to my first post that I was baptized Lutheran, and raised and confirmed as an Episcopalian. I stopped going to church regularly from 16 to 18, as I often worked on Sunday. From 18-22, I was still "Christian" but I didn't go to church anymore at all. Since, 22 I've been agnostic. It wasn't through any sort of epiphany. It was just a gradual and natural evolution. I don't think I've been even remotely spiritual since about 19 either. I just don't feel anything with faith or religion. It doesn't bother me that other people are religious, except when I notice that the religion is being used as a political tactic or as a tool for hatred, supremacy or intolerance. Basically, Christians are generally okay and theocrats (term for politician that has a hard time seperating church and state in rhetoric, ideas, and policy) almost never are. I should also not that I don't like rabid atheists either. They sometimes carry the worst traits of religious fundamentalists even if they aren't religious. The best Christians and best Atheist I ever knew were those that rarely brought their faith up and never judged anyone for not being like them.

Yes, so many of the atheists that I have met are of the "God doesn't exist, and I hate Him" variety.  The most diehard ones seem to have some hurt deep down inside that they blame Him for (just a generalization based on my experiences).  Regarding the Christian's, "you shall know them by their works".

Lutheran's seem to be divided on many fronts, I know that there are vast theological differences between the ELCA, LCMS, WELS, etc.  Even the Anglican church and the Episcopalian one were at odds years ago, I think the Episcopalians were kicked out of the Anglican commune if I remember correctly...

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12 minutes ago, CPE said:

Lol.  Yes, talking about Eucharist with a Protestant is always an interesting conversation.

Episcopal Eucharist is about the same as the Roman Catholic Eucharist. 

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1 minute ago, CPE said:

Yes, so many of the atheists that I have met are of the "God doesn't exist, and I hate Him" variety.  The most diehard ones seem to have some hurt deep down inside that they blame Him for (just a generalization based on my experiences).  Regarding the Christian's, "you shall know them by their works".

Lutheran's seem to be divided on many fronts, I know that there are vast theological differences between the ELCA, LCMS, WELS, etc.  Even the Anglican church and the Episcopalian one were at odds years ago, I think the Episcopalians were kicked out of the Anglican commune if I remember correctly...

Episcopals themselves split over gay priests and women priests. My dad converted back to Lutheranism shortly before he died when our episcopal church were receptive to gay priests and promoted a woman deacon to priest. 

If I were to be religious again, I'd probably join the Unitarian church. It seems to be the most Christ-like church based off my understanding of JC. 

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2 hours ago, admin_270 said:

Finding that just talking politics isn't inflammatory enough ... time to combine politics and religion!

It seems that some people who want to take down statues of Confederates (Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and so on) and Founding Fathers who were also slave owners (Jefferson, Washington, and so on) also want to remove depictions of Jesus as having European features, as, so they hold, these are examples of racism.

This article https://www.gotquestions.org/was-Jesus-white.html is a fairly good summary of relevant info.

One thing I would add is that Jesus was Middle Eastern, but in particular, from the western part of what we call the 'Middle East', actually the Near East. He probably would have fit in - in terms of looks - in modern day Lebanon or Syria. Yet, he also probably wouldn't have stood out in terms of looks in southern Europe - Greece, Italy, Spain, and so on. In this sense, his looks were probably fairly similar to certain whites. Would he have stood out in Holland? Probably. Scotland? Probably.

So depicting Jesus as having features similar to various whites is probably accurate. Is it likely Jesus had blue eyes? Probably not. Blonde, red, or even light brown hair (especially when an adult)? Probably not.

Are Ethiopian depictions of Jesus as looking Ethiopian racist? Probably not. Are Chinese depictions of Jesus as looking Chinese racist? Probably not. Are northern European depictions of Jesus looking northern European racist? Probably not. These are all traditions of portraying Jesus as the people around the artist looked.

Indeed, Jesus said that "whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me" - wherever someone helped someone else, they were helping him. In this sense, Jesus is associated with people of all ethnic backgrounds. St. Paul says that "in Christ, there is no Greek or Jew." In other words, in our spiritual essence, ethnic differences are not primary.

You’re conflating two separate issues and pretending the same people are collectively behind both, so that someone who may not feel the need to defend confederate soldiers might come to their defense if they believe their own religion might be attacked next.

As a Trump supporter, I can’t imagine why you would do this.

;c)

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3 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

You’re conflating two separate issues and pretending the same people are collectively behind both, so that someone who may not feel the need to defend confederate soldiers might come to their defense if they believe their own religion might be attacked next.

You're right to note these are (at least potentially) separate issues, and to me they're obviously different.

However, I'm pretty sure people like Shaun King want them all taken down, and see both those categories as enshrining white supremacism and systemic racism.

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15 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

You're right to note these are (at least potentially) separate issues, and to me they're obviously different.

However, I'm pretty sure people like Shaun King want them all taken down, and see both those categories as enshrining white supremacism and systemic racism.

I had to google who that is, and I still don’t understand his relevance.  

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2 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

I had to google who that is, and I still don’t understand his relevance.  

He's a kind of prominent voice for the left (as far as American politics go) and is just a mess of a person really. Basically a social media influencer but rather than just being vain and shallow about typical influencer things, his thing is politics.

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4 minutes ago, Actinguy said:

I had to google who that is, and I still don’t understand his relevance.  

 

Just now, SilentLiberty said:

He's a kind of prominent voice for the left (as far as American politics go) and is just a mess of a person really. Basically a social media influencer but rather than just being vain and shallow about typical influencer things, his thing is politics.

And I only say prominent because he has a million some followers on Twitter. Social media stuff.

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Just now, SilentLiberty said:

 

And I only say prominent because he has a million some followers on Twitter. Social media stuff.

How many of them are American voters?

I ask rhetorically, of course.  I consider myself to be on the left these days, and followed various other influential folks when I was on Twitter, but never heard of him.  I don’t doubt he has followers.  I just question this alleged movement to change depictions of Jesus racially and whether it really should be considered to have roughly equal backing to those who question why we need confederate monuments.  We’re talking about a fringe movement as if it’s relevant.

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Just now, Actinguy said:

How many of them are American voters?

I ask rhetorically, of course.  I consider myself to be on the left these days, and followed various other influential folks when I was on Twitter, but never heard of him.  I don’t doubt he has followers.  I just question this alleged movement to change depictions of Jesus racially and whether it really should be considered to have roughly equal backing to those who question why we need confederate monuments.  We’re talking about a fringe movement as if it’s relevant.

I think his sphere of influence is great enough where it's worth mentioning to a degree. Like I said he can be a bit of a mess of a person imo. So I'd agree it's fringe stuff but not quite sure that makes it something to just scoff at. 

 

More than anything I was just giving some more background on who he is. 

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11 minutes ago, SilentLiberty said:

 

And I only say prominent because he has a million some followers on Twitter. Social media stuff.

That's probably why I've never heard of him, if he's solely a Twiitter yapper.

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1 minute ago, Patine said:

That's probably why I've never heard of him, if he's solely a Twiitter yapper.

I mean he's a legitimate journalist, Twitter is just his major outlet. I do more or less agree with you but he's still a legitimate journalist hah

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