Monday, April 28, 2008

Crucifixion

I really enjoy looking inside old churches and cathedrals. I am filled with awe at the artistry and engineering skills I see. It amazes me that people were able to build these, design them, all those centuries ago with none of the modern convenience and instruments etc.

I do not find them holy places at all. I don't feel anything spiritual in them. I feel only fear and cold. My mind is drawn to the pain and anguish of the people these places tortured and killed. Or rather the people who inhabited these places. What these places stood for is an abomination to me.

In St Bavo's (Ghent, Belgium), I was deeply moved by a depiction of a crucifixion. Not because the figure is meant to represent Jesus. I was moved almost to tears, which I stopped, just because I was appalled at the awfulness of such a death. At the awfulness of such an imagination that thought of this. MANY people were crucified, not just this one man. Many people suffered. Not just this man. In fact many people have suffered far far worse fates or more so than this man.

I just don't get why the supposed suffering of Jesus is revered the way it is. It seems sadistic or masochistic to me. (Like wearing a cross or crucifix-how sick is that when seen in the light of people wearing a gun or electric chair round their necks if he had been killed that way.)

From what we know, Jesus grew up with loving kind parents. He was not sexually abused, abandoned, tortured or any of the vile things that others have had to live with. He did not hate himself. He did not have survive a petrified childhood. He met a nasty end- yet it was not as nasty as the ends of millions of others. Like the gypsies, handicapped, gay people and Jews who were killed during the holocaust. (It is understandable if you were not aware that non Jews were sent to the camps and murdered. I once heard a Rabbi suggest that it was wrong to commemorate the deaths of gay people in the camps because by virtue of our sexuality we are sinners and therefore cannot expect better treatment......we deserved it in other words. And people wonder if evil exists? )

So back to this Jesus thing: compared to the suffering of millions of others, he suffered little, if he did indeed die that way. Assuming he lived at all of course.

Today, right now, this very second, as you read this, people are suffering a far worse fate. And millions have suffered far worse fates at hands of so called followers of this man, Jesus. Not just in days long gone but now, this very second, evil is committed in his name.

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