"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."Exodus 20:4
It's either part of the 1st commandment (if you're Catholic or Lutheran)
or the 2nd (if you're Anglican, Reformed or from another denomination).
Today is Sunday and I'm in the mood for blasphemy - so let's do this, shall we?
Have you ever heard of the Touchdown Jesus?
Well, it's a 6 storeys high Styrofoam-and-fibreglass affront to good taste in Monroe, Ohio, in the US of A and it's set on an island at the head of the baptismal pool of the Solid Rock Church which commissioned its construction in 2004, costing them about a quarter million US dollars in donations - money which could buy McDonald's Happy Meals for 62,500 orphans (or buy one orphan 62,500 Happy Meals, whatever). And it's not just me who thought it's an eyesore; three-fourths of Monroe's inhabitants thought the same in a poll and most of them are Christians.
It's properly called the King of Kings statue but I think the moniker Touchdown Jesus has a better ring to it. Local residents and travellers to the area also refers to it affectionately as Super Jesus, Swamp Jesus or my personal favourite, Drowning Jesus. I guess walking on water is not such an easy stunt when you weigh 7000 kilograms, eh Joshua?
Anyway, on the 14th earlier this month of June, Jesus' right hand was struck by a bolt of lightning from his heavenly father, setting it ablaze. You can watch the big guy being reduced to cinders here,
This needs to be set to Usher's Burn.
My immediate thought was, "I'd love to see how they explain this one!" but I've yet to uncover anything of that nature yet. The reactions of some Christians were absolutely precious though,
Also gathered along Union Road were Franklin twins and storm chasers Levi and Seth Walsh, who said they were out in the thunderstorm when they heard about the fire through a Facebook update.
"It sent goosebumps through my whole body because I am a believer," said Levi Walsh, 29. "Of all the things that could have been struck, I just think that that would be protected... It’s something that’s not supposed to happen, Jesus burning," he said. "I had to see it with my own eyes."
"I can’t believe Jesus was struck," said his brother, who noted the giant Hustler Hollywood sign for the adult store across the street was untouched. "It’s the last thing I expected to happen."
If you ask me, the message from Upstairs is quite unambiguously clear in this case (other than that God approves of porn). If you would allow me to play prophet here, I'd say that this was a not-so-gentle reminder to the Solid Rock Church to keep the "No idols period, biatches!" commandment, which I've conveniently placed way up there as the quote-of-the-post. I mean, when your LORD thy God said in his official holy handbook that he ain't down with the idea of any statues or images whatsoever - and when he even took the trouble to punctuate his point with a bona fide Act of God™ by burning down your ugly 19-metre effigy of His Only Begotten Son™ - you'd smarten up and fly right, wouldn't you?
But no, the Solid Rock Church decided to give God a big fat middle finger instead. Darlene Bishop, the co-pastor of the church, said that they are planning to rebuild the buttery monstrosity - but out of something fireproof this time, presumably so that God can't set it on fire again. Is it me or is there just something absurdly funny about this whole debacle?
I for one would like to see how Yahweh deals with the next one. Tornadoes? A giant sinkhole like the Guatemalan one? A freaking meteor strike? Can't wait.
Or perhaps, the parishioners of the Solid Rock Church might want to explore the possibility that the One True God™ might be Zeus after all,
Now, this I'd gladly worship! Look how ripped the Father of the Gods is! Picture courtesy of GENZOMAN.
Or if they are partial towards sons of divine beings born of a virgin, they might want to check out the Aztec god Xolotl. His mother is the virginal Coatlicue who gave birth to him and his twin brother, Quetzalcoatl, after being impregnated by a ball of feathers (who the fuck writes these stuff anyway?). Xolotl is the god of lightning, death, fire and sheer bad luck by the way, and the Touchdown Jesus conflagration totally had his signature all over it.
If you would rather place your bet on something that didn't look like it crawled out of a B-horror movie, can I interest you instead with the Japanese god of thunder and lightning, Raijin?
Or if you prefer Chinese, there's always the Duke of Thunder, Lei Gong. It's said that he would not enter a house if anyone in it is having sex. So this is one god figure who wouldn't be creepily watching every single thing you do at all times. I'm not too sure what his policy on masturbation is though.
That's it, I'm getting a Lei Gong for my idol collection next. And yes, I have an collection of idols. Don't you?
If they shop around a little, they'd find that almost every culture in the world has some sort of thunder god which personifies the forces of thunder and lightning. That's what humans have been doing all throughout, and even before civilisation; attributing everything we can't explain to supernatural anthropomorphic beings of miraculous powers. Some cultures like the Norse, the Greeks and the Chinese chose to compartmentalise polytheistically and ascribe all the different forces of the natural world to separate godlings.
On the other hand, there's the monotheistic institutions - particularly the Abrahamic ones - which simply go to the extreme end of the "my god is bigger than yours" boasting game. They have only one god who controls everything because he is omnipotent and omniscient, and all the other puny gods can never beat him ever because he's the awesomest, bestest, most powerfulest God there is! Grovel at his feet or he shall torture you in hell! For eternity! TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!!!
Or that's how it always seemed like to me: a whole mess of ridiculous hyperbole, all of which are completely unsubstantiated. Here's an interesting paradox involving omnipotence: could God create a stone so heavy that even he could not lift it?
You might be Christian. You might even agree with me that the Solid Rock Church might be more than a tad thickheaded when it comes to divining God's intentions, even after he sent a sign this clear. But how closely have you followed this particular commandment yourself? Have you never doodled or sketched "any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth?" Have you never sculpted using Play-Doy or built Lego models of animals or human beings? That what adhering to that commandment entails, you know, regardless of which translation you stick to. The corollary verse also says that you shouldn't bow to these replicas, but no where was it also said in the Bible that making carved images or drawing likenesses of anything is okay so long as you don't worship it either. If God really does exist, it's a wonder that the earth have not opened up to swallow the Vatican whole yet.
Anyway, think of this as the k0k bL0k edition of a Sunday school. Today, we took a look-see into the tribulations of a strangely defiant church, briefly discussed a commandment and delved into comparative theology a little, though our foray was barely deep enough to wet our ankles. Have a nice day. Enjoy what's left of it.
P.S. All of the above are my personal opinions. Now they aren't so personal anymore, eh?
P.P.S. Think of the omnipotence paradox as homework.
Gets to sleep in on Sundays,
k0k s3n w4i