Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
Now a friend asked me recently why I use the Jesus allegory for everything. And lets be honest, I do tend to use it a fair bit from time to time. It’s one of the reoccurring tropes that tends to pop up in my writing. I say that X or Y character is Jesus, from Superman to Pinocchio. But why him? Why do I use Jesus above all others?
First off, lets actually look at Jesus. Now this isn’t a debate whether Jesus is real or fictional, whether the Bible is truth or fable, none of that. No this is looking at the Bible as a piece of text, devoid of any real world values or perceptions. And, as a character in a piece of text, Jesus is the archetypical hero. Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces is, in part, the concept of the Hero’s Journey. To go into detail here will be excruciating, but the takeaway from all this is that the Hero’s Journey primarily deals with how a character evolves and grows in a text. The hero starts in one place emotionally, leaves that safe spot to go on an adventure, is given help by a mentor while fighting against those opposing him (ranging from fighting something that will mean he can never go back, while another allows him to take the step forward), dying in an either metaphorical or literal sense, only to be reborn to conquer his last foes, eventually going back home as a different person to who they started out as. Fairly standard concepts, appear in a multitude of works. The best shorthand for this is â€œGo watch Harry Potter or Star Wars, you’ll see what I meanâ€. So how does this apply when talking about Jesus? Well is there any greater example of someone dying and coming back to life? I mean he’s practically the poster boy for the concept. So Jesus is The Hero, the one that all others are based on. Would it really be that surprising if Joseph Campbell was looking at Christianity when writing his work? So if Jesus is The Hero, why is it I bring him up time and again?
Well, simply put, he’s the shortest hand you’ll ever find in the Western world. When I say â€œJesusâ€, you immediately know who he is and what his back story is. Even the most atheistic people know the story of Jesus, even if they don’t believe it in the slightest. I don’t need to tell you that Jesus dies and comes back to life, or what he does during his life. You already know some of it, even if you don’t know that you know. It’s buried in there, deep within your cultural subconscious. It’s just something you know. So rather than constantly bring up the concept of hero’s and laying it out in a way you quickly understand, I just instead bring out Jesus. He’s a fantastic metaphor. But that’s one reason why I return to this well. What are some others?
Well, as mentioned before, Jesus is very much ingrained within the Western subconscious. By extension, so is Christianity. Even as someone who isn’t religious, I can’t ignore the amount religion has shaped current culture. Sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, but a majority of the time Christianity is swaying the world around you. More specifically, it’s swaying the media. Consciously or otherwise, people are being influenced by the Bible… and the fanfiction created by writers who loved the Bible. Don’t believe me? All of you preconceptions of Hell come from The Divine Comedy, NOT the Holy Text. But, despite them not being ‘accurate’ portrayals, we still have a concept of hell that we can internalize. Which leads us to the main point: I use Jesus and Christian icography because not only do I know it, you know it too. Now I could go off and research Eastern theology quite extensively, perhaps even coming up with a really detailed look at how Spongebob Squarepants achieves Nirvana. But, for this to work, I need to explain the concepts to you first. Yet when it comes to Christianity, I don’t have to explain jack. I say that Pinocchio goes to Hell, provide the barest of contexts beyond a few similarities, and your mind quickly fills in the blanks. You get what I’m saying, even if it is a reach at best. So those are two reasons. Are there any more?
Well I’ll admit, the third is purely personal bias related. I say that X character is Jesus and you’re going to be interested. It’s a pretty controversial subject to talk about to start with, comparing a major figurehead in a widespread religion to a fictional character. It has a lot of implications. But, at the same time, it does generate a lot of interest. It does make people more interested in hearing what I have to say. It’s pure ‘clickbait’, but fun ‘clickbait’. I end up providing a few similarities, have a laugh, everyone goes on about their day. But why do I use the Jesus allegory so much? Well, at the end of the day, not only is it the quickest way of getting information across, it’s also the most fun.
So there you have it. My look at religion in relation to my blogs. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.