Sunday, 21 August 2011

Jesus Christ: The (politically correct) Way

A widely syndicated article by Reuters — a rather daft non-news piece about a feminist ultra politically correct effort to rewrite the story of Jesus as an androgynous girl, by the similarly androgynous Kristen Wolf raises a number of important ethical questions about the media today. To quote the article:
Decades later, after… studying the Bible and mythology, as well as reading retellings of once-male stories from a female point of view, Wolf thought there was a need for a new take on the Biblical tale of the Messiah… The result was the story of Anna, a tomboy in ancient Palestine whose androgynous appearance leads to her being disguised as a boy and sold to shepherds.
This “story” not only changes of gender of Jesus Christ but evidently appears to disassociate the ancient Christian links with Judaism by citing a female-only cult living by an ancient philosophy.
Captured and taught by a group of women who live according to an ancient philosophy, she tries to spread their teachings to ordinary people.
Regardless of one’s belief in the truth of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, the work relativises the figure of Jesus to that of a myth with no genuine historic content:
Wolf said that she didn’t want to be critical of any religion, but instead sought to tap into one of the major stories still told in modern society — just from a slightly different angle.
“The stories need to be dusted off and re-invigorated. My intention was to create a new story that we tell differently, that brings out the timelessness of this story, this person Jesus,” she said.
Whilst no religion should be given exclusive domain over the control of ideas appertaining to works upon which its faith are based, questions could nonetheless be asked about the intent of promoting an ultra politically correct revisionist book, which would no doubt be disturbing or offensive to many Christians across the globe. It would be difficult to conceive of the media doing anything remotely similar with a book that challenges the established orthodoxy of Islam, even in a work of fiction.

Questions could be asked as to why a major international media institution would seek to broadcast this book around the world. Clearly the free publicity of a syndicated international story would be immense.

What is it that causes the media to take the unusual step of promoting such a book in this fashion?

The answer may lie in established social trends that originated in moral relativism and cultural changes especially from the 1960s onward. At the root of these developments is a hostility towards Judeo-Christianity and the West itself, leading to a deep emotive romanticisation of all that is alternative, and non-western. This is an undercurrent in academia that reveals itself in subtle and sometimes overt ways. Truth is diminished and seen as something that ought to be overcome in the pursuit of a certain ideal, a notion advanced by academics and philosophers like Richard Rorty. Indeed Wolf cites her time in academia as a major source of inspiration for the book.

In keeping with the effort to subsume the truth in the name of achieving political goals, the piece continues the disturbing trend of calling the region of ancient Israel and Judea “Palestine”. In fact it is a quite well known historic fact that Hadrian actually renamed Judea as “Syria Palaestina” in 135 AD in an effort to disenfranchise the Jews of their homeland as part of a great effort to root them out of the area, after the Simon Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–135 AD against the occupation of the Roman Empire, which trampled on their rights. The Romans brutally crushed the revolt, killing in excess of half a million Jews, prohibited Torah law, the Hebrew calendar, destroyed precious religious objects, and Jews were forbidden from entering their capital.

The name change was intended as a mockery as it related to the Philistines, an ancient enemy of the Jews that disappeared from history more than 600 years previously. The new moniker was part of the gradual process of erasing the Jewish presence from Judea which was considered troublesome. Ironically the strategy has found new expression after Arafat adopted the Palestinian moniker for local Arab peoples as a propagandistic stunt, and even labelled Jesus the first Palestinian terrorist! For people to use that name for an era when it was not historically applicable reinforces the myth that the Jews have no meaningful tie with Israel.

In the case of “The Way”, it is clear the author similarly intends to set forth a new myth for political reasons. To quote the FAQ on the author’s own website:
Years later, my youthful discontent would mix with a variety of influences — my own personal experiences, college studies with Jesuits, independent study of prehistoric cultures, mythology, ancient and modern spiritual traditions, and the leading-edge scholarship that had uncovered efforts throughout history to remove the feminine from the spiritual domain.

Having felt the negative impacts of living under a religion that sets the male higher than the female, and having seen the disastrous effects such an imbalanced belief system has on humanity, our world, and all of creation, I decided to try and instigate change.
Whilst identified as fiction, the book’s unusual purpose, other than simply to tell a story, is repeatedly affirmed in the article and on her website. It is clearly intended to become a sort of liberal-left political myth, bizarrely intended to be utilised in the same way as the old version of the story of Jesus Christ:
The New Testament also depicts Jesus as a revolutionary, but there is no account of where he would have learned his revolutionary, counter-culture philosophies. Moreover, in the biblical texts, there is no mention or record of him from age twelve when he appears at the Temple to age thirty when he begins his ministry. It is therefore conceivable that during his Missing Years, he encountered and studied a spiritual philosophy that was highly different from, even opposed to, the prevailing one. This is the possibility that THE WAY explores.
THE WAY is, at its heart, an attempt to breathe new life into our collective mythology, our collective conscience. It is a tale that asks, “If it were thought possible that one of history’s greatest spiritual leaders had been female, how might women and men feel differently about themselves, one another, and the world?”
The Way is another manifestation of the sometimes bizarre credo that academia and the mainstream media pushes onto the world, as illustrated in an extract from Peter Sissons’ recent book about the BBC. The unjustified assumptions at the core of this broad liberal-left movement have taken on the demeanour of a religion as many have observed, where it can be near impossible to address controversial truths without very severe censure. A prevalent example is having any criticism of Islam labelled “Islamophobic” or “racist”, whether justified by facts or not. Accordingly, all Western values, be they good or bad, have been undermined.

In this respect, it is entirely appropriate for the media to advance a book like The Way, for it represents a religious mythology intended to advance the values of a near religious but ironically secular ideology.

This article is also posted at

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