Sunday, April 8, 2012

Recent reenactments related to the story of Jesus.

In light of recent reenactments related to the story of Jesus I offer an excerpt:

I have already argued that the most popular storyline is probably that of 'boy meets girl'. But Christianity has been supplying us with quite a different storyline for the last two millennia. 
The Christ story is one that gathers most of its intensity around the extensive torture, humiliation and public execution of a man who is the Son of God. Its narrative depiction in the form of the twelve stations of the cross is to be found on the walls of Roman Catholic churches. Each illustrates an individual scene of Christ's passion, such as the crowning with thorns, or the bearing of the cross, and they increase in pathos to the culminating point of the final crucifixion at Calvary. 
We know that we enjoy identifying with a dynamic hero or heroine who overcomes the odds and triumphs over enemies, who ends up getting the girl or boy. But what is less admissible is how much pleasure and meaning is gained from identification with a body in pain. Christ is always worshipped as a figure nailed to a cross, bleeding and mutilated, scorned and betrayed. This is also a cherished, though generally secret, vision of ourselves.
~Anita Phillips, A Defence of Masochism

Is this a true dynamic in the story? I know it's so hard for me to let go of the painful bits of my personal story. Is it because I secretly cherish and enjoy the stories of my suffering? If I really let them go would my life loose meaning? Life certainly seems to contain all the different textures of experience, and I am in awe of my joys and pain, totally enraptured and unable to say that fascination with pain and suffering does not exist. Look at what is chosen to be shown on the news so often: violence and suffering! This is what has been shown to attract viewers. Are we sick, or just fascinated with our mortality?

I think that the propensity towards idolizing pain and suffering in religion and media (movies, TV, news) is a worthwhile subject to consider. Simply the magnitude of this phenomenon is reason enough to try not to sweep it under the carpet and forget.

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