Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Can a Muslim Tell Us Anything About Jesus?

Yesterday, my Facebook newsfeed was on fire with two things. One, Pope Francis' comments about gays. And two, a Fox interview with Reza Aslan, the author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
The so-called news channels (Source)
Now, I refuse to judge a man based on an interview on a so-called news channel. What passes for journalism today is nothing more than thinly veiled propaganda. I'm reading his book. I'll be reviewing it later.

But the main question I ask is: Can a non-Christian tell Christians anything about Jesus?

I think they can. Two of my favorite paintings of Jesus were done by non-Christians.

This is a painting of Jesus done by a Buddhist using some traditional symbolism found in pictures of Bodhisattvas. Jesus is situated in a desert and directly behind him is the cross. He's seated on a lotus, which symbolizes purity and non-attachment. Both of those are among the highest values for a Buddhist to attain. Between his hands is a tiny heart. That was my latest discovery looking at this picture. I've looked at it for 8 or 9 years now and I'm still finding little things like that to meditate upon.

The White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall (Source)
This one is apparently one of Pope Francis' favorites too. It places Jesus' crucifixion squarely in the history of persecution endured by the Jewish people. Jesus was a Jew. He was born and he died a good Jewish boy. The roots of our faith and practices are all in Judaism. Judaism deserves our utmost respect.

I look forward to the day when my family gets to move into a house with more wall-space so I can hang my copies of these paintings up again.

I think it's valuable to see Jesus through non-Christian eyes. Seeing something fresh gives you a new perspective. From their religious traditions, they might see something in Jesus that you do not see and that always gives good food for thought. As long as we approach it with a discerning spirit, we can never learn enough about our Lord.

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