Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#141 Teaching small children about the crucifixion


An interesting paradox in Christian culture takes place this time of year. Christian culture normally doesn't endorse graphic depictions of violence, but come Eastertide they rent The Passion of the Christ (rated R for its violence) and encourage their children to draw pictures of the crucifixion. This is not only completely normal to them, it is seen as educational and even wholesome.


Usually Christian culture is pretty outspoken against violence in movies and video games, and they've even devoted periodicals to the parsing of positive and negative content in movies and TV. Then you have Easter. In Sunday school small children draw a smiling Jesus on the cross with red crayon scrawled all over him, holes in his hands and feet, and a big gash in his side. Their parents hang these pictures on the refrigerator.


When it comes to Jesus, three-year-olds may absolutely create art projects with a grisly ancient execution theme. It's not only permissible, it's encouraged.

This post originally appeared on Beliefnet. The original post and comment thread can be seen here.

4 comments:

AnnaRebecca said...

Yup, totally remember this too. My parents were not yet uber-religious when I was 3, but by the time my poor little brother came along, the crucifixion was shoved down his throat like a feeding tube. Poor darling became obsessed with 'sad Easter,' as he called it, and drawing black suns to show how the sun refused to shine when Jesus was on the cross. Thank you, Bapitst church ladies.

Cassandra Bruce said...

I, being a history dork, have been watching a documentary on crucifixion, and it is taking DAYS for me to finish it. I stop often, trying to forget about it, but as someone who grew up decorating her easter eggs with cheerful images of the cross, I make myself watch it.

If a kid were to draw a picture of a guy shooting people with guns or someone being eaten alive, they'd be at a psychotherapist faster than one can say "Pat Robertson". But drawing Jesus on the cross is normal and cute. Before he even got on the cross, his lungs would have been bruised, just from being flayed on the back. His muscles would of been torn, loose and hanging, looking something like meatloaf. And that's before he even got on the cross to be nailed, hung, and die a slow, painful death with his arms carrying his entire body weight. He was -lucky- to have died in one day. It was THE WORST, most brutal, most painful, method of execution.

So yes, Frisk a Liberal, that IS very, very, violent artwork.

Hollan said...

The Passion is a revolting movie. I couldn't get past the first 3 minutes. I detest blood and guts films for the same reason; being that horror in the world is real and happens all the time and I will not embrace it as an art form.
Plus I really think Christians get all excited over that movie for the same psychological reasons people like horror flicks - thrill seeking intense emotional experience -
See link: http://accessscience.com/studycenter.aspx?main=18&questionID=5338

Abby Normal said...

Yup. Another Easter of my parents doing the passion play at their church. My dad is playing Jesus. While I am impressed, as always, with amount of commitment and professionalism that my folks put into it (my mom does makeup and costumes at a level that would put others to shame), I just can't take up her invitation to come see it live. I can't fathom taking my kids to watch Grandpa get crucified. Heck, I've got a cast-iron stomach when it comes to gory movies but I don't think I could handle watching my dad in that position.