Saturday, July 04, 2020

The Left's Attempts to Whitewash Jesus

We've long been accustomed to seeing images of a fat bald laughing Chinese looking Buddha. It seems to be in every Oriental business, and nobody says anything, least of all practicing Buddhists. So what right? Well, not really. Buddha, or as he was actually known, Siddhartha Gautama, was actually born in Nepal, not China. The name "Buddha" is also a title like the term "Christ" is. It means "enlightened one".

So, he wasn't Chinese. That's one stereotype debunked. He was from an aristocratic and wealthy family. His father was the king of the Shakya, an ancient kingdom somewhere on the Nepal-India border. Thus Buddha was a prince. It's also unlikely that he was fat. Most people from Nepal tend to be slender.

Descriptions of him state that was tall with dark hair and blue eyes. He had long earlobes due to the heavy ear rings men of his class wore. His skin color was a light golden brown. Early in life he wore his hair long and typically tied it in a topknot. He also wore a beard as was customary. After his enlightenment, he shaved his head and beard.

There's hasn't been any serious controversies about his appearance, not even the fact that he would be considered a Caucasian. In fact, the image of Buddha has been adapted by nearly every country where Buddhism was established, be it Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, India, or even China. Evidently the estimated 488 million Buddhists in the world are alright with that.

Understanding Muhammad's appearance is a bit more difficult since Islamic law forbids any "graven images" of their prophet. However, there are a few images and descriptions, although those are highly idealized. While the Sunni sect frowns on images of Mohammad, the Shia are a little more open about it, provided the images are "respectful", so here's what we know.

Muhammed is described as being of medium height (approximately 5'10). He was handsome with an oval face (some texts make mention of him having a large head for his frame). His eyes were black with long eye lashes. His hair was black and wavy. His beard was black and he had a fair amount of body hair.

Being Semitic, his complexion is described as being relatively fair with a slight ruddy complexion rather than the typical light brown of Arabs (bearing in mind that Arabs are Semites and are classified as Caucasians). His built was neither stocky nor slender, although in old age he put on weight (like all of us). In short, he's described in generic terms as being an average looking guy so as practically everyone could identify with some feature of him.

As for Moses or David, we have a similar problem. Outside of biblical sources, there are no independent sources for the historical existence of either individual. Moses was born in Pharaonic Egypt of Semitic ancestry (his name, "Moses", is believed by most biblical scholars to be of Egyptian origin and means "drawn out" or "drawn from", the rough equivalent of "son of" with the name of some deity preceding it such as Thutmose , the "son of Thoth", the Egyptian god of writing, wisdom, and magic.

Nevertheless, pseudo-historical sources like Josephus, Manetho, Philo, among others have described Moses as having a ruddy complexion with long white hair and beard in old age. He was said to have been tall (bearing in mind the King Ramesses II aka the Great, a possible contemporary, was considered tall at 5'7". He also had red hair). Given that he was allegedly raised in Pharaoh's court (though we're not told which pharaoh), he was likely well educated and ate well.

If he was a priest (as was likely), he would have been shaved head to toe as hair was offensive to their gods and bathed in scented oils daily. After he began the Exodus, he would have grown out his hair and beard the majority of Semites; it's natural color most likely being black.

King David supposedly had a ruddy continence and may even have had reddish hair. We're told that he had "beautiful eyes" but not their color. He was considered handsome. He would have grown a full beard as he grew into manhood. Unfortunately, there's not much more than that. The sources, as limited as they are, were more interested in their unique characters than their physical appearance. That brings us to Jesus.

I remember going to Sunday school back in the late 1950's and early 1960's and seeing pictures of a tall, slender, blue eyed man with fair skin and typical European features, complete with reddish blonde hair and beard. Other than the red and blue robes, he looked like he would have been more at home in Chaucer's England with all its knights, lords, and ladies. But this was, or so we were told, the Christian messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, or Yeshua as he was actually known.

There have been numerous attempts throughout the centuries to present a portrait of Jesus. Some show him with dark hair and a beard, dark eyes but still with a fair complexion. It's worth nothing that some of the earliest drawings of Jesus show him with short hair and clean shaven. Of course, like Buddha, how Jesus is portrayed depends very much on the intended audience.

In Asia, he has Asian features. In Africa or in black churches, he is given black features and skin color. In places like India or among Native Americans, he is shown with corresponding features. By the same token, those from southern Europe and the Middle East show him with dark hair, eyes and an olive complexion. In short, again like Buddha, Jesus is made to look like the people in the community where he is being presented.

The radical Left has recently begun to attack the image of Jesus, especially the one I recall from my childhood. However, their reasoning is not to portray Jesus historically, but to foment more racial division by making him as a person of color. Their aim is an indirect assault on the America they loathe by going after the things and personages held dear by most Americans. That's why they've turned their attention from statues and symbols of the Confederacy to the Founding Fathers to Jesus.

Unfortunately, the symbols of the Confederacy have long been hijacked by groups promoting racial, ethnic, and religious hatred and violence. That made them easy targets despite attempts to return the discussion of the Civil War back to the issue of state's rights. Next came the Founding Fathers.

Perhaps it should be expected that these too would be easy targets because despite what these imperfect individuals managed to create---a democratic republic governed by a constitution and based on individual sovereignty---they still owned slaves. They have overlooked the forest for the trees. Yes, many owned slaves. Yes, the majority deplored the institution of slavery and many had the personal courage and conviction to free their slaves, they nevertheless didn't destroy the institution.

The historical fact was that slavery was essential to the economy of the southern colonies and it was there the rebellion was having its greatest successes. Had the issue been forced, the southern colonies would have withdrawn their support and the rebellion---and hope for a new nation---would have gone with them. The truth is that these were imperfect men living in imperfect times where slavery was considered normal and nature. To have said anything at all was daring in itself.

Remember too that in their day, only men---no women---who owned property and belonged to the Anglican Church could participate in politics. These were also a very devout people. Church attendance was seen as mandatory. They believed the bible was the literal word of God. Therefore, as slavery (as well as the subservience of women) were condoned within its pages, it must therefore be part of the Divine Plan.

No doubt we would disagree with these interpretations today, they did not. To question was seen as blasphemous . It was enough to even get you arrested and jailed! This is where the Left also makes a key mistake. They attempt to apply modern judgments on individuals and events which occurred over 200 years ago (the same can be said about the Civil War). We cannot judge the past based on our moral standards. We must view it from the standpoint of their time and their morals.

As for what the historical Jesus may or may not have looked like, thanks to technology, genetics, forensic anthropology, and archeology, we have a much better idea than we did 1000 or 500 or 100 or even 50 years ago when the vast majority of paintings, statues, and illustrations were done.

First off, we know he was a Semitic, which makes him a Caucasian. Like most Semitics he would have been generally light skinned at birth and due to the climate, would have developed a darkish tan. Most Semitics of the period were short and somewhat stocky, so we can presume he was too. They also usually had brown or hazel eyes and dark, somewhat curly hair as opposed to straight or kinky.

Jesus is described as being the son of a "tekton" which is often mistranslated as "carpenter". The correct meaning of the word is "builder", but what kind of builder? Wood was a scarce resource. Only the well-to-do could afford to import wood for doors, tables, chairs, and so forth. The most common and affordable building material was stone. Therefore, he would have likely been a stonemason, though probably worked with other materials much the same way as a handyman does.

Working with stone, as anyone who has done it can tell you, is hard dirty work. Therefore, we can be pretty safe in saying that he would have been muscular and had a lot of stamina. But being on the low end of the social and economic ladder, don't think he was buffed. In addition to being somewhat short and broad shouldered, he would have been slender (due to his meager diet) but on the muscular side.

In keeping with the Roman occupiers, short hair and clean shaven would have been the norm among the educated and upper classes. Besides, it was practical in dealing with the heat not to mention lice. Many Jews of the time tried to emulate the Romans. Some when so far as to engage in routine Greco-Roman behavior, and not just in their grooming habits.

They commonly worked out in the nude, bathed in public baths, and engaged in philosophical discussion at the various open air "schools". They adopted the diet of their conquerors, which was contrary to Jewish dietary law, included shellfish and pork. A few even had their circumcision reversed (which was also seen as a rejection of their Jewish heritage since circumcision was viewed as a religious rite and symbol of their convent with God).

However, we're told that Jesus was a devout Jew, so it's highly doubtful he engaged in any of these practices. We can therefore assume that while his hair was moderately short (as was custom at the time as cited previously), he likely kept his beard and adhered to a strict---if meager---Kosher diet along with all the other religious requirements of the Torah.

So, perhaps the radical Left is correct in reminding us that Jesus wasn't Nordic or that the Founding Fathers were products of their time, despite their collective genius. We need to accept them for what they were, flaws and all, and to be grateful that despite their circumstances, they existed at all or were able to accomplish all they did. It's up to us to build on what they did and to preserve what remains true despite the radical Left's hatred for the freedoms we celebrate daily in this country.



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Physical characteristics of the Buddha




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What Did Jesus Look Like?




Depictions of Muhammad