It turns out that you can pretty much ask "Is X Chinese?" and find someone that says X most definitely is - and that fascinates me. So is there any kind of decent theory out there that can make a reasonable case for Jesus being Chinese?
Well, it turns out that not only was Jesus Chinese, but that he's back and he's a Chinese woman this time round. Game on.
|This fine artwork by Christine Till is available to buy here|
According to the prof, Jesus was really called Zhuanxu (顓頊) and was born almost 3,000 years BC, which is a little earlier than most scholars would place his birth. Oh and he was one of the "Five Emperors" from those ancient days.
The policy of that empire was to unify religion and politics and this Zhuanxu did through the creation of Christianity. So that's that then. The professor gets a little vague at this point both seeming to suggest that Zhuanxu was literally Jesus but also that he was the "prototype" for the Christian Jesus.
Well if that doesn't sound convincing, I don't know what does.
Christianity is relatively new in China. Although there have been annoying missionaries for a while now, Christianity just hasn't been that popular. Mainstream religion in China is a mish-mash of different ideas, customs and traditions picked by the individual. And Chinese religious customs are so interwoven into the calendar that it's hard to turn one's back on them by joining some 'modern' religion.
Since China opened up a bit more to the rest of the world, some of the first people across the border were Christians looking for converts. Apparently we're all too used to them and bored by their religion that it's jolly hard to score converts amongst our population. Christians have always been keen to exploit (in all senses of the word) closed societies and cultures unexposed to their doctrines. So yeah, they were straight through the door when China opened up. This hasn't entirely gone in Christianity's favour however as the Chinese have got ideas of their own and have never had organised religion. Quite a number of Christian cults have formed all over the country, taking Biblical teaching as their basis but adding some wacky new elements of their own and running off out of the reach and authority of the Christian church. Bugger.
|Did they get their logo from Star Trek?|
What's especially good is that the Church of Almighty God have the most ingenious recruitment techniques. Figuring that it's easier to convert people that already believe 90% of the same rubbish that they do, they've targeted Chinese Christians and they've not exactly shy about it. Kidnap is regularly used, but they're also partial to a bit of torture and brainwashing. They especially like to target religious leaders reckoning that if you can convert them, you'll probably get their followers for free.
So Jesus is back, he's a Chinese woman and he/she's written a whole new bit of the Bible. And the sect that's following him is coercing people into their congregation to the point where they're a serious threat to other Christian groups in China. Traditional Christian authorities have no control over them and yet are desperate to try and limit their influence in order to promote their official flavour of Christianity. But with no power base of their own in China, it leaves them in the uncomfortable position of having to seek the help of the Chinese government.
|Whilst this painting is obviously ludicrous, is it any more stupid than|
those of a white-skinned, fair-haired Jesus?
So the Christian Church is in the uncomfortable position of having to ask the Chinese government to sanction one group over another. The government isn't particularly interested in helping any Christian group, so the official Christians have to be willing to put up with all kinds of restrictions in order to get their seal of approval. Christian groups and churches have to register with the state and there are restrictions on proselytising and public preaching, especially for foreigners. This is particularly galling for the Catholics who are used to interfering in national affairs, but that shit just doesn't fly in China.
All this wacky fun has led to the arrest of thousands of 'illegal' Christians in China and all with the collusion of the Christian Church. Ha ha ha. So keen are they to protect their official brand of Christianity that they're happy to be complicit in persecution of other religious groups, even though they're members of the same faith. I don't like organised religion, so I'm extremely pleased to see them adopting this position.
I'd love to finish off this article by showing you a picture of the Chinese Jesus, Lightning Deng, but no pictures of her exist. Her followers go to great lengths to hide her and make sure she is never photographed. Ironically, the underground Christian networks in China (encouraged for so long by the Christian Church) formed to avoid persecution in less tolerant days have proved equally effective in keeping cults and sects like Lightning From the East hidden these days.