At a party, I once got into a conversation about the physical appearance of Jesus the Christ.
There’s a reason that one should not get into religious or political conversations in mixed or unknown company and it isn’t because such conversation inevitably end up in arguments. Argument, itself, is neutral; it’s how people argue that is almost always the problem. First of all, people argue with their egos. Most people don’t have an active awareness of the following: they view difference of and dissent from their personal opinion as insult and assault. And since both religion and politics cover how and individual views life, when you disagree with a person in these areas, unless both parties are very mentally, intellectually, and/or spiritually disciplined, you’re bound to get into a loud hair-raising verbal tussle.
Except for the volume, this particular argument had all of these characteristics. (How I could tell: afterward, my opponent was obviously angry at me and had little to do with me for the rest of the gathering.) But, there was something more about it, something indicative of a contemporaneous argument being had in the political corner of the Internet.
Here is the passage that was under discussion, where John the Revelator begins to describe his vision of Jesus.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
–Revelation 1:14-15 (KJV)
The person in question claimed that, because verse 14 says that His hair was “like wool,” it meant that Jesus was black. But, I claimed that, because John was using wool as a measuring tool to describe the color of Jesus’ hair and not the texture of it, that the passage has no bearing on Jesus’ race. I even pointed to verse 15, which does allude to race/ethic group, though not conclusively. But this people would have none of it and refused to see the plain logic in was John was saying. (In short: his hair is white.)
But that wasn’t the frightening part. This is: this person was a public school administrator and had been a public school teacher for many years. A tiny bit of simple reasoning was too hard for her.
The argument ended at an impasse when I internally heeded these words from Jesus.
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Matthew 7:6 (KJV)
Not saying that the person was a swine, but you get the idea.
I wish this had been an isolated case, but we all know that it isn’t. Dumb has become pestilential…and hereditary.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015. Follow her on Twitter.
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