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Christians, how do you feel about pictures of very white Bible characters? Do you not consider this a visual lie?

I went to a white friends large church recently and they had 20 very large and expensive works of art of white, with light brown haired Biblical characters. How do you justify this?
I do NOT know the cultural history of everyone in the Bible but I do know from studying and commen sense that they weren't light, untanned, silky haired, blue eyed, white people from Europe. And I love white people by the way, lol.

 
MamaChamp

Asked by MamaChamp at 3:48 PM on Apr. 17, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 10 (443 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (26)
  • When I was a Christian historical and cultural accuracy was really important to me, and that included the depictions of Biblical characters. Most pictures of Jesus as the obviously white guy with light blue eyes could send me into a rant for an hour when I was a teenager!

    I really value when people make the effort to describe and depict historical and/or mythological characters as close to the intention as possible, in the pursuit of and respect for Truth.
    Collinsky

    Answer by Collinsky at 11:37 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I am not Christian but you are correct with the fact that those cultures were not light haired, light skinned people
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:51 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I really do not pay that much attention to it, we do not have pictures in our church. I went to a black friends church and they had a mural painted on the wall of Jesus and some other characters and they were all black, I have also seen pictures of Jesus as a black man. I say we are all one and it does not bother me how some one portrays the people in the Bible as long as it is not done in a disrespectful manner.
    MaryJane849

    Answer by MaryJane849 at 4:02 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I think that in some cases its ok, but in others its unrealistic. Like those in the bible of Jewish descent are probably light skinned, but many are not and those aren't represented as much. I think that some people take it too far one way or another and try and portray everyone as either all light or all dark; when really, it was probably a mixture.

    Its fun you mention that, b/c I always raise an eyebrow at christmas time when I see pictures of a dark skinned Santa Claus. I do understand they are trying to make him more "relatable", but the original guy was from Norway! LOL

    People on either side can take the color issue too far.
    ozarkgirl3

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 4:02 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • My initial feeling isn't about race of proper representation of ethnicity. My initial feeling is annoyance over the iconism of it all. My interpretation of scripture is that God did not desire his people to make portrayals of him or bow to an image or representation of himself (I believe Jesus and God are one in the same, so Jesus is included in this). God is not an object, we can talk to him ourselves, he tore the vield of the temple from the top down when Jesus was resurrected to signify that we can talk directly to him. God and Jesus do not need a representative, picture or statue and our depictures do not do either of them justice.

    (cont.)

    NovemberLove

    Answer by NovemberLove at 4:07 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • You know why I think some Christians should pay more attention to it? Because this is a BIG reason in the black and African communities and probably even other cultures that they think WHITE people wrote and made up the Bible.
    I don't see how a Christian can just not care about it if this very topic keeps so many people from believing in what they believe is the truth. The Bible has been used to justify slavery, to make white people superior, and too many people dont care. Even if its "not that important" it becomes important when it keeps people from consider Jesus Christ as their savior.
    MamaChamp

    Answer by MamaChamp at 4:09 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • My second thought IS usually annoyance at the inacuracy. The well-known images of Jesus and Mary (etc.) come from popular artist's depictions (i.e. Rembrandt, Valazquez, Caravaggio, El Greco) and the Catholic church had people convinced these were "acurate" depictions and people could eliminate time in purgatory by praying to them. Also around the time of the crusades where much of Europe believed that all non-whites were pagans, it was only fitting to depict Christ et. al as white to them.

    For both reasons, I shudder when I see depictions of Christ. "His image" is perhaps the most reckognisable in the world (save for The Virgin Mother's depiction perhaps) and I can't get it out of my head whenever I think of Jesus because it's everywhere all over religion when it shouldn't be. Our current depiction of Jesus is nothing but a bad habit that we need to get rid of and just focus on HIM.
    NovemberLove

    Answer by NovemberLove at 4:10 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I wonder if a white person ever actually thinks about what it might mean to a black person to always see their savior or other important Biblical characters as just white. Its a psychological and spiritual issue.
    MamaChamp

    Answer by MamaChamp at 4:12 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • This is because most extremely religious people are very uneducated and illogical and don't ever comprehend the actual reality of the world during the bible times.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:12 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • "For both reasons, I shudder when I see depictions of Christ. "His image" is perhaps the most reckognisable in the world (save for The Virgin Mother's depiction perhaps) and I can't get it out of my head whenever I think of Jesus because it's everywhere all over religion when it shouldn't be. Our current depiction of Jesus is nothing but a bad habit that we need to get rid of and just focus on HIM. "
    I like that NovemberLove.
    MamaChamp

    Answer by MamaChamp at 4:16 PM on Apr. 17, 2009