Ricky Bobby: Dear Lord baby Jesus, lyin’ there in your ghost manger, just lookin’ at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learnin’ ’bout shapes and colors.
Cal Naughton, Jr.: I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger.
Chip: Jesus was a man! He had a beard!
Ricky Bobby: Dear 8 pounds 6 ounces… new born infant Jesus,don’t even know a word yet.
Cal Naughton, Jr.: I like to picture Jesus as a figure skater. He wears like a white outfit, and He does interpretive ice dances of my life’s journey.
Cal Naughton, Jr.: I had a dream where Jesus was a dirty old bum, and I was about to sock him in the face because, well he’s a dirty old bum, but then I thought, there’s something special about him…
Ricky Bobby: Because it was Jesus, right…
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Yeah…
Just a few quotes taken out of context from the film “Talladega Nights”. Brian McLaren, in his book “A New Kind of Christianity”, says that, though the scene is from a silly movie, it makes a good point about something pretty serious: many Christians see Jesus in many different ways, which means they see God in different, and often opposing, ways.
I’ve had friends say that, well, perhaps these are all correct, yet incomplete, images of Jesus and God – that God is so big it’s like each vision is merely a glimpse of the total divine picture. These same people will scoff at the idea that the avatars of Hinduism might be an example of a similar understanding. No, they say, it’s obvious that Hindus are polytheistic and their avatars are idols.
I’ve had friends argue that Allah is not God, that a God that is not incorporated in Jesus is not the same God they worship. Therefore Allah is just another idol standing in for God. And though I don’t agree, I do see their point.
But if that difference makes Allah and the Christian God two distinct deities then why don’t the extremely different ways in which Christians perceive God suggest that our religion is also polytheistic? Of course, since God is imperceptible, it only makes sense that there would be such diversity of opinion. Yet, Jesus was a historical figure with words attributed to him as well as writings that describe his life and death and there is still no universal Christian consensus on him. We have thousands of Christian denominations and many of them are on opposite sides of the Jesus fence..
If we label Hindus polytheistic because their avatars have different names and characteristics then maybe it’s only because they are more honest than Christians. We have just as many versions of God, but most share the same name. I’ve come to believe that many, if not most of us, have made idols out of Jesus.
Christians: polytheists in denial.