A new social media challenge, identified by the hashtag #BurnWhiteJesus — and also known as the White Jesus Picture Challenge — calls upon people to post online videos of themselves burning pictures that depict Jesus as a white man.
The reason? According to the religious education site Patheos.com, the #BurnWhiteJesus challenge, “seems to be a recognition that the common portrayal of Christ as a man of white European heritage is false, and that the image of a white Jesus has been used to advance white supremacy around the world.”
Here is an example of one video of a man taking, and explaining, the challenge to burn a picture of white Jesus, which was posted by “Mr. Savannah Black” on August 19, with the comment, “This Will Be The HARDEST challenge For Most Black Folks To Do.In Order For You To Free Your Mind, You Must Get Rid Of This Image From Your Subconscious. In Order To Have Real Liberation Of The Self. The Kill White Jesus Challenge Is One That I Feel That’s Needed To Open The Door To TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF SELF.”
And here is another #BurnWhiteJesus video.
But why would anyone believe that Jesus was a black man?
A better question, according to historians and Biblical archaeologists is, why would anyone believe that Jesus was white?
The fact is, no contemporary portraits of Jesus exist and for that matter, the Bible contains no description of what Jesus looked like. The portrayal of Jesus as a caucasian man of European appearance was originated by European artists in the Middle Ages.
There is no reason, historians say, to believe that a man who lived in the Middle East of 2,000 years ago would be anything other than dark-skinned.
According to Atlantic Magazine writer Jonathan Merritt, “The scholarly consensus is actually that Jesus was, like most first-century Jews, probably a dark-skinned man. If he were taking the red-eye flight from San Francisco to New York today, Jesus might be profiled for additional security screening by TSA.”
In other words, the #BurnWhiteJesus challenge has a point.
In 2001, the BBC commissioned forensic scientists to create a model of what the real Jesus would have looked like, based on existing archaeological evidence regarding the appearance of Jews in the Israel of the First Century C.E.
This is what they come up with, and what is now considered the most likely depiction of what Jesus really looked like.
The #BurnWhiteJesus challenge, then appears to have a strong factual basis for opposing the idea that black people of the Christian faith should worship a white man.