• The Violent Imagery of The Crucifix

    The company that I was working for a number of years ago had a special workshop on inappropriate imagery in the workplace. The idea of the workshop is to make sure that all the employees treated each other respectfully and didn’t offend each other. One of the topics covered dealt with shirts and jewelry of an offensive nature. So I brought up the crucifix.

    Today, I still bring up the crucifix whenever a Christian complains about how they get offended by a nude image or by viewing something that is gay friendly. Christians always use the excuse that they have to explain sexuality or homosexuality to their children and that this is somehow a reason for censoring others. Well, the knife cuts both ways. I think the crucifix is a violent image and I don’t think my kids should be forced to look at it. I mean, how am I going to explain to them the image of a guy being tortured on an ancient torture device?

    Recently, I got into an argument about this with a Christian on a website. He seemed to be baffled by my objection to the crucifix — especially the crucifix that featured Jesus being tortured on it. I tried to explain to him that the symbol is violent in nature and that little kids who see it without an understanding of Christianity would be horrified by the violent imagery alone.

    He told me that I should explain the whole Christian religion to my four-year-old and tell him that it was a symbol of redemption. I don’t think a four-year-old can really understand the philosophical underpinnings of the Christian religion. Hell, I don’t even understand the philosophical underpinnings of the Christian religion; it is so loaded with contradictions and bad logical assertions and reasoning. Why is it that I have to give my four-year-old a course in Christian apologetics anyway?

    Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t care that the crucifix is horribly violent and that many people wear such an obviously violent symbol around their neck in full view of young children, but these same people can’t then get angry at me for displaying sexual imagery or promoting equal rights for gays in full view of their children. Plus, they need to at least recognize that their symbol is incredibly violent in and of itself. They can’t go around wearing their crucifixes with a tortured Jesus around their necks completely oblivious of the fact that they are wearing a guy being tortured around their necks.

    If they want to argue about the meaning behind the crucifix I can certainly do that, but that doesn’t in any way detract from my point that they are wearing a guy being tortured around their necks and that this is an obviously violent symbol. Personally, I don’t agree with the idea of vicarious redemption for wrong-doing nor do I support the belief that two wrongs make a right. So, on a philosophical level I disagree with the crucifix’s symbolism. But that isn’t my issue with it here. My issue with it here is that it is obviously a violent image.

    At my former workplace, I argued at the special workshop that the crucifix represents something different to me than it does to Christians. To me, it represents Christian oppression and tyranny. It is a reminder of not only what Christians did during the Dark Ages (when they ruled the world with impunity), but also the present day Christian attacks of atheists, gays, science, education, medicine, human curiosity, etc. The fact is that large numbers of Christians in the United States are actively attacking humanity on multiple levels. This is quite offensive to me. Sure there are Christians who don’t do this, but in America, those that do are far louder and for more affective in pushing lawmakers and the media.

    I think Christians should be mindful of how their symbol is interpreted by others. If they are from the Bill O’Reilly ilk in which they are selfish pricks and people of other religions be damned because they want to be the only one allowed to have their views in the market place of ideas then fine, but if they want non-Christians to take them seriously and to earn the respect of others, then they should really think about the symbols they use to parade their faith.

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    Category: ChristianityViolence


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.