But if the Messiah’s crucifixion was scandalous to Jews, it was sheer madness to non-Jews. The early cultured despisers of Christianity had no trouble mocking the very idea of worshipping a crucified man. A famous cartoon from the Palatine in Rome, dated to some point during the first three centuries of the common era, makes the point. It reads, “Alexamenos worships his god,” and features a crucified figure with a donkey’s head (below).
How easy it would have been for the early Christians to tone down the fact of the cross, to highlight instead the life-giving force of the resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit. How “sensible” it might have been to draw a discreet veil over the manner of Jesus’s death that had preceded this sudden new life.
You might have heard of Dr. Duncan MacDougall, an early 20th-century physician in Haverhill, Massachusetts who sought to measure the mass lost by a human when the soul departed the body at death. To measure the soul. MacDougall attempted to measure the mass change of six patients at the moment of death. His first subject, the results from which MacDougall felt were most accurate, lost “three-fourths of an ounce”, which has since been popularized as “21 grams”. Of the four successful measurements he obtained an average weight loss at the moment of death of 15 grams. The total average unaccounted for weight loss in these four subjects was found to be approximately 29 grams.
The experiment is very dark and shows how people today are rushing in this quest to define everything.
I’ve read Dan Puric these days, an artist and a strong public voice in Romania. I like the way he describes Romania, polluted today by communism, transition and integration. He offers many interesting images that challenges you intellectually, moves you emotionally, wanting to lead you towards a traditional mixed orthodox faith.
In Who are we, he gave the following interesting pictures:
Imagine this country as a baby’s cheek, with a tear that flows continuously, and you will realize the history of the Romanian people. The contemporary expression of this state is perfectly found preserved in her dimension, when people today ask you if you know which is the last question of the Romanian people. “What,” you say… And you get the answer: “If there is life before death.”
He also said…
We have peaks, flowers that grow tall, but we don’t have a garden and we don’t have a gardener. We killed the gardener, cut the water and stole the hose…
For those who don’t know the situation of Romania, these pictures are quite real.