Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Post No. 101: The Face of Jesus?

The Face of Jesus?

Was randomly surfing the internet when I came across this website that had the above image and according to this website, the story behind this image supposedly went like this:

"The image above has circulated in Britain since the late 1950s. It contains a face of Christ, but not everyone can see it straight away. The story that goes with it says it was taken by a Chinese photographer who was riding home one day through the snow.

According to the story...His soul was troubled. He had been witnessing a great movement towards Christianity among his friends since the Japanese invasion. He longed to know the truth of what he had been hearing from Christian missionaries.

As he rode along he said, "Lord, if I could only see your face, I would believe." Instantly a voice spoke to his heart, "Take a picture. Take a picture."

He looked out at the melting snow forming pools of water and revealing here and there the black earth. It was an unattractive scene. Nevertheless, being thus strangely compelled, the man descended and focused his camera on the snowy roadway.

Curious to know the outcome of the incident, he developed the film at once upon returning to his home. Out from the black and white areas of the snow scene a face looked at him, full of tenderness and love - the face of Christ. He became a Christian as a result of this experience."

Hmm... What do I think of the above story and the image that accompanied it?

Well, firstly, I must say that I do happen to see "Jesus's face" in the image above. The reason why I put quotation marks around the phrase: "Jesus's face" is because, technically speaking, what I really saw was just a face of a bearded man. It is only when placed in a specific context that people will recognise this face of a bearded man as the face of Jesus. I mean, if we ask a young child, who have not been exposed to popular representations of what Jesus looked like, what he or she sees in the above image, I suppose his or her answer will most probably be: "I think I see the face of a bearded man" and not "I think I see the face of Jesus Christ".

And, having my interest piqued by the above image, I did a Google search on this: "The face of Jesus" and I managed to find a few interesting websites amongst the 21,600,000 links I got. It seems that the above image is not the only supposed appearance of "Jesus's face" in unexpected places around the world and throughout history. For example, there is this story about a couple supposedly saw what appeared to be the face of Jesus in a ultrasound scan of their unborn baby. Another famous example would, of course, be the widely-debated Shroud of Turin.

Anyway, I suppose nobody can really know what Jesus looked like but, one thing's for sure, he would most probably not look like the popular representations of him as bearded white male. This is considering that he was born as a Middle Eastern Jew (reference here and here). Hence, with this in mind, I suppose what the Chinese photographer in the above story really saw was what he thought was the face of Jesus and not the real face of Jesus.

In the final analysis, what we need to understand is that we possess a very imaginative mind and eyes which play tricks on us, making us see things and patterns which may or may not be there in the first place. For example, I suppose that most of us all will remember the claims by people, following the 911 terrorist attacks, that they saw the face of the devil in the debris smoke caused by the collapsing towers (reference here). And let's not forget about optical illusions. Thus, we need to restraint the urge in us to jump to hasty conclusions about what we "see" in images like the one above and think carefully what is it that we are really seeing.


Hope that I have not offended anyone with what I have said above. Was just sharing my frank opinion. Apologise if I have unintentionally offended anyone.

1 comment:

Joshua Eden said...

I’ve always thought it looked like the face of John Lennon!

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