What youngsters see when they look at Jesus Christ

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WASHINGTON - A study from University of Gothenburg, Sweden, says that youngsters have different ways of interpreting the nine images of Christ.

Popular culture plays an important role when young Swedes interpret the figure of Jesus in new ways, said Marie Fahlen.

“The images were chosen in an attempt to reflect the contemporary breadth of interpretation, taking in both traditional images and those that could be perceived as provocative,” she said about the study.

It illustrates how young people interpret the images on the basis of differing understandings of the Jesus figure: Jesus as Christ, prophet or historical personage.

The young people provide a broad spectrum of various interpretations. One example of this is an image in which the face of Jesus is blended into Alberto Korda’s famous Che Guevara image.

“Many young people perceive this image as an attempt to popularise Christianity or as a criticism of religion. It shows that people often expect a traditional image of Jesus,” Fahlen said.

Expressions of popular culture often seem to reinforce this kind of traditional understanding. At the same time, the symbolism has new implications when Jesus is perceived as a hero or champion for good in the fight against evil.

Another example is how young people often refer to expressions in popular culture such as films and TV series, primarily films such as Mel Gibson’s “The Passion Of The Christ” (2004), but also to images in other media and to social debates concerning religion and issues of authority.

“An important conclusion is that the authoritative church interpretation is being challenged in the present day by new applications of Christian symbolism, and this is also revealed in my study,” Fahlen concluded. (ANI)

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