I’m a person who was born catholic but never practiced or believed in catholicism. Was part of a religion that believed in Christ and the whole bible, old and new testament, but held some different belief than that of many other christian faiths. I’m no longer a follower of that particular faith and have been drawn to Catholicism recently.
But one thing I would like to discuss is the physical representation portrayed of Christ as that of being caucasian (meaning what’s considered white), with straight blonde hair and blue eyes. Or other times being straight brown hair and brown eyes. Basically, how do I know that is an accurate description?
Now I understand that ultimately, what is most important is the life he lead, message he brought, and example he set. I whole heartedly agree with this. And I admit that in my early years I missed this important point. Furthermore, I do not condemn anyone because they hold a belief that Christ was white (caucasian), or Black (dark skinned), or any other physical descriptiong they may hold. Also I was in a catholic chat room once and had a conversation with a person who said that the Chruch does not condemn anyone for holding the belief that Christ looked black, or for that matter how ever they may view him. I believed the person even told me that he visited a chruch, predominately hispanic catholics, where they had images of Christ resembling hispanics.
But I guess I need to know from where does the Catholic Church derive their belief that Christ looked as he is portrayed in the church.
One scenario I was thought was that the Israelites, from which the Jews hail from (Judah, Benjamin, Levi) that were enslaved in ancient Egypt were a dark skinned race. I’ve seen several books on egyptian art and history, as well as Israelite history where people in painting found in those books are clearly brown skinned people. The point here being that if the Israelites during Moses time were a brown or dark skinned people, then Jesus Christ and the Jews of his time must have been brown or dark skinned likewise. The jews that we know today, I was thought are not the biblical jews but are converts who’ve now taken on the full identity of the real jews. These real jews being the so-called blacks of America who’s forefathers arrived on slave ships and that the indeginous people of the america’s were descendants as well.
I don’t ascribe to these beliefs anymore, not because I found overwhelming evidence to say otherwise, but because I believe 1) it’s not important for salvation to be a jew, or know who the jews are. And 2) I doubt whether anyone who claims to be a jew or an Israelite, could trace their lineage back to one of the tribes of Israel.
In the religion I was in, we were thought that many of the artwork and icon, particularly of the Renessance period were white washed. The interpretation of this meant artwork was either distorted from it’s true portrails, the characters in them being actually dark skinned, or the works redone with complete false representation. And I’ve read some writer’s who hold these views and proceed to show certain artworks as proof. I’ve come to realize that one could debate these claims and go back and forth pulling out books to refute one another to no avail. So I don’t bother anymore.
But I do know that many black americans and hispanic or latino americans, in particular, hold the view that the depiction of Jesus Christ portrayed by the catholic chruch is false and further more they associate the alleged falsehood with white supremacy. Meaning more truth being supressed from people of color and being replaced with rewritten history advantageous to white people.
Although latino/hispanic’s are predominately catholics, I haven’t heard of too many black amercian catholics. I’m not saying they are non, I’ve actually heard of a congregation of black american roman catholics in the states, Maryland I believe, but it seemed like that was a rare instance. Also I know the church has a large presence in the contenent of Africa, but to be quite honest the black in Amercia or even the carribbean seem to be of a different stock. There are many nations of people that are dark skinned, Arab, East Indian, Asian, etc that very dark in complexion but are clearly diferent people. In my opinio the same seems to be true in regards to black american and africans.
I apologies for making quit long, but I would greatly appreciate any dialogue on this subject.