We have one hell of a crazy storm coming up. However, before we go there, let’s first briefly cover a few basics.
If I was to ask you where the boundary between Europe and Asia is, then I suspect that many of you would easily nail it by pointing out that the city of Istanbul famously sits bang on the Bosporus Strait, which is part of the continental boundary.
So where exactly is Asia?
Above at the top of this article is a map that shows you the full Asia content. As you can see, it includes both China and also India, and so this is where most of the human population is located on this planet. For the curious, roughly 4.6 billion (yes B for billion) humans live here.
The precise boundary of Asia is not a debatable topic. Instead, it is a well established and also generally well understood fact.
However, given the fuss generated by some, it will come as no surprise to discover that it came via folks who don’t actually care about facts, and much prefer myths.
Now, moving to the next step as part of a build up to our little storm in a teacup saga, if I was to ask you where Jesus was born, where did he live, and where did he die, then you would in all probability correctly identify the cities of Bethlehem and also Jerusalem, plus a few other places nearby.
No passport checks needed, this is well known.
To be clear I’m not asking what is actually true but rather what is generally understood and accepted.
None of this is controversial. If you identify as “Christian” then these are locations familiar to you.
Which continent are those places located in?
Asia of course.
In other words, Jesus was Asian.
If asked where Jesus was from, then we don’t tend to think like that, but might instead identify him as Middle Eastern or simply Jewish.
Middle-Eastern is a term that came into general usage during the 20th century replacing older terms such as “near east”. Neither is a geographical term, but rather is how people sitting in Rome saw the world around them because rather obviously this was all located east of where they were.
None of that changes the rather obvious fact that somebody born on the Asian continent is indeed “Asian”.
Christianity Today & Asian Jesus
Not too long ago (Dec 18), an artistic Christian named Victoria Jones published an article within “Christianity Today” titled “How Asian Artists Picture Jesus’ Birth From 1240 to Today“.
As a blogger who writes at ArtandTheology.org, artistic depictions is her expertise and so what we have here is a photo essay that covers how various different Asian cultures have depicted Jesus. Think of it as “Gosh look at all these different cultures embracing Jesus, look how universal he is”.
Her opening line is below, and this is what triggered many US centric right-wing fundamentalists …
Jesus was born in Asia. He was Asian. Yet the preponderance of Christian art that shows him at home in Europe has meant that he is embedded deeply in the popular imagination as Western.
The artists in this photo essay bring him back to Asia
You would not expect something as basic as that to be controversial in any way, but the perpetually ready to be offended crowd had other ideas.
As is their way, Christianity Today publish links to their articles and so here is their Dec 24 tweet promoting this photo essay …
If asked to guess how people would react, you might speculate that it would be interesting to those who have an interest in art, history, or culture, but that most would simply glaze over.
Er … no.
The clue is that while 121 clicked “Like” within the above tweet, there were also 1.2K replies
While a small handful of the comments are a WTF reaction to the other comments, many opted rage tweet.
The Twitter Storm
Here are 12 randomly chosen samples (screenshots from here on because I’m really not inclined to help fund Elon’s blue tick brigade).
We learn from these “scholars” that this article is apparently “Blasphemy” …
This one assures all that it was Bethlehem, and he quite sure that is nowhere near Asia because he “checked” …
Heresy today …
… or perhaps just “Today” …
Joel thinks he is being smart and making a point …
Apparently facts are nonsense …
I’m not sure this one appreciates who has actually lost the plot here …
We have also found an Asian who does not grasp the full extent of Asia …
This one is telling on himself …
In response to this next one, a guy born in Africa really is African, but not black …
Apparently Asia is a recent thing according to this guy …
This Joel, (a different one, not the one from earlier above), is indeed quite sure that parts of Asia are not in Asia …
… and on and on and on … literally ignorance incarnate and quite sure about it.
You would think that using Google to fact check might be a wise move, but apparently not for these folks. They all appear to be quite determined to vigorously argue from a position of complete and utter ignorance.
Was it just the low-information warriors?
Gosh no, some well-known names, the supposed educated leaders, also chipped in.
Ken Ham, the Answers in Genesis guy who thinks the entire Universe is just 6,000 years old and spent $100 million building a life sized replica of Noah’s Ark, chimed in with this …
Franklin Graham, son of the more famous Billy Graham, also chipped in on Facebook …
Did any of the 7.8K commenters under his FB posting correct him?
Of course not.
Even Fox News got in on the act with this article …
Did Fox News correct these people within their article?
Hell no, they simply quoted them. This is their demographic and they simply can’t have facts intruding on the bandwagon they they have all happily leapt on.
These are the people who believe that they have an exclusive claim on “truth”, yet rather hilariously demonstrate a rather astonishing degree of ignorance.
Honestly, is anybody actually surprised by this “revelation” of pure stupidity.
Why is it like this?
If we take for example Ken Ham, then we find that he is a guy who not only promotes the idea that not just planet earth, but the entire universe is just 6,000 years old, and also the flying fire breathing dragons and unicorns are real …
Quite clearly buying into all that requires the rejection of a great deal of well-established reality, so perhaps it’s not such a huge leap to not actually know what is and is not in Asia or even where it actually is.
Encountering these guys is perhaps akin to finding yourself in the middle of a crowd of flat-earth believers who insist that you are deeply stupid for buying into the “conspiracy” that we live on a globe … or as they might put it … a global conspiracy, and they are quite sure about all this because they have people all around the globe who think the same.