Following a Dead Guy: Your First Mistake (Or Is It?)

Sure, Jesus is supposed to be “the shit,” or whatever. But why has no one ever stopped to consider that his steadfast followers were literally devoted to a zombie corpse? That’s what it is to die and then walk around afterward as though nothing happened, like the cadaveric system rendering one totally stiff as their cells die too. The people instead interpreted his reemergence from that tomb as some kind of “miracle,” rather than the horror show it actually was—if it even actually happened. For one tends to believe that either the body was moved from the tomb by one of the Bible-writing folk (namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) seeking to gain mention in their as-of-yet unreleased chapter or they hired a doppelgänger to pop out like a stripper from a giant cake and no one was the wiser. For everyone loves to believe in a miracle, no matter how flimsily it’s presented. 

As for the first theory, it would certainly make sense considering that all of the New Testament’s so-called accounts of Jesus’ resurrection are based merely on the description of there no longer being a body present in the tomb. Most prefer the romantic Gospel of Mark depiction, wherein Mary Magdalene (and Salome and Mary, Mother of James) is the one to discover his missing corpse. After all, Mary Magdalene was one of the few characters in the Bible to keep things truly interesting, and when she reappears every now and again, it’s enough to cause readers ample titillation. So much, in fact, so as to distract from something like “plausibility.” But isn’t it convenient that Mary Magdalene, always treated as a harlot not to be trusted, is taken at her word by men in this highly specific instance and this highly specific instance alone? When it behooves them all to found a profitable religion upon lore?

What’s more, wasn’t it just a little too business-like to spread the good news (if one calls the appearance of a zombie “good news”) of Jesus’ “return” under the moniker of “The Great Commission”? As in: commissioning followers (a.k.a. “soldiers”) the way a modern influencer might in paying for them to follow so as to seem more “legitimate.” The Great Commission also came complete with the ominous warning, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.” Uh, okay, so basically, everyone who didn’t really “believe” was being set up to be some kind of loser among their peers if they actually said so. Thanks a lot, Jesus

Of course, it wasn’t really Jesus’ fault, so much as those Apostles and writers who could see the value in commodifying his following for their own ends. And what without the internet and certain other kinds of media to help debunk myths at that time, the masses were left ignorant to the great con they were falling prey to. But why not fall prey (and pray) to it? Especially during that epoch in history, when entertainment options were sorely lacking. Everyone, all along, has just been looking and hoping for something to believe in. Even if it was patently ill-advised to believe in a dead guy. 

It was only after the release of Weekend at Bernie’s in 1989, that it truly became obvious just how bad of an idea it was to hang your hat on the reliance of a dead man to get what you want out of life. In Christian worshippers’ case, it’s something like an assured “fabulous” afterlife that they haven’t managed to get in the present one. In Larry Wilson (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard Parker’s (Jonathan Silverman), it’s the material trappings of Bernie’s wealth. Glamored as they were by his house in the Hamptons. Jesus, on the other hand, was painted to have a different kind of wealth. “Rich in spirit,” as it were. So rich, in fact, that he had enough spirit to raise himself from the dead and showcase his unique form of wealth once again. A wealth that made him elevated on a higher level than your average money-grubbing man. Which is precisely what leads one to believe that Jesus was actually a rich boy. For only rich boys can afford to be so la-di-da about money. And we all know his Daddy has plenty of assets, what with controlling the entire world and all. 

You might say putting all of one’s faith in a zombie rich boy is one of the most absurd things to have ever happened in the history of humanity. Until the election of a certain Orange “man” into a certain highly regarded office in a strangely regarded as “powerful” country. But then, humans are a strange lot. So strange that maybe they seek non-human or superhuman entities (whether said entities truly are or not) solely to find salvation in their own foul ways. Saying that Jesus “died for our sins” is just a way to evade any personal culpability for being a shit. The way Bernie—the Jesus figure of that aforementioned movie—himself was trying to avoid culpability in shifting fraud-related crimes onto Larry and Jonathan. In an inverse sort of situation to Jesus’ (even though Jesus likely should have been far more vindictive toward his own Apostles based on how he was treated by them).    

In both instances, Jesus and Bernie were condemned for trying to do what they felt they needed to do (never mind that what Bernie “needed to do” was less altruistic and more in keeping with the Decade of Excess’ own Gospel of Greed is Good). Ultimately, only to be used and abused. Propped up by other people for their own selfish motives. So what does that say? Well, maybe that, good or evil, you’re going to get fucked over when the masses find out you have something they can wield for their own benefit. In that regard, following a dead guy does start to make quite a lot of sense, to be honest…

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