Jesus is my magic 8 ball

8ballI think sometimes the reason Jesus isn’t relevant is Christians (including me probably) treat Jesus like the magic 8 ball. Like he’s not even real. (notice real). Remember those? They were hoot when I was a kid. King of Queens had a good episode about the Metalo – the fortune teller that answered all your questions. Funny stuff! Don’t we do that though? Sometimes we treat Jesus like the lucky rabbit’s foot or the sky fairy or genie in the magic lamp.

This novelty item called “The Submissive Jesus” promoted by an atheist kind of sums up the mentality that Jesus is here for us rather than the other way around.

Submissive Jesus

The idea is that if you twist the crown of thorns into Submissive Jesus skull he will be forced to answer your prayer. At $29.95 (with a $10 rebate if you purchase before Mother’s Day)The Submissive Jesus says 100 random phrases and comes with:
26 page instruction manual
Dinner with God coupon
Freedom from Hell coupon
Warranty for 40 days and 40 nights

Their commercials are almost pornographic so reader – beware if you go to their web site. Here is the tamest of them (this should pop up a windows media player) and represents the mentality I think many Christians have regarding Jesus and prayer. More alarmingly this is the perception that non-Jesus followers have about us!

Here’s my question – what are we doing to CHANGE this perception?

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34 thoughts on “Jesus is my magic 8 ball

  1. I am a strong Christian, and yet I don’t see a problem with this Submissive Jesus head. This is just a toy. In fact, I bought one of them and I find some of the things it says very funny (“If I wasn’t a fictional character, you’d be damned to hell right now). My faith is strong and no plastic toy is going to change that. However, my sense of humor is also strong and when I come across something clever and funny, I acknowledge it. And this toy is clever and funny.

  2. I’m just another one of those pain-in-the-arse atheists you fine folks so worry about. (I’m also the bald ugly guy in that commercial you think is pornographic.) But isn’t this reaction just a little alarmist? I mean, it’s just a novelty item, a silly toy. I have several evangelical friends and, okay, all of them rolled their eyes a bit, but they still laughed and thought it was pretty funny. I can’t imagine how an intelligent person of faith would be impacted by this product. (How faithless would they be otherwise?) And the unsaved are no more likely to remain that way because they saw this item sitting on someone’s desk. I just think this is much ado about nothing.

  3. I too am a strong christian, and I see plenty wrong with this. This toy is a mockery of our deepest beliefs and should not be tolerated. I don’t believe in censorship, but when the object in question causes ridicule and disgust among many people, then it should be banned. I will pray to the real Jesus, not the Submissive Jesus, that the toymakers come to their senses and pull this out of the marketplace.

  4. I wasnt offended by the commercials or the toy. Personally – I thought the commercial about the woman getting a job was hilarious. Because I know some people who read this blog would be offended at the other commericals I warned them. I think its funny myself.

    joes is right – some of you missed the point. The point is about prayer. Do we think jesus is obligated to answer our prayers the way we want them to be – and do we pray for dumb things like the toy promotes – and is that the way the non-believing community sees us? I think the only reason they can market the toy this way is they truly do see us prayng weak prayers that are self serving – rather than trying to save the world.

    I didnt make my point very well.

    How about we pray that we can be effective and change the world and then actually try and do it instead of pray about which car we should buy or what job we want etc…

  5. How about this? The results of all prayer is 50/50, whether one prays for a job or world peace. Prayer is no different than flipping a coin or rolling the dice or…talking to a plastic Jesus toy. There are very few things in this world that are absolute, but here is one that you can take to the bank: prayer without the possibility of coincidence does not exist. Period. Any answered ‘prayer’ can be attributed to the prayer OR many other factors (weather conditions, timing, a rabbit’s foot, a horseshoe, a four leaf clover, a plastic Jesus head). If a person gets cancer and prays to be cured and IS cured, it could be many things that removed the cancer (chemo, drugs, remission, etc). If a person loses a leg and prays for the leg to grow back, and the leg grows back, there would be only one answer – the prayer worked – no coincidence. However, a lost leg will never grow back through prayer or any other means and that’s simply because prayer without the possibility of coincidence CAN NOT and DOES NOT exist. Here endeth the lesson.

  6. Pirro, I agree with you. I cannot prove the power of prayer. That is, everything I believe to be true about prayer could be dismissed as coincidence. That is why I call it faith. I suppose the converse can also not be proven, that is you cannot prove that prayer does not work. Would you agree?

  7. One can’t prove a negative. I can’t prove pigs don’t fly. I can only prove that they don’t fly when they’re being watched. It’s all perspective. If a person talks to himself pushing a shopping cart down the street, he’s crazy. If a person talks to himself by his bedside, he’s praying. There are certain things that I refer to as a ‘square circle.’ A square circle is an impossibility. Not too hard to understand if your brain is wired to comprehend it. However, if your brain is wired to believe that a square circle IS possible, then all bets are off and reason is now out of the equation. Prayer gives a person comfort and helps them feel that they’re not alone, and I am thankful for religion in those instances. If these people were to wake up one day and see the reality of the world, they might just go over the edge. If the threat of them being watched by an imaginary policeman keeps them from stealing from me or killing my family, long live God! Anyway, the Submissive Jesus toy is NOT for them. It was designed for people whose brain wiring sees the ludicrousness of it all, outside of the imaginary bubble.

  8. Pirro,

    You make it sound like all chrisitans are weak minded fools. I for one, take offence at that.

    As Joe stated…I cannot prove the power of prayer just as you truly cannot disprove it’s power either.

    I would never ridicule you for your beliefs nor do I believe it appropriate for you to riducule us for our beliefs.

    I believe that censorship is a very dangerous thing so, although I may find some of yout items offensive, I choose not to view them or support your business.

    I pray that God will reveal himself to you in a very powerful way.

    Peace!

  9. I never said Christians were weak minded. That’s too limiting. I’d throw in Mormons, Muslims and Scientologists as well.

    Since you’ve appointed yourself as spokesman for Christian intelligence, all I’ll say it this: I obviously don’t know you personally, but you DID misspell at least one word in four out of the five statements you made. If you want to appear intelligent, trade in your bible for a dictionary.

    You’ll forgive me, but people who worship an ancient book written in a dead language by primitive folks who thought the sun revolved around the earth are a little hard to be taken seriously.

    MP

    PS: You stick with your imaginary friend, I think we’ll get by without your support.

  10. You were right about the spelling…thank you for pointing out the errors. It’s late…and I am tired.

    BTW…the miss-spellings were due to typographical errors, not stupidity. That is what I get for responding late at night from my laptop.

    Hope you have a great day!

    Until next time.

  11. Hey Pirromount. Thanks for your comments and I think they do a lot to support the original intent behind my post. To those who don’t believe, the power of God certainly seems limited many times by the very people who profess to believe in the power of God. Christians shoot themselves in the foot many times by their own weaknesses and self centered form of Christianity.

    I laughed out loud when I saw your toy and your commercials because you pegged most of us. Many times our faith seems like nothing more than a lucky rabbits foot or that God is some kind of magic sky fairy.

    Jimmy and I happen to believe God is the creator of the Universe and his Only Son died and rose from the dead and offers eternal life and forgivenes and has called us and commissioned us to take that story and tell as many people as we can. I know it sounds silly to you and that OK. I get that. I even get that it gives you and opportunity to poke fun at it – and you know what – Im ok with that. A radical fundamentalist Muslim would demand an apology or blow up something I suppose if you offended Allah. (remember the cartoon fiasco last year?) But I am not offended by Submissive Jesus or ashamed of what I do

    Again-my intent here was not to make light of your toy or be offended by it or anything else. It was to challenge Christians that there had better be more to their faith than trying to make God into their magic 8 ball – or make Jesus submit to their petty demands – because its that kind of faith (among other things) that makes us look stupid. In kind of a weird twisted way you have helped our cause and I think thats awesome.

    Peace man. If you come up with anything else we can laugh together about let me know.

  12. Dave,

    Yours is the most elegant response I have ever received from a Christian. It was thought out, well worded and very intelligent. Quite a contrast from the usual rantings we get. An intelligent comment like that deserves an intelligent response, so here we go:

    The fact that you are smart enough to write a legible letter, plus the fact that you are smart enough to not be threatened by a plastic toy leads me to believe that you are also smart enough to one day vacate the God myth.

    Not to threaten your comfort zone, but dig a little beyond the Christianity bubble and you will discover that the Jesus story derives from many earlier gods: Like Mithra, Osiris and Dyonisis for example (Christians are completely unaware of these ‘gods’ because their knowledge stops at Jesus – “Jesus is lord. Why dig further?”). Mithra was one of the major gods of the Roman Empire which was derived from the ancient Persian god of light and wisdom. Mithra was the god of war, battle and justice. Mithra was called the son of God, was born of a virgin, had disciples, was crucified, rose from the dead on the third day, atoned for the sins of mankind, and returned to heaven.

    Around 2400 B.C. The god Osiris was worshipped by Egyptians. In power, he was second only his father, Ra (the Sun God), and was the leader of the gods on earth. He was the father of Horus (and a number of other gods in some stories). Osiris resided in the underworld as the lord of the dead, as after being killed, even though he was a god, he could no longer dwell in the land of the living. After Osiris was killed, Isis resurrected him with the Ritual of Life, which was later given to the Egyptians so that they could give eternal life to all their dead.

    Around 200 B.C. the god Dionysus was said to have been born from a virgin mother, a mortal woman, but fathered by the king of heaven, to have returned from the dead, to have transformed water into wine, and to have been liberator of mankind. The scholar Barry Powell argues that Christian notions of eating and drinking “the flesh” and “blood” of Jesus were influenced by the cult of Dionysus (who by the way, were cannabals). If the Jesus story is true, why are these earlier stories myths?

    So you see, Dave. Pick your fantasy. It’s like someone going up to a department store Santa saying, “All those other Santas I see are fake. I believe YOU’RE the REAL Santa.” It’s not that hard to understand…but ONLY if your brain is pre-wired to get it. If it isn’t, no amount of logic will save you, no amount of rationality will enlighten you. Your brain is pre-wired to shut down when the comfort zone is threatened. If you have a lifetime invested in keeping a myth alive, then no amount of research or information will change that.

    Anyway, I only give you this information (which you can easily verify…if you dare!) because I really think you are intelligent enough to get it. This may offend some of your readers, but I’m not talking to them. With this response, I’m talking only to you. Contact me in a few years, after you’ve done a little research. When you attain my ‘spiritial level,’ we’ll talk.

    Sanely and rationally,

    Mark

    PS: If you can handle it, check out this clip from the documentary, “The God Who Wasn’t There.” It illustrates a few of my points. ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUBqgucLXzk

  13. Mark – Glad we could have a sane dialog and can now be on a first name basis. I have in fact done some of the research you suggested in the past and there are even reference in the bible to some of it. I also watched the clip you refer to. The apologetic that Satan counterfeited the other Christ like characters before Jesus ever came along is a weak position to argue from. Once again – we look like boobs.

    The truth is there are better researchers and masters of Christian Apologetics than I could ever hope to be who would gladly stand toe to toe and “debate”. There are also some boobs (wasn’t kirk Cameron recently debating someone?) However this would only serve – in my opinion – at this point – to cause us both to dig in our trenches and adopt the position – “I shall not be moved.”

    We have both done our homework and are solidly convinced. So lets leave it there for now. I would rather say “I have this friend named Mark on the internet who makes this toy that pokes fun at Jesus and prayer – you should meet him sometime” – than get into a pissing match trying to convince you by “proofs” what I believe by “faith” and visa versa and then never be “friends”.

    And I would hope that you might say one day “I have this friend on the internet who is a Pastor that has a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering who for some reason still believes in Jesus and has a crazy blog called Moviepastor.com but he is unlike any Christian I’ve ever met in some ways. And even though he’s just as goofy in other ways he almost makes me want to find out what its like to be a Christian.”

    Maybe – maybe not. But i am glad we’ve met via the “miracle” of the Internet. Thank Al Gore!
    :-)

  14. The feeling is mutual, Dave. It’s refreshing to find a being amongst the masses that can retort with intelligent discussion rather than the usual, “oh yeah? Well…you’re an idiot. duhhh…I’m rubber and you’re glue…you’re stupid and that proves there’s a god” type of mentality. Talking to them is like trying to play chess with someone that only comprehends the strategy of dodgeball.

    At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what one believes. If one’s beliefs keep them inline, I’m all for it. As I’ve said before, I’m grateful that many believe in an invisible man in the sky watching their every move. If it keeps them behaving, I can’t complain. It’s only when they fly planes into buildings or bomb abortion clinics or cause distress in their god’s name that I have an issue (and I dare say anybody else with an I.Q. above room temperature).

    Keep the faith and continue to be the exception to the rule. You’re the first…and I dare say only…Christian that I have ever encountered that I can talk to like a scholar. By the way, shameless plug here: we’re producing a movie called “The God Complex,” which addresses… intellectually…the very issues of the bible mythology and contradictions within. You can see stills from it and a trailer on our website.

  15. Quick response to Jeff:

    I’m sorry, which atheists were you referring to that look like fools? Richard Dawkins, Einstein, James Randi, Carl Sagan, George Carlin, Penn and Teller, Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud, Steven Hawking? Those are the most prominent atheists I’m aware of.

    However, let’s name some Christian spokesmen. Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, Oral Roberts, Jan Couch, Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Kirk Cameron, Peter Popoff. Any fools in that lot?

    There’s an old saying, “You can’t teach a monkey to read, and you can’t explain to the monkey WHY you can’t.” Thank you for proving my earlier point.

    Rationally,

    Mark

  16. Dave,

    I posted a reply to your reply. It was civil, well worded and nice. I don’t know why, but it didn’t stick here. That’s a shame. It was pretty good. No energy to write it again. Sorry.

    Mark

  17. Mark,

    I would like to apologize for the comment left by Jeff.

    I would also like to apologize if I may have offended you in any way.

    I wish that more Christians would be as well informed and staunch in their beliefs as you are in yours.

    Peace!

    Jimmy

  18. Mark,

    I don’t know why…but your last comment was marked as spam by the blog site spam catcher.

    Again…sincere apologies.

    Peace!
    Jimmy

  19. No offense and no apologies needed. Personally, I wish you didn’t delete his comments. I know you want to protect people from seeing the irrational side of your religion, but that’s one of the problems. In order to be completely objective, one shouldn’t censor any points of views, even the ones you may object to. That way the reader can see all sides and draw their own conclusions. When you limit the comments, the perspective becomes skewed. Just an opinion.

    Mark

  20. I can’t say I’ve ever deleted a comment. I even leave up the wacky comments left by holocaust deniers and Bush/9/11 conspiracy theorists. Those kind of folks show themselves for the loons they are. What is the saying, “Better to be silent and be thought a fool, then open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

  21. If you truly knew the Lord Jesus and walked with Him (like Abraham did, and Moses did) you would feel that “check in your spirit” that this is a mockery of CHrist. Just like the Evan Almighty movie…a mockery of the judgment of God…..does anyone on this sight have a “fear of the Lord”…..AWE, REVERENCE for Him?

    If Jesus can be reduced to a bobble head doll and you think “that’s funny”….you’ll be SHOCKED (and not laughing) when He says…depart from Me….I never KNEW YOU…….

    you can know all about Jesus in your head….if you do not know Him by the SPirit…you are walking in darkness…..

  22. Pingback: Top 10 Posts For 2007…so far! « Relevant Christian Blog

  23. Once you realize that Jesus is imaginary, the rest is easy. I know you won’t understand this, T.J, as your mind is wired in a certain way, but when one is not in the religious bubble, there is no fear. It’s like the child that fears the monster in the closet or under the bed. Once he understands that the fear is in his mind, he’s fine. In any event, you can live any delusion you want, that’s your right. And we’ll exploit that delusion, that’s our right. Here endeth the lesson.

  24. Ha Ha Ha. Well put Submissive Jesus. I can’t wait to receive my Submissive Jesus head, which I ordered today. Can I get mine autographed?

  25. They just put up another commercial for this thing. I’m not sure what to think of it, but these people are sure ballsy! This one has Jesus, Buddah and Mohammad!! I saw it on Youtube. Just type Submissive Jesus in the search window and look for the newest one.

  26. Pirromount,
    Einstein and Abraham Lincoln were no atheists.

    Einstein was raised Jewish. He never became a commited Jew but He often talked about “the cosmic intelligence” which lay behind the universe of space and time. He also was questioned in an interview with, “The Saterday Evening Post” in 1929, “(Do) You accept the historical Jesus?” to which he answered,

    “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”

    If any doubt should remain in your mind, Einstein attended a concert given by Yehudi Menuhin, the great Jewish violinist, who gave a recital on Beethoven, Bach and Brahms. Einstein was so overwhelmed that, after the concert, he rushed across the stage into Menuhin’s dressing room, and exclaimed, “Jetzt weiss ich, dass es einen Gott im Himmel gibt”—”Now I know that there is a God in heaven.” Einstein though not devoted to his religious beliefs oviously believed in God which takes him off your list of famous atheists.

    Abraham Lincoln never formally joined a church, which should not matter because your church attendence does not make you a Christian; but because of Lincoln’s lack of membership he was often verbally abused by opposing polital opponents in his runs for office. In 1846, when Lincoln ran for congress against Peter Cartwright, the noted evangelist, Cartwright tried to make Lincoln’s religion or lack of it a major issue of the campaign. Responding to accusations that he was an “infidel”, Lincoln defended himself by publishing a hand-bill in which he stated:

    That I am not a member of any Christian church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular… I do not think I could myself be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, or scoffer at, religion.

    The quote, “I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures” is what supports my view. The Scriptures Lincoln is referring to are the same Scriptures that say, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was born of a virgin, who lived a perfect life on Earth as a human but also as God, who was offered as the final, perfect sacrifice on the cross, and through Whom we are saved from an eternity of torment, if we so choose, and are seen by God as His sinless creation. If Abraham Lincoln never denied this truth then Abraham Lincoln is not an atheist.

    Also, you for got to add these people to your list of Christian (or believers in God) spokespeople:

    Mother Theresa, Sam Walton, T.S. Elliot, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolken,
    George Washington, Patrick Henry, Christopher Columbus, Isaac Newton, The Wright Brothers, Galileo Galilei, Billy Graham, Eric Liddell,
    Danielle Steele, George Washington Carver, Alan Shepherd, Stonewall Jackson, Emmitt Smith, Johnny Cash, Nicolaus Copernicus, Lord Kelvin, and, my personal favorite, Fred Rogers-Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. : )

    Thanks,
    Bethany

  27. To Bethany,

    Have you ever heard of the term “Confirmation bias?” It’s very popular in Christianity (and not to mention politics). Confirmation bias refers to a mindset where one looks for something that confirms a belief, ignoring or undervaluing the relevance of what contradicts the belief. For example, you gave a quote from Einstein that makes you believe he’s not atheist. I can give you a quote that refutes it:

    Einstein: “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religion than it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    Same thing for Abraham Lincoln, “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.”

    Now this is where confirmation bias comes in. I am atheist, no doubt about it. But when I’m dead, I’m sure one could find dozens of my friends that will attest that I said, “God bless you,” when someone sneezed, or “Oh god! Oh god” at the peak of a sexual encounter. Does that make me religious? Hardly, but with confirmation bias and me not here to refute it, it might.

    I know religious people take great comfort in numbers, it helps validate their mythology. There are a few people who think Elvis is still alive, fortunately they are few and most would regard these souls as a bit unbalanced. However, if suddenly one day 20 million people were to believe that Elvis were still alive, then their delusion would become…well…less delusional to the masses at large. It’s all perspective. The brain interprets the information is gets and how it relates to the world. Either one’s brain has the God switch on or the reality switch on. Most scientists (I believe the number is in the mid 90 percentile) have the reality switch on. When a religious person wants to point to a scientist who believes in a god, they will find one from the 10% left, add a little confirmation bias, and viola! They’ve validated their case.

    Right now, most ‘sane’ people regard Scientology as a pretty silly religion. It’s about 56 years old and was started by a science fiction writer. However, it has a growing number of followers. Some people actually knew L. Ron Hubbard. He was just a regular guy with a vivid imagination. Now, let’s forward 2000 years from now. Scientology becomes a mainstream religion and Hubbard is regarded as a prophet. Don’t think it can happen? I promise you it can. Need proof? You don’t have to look any further than Christianity. Scientology is just a hybrid of science fiction stories of the 19th century. Christianity is just a hybrid of Egyptian mythology of 3000 B.C. and beyond. The evidence is there, you can research it or, as most religious people do, ignore it. To research it threatens the security and comfort of a god. To ignore it keeps one blissfully safe.

    In conclusion, religion is like porn; it comforts those who need it, upsets those who despise it, brings in billions of dollars, and will never go away. Of course, with porn, the consumer really gets something useful for his money.

    Rationally yours,

    Mark

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