Recently on Twitter, someone complained about a blogger trying to read too much into Breaking Bad–specifically, that this person was trying to find parallels to Jesus in the show.
And this got me thinking about evangelicalism’s approach to finding Jesus in TV shows and movies.
For example: one time, I thought that Jax Teller (the protagonist of Sons of Anarchy) was a Jesus-type, the would-be savior of his club/people who would accomplish this mission by listening to the words of his father that had been written down in a book a long time ago. As far as Jesus comparisons go, I suppose I could do worse.
But more popular places that American Christians have “found” Jesus have included Braveheart and Gladiator–two pretty good movies in which the good guy’s sole mission is to kill the person or people responsible for making his life hell. Or Jesus is Neo in The Matrix. Or Jesus is Liam Nesson’s character in Taken.
Here’s what I’ve noticed: not a single one of the characters in those movies resembles the Jesus of the Bible. So I’ve started to wonder if many of us are hoping to find Jesus characters in movies and TV shows not because we desperately want to find the biblical Christ in those stories–but because we don’t really like the biblical Christ who dies for his enemies. Instead, we kind of wish that Jesus would act more like William Wallace and open a can of you-know-what on his enemies. (Because this, in turn, would give us justification to do the same.)