Crucifixion of Jesus

Power, Jesus, and Tony Stark

Crucifixion of Jesus
Brussels – The Crucifixion paint by Jean Francois Portaels (1886) in St. Jacques Church at The Coudenberg.

Today’s discussion inspired many thoughts about the allure of violence and why some people continue to actively witness violence while it feels disgusting and irrational to others. According to Sontag, she says that “Men make war. Men (most men) like war, for men there is ‘some glory, some necessity, some satisfaction in fighting’ that women (most women) do not feel or enjoy” (3). While it is unclear how true the gender disparity regarding inclination toward violence is, it is definitely true that some people enjoy violence more than others. From modern versions of violence—Horror movies, action movies, MMA fights, and video games—it is evident that people find pleasure, perhaps even beauty, in violence. Besides horror movies, which people seem to watch for the adrenaline like a roller coaster, violence forms of entertainment like MMA and video games etc share a uniting goal: to see who is the most powerful. Power is evolutionarily intriguing. The execution of power drives wars, destruction, and even improvement. Power is created by skill, demonstrates character, and is an ability made to be perceived by someone; hence, it is constantly captured by photographs, created by movie directors, and is a byproduct of poetry/literature. However, the inherent nature of power is to overcome something else, suggesting a struggle for power. Going back to our discussion today, we perceive the people in photographs either as victims or attackers or heroes or villains depending on how powerful they are and whose side they are on. Watching a powerless villain still incites a feeling of pity against an overpowering hero. However, the sight of someone on “your side” overpowering their opponent in a boxing match or a marvel movie is incredibly fulfilling, satisfying an appetite for being surrounded with power. One could even infer that the presence of God is fulfilling because of the presence of his power. It is not as though religious stories do not have a considerable amount of violence in them. 

At the end of today’s discussion, the question of how and why people identify with Jesus’s crucifixion was raised, and it still relates to the idea of power. Although Jesus is powerless against the people who killed him, even powerless against his God-determined fate, he shows power in his acceptance of sacrifice. Jesus’s self-sacrifice is a demonstration of power, as it is Jesus’s devotion and belief of god overpowering the human and flawed desire to live. Similarly, Margaret’s devotion to God and her fatal sacrifice was powerful, literally giving her God-given power to slay dragons and fight devils. Hence, these scenes of martyrdom are not scenes to be pitied by believers of God, but scenes of power. The “victims” of these scenes were powerful in their ability to overcome earthly desires and entirely devote themselves to God. In return, they were given unearthly, superhuman abilities. To answer the question stated at the end of today’s discussion, it seems as though people identify with the victims in these scenes and feel a sense of power because they wish themselves to be powerful enough, to use reason (their devotion to God) and win the fight against their earthly desires (to live not entirely devoted to God); Thus, purposefully becoming a victim to those who oppose God. 

**Also, spoiler for Marvel’s Endgame upcoming: but the reason why Tony Stark’s death was met with tears and but also reverential respect for his power and not pity and disgust is because of his self sacrifice. He uses reason and understands that he must die for the greater good, overcomes his hunger to live and sacrifices himself with passion. However, there are several things to unpack in his sacrifice. First, he must be powerful enough to even sacrifice himself for the cause. Not everyone can snap their fingers and utilize the infinity stones. Similarly, there is a reason Jesus and Margaret are sacrificed. It is precisely because of their power that they both choose or wholeheartedly accept to be sacrificed and that they were chosen to be killed. Thus, contrary to intuitive beliefs, religious philosophies suggest that the most powerful people are not always the ones who live on. However, our desire to watch power and feel reverential respect for powerful people or beings drives our curiosity to see violence, but also perhaps to follow God. 

– Donna and Cassidy

One thought on “Power, Jesus, and Tony Stark

  1. I think it’s very interesting the aspect you brought up that the presence of power or authority is necessary for the choice of sacrificing yourself to be respected. It definitely brings me to wonder whether humans view sacrifice from those with very little authority or power as less worthy or less equal to the sacrifice of those with status and authority.

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