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Humankind and Heroism

We, humankind, are in love with heroism. That is why we love our superhero movies.

Somehow, as the leading moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues persuasively, we are wired to seek justice and retribution for the wrongs against whomever we regard our own.

This is also why the life and teachings of Jesus are almost always projected in the lens of the super heroic, notwithstanding the fact his life resembled another tragic tale of someone who was crushed by the hegemonic colonial powers of the unapologetically cruel Roman Empire.

All of us have a part in us that seeks, consciously or unconsciously, to be heroic, perhaps by prayer or appeasing the gods or ancestors or by our sheer might of our capabilities.

So when we have this young teacher who claims to be from God, telling us that the way of victory lies not in our heroism, but rather in our love for our neighbour and our enemy and giving ourselves as living sacrifices of love to those that are the least amongst us; this…this is an anti-climax to every ounce of our moral intuitions. It defies every neural wiring of all human existentialism.

No wonder the teachings of Jesus Christ are probably the most ignored in all of Church history and particularly in our 21st century.

To be frank I understand, Jesus’s teachings, if you really get them, are extremely hard, if not near impractical. The real problem for me is our hypocrisy, as his followers, of blatantly embracing a heroic narrative, when Jesus is in fact, unequivocally calling us into an unambiguously un-heroic narrative, of taking up our cross and following him.

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