Monday, May 30, 2011
Tupac, Elvis, and Jesus still alive and well...or NOT!
The recent hacking of pbs.org's website , in which a fake story was posted claiming that Tupac Shakur was "alive and well in a small resort in New Zealand", illustrates something fundamental about human nature and our inability to deal with death. Denial is a common reaction when confronted with the sudden, shocking, and brute finality of death, especially when it is a well-know or beloved figure. Tupac's fans didn't want to believe he was dead. The same was true for fans of Elvis, who was the biggest star of his era. It's unsurprising that similar reactions existed even thousands of years ago, when various small sects of reformist Jews, known as Christians, could not accept the reality of the death of their founder and leader. Instead, like all these other groups, they invented a story appropriate to their own era, culture, and level of technology. Unlike Elvis, who is often reputedly modified with plastic surgery, cyrogenically preserved, and hanging out on UFOs, Jesus was attributed various magical and supernatural properties to cheat the executioner. None of us want to believe that our heros are dead and gone. However, unlike christianity, most of these other modern groups have eventually developed the maturity to eventually accept the reality of the death of their heros. That is why it is essentially a bad joke to insist that Tupac is really alive. Few people sincerely believe Elvis faked his death today. Yet Christianity clings to its denialist rhetoric, despite the fact there is no independent evidence for their claims outside their own partisan stories in their own Bible. How do we know where Joseph of Aramathea really took the body, or if he substituted it with another before reaching the tomb. How do we know there was ever really a tomb, or that they found the right one, or that there even was a Jesus apart from fanciful stories about him. At least we know that Tupac and Elvis lived, which is more than we can say about claims made of Jesus. It's time for people to grow up and accept the reality of their own mortality, instead of inventing bogus stories about people coming back from the dead to give us false hopes. Perhaps, though I doubt it, this latest Tupac example will serve as a teachable moment for those still in denial and living in fantasy.