Notoriously woke magazine Christianity Today drew widespread criticism on Christmas Eve for making the claim that Jesus Christ was “born in Asia” and was actually “Asian.”
The claim was made in a post on X in promotion of a “photo essay” article entitled “How Asian Artists Picture Jesus’ Birth From 1240 to Today”.
The article, published on December 18th, begins “Jesus was born in Asia. He was Asian. Yet the preponderance of Christian art that shows him at home in Europe has meant that he is embedded deeply in the popular imagination as Western.”
The article takes aim at the European portrayals of Jesus, or those who “may object to depicting Jesus as anything other than a brown male born into a Jewish family in Bethlehem of Judea in the first century, believing that doing so undermines his historicity. But Christian artists who tackle the subject of the Incarnation are often aiming not at historical realism but at theological meaning.”
The post on X was massively ratio’d with many Christians taking the woke publication to task.
Was he gender fluid too?
— Heather Champion (@winningatmylife) December 24, 2023
What nonsense. Jesus was born in the Middle East and was Jewish.
— Renatta Michele Oxendine (@RenattaOxendine) December 24, 2023
This is probably super legit lol https://t.co/mq7UPeabne
— James Lindsay, America’s top op (@ConceptualJames) December 25, 2023
Others responded with equally as outlandish claims to show how absurd the publication was in its proclamation.
Jesus was born in Pennsylvania pic.twitter.com/qNccQCihBB
— Ford Taurus (@2013Taurus) December 24, 2023
— Three Year Letterman (@3YearLetterman) December 24, 2023
The article went on to praise Muslim interpretations of Christ, even though Islam is a religion that vehemently opposes representations of their own prophet Mohammed. “Muslims produced many fine examples in the medieval and early modern periods—whether for economic reasons, as an outworking of their own faith tradition’s reverence for Jesus, or simply out of curiosity and attraction. And in the 20th century, Hindu and Buddhist artists were also significant contributors,” the article reads.
The new editor-in-chief of Christianity Today Russell Moore recently remarked that evangelical Christianity is moving too far to the right” while he criticized President Trump. “Russell Moore resigned from the Southern Baptist Convention in 2021, after years of being at odds with other evangelical leaders. Specifically, Moore openly criticized Donald Trump, whom many evangelical Christians embraced” The New Republic reported.
Many cultures have interpreted the nativity family, and Jesus Christ, in art to appear as part of that culture, race or ethnicity. While Jesus is universal in the Christian faith, he was an historic individual with an actual ethnic background, and was a Jew. His customs, traditions, and education in the temple were all in keeping with Judaism at the time.