Everybody liked Jesus
Everybody wanted to hang out with him."
As any religious scholar will tell you, Christ said many things that were profound, inspiring, and uplifting, but He wasn't all too entertaining... or was He?
It's an interesting phenomenon: Jesus is generally presented as an admirable figure, or at least benign, even in non-Christian or anti-Christian media. Atheists, Jews, Buddhists, cynics — anyone who might author stories unflattering in their portrayal of the Almighty, The Bible or religion in general — are nonetheless complimentary to that Nice Jewish Boy. This can be used as a Take That! to Christianity ("Jesus was cool even if his followers all suck"), but also as a Pet the Dog moment from a character who is otherwise portrayed as villainous and/or hostile to the status quo ("Even Bad Men Love Their Jesus"). This makes sense, in a way. Jesus was supposed to be God in mortal form, and as such, having a sense of humor is possible, if not probable.
This is not always received well. Portraying Jesus as a cool dude can somewhat dent his gravitas as a religious figurehead, and as a result some Christians can get offended by (what they consider to be) the trivialization of their Lord and Savior. There's also the fact that Jesus is a figure in Islam as well, and general Islamic sentiment is that prophets are sacred and should not be portrayed. Others may note that Jesus is Way Cool because he happens to agree with the writer on all sorts of subjects, even those where all the evidence is the other way round. On the other hand, when employed in works that try to play up Christianity as being "cool" by association, it generally gets a free pass. Always remember that tropes are neither inherently good nor inherently bad, just tools.
The trope is usually associated with atheistic former Christians who are attempting to dissociate themselves from Christianity, but still have issues with it, and therefore need to view/depict Christ as a sympathetic figure, in order to obtain integration, resolution, and catharsis; Kevin Smith's example (from Dogma, as shown in the trope photo) is quintessential of this, as was South Park's attempt to basically include Jesus as a member of their community. In these cases, it can overlap with God Before Dogma: their issue isn't necessarily with the Lord Himself, just with religious doctrines or practices done in His name.
Nevertheless, the trope actually does have some genuine theological support insofar as Jesus tended to associate with the outcast and marginalised members of society, like prostitutes, people found guilty of adultery, tax collectors, and various other types who were considered unsavoury by the religious authorities of the day. He also had a pronounced anti-authoritarian streak, regularly calling out religious leaders for hypocrisy and acting Holier Than Thou. Several portions of the Bible also portray him as a master of the Verbal Judo and an expert in Shaming the Mob, which undeniably gives him an air of being an accomplished Badass Pacifist. And last, but certainly not least, there are also the facts that Jesus' whole ethos is bound up on the idea that he is the ultimate All-Loving Hero who will offer Forgiveness to all who willingly seek it, no matter how great their crime or transgression, and that is his whole mission is being The Paragon who will lead humanity unto a better path. These are all traits that are highly likely to find Values Resonance across time periods and cultural differences. Study of the New Testament (and the non-canon Gospels) will tend to show Christ as much less severe than he is sometimes depicted by certain church authorities, who have been known to (ironically) misuse his words with an eye on political and social control.
When Jesus surpasses "way cool" and delves into "Freakin' Badass", that's Kung-Fu Jesus. Compare and contrast Jesus Was Crazy, Hippie Jesus. When cool people express admiration for him, it's a case of Real Men Love Jesus. When people philosophize about imitating him, it often overlaps with What Would X Do?. A supertrope to No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus (Jesus is always special, even if there are individuals In-Universe who are capable of matching or exceeding his own supernatural feats) and No Such Thing as Space Jesus (one part this to one part Humans Are Special). Also overlaps with Everyone Is Christian at Christmas, when even people of other faiths or none think it's cool to observe that holiday about His birth.
Compare God Is Good, which is similar to this trope but more focused on The Father or the whole Trinity instead of just The Son; the third leg would fit under Humans Are Good. Compare Everybody Loves Zeus, where they focus on various other divine beings of light and the heavens. Sub-trope of Periphery Demographic, since it involves non-Christians who nonetheless admire Jesus and his teachings despite being non-Christians.
Contrast Jesus Taboo, where He may be special but we never find out because people avoid mentioning Him.
- In the manga Saint Young Men, Jesus and Buddha are best buddies living in Tokyo and generally enjoying the human world on their vacation, doing such mundane things as going to convenience stores, taking the train and buying souvenirs. Even though Jesus is depicted as a bit of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer, it's affectionate rather than insulting.
- Even a work as disturbing as Arm of Kannon gave props to Jesus. He was apparently one of the very few people who could contain one of the eponymous Pieces of God without losing control. The way it's portrayed is incredibly awesome too. Jesus calmly faced the out of control Arm which had taken on the form of a rampaging dragon and offered it a home inside him. Jesus stared down a dragon and peacefully subdued it.
- While she may not exactly follow her vows, Eda of the Church of Violence seems to believe this in Black Lagoon. She refers to Jesus as a trickster who turned water into wine.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run, the holy saint that gives out Stands like candy is implied to be Jesus himself, the first Stand user. Jesus was also quite literally the first JoJo, since his full name was Yoshua-bar-Yosef.
- In the Battle Pope series, Jesus is the hippie and oblivious sidekick to a badass post-apocalyptic God-buffed Pope.
- Garth Ennis, well-known for his Rage Against the Heavens/God Is Evil stories, sympathetically portrays Jesus in Chronicles of Wormwood. Jesus, or "Jay", is the African-American best friend of the titular Anti Anti Christ (both sons who hate their dads), who suffered brain damage from police brutality while protesting the Iraq War, and who has suffered psychologically for centuries from his overwhelming desire to do good.
- In another Ennis-written example, the demon Hoss tells Ghost Rider a story that strongly implies that Jesus's message of forgiveness and love was distorted by demonic interference so that it became one of "pain an' sacrifice an' guilt...just another damn religion." The same comic features a ruthless, mass-murdering, child-killing archangel as Heaven's agent on Earth and two Smug Snake lesser angels in the Celestial Bureaucracy only out to save their own bacon, suggesting that Jesus was a major exception to the usual way of doing business Up There.
- In Valérian the Son is the most laid-back member of the Trinity of Hypsis, taking the form of a guitar-playing, weed-smoking hippie with stigmata. He once healed the comic's Satan Expy (who isn't really a bad guy either)!
- Underground comic artist Frank Stack (aka Foolbert Sturgeon) did a few comic books with Jesus in the present day, quietly (mostly) observing humanity's less than stellar actions.
- In Spawn, God and Satan, though neither are particularly malevolent toward anyone but each other, are portrayed as essentially bratty teenagers on a cosmic scale. Jesus, on the other hand, is not God's son, but His mother, and the true Creator of the universe. She (the entity is technically genderless, but usually given feminine attributes) incarnated herself on Earth in an attempt to make humanity better than her children. As can be imagined given this goal, religious fundamentalism gets her down.
- Incidentally, Spawn's creator and head writer Todd McFarlane is an atheist. Speaks to his respect of the guy.
- In the Italian satiric comic Jenus of Nazareth, Jesus got an amnesia because during the second coming he received a flesh and blood body while he was still falling on Earth, and has become arrogant and foul mouthed, but is still a good and fun guy, and willing to bust up asses to help people. His reaction to finding out that the Catholic Church was using his name to enrich themselves? Kick the Pope and all his cardinals out of the Vatican for occupying his house without authorization and being assholes, and beat the stuff out of them when they try and resist. And note that he doesn't believe he's the Messiah, and needed Agnus, the Lamb of God, to remind him any church is technically his home...
- Pre-amnesia Jesus was even cooler. A Deadpan Snarker if there is one, an incredibly hilarious Prankster, willing to die for our sins... Truly his only issue was his tendency to ridicule Judas, and even that had a reason (his death could only be caused by true hate, thus he needed Judas to hate him). The exchange between Jesus and Judas as the latter is betraying him shows just how cool this Jesus is:
Jesus: "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"Judas: "He who sows wind will reap whirlwind... Master! Fate is a funny thing... In the end, the last aphorism shall be mine... Ah ah!"Jesus: "Beans!"Judas: "Mh?"Jesus: "He who sows beans shall reap whirlwind."Judas: "What absurd phrase is that? It means nothing!! You lose!! This time you..."*Beat. Jesus' grinning*Judas: "AAARGH!! I GOT IT NOW!! DIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!! DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!"
- Also, when Doc Brown runs over Judas and the guards from the Sanhedrin to prevent the birth of Christianity Jesus makes sure the plan works anyway. How? He goes to Pilatus and turns his glass of wine into water, threatening to do the same with all his wine unless he gives him his help, and promising he'll give him back his wine and more if he does. Way to go, Messiah!
- Just don't piss him off, either before or after the amnesia. As an amnesiac, he massacred a bunch of cardinals when they tried to kick him out of the Vatican. With his memory, as shown by the Pills of Jenus strips... Well, if you say your bullying son was just joking when he put a gas compressor up the butt of his victim and activated it he'll appear with a Candid Camera sign and put a gas compressor up your ass (a reference to a bullying episode that made Italian news when the strip was made), and when the SS captain Erich Priebke died and nobody wanted to have him buried there he made him a grave with the stone doubling as a fully functional toilet (remember, Jesus was a Jew).
- Pre-amnesia Jesus was even cooler. A Deadpan Snarker if there is one, an incredibly hilarious Prankster, willing to die for our sins... Truly his only issue was his tendency to ridicule Judas, and even that had a reason (his death could only be caused by true hate, thus he needed Judas to hate him). The exchange between Jesus and Judas as the latter is betraying him shows just how cool this Jesus is:
- Second Coming: God is portrayed as a lazy deity frequently indifferent to humans and their suffering. Jesus however was determined to help them find a better way. It didn't work out, but he is never shown as anything except a deeply compassionate person, unwilling to do harm except as a last resort in self-defense.
- Well before her true religious conversion in Angel of the Bat, Cassandra Cain is shown to be notably uncomfortable with Christianity (particularly the Old Testament), only really starting to warm up to it when she learns about Jesus, who she really likes and gets behind.
- In Child of the Storm, when Thor and Loki are telling the other Avengers about other pantheons and gods they know personally, they mention Jesus as a personal friend, and a very nice (if snarky) guy. When he shows up in Ghosts of the Past, Harry's psychic powers detect nothing from him but an almost overwhelming amount of empathy and compassion - though since he's extremely twitchy at that point, his instinct is to lash out with a psychic blast that would have lobotomised Wembley Stadium (capacity: 90,000 people). Nothing happens beyond Jesus being mildly surprised that he felt it. Thereafter, he serves as a combination of Harry's Parole Officer (post Dark Phoenix) and - in Jesus' view, more importantly - occasional therapist/mentor, acting as a liaison between him and the other pantheons.
- Monty Python's Life of Brian is surprisingly non-scathing toward Jesus in a work that parodies the religions based on his teachings; the Pythons rejected their initial concept of Brian as a forgotten disciple of Jesus because the laughs stopped dead whenever Jesus was around — none of them felt comfortable directly making jokes about Him. He remains in one scene where people mishear the Sermon on the Mount (which He is delivering straight), which basically epitomizes the real theme of the movie: the conflict between what Jesus said and what certain people thought (and still think) they heard. (The Pythons had hoped to persuade George Lazenby to play Jesus so they could proclaim "George Lazenby IS Jesus Christ!" on their posters, but Lazenby was busy.)
- Although He never speaks and is only seen from behind or at a distance, Jesus appears as a background character in Ben-Hur. One memorable scene has Him giving a drink of water to the title character. A Roman Centurion tries to stop Him, but Jesus just stares at him without a word and the Centurion backs down.
- In the original stage version, Jesus was played by a spotlight. Part of the contract from the author of the original book was that Jesus would not be portrayed by an actor.
- Hair - The title song references wanting "hair like Jesus wore it." Jesus was so cool, he had hippie hair 1,935 years before hippies even existed. note
- Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter has the titular character hunting vampires, doing Kung Fu, dancing, singing, and preaching tolerance for sexual minorities.
"Don't follow me. Follow my teachings."
- Tommy Gnosis from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
"You know what He was saving us from was his fucking father!"
- It's hard not to think his own issues may have played a part...
- The View Askewniverse (the films of Kevin Smith):
- The franchise gives us The Buddy Christ, part of the "Catholicism WOW!" campaign in Dogma as part of a move to boost Church attendance. Oddly, despite the cynicism of the move, Cardinal Glick's stated reasoning was sound: the symbol of Christianity being the cross was, to him, "wholly depressing". "Christ didn't come here to give us the willies! He came to help us out!" He has since cameoed in more than one Kevin Smith film since then (Smith's comic shop even had a life-size version in the store).
- Jesus was also mentioned several times by Rufus over the course of the movie, including agreeing with Glick, if not explicitly or by the same reasoning, that there is an issue with Catholics "mourning" their faith. While other parts of the movie parody different parts of religion, specific references to Jesus himself pretty much match what's written in the Bible. From the descriptions, Jesus seems to have been fairly laid back (he apparently owes Rufus twelve dollars) and enjoyed listening to people talk more than anything else.
Rufus: He likes to listen to people talk. Says it sounds like music to Him. Christ loved to sit around the fire and listen to me and the other guys. Whenever we were going on about unimportant shit, He always had a smile on His face.
- The extended scenes has Bethany ponder WHY Jesus loved to hear people talk: saying nothing of importance was a luxury he was never afforded.
- Unfortunately, He still owes Rufus twelve bucks.
- While most of The Last Temptation of Christ focuses on his internal strife over living as a man or dying painfully to fulfill God's will, the Wedding at Cana scene gives Jesus a sense of fun and humor. Even better, the whole exchange is canon:
Father of the Bride: It's been three days and I'm about to run out of wine.Jesus: What's in those?Father: Water.Jesus: No. It's wine.Father: No, that's water, I put them myself.Jesus: It's wine.Father: It's water.Jesus: Go over there and make sure... (Father doesn't move) Do it.Father: (Skeptically has a taste) You're right, it's wine!Jesus: (Smiles, lifts his cup and drinks up)
- The Brazilian movie O Auto da Compadecida features Jesus Christ as a black man named Emmanuel (one of his many Biblical names) judging the main characters in the afterlife. He is never anything other than extremely nice to everyone, even to the Devil, who is an prick and towards the main hero, who makes a racist remark against him, but Jesus takes it in stride while calling him out in the most chill manner.
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a Secret Test of Character has the seeker of the grail pick from a hundred different grails. Donovan, neither a devoted christian or archeologist, accepts a gaudy, golden cup, calling it a cup "fit for the King of Kings." Indy instead picks a plain wooden cup, remembering that Jesus of Nazareth was a traveling carpenter, and certainly couldn't afford anything fancy.
- Jesus is the only main character in Good Satan who is shown to be completely selfless and virtuous to the point where even Satan can't bother to hate him. Even when he's kicked out of Heaven for being outed as gay, Jesus leaves Heaven willingly and enters Hell, leading to Satan taking him back out of guitlt for essentially ruining his life.
- In Gifted, Frank talks about religion with his adorably precocious niece, Mary. She asks if there's a God, and he simply says he doesn't know, and that while he does have an opinion, he feels it's not his place to push it onto her, since she should be allowed to decide for herself what she believes. Mary then asks, "What about Jesus?" Frank responds, "Love that guy. Do what he says," but declines to clarify whether or not he thinks Jesus is divine or just a very wise and good person.
- Jesus shows up a few times in the Italian comedy series Fantozzi:
- In the first movie Fantozzi and Filini get stuck in the middle of a lake without food and in sweltering heat. Cue Jesus (He's supposed to be one of religious-themed hallucinations Fantozzi suffers from when injured, but Filini saw and interacted with Him too) just walking out of nowhere to multiply any bread or fish they have... Except they failed to fish anything and forgot the bread.
- The fifth film, Superfantozzi, shows the (mis)adventures of Fantozzi in various time periods, including a Jewish one in Jesus' time. Too bad Fantozzi's original incarnation is responsible for Adam and Eve eating the Fruit, thus Jesus shows up to enact divine punishment and test him:
- During the first encounter Fantozzi, a poor farmer, is toiling at his food garden on the shore of Lake Tiberias when Jesus walks on the lake and reaches the shore, before calling to him the children... On the other side of the garden. The obvious result is the long-awaited divine punishment, and the set-up for the test.
- Some time later Fantozzi is told that his rich uncle just died of leprosy... And Fantozzi, as the only heir, is openly happy at the event, and follows up with torching the shack he lives at with his wife and daughter and showing up at the funeral proclaiming himself the heir, bullying everyone, and then going to a long-haired man he thinks is the lawyer and asks for the documents to sign to get the inheritance... But the long-haired man only says "Lazarus. Rise and walk.", bringing Fantozzi's rich uncle back to life and allowing him to disinherit him for how horribly he acted.
- In The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, the main conflict erupts between the local druid/pagan factions of Britain and early Christians at the time of King Arthur. Even so, at least one prominent druid (Merlin, no less) remarks that he has never had a problem with Jesus, only with the way most people interpret His words. This theme continues in prequel book, "The Forest House", with the priestess Caillean seeming to also hold Jesus in high regard.
- Christopher Moore's novel Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal is based entirely around this trope, portraying "the lost years" of Jesus' life between the events of the Gospels. Among its more notable scenes, Jesus learns kung fu from Shaolin monks, learns to become invisible (by achieving Nirvana, to humorous effect with His friends and general consternation of the monks), becomes best friends with the last Yeti, and becomes a yoga master, which somehow lets Him create food out of thin air. This is all played relatively straight, however... and the character is portrayed very sympathetically. Jesus in the book... really is shown as being way cool.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice paints God as a jerkass (though not evil), Satan as vaguely benevolent and both as mere peons before real deities, who run some sort of creation business. But Jesus and Saint Peter are both good guys.
- Despite being irreverent towards religion in general, the beginning of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy still gives a nod to the man who was "nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change."
- Robert Rankin's Armageddon: The MusicalJesus is way cool and a generally nice guy when he comes down to try and sort out the plot. His sister Christine, however, rather resents him getting all the press again.
- William Blake definitely thought so. His work The Everlasting Gospel describes Jesus as a "supremely creative being above rigid dogma, above harsh logic, above even morality".
- In the book Deadline the main character has frequent dreams in which he talks to a character named "Hey-Soos". Hey-Soos is basically a tanner white robe wearing version of the 18 year old main character, has a calm, laid-back demeanor and is very supportive of main character Ben Wolf. He also likes to make jokes about his reminiscence of Jesus Christ through various means, one of which being when he made his hands bleed during a dream talk he had with Ben to freak him out, then laughing about it.
- The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is equal parts this and a Take That! against organized religion (compare the many variations of "your Christians are so unlike your Christ" in Real Life below). It suggests that the "great humanistic teacher" and the Shameless Self-Promoter, who C. S. Lewis considered so incompatible, were separate characters, with "the Scoundrel Christ" corrupting and profiting from the acts of "the Good Man Jesus", and that they were conflated by contemporary chroniclers.
- In James Morrow's Only Begotten Daughter, the second Messiah Julie Katz meets her older brother Jesus in Hell, where he tries to lessen the suffering of the damned. Although he initially comes across as a Jerkass, she eventually realizes Jesus Was Way Cool, and heads back to Earth to set things right with his blessing.
- In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden states that he's "sort of an atheist" but he likes Jesus, though his disciples annoy him. He also believes that "Jesus never sent old Judas to Hell".
- Memnoch the Devil: The Vampire Lestat met Jesus. At first he was freaked out meeting the son of God, but then Jesus gave the vampire a drink of his very own blood.
- In The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, one of the socialist characters who is openly opposed to Christianity admits that he is perfectly fine with Jesus, claiming that he was a practical man.
- Julian goes on for a bit about how Jesus was not God, that his followers suck, that the Roman prefect was correct in executing him... and that his moral teachings are beyond question.
- Zigzaged in the Jessica Christ series. Jesus comes across as a decent guy, and certainly more professional and responsible than God, but Jessica also thinks that he's overly prone to complaining and self-pity.
- Norwegian poet André Bjerke wrote the poem Mesteren ("The Master"). It's written from the perspective of Jesus as he laments that humanity have only learned to follow him in suffering, instead of finding happiness in their lives. (freely translated:)
All who follow shall suffer and fall to rotI tell you humans, follow me not
- In The Slave of the Huns, by Geza Gardony, a novel located in the fifth century during the barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire, the protagonist, Zeta, a Greek Christian slave, converses with a Taltos, a priest of the Huns. The Taltos speaks in complimentary terms of Jesus and says he admires him, but also says that it is impossible for men to live fully according to his teachings.
- In Andreas Eschbach's Jesus Video, a modern day guy travels back in time to meet Jesus, who turns to be certainly what he expected even if the Church doesn't live up to his standards.
- Subverted in The Inquisitor Cycle, which takes place in a timeline where rather than dying for humanity's sins on the cross Jesus broke out of the cross, became a brutal warlord and conquered the Roman Empire. He then proceeded to turn Christianity from a faith dedicated to forgiveness and love to a Religion of Evil dedicated to destroying anyone different from you.
- The Chosen: Jesus is depicted as a laid-back, friendly, and cheerful individual, and even a Deadpan Snarker; one day he's exorcizing demons and performing miracles, and the next he's dancing at his childhood friend's wedding and cracking jokes with the disciples. Many characters who know who he really is are often taken aback by this, as they expected him to act like a divine warrior or ancient prophet, and not... well, a regular guy.
- Les Inconnus once did a parody of Hollywood action flicks starring Jesus (or more accurately, Sylvester Stallone playing Jesus). The sketch, called Jesus 2: Le Retour (The Return) had Jesus introduce himself as "Christ, Jesus Christ.", beat people up (a pun on "distribuer des pains" which can mean both 'give out loaves of bread' or 'give out punches'), turn the other cheek... only to knee his opponent in the crotch, stitch up his lance wound himself after being resurrected (the sketch is on Youtube, but non-Francophones will miss most of the jokes).
(voiceover) 50 percent Man, 50 percent God, 100 percent Saviour.note
- An episode in the second season of True Blood has this as well, with Godric interrupting an execution scene by the corrupt church, explaining that even some vampires think Jesus was a nice guy.
Godric: "I am much older than your Jesus, I wish I had known Him, but sadly I missed it."
- Averted with Russell though, who claims to have met Jesus personally and says contemptuously that he was "just a dirty hippie".
- Yes, Minister. Hacker and Humphrey both agree that if Jesus had been around in their time, they would have had to suppress him because of "all those things about the meek inheriting the earth". In other words, they don't think he's cool but the meek would.
- NBC's Community, season 2 episode 5, starts off with Abed not really religious or in favor of Christianity (he was raised Muslim, but is largely an atheistic sci-fi nerd). Shirley manages to convince him to actually sit down and read the New Testament start-to-finish. While Abed doesn't convert or anything and still doesn't particularly favor "Christianity" the organization, actually reading the source material makes Abed change his mind and think that Jesus himself was pretty cool as He was depicted in the narrative of the New Testament (regardless of how "real" any of it was historically), or as Abed describes it "He was like E.T., Edward Scissorhands, and Marty McFly combined."
- In How I Met Your Mother Barney credits Jesus with inventing a few of the cornerstones of Bro-ness such as the three-day rule and, notably, the high five.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Lemons," the crew is accidentally sent back in time and encounter Jesus in 23 AD in India, where he's a fairly nice guy who's big on pacifism. After accidentally taking him back to the future with them, he ends up reading about himself and is horrified at what the religion he starts will do to the world, so journeys back in time to trash his reputation in order to make sure that no one bases a religion around him. The Red Dwarf crew, despite being fairly a-religious, figure they should go back in time and fix this, and manage to convince Jesus that while Christianity did plenty of terrible things, he can still do good. Then they figure out that he's the wrong Jesus (he's Jesus of Caesarea, not Jesus of Nazareth) so the whole thing is moot. You do get to see the real Jesus at the very end, but it's indeterminate whether this Jesus is Way Cool or not.
- On Black Jesus, Jesus is depicted as a weed-loving party dude, with a perpetually sunny attitude.
- In the TV movie Jesus (1999), starring Jeremy Sisto, while Peter and the other fishermen are discussing Jesus' plan to go out during the day to fish, which was the wrong time for it, what is Jesus doing? Standing on the shore, skipping rocks! What, was he just supposed to stand there, looking holy? He also spends several more scenes just joking around with his disciples, and his teachings (such as the Sermon on the Mount) have an overall lighthearted touch.
- In Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, he parodies this after he says that he finds Infrastructure fascinating:
John Oliver: "And I know that in saying that, I've basically become the rad youth councillor trying to convince you that Jesus was the Taylor Swift of his time. Revelations was a break up song to the Romans, guys, who wants another Mountain Dew?"
- A flashback in Preacher shows Jesus to have been a good-natured Nice Guy who didn't particularly want to die on the cross but was resigned to obey his father's will. Compare this to God, who is heavily implied to have abandoned his duties in Heaven to indulge in depraved sex acts on Earth.
- Good Omens (2019): There's a brief scene of Aziraphale and Crowley at the Crucifixion. Both Aziraphale and Crowley liked Jesus, which is why Crowley was the one who showed him all the kingdoms of the world ("Well he's a carpenter from Galilee, his traveling opportunities are limited"). They are also clearly disturbed that Heaven manipulated things to put him on the cross.
Crowley: What was it he said that got everyone so upset?
Aziraphale: "Be kind to each other."
Crowley: Oh, yeah. That'll do it.
- The Boys (2019): Befitting his status as a parody of "hip" ministers, Ezekiel presents Jesus in this way, peppering his sermons with slang and referencing Jesus referring to people as "bro."
- Rush (1974): One episodes revolves around Doctor Kirby, an atheist paleontologist whose mere presence in 1850s Victoria is enough to stir up trouble from the local Anglican minister Reverend Smith. At one point, while filling in as a schoolteacher, the minister's daughter asks for his opinion on Jesus. He tells her, "Jesus was a very great man. Who did all kindness and lived a good life. If we all followed his example the world would be a happy place indeed." But this isn't good enough for Smith himself, who presses him further and forces him to admit to the class that he doesn't believe Jesus was the son of God.
- American Gods: Jesus, despite this being a morally grey series, is a great guy and even is on good terms with at least Ostara/Easter, whose holiday was appropriated by His followers.
- In All in the Family, self-stated agnostic (later atheist) Mike Stivic enjoyed celebrating Christmas, as he admired the life of Jesus and thought he was a good man with a good message. He just didn't believe the claim that Jesus was divine.
- The Axis of Awesome has a song dedicated to this trope. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is awesome.
- Inverted in Beck's song Satan was Way Cool.
- The Trope Namer by King Missile.
- In an inversion of a typical Take That!: "No wonder there's so many Christians".
- I'll Bet He was Cool by Savage Garden.
- Jesus Christ Superstar
Caiaphas: One thing I'll say for him — Jesus is cool.
- Many examples of Religion Rant Song that targets the church instead of God use this trope, constrasting the teachings of Jesus with the behavior of modern Christians.
- Miranda Lambert's latest single "Heart Like Mine" has a chorus that goes like this: "I heard Jesus, He drank wine and I'd bet we'd get along just fine. He can calm a storm and heal the blind and I'd bet he'd understand a heart like mine."
- "Jesus Is Just Alright", popularized by the Doobie Brothers, and later covered by Christian Rock act dc Talk.
- Michael Stipe is often critical of religion in his lyrics, and in "New Test Leper", the narrator, a gay man with AIDS, states that while he can't say he loves Jesus, the guy did make some good points. This is contrasted with the studio audience of the talk show that the narrator attends, who use their Christian beliefs to mock and belittle him.
- Played for laughs with the B-side "Voice of Harold", which is Michael Stipe reading the liner notes of a gospel album to the tune and backing track of "7 Chinese Bros.".
- The Woody Guthrie song "Jesus Christ" depicts Christ as a socialist rebel killed for speaking truth to power (and notably makes no reference to his resurrection).
- Guthrie also wrote a song called "Christ for President," later recorded by Wilco as part of Mermaid Avenue. President Christ promises "a job and pension for young and old."
- Ewan MacColl's "Ballad of the Carpenter", also covered by Phil Ochs is pretty similar.
- Lady Gaga's "Black Jesus + Amen Fashion":
Jesus is the new black. AOWW!!
- Tim Minchin's song WoodyAllenJesus (yes, he spells it as a WikiWord) lists some of Jesus's powers and attributes, and consequently accumulates words to put in front of "Jesus". "Dragon" is one of those words, but "crystal" isn't.
Praise be to MagicWoodyAllenZombieSupermanKomodoDragonTelepathicVampireQuantumHovercraftMeJesus!"
- Brazilian's Jesus negao (ni*** Jesus) by Comedy group Hermes and Renato. They sing about how he's the man, how he's great at soccer, how he's awesome and a lot of other things. They also sing about how he's not coming today because he's feeling nailed.
- What do you get when you combine this trope with Jive Turkey? "Jesus Christ is my Nigga". 
- Country/Folk artist John Prine had "Jesus, The Missing Years," which presents Christ as a confused adolescent.
- Arjona's song "Jesus is verb, not noun" talks about how Jesus is the best of all, and that he would hate how religion take advantage of the people.
- German comedy band die Doofen had a song about how Jesus was a decent guy wearing sandals. See here .
- "Jesus Was a Terrorist" by Jello Biafra and NoMeansNo. While it was written and sung by Biafra, an atheist, it's actually less dismissive of him than one would expect from the title. The song is actually about freedom of speech, drawing parallels between the way the Roman government treated Jesus for preaching his faith to the way certain contemporary politicians and activists (who, ironically, are/were mostly Christian) tried to censor musicians and other artists/entertainers.
- His Story The Musical is a modern Passion Play so this is a given, but its use of hip-hop and reggae in its soundtrack definitely highlights this.
- A Subversion: "Judas," an angry protest song by Scottish folksinger Dick Gaughan, claims that Jesus's teachings teach people to be meek and accepting of their oppression, and Judas was a hero (and maybe a revolutionary) for getting him killed.
- The Handsome Family's "Water into Wine" somewhat parodies it. The narrator thinks the miracles Jesus performed were all pretty neat, but he thinks what makes him a truly great guy was by far his ability to provide free alcohol to people.
I heard tell of the miracles my blessed saviour done
He took a great big ball of fire and forged the blazing sun
But out of all of those miracles divine
By far my favorite one was turning water into wine
- Queen: The aptly-titled "Jesus" is a driving Hard Rock sound about how Jesus was a powerful and charismatic "leader of man" who drew adoration from the people around him. Ironically, songwriter Freddie Mercury was Zoroastrian.
- Jackson Browne's Christmas Song "The Rebel Jesus" (recorded with The Chieftains) commends Jesus's teachings as subversive but chides His followers a bit if they don't follow His message of generosity and goodwill the rest of the year. The song's lyrics self-identify Browne as "a heathen and a pagan / On the side of the rebel Jesus."
- In Old Harry's Game, Jesus only gets mentioned rather than appearing directly, but even Satan seems to have some grudging respect for him, with the worst he has to say being that he's a bit holier-than-thou. This is a marked difference from his attitude to God Himself and non-fallen angels.
- Comedian George Carlin, a well known atheist, in his stand-up routine included Jesus in his list of good people who were killed who wanted peace on Earth. His portrayal of Jesus in one of his audio books was very positive as well. In this portrayal he indicated that Jesus would probably be very disappointed in modern Christianity.
- Carlin also played Cardinal Glick (see the example for Dogma above).
- A Christian comedian, Mark Lowry, once discussed Jesus turning water into wine in his act. He said something like "What I like about Jesus is that his first miracle wasn't healing the blind or raising the dead... his first miracle was to just keep the party going."
- Eddie Izzard frequently comments on religion in his stand-up routines, and thus mentions Jesus on occasion. In "Dressed to Kill", he stated that he believed that Jesus existed and had "interesting ideas in the Gandhi-type area, in the Nelson Mandela-type area, you know, relaxed and groovy." Just don't take his name in vain. Or call him "Jeezy Creezy".
"Look, Dad, I went down there, I taught 'em to be hang out, be groovy, drink a bit of wine, they split into different groups! You've got the Catholics, the Protestants, the Jesuits, the Methodists, the Evangelicals, the free Presbyterians, the locked up Presbyterians... the Quakers, the Bakers, the Candlestick Makers... The Mormons are from Mars, Dad, we've had that checked out."
- Stand-up comedian Richard Herring has an entire comedy show, 'Christ on a Bike', devoted to how much of the Bible is utter nonsense if you try analyzing it sensibly, but admits that he quite likes Jesus, he just hates the evils that he sees as having been justified by Christianity and the Bible. As he puts it, "Jesus was a cool guy, a lot of the people who follow him are idiots. Jesus is a lot like The Fonz in that respect."
- Philip Bowman, an Irish stand-up comedian, has an act called "Jesus: the Guantanamo Years." In addition to talking about Jesus' stay in Guantanamo (he was an Arab guy trying to take a plane into the United States and ready to die as a martyr, what did you think was going to happen?) Jesus talks about Himself in his stand-up comedy career. He goes around telling long stories about himself that go nowhere, yet slyly prove a point about life.
- In Patton Oswalt's stand-up special, Finest Hour, Oswalt, an atheist, remarks that the only thing that would prevent Jesus from getting into a superhero team like the X-Men would be his own wisdom and humility. He then runs through a hypothetical scenario in which Jesus auditions for the X-Men and, instead of telling them about his more impressive miracles that could be useful to a superhero team like raising the dead, he would instead bring up the time he fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish.
- Comedian/beat poet Lord Buckley spoke fondly of Jesus in "The Nazz" (short for "Nazarene", after Nazareth, the village where Jesus lived as a child). He described Jesus in hipster beat-poet dialect as the "wailin'est, strumminest, swingin'est cat that ever stomped on this jumpin' green sphere."
"And The Nazz talkin' about how pretty the hour, how pretty the flower,how pretty you, how pretty me, how pretty the tree.Nazz had them pretty eyes.He wanted everybody to see with pretty eyes and see how pretty it was."
- In John Wick's Thirty, he recounts a story from one of his home campaigns where the characters met three different versions of Jesus. There was the self-described Gnostic Jesus, who was a mundane a philosophical genius, the Classic Jesus, who's off in the corner working miracles, and Paul's Jesus, who was a psychotic firebreathing monster the size of a building screaming about faggots.
- In Reefer Madness: The Musical, Jesus is just about the only cool person present. Almost all the other characters are pathetic, deranged, and/or sociopathic drug addicts, or they're incredibly square and easily manipulated rubes. Jesus, on the other hand, speaks out against marijuana as the lead singer in a heavenly night club, accompanied by a troupe of sexy, scantily clad angels. Even in a musical that satirizes anti-marijuana Aesops, this can't help but come off as awesome.
Joan of Arc: The Lord of Hosts, the stranger from the manger, the hardest working man in the afterlife: give it up for Jesus!Audience Member: You rock, Jesus!
- Most of Godspell is taken up with showing the cool things Jesus said and did in the Gospels, demonstrating how it made him beloved by his Ragtag Band of Misfits. Works on a meta-level as well, since a show that's simply a straightforward presentation of Hippie Jesus as a cool guy became a wildly popular staple of musical theater.
- Jesus Christ Superstar, a Rock Opera version of the Passion Play. There is even the line "One thing I'll say for him, Jesus is cool."
- The members of Altar Boyz portray him as such.
Juan: The man was alright, 'cause he came to my boy/Not since Second Kings has anybody heard this noise!/And all he had to do was give that guy one little touch!/So amazing! I wanna know so much!
- Dragalia Lost: It turns out that Euden is actually a part of Xenos’s heart, more specifically, the part that gives to others. This means that he is essentially this universe’s version of Jesus, and as a Jesus-esque figure, Euden is pretty cool. He’s always willing to help others whenever they need to, he isn’t afraid to stand up to evil, and he’s a Royal Who Actually Does Something.
- You know some of that stuff Jesus did? He did it in under 10 seconds. At least, that's what this game has you do.
- Jesus has never personally appeared in a Shin Megami Tensei game, unless you count the strongest of the Olympus Mons in Persona 3, which represents Messianic figures in general, there are implications here and there that both the Law and Chaos factions seriously respected Him. Given that these two factions are perfectly willing to nuke entire universes to piss each other off, that this is the one thing they can agree on speaks volumes.
- In the parody of Taylor Swift's "22" by Bart Baker, Jesus Is Way Cool, taking Taylor's exes to the strip club after defeating Satan-Taylor.
- Bishop Barron argues in one of his YouTube reviews that this tropenote makes Jesus astoundingly dull. Barron compares the Nice!Jesus to a polite guy from Church, who you like well enough, but you would never think to worship or even to make a movie of. Making Jesus only divine or, in the case of most Jesus movies, only human only succeeds in creating a boring fiction.
"Would you ever be tempted to say 'Oh, here's clearly the person upon which most of Western Civilization is predicated. Here's someone who had this explosive earthquake effect on the whole human race.' You would never guess it from a movie like this!"
- In this I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC video, Iron Man is daydreaming about the opening day of The Dark Knight and how it's stealing the hype for his movie. Everybody is rejecting his movie (released a few months before) as being yesterday's news, but the culmination is the arrival of Jesus.
Jesus: My children, I have come back to you. The sheer awesomeness of The Dark Knight has brought about my Second Coming, and with it the Rapture, which shall begin immediately. ...after the 7:45 session. I gotta see this bad boy!
- Jesus Christ Supercop portrays Jesus as a stereotypical Cowboy Cop. It's not a benign version of Christ, and certainly not a nice Jewish boy... but you cannot deny that this Jesus is Cool.
- In the Mr. Deity series, Jesus isn't perfect, but he's almost always standing up for the general good of humanity and objecting to particularly unreasonably aspects of the way his father does things. Out of Mr. Deity (God), Larry (archangel), Lucy (devil and Mr. Deity's girlfriend), and Jesus, who are the four main characters, Jesus generally gets portrayed as being more concerned with doing good than the other three and more reasonable than Mr. Deity.
- The Nostalgia Critic has the character of Santa Christ, a combination of Jesus and Santa who saves puppies from fires, cures diabetes, saved us from our sins, and also likes pancakes.
- In The Salvation War, Jesus is definitely cool. He realizes how insane his father is well before anyone else and tries three times to help humanity (Jesus, Mohamed, and someone else, possibly Joan of Arc or Martin Luther), but after these attempts backfire and he sees how rapidly they are progressing, he decides to see what they can do to correct the injustices done to them on their own. Even after Michael the Angelic Anti-Hero sets him up to die by nuclear weapon, he still forgives him because he understands his motivation for doing so.
- DarkMatter2525: Although the cartoon mercilessly satires Yahweh as a highly incompetent jerk (at his best) Jesus is always portrayed well, as a nice, put-upon guy who frequently doesn't like what his dad does. In several cases, he is the foil for modern American conservative Christians, juxtaposing more compassionate, humble teachings he had with their views (as the opposite). Sometimes he's even told off by characters with these views, to show how little people like this can even recognize what he really said.
- A Brazilian comedy group, taking an old Mondegreen Gag of "The Rhythm of the Night", "Jesus Humilha Satanás" (Jesus humiliates Satan), made a full video out of it, where Jesus is constantly upstaging the Devil, including with a guitar solo!
- Jesus is a semi-recurring character in Penny Arcade, where he hangs out with Gabe and Tycho, playing video games and being a cool guy in general. Though he is apparently a bit of a poor winner at Street Fighter.
Gabe: What can I say? Jesus is fucking metal.
- Quoted nearly word-for-word in this strip of Wigu.
- Sinfest — in which Jesus Christ is the most awesome superhero since Barack Obama. Notably, Sinfest portrays Jesus as far more awesome than his father in pretty much every conceivable way.
- Sinfest also gives Buddha this treatment; he is so mellow, neither God nor The Devil can upset him; he alternates between being the epitome of chillax and headbanging to rock without a problem; and he is, of course, also Pals with Jesus.
- The Devil's Panties has "J.C.", who often hangs out with the comic's version of its creator Jennie Breeden. He's presented as a really cool, pot smoking "long haired hippie" who often waxes philosophical with Jennie and some guy with horns and has a Friendly Enemy relationship with the latter.
- The now-discontinued Lowroad 75 featured Jesus in a few episodes. In one, the main character and her boyfriend were surrounded by ads for Christmas shopping ("Buy crap! Because you're stupid!"), then cut to Jesus sitting alone in his apartment, holding a cupcake with a single birthday candle in it. ("Nobody remembered. Again.")
- A semi-regular character in Ansem Retort. He first came to train the cast to fight against Larxene (much to Marluxia's disappointment, who wanted a hot Latino). He later shows up to officiate over Axel and Aerith's wedding, for an "Old Testament" drinking party with Axel and Zexion, and most recently has joined Axel, Zexion, Riku, and Marluxia to fix the timestream.
- Sandra from Sandra and Woo thinks that Jesus was a swell guy, but she can't stand his fanboys.
- Surprisingly, Satan gets this treatment in an arc much later down the line, being a Benevolent Boss who's stuck as the bad guy thanks to the Human God's multi-million dollar propaganda machine. He's also on quite amicable terms with Ganesha, who similarily disapproves of the way God treats the humans.
- In Evil Diva, Jesus runs a cafe where he gives out advice and coffee.
Diva: You're awesome.Jesus: I get that a lot.
- Appears very rarely in Elijah and Azuu, where he seems to take on a sort of cool older brother role for the various angels. Has an apparent tendency to answer all questions of morality with, "What would I do?" (much to the annoyance of divine beings looking for a little guidance). God has a similarly laid-back personality.
- Jesus first appears in Shortpacked! as a hallucination after Robin gets a nasty knock on the head. Eventually, he becomes a background cast member (when Galasso resurrects him). Though he has a much darker skin tone than generally depicted and referred to as "the Historical Jesus," he's also portrayed as a friendly man who spends most of his time promising nice customers that kindness is always rewarded. Though he does tell off a couple rich guys and give Ethan (a Jew) a good Death Glare when he finds out the latter is perfectly willing to work on the Sabbath. He would later officiate at Leslie and Robin's wedding. How many people can say that?
- Bruno the Bandit portrays Ailix, the local equivalent of Jesus, as this. He was the physical incarnation of the Creator Of the Universe, and his teachings became the foundation of The Church of The Blessed Ailix, which unfortunately warped into a Corrupt Church with a greedy leadership only interested in filling their own pockets. The Pope himself is only a figurehead for the rich and powerful, to the point that when the current Pope is convinced by a manifestation of Ailix to renounce his riches and become a true, inspiring leader of the Church, he's immediately forced to step down by the other officials who dont WANT Ailix followers to follow his example. Yeah, the comic got rather Anvilicious towards the end.
- Averted in Homestuck: both versions of the trolls' Crystal Dragon Jesus are irreverent douchebags when you meet them in person, and only one of them has any redeeming qualities.
- South Park, an outrageous show if ever there was one, generally shies away from Crossing the Line Twice where its Jesus is concerned. The miracles and theology take some whacks, but Jesus himself is a generally nice and occasionally heroic character in a Crapsack World of loathsome misanthropes and buffoons.
- He was part of the "Council of the Nine" in the Imaginationland trilogy - the most righteous and heroic characters in all of fiction. (Note that Aslan was a member too. Jesus is so awesome, he got to be on the Council TWICE.) Also doubles as a Take That!.
- He also has a rather fitting knack for Heroic Sacrifice. Of course he recovers.
- The genesis of the show was in a short called The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Santa, in which the Lamb Of God opens a can of whoopass on Kris Kringle.
- Family Guy
"I just came back from Heaven and I learned that Jesus is Chinese and His last name is Hong. Jesus Hong. I don`t know where they got the Christ."
- Portrays Jesus as playing golf with guys on weekdays, and going to bars with God on weekends (Seth MacFarlane is an atheist). According to Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, was a very bad magician and he's really short.
- One cutaway portrayed Jesus as black.
- He also entertains his friends by turning water into funk.
Black Jesus: I rode into town on an ass....(looks at screen) Yo' momma's ass!
- Another episode portrayed him as Chinese:
- This also happens to a Genius Bonus, as Hong Xiuquan, the head of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom believed he was Jesus Christ's brother.
- At one point, Jesus shows up to convince the temporarily anti-Semitic Peter that Judaism and Christianity are two sides of the same coin. He then says that all religions are complete crap, earning a thank you from the atheist Brian.
- The earlier episode "The Thin White Line" features a significantly tamer example: a Sunday school classroom with a poster reading "it's cool to love Jesus."
- In the New Zealand animated comedy series, Bro'town, Jesus stars in every episode as every episode starts in heaven with god telling a story using the main characters. Jesus is depicted as a hip but naive teenager who learns from God's stories.
- Parodied on Futurama with the robot Jews, who believe that Robot Jesus was built and that He was a well-programmed robot, but they don't believe He was the robot Messiah. It's unclear if Robot Jesus has any relation to Zombie Jesus or the Jesus involved in the Second Coming of 2443.
- Clone High had Jesús, a Latino clone of the Nazarene, who would attempt to give sage advice to other characters but often ended up accidentally injuring himself.
Jesús: God has a plan for all of us. A painful, painful plan.Caesar: Careful with that nailgun, Jesús!
- The Simpsons has referenced this trope a few times:
God: "My Son went to Earth once. I don't know what you people did to him, but he hasn't been the same since." *Cut to Jesus sitting forlornly on a swingset*
Burns: Are you saying "Boo" or "Boo-Urns?"Audience: BOOOOOOOOO!!! *throws garbage at Burns*
- They showed Jesus in another episode where Homer and Bart were being drawn to Catholicism. Marge had a nightmare where she went to the WASPy Protestant Heaven while Homer and Bart went to the loud, boisterous, Catholic Heaven. Jesus ended up in the Catholic Heaven, "going native".
- Subverted in an episode about religion where Homer begins reminding the family of a certain cool guy with long hair and big ideas... but he's talking about a guy "who used to drive that blue car", whose name escapes him.
- On another occasion, the bullies confront Bart after Lisa converts to Buddhism, responding to his "Who cares?" by telling him there's a man who cares, who has long hair, works as a carpenter, and has some crazy ideas about peace and love. His name's Gunnar, and he's dating Jimbo's mom. Sometimes he buys them beer.
- Rev. Lovejoy pulled a joke like this too during one of his sermons. He said "I know of one visitor who came from the heavens, only to die and be reborn... And his name was... E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." (Cries a little)'' "I loved that little guy."
- Parodied in A Star Is Burns, the crossover with The Critic, where Burns' ridiculously narcissistic and self-absorbed Self-Insert entry into the film festival includes a scene that directly references the Ben-Hur movie mentioned above, except Burns is in plain view as Jesus, and even has a line when he gives Ben-Hur water, with Hur gushing how he truly is the "king of kings". The audience is absolutely outraged with Burns and his blasphemy.
- Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil, revolving around a pending Armageddon, has Jesus as a laid-back deejay (though he can be kind of a dick sometimes.)
- In an American Dad! Christmas episode, the Rapture occurs and Stan and Francine were left behind. Jesus comes back to lead people against the Anti Christ. He doesn't have his superpowers (except for being able to withstand freezing temperatures and Walk on Water), but he's still a badass. He's hunky and charismatic and actually front flips onto the Anti Christ's shoulder and snaps his neck with his thighs. He's also allowed to date this time and Stan calls him the best guy Francine could ever end up with.
- Beavis And Butthead: "Heh, heh, heh ... Christ is cool."
- Moral Orel: Reverend Putty hands out flyers saying "Remember kids, Jesus is Cool!"
- The Animaniacs short "Little Drummer Warners" had the Warner Brothers (and Sister) as Shepherds coming to visit baby Jesus. Since they don't have any gifts to present like the Three Kings, Wakko offers to instead play on his drum, which turns into a jazzy, upbeat version of "Little Drummer Boy" that becomes appreciated by everyone. Especially Jesus Himself.
Warner Siblings: And He smiled at me, ba-rum-bum-bum-bum... me and my drum.
- In season 2 of Castlevania (2017), Sypha explains that Speakers consider God to be petty and cruel, retelling the Tower of Babel story as God striking down the people's greatest achievement in jealousy. In season 3, however, she explains to Saint-Germain that while the Speakers may dislike God, they have nothing but admiration for Yeshua, the christ, who's sacrifice was a lesson to humanity in unconditional love.
- Inside Job (2021): Invoked by the new "chill AF" Pope in Part 2 of Season 1, whose public sermon is "And Jesus said, 'I shall not foresake salvation, Heaven is deadass lit, fam!' In Rome itself, a vendor can be seen selling "Jesus is bae" t-shirts.
- C. S. Lewis was opposed to such portrayals of Jesus, writing: "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." note The occasional modern academic has argued that some statements of Jesus in the Bible may not have actually been spoken by him, including those which claimed divinity, and thus add a fourth option, that of "legend".
- "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mohandas Gandhi note
- Thomas Jefferson, a deist, wrote a version of the New Testament that chronicled Jesus' good deeds and sayings without any references to the supernatural, titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. Most modern scholars refer to it simply as the "Jefferson Bible".
- Neil Diamond didn't want to do a Christmas show until his mother told him "Jesus was a Nice Jewish Boy."
- The "Jesús está chido◊" ("Jesus Is Way Coo]") billboards from Guadalajara, Mexico.
- "If Christ himself were alive, one thing he would not be is a Christian." - Mark Twain
- As shown in Religulous, Bill Maher was severely outnumbered in a trucker chapel, and thanked his interviewees for their kind hospitality and their not-kicking-his-ass by saying "Thanks for being Christ-like and not just Christians."
- He makes a similar point here.
- John Lennon's infamous Bigger Than Jesus quote (which was misquoted; see below) came from an interview in which he spoke about, among other things, the good Christ/bad Christian dichotomy that other people have commented on.
"We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first-rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
- Although Friedrich Nietzsche dismissed Christianity in general as conducive to "slave morality", he viewed Jesus as his Worthy Opponent and as an Übermensch who radically changed the views of society. He says (in a book entitled The Anti-Christ) that "the last Christian died on the Cross." While he saw Jesus' teachings as too idealistic to be properly applied to the modern world, he had a positive view towards the message He offered.
- Prominent anarchist speaker and writer Emma Goldman had nothing good to say about religion, but stated in at least one essay ("Minorities Versus Majorities") that she respected Jesus for going against the dominant powers of his day and didn't entirely disagree with his teachings — just with the people who blindly follow them and use their religion as an excuse to persecute others.
- Averted by G. K. Chesterton, of all people. As he says in The Everlasting Man "The truth is that it is the image of Christ in the churches that is almost entirely mild and merciful. It is the image of Christ in the Gospels that is a good many other things as well...The Church can reasonably be justified therefore if she turns the most merciful face or aspect towards men; but it is certainly the most merciful aspect that she does turn....A man simply taking the words of the story as they stand would form quite another impression; an impression full of mystery and possibly of inconsistency; but certainly not merely an impression of mildness." It should be noted that his point is not that Jesus was not kind and merciful, but that to anyone reading the Bible for the first time with no preconceptions about Jesus would see someone who was certainly not afraid to show wrath.
- A rather famous 1980s skit by Rowan Atkinson was based around presenting this trope as a sermon.
- Kurt Vonnegut was an atheist, but he spoke highly of Jesus. He even wrote: "If it weren't for the message of mercy and pity in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, I wouldn't want to be a human being. I would just as soon be a rattlesnake."
- There is an organization called Atheists for Jesus. Professor Richard Dawkins wrote an article with the same title and similar theme, though he was not aware of the Atheists for Jesus website at the time.
- Aleister Crowley described Jesus as a good preacher with some good ideas and added "Personally, I hold him blameless for the religion that was foisted upon him after his death"
- Bertrand Russell discussed the idea in his famous essay "Why I Am Not a Christian". He stated that while he's willing to grant Jesus "a very high degree of moral goodness", he can't be called the best and wisest man who ever lived due to his belief in Hell and his impatience toward those unwilling to listen to his teachings.
- Here are some verifiable (Biblically-sourced, that is) facts about Human Body v2, post-Resurrection: the ability of either teleportation or phasing through solid matter (Jesus appearing in locked rooms), some degree of mental obfuscation (disciples at Emmaus), indestructible (1 Cor 15:42), immunity to psy-ops (Rev 21:4 - no pain, no sorrow, no sadness) and a guarantee that all genuine Christians get these upgrades. Yeah, this kinda body isn't that of a zombie, unless you're talking about Necrons. Specifically, Necron Flayers- with built-in warp-portal generators. Badass enough yet?
- If you take one of the commonly held interpretations, Jesus was fully man though He was God in personality and being. Essentially, this means any human could do what He did if they were in tune enough with the will of God and faithful (as opposed to Him simply having the divine power while in mortal form). So Jesus's power would be based on sheer raw epic coolness. Corroborated after the whole telling the storm to shut up episode - he tells the disciples that "if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move." Matthew 17:20. Which seems like hyperbole, but when you consider that he's proscribing physical dimensions to an intangible concept...
- By all biblical accounts, Jesus was a pretty cool guy. People really liked being around him, and whenever he spoke, it could attract a crowd of thousands in a time when numbers like that meant a good number of them had to travel great distances just to get there. The guy was great with kids (in a culture that hardly cared about them), and an amazing storyteller and healer.
- From the cultural perspective of Israel at that time, Jesus was an anti-establishment rebel who ran around with a gang of young men, trashed temples, and told everybody that everything they knew about righteousness and morality is wrong.
- He even gave his gang members awesome nicknames. Most famously, he gave Simon the name Petra (or Peter) which means "The Rock" in Greek. Oddly, no one translates it as "Simon called Rocky". St. Thomas' name is a nickname meaning "The Twin" (real name Judas) and the third Apostle named Judas got the nickname Thaddeus ("Braveheart"). The other is Simon "The Zealot". He also renamed the sons of Zebedee the Sons of Thunder. How filthy a temper do you need to have for Jesus to be impressed by it? note
- Jesus did not, as commonly believed, work as a carpenter. He built houses out of stone. He would have not been the thin meek figure commonly depicted. Now imagine him chasing the crooked money exchanges out of the temple... with a whip. When he was upending tables consider that some historians have suggested that those tables, given the era, would have been marble.
- He later (1300 years, give or take) appears to Julian of Norwich (who 'wrote' "Revelations of Divine Love") and told her, after showing her multiple fairly horrific visions, that "It has been behooved that Sin should exist; but, All will be well, and All will be well and All Manner of Thing will be well..." which is the basic belief of Universalists (Julian was described as a Proto-Universalist) that, even the Traitor (Satan) can be given the chance, even in Hell to be redeemed and Return to Paradise with the Father. It's VERY cool.
- Jesus' got his first fan (John the Baptist) just minutes after being magically introduced in Mary's womb. From the other end of the life spectrum, if what Jesus said was the truth it changes from Jesus was (past tense, implying that Jesus is still dead) way cool to he is (Jesus is still with us) way cool. Being God is pretty cool.
- Jesus's first recorded miracle was the famous water-to-wine trick, which he performed at a wedding party. Which means that, even before he became famous for his teachings and other miraculous works (which really only covered the last three years of his life), he was still popular enough to be invited to those sorts of parties.
- Not only that, but His first miracle wasn't for something of huge gravitas or detached from the common folk. In fact, He didn't initially want to do it because it would attract too much unnecessary attention, but at the behest of His mother, He helped people have fun and enjoy themselves at a party. And, gravitas or not, this is both recorded in the Bible and very, very cool.
- From the book of Matthew, the comment Jesus made when confronted with the rich man who asked him how to be saved, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." The word translated "camel" here is kamêlos; this sounds a lot like the word kamilos, which refers to the end of a rope. A popular aphorism of the time referred to the unlikelihood of a particular event as "easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle". Yes, our lord and saviour, as part of his lesson to his disciples, made an awful pun.
- The reason for all the awful stuff that Jesus went through on Easter was, canonically, to use the sins of all mankind to weigh himself down so He could descend into Gehenna, translated into English as "Hell" (basically, the trash-dump-come-prison of the universe) and fight the devil for three whole days, not unlike Doomguy. His prize was the key to Sheol, often translated into English as "The Grave," a place where the dead sleep separated from the light of God, so He could facilitate the Resurrection at the end of the Apocalypse.
- The Holy Quran. Jesus could talk soon after he was born, and he wasn't killed-God raised him to the sky and tricked the Romans into crucifying someone else (often depicted as Judas or a criminal) in his place. Muslims generally regard Jesus as a great prophet second in holiness after The Prophet Muhammad himself (though they consider the idea of holding him as an actually divine being, the son of God, or even God Himself in human form as a grave insult against both God and Jesus). In fact, one of the many Hadiths about Judgment Day prophesies that Jesus will return to Earth as the Messiah to lead all true believers against The Antichrist (called the "False Messiah/Dajjal" in Islam) and finally kill him, then reign over a long utopian realm on the otherwise gone-to-shit planet for a long time before the world finally comes to an end.
- Jews vary a little more in how they see him.
What are we to say, when the wise are dragged by force by the hands of tyrants, and their wisdom is deprived of its freedom by slander, and they are plundered for their superior intelligence, without the opportunity of making a defence? They are not wholly to be pitied. For what benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death, seeing that they received as retribution for it famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, seeing that in one hour the. whole of their country was covered with sand? Or the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them? For with justice did God grant a recompense to the wisdom of all three of them. For the Athenians died by famine; and the people of Samos were covered by the sea without remedy; and the Jews, brought to desolation and expelled from their kingdom, are driven away into Every land. Nay, Socrates did "not" die, because of Plato; nor yet Pythagoras, because of the statue of Hera; nor yet the Wise King, because of the new laws which he enacted.
- Obviously, most Jewish people don't believe that Jesus was actually a divine figure, but very few think that he was anything but a very good person. Most of their issues come from the Book of Revelation and Matthew 27:24-25.
- Since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many Jewish scholars have started to renounce their hatred of Jesus and state that he was indeed a mensch because of his devotion to Judaism (he was technically a "better" Jew than Moses) and for being a Nice Jewish Boy. It is instead, Saint Paul whom they loathe. They think Paul and his gentile followers screwed things up through their ideas like rejection of Mosaic law note , supersessionism, and institutionalising of anti-Judaism (and later anti-Semitism) in Christian tradition. Some more extreme views have called him the "world's first self-hating Jew" or the "founder of Jews for Jesus". Others state that Paul is not at fault because he too has been misinterpreted and never meant for any of this to happen (he was a highly educated Jew himself). The Other Wiki has an article dedicated to the relationship between Paul and Judaism.
- Another Jewish perspective has a harsher view: claiming to be a prophet with the message that laws should be changed is heresy worthy of the death penalty, to say nothing of claiming to be the son of God. Just because they don't always say it loudly doesn't mean some Jews don't have issues with Jesus.
- Such a position can be summed up with the phrase, "That which was good was not new, and that which was new was not good." Most of Jesus' moral teachings are generally regarded as mere repetition of well-known Jewish teachings, whilst all innovations - particularly the idea of Jesus having been divine - are seen as heresy and nonsense.
- The Birkat haMinim is a Jewish benediction within the Amidah cursing heretics, performed regularly by practitioners of Orthodox Judaism. Whether that label should include Christians is hotly debated in some circles.
- You may notice that at least two Gospels have Jesus claiming he has no intention to change the laws. Of course, it is a well known fact that the attempts to preserve and restore are the ones that produce the greatest changes.
- There were some Jews who avoided studying Torah on Christmas because to do so on someone's birthday honors them, something they were not comfortable doing. Instead, they made toilet paper.
- There are those (who you will also find among atheists) who think he was a nice guy, but wasn't really that original, as many of his teachings were already, in some way, present in the Torah, as well as in the broader Jewish culture of his time. They think the early Christian authors exaggerated what he did, said, etc. In other words, Jesus' cool went viral and experienced Memetic Mutation. There are also many parts of his story that seem to have been picked up from other faiths active in the first century; a bit of Mithras here, a bit of Osiris there, a sprinkling of Apollo.... Naturally, there is argument here too. According to Skeptic Project's rebuttal of Zeitgeist, Jesus had little to deal with gods of other faiths.
- Other first-century Jewish people, while purportedly writing secular history (or philosophy) also had reasonably conciliatory things to say about Jesus, even if they didn't really think that much of the people around him.
- Although the text has been subject to numerous Christian interpolations, Flavius Josephus's entry on Jesus is widely acknowledged to have a genuine kernel comprising the following:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and many of Greek origin. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
- Although not exactly effusive in praise, there isn't anything particularly hostile about his evaluation of Jesus and notes that his followers didn't scatter the moment he was crucified.
- Mara bar Serapion, a Stoic philosopher writing after one of the numerous Roman sieges and takeover of Sarmosota (giving a range of 73-200AD), had this to say to his son, Serapion.
- If Jesus is identified with the "Wise King" (and there are very few other candidates that would qualify for this role in the polemic [link]), Mara evidently thought him to be a wise lawgiver unjustly executed by his own people, an act which brought disaster upon the Jews.
- In Gnosticism Jesus is usually depicted as an emissary of the Good God, whatever their interpretation of Jehova. However, most Gnostics did not believe in salvation in the modern sense. They also usually did not believe Jesus was ever human, only appearing to be.
- Manichaeism declared that not only was Jesus divine, but that he had manifested on Earth several times more than recorded in the Bible, first coming in Adam and Eve's time.
- Averted with the Mandaeans, who believe that Jesus was a false prophet, and that John the Baptist was the true messiah. However, they also believe Moses and Abraham were false prophets while Muhammad was the worst. Played Straight with other Mandaeans, who think that he was, in fact, pretty cool... but get very annoyed at suggestions that he is superior to John the Baptist.
- Many Buddhists, including at least one Dalai Lama, view Jesus as a Bodhisattva-an enlightened being who abstains from nirvana to help other humans attain it, and sometimes study portions of the Christian New Testament.
- Many Hindus, who tend to be extremely accepting of other religions (except, on the more extreme end, Islam, though the reasons for that are more to do with India's history with Islamic rulers and modern geopolitics than religion itself), believe that Jesus was an avatar of Vishnu, and that in healing people and allowing himself to be crucified, he was accepting the karmic load of the people around him. That last bit is in line with the Christian belief, just replacing "the people around him" with "every last human being ever born, ever" (heroic sacrifices are a universal trope).
- Porphyry, a Neoplatonist philosopher of the third century and the author of the mostly lost (as Christian Emperor Theodosius II ordered all copies burned) fifteen book-long treatise Adversus Christianos (Against The Christians), famously stated that:
The Gods have proclaimed Christ to have been most pious, but the Christians are a confused and vicious sect.