Douglas Coupland on Jesus

June 2007

Douglas Coupland on Jesus:

The radio stations all seemed to be talking about Jesus nonstop, and it seemed to be this crazy orgy of projection, with everyone projecting on to Jesus the antidotes to the things that had gone wrong in their own lives. He is Love. He is Forgiveness. He is Compassion. He is a Wise Career Decision. He is a Child Who Loves Me.

I was feeling a sense of loss as I heard these people. I felt like Jesus was sex – or rather, I felt like I was from another world where sex did not exist and I arrived on Earth and everyone talked about how good sex felt, and showed me their pornography and built their lives around sex, and yet I was forever cut off from the true sexual experience. I did not deny that the existence of Jesus was real to these people – it was merely that I was cut off from their experience in a way that was never connectable.

And yet I had to ask myself over and over what it was that these radio people were seeing in the face of Jesus. They sounded like their lives had once been so messed up and lost as they spoke; at least they were no longer so lost anymore – like AA people. So I figured that was a good thing.

— Douglas Coupland, Life after God

stan_ commented:

sounds like it's been a long time since he met someone who's life has been genuinely changed by Jesus, like poor people. people with much material wealth barely benefit anyway (besides the superficial things like friendships and people to go to cafes with and stuff)

on a related point, at least pornography is real and not some mental desire

stan_ commented:

also, yeah pretty much what he says is true it works for some people and not for others. like i bet the Pharisees were confused about what the poor people saw in Jesus. if you wanted to meet someone who's life has been genuinely changed go to Church Corner Countdown's freezing works section and talk to a guy called Nick about it. also Suzie's story is quite real - maybe Douglas just hasn't experienced real hardship: http://www.daretobelieve.org/gpage.html

stan_ commented:

by the way is he a Christian?

Matt commented:

Stan, if you'd read it properly, you'd know that he's not arguing whether Jesus genuinely changes lives; he believes that for many people it does. He's just saying he sees that and wonders why he can't have the same experience – exactly how I feel, much of the time.

Christina commented:

Yeah, I hear ya Doug

Funny that doesn't often get said at ABC.... :P

stan_ commented:

yeah i thought that at first 'cos he said he figured it was a good thing, but then i thought he was taking the piss when he said AA people (and his comparison of it to sex), so that's why i asked if he was a Christian, 'cos i couldn't be bothered searching beyond wiki

Christina commented:

Actually, I've often thought various groups within Christianity parallel AA quite nicely. It makes sense, if you think about it.

Paul H commented:

Things I have noticed: 1. No matter how much Copeland I read, I always get more confused, not less. 2. People who make a big song and dance about sexual issues are very often (not always but very often) struggling with the very issue they are highlighting in others (such as porn).