This cartoon by Spike Davis seems perfect for Ascension Day. It raises lots of interesting questions, related to topics such as inclusiveness and revelation, and not only about the meaning of the story in Acts depicting Jesus ascending into the sky, headed in the direction of what we today think of not as “heaven” but as “outer space.”
In the past, to mark the occasion of Ascension Day, I’ve made connections between the ascension of Jesus and Iron Man, shared a cartoon about ascension deficit disorder, and offered quotes together with the iconic image of spaceman Jesus. I hope you will click through and read them. In that last post, I wrote:
Ascension day is a perfect day to draw attention to the fact that literalism is not only problematic, but impossible. Even if someone insists on maintaining the literal truth of the claim in Acts that Jesus literally went up into heaven, they cannot maintain the worldview of the first century Christians which provided the context for the affirmation. They knew nothing of light-years, distant galaxies or interstellar space without oxygen. And it is not possible, through some act of either will or faith, to forget absolutely everything that has been learned since then and believe as they did. Even those who willingly choose to disbelieve modern science are making a choice that the first Christians did not have, and thus accept dogmatically what early Christians naively assumed because they knew no better.
There are plenty who continue to claim they are Biblical literalists. But there are no actual Biblical literalists. Because even the precise words of the Bible, taken literally, mean something different today than they did almost 2,000 years ago.
This year, I had my attention drawn to the close proximity of the Christian feast of the Ascension, and the Islamic celebration of the ascension of Muhammad. Perhaps the most interesting thing to ask on this occasion is, if you accept that one of those is factual but not the other, why?
And finally, from Sarah’s Scribbles, here’s another cartoon featuring aliens: