The Mythological Jesus

Here’s something a little different. I should preface this short piece with a standard “this is not intended to offend”, and also with a blunt but explanatory “I’m an atheist”. And now the segue:

I’m a big fan of a Youtube series called Death Battle. It’s a snazzy series that pits two characters from different fictional series against one another using any and all information that can be dug up on them, and after a preamble explaining this information they show an animated fight between the two based on the resources available for those characters. This can vary wildly, from the full-3D rendered Magneto (X-Men) vs Darth Vader (Star Wars) to the sprite and CG animated Naruto (Uh… Naruto) vs Ichigo (Bleach). Besides the fun video, this series hits a sweet spot for me because it reminds me of the DC vs Marvel arguments of my childhood. And honestly, ScrewAttack have answered a lot of them for me.

Now, the team behind these videos aren’t perfect or immune to bias, but they seemingly get a good chunk of their preliminary research from the VS Battles Wiki, which I consider to be a fairly comprehensive source for how different abilities stack up across fictional universes. So from Death Battle, I found the VS Battles Wiki, and from there, their forum. And I stumbled upon a post that got my back up in a big way.

There was someone asking, without a hint of being a troll about it, who would win in a fight between Thor (Norse Mythology) and Jesus (Christian Mythology). What followed was a group of people who A) were deeply offended that somebody would lump the absolutely real Son of God Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior with the definitely fictional God of Thunder Thor Odinson, and B) genuinely believed that Thor and Odin were created by Marvel, having no knowledge of the prior existence of Norse Mythology. You read that correctly, and even if you can’t appreciate my lack of empathy with the first point, I hope you can join in my ire of the second. Essentially, the topic was locked and buried, because it was supposedly deliberately created to cause offence.

So back to the beginning of the post, in my view Thor and Jesus are equally fictional. 2.4 billion people believing in him doesn’t make Jesus real any more than Thor being a more interesting and compelling character within his fiction makes him real. However, they’re also not equivalent in terms of what I’d expect from a Death Battle. Not because of power set or anything like that, but in simple semantics: Jesus fits the concept of a Greek demigod far more than the Norse idea of a god. After all, he’s the “Son of God”, but he was born from a human woman, lived on Earth as a human for about half a lifetime, and even when resurrected came back as a living breathing human being. He may meet the criteria of a God now, but he certainly wasn’t during the time frame of the story focused on his lifetime.

When judging someone for the VS Battles Wiki, a character’s noted feats are taken into account. Now, it’s been about three years since I last gave The New Testament a crack so things are a little hazy, but thankfully there are websites all over the internet listing “The Miracles of Jesus”. Without further adieu I give you the noted feats of Jesus Christ:

Alchemy – Can change water into wine.
Healing – Can heal disease, necrosis, paralysis, blindness, muteness, deafness, infirmity, dropsy, leprosy and severed appendages of others by touch and speech. Can also heal others unconsciously by their touching his clothes.
Resurrection – Able to revive the recently dead by touch, speech or invocation. Can self-resurrect after 3 days.
Exorcism – Removal of demons and evil spirits by touch or speech.
Piscokinesis OR Summoning – Mass fish summoning.
Limited Atmokinesis – Calming of storms.
Infinite Supply – Can multiply fish and bread by a factor of at least 5000.
Water-Walking – Able to walk on water, and to gift this ability temporarily to others
Currency Generation – Able to create coins out of nothing and generate them in the mouth of a fish
Botanokinesis – Can wither trees by speech and touch
Object Fortification – Can will an object to become indestructible (specifically noted with nets)

Those are some pretty snazzy powers for sure, but in the context of a Death Battle, Jesus is going down pretty fast. He’s not noted anywhere in the Bible as being able to heal himself outside of resurrection, and seems about as durable as a normal human. This means that even with everything he has to his name, he’s not a scratch on a god like Thor (can only be killed during Ragnarok by J√∂rmungandr) or even the Marvel rendition of him for that matter (can call down lightning and wields a hammer with the weight of a collapsed dwarf star). Thor, any depiction of Thor, stomps Jesus flat. And the resurrection isn’t even a factor since it’s the fight that matters and Jesus will in fact die, regardless of whether it’s only temporary.

So how about Hercules? Like Thor and Jesus he’s the son of his pantheon’s primary god, and unlike Thor Hercules is a demigod like we’ve established Jesus to be. Ah, wait… Hercules overpowered Cerberus barehanded, so again… no.

If we got a little fast and loose with what he’s displayed the ability to do, we may be able to make him a bit more formidable at the cost of turning him into a bit of a squicky fighter. In theory he could crush enemies under the weight of 5000 fish and loaves of bread, for instance. Making a serious leap, you might even argue that he could choke a non-immortal to death if you reason that he could create coinage in the windpipe of creatures that aren’t specifically fish. Maybe you could even say he can use his own passive healing powers to rapidly recover from wounds. It’s definitely possible to make a case for Jesus beating most mortal characters with an abusive powerset like this, but the roadblock for his powers definitely still appears to be other gods.

…That was fun.

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