Sexing Religion in the Narratives: creating spaces of sexual dissent in the media
The sexless Christ, celibacy, and the way to the kingdom of God
I start with the movie The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) to provide some basic
teachings of the Roman Catholic Church shown – and questioned – in the narrative.
In the various attempts to depict Jesus Christ as a human being who walked and lived
with mortals, it was only in the movie that I saw this humanity. Jesus had a wife, committed the
grave error of wanting to be normal, to live like man and stepped down from the cross.
Although in the end Jesus decided to fulfill his mission as The Son of God, the apparent hint of
the possibility that God can be tempted, can be human, was so distressful for the church that
the movie – and the book by Nikos Kazantzakis published in 1953 on which the movie was
based – was banned in several parts of the world. Jesus Christ cannot even in the remotest
possibility succumb to temptations of man. He would lose the perfection, the ideal which makes
Him God and which man could never achieve because of man’s passions.
The movie, as was the book, was purely fiction. And yet it held a power over their
audience – the power of planting a seed of thought, something that could not be entertained by
Christian fundamentalists else their entire worldview would erode. An entire set of rules – the
Canon Law – is based on the inculpable Christ, free of the corruption of the flesh.
God carries the concept of a male, often referred to as ‘He’, and by the various
designation of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, contrary to the masculine
standards of virility and sexual prowess, His being God entails His difference from man in such
that He is not prone to human cravings. This is specifically underlined by His celibacy. Unlike