Just in time for the Christmas gift-giving season, is a new and widely reported book with the revelation, “Jesus Christ named history’s most successful meme.“
Now, if you are like me you may be asking what the heck is a “meme?” So I looked it up on Merriam-Webster Dictionary and read the following:
An idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.
The book declaring “Jesus is number one” is entitled, Who’s Bigger? Where Historical Figures Really Rank written by researchers, Steven Skiena and Charles Ward.
To measure, meme strength and historical reputations, Skiena and Ward devised an internet-based ranking system and here is their top ten:
3. William Shakespeare
5. Abraham Lincoln
6. George Washington
7. Adolf Hitler
9. Alexander the Great
10. Thomas Jefferson
Oh no, will Jihad be declared against Shakespeare, Napoleon and the book’s authors? (Because it already has been declared against The One who holds the number one ranking.)
Based on meme strength, and how successfully the idea of the person has proliferated, Jesus was found to be “the most significant person ever.”
Being a “fan” of “the most significant person ever” I am in total agreement with Jesus topping the chart. In fact, back in July of 2012, I authored a piece that fully supports Skiena and Ward’s research, but the context was the Shroud of Turin — what millions of others and I believe is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus:
But regardless of whether you believe Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected, it cannot be disputed that he was then and still is today the most influential being who has ever existed in all human history.
Jesus Christ’s influence on the world in terms of culture, history, kingdoms, religion, empires, war, art, music, architecture, printing, human relations, charity, literature, exploration, population relocation, medicine, education, holidays, etc., cannot be refuted.
In other words, if you live on this planet, Jesus has had an effect on your life whether you care to acknowledge Him or not. (An excellent book on this subject, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, was written by Dr. D. James Kennedy in 1994.)
Conversely, if Jesus had not been resurrected, the world’s largest religion, Christianity, would not have grown and thrived for centuries and Jesus’ influence on mankind would have been minimal or non-existent.
So that is why the mysterious Shroud, which could prove Christ’s physical resurrection — the foundation of Christianity, is still an open and active cause célèbre among believers in Jesus’ divinity and members of the scientific community who continue to study the Shroud and remain intrigued by its unique properties.
During these times when Jesus is under attack in our culture and Christian persecution is raging out of control around the world, it is reassuring that based on this latest study and historical research, Jesus as “meme” and person is still flourishing, despite all the attempts to undermine and negate HIM and HIS influence.
But for those celebrating the real reason for the holiday season, the “Christ Mass,” we believe Jesus is more than a person, thus holding an unfair advantage over the others on the list.
This of course is due to the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death, celebrated by another holiday in the springtime – you know the one with the marshmallow eggs and chocolate bunnies.
Finally, here is my favorite quote from the book’s author, Steve Skiena, in an interview with the UK Independent that I link to above:
“The significance of Jesus is shown by his mindshare today fully 2,000 years after his death. We don’t see the same happening for Justin Beiber.”