01 September 2017

Some thoughts on McGregor beating up Jesus

So, last week there was the big Mayweather-McGregor fight. McGregor made some comments back in 2015, which were dug-up possibly by Mayweather fans that wanted to paint McGregor in a bad light and get good intending Christians on board because the comments may be considered blasphemous. McGregor claimed in an interview, that if he faced Jesus as an opponent in the ring, he’d be able to beat him up. There are three thoughts that crossed my mind when I saw people sharing the meme of McGregor claiming that he’d beat up any man alive, including Jesus.

First, why the fuss with McGregor? Here we have Mayweather, convicted for assaulting several women he had been in relationships with, as well as other people.

See: "Floyd Mayweather has a disturbing history of domestic violence"

Let’s compare that for a moment with McGregor, who although he has a foul mouth, seems to adore his wife and treats her with great respect, and does not have a criminal record.

Why the need for the McGregor memes about his impossible, fictitious encounter with Jesus in a fight. Why didn’t I see any memes denouncing Mayweather for the misogynistic, violent thug and convicted criminal that he is? (There probably were a few such memes circulating the Internet, but I just didn't happen to see them shared within my SNS circles.) I’m just saying, what is more probable, that McGregor will beat up Jesus, or that Mayweather will beat up another woman? What is an actual concern here in our day and age? People beating up deities or men abusing women and children? Let’s rather talk about the issue of violence in general against women, children, and the marginalized, minorities, and gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transsexual people, and also animals. Let’s call out McGregor on his luxurious fur coats or on the implied acceptable bully behaviour that’s embedded in his statement of beating up the pacifist Jesus.

Second, from McGregor’s statement, his Biblical knowledge is rather lacking, stating: “Me versus Jesus in the Octagon? I tell you what, there's not a man alive that can beat me... But Jesus ain't alive... maybe he can come back from the dead, I don't know. I'd still whoop his ass.” Why do Christians get upset at someone who clearly don’t know the Biblical account of Jesus dying on the cross, then being resurrected on the third day, and finally ascending alive into heaven. If McGregor believes that “Jesus ain’t alive,” there is hardly a reason to take his comment seriously.

My last point is actually the very first thought I had when I saw these memes, and maybe it is the most controversial, but it is this: Jesus being beat up, tortured, and finally executed—without once putting up a fight to defend himself—is at the core of the Christian faith. One need not be a UFC champion to beat up Jesus. Jesus was in both his message and his actions a pacifist. It would hardly be a moment of pride for McGregor to beat up someone that never raises his fists, even in defence, but actually turns the other cheek. In fact, Jesus as the innocent victim, as the scapegoat killed by a community, is central to the messianic mission—this was the very revelation of his mission: that we humans resort to violence and that power-over-others is what we idealize, hence our adoration of fighters like Mayweather and McGregor. However, Jesus came to reveal the antithetical nature of God as non-violence, all-loving, as servant-to-all, who would rather be killed himself, than to retaliate in violence. Rather than finding McGregor’s statement offensive, I find it revealing—a revelation of the truth of the human condition, as was exposed at the execution of Jesus on the cross. If you are interested in these ideas, I strongly recommend the French philosopher René Girard’s works about mimetic desire, mimetic rivalry, and the scapegoat mechanism.