Compare and Contrast Religion in Two Works

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Religion is sold to the masses daily. In 1925 it was sold to the masses in the form of printed material by Bruce Barton. In 1960 it was sold to the masses by way of a film entitled Elmer Gantry. Bruce Barton sold a different idea of Jesus than most people were familiar with. In the film, Elmer Gantry sold religion with bravado and arrogance which was not the typical way of selling religion either. In each work, religion is being sold but Elmer is a more exciting and relatable character than Bruce Barton’s Jesus. Elmer Gantry sold religion in a similar way to Barton’s Jesus but did so in a more relatable manner.

In both works, each character sought out to sell religion. Although the major characters in each work were selling religion, their reasons for selling it were completely different. When Jesus was preaching religion, his reasons were noble. In The Man Nobody Knows, Jesus sold religion to save people. He claimed to be the son of God and was doing God’s work. He not only preached to the masses but also apparently had superhuman powers which cured the ill. “A woman who had been sick for twelve years…she said within herself, if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole” (Barton, 1925). Not only could he heal people with a single touch, but his powers were so great that he did not even have to touch them to be healed.

An ordinary person cannot relate to having superhuman abilities. Although Barton’s Jesus was portrayed to be greater than he was portrayed in the Bible, most people would be able to relate more to the Bible version of Jesus. Barton took Jesus and made him into an even greater character. The Jesus in Barton’s book is a very strong and muscular man who can use his words to influence anyone. ...

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...ate to him by reminiscing about a time in their life when they did something similar to Elmer. People cannot relate to being the powerful son of God like Jesus was. They can relate to being a normal person who uses their knowledge to get what they want but at the same time having flaws and being able to see and expose these flaws.

Works Cited

Bluestone, G. (1961). Adaptation or evasion: "elmer gantry". Film Quarterly, 14(3), 15-19.

Kauffmann, S. (1960). An Old Revivalist Revived. New Republic, 143(7/8), 20-21.

Ribuffo, L. (1981). Jesus christ as business statesman: bruce barton and the selling of corporate capitalism. American Quarterly, 33(2), 206-231.

Schultze, Q. (2007). The Man Everybody Knew: Bruce Barton and the Making of Modern America. Christian Century, 124(17), 38-41.

Weiler, A. H. (1960, July 08). Elmer gantry. The New York Times.

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