(If this sounds wonkier than usual, I'm struggling with a broken space bar. Ctrl + v, for the wyn. Fail. Whatever. Editing in attempt to attain superior coherency...)
Buddha claimed to be an ordinary man. Throughout the ages, the consensus interpreted this as humility or humble-ness. .
Years later, there's Jesus. Jesus claimed to be a king, perhaps -- the Messiah. BAM! He's betrayed, brutally tortured, made fun of, nailed to a large wooden cross and crucified.
Centuries later, its Mohammad's turn. Mohammad looks at Buddha, then at Jesus and decides he's going to take Buddha's route in claiming to be 'ordinary'. Whatever Mohammad's reasons, like Buddha, its interpreted as humility.
End result: all 3 historical figures are elevated to increasingly **god-like** status, irrespective of claims made during their lifetimes.
Contrary to popular belief, the story doesn't end with Mohammad, it continues on, into the present day.
The latest incarnation of this phenomenon: Tiger Woods.
Due to sports marketing demographics and a number of contributing circumstances, Tiger Woods has been built up, eventually becoming an iconic, Jesus-like, figure. The image of the "chaste" and "monogamous family man" who embodies ideals and values society deems worthy has been encouraged by golf and sports merchandisers in order to increase sports market share, and increase profits. Yes, Tiger Woods has an image similar to Jesus and other historical figures. If an artificially generated and maintained one. This is the biggest factor in his popularity and riches. And, the reason why sports organizers sometimes show favortism to those who are marketable and able to become mainstream 'ambassadors' of a sport.
Violent sports like mixed martial arts, with their tattoo'ed, biker, look-a-like "sportsmen", appeal to these sensibilities. They promote the image they're "professional athletes" who "do not get off" on either violence or bloodshed. The image that someone is in a sport for "love" and not "money" would appear to be something people just can't get enough of. As is the image of virtuous individuals endowed with an exceeding amount of talent, and the concept that there are people in this world worthy of placing one's faith, hope and trust in.
The same can be said of other sports currently in a 'growth' phase, as opposed to a 'developed' one. The espouse credibility and promote self-sacrificing, Jesus-like images in order to convince people they're worth caring about.
Considering I don't know of terminology for this phenomena, I'm going to call it: The Jesus Effect.
It implies all people have an inherent and dire need to believe in someone. A need that can be somewhat satisfied by believing in individuals like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad and to a lesser degree -- Tiger Woods.
Richard Dawkins, Einstein, Dalai Llama and Obama fulfill the innate need for a Jesus Effect. The same can be said of celebrities and other figures in the mainstream spotlight. Even Angelina Jolie who once bragged publicly about having sex in a limo on the way to attending a celebrity event appears to have caught on, adopted a number of poor children, and begun cultivating a Jesus-like image for herself. As have a number of celebrities, political figures and others. Hell, even Marilyn Manson does it with his: I'm a victim of the mainstream media over-reacting.
I would just like to say that all of this artificial and pretentious behavior disgusts me.
Boring story short, if we would take note of how our need for a Jesus Effect can over-ride our own common sense and judgment, perhaps we wouldn't need to nail our mis-begotten saviors to a cross when pretenses fail.
In considering politicians like Sarah Palin, perhaps it may become clearer how individual need for a Jesus Effect can completely annihilate rational thought. If only in terms of our rationale, or lack thereof, for who we support, and why.
While we live in a world drowning in technological achievement, we remain starved for credibility. For meaningful relationships. And, in many instances, it would seem we're desperate and motivated in selling ourselves short in choosing our heroes and personal saviors. This enables us to be easily deceived and manipulated by the mass marketing, profit generating, mainstream media, machine.
Hindsight being "20/20", perhaps this is the way things have always been. Who is to say that Buddha claiming to be an ordinary person wasn't an act of humility, but a factual statement? Perhaps people who lived thousands of years ago were as starved for credibility, personal heroes and meaningful relationships as we are, today, and built up historical figures like Buddha to an exaggerated degree in order to satisfy their own need for a Jesus Effect?