Whether you’re a practicing Christian or a devout atheist, you’ve no doubt heard about the face of Jesus appearing in some very unlikely places. You would think most people don’t believe that if there is a God, his only offspring would take the time to overlay his selfies on tortillas, steam irons, fish sticks or other random items. But somehow, there are plenty of people who believe just that. Unlike critics who think blurry images of bearded longhaired guys are merely coincidence—there are those who profess that they are nothing short of a miracle.
It’s no secret to modern Americans that Christianity enthusiasts can sometimes seem like cultish mystics deluded by the supposed wishes of a magical man in the sky. But these people don’t feel deluded. Some of them honestly believe that a Jesus-shaped smudge in their cancer-screening X-ray indicates a deity that is watching over them and keeping them from harm. No word on how “keeping them from harm” equals ‘letting them get cancer.’ Maybe that’s something for religious officials to decide. Would you feel “saved” if it was Jesus appearing in your X-ray?
Perhaps the most famous “depiction” of Jesus appearing on a foodstuff is the 1982 sighting of him in a New Mexico tortilla. Really. This may be less surprising than other culinary Jesus sightings because New Mexico is such a devoutly Christian area. Hand made tortillas have a more unique appearance than mass-produced, store bought fare. It’s almost expected that people would see interesting shapes or designs in them—especially once they’re partially browned from cooking. But seriously, of all the ways that the son of a god could announce his presence, one might think a medium of tortilla would be…weaksauce.
Since the famous tortilla sighting, Jesus has purportedly appeared in the swirls of an oil spill, the chips of paint on a concrete block, and even in the condensation of a car window. Those who consider these sightings holy decry any suggestion that the images are forced, manipulated, or otherwise faked. Because why wouldn’t someone with all of heaven and earth as his domain spend time creating an image of himself on a grilled cheese sandwich, or maybe the driver’s side window of a pickup truck? If these random Jesuses are truly divine, one might wonder what caused Jesus to want to plaster his image all over everything like some sort of Aramaic-speaking Donald Trump.
Slightly more believable (not really) than these every day objects is the idea of Jesus appearing in space photography, like this stunningly holy nebula. If Perseus and Zeus can hang out in constellation form amid giant scorpions and various sizes of bear—might it make sense to think that Jesus is also up there, looking cool and mysterious in the brightly colored lights of space?
It may seem easy to mock those who profess to see their deity of choice in the shade of a sidewalk or in a canister of Pringles—and it is. But we have to wonder what could inspire this sort of belief, and why anyone would be so eager to define such a sighting as a religious miracle. One could just as easily argue that all Doritos are triangular because they’re praising the pyramids of Egypt and the sun god Ra. Then again, Ra might prefer Sun Chips, don’t you think?