DonnaM » Blog Archive » Was Jesus a Persona

Was Jesus a Persona

I was sitting in Hyde Park (Sydney) today having lunch, reading a book, when a Mormon lad came to talk with me. We got to talking religion (as you do with a Mormon) and he asked me whether I thought that Jesus really lived.

I told him about my personal idea of Jesus. That being, I don’t think that there was a living, breathing person called Jesus. I think the stories about Jesus are, and were always meant to be, metaphors. Now, people find it very difficult to understand metaphors and concepts, so we make up stories to illustrate them. And because people like hearing about other people, we give them names, histories and personalities.

It was at this point that I realised that this is what we do when we create personas in user-centred design processes. We learn about the users of an application, make up stories illustrating their goals, give them histories and personalities, all to communicate with developers.

What a profound thought (I don’t think the Mormon understood it, but he did offer me a book ;)

PS – I’m not trying to insult anyone’s religious beliefs. As I also told the Mormon, I was enjoying chatting with him as long as he didn’t tell me how to live my life. And to his credit, he was not trying to do this.

9 Responses to “Was Jesus a Persona”

  1. andrew Says:

    Interesting encounter. Way to link it back to usability! Personally, I think Jesus existed as an historical figure. I just don’t believe he was the Son of God. Maybe I’m a literalist, but I also tend to use real people as example users rather than personas in my Web work.

  2. Mike Says:

    Interesting views, both. Mine is that yes he was real (the Bible is accurate as a historic document – check it out, give it the test as others have. Read “A Case for Christianity” by CS Lewis, himself a doubter at one time.), and that if Jesus wasn’t the Son of God he was stark raving mad and should be ignored.

  3. Kris Koch Says:

    To say that you don’t think Jesus existed as a living, breathing person shows an incredible amount of ignorance and lack of education. Even educated atheists (now and at Jesus’ time) know that there was a man named Jesus who went around preaching that he was god’s son and performing all kinds of strange acts (miracles). To believe or not to believe in Jesus’ divinity is understandable; to say he didn’t exist is simply ignorant.

  4. Donna Maurer Says:

    OK, you have your beliefs and I have mine. Don’t call me ignorant and uneducated just because I don’t agree with you…

  5. Leon Zitzer Says:

    You have to think very carefully whenever you make a statement like someone did not exist. All rational discussion has to be based on evidence. Is there any evidence that Jesus is a fictional creation? There is not as far as I know. What would such evidence look like? Scholars similarly like to claim that other figures such as Barabbas and Judas are fictional. Not only is there no evidence to support this, but quite a bit of evidence contradicts the idea that they are fabrications.

    By the way, the basic reason why the idea of a Jesus as a fiction (or as historically unrecoverbale) arose is that scholars since the 19th century have been extremely terrified that a fully Jewish Jesus would be discovered. Confront that fear and the historical truths about the Jewish Jesus/Joshua are easy enough to discover. I do some of this on my blogspot which is also linked to my Web site http://www.historicaljesusghost.com

  6. KAREN CANCEL Says:

    JESUS DID EXISTED AS PEOPLE DEFINITELY ASSUMED THAT SOCRATES ARISTOTELES PLATON AND OTHERS EXISTED. THAT SIMPLE. DO WE HAVE EVIDENCE THAT THEY EXISTED IN TERMS OF FINDING THEIR BODIES OR WHERE THEY ARE BURIED? IF THAT IS THE CASE THE ONLY THING WE HAVE FROM THESE PERSONAS ARE BOOKS WRITTEN. DO WE HAVE EVIDENCE THAT THEY WROTE THEM? NO. I DON’T KNOW WHY THESE ATHEITS JUST WANT TO BE SO INTELLECTUALLY FOOL. AFTER ALL JESUS JUST CAME INTO THIS WORLD AND MANIFESTED LOVE.

  7. adipe Says:

    if the documents reffering to jesus are stating that god created the world and (many) other things that are incoherent with modern science, i cannot find reason to believe that there ever was such a person. bon apetit, you are only eating bread. the end justifies the means, right?

  8. Leo Says:

       All those are only words. And words cannot fully substitute what we feel, what we have in our core and what we are able to express.
       One example is this contribution. I am a Czech and I have been using English language almost only for reading manuals till few months ago. I have not so many experiences speaking English. Then I do not know, if you really understand, what I want to say.
       This is example of big contrast, when someone is using native language or speaks English good and someone not. On the other side, sometime it is heavy to understand aboriginal then foreigner.
       We are all on own way – from “higher” perspective we are going together. Each of us covers a different distance. It matter who is speaking to whom and how. But I think, it is not assurance that someone, who spend more time on his way or who cover bigger distance speaks comprehensively. It depends mainly on the direction and intention of his steps.
       If you mean, this is off-topic, then I am sorry. We are often speaking about same things, but with different words, from different angle.
       Especially to Brandon: I apprehend your strong words that you address it to them, who strain words and adapt legacy (in this case from Jesus) for own benefit.
       I wrote down Bunuel’s citation from your contribution, thanks. I do not know the context when Bunuel said this, but these are the words, how I sometime feel.
       At the end, I must tell you what I discover in a text which comes out from ancient but ever actual Tao-te-t’ing:

       ”Tao is all and Tao is nothing. If you say Tao, thereafter it is not Tao.

  9. Brandon DiSabatino Says:

    It is not a palmary matter concerning comprehension, not in the least. But to say that one most learn to understand what is supposedly beyond their perspicacity is to eradicate any semblance of verity whatsoever. What the Czech is trying to get across (ostensibly) is that this is all a matter of interpretation. It is not. I make no claims to fully comprehend our universe, and people who seem intent on misinterpreting atheists by assuming they have the arrogance to understand cosmological provenance should examine their statements. I have no misconceptions about the importance religion has indubitably played as a panacea to many people