Earlier in the week the Belfast Telegraph reported as “news” that the face of Jesus had been spotted in a tree stump. This newspaper has a very vague definition of news, but we could spend a long time discussing that. A video of the tree stump was posted on the YouTube channel of ‘bestofwest‘ with the description: “An image has appeared on a tree stump in Belfast’s City Cemetery. Upon close inspection, its hard to tell just how this image got there. Recently City Council employees trimmed trees in the cemetery, and as a result this phenomenon appeared.”
Stating where it is located they say: “Its located beside the wall which borders the Falls Park, directly behind the Feile marque which is errected in the park. If you walk up the path from the direction of the Falls, its on your right hand side”
One big problem with this “news” story is the wording: “An image of the face of Jesus Christ has appeared on a tree stump in a Belfast cemetery.” They say it like it IS the face of Jesus. While I feel ridiculous saying this, let’s just remind ourselves, and journalists, there are no images of Jesus. No one knows what he looks like. He image has not appeared on things.
But here’s some other things Jesus has appeared on:
Jesus on a dog’s butt
Jesus on a stingray
Jesus on a Marmite lid
Jesus on tea towel
There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object, those qualities, with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious. We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice or good- will to every thing, that hurts or pleases us. — David Hume, ‘The Natural History of Religion’
This is also known as Pareidolia; a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. This is not news and people who see these things should not be encouraged or indeed duped into thinking that they have seen something significant, this simply furthers the problem of a lack of critical and scientific thought.
This is not news.