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Compare And Contrast Religion In Two Works Essay
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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. Average people cannot relate to this character because they do not know such a man and may not want to know Jesus as this type of person. Although, Jesus saved people because it was a duty imposed upon him by his father. Elmer Gantry however, had a different reason for preaching the word of the lord. Elmer found it convenient to preach about the lord when he knew he could get something in return. He had no ulterior motive than to use the words in the Bible to his advantage to gain something for him. In the film, Elmer sees a good thing in Sister Sharon Falconer's evangelical troupe and cons his way into her tent-tabernacle, her graces, and her heart (Weiler, 1960). Elmer used the Bible to get closer to and ultimately to win over Sister Sharon. Elmer Gantry was an opportunistic character. He used religion when it could benefit him. Not only was Gantry opportunistic about religion, but was opportunistic when it came to sex and alcohol as well (Bluestone, 1961). Many people can relate to a character such as Elmer Gantry. When the opportunity arises for something to go in his favor, he grabs the opportunity. Many people may feel the same way today. If an opportunity arises to get something for yourself, you will. Elmer is an ordinary person with ordinary impulses. He sees Sister Sharon as something he desires and works his way into her inner circle to be closer to her. An ordinary man would do something similar to be closer to a woman he finds attractive. Both characters had very different reasons for selling religion, but both were extremely successful. Barton portrayed Jesus as the first and greatest salesman of all time. Jesus sold religion to the masses and was so successful in doing so that people should try to emulate his style. Gantry was also extremely successful at selling religion even being able to convince nonbelievers to believe. Both characters were extremely passionate about preaching and both were undoubtedly successful. Elmer Gantry and Barton's Jesus had opposing reasons for selling religion, but both made people want to be religious. In Barton's book, Jesus simply walked by Matthew, told him to come with him and he did. "And as Jesus walked by, he called Matthew," (Barton, 1925, pg. 15). Matthew had not been a devoutly religious man previous to his encounter with Jesus. After the two met, Matthew would follow Jesus everywhere he went, listening to every word he spoke, and then preaching the same words to others. Many people cannot claim to have been become religious after speaking to someone. Most people would claim that they had either been brought up religious or something traumatic happened in their life which caused them to become religious. Jesus was able to say so few of words and have people become devoutly religious. It is not impossible for someone to do this, but many people today would not believe in something just because someone told them to. Elmer Gantry also had charisma which influenced people to be religious or temporarily religious even if they had not been previously. In the opening scene of the film, Elmer is sitting in a bar when two women walk in asking for donations for Christmas. When none of the bar patrons give money, Elmer stands and preaches to them. He started taking money from people and giving it to the women. One gentleman tries to take the money from Elmer, but Elmer preaches more Bible verses and the man relinquishes the money to the women. The man did not want to give up his money, but Elmer convinced him he wanted to be a temporary religious man and give his money to these women on Christmas. Although not all people can relate to Jesus, almost everyone can relate to Elmer Gantry. Every day, people donate money to churches or charities because someone asks them to do so. Even if they are not affiliated with the organization or have never heard of them, they still take out change and give. This may not seem like much, but it is these small acts of charity can make some people think about what they really believe in. People can undoubtedly relate to Elmer because he is that person that makes everyone else think about what they believe in and why they believe in it. Both men in these works were depicted as being overwhelmingly smart. Although both had an unwavering sense of intelligence, each used their gift in a completely different way. Still, Jesus used his intellect to do good deeds while Elmer used his to con and deceive. Jesus was depicted as an extremely bright individual. Even at a young age he was seen, according to Barton, as a very bright boy (Schultze, 2007). When his parents had forgotten him after a party, they returned to the area to see him sitting conversing with older gentlemen. One could say that they may have been talking about simple things, but Barton explains that Jesus was having a very intellectual conversation. Jesus used this intellect to turn nonbelievers into believers. He cast doubters and naysayers away by asking them complex questions that they do have an answer for. "The Pharisees set a trap for him. One Sabbath day they hunted up a man with a withered hand and deposited him in the Temple where Jesus would be sure to pass. Then they waited. If Jesus healed him, it would be a breach of the Code, which forbade any activity on the Sabbath. Jesus sensed the test and met it without hesitation. Jesus said to them, 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do harm? To save a life or to kill?'" (Barton, 1925) The average person is not as intelligent as Jesus was depicted in Barton's work. It is hard for a person to relate to someone especially when that person is much smarter than they are. Many people may feel intimidated by such intellect. When a man can say a few simple words and silence you because you do not know how to respond, this can be make in unapproachable and unrelatable. Jesus used his intellect to not show people he was smarter than they were, but to cast away the people that doubted his faith and his beliefs. Elmer, on the other hand, used his intelligence to con and deceive people into doing anything he wanted them to do. Throughout the film, Elmer used his wit to gain anything he saw beneficial. The clearest example of this is gaining access to Sister Sharron's inner circle. He first uses Sister Rachel's innocence to deceive her into believing he is interested in her. After he does this, he uses his intellect to convince Bill to meet Jim Lefferts in the rear of the train. He then makes his way directly next to Sister Sharron. Ultimately, he plants a seed in her mind to allow him to stay with the group which he uses to his advantage and eventually uses his street smarts to become intimate with Sister Sharron (Kauffman, 1960). Almost everyone has used their knowledge one time or another to get something they wanted. When someone knows something that another does not, this gives them the advantage of having the upper hand. Elmer uses his experience and street smarts to gain access to something that was previously unattainable to him. Many people can relate to using previous experiences to gain something they had not previously had by using their intellect about the past. Elmer and Jesus use their intelligence in two different ways, but it cannot be contested that both were gifted. Both men were extremely smart and expressed themselves in a forceful manner when using their brains. Although their intellect was used differently, both men were intelligent enough to use what they knew and what they learned. Jesus knew that people doubted him and used intelligence to make them look like fools. Elmer learned over time how to use his intelligence to his own advantage (Bluestone, 1961). Although Bruce Barton set out to sell Jesus to the masses, he made an intimidating individual. Elmer Gantry however, is a completely relatable character to most people. Although he may be more vulgar then most are used to, he is human with regular flaws like everyone else. People can look at Elmer and immediately relate 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.
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Compare and Contrast Religion in Two Works
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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. Average people cannot relate to this character because they do not know such a man and may not want to know Jesus as this type of person. Although, Jesus saved people because it was a duty imposed upon him by his father.
              Elmer Gantry however, had a different reason for preaching the word of the lord. Elmer found it convenient to preach about the lord when he knew he could get something in return. He had no ulterior motive than to use the words in the Bible to his advantage to gain something for him. In the film, Elmer sees a good thing in Sister Sharon Falconer's evangelical troupe and cons his way into her tent-tabernacle, her graces, and her heart (Weiler, 1960). Elmer used the Bible to get closer to and ultimately to win over Sister Sharon. Elmer Gantry was an opportunistic character. He used religion when it could benefit him. Not only was Gantry opportunistic about religion, but was opportunistic when it came to sex and alcohol as well (Bluestone, 1961).
              Many people can relate to a character such as Elmer Gantry. When the opportunity arises for something to go in his favor, he grabs the opportunity. Many people may feel the same way today. If an opportunity arises to get something for yourself, you will. Elmer is an ordinary person with ordinary impulses. He sees Sister Sharon as something he desires and works his way into her inner circle to be closer to her. An ordinary man would do something similar to be closer to a woman he finds attractive.
              Both characters had very different reasons for selling religion, but both were extremely successful. Barton portrayed Jesus as the first and greatest salesman of all time. Jesus sold religion to the masses and was so successful in doing so that people should try to emulate his style. Gantry was also extremely successful at selling religion even being able to convince nonbelievers to believe. Both characters were extremely passionate about preaching and both were undoubtedly successful.
              Elmer Gantry and Barton's Jesus had opposing reasons for selling religion, but both made people want to be religious. In Barton's book, Jesus simply walked by Matthew, told him to come with him and he did. "And as Jesus walked by, he called Matthew," (Barton, 1925, pg. 15). Matthew had not been a devoutly religious man previous to his encounter with Jesus. After the two met, Matthew would follow Jesus everywhere he went, listening to every word he spoke, and then preaching the same words to others.
              Many people cannot claim to have been become religious after speaking to someone. Most people would claim that they had either been brought up religious or something traumatic happened in their life which caused them to become religious. Jesus was able to say so few of words and have people become devoutly religious. It is not impossible for someone to do this, but many people today would not believe in something just because someone told them to.
              Elmer Gantry also had charisma which influenced people to be religious or temporarily religious even if they had not been previously. In the opening scene of the film, Elmer is sitting in a bar when two women walk in asking for donations for Christmas. When none of the bar patrons give money, Elmer stands and preaches to them. He started taking money from people and giving it to the women. One gentleman tries to take the money from Elmer, but Elmer preaches more Bible verses and the man relinquishes the money to the women. The man did not want to give up his money, but Elmer convinced him he wanted to be a temporary religious man and give his money to these women on Christmas.
              Although not all people can relate to Jesus, almost everyone can relate to Elmer Gantry. Every day, people donate money to churches or charities because someone asks them to do so. Even if they are not affiliated with the organization or have never heard of them, they still take out change and give. This may not seem like much, but it is these small acts of charity can make some people think about what they really believe in. People can undoubtedly relate to Elmer because he is that person that makes everyone else think about what they believe in and why they believe in it.
              Both men in these works were depicted as being overwhelmingly smart. Although both had an unwavering sense of intelligence, each used their gift in a completely different way. Still, Jesus used his intellect to do good deeds while Elmer used his to con and deceive. Jesus was depicted as an extremely bright individual. Even at a young age he was seen, according to Barton, as a very bright boy (Schultze, 2007). When his parents had forgotten him after a party, they returned to the area to see him sitting conversing with older gentlemen. One could say that they may have been talking about simple things, but Barton explains that Jesus was having a very intellectual conversation. Jesus used this intellect to turn nonbelievers into believers. He cast doubters and naysayers away by asking them complex questions that they do have an answer for.
              "The Pharisees set a trap for him. One Sabbath day they hunted up a man with a withered hand and deposited him in the Temple where Jesus would be sure to pass. Then they waited. If Jesus healed him, it would be a breach of the Code, which forbade any activity on the Sabbath. Jesus sensed the test and met it without hesitation. Jesus said to them, 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do harm? To save a life or to kill? '" (Barton, 1925)
             
              The average person is not as intelligent as Jesus was depicted in Barton's work. It is hard for a person to relate to someone especially when that person is much smarter than they are. Many people may feel intimidated by such intellect. When a man can say a few simple words and silence you because you do not know how to respond, this can be make in unapproachable and unrelatable.
              Jesus used his intellect to not show people he was smarter than they were, but to cast away the people that doubted his faith and his beliefs. Elmer, on the other hand, used his intelligence to con and deceive people into doing anything he wanted them to do. Throughout the film, Elmer used his wit to gain anything he saw beneficial. The clearest example of this is gaining access to Sister Sharron's inner circle. He first uses Sister Rachel's innocence to deceive her into believing he is interested in her. After he does this, he uses his intellect to convince Bill to meet Jim Lefferts in the rear of the train. He then makes his way directly next to Sister Sharron. Ultimately, he plants a seed in her mind to allow him to stay with the group which he uses to his advantage and eventually uses his street smarts to become intimate with Sister Sharron (Kauffman, 1960).
              Almost everyone has used their knowledge one time or another to get something they wanted. When someone knows something that another does not, this gives them the advantage of having the upper hand. Elmer uses his experience and street smarts to gain access to something that was previously unattainable to him. Many people can relate to using previous experiences to gain something they had not previously had by using their intellect about the past.
              Elmer and Jesus use their intelligence in two different ways, but it cannot be contested that both were gifted. Both men were extremely smart and expressed themselves in a forceful manner when using their brains. Although their intellect was used differently, both men were intelligent enough to use what they knew and what they learned. Jesus knew that people doubted him and used intelligence to make them look like fools. Elmer learned over time how to use his intelligence to his own advantage (Bluestone, 1961).
              Although Bruce Barton set out to sell Jesus to the masses, he made an intimidating individual. Elmer Gantry however, is a completely relatable character to most people. Although he may be more vulgar then most are used to, he is human with regular flaws like everyone else. People can look at Elmer and immediately relate 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.
Compare And Contrast Essay 
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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