Jesus Shoes (Or How to Walk On Water in One Easy Step)

When I worked for now-defunct MC Sports, we sold Nike athletic shoes. I was always amazed that people would put out $250 a pop for a pair of limited edition Jordan basketball shoes. I was even more amazed that they would resell on eBay for $500 to $750. People went out of their way to be convinced that there was something special about these basketball sneakers.

Nike ‘Jesus Shoes’ filled with holy water sell for $3KSo, I was not surprised to read that people were willing to put out over $4,000 for a pair of Nike Air Max 97s “which include a steel crucifix, are made of 100% frankincense wool, come with 60cc of “holy water” from the River Jordan tucked under the sole, and are inscribed with Matthew 14:25, the verse where Jesus supposedly walks on water.”

In fact, the original Air Max sells for about $160. The revised edition, manufactured by MSCHF out of Brooklyn, New York, originally sold for $1,450. They are now reselling for over $4,000.

You may think this was a silly attempt to hoodwink the Christian community and in a way, you would be right. Except for the shoes sold out within one week of introduction.

Fortunately, Nike has nothing to do with this offering.

Why are people so gullible? Is it because we have the “unique ability to receive, trust and act on stories we get from others, and so accumulate a shared view about the world?” Or is it the belief in the unknown and unexplainable?

We know that the water of the River Jordan has no chemistry that makes the water any more special than the waters in Lake Erie. And how do we know that this is really water from the River Jordan and not the East River in New York City? Are we such a trusting lot?

(According to Matthew 14:25, Jesus walked on the waters of a lake or on the sea, depending on which version of the Bible you read, but not on the River Jordan.)

For those whose belief system is fenced by “faith,” belief in the supernatural cannot be explained. Nor can logic and science persuade them differently. They need to believe in something, their God, for the things that happen to them, good or bad, in life. It is nearly impossible to convince them otherwise.

Gullibility is to be easily manipulated believing something is true when it is not. For example, that there is a personal god who watches over you 24/7/365 and like the waters of the River Jordan having mystical powers. Credulity is a willingness to believe unlikely propositions with no evidence to back them up, such as a belief the there was a Jesus of Nazareth who lived 2100 years ago.

It is the same manipulation that mega-churches and televangelists use on their flocks to give their hard-earned money to an already cash inflated church. It is why people believe that God somehow touched the pastors of these churches and provided them with luxury cars, private jets, and mansions. (Prosperity ministries)

In religion, it is the need to confirm that things must happen for a reason, that it is part of God’s plan, yet that plan is never disclosed. That things do not occur by happenstance.

It is following the words of a charlatan standing on the pulpit declaring that he or she somehow has a special relationship with their god so that God only speaks directly to them. If the pastor says that “such and such is evil,” then it must be the word of God saying that such and such is evil. Attempt to dissuade the believers of this “teaching” is just not possible.

It’s called confirmation bias. We tend to believe whatever verifies our personal myths and truths.

The question then becomes, “Are religious people more gullible than the non-religious?” According to

Peter Uetz, Ph.D. from The European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the answer is “Yes.”

“(E)verybody believes in many things without having evidence. However, in many areas, especially science, we CAN, at least in theory, verify these claims. In religion, we cannot: you have to be gullible to be religious.”

So do the owners of the new Jesus shoe believe that they are walking on holy water? The answer is for most is “absolutely.” Some may even understand that the belief is inconsistent with reality, but they do not care. The myth of holy water is verified by the creation of a shoe filled with 60ccs of holy water from the River Jordan that meets the mythology they were brought up to believe.

Can we convince them otherwise? Most likely no. The myths can be buried so deep that no matter what logic you use, you will never break the delusion of verification. You cannot fight emotions with logic, it just will not work.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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