Religion in Society

Should Jewish Artist Draw "Ultimate Portrait of Jesus"

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LOS ANGELES -- An artist who creates drawings made from dots, is embarking on his most ambitious project ever. It will involve the participation of Christians across the globe in the creation of perhaps the most extraodinary portrait of Jesus ever -- The People's Portrait of Christ.

It will take one million dots to create the image of Jesus, according to internationally renowned artist, David Ilan, who will be drawing each dot on the canvas.

What makes his artwork meaningful is that each dot in an Ilan drawing represents a real person. The drawing can only exist when people participate.

In Dots For Jesus, a mission to attract enough participants by midnight Christmas Eve, each dot represents a Christian. One dot = one believer.

Even before the first dot is drawn, it is being called "the ultimate portrait of Jesus." It has also stirred up debate, with some asking, "Is it wrong for a Jewish artist to draw the ultimate portrait of Christ?"

As a Jew who was born in Israel, Ilan says he would never have predicted he would one day be the artist of a celebrated Christ portrait.

Elizabeth Carter, a worshipper at Church on the Way in Los Angeles, believes it's better that the creator of the Christ portrait is not a Christian. "Why preach to the choir? It's actually good that he's Jewish, since he's giving Christians a chance to tell him why we believe. As the drawing grows, so will his understanding. Jesus was a Jew from Israel, so what's wrong with the artist being a Jew from Israel? He's in good company!"

Each participant can attach a message to their dot answering the question: "Why Jesus?" Ilan sees himself as representing all non-Christians who are uninformed about Jesus Christ.

Another churchgoer, recording artist Chris Dane Owens, explained, "What excites me is that it starts with a blank slate on two levels. The Portrait begins as a blank canvas. But the artist, himself, is also a blank slate. He admits he knows very little about Jesus. By inviting Christians to teach him, it will shape his own beliefs. Every Christian should participate and make it their mission to spread the word. Spreading the word about this project is spreading the word about Jesus."

To reserve your free dot, go to: