An interesting article on the BBC website about the interplay between comedy and religion, and Christianity in particular. Some stuff said by the Christian, Paul Kerensa, I can’t sign up to; this was quite troubling:
I never seek to prove my faith – it’s a leap of faith that has got me where I am. I studied Theology, and a bit of Philosophy, and the whole ontological and cosmological arguments get us nowhere, and is a waste of everyone’s time and brainpower.
So my faith, which is illogical and I love it that way, is totally separate from my interest in logical science.
Once you set out to prove God via scientific method, you’re climbing the Tower of Babel and generally missing the point.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think the ontological and cosmological arguments are the game-winners, nor that we “prove” God but to just call it “a leap of faith” and “illogical” and to play into the false dichotomy of science and “faith” doesn’t help much.
Having said that, his closing material was fantastic and got right to the point by addressing the cheap, sneering, soundbite rhetoric we get so often from the pop-atheists:
If you’re taking on Big Religion, then fair enough. Big Religion has been behind everything from the Crusades to 9/11, but then it has included several billion people, so really there are bound to be a few wrong ‘uns in there. If you get bad eggs, you don’t throw away all eggs.
The problem really is Big Humanity.
But yes, Catholic (and even Anglican) cover-ups, organised religious hatred, institutionalised homophobia… I stand against all of these things. Ministers in the Church often do not act on my behalf, just as the actions of our MPs often don’t reflect the rest of the nation’s wishes.
So mock and scrutinise the dark offshoots of Big Religion by all means. I just wish I heard more in comedy clubs going after those specific wrongs you mention, rather than the simplistic writing-off of Jesus as fictitious, or even, as I’ve heard several times, gags about Christ’s sex life.
Laughs of outrage, some walk-outs, no genital mutilation held to account.
I’m offended, but on the ground of lazy comedy; religion should have no immunity from mockery.
Nobody has the right never to be offended, but it’s nice to be nice, and when it gets personal, we reserve the right to tut, and maybe pray for the comedian.
image: Alexamenos Graffito