Wednesday, 2 November 2011

From One Extreme to Another

It is only a few weeks since Ricky Gervais mocked the image of Christ on a magazine cover in order to make a further payment on his mortgage. Apart from a few bloggers, myself included, not a peep was heard from any sensible Christian anywhere.

This morning brought with it a news story of a French satirist whose offices were rendered to charcoal because he made a mocking representation of the Prophet Mohammed in his own magazine. 

In essence, the same action by two 'funny' men caused diametrically opposing responses from faith organisations. One of those responses was conspicuous by its absence, the other conspicuous by its excess. 

Surely there is some middle ground. It seems, at times, that Christians are only satisfied when attacking their own (the archbish, for example). The other lot are busy weeping into their crocheted hankies about how we are "Christians of the persecution" in Britain - and you all know what I think of that preposterous agenda. Oddly, we seem incapable or unwilling to step up and speak out about those who would seek to mock our own Saviour, which makes us the focus and butt of much comedy and insult. Equally, I am a blogger who avoids any and all talk of the Prophet Mohammed. Why? Because I fear the response by some of the more extreme of my Muslim brothers (and sisters). It is a considerable imbalance between the faiths that to my mind is difficult to swallow. 

I would love to see more Christians become gusset-rotated about some of the christocentric humour that permeates our media. I would love to see Christians stand up for their faith not in the flaccid way we see in the hands of those who simply want to impose their personal theologies. We can't even blame being British, because the world of football and rugby engenders so much loyalty and self-defensiveness. By the same token, I would call upon my Muslim brothers and sisters to not be so easily compelled to violence by the foolishness of comedians. No-one prevails in the wake of an over-reaction, any more than they do in the silent wake of passivity. 

This is a place where many people of different faiths can learn from one another. To those of us who hold it, faith is important enough to cherish and seek to protect. I am sure that every Christian parent would turn rabid in the defense of their children, just not their family in faith. Equally, I doubt that a single member of any other faith group would burn the house of the headteacher following a difficult report about their little ones. Let us all work out the middle ground, and maybe even (just maybe) find a way of defending faith in all its expressions. 


  1. I'm afraid the Ricky Gervais thing completely passed me by!

    However I'm a bit stumped by your desire for Christians to become more aggressive in defending Jesus while urging Muslims to become less aggressive in defending Mohammed.

    Personally I think offence is a very personal thing and we should react when we are genuinely offended, manufactured offence for whatever reason just doesn't ring true.

  2. I have no desire for more aggression, just more willingness to be defensive of that which we hold dear. I agree that offence is a very subjective thing, but some offence somewhere at an attack on our sacred things would be a step forward, I think. Just a few people willing to stand up and say "you are out of order" would remind the world (and ourselves sometimes) that we are talking about the dearest thing in our world, ever!

  3. The reason you are one of only a few bloggers who saw fit to comment on Ricky Gervais is simply that for the vast majority of us, he plays no part in our lives and we were therefore unaware of anything he may have said or written.
    The French satirist who suffered an extreme reaction to his 'humour', won't be making the same mistake again.
    Christians are not persecuted in this country because by and large, they are not a force to be reckoned with and therefore not much of a target.
    Some people are violent by nature, others not, and the general reaction by the vast mass of people in this country to anything controversial is total apathy.
    Sadly, if we have a national characteristic it is lethargy.

    Only half in jest!

  4. I agree with what you say, although I wonder if we've got so used to Jesus Christ being the butt of poor jokes, that we just shrug and ignore it. As Pam has said, taking offence is a very personal thing, and I tend to just turn it off or ignore such stuff, as trying to change people's views is probably going to lead to an argument, where nobody is the winner. If I took strong offence I would be inclined to indicate it to the person, but only if I thought that they were receptive to reason. Sadly, lots these days are not.

    I can remember being told that Jesus is big enough to look after himself, so our defensiveness is a symptom of our own concerns and anxieties. Not sure it I agreed, but I can see where they were coming from.

    The persecution complex exhibited by some in this country, ignores the real persecution of Christians elsewhere in the world, and I think that we do should be a bit more outgoing and upfront combating and in condemnation of that sort of action, not to be to engrossed in ourselves.

  5. I often find myself defending my Christian views - but all too often find that I am simply shouted down my atheists who seem to have an unexplained pathological hatred of all organised religion, but Christianity in particular.

    It's very difficult to have a rational discussion with irrational people.

  6. I regularly condemn comedians who cynically take cheap shots at Christianity for the furtherance of their own careers and bank balances. Whenever I do I get told off by readers of my blog. Mind you, their response is nowhere near as angry as it is when I attack scientists and celebrity atheists for doing the same. Too many Christians are ashamed of Jesus Christ and, it seems, the more liberal they are the more ashamed they are. It's time we stopped apologising and started hitting back with some radical apologetics.



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