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5 April 2010

Stop Dissing Christians

Filed under: Rants — Ivan Miljenovic @ 11:28 PM

So, another Easter long weekend has finished. Going by what the media and people online portray, Easter means one of several things:

  • The most significant event in the Christian calendar
  • A chance to meet up with family
  • An excuse to sell novelty chocolate
  • Four days to do home improvement projects in
  • “Zombie Jesus Day”

Australia is apparently a Christian country. It (as a nation and not a collection of tribes) was founded by Christians, its laws and system of justice are based upon Christian ethics, the collective morality was initially highly Christian, and the society in general was Christian. As part of this last point, we have a four day long weekend for Easter (with Good Friday and Easter Monday both being public holidays), and another public holiday for Christmas (with Boxing Day being thrown in as part of the English heritage of the nation). The purpose of these holidays? To let the good Australian Christians go off to commemorate and think.

Yet now, that first point is hardly ever mentioned: I’ve just flew back to Canberra a few hours ago from spending Easter with my family back in Brisbane and picked up the Sunday paper, to find the only mention to do with the Christian relation to Easter is to tie in the latest round of sexual abuse scandals to this most sacred time of the year. Being a Christian is now out of vogue; maybe there is something to the Pope’s allegations of anti-Catholic sentiments being promoted. But I digress.

I can accept the second rationale for Easter being at least partially true, especially for those who are not “religiously” (if you’ll excuse the pun) Christian or indeed are of a different faith but who take advantage of the long weekend. However, I find the latter three “reasons” rather offensive. Crass commercialism is bad enough, but for Ferrero Rocher to suggest that ancient Greek gods celebrated Easter?!?!? Where is the sense in that? And why is it that the only reason people have to not go to work is so that they can go and spend time working at home? What is wrong with just relaxing and enjoying yourself rather than feeling guilty because you know that you have a wobbly front step but you’re not taking advantage of a sale at the local hardware store to fix it?

Finally, let’s consider the “Zombie Jesus” supposed joke that’s going around. Why is it that only Christians lean over so backwards that they can’t even consider offending anyone else’s beliefs but are more than willing to let theirs be ridiculed? I’m not proposing a crusade against whoever first coined that phrase, but the willing acceptance and joking usage of it is detrimental to our own selves. In fact, if anyone ever tries to promote Christianity then they’re usually declared some kind of fundamentalist. (Disclaimer: I believe in everyone being able to make the decision themselves with no-one advocating for or actively degrading any particular belief system.)

But OK, you disagree with all my arguments. You think religion is overrated, you think people should be able to do whatever they want to do, etc. Fine. But in that case, spread it around. There are plenty of other beliefs to impune whilst you’re at it: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. So why don’t hardware stores promote Ramadam as the perfect time to paint the house, or have ancient Greek gods partying for Passover, or have Zombie Vishnu day?

Fair’s fair: you pick on one, you pick on all of them. Go on, I dare you.

Didn’t think you’d do it. And isn’t that the saddest thing of all: that we’re all such cowards that we know that Christians won’t actively fight back so they get picked on, whereas we don’t dare say anything mean about Muslims, Jews, etc.

Edit: Thank you for reading and commenting on this article. However, if you’re going to keep missing the point by trying to point out the problems with Christianity, etc. then I’m just going to delete your comment. I frankly care what you believe in; the point of this blog post was to vent about companies and people either ridiculing or down-playing Christianity when they wouldn’t have the balls to do so about other religions (and yes, I’ve talked to people about this who admitted that they would never dare talk about “Zombie Mohammed” or the like for fear of personal attack).

Edit 2: Due to the number of personal attacks I’m getting (and people still not getting what I consider to be the point) I’m disabling any future comments. Don’t like it? That’s your opinion, but I’m not talking about persecution here; I’m talking about mockery and devaluing of belief systems and whether people do it to all beliefs or just to one. Feel free to disagree with me; that is your prerogative, but quite frankly I don’t care. I write here because I want to, not to cater for anyone in particular.

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10 Comments

  1. Get used to it. We don’t agree with you and for the most part, your religion is the religion of the ruling class and government.

    Also you should be proud to have a religion which can handle and tolerate discussion and criticism.

    sidenote: I am offended that this shows up in haskell feeds.

    Comment by S. Ipodo — 6 April 2010 @ 3:56 AM

    • Ruling class? What ruling class?

      Yes, Christians tolerate discussion and criticism… but people seem to have equated that with a soft target and gone after Christianity with a vengeance.

      As for this post appearing on planet.haskell.org … Have a look at the FAQ: http://planet.haskell.org/faq.html

      Comment by Ivan Miljenovic — 6 April 2010 @ 7:48 AM

      • So you’re some kind of oppressed minority within Australia?

        Christians make up at least 64% of the population of Australia.

        Give me a break. Even worse your country enacts Judeo-Christian censorship laws, that are inline with everything that Judeo-Christian teachings are prudish about.

        So don’t claim that Christians have no power in the democracy of Australia. That’s an outright lie.

        Comment by S. Ipodo — 6 April 2010 @ 10:05 AM

        • I never claimed to be an opressed minority.

          People who identify themselves as being Christian make up the majority of the population in Australia. Whether they are practicing is a different story.

          And again, you’re missing the point.

          Comment by Ivan Miljenovic — 6 April 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  2. No one is demanding you gorge yourself on chocolate, visit your family and repair that broken step and no one will be offended if you don’t. Thankfully Australia has a largely pluralist society and people are free within quite broad boundaries to worship or not as they like. Expressing offence that other people have different beliefs, or choose to express their beliefs in different ways from you is allowed in our society, but others similarly have the right to disagree or ignore you when you do this.

    As for why christianity get’s targeted, I can think of a couple of reasons:

    * As you note, Australia has developed from a christian culture, So the people ‘picking’ on christians almost exclusively consider themselves christians, or come from a christian background. Australian culture has a history of self-deprecating humour, so it’s generally considered more than acceptable to mock your own culture, significantly less so to mock others’.

    * As most Australians come from a culturally christian background, they haven’t the slightest clue when the religious celebrations of other religions are which makes it very hard to ‘pick’ on them. We certainly don’t get public holidays for them, so it would be hard to promote visiting family or working on the home for Passover or Ramadan.

    * People are much more aware these days of the political history of such celebrations and how to a large extent the timing and rituals involved where used to impose control and weed out opposing beliefs. A certain level of cynicism, especially amongst younger people is therefore quite understandable. The ‘zombie Jesus’ joke you talk about would I assume fall into this category, personally I haven’t been aware of it.

    Happy Oestre,
    Peter

    Comment by Peter — 6 April 2010 @ 6:38 AM

    • Yes, no-one is demanding that I do any of those things, yet it seems that society is more and more expecting me to conform and do them.

      Also, are you trying to tell me that this is a purely Australian phenomenon? If so, I find it hard to believe you…

      Comment by Ivan Miljenovic — 6 April 2010 @ 7:49 AM

  3. easter’s originally a pagan festival anyway – even linguistically, it’s derived from the name of a German goddess. I don’t think it’s particularly reasonable to complain that the Christian facade painted on top is flaking off in a reasonably secular society.

    as to Christians not fighting back: Jews aren’t bombing abortion clinics in the US. and I’m perfectly happy to stand up and say that Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Pastafarianism are all equally kooky.

    (… we still cool for ozhack, right? :)

    Comment by Mark Wotton — 6 April 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  4. Easter is not a Pagan festival. Its name (in English mind you: Eastern Europeans call it Pascha, which derives from the Hebrew for what in English is called Passover) may have derived from the name of a German goddess, and some of its traditions may have been pagan in origin (usually more in the sense of something being a cultural tradition that was kept rather than part of the original pagan celebration) yet its date is still loosely based upon when the Passover occurs (unlike Christmas, which admittedly was moved to coincide with a Pagan festival; however, IMHO it’s what is being celebrated that is important, not when it’s being celebrated).

    And yeah, we’re still cool for AusHack ;-)

    Comment by Ivan Miljenovic — 6 April 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  5. Do you want people to pick on the “Facts” instead?

    How about the fact that Jesus being part of the trinity is omnipotent, so any suffering he endures on earth is constant, foretold, and known well in advance by him. Even worse, he knows where he’s going and he’s been there before. It’s like he never left anyways. So he comes down, puts on a show, and leaves. That’s a theatrical production, not a sacrifice. You can’t tell me that the all knowing and all powerful didn’t know what was going to happen. He even said so at dinner. He knew it. Maybe he didn’t design people making those choices but he obviously knew it was going to happen. He obviously didn’t care because it was part of the production anyways, give away the mortal shell of an immortal entity that is a god anyways. Coming back to life for the omnipotent isn’t hard either, it is just showing off. Again more production. It’s not like he can’t comeback, he did it 2 times so far (Jesus and the resurrecting his corpse again) otherwise he wouldn’t be omnipotent would he?

    So basically there’s no sacrifice, just a show trial for the benefit of a religion that’s supposed to be the right track. So assuming that’s all true I’m not sure we should celebrate being duped.

    Comment by Ali Hassan — 6 April 2010 @ 10:24 AM

    • Yes, Jesus knew he was going to be crucified. I’m not sure what you mean by “he’s been there before” though.

      Also, this is beside the point. You can believe whatever you like. My point was, if people are going to go around “talking down” Christianity they should do so to other faiths as well.

      Edit: oh, and check the meaning of the word omnipotent; it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

      Comment by Ivan Miljenovic — 6 April 2010 @ 10:32 AM


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