Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lighten up?

Age columnist Catherine Deveny recently suggested (here) that Christians ought to lighten up at the thought of a huge chocolate Jesus at Easter. Ms Deveny thinks that religion is all balderdash, and therefore can't see what would rile people about this. Of course, she can't help herself with one-liners like "Just like a chocolate milkshake, only Jesus", and "Helps you work, rest and pray".

True, I agree when she points out that making death threats about a chocolate Jesus when one is a Christian is hypocritical - turning the other cheek has moral force here. However, a few comments. Turning the other cheek in its 1st century context would mean, instead of being struck on the right cheek with a back hander as some one inferior, turn the cheek and be hit as an equal - i.e. this is an active form (though non-violent) of protest. I wonder what way in which we might protest "My sweet Lord". Perhaps we should also remember that "vengeance is mine" and we are not to seek to punnish people who do this sort of thing.

But, why should Christians be offended by such a thing? Or indeed, Jesus running a chat show on cable TV (Southpark), etc? Ms Deveny, by dismissing religion in general as rubbish puts herself in no position to make comment on content. If, as the New Testament says, Jesus was Son of God, co-agent in the creation of everything, the Lord of creation by being raised from the dead and the only true Lord (whether sport star, prime minister or opinion writer), then maybe making a Jesus out of chocolate is a little disrespectful.

To take up her point "It seems to be fine for some religious folk to sneer and deride other people's faith but you are not allowed to do it to them. Blasphemy seems to be only when someone offends your faith. ", what is sneering and what is derision? Can we not disagree vehemently without resorting to ridicule. Can't say I've ever spoken derisively about atheism or Islam (to name two examples) in any sermons I've preached in a derisive fashion. I've never made a chocolate Darwin either! :)

The nub is "The idea of a chocolate Jesus makes far more sense to me than the alleged resurrection of Christ being celebrated by eggs and rabbits because they symbolise fertility."

I agree, eggs and rabbits should have no place in the Christian home because the resurrection is no allegation to them (indeed not at all). As for her wishing Happy Easter - how about she goes to work and I take paid leave to celebrate the greatest event in human history.

Peace be with you.

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