Religious Satire: Laughter Silenced
The world enjoys laughter; they say it is the best medicine. In every part of the world there are comics, jokes, and satire. Most of them are all in good fun, but sometimes the jokes get taken too far. The recent uproar over a political cartoon in the Middle East has sparked a lot of interest with religious satire. Why does religion get attacked so frequently? How far is too far? When are the jokes no longer funny, but hurtful? Whenever someone's religion and morals are attacked, it is no longer funny. Religion is a serious topic than many people have in their lives all around the world. The beliefs of religious people (Christians in particular) are not a joking matter, and the satire is no longer funny. Religious satire has become a topic that damages the Christian faith, is morally wrong, and an outward way to be malicious. "Christianity is more than an event, an experience, or a set of beliefs." (Gushee P10) Christianity is meant to be something that people can put their heart and soul into, and a force to fall back upon. It is strong and powerful belief that has become a center for many and where they derive their strength from. There are a lot of people who need Christianity in their lives, and religious satire is slowly ruining that. The media poking fun of Christianity is unnecessary and damaging. The biggest example of this is the fairly recent movie Dogma, which has been called, "
a satire which aims directly at the flaws and pretensions of organized religion." (Henderson P1) This movie was made with the intent to scrutinize Christianity and the things that Christians hold deep in their hearts. It portrays the Christian faith as a fake and useless religion. It plays on fears, hopes, and the belief system set up by Christians. Dogma, "
mocks everything we hold sacred- God, the church, the Mass, and Mary's virginity." (Henderson P4) This is going too far with the satire. It is purposely searching for hurtful things to say and saying them just to be spiteful of the Christian faith. This movie seeks out the most crucial and important elements in religions and twists them all around. It is deeper than a simple joke that makes fun on one situation or one small aspect, it criticizes the whole religion. "The wits of the present age being so very numerous and penetrating, it seems the grandees of Church and State begin to fall under horrible apprehensions
[Critics] find leisure to pick holes in the weak sides of religion." (Swift 39) Just like in an animal kingdom, religious satire preys on the weakest elements and the most sensitive. It goes right for the heart and strikes a heavy blow. The jokes made about religion just damage the spirit of Christianity. When Christianity is being ridiculed someone is always going to be affected by it. The satire weighs heavily on church officials, who begin to lose hope in themselves and their practice. "I found the people of the best rank amongst them always ridiculing religion." (Kallich 5) The pastors begin to become discouraged and think that what they are teaching is wrong or not getting through to the people. This is just devastating to the rest of Christians, who look to these officials for guidance. Religious satire just pushes down the faith and makes everyone look at it differently and look at if for less then what it actually is. People no longer see Christianity for everything that it can do and become, but instead they see it as, "
a one- time moment of conversion in which we "walk the aisle," profess our faith publicly, and join the church, guaranteeing ourselves a heavenly mansion when we die." (Gushee P6) This is no way to go through life or act as a Christian. The satire damages the spirit of it all and people then do not care about trying to become a better person through religion. They just do what they need to do to get by, because they fear getting made fun of. Christians need to be able...
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