Notepad on Life

January 10, 2011

Comedians and the Bible – the laugh’s on whom, exactly?

Ricky Gervais at Comedy Central's "Night ...

Ricky Gervais (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Funny though they generally are, the satirical version of those motivational office posters comes a cropper in this attack on the tax man.

Yes, it raises a smile but anyone with a reasonable knowledge of the Bible will soon spot that the headline and the text don’t add up.

The whole point of this quote from Jesus is that we are to pay the world its dues, as we are to God. None of us delight in paying taxes but up to a point they are a perfectly reasonable way of paying for the way of life we all too often take for granted, so no, I don’t believe God Hates Taxes automatically follows on from the quote beneath it.

In isolation, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought but I mention it only because it adds to the frequently unholy alliance that ensues whenever wits turn their attention to the Bible.

I bow to few men in my admiration of the late Bill Hicks‘ satirical ability but even he showed a significant ignorance of his subject matter with this comment on Christians and the cross:

“A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. Do you think when Jesus comes back he ever wants to see a f***in’ cross? It’s kind of like going up to Jackie Onassis with a little sniper, rifle pendant on. ‘Hey Jackie, just thinking of John…””

Well actually Bill (and I suspect even a few kids from a half-decent Sunday School could have picked you up on this one) given that the whole gist of the New Testament is that Christ conquered death, I doubt that the mere trappings of death would bother him in the slightest. Regardless of whether you believe  the Resurrection occurred, the joke is based on a false premise.

Then there was Ricky Gervais on Alan Carr‘s chat show a while ago. Openly atheistic, Gervais was asked by his host if he ever toyed with the idea of at least trying to do the church thing, just to hedge his bets?

No, he replied, because if he ever did have to account to God for his beliefs, he would just remind the Almighty that it was He who had made him that way.

At which point, God would press the ‘fail’ buzzer, because free will is another central tenet of Christianity. We are free to be what we wish in this life although we will one day have to account for how we used that freedom. Atheism is Ricky Gervais’ call, no-one else’s.

For the mother and father of non sequiturs, however, you had to hear Jason Manford‘s classic over the Christmas holiday. I forget the TV programme he was on but he made a crack about Katie Price writing another novel.

“That makes it four books of fiction she’s produced,” he pointed out. “Two more than God.”

Jason, please: if God is indeed responsible for the books that make up the Bible (and there are actually 66 of them, or 77 if you’re Catholic)  they are hardly likely to be fiction, are they?

Now I don’t mean to be prissy here. I smiled at all three gags and I enjoy the work of all three men. Nor do I have a problem with God and Jesus being lampooned. They have survived far worse and I take a certain perverse satisfaction from the fact that even Their greatest detractors can’t seem to get Them entirely out of their system. No-one makes Thor or Aphrodite gags, after all.

But if you’re going to poke fun at something; please, a little research beforehand, yes?



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