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A Modern Court Jester

Entry 1540, on 2013-06-09 at 12:28:59 (Rating 5, Religion)

Note: the comedy routine I am going to discuss in this blog entry contains many instances of words which some people might find offensive. To avoid this I am going to use f--- and c--- instead. If you think that the use of a lot of extreme swear words indicates a lack of sophistication or merit then I think you are wrong. I really think they work in this situation and there has been a history of this going back years with comedians such as Billy Connolly. If you want to enjoy the routine in its full glory just use this URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TynFaEQj_Ys.

They say that many a true word is spoken in jest. And the standup comedy routine I recently found on YouTube is a classic example. It's called "God is for Idiots" by Jim Jefferies. I will give you a few parts of this routine and then explain why I think they have a deeper relevance. Are you suitably prepared? OK, here goes...

Quote 1:

God loves the stupid and the f---ing... [pauses] this is the thing about people who believe in God... they're idiots. There's no dancing around it, you're a border line f---ing mentalist... you're an idiot... you're like a 13 year old kid who still believes in Santa.. oohh [sounds like a retard], I'm still going to get... oh f--- you. You know, I don't hate people who believe in God, I don't hate them... right. But I just don't want to talk to them, I don't want to be around them. It's like how I don't hate the mentally insane, right? But the mentally insane and religious people are in the same f---ing bag. If I'm standing at a bar chatting to either of them I'll eventually walk away saying "OK..." [gestures like he's trying to back away from the crazy person]

Analysis:

Actually having written this down and reading it through it sounds a lot more like a mindless rant than the original! But I still think there's an element of truth here. If anyone told me they believed in an invisible man in the sky who talks to them in their heads and answers their questions, but no one else can see him, I would say he is most likely insane. And religion is close to insanity, it really is, because that's really what a lot of religious people think.

Of course there are believers who have a lot more loosely defined ideas, such as a god not really existing but there being some universal spiritual force, which you can't define, etc. In reality they don't have a belief at all and I really wouldn't count them as being religious. They're probably not quite as crazy as the ones who have a more well defined belief but they're just as annoying!

And religious belief is often childish as well, and the comparison with Santa is a good one. After all Santa is based on a real saint from Christianity who allegedly performed as many great miracles as Jesus himself! But most adults don't take that too seriously. They grow out of that idea so why can't they grow out of their other equally silly ideas?

Quote 2:

You know there's a web page called "Ask God" where children can ask questions from God and through the power of the Internet [sarcastic look] God will answer them. I'm a bit dubious, but... So the most asked question on "Ask God" is "were there kangaroos in the Ark". So, children could ask any question in the world but a child's mind works like this, they go "I like kangaroos, I think the Ark story is bullshit so... shazam". And the answer to that question is "although there are no mentions of kangaroos in the Bible, it does state there were two of each animal so you can be assured there were kangaroos in the Ark". Now why is there no mention of kangaroos in the Bible? Could it be that when the Bible was written Australia hadn't been discovered so... no mention of kangaroos. But didn't God create kangaroos? Isn't the Bible written through the hand of man through the voice of God? But why didn't he mention kangaroos? They're such an exciting animal! It seems to me that they only seem to mention things in the Bible that are within a 5 mile radius of the guy writing it. Like if I was God in the end of the Bible I would have lent in and said "Oi, tell 'em it's round". 'cause, ah, didn't know the world was round. F---ing built it, but didn't know the world was round.

Analysis:

The flood story is clearly total nonsense. There is not the slightest doubt about it: a global flood did not happen, and animal species were not saved from extinction on an Ark. The discussion is over... or should be because unbelievably many of these f---ing idiot [there, I'm starting now too] Christians really think it happened!

Even if the flood story was only supposed to be a metaphor what sort of message does it send? I'll tell you: some people weren't behaving themselves the way God wanted so he killed them all. All the adults, guilty or not, all the children, all the unborn babies, everyone (except Noah and his family). But he wasn't even happy with that! He killed almost all the animals (and presumably plants) as well. So the message seems to be God is a mindless, evil monster. Is that really it?

And regarding kangaroos. Of course there are many possible excuses for why they might not be mentioned in the Bible but extend the idea a bit further. Why are so many amazing things which science has discovered not mentioned in the Bible? Again you can make excuses about humans not being able to understand or not being ready for certain types of knowledge but surely there would be a few clues from the word of God which showed a greater knowledge of the real universe. But no, there's nothing. Just primitive superstitious nonsense, almost as if the whole thing had been made up by desert nomads. Hey, perhaps it was.

Quote 3:

Now, when I started this show my first routine was about how lesbians were fat, ugly, useless, with no sense of humour, and you couldn't applaud more. Then I killed an Arab man from a f---ing helicopter. Just shot him dead. Then I said... that Christians are bullshit and there is no god. And that's the moment that half the audience chose to be offended. Was that the f---ing moment that got you? How very Christian of you towards the Muslims and the lesbians. Next time start your sentences with "Well, as a hypocrite..."

Analysis:

So far we know most Christians are childish, slightly insane, and believe complete nonsense. Now we see how they are also hypocritical. It's true, I think. The only truly evil people I have ever talked to have been religious (Muslims as well as Christians). Sure, I have talked to some fairly good people who also had religious beliefs too but even they tended to become very upset and offended by comments against their beliefs rather than things that really mattered. In many cases their priorities are very mixed up!

Quote 4:

You think you're a good person because you have Christian values? Do you want to know what Christian values are? Christian values are a load of shit. What are Christian values? The Ten Commandments. What are the Ten Commandments? Very sensible values to live your life by. Do you know what's a load of shit about them? The fact that you had to have them written down! The fact that you couldn't figure out internally not to kill people, don't steal... really? You should just know these. These should be internal in you. The Bible is too wordy. All the stories are too wordy. The Ten Commandments are a load of shit. You don't need all these things. The Bible should be just one sheet of paper and on that sheet of paper it should say just one thing "Try not to be a c---".

Analysis:

The argument gets a bit self-contradictory here: Christian values are shit, they are represented by the Ten Commandments, which are a good guide for living. I sort of see what he's saying but I think he's wrong. The Ten Commandments are not a good guide at all. About half of them are OK: don't kill, don't steal, etc. But as he says, we all know this anyway and really moral people (like atheists) don't do these things because they know they're wrong. Christians either also know they're wrong (independently of the Bible, in which case why have the Commandments) or they are inherently evil and only stopped from acting in an evil way by fear of breaking their God's rules.

As well as being unnecessary the Ten Commandments are also incomplete and have superfluous elements. The first half about having only one god, something about graven images, and other crap, are irrelevant nonsense. The second half, as I said, are obvious and included in almost every moral philosophy (some pre-dating Christianity) so are also unnecessary. But what's maybe worse is the lack of commandments related to important topics such as freedom, slavery, women's rights, environmentalism, etc. Apparently God forgot about these, maybe because he was too concerned about people coveting their neighbour's ass!

There are many times I would like to rant about religion the way the comedian did but it would possibly be seen as an unnecessary attack or even some sort of hate crime. But when an opinion is presented as humour it is often more acceptable. It's a bit like a modern version of the court jester who is the only one who can criticise the king.

Yeah, all Christians should watch this movie, and please think about the message, and try not to be too offended!

-

Comment 1 (3562) by Richard Coulbeck on 2013-06-10 at 15:23:32:

OK - I vowed to make a shorter response this time (you knew I would respond ;-) and will not reply any further to this one, as this article simply doesn't justify it. Wasn't that easy sorry. Firstly, thanks for the warning - LOL! No - I wasn't offended, just saddened. Why - a number of reasons:

1) At the very poor quality of the so called 'arguments' in the vid, (all of which DO have reasoned answers for anyone who cares to take the time research them). Most of Jeff 'arguments' are completely intellectually dishonest (farcical) representations of classical Christianity anyway. Bear in mind that people have been considering these exact sorts of questions for a looong time, so this sort of bumbling rhetoric is nothing new. Trouble is, the answers to those just might only be published on various Christian 'friendly' sites, so must already be arbitrarily dismissed as deluded and untrustworthy, according to you Owen! Sad.

2 - Having said that, these are actually all perfectly fair (as in reasonable) questions and 'arguments' AGAINST christianity (i.e. christianity as some people incorrectly perceive it - usually the result of articles exactly like this blog post). As such, they don't need to be hidden in what really IS pretty unsophisticated humour to be aired, as you seem to think. I suspect you know that full well, but have tried to hide behind that second last paragraph of your post. That's sad - you couldn't see that if it 'was' considered some form of hate crime then choosing to re-publish it and admit to wanting to do the same, has been proven in law to often amount to the same thing. Sadder.

3) That you make a plee for all christians to 'watch this movie, and think about the message', implies that you really do seriously think that this guy and his message might actually be a solid and intellectually reliable source of truth. Saddest.

Finally, I'd like to ask a question - If there is no God, and we 'answer' to none other than a mindless universe, then what rational reason can justify your insistence that Christians should 'think about the message' (the obvious 'moral' goal being to change their views) anyway - just because it's truth? What justification is there for an insistence that someone believes what is true?

Don't you (or anyone) twist those words into 'So Rich is saying Christians want us to believe what is not true' - of course not), I know you already think what they believe is untrue, but clearly that's not the same point. All philosophical world-views, including athiesm - (see I'm avoiding the word 'religions' because you will complain if I include athiesm then), think their 'view of the world is true' - that's PHIL101 and a given. What is also true by straight logic is that they can't all be true, because the are contradictory. So there are inevitably alot of deluded idiots in the world far more in fact than the non-idiots, and this is true whoever turns out to be right! LOL My qn is - So what?!

Again - in anticipation - don't twist that Owen. That is specifically related to Christianity (the specific topic in this post). Clearly choosing to ignore lots of other forms of truth, (the road code for example), is indeed dangerous, & not only to the individual that chooses to ignore it. The worst case for everyone adopting Christianity (as properly represented) in a world where no God actually exists though, is that we all try very hard to be nicer people to our neighbours than we were yesterday - Oh nooooo! The horror!

Instead - Rather much like the nonsense in the video about somehow 'believing internally not to kill people or steal', you are imposing an 'oughtness' about those things or even 'believing in truth', that is simply not justifiable within an athiestic world view. 'Who' says I ought to do whats best for 'everyone' rather than ME alone - everyone?! We can all see how well that line of thinking has been going in the last 100 years, and it's only getting worse, as people grasp this truth! Feel free to call Christians idiots or deluded, but any basis you claim for 'complaining about that they believe a lie' is stolen directly from theistic world views.

Put simply (and in a currently rather relevant way) - 'What's ya beef anyway mate - we're not 'hurting anyone'?! ;-)

Cheers,
Rich.

-

Comment 2 (3563) by OJB on 2013-06-10 at 21:19:12:

This is the result of an attempt at writing a shorter reply? Again I thank you for another thorough effort! Good to hear you weren't offended - you'd be surprised to hear how often people are.

1. Remember this is a comedy routine, not a philosophy lecture. You may think the arguments are of a poor quality but please see them in context. Also, I would like to know exactly what your response is to some of the points which arose. In your fairly extensive response you hinted that these problems can be answered but didn't offer any actual answers. I know these are old questions. Funny that there are still no good answers, isn't it?

2. Yes they are fair questions and I realise you may think the presentation was inappropriate but I found it quite amusing. As I said, there is a history of this more "robust" humour being used to make political, religious, and social points.

3. You've already said there are fair and reasonable points there so why shouldn't believers look at it and have a think? Sometimes the simplest presentation is the most effective.

Humans are a social species who have developed a set of rules which allow us to live together peacefully. They have been refined over tens of thousands of years. I think those rules have a certain amount of credibility, far more than some partly arbitrary stuff made up by a tribe of desert nomads.

Atheism isn't really a philosophical worldview. It is lack of belief in a god, in most cases because the evidence for one is insufficient. That conclusion usually comes form a worldview, such as skepticism, science, or rationality, but it isn't a worldview itself.

The problem is that Christianity has very little to do with being nice to people. It's quite the opposite in many cases. Let me offer a few recent examples: rising levels of AIDS in Africa because of a refusal to allow use of condoms, hateful behaviour by Westboro Baptist, part of the reason to go to war in Iraq, preventing equality for groups such as gays, and blocking potentially life-saving technologies like stem cells. And need I mention the unfortunate events of the past? Crusades, witch burnings, ethnic cleansing....

I think I can support a moral code without the need for a god. As I said above our social evolution has created a perfectly workable moral code. Almost everyone knows what's right and wrong whatever their religious views might be.

My beef is that religion is holding us back. It's an anachronistic embarrassment and the sooner it disappears the better!

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