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Lookin' Good for Jesus

Entry 697, on 2008-02-14 at 22:32:35 (Rating 3, News)

I saw in the news today that a Singapore company has withdrawn several products which used Christian imagery in the packaging. The products included a lip balm called "Virtuous Vanilla" and a body cream called "Get Tight with Christ". The packaging included a picture of Christ (or a popular rendition of what Christ might have looked like, assuming he existed at all) flanked by two adoring women.

Apparently some Catholics complained the that cosmetics were disrespectful, full of sexual innuendo and trivialised Christianity. Well I don't think anyone would disagree with that, but why make such a big deal out of it? The way Muslims got upset about the Mohammed cartoons was ridiculed so what's the difference here? Yes, the Christians haven't threatened violence I admit, but that might be just because they have enough influence to change things without resorting to violence.

I don't want to suggest that I think Catholics are just as bad as extreme Muslims over this sort of issue, because death threats (even when not carried out) are unacceptable in any situation. And I do think that overall, Islam is a more negative religion than Christianity, but that is no doubt significantly affected by the political situation adherents to the two religions find themselves in.

I still think Catholics should have just had a bit of a laugh about this and moved on. Whether the products exist or not isn't going to change people's attitudes to their beliefs. There will still be groups who really dislike Catholics, some who think its a great religion, and some who just don't care.

In a related (really?) issue I read yesterday that the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was struck by lightning. There is an amazing photo of this on the web and it looks genuine although I was wondering how someone just happened to take such a great photo at exactly the right time.

Of course, I don't genuinely believe that Christ being struck by lightning means anything but it is quite humorous - almost as funny as a lip balm called Lookin' Good for Jesus!

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Comment 17 (1331) by OJB on 2008-03-22 at 20:28:54: (view earlier comments)

After your comparison of the program with an insult to a family member (in the entry "Its War!") I begin to see where you are coming from on this. I suppose the question is whether its reasonable to treat a religious figure with such devotion, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised: you are a Catholic after all!

I am definitely less certain that I'm right on this topic now, so you have made your point well. At least you did in the other blog entry, because I don't accept the points above.

To me I still think it was a clever way to point out how ridiculous the reports of bleeding statues and other miracles are, but for someone who actually takes the Christian stories seriously I guess it would be hard to take.

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Comment 18 (1345) by SBFL on 2008-03-30 at 22:03:48:

Yes, as covered in "It's War!". Tolerance and respecting other people is my main point here. I don't have any belief in Hinduism for example, but I would not go out of my way to offend Hindu people at all, let alone in such a way as South Park. But hey, Christian bashing has been in vogue for a long time now, and some people take a certain amount of glee in that. Sad reflection of our society in my view.

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Comment 19 (1366) by OJB on 2008-04-01 at 11:42:50:

I don't know if its so much Christian bashing, more "people with silly ideas which deserve to be ridiculed" bashing. I mean, I think its Ok to ridicule the belief in these miraculous statues and other nonsense. Maybe South Park went too far - I'm not sure - but the act of bashing the idea is OK in principle.

Also, because the Catholic Church is the biggest and most powerful in the world it is seen as a reasonable target to bash. That isn't really fair but its common for criticism of big, powerful majorities to be OK, but smaller groups to not be OK. For example, no one would say a thing if I criticised Microsoft but many would take offense at criticism of a local computer shop. Same with race, gender, etc based criticisms.

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Comment 20 (1374) by SBFL on 2008-04-01 at 21:48:47:

Is that 'people deserve to be ridiculed', or 'silly ideas deserve to be ridiculed'...? There is a very clear distinction here. We must be careful not to get them confused.

Agree wholeheartedly with your second paragraph. Antisemitism is a classic example of this.

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Comment 21 (1383) by OJB on 2008-04-02 at 12:00:28:

Its not always possible to ridicule and idea without ridiculing the believers in the idea as well. The South Park episode was satirising the reports of miraculous statues which believers claim bleed real blood. OK, so it made the Pope look a bit silly as well, and the statue was of a prominent character in Christian mythology, but I don't think the overall theme was critical of people as much as beliefs.

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