Comedy Central has rightfully been condemned for censoring “South Park” after extremists made implied threats due to the showing of the image of Muhammad. Yet, the network is now reportedly developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ, who is also routinely shown on “South Park.”
The network announced “JC,” a half-hour show about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” and live a regular life in New York City.
Kent Alterman, Comedy Central’s head of original programming, stated “In general, comedy in purist form always makes some people uncomfortable.” That is certainly true. The problem is the total lack of integrity and principles shown in the South Park controversy. Comedians do have free speech rights and do engage in a form of political speech. Comedy Central not only engaged in censorship but it is now conveying that it will only make fun of religions that do not threaten to retaliate.
The combination of the decisions will no doubt embolden radical Muslims to threaten other artists and that is not a bit funny.
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37 thoughts on “After Blocking Image of Muhammad, Comedy Central Announces Series on Jesus Christ”
I don’t think we are in disagreement here. The battle that’s going on? It’s a battle for the minds first. Everything else cascades from there. Sun Tzu though that the height of strategy was to get your opponent to surrender without a fight. One does this buy winning their mind. Psychology is a key weapon against bad men.
Fascism always end badly for the people who don’t promote it as well.
Unfortunately I think fascism or the mental capacities that give rise to it are built in to the human mind. We consider thinks such as the Third Reich to be be abnormal, but maybe they are not. Consider the communist Soviet Union very quickly transformed into the fascist oligarchy of the Russian Federation.
“Jesus Christ is not … it is Jesus the Christ.”
Most people refer to Jesus Christ.
“Supposedly Jesus the man (of Nazareth) died on the cross … followed then by the resurrection which led to the ascension thus creating the Christ (anointed one)”
I do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, but one cannot really blame scientifically illiterate citizens of the first century AD believing that he did. They did not have our knowledge of biology and how life is the result of the cooperation between massive numbers of operating cells. Also belief in the resurrection indicates the power of the psychoscocial process of denial. The death of Jesus was something that was simply unacceptable to them, so they refused to accept it.
“Christ is a title meaning that Jesus of Nazareth by his resurrection and ascension proved himself to be the messiah or anointed one as prophesied in the Old Testament…………Thus, if one wants to also be resurrected after death and ascend into heaven, one should do as Jesus of Nazareth did so that one can also then become a carrier of the title, Christ. Christians follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in order to live forever.”
The beliefs of followers of Jesus changed with his death and supposed resurrection. Before his death his followers listened to and followed his teaching for the sake of these teachings, but after it they followed his teachings in order to live forever.
I argue that the death and resurrection nonsense effectively displaced and obscured the pre-death teachings of Jesus. Many, maybe most Christians are ignorant of the teachings, what they do is believe in Jesus being the Christ in order to live forever. Christianity has become a death cult not that different to that of the ancient Egyptians. Another change came when Christianity went from being a dissident religion, to being the official religion of the Roman Empire. I would argue that the dissident creating ideas inimical to the good order of the state were squeezed out as much as was possible. For much of history the scriptures have been available in languages only understood by priests and the inability of individual believers to read them themselves has been exploited to suppress the dissident ideas.
For people who call themselves “Christians” their is no agreement as to what the term actually means, there being many groups who adapt the name for themselves but refuse to admit that others who name themselves such have any right to do so. As recently as the breakup of Yugoslavia we have had different flavours of Christians murdering each other.
“Deists, as were so many of our founding fathers, don’t believe that Jesus was anything more than a teacher … no “the Christ” for them.”
I think the deists are sensible, however the distinction I make between what I call Christians and what I call followers of Jesus is that my followers of Jesus take the teachings of Jesus seriously whether or not they believe in the resurrection and eternal life for believers nonsense. In the US particularly, but in Australia as well there are people who call themselves Christians who ignore the justice for the underdog messages of Jesus and concentrate on important things such as keeping inferior races in their place, persecuting other people’s sexual deviancy and maintaining a proper respect for wealth. These are what I mean when I use the term “Christian”. Examples are George W Bush, Tony Blair, former Australian Prime Minister John Winston Howard, the current Roman Catholic Pope, the previous Roman Catholic Pope, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and so on……
When I don’t use the term “Christian” I prefer God Bothering moralizing humbug. This latter term also covers loonies from other religions such as the late and unlamented (by me that is) Ayatollah Khomeni.
Shoot … I was gone all day yesterday so missed this fascinating discussion on Jesus Christ v Jesus of Nazareth.
If I may … a couple of clarifications:
Jesus of Nazareth is correct
Jesus Christ is not … it is Jesus the Christ.
Supposedly Jesus the man (of Nazareth) died on the cross … followed then by the resurrection which led to the ascension thus creating the Christ (anointed one)
Christ is a title meaning that Jesus of Nazareth by his resurrection and ascension proved himself to be the messiah or anointed one as prophesied in the Old Testament … those who believe him to be the messiah are called Christians from the title, Christ. Understanding the theology (science of religion)helps when arguing against it. Thus, if one wants to also be resurrected after death and ascend into heaven, one should do as Jesus of Nazareth did so that one can also then become a carrier of the title, Christ. Christians follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in order to live forever.
Deists, as were so many of our founding fathers, don’t believe that Jesus was anything more than a teacher … no “the Christ” for them.
Okay … what made this new religion so powerful was that up until then only Pharaohs, Emperors, Kings lived forever. Horrors upon horrors now all the little people were going about the business of living forever thus threatening the status of their betters and creating a risk to the structure of society. Enter Constantine followed by the Council of Nicaea and wham … exit the Christianity of the small home churches across the lands where those seeking to emulate the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in order to gain life everlasting would meet to help each other maintain the humble lifestyle necessary, they believed, to gaining immortality. Enter the large cathedral, the gold and jewels of statuary and the Emperor now anointed with the mantle of the Christ.
Whew … that was a close one. Just ask the Pope or any modern day televangelist.
I’ll have to stipulate the fascist are winning.
Fascism always ends badly for those who promote it. It creates disparity and injustice. Disparity and injustice creates social strife. Social strife creates revolutions.
I never said there wouldn’t be collateral damage.
Carlyle Moulton, I believe you are right regarding fascism. Sad to say.
I do not believe that truth wins out in the end. The fact is lies that large groups of people want to believe will always outrun the truth. Some of the blog thread discussions you mention are futile precisely because the participants are fighting over the basic meanings of the words they use.
In the end may mean after centuries, how long did it take for the Vatican to apologize to Galileo. The truth about the Holocaust did not come in time to help six million European Jews and now the Holocaust has been converted into a commit one genocide up to a maximum 5,999,999 deaths card for Israel to use against the Palestinians.
The truth about the war on terror will not arrive in time to help current victims of travesties such as Omar Khadr and Aafia Siddiqui.
I hold that some words become so contaminated with poisonous ideas that they effectively become unusable by honest people. Whenever used they will advance the agendas of the propagandists who have gained ownership of them. I dislike using the words “good” and “bad” because I consider that their meanings have been corrupted by their use by the kind of people that I call Christians.
The knowledge that the Nazis were in fact fascists has already been lost. Fascism is resurgent all over the world now that most of the people who observed its effects have gone. In particular it is resurgent in the US and rampaging through the Obama administration.
“You need to read some more about Nero if you think he was sane.”
True, I am ignorant about ancient history and so my opinions on such things should not be taken as anything more than uninformed opinion. Nero might have been a psychopath or just a man gifted with absolute power.
“Your distinction between Jesus Christ and Jesus of Nazareth is flawed.”
I don’t think so. Most of the people who call themselves adherents to any religion are ignorant about it and only belong because their ancestors did or for social reasons. Of those who take it seriously and moralize about sex, sex, sex and sex, they are what I call God Bothering Moralizing Humbugs. For GBMHs that call themselves Christians I reserve the term Christian, for people who call themselves Christian but are actually concerned with issues of racism and social justice for the undeserving poor, I reserve the term followers of Jesus of Nazareth. I like followers of Jesus of Nazareth, such as my late father who was a Presbyterian minister but I think that their altruistic beliefs are incompatible with the survival of any state where too many people subscribed to them. All states are authoritarian to an extent much greater than anyone likes and followers of J of N are not sufficiently controllable, they wont go and kill the right people when their rulers tell them to. The Roman empire got around the J of N problem by taking over the Christian Church and squeezing the ideas of J of N out to the greatest extent possible.
We only get a glimpse of J of N through the gospels which were corrupted by political agendas at the time of their writing. The worst corruption is antisemitism. It is my opinion that the reason that the gospel writers transfer guilt for the death of Christ to the Jews is that they wanted Rome to think of them as good citizens of Rome and one can hardly be considered a good citizen if one blames one’s state for killing God.
One of the precepts of propaganda is to control the definitions. A word only has an “owner” if you let them control the definition. For example, the recent excursion where Byron tried to deny that the Nazis were fascists because it suited Byron’s agenda. Nazis were in fact militaristic fascists no matter if they called themselves socialists or emissaries of the Tooth Fairy. Another example? Look at the birther nonsense threads Vince battles. That whole boondoggle is caused by racists trying to equivocate of the definitions of both the rules of evidence and the nature of citizenship. Another example? Eric Holder trying to redefine civil rights by fiat by attempting to control the definition of terrorist and letting Cheney go by ignoring the definition of treason.
By keeping definitions honest, one combats propaganda. If you keep truth alive long enough, it does win out in the long run. “Let them eat cake!” One of the worst propaganda misfires in all of recorded history. Lies are discouraged by ethical systems for many reasons.
But lies are all the American government is capable of at this point because their ethical compass has been bought by K St. and their corporate corporatist masters. Money has no ethics.
‘I am amazed at how much I have felt compelled to talk about my ‘religion’ on this blog which I always had thought was more political in nature.’
The great thing about blogs is that the threads wander into unexpected territory. One of the nice things about the professors blog is that interesting detours are allowed. The appropriate place to discuss anything even religion is where something makes it relevant.
“Words are words and they mean what they mean regardless of your minority status.”
I disagree with you here. Of course communication is only possible among people who use a common pool of words and each with the same meaning attached to each word. One explanation for miscommunication is that parties to a conversation do not realize that though they use the same words they attach different meanings.
In many cases a battle rages over ownership of words and phrases. Consider “political correctness”. It used to have a useful meaning relating to taking “good” ideas like human rights to mad extremes that resulted in the harm of shutting down necessary discussion on some issues. But the mad right have fought over it and gained ownership and turned it into a weapon to dismiss any concern for human rights with out actually saying that they are against human rights themselves.
Some words are weapons, some words have owners and the ownership of some words is still being fought over.
When a word has owners, it can only be used to advance the agendas of its owners no matter who is using it. The word itself becomes associated with a set of concepts that embody a lie. The words “terror” and “terrorist” are a case in point because they do not cover state terror, such as the execution of Afghan school boys by US special forces or the execution of Amadou Diallo by four NYPD plain clothes officers. My humbug meter exploded showering parts everywhere when exposed to a recording of Arial Sharon sneering the phrase “Palestinian terrorist”.
“Myself, I turned atheist one day while walking home from school at the age of 13. Since then I have developed an extreme hostility to Christianity. ”
Hostily is often a cover for something else. Sometimes there is a lot to be reclaimed by looking a tad closer. Most people have every right to be angry at ‘the Church’…regardless of it’s type, just as many have a right to be angry at Government.
I don’t know what Jesus purported from his own lips, I was not there and I also tend to be skeptical about what I read from most sources.
[especially these days…].
I consider myself a Christian though, not because I am a follower of any church fronted doctrine but because of personal experiences that I have had. I am mostly a ‘doubting Thomas’ in this world with a faith that tends to be historically supported in a personal anner and so is growing…..
I am amazed at how much I have felt compelled to talk about my ‘religion’ on this blog which I always had thought was more political in nature. I usually don’t talk about it at all.
Any relationship I have with G*d or Christ or Saints is my own internal affair…and that’s what *I* know….
1) Words are words and they mean what they mean regardless of your minority status. That words are abused and misused by evil men to suit their purposes is nothing new though. This is one of the reasons I attack propaganda so viciously – as an object lesson on how to a) fight back and b) to help others see language for what it is – pliant and a tool. Like all tools, it is capable of correct and incorrect usage by king and commoner alike. You, however, seem to want to attack the language itself rather than the abusers misuse. For example, “Christian”. “Since then I have developed an extreme hostility to Christianity.” Really. I’d have never guessed. It doesn’t color your logic one bit. Except all of it. All states are based on authority, true. But you mistake the abuse of authority and the applicability of a compassionate philosophy as being incompatible. Difficult to execute, true, but not impossible.
The problem is one must have a rational basis for the compassionate philosophy. This is why theocracy doesn’t work – it’s based on the irrational. This goes for every religion. Saudi Arabia? They are barbarians. That’s not up for debate. Nor is that they are fundamentalist theocratic zealots of the very worst sort. America? Since the time of Reagan we’ve seen a steady rise of Christian Fundamentalism and it’s absolutely poisoning the Constitution, our country and its national dialog. If one of the Founding Fathers started a war claiming “Jesus told me to” the rest of them would have had him in tied up and gagged. And lest you think I give my preference in philosophy (NOT religion) a pass, I submit the total militaristic yet somehow supposedly Buddhist clusterfuck that is Thailand. Ostensibly a Buddhist country, they have a history of stark militarism and violence – far, far from the teachings of Buddha. And their child sex trade could move even the historical Buddha to violence in protecting others. No, you paint that issue with too fine a brush and your anger at Christianity proper is why. Theocracy is ripe for abuse (no matter the flavor) because it relies on nebulous fairy tales as their base and not logic and reasoning as their base. Irrational actors invite irrational outcomes. The team they play for it beside the point.
2) You need to read some more about Nero if you think he was sane. His feeding people to the lions is beside the point. I have a really high bar for what qualifies as mentally healthy. Bush doesn’t even come close to clearing that bar. Nor do Fundamentalist Christians or Fundamentalists of any stripe. From what I’ve observed, Fundamentalism is a mental illness on par with any delusional behavior. The only reason people aren’t institutionalized for it is a) I’m ahead of the curve on this one in re the psychology profession and b) we have Freedom of Religion here so one is free to believe any kind of insane shit they want. The issues arise when the insane try to force their beliefs upon rational humans.
3) Your distinction between Jesus Christ and Jesus of Nazareth is flawed. You said “All nations are predominantly authoritarian and none that is excessively infected by Nazarian philosophy would survive very long.” As I point to above, there are reasons unrelated to Jesus for this. Reasons related to basing claims of right to power on religion rather than true democratic consent (something America no longer has since fascism rode in on Reagan coattails). Power brings out the petty and vicious in weak people when they are given any sort of power. Their religious affiliation is usually a tangential although frequently exacerbating factor.
Jesus Christ is indeed a construct of the church. Jesus of Nazareth was a wise teacher just like Buddha was. And just like any one people elevate to godhood, their teachings have been misused and abused by very mortal men to achieve their very Earthly goals. Throwing away the Church is a fine idea. They are self-perpetuating parasites. But the lessons of love and compassion for your fellow beings? Don’t throw out that baby with the bathwater. It has utility for our continued survival as a species. Conflict and intolerance in an ever shrinking world leads to a burnt out cinder. Our only hope for continued survival as a species is to foster the ideas of love and compassion on a rational (as opposed to a religious or fictitious) basis to supplant those old competitive modes of operation with a cooperative mode. Otherwise? It’s going to be cockroaches turn to rule the nest before too much longer. Earth will be fine. If we continue to act so poorly as a species though, we’re screwed.
If you doubt this, consider the following: If we’d used the resources wasted by Bush being a lap dog for the Saudis and invading a country that didn’t attack us to develop a hydrogen based economy, we’d be free of OPEC’s chains by now. It would have been comparatively cheaper and easier technologically to accomplish cooperatively than either building the first atomic weapons or getting to the moon and back (both efforts that required massive cooperation). But then the greedy oil fucks like Bush and Cheney and the Faisal families would have to give up their “control” then, wouldn’t they? So why would they encourage a peaceful cooperative solution to the oil problem when they can keep fucking things up to their advantage? They wouldn’t. They are sociopaths. That some of them are sociopaths with religious delusions is just gravy. Real evil exists and it often hides behind religion. But make no mistake. It’d still exist if we’d never invented religion.
You dislike my suggesting that “a sociopathic narcissist like Nero had the right idea”.
Nero wasn’t feeding Christians to the big cats, he was feeding followers of Jesus of Nazareth. However I would like to process Christians (not followers of J of N) into cat food. The idea of John Winston Howard, Tony Blair and George W Bush being pursued around the arena by starving lions really appeals to me.
Incidentally Nero may not have been a sociopathic narcissist, just a typical absolute ruler, rather like George W Bush or Barak Obama or Saddam Hussein. It seems to me that rulers who are not psychopaths such as Jimmy Carter end up despised as failures. There is something about the role of influential politician that turns people into psychpaths even if they did not start that way.
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