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Christianity takes a kicking in Soapsville

By johnberesford on April 15th, 2009 0 comments yet. Be the First

jesus_christ.jpgFor 99% of Christians, it must be rubbish being alive at the moment. Every time you switch the telly on, there’s someone else shoving their opinions down your throat, telling you how wrong you are to believe in Jesus Christ, God, resurrection and Eden and all that… and completely missing the irony when they chastise you for ramming your opinions down the throats of non-believers. I mean, 99% of Christians don’t ram anything down anyone’s throat, preferring to simply… be. As a non-believer myself, and an argumentative one, there’s nothing I like more than getting into debates and discussions with religious people. They fascinate me. However, more often than not, they don’t wanna talk about it… and you can hardly blame them. You see, such is the disdain for Christianity in the world, that TV is getting in on the act and, in many cases, pointing and laughing.

Related: My problem with religion on TV


You know something has reached pop-critical mass when the soaps get in on the act. Most of the naysaying toward religion has come from science documentaries and shows. There’s been an almost embarrassing love-in over Charles Darwin of late, with scientists and cynics all falling over themselves to wish him, and his facts, a happy birthday. Celebrating the birthday of a dead-guy? Sounds familiar…

It seems that science, a boy who has always been picked on in school, laughed at and deeply unhip, has been getting revenge in the way it knows how: Intellectual bullying. Science, we’re constantly told by Dawkins et al, is fairer than fair. It constantly tries to prove itself wrong, thus, showing that it’s piously fair because it criticises itself more than anyone else. But as any religious person will tell you… you can’t apply logic (as we know it) to religion… and besides… why should you? I can’t apply logic to the way I love my record collection. I can’t apply logic to the fact that I don’t trust newly shaven chins.

Anti-religious feeling is now reaching saturation point on the box. Sometimes, my message looks like I’m hyper-critical of religion. Maybe I am… but I try not to be a dick about it. I’ve always felt that Songs of Praise should be more inclusive and look at spiritual feeling as a whole, as opposed to sticking solely to Anglican preaching. I think, if it gave me the choice to learn about Islam, Jainism, Judaism and more, I’d be pretty inclined to tune-in every week.

Instead, what we’ve got is the soap-backlash.

In Hollyoaks, the most overtly religious characters have been figures of fun and controversy. A Catholic priest who found he was gay and was subsequently murdered no less. The current religious nut is Carmel, a dim-witted but good-natured lass who is currently being roundly laughed at for finding an image of Jesus in a potato. Her character is so thick that she’d be likely to confuse a bannister for a barrister. Hardly a great advert for religion eh?

Then, over the weekend, the complaints flooded in to ITV and Ofcom after a weird storyline featuring Ken Barlow. The fact that ITV chose to show a deeply anti-religious sentiment on Easter Sunday is unlikely to be coincidental.

Basically, what happened was, Ken pretty much took the sword to the whole of the church and Christianity in front of his family, including his grandson Simon. He bemoaned that the local school was teaching creationism. He said that those going to church were indulging in “pure tokenism”. He then capped off his performance by referring to God as a “supernatural being”. Ladies and Gents, we have a new heathen.

Then, to add fuel to the notion that church goers are mentally ill, we cut to a scene in the service which sees various people singing ‘Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven’ with a bunch of farmyard animals and household pets in tow. Yep, religious people are all clearly insane.

I imagine that the makers of these shows would argue that all views are represented and that Christianity is not something they think of as being ‘superstition’ or whatever. Fair enough. To a degree, they have a point… but isn’t it funny that they don’t gun for Islam. That’s right. You see, TV would like you to believe that they’ve got the balls to open up the discussion about anything. That they’re brave and bold enough to question something as big a religion. Really though, they’re only brave enough to pick on the one that won’t retaliate. I mean, what’s an Archbishop going to do? He’ll fight back with words, words that won’t reach nearly as big an audience as a primetime soap opera.

However, if these shows wanted to show how brave and bold they are, they should attack a religion that has got the nerve to attack back in whatever means possible. Open up the debate, sure, but have the courage to do it properly. Attacking the Church of England is like pointing a revolver at a crumpet.

Whilst I’m definitely of the camp that everything should be fair game for a kicking and that nothing is sacred, I definitely don’t like the snide, cowardly kickings that Christianity is getting at the minute. You either have some respect or go for the jugular. There’s no point feigning debate just to have a dig… that’s what 6th formers do. So come on TV, grow a pair… or Christianity might, and I’m betting their faith in their words are stronger than yours.

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