August 27, 2007

Gloomy Gods, Petulant Prophets, and Censorian Supplicants

In Malaysia, the government has suspended publication of Makkal Osai, the nation's daily Tamil-language newspaper because they published a picture of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and beer:

...Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Thursday that the picture was hurtful and an insult to Christians. Kuala Lumpur archbishop, Murphy Pakiam, criticized the picture as a "desecration," but later accepted the newspaper's apology...

Malaysia's newspapers operate under government licenses that bar them from publishing potentially provocative material on religion, race and other topics.

On Thursday, Periasamy said a graphic artist _ who has since been suspended _ downloaded a picture of Jesus from the Internet for use along with a quote from the Bible on the paper's front page on Tuesday. But the artist overlooked the fact that the picture had been altered to insert a cigarette in one hand and another object _ a can or a book _ in the other, he said.

The Malaysian Indian Congress, a party in Malaysia's ruling coalition, had called on the government to close the paper, which is generally critical of the MIC...


I picked on the Washington Post as a source for this information because of a certain irony. You, see, the Post is among 25 newspapers that have decided not to run a Berke Breathed's "Opus" comic strip because it cracks a joke about radical Islam:
“The OPUS strips for August 26 and September 2 have been withheld from publication by a large number of client newspapers across the country, including OPUS' host paper The Washington Post. The strips may be viewed in a large format on their respective dates at”


As usual, it's worth remembering that omnipotent beings don't require the intervention of their followers for protection. "Omnipotent" necessarily implies that said being is perfectly capable of fulfilling all of its own needs and doesn't need your help fending off humorous pictures and comic strips. If you hear a voice in your head, or coming from the lips of your priest/minister/rabbi/imam/priestess stating the contrary and calling for censorship or even violence in the name of the alleged deity that your religion advocates, you have been duped. Leave the premises immediately and never return.

Does anybody really know whether Jesus would have been a drinker and/or smoker if he were around today? Did Mohammed have any sense of humor at all, and does a record of it exist? Why do true-believers always insist upon these dour, humorless, insecure "supreme" beings and prophets? I don't seem to recall any stories from the New Testament claiming that Jesus walked through villages pimp-slapping those who poked out their tongues as he passed by.

Such gray-faced fairytales and the silliness they foster really make these gods, their prophets and their followers look pretty gloomy from this side of the fence. I'd say that they must be loads of fun at parties, but somehow I doubt that they ever get invited in the first place.

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