"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Should Jesus endorse mobile 'phones?

The Advertising Standards Authority have upheld just short of one hundred complaints regarding this Phones4u advertisement displayed last Easter.
The ad, featuring a cartoon Jesus winking and making a thumbs-up sign to “Miraculous deals” on android ‘phones was deemed to be offensive to Christians and cannot be shown again.
Well O.K, we all know how precious the religious can be about their images and icons, so it’s unsurprising that the ASA got quite a few complaints. In comment on the judgement the ASA said:
'We considered that, although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous, their depiction of Jesus winking and holding a thumbs-up sign, with the text "miraculous" deals during Easter, the Christian Holy Week which celebrated Christ's resurrection, gave the impression that they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs,'
Well possibly, but so what? Why do they feel that any beliefs require protection from mockery? I’m sure plenty of people could find something to mock in my core political and philosophical beliefs, but I wouldn’t take offence at that, mainly because I believe that I can make a good case for justifying them. Somehow the religious don’t have that level of confidence in what they believe forcing them to suppress criticism and mockery rather than meet it with rational argument.
The ironic thing about this ad though is that in my opinion Jesus is a poor choice of character to endorse mobile ‘phones. Think about it: he was hardly the world’s best communicator. Jesus left no first person account of himself or the god he purported to represent. What accounts he did leave were reportage and hearsay which even if you believe them to be accurate were couched in allegory, metaphor and parables so open to interpretation as to be practically meaningless. Then, for the last two thousand years, not a peep: he never ‘phones, he never writes, tweets, or posts a status on facebook. Let’s face it, if the risen Christ wanted to get a message to the world there was never a better time to do it. No more relying on open-air sermons on a Middle Eastern hillock or risking his gospel to the vagaries of mistranslation and political manipulation. He could make his presence and intentions for the world known at a stroke to countless millions of people all over the world (yes I know, he could have done this in the first place being omnipotent and omnipresent and all, but “mysterious ways”, indulge me).
No, call me cynical (I won’t be offended) but if I were head of marketing for Phones4u, neither Jesus nor his dad would be on my list of sponsors.

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