Friday, August 22, 2008

I don't know what to say

I'm speechless. What is the term when has no words to write?

Jesus Christ had a homosexual relationship?

Those words, written on a poster above the image of a topless man tenderly kissing Jesus on the neck, angered dozens of students Thursday night at Lorain County Community College.

Before I get attacked, I want to state that I understand the first amendment. Christopher Burns and his campus group Activists for Atheists has every right to express their free speech. I simply do not understand why They put up a poster that is designed to be so offensive. 

I do not care what other people believe. It's none of my business. I am moved to action when Christians try to legislate morality or when they try to take away my rights. But to attack simply to piss Christians off seems counter productive.

“The purpose of the poster is to get students to see something they haven’t seen before,” he said. “The chances are it challenges them to challenge something they thought they knew.”

I'm going to call "bullshit" on this statement. The poster stirs outrage while pushing some Christian's buttons regarding homosexuality. It does not stir debate. Instead, it pushes people away. In fact, the comments are focused on the offensive nature of the imagery, and not on the message behind the poster. I doubt many people who viewed the poster are going to follow up by requesting more information  from the Activists for Atheists gmail account. In fact, I would go so far as to say I know the type of email they will receive. It will not be a dialog.

Worse yet, the Christians are not having their faith challenged by picture of Jesus and a gay kiss (I must admit I don't understand why one would challenge the belief of another) No, Christians  will see the image and reinforce inaccurate stereotypes instead.

Note to Christians: All atheists do not think Jesus was gay. Some of us do not believe he lived at all.

Technorati tags: ,

20 comments:

Edwin said...

It offends me when some of our atheist brethren think the whole purpose of it is to offend people.

I don't think we will win coverts this way. And without converts we will be ignored/forgotten.

Why don't they get it?

Carolyn Ann said...

There's actually nothing wrong, 1st Amendment wise, with the poster.

It's stupid, but since when has that been a consideration for religion? Heck, it's not even original - I recall something similar in the early 80's.

The only thing I would suggest to those particular atheists: they're aiming at the wrong target. I can't help suspect that the atheist group has some militant atheist gays aboard. So to speak.

I have to admit I admire their chutzpah. :-)

Dim and offensive isn't actually what's offensive about this poster. What's really offensive: there's no context for the assertions.

Carolyn Ann

Tonykw said...

Good!

I'm gay. I'm utterly cheezed off at all the offensive, evil nasty stuff that christians put on posters.

If just one deist rethinks their position it's worth it!

We didn't get our (rather wobbly) rights in the UK by being nice and not offending people. We did it by "in your face"polical activity.

vjack said...

But by this logic, you'd have to come out against the Danish cartoons too, right? I think the point is that people do not have the right not to be offended. I see efforts like this as directly opposing Christian privilege, communicating that Christian beliefs warrant no respect.

Mojoey said...

vjack - my problem with this is that it's like showing your weenier in public and expecting people to talk to you about how well you dance. The method does not develop a dialog. Instead, people who see it think you are crazy.

vjack said...

But how does it not develop a dialogue? People are talking about it, aren't they? I'd never claim that it should be the only tactic used, but it does seem to have a place.

anton said...

vjack and mojoey:

Atheism, like Christianity, attracts all kinds of "nutjobs".

When the protests lack taste, they may be legal, but they convey blatant stupidity.

Yes, they have the right to be stupid but, are they "Ignorant Atheists" or "Atheists who are ignorant"? Its one the reasons why, after seven decades, I have given up introducing myself as an Atheist and now introduce myself as a Milesian! I follow this up with an explanation that Milesians are Atheists with Morals. The don't perceive me as the raving, ranting, argumentive type that they have heard about. Instead of the worn out debates, arguments, accusations, etc. we get on with serious issues like human rights and morality and politics etc. I tried out the "Bright" thing, but it didn't work. Everybody wanted to argue about the definition for a Bright. When I tell them that the Milesian School of Thought paved the way for Aristotle, they realize modern day Milesians shouldn't be taken lightly.

I find I my approach is heck of a lot more "socially acceptable" with this approach, and I get to engage the "others" in intelligent dialogue. When I used to introduce myself as an Atheist I invariably ended the "conversation".

DromedaryHump said...

Well, then I guess pictures of jebus holding a beer can and a cigarette are taboo?

http://bp3.blogger.com/_H0fWJRJWuA4/Rs2zfkRKX_I/AAAAAAAAAZc/S_xac-NRtiQ/s400/beer_jesus.jpg

or maybe that picture of jesus in an electric chair is just too over the top?

http://neatorama.cachefly.net/images/2008-01/paul-fryer-pieta-jesus-electric-chair.jpg

Come on. Worrying about offensive pictures of peoples preferred fictional man-gods not gaining "converts" is like worrying that making fun of Bigfoot believers will cause them to become even more BigFootyish!

Hey, its a delusion. That people are addicted to it doesn't give it immunity from parody, satire, or derission. That some think it does is a hold over from their early religious exposure.

Besides...so what if Jesus was gay?

anton said...

dromedaryhump:

I guess I should have added that Milesians are Atheists with taste. Could it be that in your world, taste is missing?

There are "yahoos" in every group. Would you like to start the Atheist Yahoo Chapter? I am sure other Atheists could direct members your way. Then we can get on with the jobs at hand instead of having our work constantly blemished by the likes of you!

DromedaryHump said...

anton,

Hmmm..i don't recall attacking or engaging you...but here ya go:

Your society of one..which is what your little Milesian webgroup is, is the last cry of a failed man and figment of your fertile imagination and loneliness. But good luck starting a following. If "Bo and Peep" from Heavens Gate cult can do it, I'm sure you can as well.

As for "taste", my assessment based on your prior postings is that the only tatse you are familiar with is likely gleaned from the bowl of a public rest room.

Dog Bless.

DromedaryHump said...

BTW...the comment that: "Atheism, like Christianity, attracts all kinds of "nutjobs". "

Is a fallacious statement and indicative of a complete lack of understanding of what atheism means.

Atheism can't "attract" anyone. It doesn't have a hook, or a promise. There is no dogma or doctrine. There is no established kinship or rites, or community to which one is "attracted".

Thus, saying atheism "attracts nutjobs" would be akin to saying "non-belief in Santa attracts all kinds of nutjobs"; "non-belief in a Young Earth attracts all kinds of nut jobs"; "non=belief in alien abduction attracts all kinds of nut jobs", etc.

Its an absurd statement at face.
But then, you have a remarkable talent for it.

anton said...

dromedaryhump:

Most "isms" attract followers because the adherents relate to the "ism".

The weakness inherent in any revolution, especially an Atheist Revolution, is that valid arguments made are tarnished by the "nutjobs" who vocally associate themselves with the cause.

I would hate to find out that vjack, or mojoey, had to share a podium with the likes of you, unless, of course, your presence was to illustrate the ignorant extremism with which they must contend that occurrs on both sides of the "barricades".

You should be thankful that Atheism has no membership requirement.

Goodnight!

DromedaryHump said...

Anton said: "The weakness inherent in any revolution, especially an Atheist Revolution, is that valid arguments made are tarnished by the "nutjobs" who vocally associate themselves with the cause."

Uh... anton, I think you may need to go back on your meds.

You fighting a revolution are you? You are heading a "cause" ? Hmmm... well, good luck with that.

I'm an atheist..I don't have belief in god/gods, period.

I'm not a soldier in any "revolution".
If your "cause" and "revolution" include wearing Nikes, suffocating yourself with a plastic bag,and beaming up to the Mothership, I wish you "Godspeed".

Given that you and your roommate are the worlds only members of your Milesian cult, I think your throwing around the term "nutjob" ironic.

Thanks for proving my point about your lonely and pathetic cult of one.

Mojoey said...

Vjack But how does it not develop a dialogue? People are talking about it, aren't they?

A dialog normally takes place between two people (I know you know this so please don't take offense). In this case there is no dialog. Instead, Christians are quoted criticizing atheism and in the press their position sounds reasonable. There are so many other ways to approach a dialog without resorting to shock jock tactics.

Mojoey said...

Anton Atheism, like Christianity, attracts all kinds of "nutjobs".

I do not agree. In fact, I would suggest that it is the opposite. Christianity and Atheism attract normal people with normal lives and normal problems. Nutjobs are rare in both camps.

Mojoey said...

DromedaryHump - Well, then I guess pictures of jebus holding a beer can and a cigarette are taboo?

I don't even think this picture is offense. My point it that I do not think it serves its intended purpose. It does not promote a dialog, it polarizes instead. It is a puerile publicity stunt and it harms our image (as bad as is already).

I'll support any effective tactic in the war of ideas. In my opinion this tactic is ineffective.

anton said...

mojoey:

My reference was to "all kinds of nutjobs" and did not infer that either side was made up a large number of "nutjobs". I have found that one "nutjob" attracts more attention, and press coverage, than 100 normal people. e.g. Falwell, O'Neil, Rush, etc.

Maybe I should change the reference to "outrageous".

I think the final judgement might be as follows: "Is the act one that we would want our 10 years old sons or daughters to repeat?"

If some would champion "outrageous" behaviour in their offspring, we can only hope that our sons or daughters never marry one of them. And then again, maybe the "outrageous" are not active parents so they don't care who is listening, or watching!

DromedaryHump said...

Mojoey said: "I'll support any effective tactic in the war of ideas. In my opinion this tactic is ineffective."

Certainly your entitled to your opinion. The gay image of Jesus however does indeed provoke dialogue, and IS an effective tactic, from my perpsective. Allow me to explain:

Isn't it interesting that Xtians have promulgated anti-semitism for almost 1,800 years, and yet they disregard, forget, ignore the fact that Jesus was himself a Jew. His teachings were directed at fellow Jews, not "gentiles". Gentile converstions were an after thought , thanks to Paul. The demonization of Jews was written into their scripture. I would guess that Jesus would be disgusted by that.

Similarly, Xtians forget Jesus' teaching to "Judge not, lest ye be judged". They condemn homosexuality and extend that condemnation to acts of exclusionism, incivility, even violence. Jesus never said to do that. Indeed, if he will accept an adultress and send her on her way, logic says he would likely do the same for a homosexual,even though both adultry and homosexuality were punishable by death per the Hebrew Bible.

Now... He was alleged to be in his early thirties, referred to as "rabbi", traveled with 12 men, and was unmarried. In the Jewish tradition, an unmarried rabbi in is 30's is virtually unheard of. More than one theologist and lay scholar has speculated as to Jesus' possible homosexuality. There is no evidence for or in contradiction either way.

Thus, speculation as to his sexual proclivities is valid. If he ate, if he drank, if he urinated, then its likely he had sexual feelings. It may not suit the Christian sensiblities tothink that way, or want to see him portrayed as gay, but thats tough shit.

That Jesus could have been gay, doesn't make him an evil person. That Xtians see that bportray al evil IS EXACTLY THE POINT! It shoiuldnt be anymore evil, or subject him to abuse anymore than his being Jewish would serve to bring anti-semetic vitriol against him (as his "followers" have so happily done to Jews for two millenia.)

That poster generates this discussion. It disturbs, it shocks, but it is a valid in your face attempt by a put upon minority to get Xtians to thing more broadly.

They don't have to like it, much satire is offensive... but it creates thought... Even among the unthinking.

DromedaryHump said...

After thought:
I wonder...would Xtians perceive Jesus portrayed as Black offensive?

How about looking like an Arab as oppose to their preferred anglo-saxon imagry?

Would they be upset seeing jesus portrayed as bald? How about with acne?

If those things are genetically determined, as is homosexuality, should they be considered offensive attributes given that they don't suit their medieval paintings' vision of their saviour?

I showed the pic to my wife, Episcopal, she said: "Yeah...so what?"

The fact that some people here perceive the "jesus as gay" portrayal as offensive, leads me to wonder if they themselves are homophobic, or simply are saying is OK for Xtians to be homophobes.

Why should it be so?
Theres a deep thought.

DromedaryHump said...

Here's a treatise on the Jesus as possibly gay issue, with some scholarly support. It makes no judgements, draws no conclusions, just provides biblical references both pro and con.

Interesting read.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jegay.htm