Christianity takes a kicking in SoapsvilleBy johnberesford on April 15th, 2009For 99% of Christians, it must be rubbish being alive at the moment. Everytime you switch the telly on, there’s someone else shoving their opinionsdown your throat, telling you how wrong you are to believe in Jesus Christ,God, resurrection and Eden and all that… and completely missing the ironywhen 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 argumentativeone, there’s nothing I like more than getting into debates and discussions withreligious people. They fascinate me. However, more often than not, they don’twanna talk about it… and you can hardly blame them. You see, such is thedisdain for Christianity in the world, that TV is getting in on the act and, inmany cases, pointing and laughing.You know something has reached pop-critical mass when the soaps get in onthe act. Most of the naysaying toward religion has come from sciencedocumentaries and shows. There’s been an almost embarrassing love-in overCharles Darwin of late, with scientists and cynics all falling over themselves towish 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 knowshow: Intellectual bullying. Science, we’re constantly told by Dawkins et al, isfairer than fair. It constantly tries to prove itself wrong, thus, showing that it’spiously fair because it criticises itself more than anyone else. But as anyreligious person will tell you… you can’t apply logic (as we know it) toreligion… and besides… why should you? I can’t apply logic to the way I lovemy record collection. I can’t apply logic to the fact that I don’t trust newlyshaven 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 notto be a dick about it. I’ve always felt that Songs of Praise should be moreinclusive and look at spiritual feeling as a whole, as opposed to sticking solelyto 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 funand controversy. A Catholic priest who found he was gay and wassubsequently murdered no less. The current religious nut is Carmel, a dim-witted but good-natured lass who is currently being roundly laughed at forfinding an image of Jesus in a potato. Her character is so thick that she’d belikely to confuse a bannister for a barrister. Hardly a great advert for religioneh?
Then, over the weekend, the complaints flooded in to ITV and Ofcom after aweird storyline featuring Ken Barlow. The fact that ITV chose to show adeeply anti-religious sentiment on Easter Sunday is unlikely to becoincidental.Basically, what happened was, Ken pretty much took the sword to the wholeof the church and Christianity in front of his family, including his grandsonSimon. He bemoaned that the local school was teaching creationism. He saidthat those going to church were indulging in “pure tokenism”. He then cappedoff his performance by referring to God as a “supernatural being”. Ladies andGents, we have a new heathen.Then, to add fuel to the notion that church goers are mentally ill, we cut to ascene in the service which sees various people singing ‘Praise, My Soul, theKing 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 arerepresented and that Christianity is not something they think of as being‘superstition’ or whatever. Fair enough. To a degree, they have a point… butisn’t it funny that they don’t gun for Islam. That’s right. You see, TV would likeyou to believe that they’ve got the balls to open up the discussion aboutanything. That they’re brave and bold enough to question something as big areligion. Really though, they’re only brave enough to pick on the one thatwon’t retaliate. I mean, what’s an Archbishop going to do? He’ll fight back withwords, words that won’t reach nearly as big an audience as a primetime soapopera.However, if these shows wanted to show how brave and bold they are, theyshould attack a religion that has got the nerve to attack back in whatevermeans possible. Open up the debate, sure, but have the courage to do itproperly. Attacking the Church of England is like pointing a revolver at acrumpet.Whilst I’m definitely of the camp that everything should be fair game for akicking and that nothing is sacred, I definitely don’t like the snide, cowardlykickings that Christianity is getting at the minute. You either have somerespect or go for the jugular. There’s no point feigning debate just to have adig… that’s what 6th formers do. So come on TV, grow a pair… or Christianitymight, and I’m betting their faith in their words are stronger than yours.