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Religious Profits are only for Prophets

Religious Profits are only for Prophets

by Bradford Keen / 15.03.2012

Jesus drinks Red Bull and angels want to shag men who wear Axe. The thought of this makes Christians so angry that they have vetoed our right to take the piss.

Just yesterday there was a massive backlash from religious folk not happy with Red Bull showing that Jesus’ physics-defying walk on water was made possible not from supernatural powers or, in fact, the caffeinated energy drink. It was actually because he could spot stones beneath the water’s surface. The Axe advert, banned late last year, caused a similar stench amongst the righteous for suggesting that heavenly beings (who looked a lot like Victoria’s Secret models) would fall from grace merely to satisfy their sexual cravings for shaggy-haired, skinny nerds sprayed with some aerosol deo.

There are a few obvious reasons why this religious backlash is reprehensible.

It is poor form to suggest that the commercialization of religion, as in the above adverts is any worse than the merchandising of “pro-religious” trinkets and statues, paintings and prose, sold en masse around the globe. This highlights a massive double standard. If it cracks the nod of the Vatican and is sanctioned by the Pope and the religious right, then it’s fine. But if it’s an energy drink trying to make some cash off the back of God then woe shall be upon them.

Bob Dylan knew like most of us that we sold our rights to religious indignation years ago. To borrow his words: “Flesh-coloured Christs that glow in the dark, it’s easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred”. To create arbitrary reasons as to why one corporate entity, which the Vatican certainly is, has the right to commercialize the images of Christ and Angels while others don’t points to a bigger issue – the fearful guarding of an alleged truth. Dogma. If the faith of Christians and other religious followers is so bountiful and their belief so true, then why get so angry when others poke a little bit of fun, or appropriate their narratives in this manner? Christians have, after all, spent centuries ensuring these symbols and stories are ubiquitous.

If I were a man of God (as you can probably tell, I am not), who believed wholeheartedly that I was made from dust and my sister from Adam’s rib and that I will sit in paradise when I die… well I would pity the fools who mocked my faith. I would laugh with a sense of great paternal condescension and say “well their free speech and hunger for cash are going to bite them in the arse come Judgment Day”. But people don’t condescend. They get angry and react from a well honed sense of dogma. And invariably end up wasting time and resources fighting a battle that should never be fought.

The message is clear: religion is sacred, but you’re only allowed to turn a profit if you’re holy enough.

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  1. Luke says:

    U GON’ GO 2 HELL.

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  2. Diaan Em says:

    Hell’s gonna be one helluva party, Luke. See you there, bra.

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  3. jislaaik says:

    Never thought I’d miss Edmonds so much and so quickly. He would have tackled this issue with a lot more aplomb, enough to make the neosocialist side-rants tolerable.

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  4. jirre jissus says:

    agree with jislaaik. this piece is too short, too shallow. plus the double-standard argument doesn’t really make sense – of course they’re not going to be happy if jesus is made to look like a piel in order to make a profit. not that i think they’re right, obviously.

    also, if this were mohammed, just remember that some people would either be threatened, exiled or dead.

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  5. Jax says:

    Nice one Brad – even got a muffled LOL out of me at work. Not quite sure what Luke’s trying to say though.

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  6. Ant says:

    People still debate this shit and waste time writing analytical opinion pieces? You just play into the advertisers hands who know full well it will spark controversy and debate. Spend your energy on something worthwhile.

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  7. bL says:

    im sorry but that AXe ad is an advert for christianity ! those angels are hot !

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  8. Long Tall Sally says:


    Why not dissect it? It’s a double-standard that many people don’t realise is there. I grew up in the church and was fed demeaning jokes about ‘gays’ and ‘fornicators’. If it’s okay for them to mock the beliefs of non-Christians, why can’t we do the same?

    As for ‘playing into the advertisers hands’, why not? If it works and gains them some exposure, then other companies will follow suit and continue to push the boundaries.

    That said, I’ll just say this: I didn’t find the Red Bull ad offensive or funny.

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  9. Ant says:

    Thanks for your reply, Long Tall.

    I don’t believe this dissection is news to most of Mahala’s readers who I am certain are very liberal.

    To me, neither ad is offensive, but then I’m an atheist. I agree, the Red Bull ad is not funny. It’s really contrived and this reinforces my belief that Red Bull just want to push buttons to get attention. But why mock anybody at all to make a profit?

    I’m all for pushing boundaries but you’ve got be a pretty uninventive bunch if you’re going to fall back on this old strategy.

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  10. Blah Blah says:

    As soon as an argument begins with a they-did-a-badder-thing line it becomes weak. Pick up your game Keen bean.

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  11. nero says:

    Maybe I’m not “Social Media Expert 2.0” enough to understand advertising, but
    I don’t see the sense in adopting an advertising strategy that has the potential to piss off roughly 2.5 billion potential customers.

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  12. Will says:

    What Nero said! Silly strategy. But I guess the point is Christians really shouldn’t need to be offended. Religion needs to learn to take a joke

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  13. Ant says:

    Will, the joke’s almost as old as religion. It’s getting boring.

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  14. Will says:

    Ja, so are defensive Christians. The ad was pretty lame, but why kick up a fuss about it to give them more time in the spot light if that’s the way you feel?

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  15. Zangtar says:

    It just amazes me that the religious right are allowed to get away with this while those who can take a joke actually do nothing to stop it. We’ll let the Christians bash us and we do nothing. This weekend in CT it’s the Higher Life International Conference at the Green Point stadium which is being organised by the Christ embassy Church. Effectively this is locking down Green Point for most of the weekend and no one really gives a fuck. If I can’t watch a commercial with the son of a carpenter walking on water after drinking a red bull why should I be subjected to road closure because of a Christian conference? If Christians really read the Bible they’d see that their God is quite the trickster who can take a joke. I mean look at the giraffe? You think some pious church goer would have made that? Hells no! God was a prankster and Jesus was his greatest punchline

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  16. Jen says:

    Zangtat, I live by Greenpoint. I don’t care for football, or sport for that matter. Do I get upset when the games or the Argus lock down this part of town? Sure. Do I hold it against sports fans. No. Would you?

    Sometimes anti christians are more self righteous than devout christians. It’s pathetic. Move on. (I’m a non believer, if it makes any difference)

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  17. Zangtar says:

    Say no more dude. Its a question of “follow what I say not what I’ve done”. I was raised Christian, then muslim, then Satsangi and in that time I realised its all a coping mechanism and people get too hung up on the words. All I’m saying is if you want me to respect your point of view you need to respect mine. i don’t care what you believe but if it starts to impede on my freedom, then I get angry. Saying that if Christians are going to get upset about a red bull ad, they need to accept that I will get upset with their views, which the really conservative ones don’t.

    Do unto other as you would have others do unto you. Nuff said

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  18. Jarrod says:

    I dare RED BULL to make an ad about mohammed. I’m a christian and the ad was offensive. It was a cheap shot. They dont need to mock faith to sell drinks. And I dare this writer to mock islam or mohammed. Bet he wouldnt do that!

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  19. Mohammed Baconcock says:

    Jesus was a gay ganja smoking middle eastern mamasboy with a penchant for hanging out with whores and gamblers. Fuck him and his fan club.

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