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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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