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Which One Is The Parody?

Jim Burroway

March 16th, 2011

Please select one, but don’t click on any links until after you choose:

A):

Japan had built tsunami walls along their coasts but this tsunami was bigger than that. No matter what you say, they either weren’t blessed with protection or they were cursed with an earthquake. …God did say, Christ did say that earthquakes would increase in the last days and that’s what we’re seeing.

B):

…[T]his island, Hokkaido, looks like the head of a dragon with the body being the rest of Japan. The people of Asia have worshipped the dragon for 5,000 years. If one looks at the place where the earthquake took place, it looks like the soft underbelly of most vulnerable part of the dragon. Let’s pray that the deep idolatry and the worship of hundreds of idols under the guise of Shintoism, Buddhism, and allegiances to being “sons of the dragon” will be broken and thousands will turn to the Lord. My interpretation of this is that while God did not want people to perish, He is going to use this to “pierce” the darkness surrounding the Japanese people if we will cry out to God for them in the midst of this crisis.

C):

There will be a shaking coming to Japan that will bring them to their knees. This shaking will change the industry of the nation. Japan has been built upon a fault line linked with a deep wounding from the past. This shaking will occur before the apostolic team that I am sending to Japan arrives. When they arrive, I will begin the healing of the fault line and release a new anointing for industries. I am sending you to the people group of that area and they will be humbled in the midst of their pride. Do not fear. I am causing the mountain to be brought down and the valleys to be brought up. I will create a leveling effect in Japan.

Sorry. Sadly, this is a trick question. None of them are parodies.

But when I was first putting this together, I had intended to include a YouTube parody by a young woman ostensibly claiming that God attacked Japan to prove himself to atheists. The problem, though, is that because very few people could distinguish her parody from reality, she got a lot of ugly flack over it and took it down. (She also posted an explanation here.)

It really says something about Christianity when someone posts something thinking that it’s too crazy and out there to be taken seriously, is taken seriously. Which brings us to Poe’s Law:

“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.

Winking smileys are okay for Internet and text messages, but they’d look odd in videos. Maybe some sort of hand gesture might be appropriate.

Comments

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Stephen
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

I guessed right. Why does not this make me happy?

Ben in Oakland
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

I guessed none.

Is the prize everlasting life in cloud of glory?

I thought not.

Matt
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

“Tags: Christianity (General)”

I know a group that plays this game. They look for radical-queer public sex events, men who walk around wearing assless chaps and with ball gags in their mouths, and radical queer womyn who write screeds about how important it is to smash the institutions of Middle America to pieces, and then presents this as indicative of gay people generally. The group is, of course, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.

“It really says something about Christianity”

No, it doesn’t.

Nigel Puerasch
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

Sky pixies

Ian
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

The first one wasn’t crazy enough, and the “God did say, Christ did say” was too weird to be an imitation, but not weird enough to be a parody.

B is seriously nutty, and was a good candidate to be a parody. The problem lies with “My interpretation of this is that while God did not want people to perish” – a parodist wouldn’t (normally) try to dial back the crazy, just for a moment.

C falls into the “too crazy to be a parody” category, and yet it lacks the ALL CAPS, random punctuation and excessive use of exclamation marks that a parodist would probably feel necessary if they were writing something quite this nutty.

Jim Burroway
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

“Tags: Christianity (General)”

That tag is intended for posts which aren’t covering a particular denomination.

I was perhaps ineligant in saying it really says something about Christianity. To be more accurate, I think it says something about how Christianiy is allowing itself to be perceived. The same is true, IMHO, for conservatism in general. When people like Huckabee and Palin can be accepted as “mainstream,” that says something. Whether they really are mainstream Republicans is a completely, totally, entirely different matter. We won’t know that truly until the next primary season rolls around. But until then, media — left, right and center — are perfectly happy to accept them as such.

And unfortunately the same can be said for Christianity. In no way do I think the voices above are representative of Christianity, nor do I believe they represent mainstream fundamentalist Christianity (or at least I hope not!). But I can remember a time when such expressions as these would have been so rare as to immediately strike everyone as moronic, outrageous, and even heretical and denounced as such. Now, we have a few shrugs and embarrassed silence instead.

The same shrugs and silence from smoe quarters that greeted the nonsense over “death panels,” or imaginary headless bodies in the desert, or a Muslim president whose goal is to destroy the country. That silence has consequences, the very least of them is the appearance of tacit agreement among the more mainstream and reasonal elements, even if the agreement isn’t there in reality.

And so now we have a situation where someone tried to parody conservative Christianity and she was pilloried, not because people were upset that she was parodying conservative Christianity, but because they thought she wasn’t. That speaks volumes about the image problem Christianity has today.

TampaZeke
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

There are more Christian identified people who believe this kind of garbage, or at least don’t say a word in opposition to it than there are progressive, sane Christians. That’s why I finally gave up and left the faith last year.

Too much bat shit crazy from too many “respected ‘Christian’ leaders” and too little challenge by too few sane Christians.

I actually find the silence of the masses more offensive than the ranting of the lunatics.

marcus
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

Malcom McGregor, the source of the first of these quotes, has a gay brother who is out and proud and a very sweet guy. Malcolm is running for city council on an anti-gay agenda for a district in which he doesn’t live. First class a*shat.

Matt
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

“To be more accurate, I think it says something about how Christianiy is allowing itself to be perceived.”

This is a standard that you would never hold gay people to, and never have, so far as your writings on Box Turtle Bulletin are concerned. You try to bring in issues like “death panels,” but my point stands: you cannot be bothered to treat Christians with anything like the respect you and this site expect are due to gay people.

Matt
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

Also, regarding the parody angle, I see your crazy Christians and I raise you Judith Butler:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Parody that, dude. And by your standards, ALL gay people own that, because we haven’t sufficiently denounced it.

Chitown Kev
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

@Matt

Didn’t that sentence by Butler win some sort of award.

Oh, and I don’t think that has anything to do with “gay people” but with “academia”

And I think that there ARE some parodies of Judith Butler out there.

Chitown Kev
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

Damn, found it in 2 seconds.

http://www.denisdutton.com/bad_writing.htm

Chitown Kev
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

The difference of course, Matt, is that there are plenty of well known academics (i.e. Martha Nussbaum, Cornel West, much of bell hooks, Stephen Greenblatt) that don’t write like that and, in fact, they have wide ranging and popular audiences.

Christians of the type that say the things above are the loudmouths of Christianity. I understand quite well that they don’t speak for all Christians but they are so damn loud!

Graham
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

Well what do you expect? When you have a belief system that tells you that this world is made by design for humans to live in by a loving god, then it’s hard to account for things like natural disasters. This is how the Christians integrate events like this into their worldview. Religion poisons everything.

Richard Rush
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

When we focus on the nuttiest of the nutty nuts that have the benefit of a microphone and a camera, are we being lulled into thinking that there’s only a relatively small number of them?

Just yesterday I was talking to a very close family member, and asked if she was following the news out of Japan. She said, “Yes, it’s so terrible. But the Bible tells all about how we will have terrible earthquakes in the end-times. It’s all right there in the Bible.” I suspect I know what you’re thinking. Don’t ask.

To a great extent, the nuts like the ones Jim quoted are just articulating and reinforcing what millions and millions of Americans already believe, and that’s the scary part. There are legions of little foot-soldiers everywhere indoctrinating people into believing this stuff. I recently got blindsided by one of them in a supermarket parking lot, but that’s another story. And I live in the Northeast Megalopolis, which is not exactly the Bible Belt.

On the bright side, our city has a few dozen vacant/crumbling church buildings, and two in our neighborhood have already been demolished and replaced by housing.

As long as I can manage to believe that the nuttiest beliefs won’t become the majority, I’m quite content for the nuts to be the most visible faces of Christianity in America. It helps put ALL Christian beliefs under a microscope where they are likely to be examined more closely than they would be otherwise.

Chris McCoy
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

If mainstream Muslims in the US are expected to denounce the lunatic, fringe fundamentalist Muslims, why is it that mainstream Christians are not expected to do the same to these lunatic, fringe fundamentalist Christians? Why does fundamentalist Christianity get a free, unopposed ride?

Also, wasn’t it none other than Pat Robertson that pulled a similar stunt last year with the Haiti earthquake?

Muslim evangelists used the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 to leverage conversion efforts in Indonesia by claiming that God had caused the explosion because he was angry at the Indonesian’s worship of false gods.

Several Fundamentalist Sects in the US (including Pentecostalism) increased in influence after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. They took advantage of the little-remembered fact that the earthquake and resulting fire occurred 3 days after Easter Sunday.

I don’t think mainstream Muslims, Christians, or even LGBT, should; in any way, shape, or form; be held to some kind of group-guilt for the actions of some, or any, of its members.

Chitown Kev
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

@Chris

And other evangelicals blamed on voodoo and the deal that Toussaint L’Overture made with the devil.

However, it can work both ways; the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, in part, eroded the authority of the Church.

Mark F.
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

Jim, you do realize that it’s old hat for Christianity to say natural disasters are a sign of God’s wrath, don’t you? Nothing new here. In fact, you would have been considered nuts in the Middle Ages if you considered the black plague to be anything but a sign from God.

And, you know what? If you believe in an all powerful God, then God has to be responsible. He created the earth, after all.

Jim Burroway
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

Matt, I can neither denounce nor endorse Judith Butler, since I can’t figure out what the hell she’s saying. I can only denounce her obtuseness. But I won’t, since I see no moral dilemma with uttering impenetrable jargon-riddled pronouncements. Which probably explains why I don’t see her getting much press.

The examples I cite here, on the other hand, are so accessible a third grader can understand what they are saying. Not only that, but a third grader ought to be able to recognize that these people are crazy, and will be more willing to say so — apparently more so than their elders.

Matt
March 16th, 2011 | LINK

But Mr. Burroway, you have a choice. When you hear people say unpleasant and nasty things, you can choose not to respond with

“It really says something about Christianity”

as you did. You can choose not to respond in bad faith.

Dan Savage likes to take the latest Shocking Story about the most recent horrible thing that someone professing to be a Christian said, and then slap the bumper-sticker “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians” Gandhi quote on the end. Now I like Dan Savage, I think he does a lot of great stuff. But he has the option, as do you, of not responding to horrible statements with self-righteousness. You can do better!

Mihangel apYrs
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

so Matt
how is Xianity to be judged by those who can’t be beothered to pick their way through the big book of fairy tales except by the utterances of prominent (or noisy) proponents? Do we ignore the Pope when he calls us “morally disordered”, or do we take that as a statement of Xian faith? Do we ignore Robinson while listen to MLK? How do we know who the “true xians (TM)” are?

Is Marx or Stalin, or Mao the final word on communism?

To be honest you’re being naif. We judge according to what we hear if we can’t take the time to incestigate ourselves. And in cases like this, what is being said IS true (from a certain point of view) so you can’t just discard it.

Finally, experience of, in this case, Xianity, does tend to validate this sort of statement as being a significant thread of that faith – nasty, self-righteous, wallowing in the tragedy of others to promote itself.

Donny D.
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

Matt,
I understand where you’re coming from, but to be honest quite a few Christians are doctrinally anti-gay, enough so that it’s a pretty significant part of the whole, and if Christians worldwide are being considered, it could well be true of the majority.

Okay, it isn’t necessarily fair to blame some members of a diverse group for the actions and attitudes of others. But there are a couple problems with that here. One is that anti-gay Christians have just been an awful lot louder than those who aren’t. And there’s a mentality among many Christians of not being willing to speak out publicly, at least to “the world” (the rest of us), against other Christians. So there’s a “good ones protecting the bad ones with their silence” dynamic going on here. But also, a lot of non-bigoted Christians don’t consider it Christian to be loudmouthed about the faith and to brawl in the gutter like so much of the Christian Right does.

A part of this problem is also the nature of expression typical of one, usually anti-gay, group of Christians. Protestant fundamentalists very commonly begin explanations of their beliefs with “Christians believe….” The reason they do this, of course, is that they’ve already written everyone who isn’t a fundamentalist out of Christianity.

So if a Gen X or Y kid finds her/himself watching the 700 Club or some other fundie religious right crap, and s/he has no personal experience of Christian community or worship, how is s/he supposed to know that the fundamentalists are hugely begging the question when their utterances implicitly contain the assumption that people like them are the only Christians? Other Christians know that that implicit assumption is an act of ideological aggression, but how is our young person supposed to know that?

To be honest I don’t have a lot of respect for those young people who say “I don’t like Christians because” they supposedly all believe some obviously fundamentalist bigotry. They just sound moronic to me. However, can you blame them? They are being set upon by an unscrupulous, aggressive force with a great deal of media behind it. And really, who is going to challenge the false assumption that fundamentalists = all Christians if it isn’t other Christians?

Matt
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

Donny D., you write

“And really, who is going to challenge the false assumption that fundamentalists = all Christians if it isn’t other Christians?”

But Mr. Burroway wrote

“It really says something about Christianity”

What you’re defending is nice, in theory, but it’s not what he wrote. I’m asking him to reconsider what he wrote.

BlackDog
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

Matt,Why don’t you expend some of that energy on asking the Christians to reconsider their behavior?

Based on my experience as a (former) Christian, I would say that all of the criticisms presented here are perfectly valid. I for one got so tired of the idiotic sort of pronouncements posted above (not to mention the idiots making them) that it was better for my sanity to just leave Christianity and continue my opposition to the BS from the outside.

You know what? If you argue against this kind of crap AS a Christian you get damned little help from most other Christians.

It’s actually been my experience that Fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians usually take the opposition being diplomatic and especially “being nice” or reconsidering what you said as license to continue as they are…if not as a tacit endorsement of what they are saying.

It has been my experience that all these people understand is when you are nasty in return AND force them to consider the implications of what they said AND hit them on something that has meaning to them personally.

They shit all over people and it takes a verbal (and occasionally even literal) slap and then sticking their nose in what they just did to get them to shut up, let alone consider that what they are doing may be wrong.

So I for one will urge Mr. Burroway (among others) NOT to reconsider a damn thing. I’ve seen too damn few people openly speak out against this sort of nonsense over the years.

Priya Lynn
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

“So I for one will urge Mr. Burroway (among others) NOT to reconsider a damn thing. I’ve seen too damn few people openly speak out against this sort of nonsense over the years.”

Hear Hear.

Jim Burroway
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

Matt.

I did reconsider “It really says something about Christianity” here. I considered your request and found it has merit. But I stand by my reconsideration which you already rejected.

The fact is, I can yammer on all day about how aweful some people are representing a faith that millions (billions) share but find those representations abhorrent. But until major figures who do find those abhorrent speak up, the crazies will effectively define Christianity in the minds of those who aren’t are are no longer adherants. The “brand,” as it were, is damamged. It’s up to Christians to rescue it, not me.

Parapi
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

Also, the comparison to the more radical sides of the LGBT community and fundamentalist Christians holds absolutely no water.

Christianity has on its side: the Crusades, the 15th and 16th-century wars of religion, the Inquisition, the auto-da-fe, the killings or atheists, gays, and other minority groups, institutionalized misogyny and homophobia, attempts to excise natural human behaviors from life, racial intolerance…I could go on. Pure and simple, hundreds of years worth of blood. So yes, it has a lot to answer for.

The gay community, not so much.

Timothy Kincaid
March 17th, 2011 | LINK

Richard,

Just yesterday I was talking to a very close family member, and asked if she was following the news out of Japan. She said, “Yes, it’s so terrible. But the Bible tells all about how we will have terrible earthquakes in the end-times. It’s all right there in the Bible.” I suspect I know what you’re thinking. Don’t ask.

A quibble: there’s a distinction between “God zapped them Japanese cuz they’s heathens” and “it’s a sign of the end times.” One sees the earthquake as a form of punishment to a specific people with the other sees it as a “sign” (along with other disasters) that the days of Revelation are finally here (after 2,000 years of such signs).

Chris

If mainstream Muslims in the US are expected to denounce the lunatic, fringe fundamentalist Muslims, why is it that mainstream Christians are not expected to do the same to these lunatic, fringe fundamentalist Christians?

Probably because they don’t feel like they have to. Christians still hold the position of majority so they assume that everyone already knows that there are crazy Christians and sane ones. Their neighbors aren’t suspicious or need reassurances.

That may be an attitude that bites them in the butt.

Why does fundamentalist Christianity get a free, unopposed ride?

Probably because they are “part of the family.” And while they can be embarrassing, it feels like betrayal to join ranks with non-Christians to denounce crazy Uncle Pat and his televised insanity.

I do see change, however. I see more and more Christian leaders seeing ‘justice and mercy’ towards gay people to be a mandatory part of the practice of their faith. I see it not only in the NorthEast but in cities in the South where a Methodist or Presbyterian minister will (and of course UCC and UU – and sometimes even Baptist or Catholic) be down at city hall lecturing the council that they need to protect their gay citizens.

Yeah there aren’t a lot of televangelists or megachurches on our side (though some are clearly wanting to avoid being hurtful) but local pastors are starting to be really visible.

Many of them were already quietly with us. But I give credit to the loons, specifically Fred Phelps, for their newfound activism.

It was Phelps’ “God Hates Fags” protests that made these people consider their public position. When Fred came to town, some churches started coming out to counter-protest. They started with a bit of self-preservation and defense of the faith with “God doesn’t hate anyone” but in the process they started seeing how badly the church treats gay folk and recognized their need to change the dynamic.

We do not have the support of “most Christians”, at least not theologically. And, in many areas, not culturally or politically.

But we have, I believe, turned the tipping point. Not only is it predictable that culture and society will become more inclusive and equal, but so will most of American Christendom. And, as Albert Mohler has observed, that day is very soon.

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