Christianity and The Onion
The Onion is a website I keep an eye on every week. It has two form: a satirical newspaper full of parody articles, and the AV section which is choc full of interviews and articles on pop culture. Going through the archives, there are quite a few articles that deal with Christianity and Christian culture. Always from an outsider’s point of view and always satirical. A recent article on the satirical front page caught my eye: “I’m Not One Of Those ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ Christians”. I found it particularly cutting and worth having a look at.
I want people to know about my faith. I want them to know that I’m more concerned with what God did for us on the cross and living the life of love that he calls us to then being a stuffed shirt, overly conservative killjoy who is more concerned about imposing rules on others. I like to think that I’m not the kind of Christian that the secular world stereotypes us as.
Then I read an article like this one and it makes me sad. There is a view of Christianity out there that sees us as people who are focussed on removing evolution from schools, stopping gays from getting married, and creating arbitrary divisions between “us” and “them”. I wonder if this view is because of very vocal minority of conservative right-wing Christians or if it is the majority position.
Because it’s not my position. I do hold some strong views. And there is some overlap between my views and the Christian right. The problem I have, however, is that this overlap happens on small issues. Issues that are up for debate and by no means core gospel issues. It is important to take a stand on these issues. But not at the expense of the gospel. Our first and primary task is to proclaim Christ Jesus crucified. If our other campaigns overshadow this message and become our main doctrine, then we need to repent and return to preaching the gospel.
I want people too see my love for others and want to know why I do it. I want to create opportunities to tell people about Jesus. I want them to hear God’s Word and be saved. I most definitely am one of those ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ Christians. Let nothing get in the way of me fulfilling those two great commandments that Jesus gave: “The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
You’re right about the Onion. I’ve read it a lot and enjoyed it and I don’t mind seeing the occasional satire targeting Christians. But after a while I started to notice that the Onion never targets atheists. If you’re going to lampoon people, you ought to be equal opportunity about it. The Onion has always made Christians out to be narrow-minded ignorant buffoons, and after a while, one comes to realize that they are doing this deliberately.
I wonder if that is because Christianity is a bigger target? I would think it’s much harder to lampoon a disorganised, adhoc belief system than an institution that actually believes in something (ie Christianity).