Thursday, December 17, 2009

More fun in New Zealand

The BBC says New Zealand is all aflutter about a religion-themed billboard. Believe it or not, though, it's not this atheist one, though apparently they're still also experiencing controversy about that, well behind the rest of the world which has largely embraced them.

No! This one happens to be one group of Catholics producing a billboard that OTHER Catholics think makes the whole lot of them look a little too silly. See for yourself: its caption "Poor Joseph: God was a hard act to follow" accompanied by a painting of the dejected J-man himself in bed with the famous virgin leaves no doubt that the billboard is some kind of play on the idea that God fathered a child with that human woman.

The reason I like this so much has got to boil down to the objector's position: "Our Christian tradition of 2,000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,". That's what Lyndsay Freer for the Auckland Diocese gave the press, when asked why they so vehemently opposed this billboard, paid for by their own organization. Does not the work on the billboard make it evident that its makers were well aware of this "tradition"?

It calls to mind the fine line that religious apologists and salespeople of eternity are forced to walk in these advanced times. Try as they might to hamper the spread of knowledge, many people are much more educated than in these organizations' hey days. Many of the talking snakes, virgin births, party-trick miracles, and geological impossibilities that used to amaze people and send them flocking into church are pretty solidly refutable by science. These days, direct references to these parts of religion are largely frowned upon, especially within the organizations at higher levels, because it makes them look really, really stupid. Tough beans, guys, you picked the wrong field to impress people with your smarts.

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