Posted by: jmark | October 12, 2005

Food for thought – "You know things are bad when…"

(Local newspaper column)

…People think ‘Jesus’ really is a swear word. A child in a primary school in the UK asked his teacher, “Why did Mary and Joseph name their baby after a swear word?” In response, a Christian charity are sending a teaching pack and video on the Christmas story to every primary school in the UK

…Paddy Power bookmakers, in an attempt to rustle up some business, think it is a good idea to depict Jesus and his disciples all playing poker. The advert is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ and has the slogan “There’s a place for fun and games”.

…Sony think that it’s a good idea to advertise their PlayStation games’ console with a young man wearing a crown of thorns and grinning at the camera, with the slogan, “Ten years of Passion.”

It’s the sort of thing preachers say: “People only know Jesus’ name as a swear word these days.” At one time it may have been rhetoric, a slight case of exaggeration, but no longer. And we can’t point the finger at ‘those pagans across the water’ because we in Ireland are far worse when it comes to using the name of Jesus as a swear word. God specifically says, “The Lord your God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” Exodus 20:7.

Paddy Power’s feeble attempt at an excuse was, “We didn’t mean to offend anyone”! They also made an equally dismal attempt at an apology, “If anyone is offended we apologise… But we have no plans to withdraw the ad.” That is not an apology – an apology is when you accept blame, and change your actions. They have since withdrawn the ad, once sufficient publicity was gained.

Sony at least had the decency to pull their ad, although their apology was nearly as offensive as the ad. They said, “the spirit of the message was misunderstood”. So it would appear that the fault, instead of lying with the advertising executives at Sony, is actually with the poor religious person who just didn’t have enough intelligence to understand the ad.

We live in a world where it is morally outrageous to mock any religious belief… except Christianity. No other religious leader would be used as the butt of the advertisers mockery. It’s hard to see Paddy Power or Sony thinking, “Let’s use Mohammed as a poster boy. Let’s take one of the key moments in the history of Islam and make a funny picture about it.”

And things only get this bad when the advertisers think that the public will, on majority, accept what they churn out. And so you know things are really bad in a country when things reach this level.

Ireland had a reputation as the land of saints and scholars, once these things were considered sacred. Now we trample holy things underfoot and mock the very means by which sins can be forgiven. God warns us in his word:

“But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 12:17

Ireland, will you fall on your knees and repent, before it is too late? Will you seek forgiveness for trampling the Son of God underfoot? You personally might feel that you would never go so far as the examples above, but to reject Jesus as your saviour is insult enough.

“How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” … It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:29-31

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