I said that today, while sitting in a brightly coloured fast food place that sells kebabs. My friend reckons the little Indian mascot in it is an odd colour of caucasian and not Indian at all, but I have to admit I didn't pay much attention while I was there. Next time, though.
But, back to the first comment. It's true that I know some lovely Christians, and this is not about them. They will probably be better off ignoring this paragraph... but, I've noticed of late a nasty trend in the public perception of Christianity. It might be just one of those things on the rise since the election, but it appears that it's suddenly a whole lot more publically acceptable to be a Christian, to the point where people proudly proclaim they're Christian and then ask why aren't you a Christian? Wasn't there a time when these people were in hiding, or at least just keeping their personal beliefs to themselves?
Maybe it's just me. Maybe I've been in the wrong places. It could be that when I walked into Uni this week, with it all wet and storm grey cluttered, and saw a pair of guys standing there holding out leaflets to try and convince me to go into a Bible Seminar for the Lord Jesus and all of that, that I might just be unlucky. Likewise, when I then walk into my one hour a week office (which is filled with all sorts of fine books that aren't mine) and read that Guy Sebastian, that bland little Australian Idol winner, is apparently making Christianity cool once again... well, lets face it, I've been unlucky of late.
So, a little bit of dark humour: the only good Christian is a dead Christian.
It's funny, because it's true.
Moving on, I caught the final episode of John Safran vs. God. In this episode, Safran, after having spent the previous episodes hanging around voodoo ceremonies, taking peyote, bathing in chickens blood, and meeting Norse Priestesses, as you do, gets an exorcism. It was really quite fascinating to watch Safran twitch and roll his eyes and to speak in a guttural voice while trying to bite the American priest who was performing the exorcism.* I kept waiting for Safran to appear at the end of the episode and fill everyone in, to say that he was either faking it, or that it was, in fact true. Of course, he didn't appear, and if he's smart, he'll likely spend his entire career dodging the question from the media and fans, and letting it grow into an urban legend.
(EDIT: Apparently, Safran isn't that smart. Instead of refusing to talk about it, he is bringing it up, and claiming that something real, either hypnotism or an actual exorcism, was going on. Check out the comments from Jupitah to snag the link.)
Personally, while I do want to know, I'm entirely happy to not know. (Well, I was entirely happy, I guess.) It raises some interesting questions, mainly within myself. For example, do I want it to be fake because I'm not a Christian, and because I am an agnostic? Do I want it to be real because that suggestions something after? Do I wish Safran would just take a stand on the show as a whole, to decide if he is mocking religions, or celebrating them? Actually, with this last one, I do wish Safran's intentions with the show had been a bit clearly. The parts of it that really work are those bits where Safran has a clear intention with the material, such as with the voodoo day of the dead ceremony. Meanwhile, the parts that don't work as well, or come off as minor, are where Safran feels as if he is holding back, or doesn't know what to do with the material. An example of this would be where he goes and tries out for a Gospel choir. Other than the amusement you can take from watching Safran sing badly, it's a minor moment, and doesn't explore anything to do with the religion contained within gospel music.
Still, Safran vs God remained interesting and watchable until the end.
* That Priest guy had a few moments, too. I especially liked when he suggested that Aborigines were using demons on white settlers for stealing their land, and then, later, performed a little exorcism on this eight year old girl in the hallway. There was something a touch illegal about the way he held her and spoke in that soft, loving voice about making the demons stay away, if you follow my logic.