Friday, June 9, 2023

Mocking the "man-god"

Carl Trueman uses the newest controversy about Monty Python's The Life of Bryan, to illustrate "Blasphemy Then and Now":
The original movie was controversial because it mocked the God-man, the central truth of the Christian faith. Now it is controversial because it mocks the man-god, the central truth of our contemporary world. That it is “Loretta,” not Brian, who is now the most offensive character in the story is indicative of a sea-change in our cultural understanding of what is holy and what laws must therefore not be transgressed.

Opponents of blasphemy then and of blasphemy now share something in common: a concern to protect that which is sacred. But that is where the similarity begins and ends. Old-style blasphemy involved desecrating God because it was God who was sacred. Today’s blasphemy involves suggesting that man is not all-powerful, that he cannot create himself in any way he chooses, that he is subject to limits beyond his choice and beyond his control. That such blasphemy is obviously and undeniably true does not make it less offensive to the modern secular priests and priestesses whose power depends upon guarding our culture from reality. Ironically, John Cleese has now been indicted for blasphemy under both regimes. Regardless of where one stands on the merits of Life of Brian, his constant state of disfavor would perhaps suggest that he is actually an exceptionally competent comedian. (more)
Carl R. Trueman, "Blasphemy Then and Now," First Things, June 8, 2023.

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