19 January, 2007

My skeptical past. pt 3

The Life of Brian is perhaps the piece of British comedy which has had the most influence on actual theology (as Theologed by Theologians). Firstly with the debate and cinema picketing by those who though the idea that someone could have been born on the same day a Jesus was blasphemous. Indeed, the Not the Nine O'Clock News team did a fantastic sketch The General Synod's Life of Christ in which followers of Our Lord Cleese (Pythonists) protest against the new film General Synod's Life of Christ, which they accuse of being "a thinly disguised and blasphemous attack on the members of Monty Python. Men who are today, still revered throughout the western world" which parodied nicely the stupidity of the Christian attack on the film.

Before getting to the film itself, Cleese has always maintained that the Pythons won the debates about the merits of the film by behaving better than the Christians. An example of this would be an oft quoted televised exchange between Malcolm Muggeridge (Christian author) and a Bishop in a nice purple cassock on one side with Cleese and Palin on the other. This was probably the inspiration for the Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch and it contained classic lines such as...
Muggeridge: I came on this programme, before seeing the film, to say that it was morally without merit and undeniably reprehensible.
Michael Palin: You started with an open mind, I admire that.

The strange thing is that in Christian circles there still exists a divide. Perhaps a divide deeper than Catholic/Protestant, that is the divide between those who love the film and what it is trying to say and those who still scream blasphemy and avert their eyes.

So, being as I am a member of the Gin Drinkingest, Cigar Smokengest bible study group this side of heaven, I decided to lead a study on the film in order to find out if it is in fact about "closed systems of thought, be they are political, theological, religious or whatever. Systems by which whatever evidence is given to a person, he merely adapts it, fits it into his ideology" as Cleese claims or if perhaps it is spawn of Satan's bottom after a night on the curry.

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