December 20, 2007

Dutch Christian Committees “offended by blasphemous advertisements”

Posted in atheism, christianity, creationism, intelligent design, Personal Ramblings, Philosophy & Politics, Sociology tagged , , , at 2:00 am by Bram Janssen

Several days ago, the news got out that several Dutch Christian organisations filed official complaints at the address of the Dutch “bureau for codes of conduct in commercials” (honestly, I don’t know what the official translation ought to be, so here’s the literal one) due to franchised electronics warehouse “Dixons” disrespecting Christian faith.

The franchise distributed commercial prints depicting the Three Wise Men navigating by TomTom and baby Jesus listening to ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ on an iPod in his crib. According to spokesman Bert Dorenbos these depictions are: “Dangerous, especially during Christmas time.” If you can read Dutch, here’s the original article.

Now, I’d like you to consider this and ask yourself how this is different from Islamic outrage over comic portraits of Muhammad in a Scandinavian newspaper. The only difference I can think of is the intensity in the revulsion felt by the offended religion. In fact, I think there is no difference at all. Both situations are equally outrageous and truthfully: the only “dangerous” thing in the whole situation is giving these Christian organisations credulity.

What’s more: where is the danger in these depictions anyway? What’s offensive? I don’t get it. Because it is blasphemous that Jesus might listen to a Christmas song on an iPod? Give me a break! It’s not as if he is trying to get friendly with the mule or anything. Now that would be a decent reason to take offense.

Why did I say it was dangerous to give these Christians credulity? Well, for the plain reason that they are trying to establish that Christianity needs to have a special place in Dutch society. Such a special place, in fact, that it is deemed to be a major breach of common decency to harmlessly depict a Shepherd playing a video-game. What these organisations are lobbying for in this manner, is that society should not be critical of Christianity, however trivially, because it would hurt their personal feelings. And hurting anyone’s feelings is bad thing, don’t you agree?

Well, Bert Dorenbos, you are hurting my personal feelings. Even though I am not too fond of Dixons, I feel offended by the organisations you speak for, for trying to insert small-mindedness into society. For trying to stop us from being critical of a religion that needs to be criticised like never before. For trying to promote Christianity as a clique beyond reproach and mostly– for playing on people’s fears by playing the card that says: “criticizing religion breeds hatred in society.” After all, people, wasn’t Theo van Gogh killed for his blatant critique on religion (Islam), wasn’t Ayaan Hirshi Ali forced to flee the country for the same reason?

For these reasons, I want to hurt your feelings. I want to be critical of you, so that hopefully, it will dawn on you that you are being small-minded and patronising. I don’t mind you and your Christian conviction, however, what I do mind is that you can not keep it to yourself. Instead, you try to tell me, an atheist, and any other person who might ever get the idea to say something “dangerous” about your faith should keep their “blasphemy ” to themselves. I will not shut up. I repeat: I will not shut up. I will never stop criticizing people with small minds and hypocritical agendas.




  1. I agree with you, however, just as martyrs breed martyrs, ridicule builds greater faith because, while defending one’s faith, the defense builds additional faith. I know that sounds a bit convoluted, but in my many years of fending off religion, I’ve found the only way I can make a dent in a Christian’s arrogance is to go at it in an entirely different fashion. I’ve made it a point to know more about the Bible than Christians know about it. I think I’ll be a steady reader of your blogsite.

  2. Bram Janssen said,

    Hey Mary thanks for the compliments. You are right about your statement I think- many Christians don’t know the first thing about the content of the Bible (although many others do) and being better equipped Scripturally is a good weapon. It’s one of their prime weapons after all.
    I think another way to dent Christians’ arguments is cold logic. Many people of “good faith” have been taught not to think critically about their faith. It just “is” and should not be questioned.
    Now, I would like to raise questions in their minds that have no answers in Christianity. Their initial reactions might be anger, haughtiness and threats of hell-fire, but when that has subsided, they realise their reactions came from fear and not from me being wrong. At least: I hope so. After all I am just a little blogger in a vast universe of bloggers. We’ll see.

  3. Andries said,

    Indeed Mary, the Bible is the best argument against Christianity, it is so contradictionary.

    Mr. Dorenbosch tried to Christianize some Jewish children, and has been accusted for anti-semitism (by an Jewish organization). He should be offended by these commercials? As I recall he has been convicted for anti-semitism.

    A good laugh, and there is no more to these advertisment.

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