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Oh No! Not Joss Whedon!

This is exactly why I want celebrities to stop telling me what they think. Because I want to like them but when they sound off and mock those things I hold sacred I can't get it out of my mind.

While accepting some kind of Humanist award from Harvard, writer director Joss Whedon calls God the "sky bully" and says he didn't feel worth anything until Obama gave atheists a shout out. "I matter. I'm a person," he said.

Silliness for sure but I can take it. But then he veers off into an anti-Catholicism riff that kinda' bugged me.

"I think we should have more Popes. Like you know I just think there hasn't been a good schism in a while. So maybe like you know you've got three different guys saying they've got God's here. Or town Pope's. Or maybe a Fox show, "So you wanna be Pope" or "You think you can Pope."
Joss, I want to like you. I liked "Buffy" and "Angel" and "Firefly." I even tried to watch "Dollhouse" until I just couldn't anymore because you seemingly forgot to make anything happen for an entire season.

Just keep your anti-Catholic humor to yourself and just write and direct please so I can continue to like your work.

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Anita said...

Ugh. Yes, please shut up, Joss.

Svetlana said...

Well there is Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Shenouda, not to mention the sedavacantist crack jobs . . . that isn't enough for him? He really needs to do some research! ;-)

Early Riser said...

He is SOOOO white. Perfect for that particular audience. I didn't find him funny at all.

Niall Mor said...

I'm with you, Matthew. Joss Whedon snarked at religion almost constantly in "Buffy," but it was hard not to like the show because it was so well written. I loved "Firefly." I want to like the guy too, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. I find it ironic that he insists that "education" is the answer to the world's ills, but either forgets or doesn't know that the founder of all the great European universities was the Catholic Church. Harvard, the school at which he is speaking, was a religious institution when it was founded. So was Yale.

Finally, his assertion that "faith in God means believing in something with absolutely no evidence," while faith in humanism means "believing in something with a huge amount of evidence to the contrary," has the argument exactly backward. G. K. Chesterton once said that original sin was the only part of Christianity that could readily be proven. Where is the evidence that human beings can be truly good without God? The two most evil and barbaric regimes of the twentieth century, Nazism and Communism, were either officially or de facto atheistic, with the power of the Church legally subservient to that of the state. The central premise of Christianity, as Flannery O' Connor put it, was that God looked upon the world in all its horror and decided that it was worth dying for. In other words, God looked upon human beings in all their cruelty, ignorance, and malice but knew human beings and their world could be changed, transformed, and redeemed--but only by God's own sacrifice of himself on the cross.

Sorry, Joss. Even though you're at Harvard, for that attack on Christianity and defense of humanism, I'd have to give you a failing grade.

KC said...

And, to say all this in the chapel (check out the background)...

Child of God said...

Harvard awards are millstone necklaces in God's Kingdom.

glug glug glug....

Genevieve said...

Oh come on, I laughed. I wouldn't even consider that "anti-Catholic. In fact if that's anti-Catholic then I know plenty of actual practicing Catholics (even a priest!) who make similar jokes that would cause them to be labeled "anti-Catholic."

Lighten up, folks.

(Yes, I know I'm going to hell for actually having a sense of humor.)

P.S. Perhaps removing the "WE LAUGH BECAUSE WE BELIEVE" from the top of the page should be considered...?

Fr. Gjengdahl said...

This is what is frustrating, because artists, true artists, are supposed to not only entertain us, but inform us. True art must speak to...truth! Joss, either just give us some simple entertainment, but if you are going to speak about truth, religion, the human person, please inform yourself first.

Christopher said...

I have to agree with Genevieve. Did I agree with him? No. But if we can't take these comments and turn them with anything but high moral outrage, then his view of Christians, if not of Christ, is correct.

Really, isn't he asking for the same sort of soul searching that Christians have asked for from atheists? (What is their moral code that they wish to promote? Didn't Joss essentially admit atheism as a religion?)

And that bit about moving the Holy Land to Jamaica, comic gold.

William said...

Yeah, I already knew that Joss's heart of hearts contains a very rudimentary understanding of Christianity. The guy was raised by writers in LA, come on, what was he going to learn about anything from?

I'm glad you know "actual" Catholics that are cool enough to hang with the hep cats, Gene and Chris. You guys totally got this post. Cause you're cool. Charlie Sheen cool.

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched the video yet but I found this bit interesting:

'While accepting some kind of Humanist award from Harvard, writer director Joss Whedon calls God the "sky bully" and says he didn't feel worth anything until Obama gave atheists a shout out. "I matter. I'm a person," he said.'

Weird. Because if you believe in God, then the only validation that should really matter is validation from God. But if you don't, then the validation you need comes from...Obama?

Genevieve said...

William - Like I said, I'm clearly going to hell for laughing at things like moving the Holy Land to Jamaica and "So you think you can Pope?" Yes, he probably has a very minimal understanding of the Catholic faith, but he wasn't being maliciously anti-Catholic.

I guess humor itself must be a new mortal sin that I didn't get the memo about. I don't even want to know what y'all would say about Dane Cook's bit on the Mass. Absolutely hysterical. And he's Catholic.

William said...

I would guess it sucks, Gene, but not because he's talking about Mass, because he's Dane Cook.

And I'm not laughing for the same reason I don't laugh when David Cross talks about the apostles, "Luke, Paul, John, and Matthew," hangin' with Jesus... I know why it's not funny.

Julie said...

There's a difference between making a joke from the inside vs. Making a joke about someone else to demean them.

Also his comments about education just solidify for me the reason we are home schooling. What truth can you teach without Jesus. You cannot. He is the Truth.

Christopher said...

William, if you want to make an issue out of Joss's comments, you're going about it the wrong way, treating it as if they were a spear thrust into the heart of Christianity. Condemning it it counterproductive, you prove his point about unthinking believers.

What would make a better response?

The response of pity, that it took the acknowledgement (politically calculated, at that) from Obama for a dynamic writer and producer with a fiercely loyal following to "feel like a person".

The response of agreement,(!) that yes, atheism *is* a matter of faith, and a rather simple one, as it hasn't yet dealt with the issue of morality.

The response of agreement, Fides quarens intellectum.

The response of argument, the failure of free-thought to actually advance humanity.

The response of argument, Christianity has given us the tradition of intellectual pursuit, precise because it is not a question of blind faith.

P. Button said...

Of course when CMR informs me about the sins of one of my favorite TV writers I have the same issue with liking him. Darn it why'd you have to tell me?

klytaimnestra said...

Actually Joss isn't exactly uninformed. He went to Winchester for a couple of years, attended daily Anglican services there as all the other students did, and was (I gather from somewhere or other) not an unbeliever at that point. But then his beloved mother died. I don't know if his loss of faith dates from then, but he certainly lost it between then and now.

My point is that the God he not only doesn't believe in, but is (I think) pretty angry with, is the Christian god. He's a Christian atheist, who is angry with the Christian God for not existing. :)

I think his perspective comes from personal pain, and from watching the behaviour of so very many of us who claim we're Christian but aren't exactly poster children for the faith. I always cut him a lot of slack here, both for what I assume his reasons are, and because if you notice, the ethics promoted on any series he writes are totally Christian, all the way down the line. Not just a wishy-washy "be nice to people"; but love, sacrifice, the whole bit. There's a recent article on it here, which I found pretty convincing, not least because it had noticed many of the same things I've noticed about his work: http://slayageonline.com/essays/slayage28/Rabb_Richardson.htm

Robert said...

He's not on a rail against Christians, Christ, or Christianity. What he's saying is that many religions, Christianity in particular, don't focus on faith, they focus on trying to convert others. He is arguing that it is possible to be a humanist and still have faith... and yes, he makes some jokes about Christianity, but why not? Everyone takes themselves too seriously, and a majority group in particular should realize that they are very open to ridicule! As a humanist polytheist, I would say Joss is entitled to at least entitled to make playful jabs at an institution that has persecuted people like him for centuries.

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