11 februari 2006

Intercultural alert: religion

I would like to point out a few facts that hit me over the last few weeks.

Fact 1: I watched a late night talk show on the Flemish television, where an actor played the role of a priest, complaining about why people don’t go church anymore. It was clear that the actor was laughing at the (catholic) church. Result: no official reaction from the church.

Fact 2: I watched a hilarious Flemish comedy series on DVD. One of the sections is called: Cooking with Jesus. In a nutshell: Jesus does the cooking, is very bad at it, but gets in touch with the hereafter “for a small miracle”. Result: no official reaction from the church; some Christians felt offended, though.

Fact 3: Some time ago, a Danish newspaper published a series of twelve cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Result: incident between Denmark and the Muslim world as a result of that publication. Danish products are being replaced by local alternatives in Saudi-Arabia.

These three facts (1 and 2 as opposed to 3) clearly show the way people are thinking about and dealing with religion. It’s not just a who-is-right and who-is-wrong case. But the least you can say is that the incident shows that in our global society we definitely have to take care of intercultural differences when it comes to dealing with humour and religion.

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