Comic Belief

There’s so much to celebrate about Comic Relief it was such a shame the BBC set piece broadcast started off in such bad taste:

Here’s a letter I wrote to the BBC after Comic relief:

Our family is a huge fan of Comic Relief. My children participated in Red Nose day activities at our local schools. We encouraged them to celebrate their efforts to raise money for the important charities that Comic Relief support, by watching the Friday evening show. It is also, I believe, a fantastic opportunity for them to learn more about fighting poverty and global injustice.

Although most of the show was genuinely funny with moving clips from around the world, I was disappointed and offended by the blatant insensitivities towards those with faith, and with the inappropriate innuendo and language before the 9pm watershed.

If you want to leave some constructive feedback – you can do so here.

comicbelief

34 thoughts on “Comic Belief”

  1. Thanks for the prompt Krish. I also felt uncomfortable with Rowan Atkinson’s piece and have submitted my own complaint.

  2. I agree. The humour was very adult for so early in the evening. So unnecessary and sad too as, like you say, so many children get behind this fund-raising stunt. Very disappointed. Alot of innuendo and offence

  3. There is a crisis in humour in UK today. More often than not, it’s just not funny – only offensive.

  4. Krish-thanks for yr comments-a very uncomfortable evening for us-partly because of the moving film footage, both challenging and encouraging, from the projects-but unfortunately also for the mainly very unfunny commentary and sketches. The worst I can remember over many years

  5. I also commented via the OFCOM website Krish. I tried to complain via the BBC website, but it kept crashing. I can only hope that it was due to the level of complaints …

  6. Totally agree. Myself and my family were offended and disappointed by the unnecessary ‘sketch’ by Rowan Atkinson. It served no purpose at all and added nothing positive to the nights endeavours. But I’m not at all surprised and it’s a continuing trend in the attack on christianity. My response will be prayer as i believe prayer does work.

  7. I totally agree. The Rowan Atkinson sketch was shocking. My kids love the characters he plays and were looking foward to seeing him. I was totally stunned to hear some of the language used prior to the water shed. To be honest I didn’t see the point to his sketch at all!

  8. That’s good Krish. I’m not usually the complaining type – it makes me feel a bit too Daily Mail! But I am going to this time, for same reasons that you pointed out.

  9. not sure if my 7 yr old daughter (or me for that matter) needed to hear about vajazzles and unmarried couples having babies at 7.30 in the evening when watching comic relief…..and am wonderin if any other religion is going to be insulted by “the archbishop” or is it just the christians…didnt hear it all cos i turned over…. shame raising money has to get smutty and be down right insulting to the christian faith

  10. I was a bit taken a back I was a bit annoyed were they saying the church isn’t interested in getting involved in charity or global poverty. Or is even detached to what is happening in the world. I was very moved by all the images of those suffering i gave but didnt feel like it was enough found my self just pouring out to God at the injustice in the world that we have so much and they have so little.

  11. Yes, I agree and sent in a complaint via their website. We were watching with our boys, aged 10 and 8 and switched off during Rowans piece.

  12. We complained about the language too. Comic Relief is something kids get involved in primary school, so post-watershed language early in the evening is out of order, as was Rowan’s sketch.

  13. One wonders if your faith is so weak for it to be shaken by a comedian dressed in a frock?

    Lets be clear, you believe something which has no basis in fact, has no evidence, is counter intuitive, and is at odds with science. Explain why people shouldn’t find humour in your beliefs.

    I find it astonishing that people actually complain about this sort of thing and yet they continue to support their religions which have been proven to cause widespread physical, mental, sexual, abuse. I would think your time would be better spent reflecting on why you believe in myths and monsters and then trying to prevent the religion you follow from harming any more young minds.

    1. @ Karl – Did you read the original post. No one said anything about their faith being undermined. KrishK, and the subsequent posts seem to be more focused on the inappropriate nature of the sketch due to the time and language used.

      We have freedom of speech in the UK – but that does not give anyone the right to simply be offensive, especially if the guidelines already indicate that concern should be raised with regard to pre-watershed programmes.

      Along with freedom of speak we have freedom of belief. I don’t need to discuss the validity of beliefs – some have faith, other believe in UFO’s, some simply put their faith in science – all should be shown proper human respect and dignity.

      But also along with the freedom of speak is an implicit requirement that if you choose to speak out, post, blog etc then you are a duty to get the fact right. Hence our libel and slander laws. So when you say ‘widespread physical, mental and sexual abuse’ try thinking beyond the headlines to the facts. I’m a card carrying journalist and I don’t believe you can produce any solid factual evidence that faith groups are any more culpable for such things than any other sector of society – wherever you choose to draw the dividing lines.

      1. …”some simply put their faith in science”…
        It never fails to amuse me when a theist says science requires faith, in fact that is the one thing science doesn’t require. I don’t have faith in gravity, I have knowledge of it’s causes and effects and can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. The same goes for evolution. Science does not require faith, nor do people ‘put their faith in it’.

        As for showing respect to people who believe in mumbo jumbo, I find that offensive – why should I show respect to people whose ‘faith’ would have had me tortured or murdered just a few hundred years ago? Why should I show respect to that which can be scientifically proven to be false? Respect is something which should be earned, I do not know of a single religion which has earned that right.

        However, I digress.

        You said “…No one said anything about their faith being undermined…” yet the original post clearly stated “…blatant insensitivities towards those with faith…” I am sure that as a ‘card carrying journalist’ you are as capable as the rest of us when it comes to reading the message behind the words. The implication is that we should give respect and that somehow showing insensitivity to those who are delusions somehow undermines that “faith”. I would challenge you to prove that isn’t the implication.

        Innuendo is a great comedic tradition, it is often used to convey jokes to adults in a way that would otherwise be considered offensive and it also goes over the heads of children – those people who took offence are merely offended that they understood the joke, not that the joke was made.

        1. Dear karl
          Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog.
          If you would like to talk I would be very happy to buy you a coffee and talk these things over face to face.
          My knowledge of God is based on the evidence of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. If I have been deluded it is important to me to investigate this. I am not sure on what your knowledge of the nonexistence of God is based but unless you can claim some sort of infallible and exhaustive knowledge of the universe there must at least exist the possibility you are mistaken so a conversation together could be mutually beneficial. Let me know if you are up for meeting. Yours sincerely
          Krish

          1. I’d love to meet you, if ever you are in Devon feel free to drop me an email and we’ll sort something out. wrt my knowledge about the existence of God or my lack there of, I would have to be honest and say that I cannot know whether there is a God or even multiple Gods, I can say it seems extremely unlikely that there is a personal God who created this planet or even this universe for us to inhabit – I would even say any God would be irrelevant to me either because he cannot stop bad things happening (so he is not omnipotent) or he doesn’t want to stop bad things happening (he doesn’t care)

            As for Jesus, I don’t think he was anything more than an ordinary man who tried to get people to be nice to each other, what most people would probably call a hippy – a term which I use in a complimentary way.

            I would recommend watching the following youtube video which features Bart Ehrman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0zWbL8Uqfw — This man has spent his whole life studying the history of the bible, it is but one of many pieces of information that I have seen which have convinced me that anyone who claims to have the answers is either trying to deceive me or trying to deceive themselves.

        2. Karl, the point about insensitivity isn’t that it undermines Christians’ faith, but that it’s just plain rude.

          There’s a place for satire and blunt speaking when it comes to debating the value of religion (or lack of it). But Comic Relief is about all sorts of people, of all beliefs and none, coming together to tackle some of the problems facing our world today. It’s the wrong context for this kind of humour.

          You seem to be assuming that all faith is by definition blind faith – believing in the absence or face of evidence. If this were true, then it would indeed be nonsensical to talk about “faith in science”.

          But that’s not what Christians mean by faith. Faith isn’t some special form of irrationality, but trust. Trust can be placed in something irrationally, but equally there can be rational grounds for trust.

          You trust the scientific methods because it is founded on certain beliefs, such as that the world behaves according to a discernible, rational pattern, and certain practices such as empirical measurement and peer review, that have proved reliable in delivering further knowledge of the world. You have faith in science on the basis of good reason and evidence that science works.

          Christians base their faith on the witness of the Bible and the Church to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as an historical event. My faith is supported by what I understand to be rationally and empirically justified by science, history and philosophy. Like many Christians, I am prepared to defend my faith in debate by offering reasons, arguments and evidence. I find that the understanding of the world around me and human nature provided by the Bible has ongoing explanatory power. The Christian faith is based on good reason and evidence.

          So if you want to make a rational argument, you can’t just come in and assert that religion is by definition irrational. You need to engage with what Christians consider to be the evidence and rational grounding for their faith, and demonstrate why it is inadequate.

          If you’re up for discussing it, great. Perhaps we can chat and both come away having thought things through more deeply. If you just want to fire cheap shots and run, well, that’s the Internet for you.

          1. Caleb, you are trying to muddy the waters between belief in scientifically provable facts and cosmic deities. I believe in gravity because I can measure it, calculate it and predict it. You (may) believe in God because its written in a very old book. There is clearly a difference between believing something you are told as a child and something you can prove through scientific means. I spent a good 10 years of my life worrying that I might tread on someone’s religious toes and never once did a religious person worry about treading on my non religious toes, so now the gloves are off. Maybe I should put in a complaint to the BBC about the 15 min piece which centred itself on religion, as a non religious person I found it offensive that a female cleric and her posse were prancing around our screen promoting the rights of a select few and treating the rest of us as if we were mad for not believing in their nonsense – I am of course referring to the Vicar of Dibley, although I would just be doing the same as those who complained about Rowan Atkinson, that is I would be pretending to be offended.

  14. Let’s try that again – once more with paragraphing!
    Karl, the point about insensitivity isn’t that it undermines Christians’ faith, but that it’s just plain rude.

    There’s a place for satire and blunt speaking when it comes to debating the value of religion (or lack of it). But Comic Relief is about all sorts of people, of all beliefs and none, coming together to tackle some of the problems facing our world today. It’s the wrong context for this kind of humour.

    You seem to be assuming that all faith is by definition blind faith – believing in the absence or face of evidence. If this were true, then it would indeed be nonsensical to talk about “faith in science”.

    But that’s not what Christians mean by faith. Faith isn’t some special form of irrationality, but trust. Trust can be placed in something irrationally, but equally there can be rational grounds for trust.

    You trust the scientific methods because it is founded on certain beliefs, such as that the world behaves according to a discernible, rational pattern, and certain practices such as empirical measurement and peer review, that have proved reliable in delivering further knowledge of the world. You have faith in science on the basis of good reason and evidence that science works.

    Christians base their faith on the witness of the Bible and the Church to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as an historical event. My faith is supported by what I understand to be rationally and empirically justified by science, history and philosophy. Like many Christians, I am prepared to defend my faith in debate by offering reasons, arguments and evidence. I find that the understanding of the world around me and human nature provided by the Bible has ongoing explanatory power. The Christian faith is based on good reason and evidence.

    So if you want to make a rational argument, you can’t just come in and assert that religion is by definition irrational. You need to engage with what Christians consider to be the evidence and rational grounding for their faith, and demonstrate why it is inadequate.

    If you’re up for discussing it, great. Perhaps we can chat and both come away having thought things through more deeply. If you just want to fire cheap shots and run, well, that’s the Internet for you.

    1. “…Let’s try that again – once more with paragraphing!…” – That would have worked better if A. I hadn’t used proper paragraphs when I posted and B. if this site actually retained the formatting used by the poster. — Note to site admin, if you replace \n\r with in submitted posts this will cure the problem, in php you could do that by adding the following line before saving to the database $submittedPost = str_replace(“\n\r”,”,$submittedPost ); … feel free to email me if you need a better example (in case the formatting removes the detail here too!)

      1. oops, sorry Caleb, I just realised that your comment wasn’t aimed at me, my apologies for the comments I directed at you.

        1. Thanks for your kind help with the blog- will look into how to make the comments keep their formatting. Might need some help with that…

  15. Karl, I believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ based on facts – the facts of the life, death and claimed resurrection of Jesus. These are recorded in multiple historical sources, which are multiply attested by documentation (read the any number of investigations into the resurrection that show there is abundant evidence which needs assessing).

    I believe in God because of the evidence (like evidence presented in court, not proof as in an experiment) – evidence that is philosophical, historical, experiential, theological, and in places scientific. In each of these cases counter arguments can be given for the evidence but it is still evidence that demands a verdict.

    You and I disagree on our conclusions on the evidence but lets not come up with any nonsense that suggests the theistic faith of countless scientists, scholars and philosophers is is simply blind faith in myths without evidence.

    That would simply be an irrational belief not backed up by evidence.

    And BTW, I was not offended by the sketch … it should just have been after 9pm.

    1. Can you tell me what these multiple historical sources are for the resurrection, links to them would be nice – but not essential (remember, you cant use the Bible to prove the Bible) Could you also cite some evidence for the existence of God.

      Back on topic: … I am genuinly interested to find out what it was that you people found offensive, I have been through the 3 min clip a few times and I struggled to find anything. So, I will ask, was it at 30 seconds in when he stressed that he had been a young heterosexual man? Or was it around 40 seconds in when he discussed having fun and then used the alternative phrase of “arsing about”? Was it at 1min 10 sec when
      he made it clear that (slight paraphrasing).. “when Jesus said love thy neighbour he didnt mean shag your neighbour, although he doesnt mind the word shagging – he does mind the f word that describes the same thing, he finds that very rude”? or could it possibly have been at around 1min 50 when he said “I love one direction and so does Jesus, they remind him of the diciples.”? Seriously, what exactly was wrong in all that?

      1. “You cant use the Bible to prove the Bible”

        Agreed that we can’t assume the Bible’s reliability just because it says so, but to properly evaluate it’s reliability we can’t ignore its content, but need to study it closely.e.g. 1) when, where and why they were written, 2) whether they have been reliably transmitted, 3) whether they give an internally consistent account, 4) whether they are externally consistent with other history and archaeology from the time, 5) whether one does in fact encounter God speaking through it.

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