Religion is Great (Satirical essay feedback)
What is religion? It is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. There are tons of religions, but to name a few major ones: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism.
Which one did you get on your throw of the dice? I was born a Christian and let me tell you the exciting advantages are of living a Christian life under the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you are born there is the great ritual called the baptism. Basically it usually takes place in a church and a priest gives me a free bath, but you should only go when you are really dirty. After this takes place I am ready to be a Christian.
My favourite part of being a Christian is going to church. Every Sunday I have to wake up at 9 am to be there for 10, after a long night of heavy drinking at the club. Of course I have to be dressed appropriately, dress pants, shirt and bowtie.
Near the end of the mass, my favourite part, we offer peace to each other by shaking hands with the strangers beside us. After the readings from the letters of the whole bible, just before the Eucharist, baskets are passed around to pay for the Holy Bread we shall receive. Once this transaction is complete, the Holy Communion is distributed.
After the inadequate amount of only a whole hour, the mass finishes.
If you are the type of person that is a health addict, likes taking care of their well-being, then the Islamic religion is for you. The Islam faith is a very fascinating one. The Five Pillars of Islam are the core aspects of the Islamic religion. The fourth pillar, "Sawm", which means fasting, is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan. Muslims cannot eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. If you get a little chunky during the year, don't worry about it, losing those extra pounds will be no sweat. Additionally you'll save that 50$ each month that you have to pay for your membership at Jenny Craig.
Muslims follow a strict diet. They are banned from eating pork, and drinking alcohol. You might think that it sucks not to be able to consume those but if you think about it, you will be so much healthier. Nowadays bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as "Mad Cow Disease", is increasing in the number of cases. But you don't have to worry about that as much because that's one less type of delicious meat you can't have. Like bacon, Spare Rib Roast, ham, sausages, pork chops, and steaks just to name a few. But it's not a big deal because you don't need those scrumptious meats anyway.
So what's that you say? You think that I mocking these different religions? You think I'm anti-religious? But of course not. Why would I have any reason to?
Let me tell you dear reader, that I have never been more serious. It teaches you the discipline you need and the great thing about it is that the decisions on how to live your life have already been made.
So don't tell me any further that I need to prove myself.
Does anyone have the audacity to say that religion isn't great?
You have a great start here on a satirical essay! You have some good lines (jokes) in your essay.
An important concept of satire is that the humorous point is often made by saying the opposite of what you really mean. For instance, when you say that the great thing about religion is that "the decisions on how to live your life have already been made" you are impliedly saying that religion keeps you from thinking for yourself. If that is the point you intend to make, then you have made your point, satirically. If, say, you wanted to make the opposite point -- that religion helps keep people from making bad decisions -- you might say something like, "Since I dropped religion and started thinking for myself, I have a lot more freedom; I was discussing that with my cell mate here at my new home just last night ..."
Another way to express satire is to connect two things that don't belong together, such as when you say you have to get to church in the morning "after a long night of heavy drinking at the club." This contrast demonstrates how much going to church helps -- religion isn't interfering at all with your partying.
A few technical notations about your writing:
"Basically it usually takes place in a church and a priest gives me a free bath, but you should only go when you are really dirty. After this takes place I am ready to be a Christian." -- Switching back and forth between second and first person (you/I) is confusing; stick with one.
In your paragraph about Mad Cow Disease, you are mixing pork with beef: bacon, spare ribs, ham, sausages and pork chops come from pigs (I haven't heard of pigs getting Mad Cow); rib roast is a cut of beef and steaks are generally, too, unless specified as pork steaks.
I don't really feel that the questions you ask at the end add to the satire. If your satirical writing does its job, you shouldn't need to draw attention to the fact that it's satire by asking your readers if they think you are mocking religion.
I hope these comments are helpful to you!
Religious satire is a form of satire targeted at religious beliefs. From the earliest times, at least since the plays of Aristophanes, religion has been one of the three primary topics of literary satire, along with politics and sex. Satire which targets the clergy is a type of political satire, while religious satire is that which targets religious beliefs.
Religious satire is also sometimes called philosophical satire. Religious satire can be the result of agnosticism or atheism. Religious satire surfaced during the Renaissance, with works by Chaucer, Erasmus and Durer.
Notable examples of religious satire and satirists
Films and documentaries
Literature and publications
Plays and musicals
- Futurama episode "A Pharaoh to Remember" features a religious ceremony in which a priest chants, "Great Wall of Prophecy, reveal to us God's Will, that we might blindly obey!" and celebrants answer, "Free us from thought and responsibility."
- Curb Your Enthusiasm has episodes that have satirized Orthodox Judaism and Christianity
- South Park has satirized Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, Scientology, and other religions
- Family Guy has satirized elements of Christianity and other religions in several episodes
- Satirical Australian documentary miniseries John Safran vs God (2004)
- British sitcomFather Ted, which lampooned the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland
- Blackadder episode "The Archbishop" sees Edmund invested as Archbishop of Canterbury amid a Machiavellian plot by the King to acquire lands from the Catholic Church. In Series 2, in the episode "Money", the Bishop of Bath and Wells comments "Never, in all my years, have I encountered such cruel and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the church?"
On the web
- Betty Bowers plays a character called "America's Best Christian". In the persona of a right-wing evangelical Christian, she references Bible verses, using the persona to point out the inconsistencies in the Bible
- Boogyism is a fun loving cult that follows the teachings of The Great Booga, an 8 ft stuffed bunny look-alike who created the entire universe after an accident involving an unattended barbecue. It has its own religious text, The Spiritual Arghh.
- The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the deity of the "Pastafarian" parody religion, which asserts that a supernaturalcreator resembling spaghetti with meatballs is responsible for the creation of the universe. Its purpose is to mock intelligent design.
- The Invisible Pink Unicorn is a goddess which takes the form of a unicorn that is paradoxically both invisible and pink. These attributes serve to satirize the apparent contradictions in properties which some attribute to a theistic God, specifically omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence.
- Discordianism is centered around the ancient Greco-Roman goddess of chaos, Eris, but draws much of its tone from Zen Buddhism, Christianity, and the beatnik and hippiecountercultures of the 1950s and 1960s (respectively). Its main holy book, the Principia Discordia contains things such as a commandment to "not believe anything that you read," and a claim that all statements are both true and false at the same time.
- The Church of the SubGenius pokes fun at many different religions, particularly Scientology, Televangelism (and its associated scandals), and other modern beliefs.
- The worship of "Ceiling Cat" among Lolcats. Ceiling Cat's enemy is Basement Cat, a black cat representing the devil.
Reactions, criticism and censorship
Religious satire has been criticised by those who feel that sincerely held religious views should not be subject to ridicule. In some cases religious satire has been censored - for example, Molière's play Tartuffe was banned in 1664.
The film Life of Brian was initially banned in Ireland, Norway, some states of the US, and some towns and councils of the United Kingdom. In an interesting case of life mirroring art, activist groups who protested the film during its release bore striking similarities to some bands of religious zealots within the film itself. Like much religious satire, the intent of the film has been misinterpreted and distorted by protesters. According to the Pythons, Life of Brian is not a critique of religion so much as an indictment of the hysteria and bureaucratic excess that often surrounds it.
The issue of freedom of speech was hotly debated by the UK Parliament during the passing of the Religious Hatred Bill in January 2006. Critics of the original version of the Bill (such as comedian Rowan Atkinson) feared that satirists could be prosecuted, but an amendment by the House of Lords making it clear that this was not the case was passed - by just one vote.
In 2006, Rachel Bevilacqua, a member of the Church of the SubGenius, known as Rev. Magdalen in the SubGenius hierarchy, lost custody and contact with her son after a district court judge took offense at her participation in the Church's X-Day festival.
Richard Dawkins frequently points out that there is no reason to exclude religion from objective studying like any other social phenomena.
- ^ abHodgart (2009) p.39
- ^Clark (1991) pp.116-8 quotation:
...religion, politics, and sexuality are the primary stuff of literary satire. Among these sacret targets, matters costive and defecatory play an important part. ... from the earliest times, satirists have utilized scatological and bathroom humor. Aristophanes, always livid and nearly scandalous in his religious, political, and sexual references...
- ^Clark, John R. and Motto, Anna Lydia (1973) Satire--that blasted art p.20
- ^Clark, John R. and Motto, Anna Lydia (1980) Menippeans & Their Satire: Concerning Monstrous Leamed Old Dogs and Hippocentaurs, in Scholia satyrica, Volume 6, 3/4, 1980 p.45 quotation:
[Chapple's book Soviet satire of the twenties]...classifying the very topics his satirists satirized: housing, food, and fuel supplies, poverty, inflation, "hooliganism", public services, religion, stereotypes of nationals (the Englishman, German, &c), &c. Yet the truth of the matter is that no satirist worth his salt (Petronius, Chaucer, Rabelais, Swift, Leskov, Grass) ever avoids man's habits and living standards, or scants those delicate desiderata: religion, politics, and sex.
- ^Vicar supports Life of Brian ban
- ^Dyke, C: Screening Scripture, pp. 238-240. Trinity Press International, 2002
- ^"The Secret Life of Brian". 2007.
- ^"Votes on the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill". 2006.