Gullibility and superstition are bosom buddies. Thus those who tend to be superstitious (usually the religious) are bound to be susceptible to gullibility as well. So, it was no surprise to me when I received another hoax email just the other day, in the form of a petition against the supposed release of a new film called Corpus Christi, and which claimed to depict Jesus and his disciples as homosexual; there were already 580 South African signatures appended to the mail.
In reality, there is no such film! How 580 people allowed this obvious hoax to spread, without even a cursory check on the veracity of the claims, is beyond me. According to Snopes.com, this hoax has been circulating since 1984 in one guise or another. But the thing that really bothers me is a reference in the mail to actions taken by another religious group when they perceive that their religion, gods or prophets are being maligned: “If the Muslims do what they believe to be right against their religion , where do we stand as Christians?” Are the originators of this hoax actually suggesting that Christians should resort to the same violent protests that sprang up all over the world recently, over some cartoons printed in a Danish newspaper? A total religious onslaught against freedom of speech is a serious cause for concern to all freedom-loving people.
Anyway, back to the 580 gullible South Africans who actually signed the petition: Where were you lot when Bill Maher’s Religulous was screened just a month or so ago at several cinemas across South Africa? I don’t recall any mails or petitions or protests. There was not so much as a whimper from the religious crowd when the film was advertised in the mainstream press, and eventually screened. This inaction just confirms a very important observation: Religious folk are fixated with things that don’t exist (as in this Corpus Christi film, for example), but are seemingly oblivious of real things (such as Bill Maher’s film, Religulous).