Monty Python was a hilarious and surreal take on many aspects of life. It was so ludicrous that most of us could laugh. But nowadays I find that some aspects of modern life which are apparently taken seriously, are more Pythonesque than Python.
Take this recent headline - ‘Bible students are warned…you may find the crucifixion too upsetting!’
Theology students at Glasgow University are being given ‘trigger warnings’ that viewing depictions of the crucifixion may upset them. The University explains: “We have an absolute duty of care to all of our students and where it is felt course material may cause potential upset or concern warnings may be given.”
Who would have thunk it? Christianity mentions the Cross?! And the Cross is not nice?! God help the poor snowflakes if they ever get onto Jesus’ teaching about Hell! What I find both disturbing and amusing in this, is that these are major universities, which pride themselves on creating the leaders of tomorrow. They think that their students are so stupid and infantile that they won’t have worked out that Christianity has something to do with the cross, and that crucifixion is not pleasant. They think that students will not be able to cope with this so need Mummy University to protect them. Maybe they should provide comfort rooms, complete with colouring-in books and padded walls with sweets and juice? But maybe they have a point? After all many churches have so dumbed down Christianity that it has been reduced to a series of pious platitudes, moralistic soundbites and political cliches. The Disneyfied church would probably need trigger warnings if anyone ever actually dared to follow
The New Testament church and preach ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified’! I’m not sure that I blame the students. It’s the academic elites who are either promoting, or acquiesing in this pathetic, weak, moralistic, mollycoddling. The post-truth ivory tower of modern academia is not the real world. The real world involves upset, suffering, hardship, struggles and facing our fears. Too many of our university, media, religious and political elites are engaged in a struggle against reality. And far too many who know it is nonsense are not prepared to fight back in case someone gets offended. The trouble with snowflakes is that they quickly melt and disappear. Maybe its about time we started having some reality checks at the top. Real life is messy. Real theology is messy. Real people are messy. We are messy. I am a mess. Maybe its about time we all came out of our academic / political / economic / entertainment / religious bubbles and started to face up to life in all its ugliness and beauty? And then perhaps we might see our need of Christ.
David Robertson is the minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee and director of Solas the Centre for Public Christianity. For more opinion on the latest trends, topics, news and culture from a Christian perspective (including a response to the above piece by Joshua Parikh titled ‘In defence of trigger warnings’) visit premierchristianity.com/blog