April 14, 2012

Jesusaurus Rex FC

I was playing an X-Box live game one day when I was matched up with an opponent named 'Jesusaurus Rex' which I thought was a pretty funny name. It's really hard to narrow down what someone finds funny about something but I think I appreciated the novelty of the name and the contrast between the two ideas of Jesus and the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

It looks like I'm not the only one either, as there are songs entitled Jesusaurus Rex, a pretty funny youtube video, a Wikipedia style page and a few pictures on Google images, which are all pretty funny, although I didn't find the songs particularly enjoyable.

Anyway, after playing against this person I've unabashedly stole the name and used it for quite a few things when forced to name something. My trivia team, a name for my computer, and whatever happens to come up. It turns out that a few of my friends liked the name as well and one of them used the name for his Rec soccer team.

This seemed pretty lighthearted and silly, as Rec soccer usually is, but another friend didn't like the name. I don't have any problem with not liking the name as taste is pretty flexible, but the reason for not liking it was something I did disagree with. He didn't like the name because he found it to be derogatory against people of faith.

This is something I don't really understand because there is nothing inherently bad with Jesus or the Tyrannosaurus, so putting the two together shouldn't be a cause for offense. It isn't derogatory, mean spirited, or meant to imply ridicule. Yet, maybe there is one problem?

Would it fall under the third commandment of taking the lords name in vain? Well from what I've read (1 2) taking the lords name in vain has very little to do with swearing, as in vain usually applies to some kind of falsity. We looked for ketchup at the supermarket in vain or I tried to muster up the courage to say, "I don't want Dairy Queen" in vain. In fact, at least one page says that saying God dammit is pretty much the opposite equivalent of saying god bless, and neither should be offensive to anyone.

Historically taking Gods name in vain meant to put God's providence for something that God didn't really say. God tells me we will win this game! It was by the power of God that made apples taste better than oranges! God said go jump off that roof! Would all be examples of taking the lords name in vain and would violate the third commandment, but saying, 'god damn it' when you want god to damn something, or making a name like Jesusaurus Rex which makes no reference to what God would have done does not violate taking the lords name in vain.

What if the name instead was Muhammadaurus Rex would that make it worse? It seems like it would to me because Muslim sensitivity is so high. Muhammadaurus Rex shouldn't be any more offensive, but it is, not because the name is more derogatory, but because the people who believe in Muhammad are more inflexibly offended.  The problem then isn't with the name, but the people.

Does it belittle God? Possibly, but it shouldn't. If God is all powerful than how could a sarcastic name make him less powerful or diminish him at all? I think the one thing I got out of the God Delusion was that people need to be able to talk about belief in the same way they can talk about taxes without it becoming a personal attack that eliminates the conversation. Jesusaurus Rex shouldn't be any more offensive than Obamasaurus Rex or Muhammadsaurus Rex, any of which shouldn't be a call to arms for anyone.

Thanks for reading,