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April 3, 2006 | by  | in Features |
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The Ancient and Revered Art of Christian Baiting

Every year Christians around the globe pass through predictable phases of pseudo-mourning and celebration at Easter time as they remember their Lord and Saviour, Jebus. Jebus was nailed to a couple of two by fours in exchange for mans’ right to absolution of sins, eternal life and an irritating brand of moral superiority that really fucks off the rest of us. What is often overlooked in the kerfuffle of sanctified Easter eggs and blessed gift-giving rabbits is that the first Easter was not just the beginning of the Christian religion, but also of a parallel, and in many ways much more universal, tradition – the ancient and revered art of Christian Baiting.

It is an insurmountable physical law that nature abhors a true believer, and that for every person who has ever taken anything remotely seriously, there have immediately sprung up two others willing to rag on him (or her; Christian baiting knows not sexism) and goad him in to a feeble rage for those beliefs. It is a well documented historical fact that Roman legionnaires stationed in Judea in the first century AD would stand at street corners and loudly proclaim that Jesus was as effeminate as an Athenian rhetor and as uncooperative as a Teuton. The idea being to provoke early Christians (at that time an illegal and secretive cult) into assaulting them, and thereby revealing themselves. The Christians would then be punched several times in the spine, before being carted off to the circus. Here they would be violated by mules, specially trained for the purpose.

The practice was discontinued following complaints from pre-nascent animal rights groups, which some scholars believe was a fundamental turning-point in the Roman Empire’s widespread turn to Christianity in the 4th century. It was shortly after this mass conversion that the Roman Empire sunk into depravity and eventually ruin, but hey, no one’s making any inferences here. During the Middle Ages, Christian baiting became punishable by a severe flogging, and hence deeply unpopular in the major metropolitan centres of Europe. However the sport did continue in isolated rural areas where brigands would practice a more literal form of Christian baiting. A Bible would be left at a crossroads, under a large box propped up by a solid length of timber. When a passing Christian ducked underneath the box to retrieve the Bible and have a quick worship, the brigands would leap out, dislodge the stick and send the box crashing down around their devoted prey. They would then jeer and mock their prisoner till they grew either tired or hungry.

Christian Baiting was returned to general consciousness in the 11th Century, when Al-Jazeera published a primitive series of short articles in which they claimed Jesus touched small fuzzy animals in inappropriate ways. The articles were directly responsible for the Crusades. At the time it was the largest deliberate recorded occurrence of Christian baiting, and the response was huge. Ticked off Christians from all across Continental Europe undertook long and arduous journeys to complain in person, and destroy large chunks of the Middle East in the process. It is debatable whether “Jesus-fondles-woodland-critters” can be considered a successful instance of Christian baiting, for while it did piss off thousands upon thousands of holy souls, those responsible most likely met grisly deaths and the Al-Jazeera organisation was out of commission for several centuries following the Crusades.

And as Christianity spread across the globe in the age of colonisation, Christian Baiting followed to every dark corner of the heathen continents. The history of the Baiting-Missionaries, as they were commonly known, is a dark and sordid one, of martyrs dying for their cause in the land of the devout, but also a history of laughter as entire villages would turn on missionaries, making light-hearted jokes at the expense of the Christian God and working them into hilarious holier-than-thou fury.

But it is in the contemporary age that Christian Baiting can truly said to have entered its renaissance. In the 1950s, the prevalence of time-saving devices in suburban households opened up unheard of amounts of leisure time to young boomers, which in combination with a growing recognition of the objective truth of secularism, contributed to an increasing interest in Christian Baiting as an alternative leisure time pursuit to rock’n’roll dancing or gruelling manual labour. But Christian Baiting isn’t just about teasing Christians till they snap, its also about making a better world for all of us, and it is in that spirit that we should all do our part this Easter. So go on, demean the deeply held beliefs of someone until they flip out this Easter. It’s what Jebus would do.

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About the Author ()

Nick Holm, feared by his enemies, loved by his friends, is the whore of student media. Having cut his teeth working for the California Aggie, and come closer to committing hate crimes than anyone will ever really know while the News Editor of Massey\'s Chaff, he\'s somehow beached himself at Salient for the near future. Haunted by prophetic dreams that show him tantalising glimpses of a future that may come to pass if he fails to prevent the robot uprising he will like you if you bring coffee or malt liquor.

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