Long-running TV series South Park has a complicated relationship with religion. But the insane ramblings of the show belies something far deeper.
It’s fair to say that nothing in South Park is sacred. This is especially true for organised religion. With Jesus starring in his own, widely-ignored, public-access show, to a monogamist Satan running back to the arms of partner Saddam Hussein, all the way to the Catholic Church being run by a massive spider, conclusions can be easily drawn.
However, to assume that South Park is anti-religion is missing the point entirely.
The creators’ point is not an indictment of religion, but rather how we as its followers view it, with South Park preferring to be off-hand in regards to serious topics and moments (like the entry to hell, or when the boys speak to Jesus), whilst putting stock in the moments when the characters (us) represent religion; we watch the characters bicker over who will play Jesus in the Easter play, while they care not for the actual Jesus who lives in their town.
Moreover, the only time that anyone in the series pays attention to Jesus is when he is driven to violence (rescuing Santa, punching on with Lucifer etc), which follows the theory of American theologian Walter Wink, who claimed that what we see as sacred stems directly from good besting evil, displayed in South Park in the most literal of terms.
“The myth of redemptive violence is the real myth in the modern world. It, and not Judaism, or Christianity or Islam, is the most dominant religion in our society today.”
The question is continually posed: are people ridiculous because religion is ridiculous or is religion ridiculous because people are ridiculous?
The above just scratches the surface from the superb analysis of our brothers from other mothers, Wisecrack.