THE BLOG
08/07/2013 04:16 pm ET | Updated Oct 07, 2013

Jesus on Stage

After 8 years of doing stand up comedy, the only real truth I know is that religion is by far the most difficult thing to talk about on stage. Far more difficult than politics, race, social injustice, or anything of more pedantic nature. I can't explain why, but people often simply shut down when they hear the words Jesus, Christian, religion, Catholic, etc. And trust me when I say, I don't attack religion on stage, but I am interested in having a dialogue about it, and that dialogue will include points of critique. I'm interested in talking about religion because I was raised religious, and that filter still influences the way I see the world no matter how far I distance myself from religion.

Recently, Reza Aslan, a professor, writer and scholar of religions, appeared on the Fox program Spirited Debate to discuss his new book about Jesus, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and the interview displays why it's so hard to talk about religion. The Fox news anchor spent the entire interview questioning why Dr. Aslan, who happens to be Muslim, would write a book about Jesus and ignores the fact that he makes a living as a scholar of religions and writes about all religions of the world. She prefers blind attacks to informed debate. As Reza says in the interview, "It's strange that rather than debating the arguments of the book, we are debating the right of the scholar to actually write it."

I think what happens to Reza Aslan in that interview happens in comedy shows as well. If you try to talk about religion on stage, people in the audience will immediately question your right to talk about religion rather than listen to the points you try to make. Religion seems to be the only facet of life that people employ willful ignorance -- the attitude of "I don't know and I don't want to know." Obviously not everyone is like this. But too many people turn into dramatic 5 year olds, plugging their ears, stomping their feet, and turning red in the face when the subject of religion comes up.

I don't know everything. Maybe there is a God, maybe there isn't. But at least I can talk about it. Or maybe we should just all be like this quote I read on the Godlike Productions website - "The Bible never mentions dinosaurs so they obviously weren't created by God. We're supposed to believe that these "dinosaur bones" are made of rock but how could something with a skeleton made of rock actually survive?"

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