How do we react to controversial Red Bull ad?

From Gerschwin Langeveldt

Dear Editor

I caught wind of some controversial Red Bull ad that was flighted and subsequently pulled off the air. After seeing the video for myself (me and 288,000 other youtube viewers) I started reading local newspaper articles and their comments.

 On the one hand I’ve seen a few suggestions  that Christians should ‘lighten up’, that we are too ‘uptight’ about  this and contrasting this view are the Christians calling it ‘hate  speech’ or saying things like ‘Christianity and Jesus in particular
 are singled out for mockery by secular humanists and other  anti-Christian bigots’.

 Should we lighten up?
The argument goes: We should lighten up  because God has a sense of humour. Yes, He does but I’d like to point  out that the object of the joke is the deity of Jesus. The advert  gives an alternative version of Jesus’ walking on the water. For  Christians Christ’s deity is a big deal. It’s actually a crucial  point. Walking on water was a miracle. Only God does miracles. Jesus
 was showing his disciples that He is God. If He isn’t God, He cannot  save us.

 I’m not sure that Jesus would be OK with  this ad. Who likes being the subject of ridicule? Seriously. Think  about it. No subject of ridicule has ever enjoyed his/her position.  If you’ve ever been one, you’d know what I mean. It would be  presumptuous for me to speak on behalf of Jesus so I’ll only speak on  behalf of my fellow subjects of ridicule and say we don’t like it.  Not one bit.

 I’d also like to point out that there is no such thing as ‘just a joke’. When it comes to the things that make us  laugh, is it not because we think them true? Why are there so many  mother-in-law jokes and no father-in-law jokes at all? Blonde jokes,
black people jokes, gay people jokes. I could go on and on. If we  didn’t think these stereotypes true, would we be laughing?

 Should we burn the place down?
 I think the Christians on the other extreme  of this see-saw are not helpful either. The problem with calling  people bigots, citing hate speech and (my personal favourite) taking  offence is that these are actually the very same non-arguments  levelled against Christian views time and time again.

 Let’s take another hot topic as a for instance: homosexuality. The Christian stance is that it  is wrong for men to engage in unnatural sexual acts with one another  because they harm each other and themselves both physically and  emotionally. Is this
 just an opinion or the truth? What does the medical evidence say?

 Now, instead of addressing these issues and maybe showing some evidence to  the contrary, Christians are said to be offending certain groups,  propagating hatred and then being called bigots. This is  unproductive. All we’ve done is to take a true or false issue and  make it a like or don’t like issue.

 Christian claims that Jesus is God and  Jesus’ walking on water should remain a true or false issue, along  with: Is the Earth flat or round? How many arteries pump blood from  the heart? and What is the sum of seven and four? Christians say that
 the world is a certain way, that God created it, that man rebelled  against God, that Jesus is God made man, and that through Him man has  a way back to God. Either this is the way the world is or it isn’t.  It should never be a like or dislike issue.

 How, then, should we react?
Though it’ll sound outrageous I think that  calling it blasphemy is good. It’s a start. A pretty good start,  really. Since we live in a world where people don’t believe in God  it’s not always easy to steer a conversation in a God-ward direction.  This ad just made it easier. It could be an opportunity for sharing  the Gospel with your friends, colleagues and relatives: “Hey,  have you seen that Red-Bull Ad? Do you think that Jesus actually  walked on water?”

 Then we should also warn that it’s not a  good idea to pull faces and mock the lion veiled behind the curtain.
 We should tell them it is dangerous. Even if they don’t believe that  there is a lion. There either is or isn’t. It’s not an opinion.


  1. Mmmm!! some interesting comments made here – definitely food for thought.

  2. While we may be extremely hurt by any attack on the name of Jesus, we serve a God who is able to defend Himself. We do not respond in a the same way the world would.We say with Jesus, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”.The aim of the media is to provoke a response and in so doing draw attention to their product.Whatever they sow, they will reap. Remember, the only ministry we have is one of reconciliation. God is still interested in the salvation of these “offenders” and it is the Love of God which draws men to repentance.