In an interesting move, comedian Norm Macdonald decided to pick a fight with the Enlightenment. The literal Enlightenment. The time period in which people began to value science over religious faith.
Macdonald’s controversial tweet, which has since been deleted, was captured as a screenshot… and why wouldn’t it? The internet doesn’t forget.
— Paul Edwards (@GodandCulture) November 15, 2018
The Enlightenment turned us away from truth and toward a darkling weakening horizon, sad and grey to see. The afterglow of Christianity is near gone now, and a stygian silence lurks in wait.
To translate Macdonald’s oddly cryptic anti-science tweet: The Enlightenment was bad because people started understanding the importance of human reasoning over dogma, and also the influence of Christianity is fading, and also I’m sad.
I would personally add that the influence of Christianity hasn’t been especially positive, especially when it comes to forced conversions, manifest destiny, and slavery justified by the Bible.
Why did Macdonald delete the tweet? Perhaps because of all the intense backlash from some progressives on Twitter.
Where do you go if you have appendicitis, to the hospital or to the church?
— Jowan M (@JowanM) November 15, 2018
Tell that to the victims of the inquisition and the various native americans who were subject to genocide for taking christians at their word.
— republican=racist (@merlinloveslife) November 15, 2018
So…you’re against THE ENLIGHTENMENT? Really? The invention of the printing press- ? The scientific method? Knowledge?
— Kathy McCarty (@KMTBERRY) November 15, 2018
Faithwire picked up on the outrage and chimed in.
The 59-year-old comedian was referring to the Age of Enlightenment in Europe in the 18th century, when society turned away from the abstract ideas and philosophies of the church and instead embraced human reasoning and understanding, favoring science above spirituality.
It was during that period that English philosopher John Locke developed the idea of the separation of church and state, a philosophy later adopted by Thomas Jefferson during the founding of the United States. That idea, it should be noted, was intended to keep the government from wielding authority over religion, not the other way around, but that’s a discussion for another time.
It’s definitely a discussion for another time. Like after our systems of laws is shredded since the wall of separation has always been intended to protect both government and religion from stepping on each other’s toes.
Macdonald hasn’t been incredibly forthcoming about his religious views, but there are some possible indications. Evangelical Christians loved, for instance, when he went off on an “anti-Christian” comedian. He has also lamented “P.C. culture” when it comes to his comedy and fawned over the attention of a prominent conservative.
Maybe we’ll see an apology from Macdonald before long. He is known for perpetually offending people, then following it up with an “I’m sorry” tour. Maybe when he does that, he can fill us in on what he wishes would have replaced it instead.
If it was an attempted joke, no one seemed to be laughing.