Recently, the internet phenomenon of Lolcat has been brought to my attention. Now maybe I am an old fuddy duddy, but I have never really got into memes to begin with (I am not even 40 yet). Every now and then you come across one that is really funny. Everyone needs a good laugh every now and then, but comedy still has moral value. It can be good comedy or bad comedy and I don't mean well done versus poorly done. Recently, a group of internet contributors has take the Lolcat memes and created a bible from the pidgin that is used in the memes. The question I want to ask today is whether this is good clean humor or something else? To answer that question I would like us to consider some biblical principles and then we will compare the LoLcat bible to other pop culture translations of the Bible.
It is a Parody
According to Wikipedia, the Lolcat bible Translation Project "was a wiki-based website set up in July 2007 by Martin Grondin, where editors aim to parody the entire Bible in "LOLspeak", the slang popularized by the LOLcat Internet phenomenon (wikipedia)." An no, I don't feel any shame quoting wikipedia in this case because the whole project was a wiki project. Martin Grondin who has since published the best excerpts from the project in a book created the wiki and gave permission to anyone who would sign up to translate untranslated passages. That means that many different people had their hands in this project and it is impossible to determine their motives; however, the project as a whole was created to be a parody.
Well, then we must ask ourselves what is a parody? A standard definition for parody is "an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect." (Oxford Dictionary). The key words in this definition are an imitation, exaggeration and for comic effect. It is trying to be like the Bible while not exactly claiming to be the Bible. Most would say that's all we need to know. It's not actually the Bible so it is fine. But it serves as an exaggeration or expansion or addition to the meaning of the Bible. The work seeks to add to the Bible a layer of meaning. The Bible takes seriously the idea of adding to the words of God. Consider Rev 22:18b "if any man shall add unto the things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in the book:" While not claiming to be the Bible, it is at the same time adding things to the words of the Bible which are what make the Bible, the Bible. Also consider the purpose of parody: for comic effect. The goal of a parody is to make fun of or in bible terms to mock. Galatians 6:7 says "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" God is essential promising judgment on those who would mock Him. What you sow is what you will reap.
Good clean Christian comedy is great. I love the skits at Challenge Christian camp every year, but we must always consider what we are saying about God in our comedy. If that comedy is intended to make fun of God and His word, then it is something we should avoid.
It is Blasphemy
I was really disappointed researching this translation because so many Christians only had positive things to say about it. I started reading a digital copy of the Lolcat bible and didn't have to get too far before I was sure something was wrong with this. To start with consider, the fundamental fact that God is called the "ceiling cat", the devil "basement cat" and the Holy Spirit is basically referenced in Genesis 1 as an "invisible bike."
Here is a quote from Genesis 1:1,2:
1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat waz invisible, An he maded the skiez An da earths, but he no eated it.
2 The earths wus witout shapez An wus dark An scary An stufs, An he rode invisible bike over teh waterz.
Now consider what the Bible actually says:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Notice the name changes: God= "ceiling cat"; Spirit of God becomes "invisible bike." The problem here is more basic than it appears. Not only do these names not bring honor and glory to our God, but they demote God to being a created things. Remember Romans 1:23? "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things". A sign of foolish imaginations and a darkened heart is changing God into a created thing. Fundamental to the translation is the fact that God is now a cat. This alone should disqualify the translation from even comedic use by Christians.
It contains vulgar and corrupt communication
I haven't been able to read all of the Lolcat Bible, but from the sections that I have seen there are terms and phrases that a Christian should not use. I also have to acknowledge my ignorance of most common acronyms (I had to look them up). A basic one would by the acronym OMG which is used as a form of taking God's name in vain.
According to a Christian forum which can be found here, the translation does include the "F" word as an acronym. I must acknowledge that other words they mentioned I am ignorant of and do not know all the connotations.
For the Christian, comedy can be an easy road to start accepting things that are not right. There are sources of good, clean comedy out there, but we must be discerning.