Viral Vengeance is very pleased to bring you Edward Current, creator of videos like “My Cat is a Christian” or “Test Your Faith Vision”. We discuss God, Religion, and Viral Videos. His series is a serious lampoon on organized religion, even though much of his audience interprets what he says as legitimate preaching.
If you haven’t seen any of Edwards videos, go here for a pretty good explanation:
Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
TroubledYoungMan: Edward, thank you for agreeing to let ViralVengeance interview you. I promise we are not Atheists who want to kill you because you go on and on about Christianity. I also promise we are not Christians who want to kill you for lampooning their religion for fun. Ultimately, I hope this interview results in minimal killing. Do you want to do this video as Edward Current the Christian or Edward Current the Atheist?
EdwardCurrent: I’ll be out of character today. In other words I’ll assume the “God hating” position.
TYM: Would you be able to explain to our audience the types of views you present in your videos and how they contrast to the religious views you actually possess? Pinpoint who the real Edward Current is, and then pinpoint who the video Edward Current is. Compare and contrast. I want a Ven Diagram properly colored on my desk by Monday WITH an apple.
EC: They couldn’t be more different. Edward the character is threatened by science and intellectual honesty and believes that the best way to describe the world is the one that requires the least amount of thinking. But as Edward the person, I find myself spending large chunks of the day contemplating how life and the universe might have come about. The character wants easy answers given to him; I want to find out those answers for myself. The character doesn’t question anything; I question everything, including what established science tells me.
TYM: It’s actually funny because when I saw “My Cat is Christian” for the first time, I got really angry with what I was hearing and reviewed it with “vengeance”. It never occurred to me that you could possibly be making fun of Christianity with the ridiculousness of what you were sayingŠbecause I know people who would watch your video and do a lot of smiling, nodding, and praising before its conclusion. To me your character was very real, and only your MySpace explanation helped me figure out you were joking. Explain why you make these videos? What is your end-goal?
EC: The primary goal is to entertain. I don’t presume to be “deconverting” anyone, although I have been contacted by a few people who told me I’ve helped them with that process. I just want to make people laugh, even if they’re all atheists. But in my videos I do try to put at least one thought-provoking point in there, maybe something to get under the skin of a theist who might be watching. If I can get a Christian — or a Muslim or a Jew — to say, “Wow, I never thought of that,” great — but it isn’t the main goal.
I got into making the videos after reading Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation.” I had never been all that vocal about religion, because like a lot of nonbelievers, I felt outnumbered. But the Harris book kind of woke me up and motivated me. Bill Maher says nonbelievers need to realize that “we’re not the crazy ones” — the book helped me with that, and I hope my videos can help embolden other closet nonbelievers to speak up and be heard.
TYM: My own opinion is that Christianity (Catholicism in my own sense) has accomplished a lot of good due to the commandment and example-driven rules in the Bible. I’ve defended it hundreds of times to atheist friends. However, when you see movies like Jesus Camp, Religulous, and And Deliver Us From Evil, where the church’s human side (lying, covering up crimes, molestation, etc.) comes out, organized religion becomes a less palatable concept. Have you ever been involved in organized religion, and if not what would need to change for you to be able to consider it?
EC: No, I was raised secular, and organized religion doesn’t interest me. It’s for people who want a prefabricated view of the world delivered to them. And I can understand that; life is complicated, and independent contemplation isn’t for everyone. I just wish people could have a shared worldview that wasn’t centered on supernatural myths and underhanded threats.
Biblical religion was fine when people didn’t know where diseases came from and your town could be pillaged at any moment by Huns. Things are different now. Let’s move on.
TYM: When I read some of the comments below your youtube videos, it lets me know that some of your audience clearly do not understand your satirizing of their beliefs (I was fooled at first too, I must admit). What sorts of responses do you get from Christians? Non-Christians?
EC: The viewers can be neatly divided into four quadrants: Nonbelievers who get the joke, nonbelievers who don’t get the joke, and believers who get the joke and don’t get the joke. The Christians tend to be more polite, frankly. A lot of the nonbelievers writing comments are rebellious teenagers who either want to say fuck you to me, or, if they pick up on the satire, want to say fuck you to the Christians who say they’ll pray for me. And “Heaven help” the poor Christians who don’t get the joke and praise the videos — there are atheists just waiting to pounce and call them fucking dumbshits. Of course then there are trolls who pretend to be unaware Christians just for the reaction.
TYM: In response to one of your videos, someone gave this opinion:
“We don’t need the Bible, or the Koran, or the Dhammapada, or the Yoga sutras of Patanjali, to know that homosexuality is evil. We only need to listen to those perverts talk amongst themselves. As Hollywood tries to homosexualize America, these conversations are more available to the decent public. They do what they do BECAUSE it is evil, and they enjoy doing evil.”
What is more important to you: fooling people like this and having them expose themselves as psychotics, or having people understand that you are producing parodies and as such are able to consider your real message? Also, “homosexualize” is coming up with those red squiggly lines in Microsoft WordŠdoes that mean it’s not really a word?
EC: I’m sure it’s a word to them. They’ve probably been using it ever since they became heterosexualized. I don’t know…people these days seem to be doing a fine job of exposing their psychotic leanings all by themselves — or at least, in some cases with the image of Barack Obama in their mind. I guess I’d rather everyone hear the real message in my videos — although I am dead set against informing people up-front that my videos are satire.
TYM: How do you think of ideas for your show? Want any suggestions? I’ve got plenty of applicable baggage you could address.
EC: They just come to me, usually when I’m going over comments people have left. For example, someone was arguing with a Christian lady about the faulty “design” of the human body, and she said, “I think the human body is a pretty cool design.” And a light bulb went off, and I made the video “God’s Cool Designs,” which starts out with puppies and pandas and ends up showing bubonic plague and smallpox victims.
Lately I’ve been doing fewer videos. A lot of the themes have been covered, and I’d rather do nothing than repeat myself. I want each of the videos to have some kind of unique twist or point, and still be funny.
TYM: If you could start your own religion, what would it be called, and what would its tenets be?
EC: It would be called Silencism. Believe whatever you want, but keep quiet about it. I’m actually a little offended when a total stranger writes and asks me, “What’s your religion, anyway? What do YOU believe?” Hey, none of your business! In my perfect world, asking someone their religion would be like asking how much money they make, or their dick size. And for someone to say, “Well you know, I’m a Christian” would be as shocking as hearing, “Well you know, I have a nine-inch hog.”
TYM: Lastly, do you have any advice for Youtube content-creators or people who want to do a satirical series like yours?
EC: Do it for fun. Any time I’ve had any kind of success, it’s because I was doing something that I would do anyway, without any rewards. If you’re making a calculated effort to become popular or make money, you’ll probably fail. But if you’re true to yourself and you happen to come up with something that the public actually wants — even though they don’t realize it yet — then you’ll succeed.
TYM: Thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with us and shoot the shit. I feel your Youtube videos are a historically significant event as far as user-produced, online media is concerned. At the very least they’re more important than the Chocolate Rain guy, because he’s sort of creepy.
EC: Thank you — although I’m a little disappointed, because on a few of my videos, I go to great lengths to be creepy.
TYM: Check out all of Edward’s videos on [http://www.youtube.com/user/EdwardCurrent] and visit his MySpace at [http://www.myspace.com/eddiecurrent]. Any final words for our readers?
EC: Remember: They may pray for us, but we’ll think for them.
TYM: Thank you all for checking this out. Fight the power.