Is this offensive to a reasonable person?

I’m writing a fantasy story for National Novel Writing Month. It’s kind of an allgory/Satire/Parody of Fantasy/RPG’s/the middle ages. I realized that one section of this could be considered rather offensive.

This is my bit on the religion of the europeon derived country.

The church god of indeterminate numbers, who is either 1 or 3 or 7 or 12 or infinite, but is always prime. He and his nephew, who was ambassador to earth, but promptly told to get stuffed, so he founded the church, signed ownership over to his best friend, called him pope(In the old tongue, “Man with hat”) and went back to heaven. He taught them to eat the jam and drink the rum and remember that life was really just a barrel full of jam and rum, which had been stirred by monkeys. The church believed that the jam and rum was really holy bile and phlegm of the nephew, but others felt it was just a symbolic gesture said while drunk. Some believed that man should not live by jam and rum alone, but by the good feelings of God and his nephew. Those who included the brother as well as the nephew were given a royal kick in the backside, because there was no brother.

By this point, the church had 513 distinct divisions resulting from the schisms of years (of the new calender) 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,11,267,302,756,1099,1230,and 1356(another was scheduled for next year, and would bring the number of divisions up to 3002). The pope was the sole representative of Church God and his Nephew. The title was originally handed down through the bloodline of the nephew’s best friend, but when the son of the best friend died in a bizarre shaving accident, leaving no children, the rules were changed so that the person who contributed the most money to the church, or who had the biggest army, would become the next pope. Thus proving beyond all doubt that Church God and the Nephew had sanctioned the money and power to the pope.

There were 512 popes in existence, but only one of them had the 89% of the population united behind him. One division was quite insane and believed the pope was just a guy in a funny hat who drove around in a glass carriage, so they had no pope. These people, called nopopers, were never invited to parties. Next year, there would be two nopope divisions, who would later crusade against each other for the rights to original nopopery.

So far, some jabs at Caholicism, some jabs at protestantism or just Christianity in general.

Here’s the tricky part.

These were the people who believed in the church god, but when faced with the nephew, they had said that they weren’t aware church God had a nephew. Some among them had asked the people of the pie to throw their pies at the nephew, and it being a slow day, they did. The Nephew wiped off the tomato sauce and cheese and told them that he was disappointed with them all. Those who did not believe in the nephew, or had feigned ignorance at the nephew, were called the people without the nephew. They had been scorned and only allowed to make cotton candy. When many of them became extremely wealthy from their cotton candy production, those of the nephew slapped their foreheads and were jealous of the Nonephews, promising to buy their cotton candy but not to enjoy it, and to curse them forever for excelling in the one industry they were allowed to work.

Now, when reading that, could a reasonable person find that anti-semitic? I don’t want it to be, though I do want it to be commenting on/mocking anti-semitism in the middle ages.

Your story is odd, and it’s difficult to figure out exactly which aspects of Christianity you’re making fun of at any one point. And it isn’t really very amusing at all, IMO. But that wasn’t what you were asking… :smack:

Anyway, the only part of it I find offensive is the fact that 12 is NOT A PRIME NUMBER. I demand that you fix this, or there will be lawsuits.

And one isn’t a prime number either. I don’t know if it’s really offensive, but it’s un-subtle.

Are you going to insult / parody / whatever Islam as well?

I think that both sections fail because they simply aren’t funny.

And what about Buddhism? Hinduism? Wicca? Scientology? If you’re going to insult some, you have to include all of them.

Oh, wait. No, you don’t. Insulting multiple religions isn’t “safer” than insulting only one or two. It’s just more insulting.

Yeah, I’d be offended. And I’m not Catholic, Protestant or Jewish.

A reasonable people will not be offended…the situation you described is obviously paradoy. And in an interesting way, it does reflects the current trends.

However, there are some people who jumped at any use of their sarced jargon when used in any other context. There’s no way you can please those people.

Gee, sounds like you offended some people. :wink:

But no, I don’t think it’s offensive. Making fun of religion is a time-honored comic tradition. Relax, people!

I know 12 isn’t a prime, it’s part of the joke. Kind of like the Nephew of God is dogma but being there is a brother of God is Heresy.(Arianism)

Well, the point is, overall, I’m making fun of the fact that so many fantasy stories have a power Catholic Church-like entity in them, but apparently have no mention of God or Jesus(especially Jesus). So a church without the relgious elements, which really dosen’t make sense.

And of course, variouis other things in the middle ages, like the mutiple popes running around, etc.

I decided to do my own. Basically a brief history of the Church for my world. I’ll probably rework to work better, but I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t “Hate speech”.

If the people in ths story run into any Muslim-like people, I’ll make fun of Islam. But I haven’t decided if they will yet. There’s more then enough in European history to make fun of without running around outside of that.

The Jewish thing just included because anti-semisitism did play a role in Europeon history in the middle ages(Crusaders making detours into Jewish villages on the way to the east, among other things), so I’d probably.

Ack, there’s the possibly they’ll be some references to that kind of thing as well.

Is this a whoosh, or did I give up on math too soon in my academic career?

It’s not a whoosh. One is neither a prime nor a composite number.


I assume there is some advanced mathematical definition that makes 1 not a prime number?

Well, in general, every multiple of a prime number, other than the number itself, is not prime; thus 2 is prime but 4 is not, 3 is prime but 6 is not, etc. But if 1 is prime, no other integer is prime… :dubious:

OK. I have no head for math. 2/1=2, so how is 2 prime, then?
Hell, 3/1=3 and so forth and so on.

And **Mal ** made my head hurt with his explanation–I don’t understand WHY if 1 is prime, no other number can also be prime.
<thanking the gods that I never, ever have to understand this stuff again>

Now, for the story. I can see that your tone is satirical towards religion, but IMO it isn’t portrayed in a a cohesive enough light (there’s a sentence for ya!). Honestly, it’s a jumble to read–lists of numbers etc. The Novel thing looks a ton of fun, and I think that one is supposed to just jump in and DO, and not agonize or worry over the writing, BUT. Lighten your touch, allude to the nonsense that entrenched religious power purports, but clear the details (the whole jam/rum/barrel/nephew bit-first paragraph).

I didn’t pick up on the Jewish reference, but I was somewhat stymied in my comprehension by all the numbers and quick switches as to beliefs, customs etc.

On the “Is one prime?” hijack:

We’d need Ultrafilter or one of his ilk in here to clarify, but the usual definition “Divisible evenly only by one and itself” is not the technical one. I’ve used “has two and only two discrete natural-number factors” but I’m sure that’s not the official one.

Bottom line, though: in number theory, there are some important propositions which depend on the nature of prime numbers – and which “one” would violate or make meaningless. (As a trivial example, how many primes can you extract from 78? Well, 78 / 2 = 39; 39 / 3 = 13. So three is the proper answer. But then 13 /1 = 13; 13 / 1 = 13; 13 / 1 = 13… So the answer including one is infinite, since you can extract one an unlimited number of times.)

(On the subject of the OP:)

No rational person would find this offensive. I sure didn’t. In fact, I liked it.

It’s not offensive.

It makes as much sense as the current crop of organized religions.

I didn’t find it offensive, perhaps because I didn’t follow half of it. You might want to give the audience some indication that the various bits that are supposed to be satire (e.g, 12 being a prime number, popes being selected based upon having the greatest thithes or armies, etc) are reflective of the lunacy of the fictional characters discussed in the piece, rather than of the author.

The draft, as it stands, really needs a good editor to work it over. “Calender?” (shudder)

I’m sorry, it’s just not funny enough to be offensive.

Make it simpler…like about which end people start eating their boiled eggs from…