Comedian Norm Macdonald really stepped in it with his progressive Twitter followers Thursday, when he tweeted about Christianity’s waning influence on Western culture, a phenomenon he doesn’t see as a good thing.
In a tweet, which has since been deleted, Macdonald wrote: “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.”
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.
As for Macdonald, he was swiftly rebuked by his fellow Twitter users for suggesting Christianity’s impact on culture was — and is — a good thing:
RIP NORM MACDONALD
"BECAUSE THE LIGHT WAS ON"
— Dan O'Sullivan (@Bro_Pair) November 15, 2018
I too would prefer a world filled with superstition, void of the scientific method and ruled by a monarchy.
— Couthy Blatherskite (@CBlatherskite) November 15, 2018
Where do you go if you have appendicitis, to the hospital or to the church?
— Jowan M (@JowanM) November 15, 2018
5 years ago I could not have imagine Norm Macdonald going full alt-right psychopath. Bummer.
— Matt Saccaro (@MattSaccaro) 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
— Michael Brendan Dougherty (@michaelbd) 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
It is not immediately clear if Macdonald is Christian, though he’s alluded to faith quite a bit in his career, and in 2015, on an episode of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” criticized a contestant for making fun of Christianity during his routine.
After then-judge Roseanne Barr called contestant Harrison Greenbaum’s jokes about Scripture “brave,” Macdonald said, “I disagree. I don’t think the Bible jokes are brave at all. I think if you’re gonna take on an entire religion, you should maybe know what you’re talking about.”
Macdonald went on to note J.K. Rowling, whose books Greenbaum referenced in his sketch, once said the “Harry Potter” series was inspired by Christianity.
During a later interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Macdonald said he just didn’t care for Greenbaum’s “smugness” and didn’t think it was courageous to attack Christianity in today’s culture.
“If a guy went up and said, ‘Jesus Christ is our lord and savior,’ I’d say, ‘D***, that guy’s brave!’ Or, ‘The infidels must die under the sword of Allah,’ I’d go, ‘[Expletive], that’s a brave comic.’ So that got under my skin.”