The Second Coming Review: Jesus is Coming, So be Nice

Satire is often a very delicate brand of comedy to truly do properly. Go too far one way, you wind up in the land of low brow and juvenile farce, swing in the opposite end and you lose your sense of humor completely. “The Second Coming”, written by John Niven, toes that fine line between farce and dreariness with an impish grin and only the best indie rock music.

Released in 2011 and taking place in the same year, “The Second Coming” sees God returning to Heaven from a week long fishing vacation (roughly 400 years in Earth time), only to get caught up on centuries’ worth of wars, inhuman atrocities, and environmental devastation. Realizing that Satan has capitalized on humanity’s free will and Jesus’s lack of oversight in God’s absence, He realizes that desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s time to send the kid back down to preach the one commandment originally given to Moses…BE NICE. Jesus ends up as a laid-back indie rocker taking part in a reality show called “American Pop Star,” a cheeky reference to shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol.”

As was already mentioned, “The Second Coming” takes great delight in walking the tightrope between genuine comedy and intellectual commentary. Throughout the book, Jesus (as well as God) is characterized as a pot-smoking liberal hippie stereotype. He’s an indie rocker, a pacifist, foul-mouthed, and more concerned with charity and helping his friends rather than actually being financially successful. But while the book may easily come across as hyper-politized propaganda reworked as fiction, scattered throughout are truly touching moments of sociopolitical commentary. The balance between humor and intellectualism is precarious, but “The Second Coming” stays right on it.

The issue obviously lies in the politics of the book. Quite frankly it may be difficult to enjoy if one is not of a liberal bent. The book is unapologetically blue state and vehemently anti-conservative, so this could understandably ruffle some feathers in the sociopolitical spectrum. Also of note is its constant satire of Christianity as a whole (ostensibly humans are overthinking the whole getting into Heaven thing) which could leave a bad taste.

Overall, it’s a work of pure and unadulterated satire. It might not be to your taste on the surface, but still worth checking out to give those views a little jolt. The important thing to remember folks is….be nice.

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