If you've ever taken a car ride in the United States, you've probably seen the Jesus Fish, or ichthys. It clings valiantly to the back of our automobiles, from Durangos to DeLoreans, from Fords to Ferraris. When you see one, you should know: this driver really wants you to know that they follow Jesus! Here are my favorite parodies of this ubiquitous fish.
1. The Evolved Ichthys
One of the myriad anti-science positions taken up by Christians in this country is a refusal to accept the theory of evolution. The idea that humans may have shared a common ancestor with apes doesn't really fit the 6,000-year timeline, so naturally, evolution is a lie "straight from the pit of hell." But the evolved ichthys has found its land-legs, and has crawled up out of the pit of ignorance and denial. Good for him!
2. The Cthulhu Fish
Our next respected religious icon is the Great and Terrible Lord Cthulhu, terror of the deep. A creation of science fiction scion H.P. Lovecraft, Lord Cthulhu has become much more than just the title character of Lovecraft's 1928 work The Call of Cthulhu. To humanity, Ctuhulhu's very existence (he is currently in hibernation at the bottom of the Pacific) is a source of subconscious anxiety. Maybe bearing his image will protect you from his eventual wrath.
3. The Noodly Ichthys
The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster is an infant religion, relatively speaking. But its following is growing rapidly. Pastafarians, as they prefer to be called, believe in a magical spaghetti in the sky, who blesses us with his holy noodles. Oh, and he likes pirates.
4. The Fish Meets the Fossil Record
This may be the best of them all. The T-Rex, feasting on the ichthys, symbolizes the greatest of all consequences of applied reason: it kills dogma on contact. Hundreds, if not thousands, of various church-backed untruths have been rejected when rigorously analyzed, often using evidence as basic as the fossil record. For example, most of us no longer believe that the earth is the center of the universe, though predictably there are a few holdouts. Skepticism continues to devour superstition and myth to this day, thank Cthulhu.
These parodies are just a few examples of ways to exercise our fundamental freedoms of religion. They cut to the point, reminding ichthys-bearers that theirs isn't the only opinion in town. This is something we should all keep in mind as we examine America: a pluralistic society will have hundreds of different beliefs, and no one superstition, methodology of worship, or religion should find support from taxpayer funds.
Let's be clear: it is completely within your rights to announce to the world that you believe in a virgin-born demigod who was reanimated after three days in the crypt and who demands we consume his flesh and drink his blood, because a talking snake conned a lady into eating an apple this one time.
But it is similarly within your rights to respond with an equally outrageous yarn of your own. Satire and parody are sharp tools; use them wisely, skeptics.