From the wall of Dr Ken Lipenga: The billboard, a literary analysis

Given how fiercely mankind defends religious positions, I hastily declare a disclaimer: this brief comment is not a judgment on the merits or otherwise of the purported message in this now famous (or infamous, depending on which anthill you’re standing on) billboard. All I want is to look at one word used in the advert and underline it’s significance. And as usual I’m looking at this from the neutral vantage point of Mt Michesi.

The controversial billboard

The word “if” earns prominence by coming first. This word is an expression of a conditionality: a certain course of action can only take place if another one preceeds it. You are to read the Koran only if you have read the other two testaments.

The use of the word “if” makes this advert different from similar ones that are often used in the commercial world. Those adverts usually say something to the effect that you have used detergent A, now try detergent B. There is an explicit assumption that the first course of action has already been taken and now you’re being urged to take the second course of action.

Suppose you have read neither the old testament nor the new one, are you eligible to read the last testament? It would appear from the word “if” that this message is not directed at you. You can of course read the last testament if you so wish, but you are not the target of this message.

Now, I’m not an expert in advertising lingo, so I allow for the possibility that there’s different usage for the word “if” in advertising.

But my approach can also be used on other words used in the advert, and perhaps even discuss whether a sort of hierarchy for the testaments is being assumed or projected in this billboard. But for now my interest will stop at the word “if”.

By the way I have seen comparisons made with the Coke/Pepsi wars. I’m not sure that comparison can be applied to this billboard.

You see, in those Coke/Pepsi adverts of old, the antagonists were the companies or their cigar smoking board members, not the drinkers of those concoctions. No matter how extreme they might try to be, those adverts could never drive the consumers to fistfights.

It’s a slightly different matter with religion, where the consumers, so to speak, only require only the slightest provocation to pull out the swords and start slitting throats. History is replete with such “righteous” murders on both sides.

Which raises a question about whether it is ever possible to have a rational discussion about matters of faith.

When language was first invented, an elder on Mt Michesi was heard saying: “Thank God we have language, for now we can misunderstand each other more fluently.”

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MwishoKuloyaTiikaleroMwinithakoTrue Witness Recent comment authors
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Mwisho
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Both Christianity and Islam are followed by lunatics who can’t see beyond the nose. Wake up and smell the coffee you black morons. For once, do you know that religion and spirituality (being Good and Godly) are two and different things?

Learn to serve God and not religions.

This poster by our Muslim Brothers had nothing wrong in it to deserve it’s destruction.

Aneneri onyenga Inu. Chakwera samalatu!!!

Kuloya
Guest

It’s not a must, and message is for muslims not everyone, billboards can say good about bad stuff,like tobacco and alcohol, it doesn’t mean that everyone will follow.useless argument, shame on you ignorant leaders, and ignorant followers

Mwinithako
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Mwinithako

Palibe nkhani .Kuononga bilbord nkulakwa kwambili.Asiyeni a Malawi odziwa awerenge Quran .Nothing bad in it only peaceful messagees osati zomwe enanu mukulemba,modana ndia Silamu kkk

True Witness
Guest
True Witness

I don’t see the reason why i should read the Koran because the Bible is good and enough for me

Nick
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Nick

IF this article is by Ken Lipenga (which I doubt) then he is wasting his very valuable time on a piece of nonsense. It is clear that the poster wishes to create a hierarchy of religious Testaments, with the Koran at the top. In which case the word “IF” is completely redundant!
Don’t be silly!

Spiritual Son of...
Guest
Spiritual Son of...

I’m a Christian, and very glad and proud to be one.

Fellow believers: WHEN you have read the Old Testament and the New Testament, you have read the word of God. Don’t read a Fake Testament.

I know you have read George Bernard Shaw, Dr Ken. He famously said that YOUTH IS WASTED ON THE YOUNG. I hereby famously posit, by using GBS’s argument, that ISLAM IS WASTED ON MUSLIMS. There are beautiful passages extolling love and peace in the Quran, but just look at how Muslims behave…always violent and intolerant.

Mavutos
Guest
Mavutos

Some of us are Christians and have read from quran and hadith. very good teaching. To be extreme and start killing others for God is personal choice which some Muslim or Christian have done. But for me I find both the bible and quran as very good source of learning.

Ngombwax
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Ngombwax

Despite centuries of advice to the contrary, people living in glass houses are still throwing stones. The statement “You are to read the Koran only if you have read the other two testaments” is not logically equivalent to the statement “If you have read the other two testaments then you are to read the Koran”, which is what the billboard is saying. Since the author obviously decided to split hairs in this article, care should have been taken not to commit the so-called “fallacy of the converse”.

tracker
Guest
tracker

Well spoken. The need for tolerance is crucial.
Why being scared to let others read the Koran?
We are living in a free world.
Kodi as if its a big issue?
Aaaaaa…….Koma!

Lota
Guest
Lota

Good argument Ken Lipenga. Send this to the mad MCP zealots who do not believe in religious freedoms and the Pentecostal evangelists who are not tolerant of other religions.

David Mweso
Guest
David Mweso

Its not only MCP supporters who have a problem with the advert idiot!!

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