The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Humor

October 3, 2005 | 91 Comments

Why is a person’s sense of humour almost always in direct, inverse proportion to the strength of their religious belief? ( or, to put it another way, “Why are Christians miserable?”)

Submitted by Bill the Giraffe

Comments

91 Responses to “Humor”

  1. olly
    October 4th, 2005 @ 12:28 am

    Why are pirates called pirates?

    because they aaaaaaaaaaar.

    seriously though: I believe many christians have no sense of humour because they believe blasphemy is bad, offending people is bad, swearing is bad, basically anything that is funny is also a sin. something like that ayway.

  2. godzilla
    October 4th, 2005 @ 1:31 am

    Why is a person’s sense of humour almost always in direct, inverse proportion to the strength of their religious belief?
    (or, to put it another way, “Why are Christians miserable?”)
    Oh, I’d say they have a sens of humour, for Christ’s sake!
    Haven’t you heard the latest Christian joke? I will tell you:
    –>There is a atheist walking though the woods, marvelling at the fruits of evolutionary nature. Along comes a bear. The atheist runs like mad but the bear is faster and catches up “Oh, my god!” yells the atheist generically. Just then, God appears and says to the atheist, “Oh yeah, now you call me, I thought you don’t believe in me.” “I don’t.” replies the atheist. The bear looks up at God and says “Thank you, Lord, for the food I am about to receive.”
    Shame and blame, a way to keep the Christian soldiers lined up and on the offence. Win/loser, don’t you know.

  3. borgia
    October 4th, 2005 @ 5:35 am

    they say laughter is the best medicine and we all know christians are wary of anything with the word “sin” in it.

  4. Anonymous
    October 4th, 2005 @ 7:22 am

    Some people who willfully deny themselves things that their religion proscribes view the happiness of those who are not fettered by dogma as being a happiness born of sin.

  5. Percy
    October 4th, 2005 @ 9:38 am

    I think the pretext of the question is incorrect. 80% of Americans identify themselves as Christians….so you’re saying almost 80% of Americans have no sense of humor? I find that very hard to believe. Plus, you have to state what kind of humor you’re talking about here. If you’re talking about, say, Chris Rock humor (ie, sexual and crude), then yes, many Christians would obviously have a problem with that. But if you’re talking about Bill Cosby, the Blues Brothers, Monty Python, Black Adder, Jerry Seinfeld, Monk, etc., then I would bet that most Christians do not have problems with that. I know that I don’t ;)

  6. leon
    October 4th, 2005 @ 9:39 am

    Because their universe is insane. He/she is standing spread-eagled in two tubs at the same time; one tub is full of crushed ice and the other tub is full of scalding hot water.

  7. HappyNat
    October 4th, 2005 @ 10:14 am

    I never notcied a difference in the sense of humor or believers and non believers. I know christians who are a laugh a minute and agnostics who make a funeral look fun. I also wouldn’t say christians are miserable, ignorance is bliss, right?

  8. Bill
    October 4th, 2005 @ 10:31 am

    Percy, I would suggest that the Christians you refer to are not in fact christians but liars; to themselves and to others. Did you forget that Monty Python’s Flying Circus produced one of the greatest films ever made ‘The Life of Brian’? A true christian could not see it as anything else but blasphemous. I had to travel out of the city to see it because our catholic city fathers banned it. Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder) and the writers of Blackadder have never ‘missed and hit the wall’ when dealing with religion either.
    I think you have really illustrated my point very clearly. Thank you. BTW The Cosby Show was never funny, it was middle-class, racist stereo-typing for the eighties.

  9. bill
    October 4th, 2005 @ 10:33 am

    “Plus, you have to state what kind of humor you’re talking about here”
    Eh? Well I suppose if you lump Bill Cosby in with Monty Python you probably do need humour explained to you.
    >: )

  10. bill
    October 4th, 2005 @ 10:43 am

    Oh, yeah and one last thing Percy/HappyNat, I did say “almost always”.
    And HappyNat, pay more attention to whether they are laughing ‘at’ things or ‘about’ them….

  11. Abs like Jesus
    October 4th, 2005 @ 11:08 am

    The question doesn’t imply that Christians or other religious folk can’t be funny or aren’t funny. It specifies about a person’s sense of humor as being inverse to the strength of their religious beliefs. Most Catholics I know, being of the once a week because its habit variety, have as dirty and great a sense of humor as anybody I know. You might consider them as opposed to the evangelist nut jobs (both within and outside the Catholic church) who fear burning in the flames of hell if they haven’t prayed once every hour.

    The hardcore evangelists such as those who rallied around Moore in Alabama and who sat weeping day in and day out outside Terri Shiavo’s hospital are very likely limited to simple knock-knock jokes and quips about what this disciple said to the Holy Ghost.

    Religious people can be funny, but I agree in principle with the idea that the humor of religious folks could be found related to the strength of their religious convictions.

  12. PanAtheist
    October 4th, 2005 @ 12:42 pm

    In order to “practise Christianity” one has to *be* ridiculous *and* pretend that “Christianity” isn’t outrageously absurd, *and* pretend that one is not oneself being utterly, utterly, ridiculous!!

    It is plain that this requires one NOT to react with hilarity to that which is plainly ridiculous!

    And so it is plain that free-humour and “Christianity” does not co-exist in the same person, at the same time.

    Of course, people who “practise Christianity”, practise such an outrageous disintegrity, that they can be outrageously funny at one minute, and “good Christians” at the next.

    They outrage me!! Their disintegrity is simply SHOCKING!!!

  13. a different tim
    October 4th, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

    I object! I have no sense of humour at all and I’m a good atheist.

  14. sinbol
    October 4th, 2005 @ 2:55 pm

    but that is because you are english, and englishmen drive in the wrong direction.

  15. prayertulip@bellsouth.net
    October 4th, 2005 @ 7:47 pm

    Pro 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Pro 15:15 All the days of the afflicted [are] evil: but he that is of a merry heart [hath] a continual feast.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Pro 17:22 A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Ecc 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

  16. cubic rooms
    October 4th, 2005 @ 10:33 pm

    I thought it was funny.

  17. hermesten
    October 5th, 2005 @ 2:17 am

    Bill Fucking Cosby? That show was supposed to be funny? That’s a joke right?

    Now Chris Rock, he’s a funny guy. I can understand why a Beater wouldn’t like him: he says straight up that the Bible is bullshit and he disses hypocrites. And if you think Chris Rock is all sexual and crude, you must have missed most of his act. Anyway Thumpers, sex is a part of life –a big part– and most of us atheists, and even some Christians, don’t want to spend all our lifes in a protective cocoon.

  18. leon
    October 5th, 2005 @ 5:37 am

    prayertulip@bellsouth.net,

    So much joy, eh.

    2King 10:6 Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye [be] mine, and [if] ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king’s sons, [being] seventy persons, [were] with the great men of the city, which brought them up.

    2King 10:7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him [them] to Jezreel.

  19. bill
    October 5th, 2005 @ 10:58 am

    Prayertulip.
    Your time is up – the vatican has just officially announced that the bible is factually inaccurate (ie a load of bollocks). So, no more humourless quotes please as even the pope has admitted they are nonsense. You’re an annual flower anyway aren’t you? Isn’t it time you hibernated for the winter?

    A different Tim:
    Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,he. Best response so far. Not bad for a sasenach.

  20. Frank
    October 5th, 2005 @ 2:28 pm

    hermesten — when you say “protective cocoon” is that a euphemism for condom?

  21. Percy
    October 5th, 2005 @ 5:05 pm

    Bill,

    “Percy, I would suggest that the Christians you refer to are not in fact christians but liars; to themselves and to others. Did you forget that Monty Python’s Flying Circus produced one of the greatest films ever made ‘The Life of Brian’? A true christian could not see it as anything else but blasphemous. I had to travel out of the city to see it because our catholic city fathers banned it. Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder) and the writers of Blackadder have never ‘missed and hit the wall’ when dealing with religion either.”

    And I would submit that you don’t know much about Christianity and/or that you haven’t met many real Christians. I love the “Life of Brian” – it’s a hilarious movie. It

  22. Robbo
    October 6th, 2005 @ 4:11 am

    Hi

    I’m a Christian (I suppose you’d class me as a fundamentalist, in that I go to church, pray & read the Bible), and find this thread quite hilarious. It’s a group of like-minded people all reinforcing each other’s beliefs rather than actually finding out what’s true.

    I don’t quite understand the idea of the “miserable Christian” you all seem to be making up. As regards the joke in the second reply, I loved it when I first heard it (at some random church event). I like Monty Python (although I find some of it offensive, it’s also funny at the same time and at the very least I think the awkwardness created when we know we’re not supposed to laugh is hysterical).

    All I can see in this thread is a group of seemingly miserable people all stating their big, bold statements “Oh Christianity is ridiculous” in this tiny little atheist echo chamber. I check this site about once a year and it’s the same tune:
    Question: Why $question about Christianity?
    30 bleating answers: Because Christianity is illogical and stupid and everything bad.

    In fact if you just have a form on the home page where people type in questions about Christianity, you lot could probably easily be replaced with a bit of CGI.

    See you all next year, or people exactly like you!

    Rob

  23. Robbo
    October 6th, 2005 @ 4:12 am

    P.S. I dont’ find Life of Brian offensive/blasphemous (despite being pretty heavily involved in my local charismatic reformed church).

    Why on earth should I?

  24. Reluctant Atheist
    October 6th, 2005 @ 4:26 am

    prayertulip@bellsouth.net:
    Rather than trot out a number of scriptural passages, perhaps you should give us an example of your own sense of humor ?
    Robbo:
    This sound familiar? “Worse? How could it get any worse? Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah!”
    For that matter, I have a born-again friend, & we both crack up over the Family Guy’s irreverant humor. & I, an atheist, have an Xtian friend!
    & also: while I absolutely DISLIKE Ashcroft (Grrrrrhhh!), I’ve read it somewhere that he does a great impression of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.
    Oh, and here’s a good 1, since we’re talking about humor:

    The mob is chasing Mary Magdalene down the street, pelting her w/stones, crying ‘Adultress!’ until she sprawls at the feet of Jesus.
    The Pharisees say, “Oh lord, what shall we do with her, as she has broken the law, and the law says stone her!”
    Jesus gazes at them serenely. “Let he who is w/o sin, cast the 1st stone.”
    An old lady in the crowd yells, “I will!” Lifts up a boulder, and smashes Mary Magdalene flat as a pancake.
    Jesus looks at her, and says, “Mom, why are you always screwing things up!”

  25. bill
    October 6th, 2005 @ 5:45 am

    Yeah Percy and its still a sh*t load more than I ever wanted to know about christianity.
    Don’t you get it?
    Its indefensible clap-trap and I am sick and tired of it interfering in my one shot at life, so BOG OFF! I’m right and you’re wrong. Just grow up and face the truth dude. Chill out. Put your feet up. Relax. There’s no hell to worry about man. Take it easy. I was just HAVING A LAUGH! Get it? Oh what’s the point. Its your problem, you sort it out.
    And where in your rant do you show you are a happy xtian Robbo? I think I missed it.
    Yet more proof. Thank guys!
    I should just give you christian interlopers a couple of planks of wood and a few nails and let you get on with it eh?

  26. leon
    October 6th, 2005 @ 8:20 am

    Robbo said:
    Hi
    I’m a Christian

    I am so sorry. With a little bit of thinking you can cure this mental problem.

  27. Percy
    October 6th, 2005 @ 9:48 am

    Bill,

    “Its indefensible clap-trap”

    Then why am I able to defend it?

    “and I am sick and tired of it interfering in my one shot at life, so BOG OFF!”

    You asked the question – you should have expected an answer. If you couldn’t handle the answer, or were unable to make a reasoned reply, that’s your own fault.

    “I’m right and you’re wrong. Just grow up and face the truth dude. Chill out. Put your feet up. Relax.”

    Am I supposed to accept that on faith, or can you make a reasoned argument that proves you’re right? If not, then it is you who are ascribing to the indefensible “clap-trap”.

    “There’s no hell to worry about man.”

    I don’t worry about hell. I have no need to.

    “Yet more proof. Thank guys!”

    It’s not my job to show you that Christians have humor. All I needed to do was prove that you couldn’t possibly be right, which I think I have. It was you who was trying to state a positive – the burden of proof is on you to show me that most Christians are miserable.

    I must admit I find it amusing that when an atheist makes a statement he can’t support (particularly on Christianity), 20 other atheists pat him on the back and say something akin to “Yeah, those Xians are stupid!” It’s a bit like Robbo said: “It’s a group of like-minded people all reinforcing each other’s beliefs rather than actually finding out what’s true.”

  28. bill
    October 6th, 2005 @ 10:21 am

    Percy: “Am I supposed to accept that on faith”
    – hahahahahahahaha!
    Nice one! You do have a sense of humour after all.

    But still the double standards I see, “If you couldn’t handle the answer, or were unable to make a reasoned reply, that’s your own fault”
    – As a xtian you cannot demand reason of anyone when all your arguments start from a base of utter unreason.

    “It’s not my job to show you that Christians have humor. All I needed to do was prove that you couldn’t possibly be right, which I think I have. ”
    – Eh? Where?

    “It was you who was trying to state a positive – the burden of proof is on you to show me that most Christians are miserable. ”
    – This IS my proof. Your still taking it seriously. lol lol lol

    “I must admit I find it amusing that when an atheist makes a statement he can’t support (particularly on Christianity), 20 other atheists pat him on the back and say something akin to “Yeah, those Xians are stupid!” It’s a bit like Robbo said: “It’s a group of like-minded people all reinforcing each other’s beliefs rather than actually finding out what’s true.””

    – I never said I was an atheist. I never have and never will. It has never occured to me at any point throughout my entire life that there could be any kind of god to believe in. It is as insane now as it was when I was ten years old. No theism, no A. You guys don’t even get a look in in my universe. Great for poking fun at though.
    You crack me up. You ask for accuracy in answers that were just a fun wee dig at xtians on an ATHEIST website and you profess to believe in ever-lasting life based on ancient scribblings that no two people can even agree on.
    Woo-hoo Percy! Go go go!
    I look forward to your next post. This is fun!

  29. bill
    October 6th, 2005 @ 11:20 am

    C’mon Percy. I thought you’d be pretty swift with your vengence this time.
    Or have you finally realised that, for a rational human being, poking fun a xtians is like shooting fish in a barrel and you can never win?
    I can wait to goad you with some more wildly inaccurate generalisations.
    All in good-natured fun you know. I’m sure you’re very sweet.

  30. Percy
    October 6th, 2005 @ 4:07 pm

    “Nice one! You do have a sense of humour after all.”
    “This IS my proof. Your still taking it seriously. lol lol lol”

    And that is you proving yourself wrong. If I have a sense of humor, then your second comment is contradictory to what you seem to be claiming. Good job :)

    “Or have you finally realised that, for a rational human being, poking fun a xtians is like shooting fish in a barrel and you can never win?”

    No, but I’ve realized that your comments have all the logical accumen of a potato claiming all fruit is round because he’s observed an orange.

    “I can wait to goad you with some more wildly inaccurate
    generalisations.”

    I’m glad you hold no delusions about the nature of your comments :)

  31. Percy
    October 6th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    Bill,

    I think I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Since you no longer want to seriously debate about this topic (which is why I posted in the first place), then I will move on to another. Have fun with those nonsensical generalizations ;)

  32. Bill
    October 6th, 2005 @ 4:53 pm

    Percy: Fun, ain’t it?
    >: )

  33. Percy
    October 6th, 2005 @ 4:54 pm

    Bill,

    “Percy: Fun, ain’t it?”

    Aye, it was ;)

  34. DamnRight
    October 6th, 2005 @ 5:45 pm

    I was a Christian for over 40 years… now an unabashed atheist… I find that people either have a sense of humor or not… it has no relation to religiousity (is that a word?)… however, as a Christian, I often had to suppress my humor… I was often told I was blasphemous, irreligious, irreverant, not serious enough… blah blah blah… however, I also knew many “Fundy” Christians that could always crack me up… & I knew numerous non-religious people who didn’t “get” anything… my love of “The Simpsons”, Monty Python, “Son of the Beach”, etc. didn’t change from Christian to atheist… I was just freed to laugh out loud…

  35. Reluctant Atheist
    October 6th, 2005 @ 6:28 pm

    Percy:
    “I must admit I find it amusing that when an atheist makes a statement he can’t support (particularly on Christianity), 20 other atheists pat him on the back and say something akin to “Yeah, those Xians are stupid!””
    I might humbly suggest you get out more often. I have corrected, and been corrected (and likewise, taken to task and been taken to task) whenever I have been wrong, or the other party was.
    Lessee if I have this 1 right:
    “Blackbirds are black.”
    “Blackbirds are birds.”
    “All blackbirds are birds”
    “Therefore, all birds are black.”
    That about sum it up?

  36. Percy
    October 6th, 2005 @ 7:05 pm

    “I might humbly suggest you get out more often. I have corrected, and been corrected (and likewise, taken to task and been taken to task) whenever I have been wrong, or the other party was.”

    And I might humbly suggest that you read the comments section more often, because that is where I’ve observed this. Of course, there is the odd exception when an atheist does “take to task” another, but from what I’ve seen that’s the exception, not the rule.

    “Lessee if I have this 1 right:
    “Blackbirds are black.”
    “Blackbirds are birds.”
    “All blackbirds are birds”
    “Therefore, all birds are black.”
    That about sum it up?”

    If you’re summing up the evidence this topic is based on, then yeah, that’s about right. Otherwise, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

  37. Reluctant Atheist
    October 6th, 2005 @ 9:24 pm

    Percy
    ” that is where I’ve observed this. ”
    Welllll, “It’s a bit like Robbo said” is, you must admit, not a very good qualifier. Thought you were posting an absolute.
    Unless I missed the part observed. If so, sorry.
    But really, the easiest and quickest way to prove anyone wrong (in this topic), is to show it.
    Tell a joke, for cryin’ out loud. Or a funny story. Instead of draping your observations in excess verbiage.
    IOW: the old Missouri saying: “Show me.”

  38. Percy
    October 6th, 2005 @ 10:36 pm

    “Welllll, “It’s a bit like Robbo said” is, you must admit, not a very good qualifier.”

    Perhaps, but I was using his comment because he worded it so well. I did not intend to imply that the reason that was my opinion was because Robbo said so.

    “Tell a joke, for cryin’ out loud.”

    A joke huh? *smiles* Ok, here are some jokes:

    JOKE 1:
    There was once a young man who was an aspiring writer. When asked to elaborate on his dream, he said, “I want people all over the world to read what I write. I want my words to make them scream, cry, and howl in pain and anger!”

    He now works at Microsoft writing error messages.

    JOKE 2:
    A drunk man stumbles out of a bar and wanders into the parking lot. Every car that he comes across he leans on and begins rubbing the roof. The bartender, looking out from the bar, sees this and is perplexed. He walks up to the man and asks what he’s doing. “I’m trying to find my car,” the man answers. “But how will rubbing the tops of cars help?” asks the bartender. The man smiles and replies, “Because my car has two blue lights and a siren on top.”

  39. Reluctant Atheist
    October 7th, 2005 @ 12:15 am

    Percy:
    LOL! Nice. Simplistic reductionism has it’s uses after all!
    Or maybe Occam’s razor?
    Anyways, you proved your point alot more easily.
    & had a little bit of fun at it.
    Now, if the rest of you Xtians start doing this, you may actually prove your respective points. At least on this thread.

  40. Alex
    October 7th, 2005 @ 7:56 am

    Because their life is miserable, and their little savior hasn

  41. Headbang8
    October 9th, 2005 @ 8:04 am

    Because humour deflates pomposity and reveals hypocrisy. ’nuff said.

  42. Mort Coyle
    October 9th, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    Alex,

    What a cynical and humorless post…

  43. The Naked Atheist
    October 9th, 2005 @ 11:50 pm

    The more religious/superstitious a person is, the farther from accurately perceiving reality they become. As the universe is inherently peverse the less able they are to perceiving and appreciating this perversity around them and in themselves.

    And probably also because they aren’t naked.

  44. Reluctant Atheist
    October 10th, 2005 @ 5:02 am

    Mort:
    So tell a joke. Tell a funny story. Prove us heathens wrong!
    Occam’s razor, and all that.

  45. Mort Coyle
    October 10th, 2005 @ 2:49 pm

    A man walks into a bar. Ouch.

    A neutron walks into a bar and asks “How much for a beer?”
    The bartender replies, “For you, there’s no charge.”

  46. Mort Coyle
    October 10th, 2005 @ 3:02 pm

    Rene Descarte is sitting at a bar. The bartender asks if he’d like another drink. “I think not”, he replies, and disappears.

  47. Reluctant Atheist
    October 10th, 2005 @ 3:34 pm

    Mort:
    Very good! I’ve heard the 2nd 1. First one’s pretty funny, though.

  48. Reluctant Atheist
    October 10th, 2005 @ 9:20 pm

    Calling all Xtians! Come on out, show us infidels you have a sense of humor!
    Mort & Percy broke the ice.
    Prove us wrong!

    A rabbi, priest, and minister walk into a bar. The barkeep says, “What’s this, a joke?”

  49. Frank
    October 11th, 2005 @ 3:21 pm

    Reluctant Atheist — here ya go …

    Two attorneys boarded a flight out of Seattle. One sat in the window seat, the other sat in the middle seat. Just before takeoff, a physician got on and took the aisle seat next to the two attorneys. The doctor kicked off his shoes, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the attorney in the window seat said, “I think I’ll get up and grab a Coke.” “No problem,” said the doctor, “I’ll get it for you.” While he was gone, one of the attorneys picked up the doctor’s shoe and spat in it. When he returned with the Coke, the other attorney said, “That looks good. I think I’ll have one too.” Again, the physician obligingly went to fetch it, and while he was gone the other attorney picked up the other shoe and spat in it. The doctor returned and they all sat back and enjoyed the flight. As the plane was landing, the physician slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened. “How long must this go on?” he asked. ” This fighting between our professions? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in shoes and peeing in Cokes?”

  50. Reluctant Atheist
    October 11th, 2005 @ 7:27 pm

    Frank:
    Very good.
    Any other takers?

  51. bill
    October 12th, 2005 @ 5:40 am

    Frank, that’s a rip off of a very old Billy Connelly joke. Funnily enough it was originally about the animosity between the celtic (catholic) and rangers (protestant) football supporters. An overspill from the troubles in Northern Ireland. Quite appropriate really. Again it worked because it exposed how religion tends to require a sense of humour by-pass.

  52. bill
    October 12th, 2005 @ 8:03 am

    Just in case you miss this one. Didn’t know where else to put it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/12/national/12priests.html

  53. The World
    October 14th, 2005 @ 3:55 am

    I’ve got a joke:

    Father: Son…. your mother tells me you don’t believe in Santa Claus. Is that true?

    Son: Yep, I also don’t buy any of that Jesus religion stuff either. I’m also gay.

    Father: Why you ungrateful piece of crap. I’ll beat the shit out of you for being such a little demon! Come here you little mongrel!

    (The father then beats the snot out of his own sun. The mother hears the commotion, and comes into the room shocke, and very concerned. )

    Mother: Harold! What in heaven’s sake are you doing?!?

    Father: This little turd just confessed to me he is a heathenistic atheist gay? I’m giving him a born-again experience.

    Mother: Oh, in that case, I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.

    ZING!!!

    It’s funny, because it’s true. Ha ha ha!

    For more freethought humor:

    http://www.infidels.org/misc/humor/

  54. Marc
    October 14th, 2005 @ 5:53 pm

    Alfred North Whitehead claimed that “the total absence of humour from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all of literature.”

  55. Reluctant Atheist
    October 15th, 2005 @ 3:25 am

    Marc:
    “Alfred North Whitehead claimed that “the total absence of humour from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all of literature.”

    Ummm…don’t recall any humor in the Iliad, Odyseus’ adventures, or in Jason & the argonauts, for that matter.
    Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, some of Dickinson (tale of 2 cities).
    On the other hand, Voltaire, Poe, ole Bill.
    Guess it depends on the literature. Paine was very serious. Ingersoll was very funny. Cervantes.

  56. Alex
    October 15th, 2005 @ 10:27 am

    Mort Coyle

    Are we suposed to sit here and trade bullshit? You think i’m planing too be funny? Yes it may be cynical thats how i am, but i’m not gonna sit around going “lol its because they are like unhappy people and stuff, lol lol”…

    Ciao

  57. Good God
    October 15th, 2005 @ 11:25 am

    Try looking up Bob Coy. Now he is funny.

  58. Mort Coyle
    October 15th, 2005 @ 9:22 pm

    Hi Alex,

    Well, I wouldn’t know if you’re “planing too”. I’m not planing, so if you are planing, it’s just you. Is anyone else here planing? By the way, what is planing?

    Beyond that, I have no idea what you were trying to say.

  59. RJ
    October 15th, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

    George Carlin, the master.

  60. Anonymous
    October 16th, 2005 @ 9:32 am

    I know some very religions people that are very funny.

  61. bill
    October 18th, 2005 @ 7:03 am

    Erico said: “I know some very religious people that are very funny.”

    Very true but Mort Coyle definitely does not fall into that category. What a bore!
    Proves my point. No sense of humour. QED.

  62. Percy
    October 18th, 2005 @ 4:58 pm

    Bill,

    “Proves my point. No sense of humour. QED.”

    Actually, it doesn’t. First and foremost, your point was about Christians in general: showing that one fits your critique (which you still have not accomplished) is not a proof anymore than saying that a white elephant means all elephants are white. Second, Mort told some pretty amusing jokes – you haven’t told any. Thus, I’m inclined to believe that it is YOU who lacks a sense of humor.

    Bill, do you naturally make such Olympic leaps in logic, or do you have to try really hard? I’m beginning to think that Dr. Frankenstein may have been indirectly referring to you when he said we “are talking about the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind.”

  63. harv
    October 18th, 2005 @ 6:34 pm

    “I’m lonely” said Adam to God in the Garden of Eden. “Today is your lucky day, said God. I got just what your looking for; this companion will cook and clean for you, provide terrific conversation and companiornship, stand beside you and assist you in all your endevours and if you play your cards right, be a source of fantastic physical pleasure.” “Sounds great, Lord replied Adam. What’s it going to cost me?” “An arm and a leg”, said God. Adam thinks for a while and asks “What can I get for a rib?”
    Ummm…don’t recall any humor in the Iliad, Odyseus’ adventures, or in Jason & the argonauts, for that matter.
    Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, some of Dickinson (tale of 2 cities).
    On the other hand, Voltaire, Poe, ole Bill.
    Guess it depends on the literature. Paine was very serious. Ingersoll was very funny. Cervantes.

    Atheists don’t use Iliad, Odyseus, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy etc. as a guide to their lives, atheists seem to understand the difference between fiction, non-fiction and historical accounts when assessing the written word. It seems as though something that bills itself as a user guide to life should contain at least some humor. The larger problem with the Holly Bibble and other “sacred” documents claiming to be the word of God is the nonsense throughout. (You’ve obviously read enough of the atheist posts to know which I am refering to, but Noah and his ark is a good start). Ricky Ricardo said it best–“Its just so ridiculous”!

  64. Reluctant Atheist
    October 18th, 2005 @ 7:47 pm

    harv:
    True enough. Point. At the risk of sounding juvenile, there IS farting in the bible.
    But 1 poot doesn’t a joke make (in most circles). I doubt the Koran is big on humor, as well.
    Then again, if I had sand up my ass 90% of the time, my sense of funny would be seriously impacted.
    Read “Zen Flesh, zen bones.” Now some of THOSE stories are very funny.

  65. Mort Coyle
    October 18th, 2005 @ 11:38 pm

    Harv,

    You stated, “It seems as though something that bills itself as a user guide to life should contain at least some humor. ” I’ve never heard this before. Where does the bible bill itself as a “user guide to life”?

  66. Reluctant Atheist
    October 19th, 2005 @ 3:12 am

    Mort:
    Going to have to side w/Harv on this 1. Perhaps not the exact terms he stated, but Xtianity does promote it as the ‘final answer’ per se.

  67. Zed
    October 19th, 2005 @ 5:06 am

    Atheist Celebrities Right Here:

    http://www.celebatheists.com/w/index.php?title=Main_Page

    If you want comedians, just enter Comedians into the search field on the left column.

  68. harv
    October 19th, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

    Mort-
    Please correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t one of the early books in the OT dedicated to lifestyle rules for the Hebrews (I want to say Daniel)? I think followers pretty much believe it to be a “guide to life”, saw a bumper sticker the other day, picture of a Bible and the caption “instruction manual for people”, or some such thing.

    And as long as the thread is still alive, one of my all time favorite M. Python lines:
    “I’ve always said that there is nothing an agnostic can’t do if he really doesn’t know if he believes in anything or not”

  69. Mort Coyle
    October 19th, 2005 @ 5:49 pm

    Harv: “It seems as though something that bills itself as a user guide to life…”

    RA: “Perhaps not the exact terms he stated, but Xtianity does promote it as the ‘final answer’ per se.”

    Harv: “I think followers pretty much believe it to be a “guide to life”,

    No, Christians believe that Jesus is the final answer, the guide to life, etc. The Bible is an authoritative source to learn more about Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit, etc.

    Harv: “Please correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t one of the early books in the OT dedicated to lifestyle rules for the Hebrews (I want to say Daniel)?”

    OK, since you asked, you are wrong. The OT books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy set forth civil, moral and liturgical rules for the ancient Hebrew nation. Daniel came roughly 1,000 years later
    and has to do with the Israelite captivity in Babylon.

    It amazes me Harv, that you would spout out an opinion on a topic that you clearly have very
    little knowledge about.

    Harv: “…saw a bumper sticker the other day, picture of a Bible and the caption “instruction manual
    for people”, or some such thing.”

    Ah well, bumper stickers are, of course, a great source for gaining theological understanding.

  70. Reluctant Atheist
    October 19th, 2005 @ 6:07 pm

    MC:
    “civil, moral and liturgical rules”
    & how is this different from lifestyle rules?
    “Jesus is the final answer, the guide to life, etc.”
    That’s fine, but whenever an Xtian needs answers, the Bible is pretty much the rulebook, ain’t it?
    Sorry to split semantical hairs.

  71. Mort Coyle
    October 19th, 2005 @ 9:47 pm

    RA – “civil, moral and liturgical rules”
    & how is this different from lifestyle rules?”

    It’s not if you are an Israelite living in the year 1500 B.C.

    There are (at least) two things that bug me about those “the Bible is the instruction manual for life” statements:

    1. It’s incredibly simplistic. Goes back to the point that the Bible is not a “flat” book, but a collection of writings of various genres.

    2. It sets up false expectations, such as “Gee, this is supposed to be the instruction manual for life but it doesn’ have any funny bits, so people who read it must be humorless.”, or “Gee, I didn’t find the answer to my specific problem. This is a stupid instruction manual for life.”

    3. Most importantly, it detracts from the key fact that Christianity is all about a relationship with a living being (Christ).

  72. Mort Coyle
    October 19th, 2005 @ 9:58 pm

    Oops, I guess that was 3 things. Like my father used to say, “Son, there are 3 kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can’t.”

  73. Reluctant Atheist
    October 21st, 2005 @ 3:26 am

    MC:
    Hmmm, the definition of ‘lifestyle’ is perhaps too contemporary.
    Since most of us here don’t believe in your ‘living being’, as it were, I suppose we’ll have to take your word for it?
    Ingersoll time: “No man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion.” – “What Must We Do To Be Saved”, 1880

    “If the book the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same Infinite God, whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree?””- Some Reasons Why”, 1881

    I’d heard the adage differently: “There are 2 kinds of people in the world – those who are Irish, & those who wish they were.”

  74. Percy
    October 21st, 2005 @ 10:10 am

    I imagine that the context of these statements would have given them greater strength. As it is, the statements themselves are rather pathetic.

    “If the book the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same Infinite God, whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree?””

    Because a person can choose what to think and believe; a book is an inanimate object.

    “No man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion.”

    I envy the person who wrote this. What must it be like to know intimately every single person who ever founded a religion? I mean, a person wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to make a statement like the above without having intimate, first-hand knowledge of all these people, right?

  75. Reluctant Atheist
    October 21st, 2005 @ 3:11 pm

    Percy:
    That was Ingersoll, the Great Agnostic, a Republican who was also 1 of the best bible commentators who’s ever lived.

    & BTW, it’s called observation, which is a foundation of the empirical method of science.

    “a person wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to make a statement like the above without having intimate, first-hand knowledge of all these people, right? ”

    W/all due respect, sir, I’d say your commentary shows a distinct lack of research.

    You might actually go & look up these statements 1st, ere you sit in judgement on their context.
    Just a suggestion.

    Why not? The Xtians are presumptuous enough to judge us heathens as morally devoid nihilists, w/o any foreknowledge or telepathic insights, aren’t they?

  76. Percy
    October 21st, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

    “Why not? The Xtians are presumptuous enough to judge us heathens as morally devoid nihilists, w/o any foreknowledge or telepathic insights, aren’t they?”

    Sir, you are familiar with the difference between observational statements and hasty generalizations, yes? Because your statement above doesn’t show it (“The Xtians”? How about “some Christians”).

    “W/all due respect, sir, I’d say your commentary shows a distinct lack of research. [edited for brevity] You might actually go & look up these statements 1st, ere you sit in judgement on their context. Just a suggestion. ”

    And with all due respect to you, perhaps you should *read* what I post, before you reply. For instance, notice the part where I said “I imagine that the context of these statements would have given them greater strength.” What I was trying to do was to say that the statements as they were (without context) were rather pathetic (since you did not provide context, I merely replied to those statements as I would any other). I have no doubt that their meaning would change given context.

  77. Reluctant Atheist
    October 21st, 2005 @ 8:37 pm

    Percy:
    “Sir, you are familiar with the difference between observational statements and hasty generalizations, yes? Because your statement above doesn’t show it (“The Xtians”? How about “some Christians”). ”

    I stand corrected, and apologize. I qualified it badly.

    “No man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion.”

    Name 1, then, please.

    As to taken out of context? Please. They are standalone by their very context. It’s not as if we’re talking about the bible here, now is it?

  78. Mort Coyle
    October 21st, 2005 @ 9:12 pm

    RA: “No man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion.”

    RA: “Name 1, then, please.”

    Actually I think that’s an interesting challenge. But first I need to establish some criteria:

    1. What do you consider “Founding a religion?”
    (Do you include denominations and sects, or just distinct religions?
    I ask because there are only a few distinct religions)

    2. Most religions don’t point to a single founder (Islam is an exception), so how do you qualify what a “founder” is?

    3. Perhaps you could elucidate more on what Ingersoll meant when he said that, particularly which religions and which founders he had in mind and what basis he used to come to his conclusion.

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a human who doesn’t have a sense of humor, so I find Ingersoll’s statement to be somewhat inane and
    hyperbolic.

    BTW, people I know who can read the Old Testament in Hebrew tell me that it’s full of puns, wordplay and humor. Most of this gets lost in the transference of language and culture.

  79. Percy
    October 21st, 2005 @ 9:15 pm

    “I stand corrected, and apologize. I qualified it badly.”

    Np. Everyone makes mistakes (although I’m sorry to say that on the second mistake we will have to take one of your hands as punishment….just kidding).

    “Name 1, then, please.”

    Well, firstly, you’re stating a positive – that the people who founded religions had no sense of humor (therefore, the burden of proof is on you). Second off, humor is subjective, so what qualifies as a sense of humor? Third, religion is not the carrier of humor, so it is erroneous to expect writings dictating how to live one’s life (in other words, writings with a very serious and focused purpose) to be full of jokes (that’s not to say that those who practice religion aren’t funny – I believe we’ve already laid that one to rest).

    It’s also quite possible that there is humor in religious texts, but that because of time and culture differences it is not seen as such. I would qualify howerver that I have studied indepth very few religions (in comparison to how many there are), and so I really can’t say whether some religious texts have humor or not.

    I have no doubt that the majority of people who founded religions had some form of humor. Perhaps most did not express it in their religious texts, but that does not show that these men did not understand humor.

    “As to taken out of context? Please. They are standalone by their very context. It’s not as if we’re talking about the bible here, now is it?”

    Context is important in all things. If you overheard me say something akin to “All atheists are liars who wear yellow spandex”, you might be offended. But if, upon further investiagation, you learned that what you overheard was a snippit of me having a conversation with someone else, and that I was replying to what someone else had said (ie, that it was someone else who had made the remark about atheists being liars and swindlers, and I was quoting and refuting them) then it would change the way you understood what I had said. The same is true with the above statements. They may be perfectly intelligent when presented in context. But as I’ve shown, they are not standalone – on their own they are noticeably pathetic. The first is based on a false preconception, and the second is an unprovable positive.

  80. Reluctant Atheist
    October 21st, 2005 @ 10:34 pm

    Percy:

    “1. What do you consider “Founding a religion?”
    (Do you include denominations and sects, or just distinct religions?
    I ask because there are only a few distinct religions)”

    Well, I can’t name anyone who has founded any religion who had a sense of humor. Any group of people, for that matter. Ball’s back in your court.

    “Second off, humor is subjective, so what qualifies as a sense of humor?”

    Got a point there. I’ve read it somewhere, that most modern folk don’t get the dirty jokes in Shakespeare’s works.

    “Third, religion is not the carrier of humor, so it is erroneous to expect writings dictating how to live one’s life (in other words, writings with a very serious and focused purpose) to be full of jokes ”
    Read Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, & get back to me. Not full of, but there are some pretty items in it.

    “3. Perhaps you could elucidate more on what Ingersoll meant when he said that, particularly which religions and which founders he had in mind and what basis he used to come to his conclusion.”
    He was talking about Xtianity.

    “Context is important in all things.”
    Well, then, how is the sentence “Jesus wept” out of context, then?
    Let’s put it another way: “He picked his nose.” Does it matter what he was wearing, which finger, how far up it went? What country he was in, the societal implications involved?
    “Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.” – Freud.

    Perhaps you could illustrate how this sentence – “If the book the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same Infinite God, whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree?”- Some Reasons Why”, 1881″ could be taken out of context?

    “BTW, people I know who can read the Old Testament in Hebrew tell me that it’s full of puns, wordplay and humor. ”
    Please illustrate this for me, else this qualifies as hearsay.

    “that’s not to say that those who practice religion aren’t funny – I believe we’ve already laid that one to rest”
    Yes, I believe I helped do that earlier. Didn’t I?

  81. Reluctant Atheist
    October 21st, 2005 @ 11:18 pm

    Percy:
    “Perhaps you could illustrate how this sentence – “If the book the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same Infinite God, whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree?”- Some Reasons Why”, 1881″ could be taken out of context? ”

    Actually, I rescind this, as most people don’t know who Ingersoll is. I understand it plainly due to my knowledge of the gentleman.

    So no one’s allowed to use quotes? Doesn’t seem right somehow, but maybe I’m old fashioned……

  82. karch
    October 22nd, 2005 @ 12:13 am

    Umberto Eco Said it best in “The Name of the Rose”: Humour counters fear and fear is often the basis of religion (specifically fear of death or non-existence). So if you have humour you’re less likely to need religion.

    It’s a great but long book. The movie is also quite good.

  83. Mort Coyle
    October 22nd, 2005 @ 1:16 am

    MC: “3. Perhaps you could elucidate more on what Ingersoll meant when he said that, particularly which religions and which founders he had in mind and what basis he used to come to his conclusion.”

    RA: He was talking about Xtianity.

    Ah, well now that narrows it down…

    RA: “Jesus wept”

    Actually, when understood in context, those two words carry a tremendous amount of meaning.

    MC: “BTW, people I know who can read the Old Testament in Hebrew tell me that it’s full of puns, wordplay and humor. ”

    RA: “Please illustrate this for me, else this qualifies as hearsay.”

    What is this, a court of law? Are we going to begin using legal protocols? I’ll see if I can subpoena some witnesses…

    Karch: “It’s a great but long book. The movie is also quite good.”

    Love the book. The movie is not bad. BTW, fear had nothing to do with my conversion to Christianity.

  84. Mort Coyle
    October 22nd, 2005 @ 1:21 am

    Wait, I need to come back to this…

    “No man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
    – Ingersoll

    MC: MC: “3. Perhaps you could elucidate more on what Ingersoll meant when he said that, particularly which religions and which founders he had in mind and what basis he used to come to his conclusion.”

    RA: RA: He was talking about Xtianity.

    So why didn’t he say that the founder of Christianity didn’t have a sense of humor, instead of saying “a religion”?
    Who is this unnamed humorless founder of Christianity that Ingersoll was speaking of?

  85. Reluctant Atheist
    October 22nd, 2005 @ 2:17 am

    MC:

    1st off, I got you mixed up w/Percy. Sorry.

    2nd: “So why didn’t he say that the founder of Christianity didn’t have a sense of humor, instead of saying “a religion”?
    Who is this unnamed humorless founder of Christianity that Ingersoll was speaking of?”
    Unfortunately, this appears to be 1 of the few works of Ingersoll I can’t find on the Internet, so I cannot prove my assertion. It’s from
    “Prose poems & selected works”. So I may very well have quoted it out of context.

    MC: “BTW, people I know who can read the Old Testament in Hebrew tell me that it’s full of puns, wordplay and humor. ”

    I asked for a few examples, not a court trial.

    If I believed in an afterlife, I’d say old RI would be spinnin’ in his grave right about now. I goofed that all up.

    Be that as it may, I still love quotes, & will use them occasionally.

    It just means my posts will get much, much larger….

  86. Mort Coyle
    October 22nd, 2005 @ 12:55 pm

    RA: “It just means my posts will get much, much larger….”

    Join the club, my friend!

  87. Mort Coyle
    October 22nd, 2005 @ 2:22 pm

    RA: “I asked for a few examples, not a court trial.”

    Fair enough. Here’s a few links that should provide plenty of fodder:

    http://eny.dioceseny.org/0504/Humor1.html
    http://eny.dioceseny.org/0504/Humor2.html
    http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=15;t=000397

    I remember a teacher once exegeting Ecclesiastes 12 and opening up the humor in it. The context of Ecc. 12 is it’s an old man giving advice to a young man. The old man begins describing his aged body in very poetic, picturesque language:

    v. 2 “…the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain.” – He’s speaking of his failing eyesight.

    v. 3 “…when the keepers of the house tremble…” – His hands tremble.

    v. 3 “…and the strong men stoop…” – His back.

    v. 3 “…when the grinders cease because they are few…” – His teeth.

    I’ll skip some…

    v. 4 “…when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint…” – His hearing.

    v. 5 “…when the almond tree blossoms…” – His white hair.

    v. 5 “…the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred…” – His penis. He’s basically saying he can’t “get it up” anymore.

    You can picture this kindly old man telling you about his various age-related health problems and ending with a wink and a wry joke about his nonexistant sex life. There’s a warm humor to it.

  88. Mort Coyle
    October 22nd, 2005 @ 6:20 pm

    RA: “I asked for a few examples, not a court trial.”

    Fair enough. Here are a few links that discuss some of the humor in the Bible:

    http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=15;t=000397
    http://eny.dioceseny.org/0504/Humor1.html
    http://eny.dioceseny.org/0504/Humor2.html
    http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/economic/friedman/bibhumor.htm
    http://www.degruyter.de/journals/humor/2002/pdf/15_215.pdf

    The first time I really became aware of some of the humor in the Bible was during a lesson on Ecclesiastes, which is usually consider a pretty “existential” book. In Chapter 12, the writer, an old man, is offering advice to a young man. The old man begins listing his various age-related physical ailments in very poetic terms:

    v. 2 (… the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain…) – His eyesight is failing.
    v. 2 (… the keepers of the house tremble…) – His hands.
    v. 3 (… and the strong men stoop…) – His back.
    v. 3 (… the grinders cease because they are few…) – His teeth.
    v. 3 (… those looking through the windows grow dim…) – Senility
    v. 5 (… the almond tree blossoms…) – His white hair.
    v. 5 (… and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire is no longer stirred.) – Can you guess what “grasshopper” is a euphamism for?

    There’s a gentle humor as this old man lists his various ailments and then concludes with a wink and a reference to his “grasshopper” no longer working.

  89. Mort Coyle
    October 23rd, 2005 @ 12:36 pm

    Sorry for the duplicate posts!!! There seems to have been some type of glitch with the software that was causing my posts to be “intercepted” and not posted, so I re-typed it, and then both posted.

  90. Reluctant Atheist
    October 23rd, 2005 @ 3:43 pm

    MC:
    Guess I was incorrect about humor in the Bible. There is the old “Blind leading the blind, both fall into the ditch” (which incidentally, I quoted that for many years w/o knowing the source). The good Samaritan parable. So there IS the occasional gleam of humor in the book.
    So, as an honest man, I retract my prior statement.

  91. Mort Coyle
    October 23rd, 2005 @ 5:44 pm

    Your honesty and class are duly noted…

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