Is religion a joking matter?

In my view, religion better be a joking matter! Jokes about Buddhism and Christianity and Judaism indicate the currency of these faiths, at least in the US. Few people people joke about Pagan pantheons because they aren’t relevant to the majority. If Islam becomes off-limit for humor, it would happen for only two reasons. One, ┬áis that it goes extinct in the minds of the overwhelming majority. That’s unlikely. The other possibility is that its adherents go extinct when enough people decide that it’s no laughing matter but rather something closer to rabies. And I suspect that the exact flavor or sect would be irrelevant to the “killers of the rabid”, same as the nuances of Judaism or Communism were irrelevant to the German troops executing Jews and Commissars.

So the followers of Islam would do better if they developed a sense of humor about their faith the way Christians and Jews have. Those two faiths aren’t judged by the actions of their craziest adherents, and there’s a good possibility that the Western branch of Islam will be able distance itself from the more traditional adherents. After all, my Muslim friends in the US mostly came here to get away from the rule of their nominal coreligionists. They aren’t interested in turning their faith into a government department anymore than Christians here want a Russian-style Synod as a part of the Washington bureaucracy.

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12 Responses to Is religion a joking matter?

  1. Jeff says:

    So this blind rabbi walks into a bar…

  2. Henry says:

    One of my red flags is an inability to laugh at yourself.
    I firmly believe that God (however you name Him/Her etc) has a sense of humor:just look around you.

  3. jimsloey says:

    Unfortunately these men believe their God is unable to find either humor or the power to defend himself. It is an empty religion of impotent idols that relies on the execution of its detractors by its adherents and promotes suicide attacks as a pleasing
    form of worship.

    • Lyle says:

      I’ve long wondered how it is that the jihadists think that Allah is too impotent to deal with us infidels on his own, in his own way, and that killing one of Allah’s creations is doing him a favor.

      The Christians have a lot more respect for their God; “Justice is mine, sayeth the Lord.”

  4. The point you make is true, Oleg. Religion, as distinguished from personal belief, is a structure designed by humans, justly subject to scrutiny, ridicule, and adherence all the same; and I say that as a believing Christian.

    Many of the most successful comedians throughout modern times were Jewish. And nearly every comedian in contemporary times levels scathing (but often hilarious) analyses toward my own religion.

    It might be worth noting, however, that both Christianity and Judaism are very broad sets of beliefs that developed over a long period of time involving the input of countless people. While Christianity may profess the deity of Christ, no one believes the early church had no role in the development of our traditions and interpretations. This necessarily led to discussion and debate and disagreement and, ultimately, denominationalism; a pattern which is key to Western Civilization. In America alone, we have seen an exponential growth in the varieties of Christianity, even since the ratification of the Constitution.

    Islam, on the other hand, was developed almost entirely by one man, and largely as a doctrine wedding the pulpit to politics. For all the notable sects of Islam, there has been no similar pattern of divergent disagreement. To put it bluntly, a Westernized Islam might be possible only to the extent that non-Islamic ideas are adopted, supplanting Islamic ideas. As a social doctrine, it runs counter to a great deal of the foundations of free society. The divergence in Muslim societies often adheres to most, if not all, of the anti-Western strictures in the Koran, while differing in ways that are best described as tribalism.

    That said, all it takes for one person to Westernize is embrace our cultural mores and norms. If they want to pray to the east and have pride in the West, I support it.

  5. Patrick says:

    “So the followers of Islam would do better if they developed a sense of humor about their faith the way Christians and Jews have.”

    I think this is going to be a hard sell to the followers of the Prophet. As Ayatollah Khomeini said:

    “There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam.”

    The evidence so far is he wasn’t kidding.

  6. Sid says:


    I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.

    As a member of the UMC, I have enjoyed that joke.

  7. Lyle says:

    It’s a sin to be overcome by emotion, or to be gloomy. If someone insults your religion, either out of spite or in an attempt to be funny, and it angers you, he has just outed you as a fraud. He’s caused you to reveal your allegiance with the authoritarian system, which stands apart from the creator.

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