By Johnny Apocalypse
October 1, 2012
If you’re anything like me (and god help you if you are), you can have a sense of humor about almost anything. A few subjects might be off limits for you, but for the most part you’ll make a joke or laugh at a joke that involves just about anything and everything. The bad news is that if you’re one of these lucky individuals, you’ve probably wondered why people get so uptight about some things.
Now for some things it’s easy to understand- rape jokes don’t generally make for good humor around a lot of people, since most people either know someone who was raped or were raped themselves. Ditto for other nasty problems, like child molestation, the Holocaust, etc.
And then there’s religion. Sure, there’s plenty of people who will joke about it, but almost everyone must have met a few people who absolutely will not. Ever. End of story. And I always have to wonder, why?
Now I’m not saying that I’m insensitive to how important religion can be to some people. I just don’t understand why exactly it has to be a completely hands-off situation. I don’t recall anything in the Bible, Koran or Lotus Sutra saying don’t mock religion (not that I’ve exactly read those books cover to cover, but I’ve “more or less read them“, yeah). I’ve never been told by a Priest, Reverend, Rabbi, Lama, or voodoo witch doctor that it’s a bad idea (I’ve even had religious officials tell the occasional joke about god before). So why exactly is it that we can’t make a gag or two about it?
By now, some atheist readers are thinking “because those religious freaks take their ghost stories too damn seriously!” and some of the faithful are thinking “because the slightest joke will damn you to hell!” But my question really goes a bit deeper than that- assuming there is a God in the standard use of the term, why would he himself possibly be so uptight about it?
Bear with me here, because I’ve actually done a little thinking about this. The original thought some fifteen years ago was along the lines of: God is supposed to be perfect, and a perfect being has to have a perfect sense of humor. Now not only is this a silly argument, but it begs the question of “why does perfection require a sense of humor?”
But you know what would be an imperfection? Insecurity. Now I imagine that someone could make a pretty decent argument saying that insecurity wouldn’t be an imperfection, but most people would probably agree with me at some level. So if the religious folk in the world are going to consider God to be a perfect being, such a being wouldn’t have any insecurities.
And who has problems with jokes being made about them? The insecure. For instance, I make the occasional joke about Forbis and he laughs, calls me an asshole, and moves on with his life. But Saleeby? I made a joke about him one time and he started sending me letter bombs. Of course with that guy you don’t know if that’s just his sense of humor or not. Maybe not the best example.
So aside from being the “perfect being”, what other attributes of this deity can be reviewed here? How about “all powerful”? Seems like the next logical step to me. Because why would any such entity really care about the occasional joke? Picture it- you could squash any human like a bug. You could tear their atoms apart one-by-one if you so chose. So why would you possibly care if someone made a damn joke about you or a religion following you? Worst case scenario, you shrug it off and write them on the “send straight to hell” list.
And that, right there, is why the religious won’t tolerate these jokes. Their fears of going to hell instead of heaven, which will obviously be sealed if they let out a slight titter over such a jest. This is of course besides the fact that out of the numerous people I have personally met who claim to be deeply religious, only two of them actually waited until marriage before having sex.
Now I’m willing to let that fact slide until they jump my case for cracking wise about their faith. I do my best to be tolerant about all people, but hypocrisy like that can make it tough.
“You know how I can prove there’s no God?” I once jokingly asked a coworker, “because ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boy’ was written, recorded, released and became a hit song, and an all-loving God wouldn’t do that to mankind.”
Then pops up the religious guy I didn’t know had snuck up behind me.
“Hey, you can’t use that to disprove God!”
“Look, I was just goofing around-”
“Well you can’t joke about that, not even for a second! You’ll be doomed to hell!”
“Yeah, like your pussy-hunting trip to the clubs last night is going to ensure your place in heaven? How’d that go, anyway? Commit some interesting sins like last week?”
“Hey, you can’t just change the subject like that-”
“I’m not changing anything. You’re trying to save my soul from hell, I’m just making sure you’re qualified to do so. Can’t leave my soul in the hands of just anyone, right?”
And that’s probably why some religious people don’t like me.
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