Religion puts itself on a pedestal against criticism and against humour, using outdated laws, self-righteous pomposity and occasionally murder, to protect itself.
Try to make a film that depicts Jesus as gay and you can still be charged with blasphemy in the UK. Criticise Mohammed in a cartoon and suicide bombers will be quickly trained and dispatched to blow you up. The Life of Brian, one of the funniest films ever made, was banned in many places for making a mockery of religion. What the simplistically religious don’t realise though, is that their views are actually very funny to most contemplative secular people. This is not to criticise the simple faith of a simple person. It is to criticise the holier than thou who have never thought about the beliefs they evangelise.
Those Who Will Not Be Mocked tend to be vague on what God is, vague on where God resides, vague on God’s omnipotence and omniscience, vague on whether or not God is currently active, vague on whether God created evil, vague on the age of our solar system and planet, and vague on the origins of the multiverse, and our place in it. Nevertheless, with all that vagueness, and with the lack of thought that shows no insight even into their own belief system, they get absurdly outraged when their religion is challenged, and since humour is the most dangerous weapon against stupidity, they get dangerous themselves, when laughed at.
So what is funny about religious belief? For one thing, the way religions split into divided sects who hate each other and then fight for centuries. It was pinned down very well in The Life of Brian, with the conflict between followers of the Gourd, and followers of the Shoe…
“Man in crowd V: He has given us…his shoe!
Man in crowd III: The shoe is the sign! Let us follow his example!
Man in crowd IV: What?
Man in crowd III: Let us like him, hold up one shoe and let the other one be upon our foot, for this is his sign that all who follow him shall do likewise!
Man in crowd III: No, no, no, the shoe is a sign that we must gather shoes together in abundance!
Woman in crowd II: Cast off the shoes! Follow the gourd!
Man in crowd V: No, let us gather shoes together! Let me!
Woman in crowd: Oh, get off!
Man in crowd IV: No, no, it is a sign that like him we must think not of the things of the body, but of the face and head!
Man in crowd V: Give me your shoe!
Man in crowd IV: Get off!
Woman in crowd II: Follow the gourd, the holy gourd of Jerusalem!”
And so it goes on until within minutes of the new religion being born, the crowd decides to kill an unbeliever.
Personally, I find it very funny that for the past 2000 years, Christians have been waiting for the end of the world, and the second coming of Jesus, the war of Armageddon, the arrival on earth of the Antichrist, the Tribulation, and the Rapture. These events are depicted in simplistic illustrated comic-type hand-outs of the Christian press, designed to appeal to people with limited thinking ability, that show airline pilots disappearing mid-flight, truck drivers and car drivers disappearing at speed, and the resultant devastation as uncontrolled vehicles of different types career in chaos causing the death and destruction of non-believers… Can you imagine the consternation when people started disappearing? Imagine you are making love, and your partner is suddenly not there; or your waiter disappears just as he is pouring you a drink.
I also find funny the fact that Christian churches are giving out comics to explain about the coming end of the world. It shows what they think about the average intelligence of those who attend their churches.
But the end, to coin a phrase, doesn’t seem to be nigh. Nevertheless people of religion don’t like getting laughed at. Church leaders get very angry about being laughed at, and there is a good reason for that. Attendance at most places of worship is falling as rationality and common-sense spread through the population. When people laugh at the stupidity of a belief system or at an exposed hypocrisy of the church they previously supported, they are less likely to attend, and the church loses money.
It also seems funny to me that the only way to perpetuate religion is for them to try to spread irrationality faster than the age of information allows people rapid access to common sense, critical thinking, and humour.
The churches know that knowledge is their enemy, and they frantically warn that the Devil comes in many guises. What is not funny is that in places where religious law has replaced state law, like in Iran, access to the internet is strictly limited, and people are given the death penalty for apostasy. Remind me not to go there… But that one should even have to think about that; that fear should be part of our lives because of religion, now that’s a bad thing about religion.