Saturday, 1 March 2008

Does God have a Sense of Humour?

"I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." (Proverbs 1:26)

Is this proof that God has a sense of humour? Is there such a thing as 'universal' humour, or does it depend upon the mores of culture and community? Impossible questions? Maybe.

The Audience

History has shown that 'professional' humour operates on a knife edge and that only the fabled few comedians, and comediennes, are able to hack it successfully year after year. They have the skills to match their humour with the audience knowing that failure to do so would mean disaster. Stand-up comedy is also about character and style of delivery. We only see the elite because of the dictates of the media. "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone" is a well-worn adage which still holds true today.

The above scripture is interesting because it is one of the very few which blatantly give God a human face. I have mentioned, in a previous post, that man is forever anthropomorphising God. By doing this, man feels more comfortable about God - like he's one of us - a chip off the old block.

Gallows Laughter

But don't get me wrong! God is no stand-up comedian. The laughter suggested in the above scripture is a classic example of 'gallows' laughter. This is a kind of anti-humour, the sort that says "I'll get back at you for what you've done, ha-ha." This is definitely a case of Nemesis rides again. The need to get even is, unfortunately, heavily ingrained in man's psyche.

You've probably noticed that the bible, generally speaking, doesn't have much 'natural' humour in it. In fact the overall tenor of the scriptures is a sobering cocktail of misery, morbidity and mayhem. It seems that being a 'man of God' is a serious business, not to be taken lightly or lightheartedly.

Women and Humour

"A time to weep and a time to laugh." (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

Made into a famous song, this scripture runs the whole gamut of emotions. On balance, there is more weeping than laughing. There is, however, one event that demonstrates beyond question the existence of natural humour. When Abraham's wife, Sarah, was told she would conceive and give birth, she laughed. This was hardly surprising since she was 90 years old. As we all know, she gave birth to a son called Isaac, a name which means 'laughter'. Interestingly, there is no record of Abraham laughing. He, after all, was much older. Does this mean that women have a greater sense of humour than men?

As I write this, I am reminded, with sadness, of certain countries who are, even now, destroying their infant girls. Apart from the moral and social implications of this act, they are destroying the spirit of humour. What will they become when the spring of humour dries up completely?

Unintentional Humour

"Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep..." (Song of Solomon 4:2)

This one is a hoot. If this isn't a starter for ten, I don't know what is. Can you imagine saying these words to your loved one? Can you imagine the response? I don't have a punchline that will cut the mustard but if you have any suggestions feel free to make a comment.

Old Golfers Never Die

One day Jesus, Moses and an old man were playing golf. Jesus went up to the tee and hit the ball which sailed over the fairway into the water trap. Jesus simply walked on the water and chipped the ball on to the green. Then Moses went up to the tee and hit the ball which also went into the water trap. Moses simply parted the water and chipped the ball on to the green.

Next to play was the old man. He hit the ball which headed for the water trap. Just before it hit the water, a fish jumped out catching the ball in its mouth. But before the fish could dive back into the water an eagle flew down catching the fish in its claws. The eagle, with fish and ball, flew up, whereupon a lightning bolt shot by, barely missing it. In its fright, the eagle dropped the fish which promptly fell on the green. On hitting the ground the ball rolled out of the mouth of the fish into the hole for a hole in one. On seeing this, Jesus said to the old man "Dad, if you don't stop messing about we won't bring you again."

I hope you liked that one and I shall conclude by quoting from Dave Allen, an Irish comedian sadly no longer with us:

"In Ireland we take our religion seriously. We take our sex religiously."