Is It Biblical to Be Funny?
- Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Or, to put it another way, God promises to clean out the walk-in closet of his daughters just before shaving their heads and putting them over his knee, because they are a trampish bunch who love to strut around the club in push-up bras and clear heels flirting with rich old men, hoping to land a sugar daddy with Viagra in one pocket and a platinum credit card in the other.
Isaiah 44:13–20 mocks Geppetto-esque guys who use their woodworking skills to make a god:
The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
Indeed, it is funny that God would take the time to mock a guy who got an A in high school woodshop and delights in his ability to discern which end of a log is god and which end is firewood because he studied it in community college.
In addition, Isaiah 64:6 compares religion to a bloody menstrual rag: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” This is particularly shocking if you think about it being applied to the sincerely religious, including, for example, a Muslim kneeling on his rug praying to Mecca, or a Mormon wearing his sacred underbritches because some guy in Utah told him that God likes his men to wear onesies with a trap door.
The Wisdom Books
The wisdom literature is likewise filled with humor. In many places we read about God laughing at people, even mocking them. Psalm 37:13 says, “The Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.” Psalm 2:4 says, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” Psalm 59:8 says, “But you, O Lord, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision.”
Also, Proverbs 1:23–27 says:
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Sarcasm also drips throughout the book of Job. The fact that the Bible college students who kept hounding Job with picky theological criticisms are called his “friends” and “comforters” is an obvious joke. To end the book, God even pokes fun at poor Job in chapter 38, essentially telling him to put a cup on because God planned to kick him in the middle by asking him eighty scientific questions, beginning with, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Getting the sarcasm, Job wisely tapped out and left the ring.
Proverbs makes fun of all kinds of people, especially the sluggard, who, by definition, is someone so lazy that he experiences devolution on his way to becoming a slug. Proverbs 26:14 says, “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.” Perhaps quoting what the guy’s mom says every morning, Proverbs 6:9 says, “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” Mocking the guy who is too lazy to even exert energy to get the chips from the bowl to his mouth while sitting on the couch devoting his twenties to watching every episode of Star Trek, Proverbs 19:24 says, “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.” Presumably mocking the aspiring musician who freeloads off his girlfriend and crashes at her pad but never goes out to find a job because of one ridiculous excuse after another, like the terror alert being at yellow, Proverbs 22:13 adds this: “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!’”
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