OP/ED: God gets the last laugh

Rob Leggett
By Rob Leggett
August 11th, 2010

 It seems to me that God doesn’t have a sense of humour … or, at least, according to His earthly representative, He doesn’t.

Do you remember the Dutch cartoons that threw the Muslim community into fits of violence? How about the Christian reaction to the Comedy Central Jesus cartoon? And now, the most recent outrage comes from Montreal’s Jewish community, who believe a cartoon printed was anti-Semitic.
The newspaper La Metropole printed a cartoon that depicts a Jew calling to passengers from his cab, “Come in! May Yaveh be with you.” And the lead line read: “A taxi transformed into a… synagogue?”
It refers to a Jewish cabbie who was fined $1,400 for having too many objects in his cab, including such items as prayer parchments and a picture of his rabbi.
The cartoons are funny… and I believe that that is the goal of a cartoon. So what, then, is the issue? Do theists believe that religious faith is somehow too sacred a human convention that it should be exempt from good-natured teasing?
Whether God should be exempt or not, He has never made anyone pay for insulting, ridiculing or teasing Him. Theists seem to indulge in every kind of contortion to prevent the idea that there can be a sense of humour about their religion, while simultaneously affirming the existence of an omniscient  god whom nothing escapes.
These theists who lack a sense of humour, who can’t laugh at themselves, spoil one of the only gifts we have in this life… laughter. They appear to want to flee the simple pleasures of life in order to not have to die and this is not a good bargain. It pays death twice, when once is more than enough.
I don’t think that the problem is with just religious extremism, but rather the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself. There is an idea that religion should be accorded undeserved reverence from every one around it.
I am interested in how religion gained this magical status that it enjoys, as compared to any other subject, such as politics or science. And somehow we all subscribe to it, whether we’re religious or not. Some weird social development has lead to this immunization of religion, that the religious might take offence to any perceived slur, real or imagined.
And what is particularly amusing to me is, theists managed to enlist multitudes of non-religious people or people of other faiths who take offense on their behalf, as well.
Sometimes, just sometimes, we should laugh at our mistakes, our beliefs and even ourselves.
Laugh hard…laugh loud.
I do!

Categories: Op/Ed