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Humor in the Bible? Lancaster's take

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The Arkansas Times’ staff theologian, Bob Lancaster, contributed his own take on the question of humor in the Bible.

There are no jokes in the Bible.

You could argue that it’s all one big Joke but that would be discourteous. It is plainly not God’s Word because any deity with the wit to create human beings would not long suffer so unrelievedly witless and tedious a chronicle.

Some unintended humor attached to Jonah, Job and Noah, and there was a certain Patmos pathos in Revelation that some cruelty-joke types find amusing, but otherwise the thing goes from grim to grimmer. Jesus wept but he never smiled. He had no sense of the absurd that is the foundation of all jokes and nearly all humor.

He might’ve become a funny guy if he’d lived longer, but no one can develop a sense of humor in only 33 years. You have to suffer the myriad indignities of growing older to gain the perspective that a genuine sense of humor requires.

And divinity is no substitute for proper aging.

Even the “South Park” Jesus isn’t funny. It’s the “South Park” Satan who gets all the laffs. That was the case in Milton, too. Humor was a pagan, Greek, Roman, oriental thing, which may be why the Chosen People eschewed it so diligently, and continue to do so, along with the Prophet’s People, to this day.

Contemporary pulpit humor is never funny because it is working against the grain of the Writ. Not even Bishop Sheen could make it work. When somebody like Governor Huckabee tries it, utterly ignorant of the conflict of traditions, you want to just go up and jerk a knot in him.




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