Bringing the Funny! Humour as a path to Atheism.

I am not a Blogger at heart, I don't feel I have anything to say (that hasn't been said before or better by others), or any great wisdom to lay down. However this time, I think that this idea is interesting enough to be shared.

I see a lot of "why I am an Atheist" posts and blogs (mostly because I am looking for those things right now). I am still fairly new in embracing my Atheism, though I have been an agnostic/atheist for probably longer then I myself have realized.

Recently I have been chatting online with a girl who is being raised in an Orthodox Jewish community. Its obvious from our chats that see is has some doubts about her faith, mostly due to some of the nature of the questions she has been asking. One of the ones that gave me pause was how I became an atheist or what path lead me to where I am. I have always found this a difficult question to answer, because it was such a gradual process for me.

I grew up pretty average and completely free of any set religion. I had friends who attended churches, those who were spiritual, and those who were decidedly not. Most of my good friends these days could probably be called agnostics (though a few of them would deny it), however my best friend growing up was decidedly Pentecostal (I even went to a few Pentecostal summer camps with him).

What I came up with however, as the best reason I am an Atheist is "Humour".

Humour help me become an Atheist. Most of the writers I read growing up were humourous writers (Douglas Adams, Piers Anthony, Terry Pratchett). I watched a lot of comedians (George Carlin, Jon Stewart, Robin Williams, Woody Allen, Bob Newhart, Penn & Teller... etc). And I watched a lot (and I mean a lot) of cartoons (way to many to list here but mostly they were almost always the sillier/comedy ones). The great thing about Humour, is at some point it seemed to question ideas that I had or was thoughts I was taking for granted. Often it would make a comment on something that I hadn't really thought about, that had it been presented to me seriously would have produced a completely different reaction. Humour is an easy medium to enjoy, but the best humourists really seem to want to make us think and ask questions of those around us.

Watching/Reading these Humourists was an outlet of free thought for me. It showed me that its ok to ask questions (even when you might not like the answers) and even seek the answers for myself. Even more importantly they taught me that the easy answer is sometimes even worse then the wrong answer. Now I am not sure if others have had similar experiences with humour as a medium for Atheism, but I know that it had a large impact on me and my thought processes, and still does to this day.


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Comment by Ray Whiting on March 24, 2009 at 10:18pm
Back in the late 80's, after I'd pretty much figured out Christianity was bunk, but still dabbling in other stuff, New Age spirituality, etc. I noticed that I could read the Sunday Funnies, or even some of the weekday comic strips, and suddenly have an "ah-HA" moment -- like it would 'speak' to me some 'message' relevant to what was in my life at the time (usually just some insight into humanity). And it was the same sensation that I'd used to get reading stuff in the Bible. That helped me get beyond the "Bible is God's Word" dogma: anything, including the Sunday Funnies could be just as inspiring and personally relevant.
Comment by Jennifer W on March 24, 2009 at 6:16pm
I can relate to this, although it was more to ground my thoughts in Atheism. When I became more open minded, I was willing to open up my thoughts, and alot of comedians take a common sense approach and use analogies that make more sense than any church doctrine.

When you laugh at a good comedian alot of people usually say "that's so true!"



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