There is a fundamental humorlessness about fundamentalist religion that gives lie to the claim that God brings joy and atheism is bleak and dreary. I first experienced this shortly after high school, many years ago, when I ran into a friend on the campus of the local community college. This was a friend with whom I had shared many a laugh, a young man with a wry sense of the absurd and a sense of humor that was to be admired. On this day, he had his nose in a book, and I cheerfully and innocently asked him what he was reading.
"The Truth," he replied sternly.
He never made me laugh again. He didn't try.
I have written a "topic page" for Cracked.com covering the subject of "Intelligent Design." Now understand, Cracked is a humor website and nothing else. One should not expect gracious, inoffensive treatment of any subject on this site, but rather joyous mockery, ridicule and parody. That’s what we do there. Yet shortly after publishing I received a message regarding the article: I was told that it was typical of "my kind," that I could only make fun of ideas and did not understand the "serious" debate behind the issues involved.
Personally, I think I understood well enough to demolish the Watchmaker Argument, that old warhorse that the more ignorant creationists still trot out proudly, ignoring the tattered mane, lifeless eyes, and the stick up its butt. Regardless, I’m not debating here. I’m making jokes. You, know, jokes. Funny. Levity, as it were.
But seriously religious people don’t much laugh, I’m afraid. Why is that?
Could it be that their holy scripture teaches them that they are piles of garbage, wrapped in skin, wallowing in sin, the very essence of failure in everything we were meant to be? God has ordained that we shall make our livings by the sweat of our brow, bear children in great pain and, when we’re done with that, in most cases we proceed to Hell to be tortured for what’s left of eternity. Because we’re scum, that’s why. We deserve it. Original Sin, you know. It’s in the Bible. It’s The Truth.
How funny is that?
Ah, but that’s just typical of our kind, right? It’s not like we’re happy, any of us. We think we are, but we’re not.
Perhaps an icon featuring an ancient method of slow, torturous execution would cheer me up.