Humor in the Bible? Lancaster's take 

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.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Bob Lancaster

  • Banned in 2018

    Here's some arcana reeking of 2017 that I'm banning from consideration, attention, even out-loud mention in 2018. I'm unfriending all this 2017-reminding shit. It's dead to me in 2018.
    • Jan 11, 2018
  • Wretched rez

    I had some New Year's Rez(olutions) for 2016 but that ship sailed so I'm renaming them my Spring Rez or my All-Occasion Whatevers and sending them along.
    • May 26, 2016
  • Nod to Bob

    A look back at the weird and wonderful world of Bob Lancaster.
    • Mar 21, 2013
  • More »

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation