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Does God Have a Sense of Humor?

Being that we just passed Easter, thought it would be fun and/or interesting to make my first post in this area.

My basic question is, "Does God Have a Sense of Humor, and if so, what is appropriate?"  First, understand that I come from a Protestant Christian background.  Second, my poor wife yesterday was trying to tell our kids the resurrection story with an anology to cookies.  As she was talking, I did a running commentary on how we were putting Jesus in the oven and backing him alive, and then after we were done, we were eating him.  I could even picture him with his face pressed against the glass screaming to get out.  

Then, at church, I was a greeter and got bored of saying Happy Easter hundreds of times so began faking like I was closing the door in people because they were late.  They laughed and I didn't seem to offend anyone.  

In either case, I didn't mean disrespect, I just seem to see the humor in everything.  So, does God have a sense of humor, is humor in the eye of the beholder, or did I go too far?  Thanks.
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rvfowler2
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rvfowler2
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6 Solutions
 
raterusCommented:
The answer is simple, yes.  We were made in his image, and enjoy laughter, so you can assume the same about God.  I believe we'll see more of God's humor after everything is complete and death itself exists no more.  Right now, I don't think it would be a very appropriate time for God to crack jokes, however there are plenty of examples in the bible of something funny.  For example, look at Elijah's dialog on Mt. Carmel when the false priests try to get their gods to create fire, or read the story when Peter escapes from prison in Acts and no one believes him when he's knocking on the door.
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WaterStreetCommented:
I don't see how God could have a sense of humor from what we know about Him in the Bible.  Everything depicted there is about serious moral, ethical and human issues.  The bible talks of commandments and gives many examples of humans failing to live according to certain standards.

All of that is serious stuff, and is not meant to be taken lightly.  The bible talks about God giving commandments for the way humans should lead their lives.  Imagine dying and having God asking you what you thought of His Ten Suggestions.

And, just because we are said to be made in the image of God, it doesn't mean that we share all His qualities.  Creating a picture of a car is not the same has having a car, no matter how much detail is shown.  Even in creating a child, the child is not a clone of its parents, and his behavior is not necessarily a reflection of them, though he will share many of their characteristics.  If you read the first chapters of Genesis you'll see that man was made from a combination of the dust of the earth and a spirit breathed into him by God.  This means that we share some of our qualities with God, such as being able to distinguish right from wrong, and humankind's almost unlimited ability to understand and create.   The major monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) do not consider being made in God's image to mean that God has each and every human quality, such as a sense of humor, for example.

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rvfowler2Author Commented:
I agree that you can read between the lines in the Bible and see a lot of humor (like when the "men" didn't believe the "women" who came back from the Empty Tomb and thought what they were saying was "nonsense."); however, it would be nice to see explicit examples.

Secondly, the related question is when is it appropriate.  You think this would be no big deal, but surprised and how people differ on the appropriate amount of reverence in certain situations.
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Jason210Commented:
As always with this kind of Question, it's impossible to answer because everyone has a different idea about who or what God is, which suggests that whatever God is, it's not something that can be defined simply. Without a definition of God, how can we attribute any quality to it, such as humour? God seems like an empty page that people project their ideas onto. I don't see any harm in projecting humour - thetre are far worse things we project.

If you're looking at this in a strictly Protestant sense, then no, God does not have humour because there is no evidence of that in the Bible and it is not part of the Christian doctrines or teachings.

By the way, I don't see any humour whatsoever in that which you are teaching your kids.
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CarnouCommented:
From the interactions I've seen between God and humanity in the Bible, God's more prone to open up the earth under you than to say "Dude, that's a good one!"  But perhaps God has changed with the times, and laughs at lolcats just like everyone else.  Does God have a sense of humor?  You'll find out when you interact with God.  "Hey God, remember when I cracked that joke about you to my kids?  Wasn't that funny?  Awesome stuff, right?"

Until then, I'd focus more on the mortal plane.  Does your intended audience have of a sense of humor?  It seems that the parishioners did, and I'd expect your kids would understand when you're making jokes.  Considering what a holy time Easter is on the Christian calendar, and how important the resurrection is to Christian theology, I'd focus more on if the audience of your jokes still understands that there is religious importance to what's going on, or if your jokes diminished that.  It's up to them to judge if you went too far.

It's also up to you.  Considering your degrees in theology, do you think what you did was going to far?  Did it diminish the respect you show to your religion, or make you seem irreverent to others?  Was it a mistake to have done it, and when a similar occasion occurs, will you still perform your comedy routines?  If you're ok with it, ultimately, that's what matters most - unless and until God strikes you down for your effrontery.  If and when that happens, I'll be able to officially assert: no, God doesn't agree with your sense of humor.  Until then, it seems you're safe to assume that God does.
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Jason210Commented:
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
What a wonderful example of God's humour - Mt. Carmel.

Oh how we laughed as they slayed the 400 prophets of Baal.
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rvfowler2Author Commented:
it is interesting how people view the Bible.  I have often wondered if we are biased based on our personalities.  For example, many of you see no humor in the Bible while I (and at least one person above) see some.  I do see Carnou's point in that whether I am speaking or just interacting with people, if I do desire to put other's comfort above my own, I should be aware of and adjust to other's taste in humor.  I have probably erred on the humor side and thus the reason for my question.  

Regarding my kids, I suppose the key is whether the enjoyed the humor and they did.  My purpose is to show them that God is fun as well as serious.  I do counseling on the side and I've never known a kid to have been wounded by humor (I mean the kind not directed at making fun of them), but have found kids wounded by the presentation of a deadly serious God where there is no grace.  I guess, to me, if you understand God's grace towards our sins and weaknesses, then life is full of joy, humor, and fun.  Am I wrong?
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WaterStreetCommented:
rvfowler2,

Your EE Profile says you have a masters and doctorate in pastoral counseling, presumably from the divinity school you mentioned in your profile.

So help me out here, because I'm concerned that the comments you've made don't seem to be coming from someone that I would expect having that education.  Two examples:

1.  "a deadly serious God where there is no grace."

Being deadly serious does not imply that grace will not be granted.  But, I think that if God is whimsical and humorous, as opposed to being serious, then there is no basis for a reasonable expectation of grace from Him.  I think you meant to say that if God is a god of absolute justice then there is no compassion for wrong-doing and, therefore, no grace.


2.  "I guess, to me, if you understand God's grace towards our sins and weaknesses, then life is full of joy, humor, and fun.  Am I wrong?"

You are wrong, if I understand what you just said.    You are describing a godless world.  God of the bible make demands on humans to live a certain way and treat others properly.  If you are only treating God as the Great Public Utility in the Sky, whose main function is to give grace when requested regardless of the requester's attitude and intentions then I think this is new to most believers.  Do you think the requester should be laughing or serious when seeking grace, or do you think grace is just automatically granted?

People can have fun, humor and joy in their lives.  I think you are mixing this up with God being serious (not humorous).    We have to draw the line somewhere.  If you are suggesting that God has a sense of humor then I think you are communicating the wrong message in your pastoral counseling.  When you suggest that then people walk away with the message that God is not serious.  That opens the door for someone to think, for example, "We all laughed when I posted my friend's nude picture on the Internet.  God has a sense of humor, so it should be okay. No regrets."  God forbid!
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tliottaCommented:
Personally, I feel no doubt that God has a sense of humor. However, I hope never to confuse "a" sense of humor with "my" sense of humor.

Tom
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rvfowler2Author Commented:
WaterStreet, I appreciate your thoughtful comments before, but the last one way off.  First, it seems to get personal to mention that you are surprised that someone with my education would make these comments.  Unnecessary.  Second, it seems you are putting a lot of words in my mouth that I didn't say and did not thoroughly read my comment.  Or, possibly you highlighted those that most inflamed you.  My key point was "My purpose is to show them [my kids] that God is fun as well as serious."  Note the "as well as" where your comments seem to push me toward a false dichotomy between humor/grace and seriousness/justice when I am really trying to integrate the two sides.

Also, I don't equate being humorous with being whimsical, just to clarify.  My intention with "deadly serious" was to coin a phrase where God is more concerned with justice, consequences, and offense against sin than mercy and grace.  Lastly, I think this is partly my fault because I did not define my terms (not being a philosopher or good debator).  In #2 above, it appears that when I mention "God's grace towards our sin and weaknesses," you assume I mean "cheap grace" where God forgives anything and everything.  Similarly, I have no idea how from what I said you got to being OK with posting naked pictures of people.  A large jump.  As I mentioned, I am trying to communicate that God is a mixture or integration of seriousness and fun, both in counseling, with children. etc.

In the middle part you ask an insightful question.  I believe that God would definitely desire us to be repentant, sort of like the Prodigal Son who told his father he only deserved to be like one of his father's servants.  That's why I teach people something called the "Power Apology."  It does does no good practically and is a poor reflection of one's heart to apologize as if you just bumped into someone when you have done a serious offense.  (But I digress.)  However, with that said, Jesus died for my sins; it's his work on the cross, more than my great efforts at repentance that bring grace to my life.  So there is also some integration here as well.  But I always lean towards God's efforts over mine.

My purpose was how to model and teach a God that I believe that Bible portrays as both serious and fun.  One practical way on the fun side is with humor.  And, I've noticed that people who truly understand the depth of God's grace by understanding how serious the cost was for him are very fun, joyful, humorous, grace-filled people who can also be serious when the time is right.  As with my children, there is a time to have fun and a time to bring consequences, etc.  An integration.
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WaterStreetCommented:
My opinion:

It is not about what we mean. It is all about the ideas that people have in their minds after they walk away from a conversation with us. This thread is an example of that. I suggest that instead of using words like humorous and fun for God, which suggest that he is not to be taken seriously, use words like fair, compassionate, grace, and those that communicate the loving and caring of a parent.
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rvfowler2Author Commented:
I guess I do see (and enjoy the company of those who do see) humor and fun -- along with words like fair, etc., -- as those that communicate a loving parent.  In fact, what I grew to learn from my own kids is one of the things that communicates love the most is simply having fun with them:  playing, wrestling, games, sense of humor, etc.  

But, you make a good point, and it was the purpose of this post, to discover what humor in relation to God communicates to others.  From yours and others posts, I am reminded that there is a cross section of people who see humor and fun as diminishing God's qualities to some degree -- that he is not to be taken as seriously.  This again reminds me to monoitor the way I communicate about God and display my relationship with God in order not to offend or detract from other's experiences.
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rvfowler2Author Commented:
Thanks to all; this has been helpful.  Wish I could award more points.
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Jason210Commented:
Thanks for the points and hope you return with more questions.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
so have you found anyone else who thinks God has a sense of humour?
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rvfowler2Author Commented:
Yes, but several learning points:
1. God's sense of humor might not be the same as mine.
2. Others may not (and often do not) share my view of God's sense of humor, so my comments could either bring judgment upon myself or it could detract from their experience of worship (if that is the setting)... or both.
3. People who have religious points of view tend to be very inflexible (even when not considering basic doctrine) and tend to persuade much more than investigate and ask questions.  I think I suffer from this too and am trying to change.
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WaterStreetCommented:

Thanks and welcome to the experience of EE's P&R Zone.
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rvfowler2Author Commented:
Thanks.  By the way, as a follow-up, I noticed you spelled humor with a "u", so was wondering if you were British.  If so, do you think there's a difference between humor that an American or a Brit (correct?) is comfortable with?  You? they seem such a dichotomy; formal on the one hand as a generalization of their culture, but have some of the best humor I've encountered.
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WaterStreetCommented:
*laughing* I guess it was a typo,  my dyslexia or age (hope to be 70 next year).  

I'm not a Brit.  But, I think they do have a different sense of humor.  Our American image of them can be as being formal, but very many of them are not.  I'm sure they have a few myths about Americans.
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Jason210Commented:
I'm a brit and there is a difference in American and British humour.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
The difference is probably that when us Brits use irony we don't qualify it with "just kidding", for example I don't really think murdering 400 people is funny. There's also a big difference in how American media represents Brits implying us to be pompous as if we were all like Captain Mainwaring of Dad's Army.
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Jason210Commented:
The difference is probably that when us Brits use irony we don't qualify it with "just kidding",

Yes, I think so too. But a lot of humour is based on character stereotypes which are a product of the society from which they appear. One classic example that you mentioned is Captain Mainwaring. I don't know if you have ever seen the film "Dad's Army"? It differs from the Sitcom in that there is no recorded soundtrack of laughter. If you look on imdb.com, and read American comments about this film, you can see straight away that many Americans don't get it. I remember reading one user review where the user said the film was propaganda junk. Lol. Personally I thought the film is one of the funniest of all Dad's Army productions because much of the humour in it is so subtle.

Subtley. That is also another difference between American and British humour. If you think of the Mel Brooks, then subtley is not his vocabulary.

Another famous British humourous character is Basil Fawlty. While there is a slapstick element to Fawlty towers, there is also a  subtle study of a person who thinks he is more important that he is, just like Mannering. This is the funniest aspect for me.

Stanley Kubrick had a good understanding of British humour, I think. He made an excellent black comedy called "Dr Strangelove". In it British actor Peter Sellers plays three different roles. By far the funniest for me is the British RAF officer Mandrake he plays, at the Amercian Military base, because the humour is so subtle. This character is the opposite of Mannering, so humble and polite to the point of being inadequate. Absolutely hillarious. Yet, I doubt that many Americans would agree.

So I think I'd conclude by saying that a large part of British humour is based on subtle study of a flawed character, whereas American humour seems to lean more to the slapstick.
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Jason210Commented:
Captain Mainwaring "If anything happens to me, take my gun. And if anything happens to you, give it to the person next to you."
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rvfowler2Author Commented:
Aaah, this looks almost like another post.  :)  First, as an American, let me apologize for our stereotypes of the British.  However, I really didn't get the Mainwaring of Dad's Army reference and I'm a film buff.  Second, Jason's comment may explain why I often prefer British humor to American, for I prefer subtlety.  For example, I don't like hardly anything Mel Brooks has done (save maybe Young Frankenstein and in it the humor I like best is the subtle kind - Frau Blucher [spelling], for example).

Seems to me that the British rarely make a bad comedy -- Waking Ned Devine, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Monte Python, etc,. etc.
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