Monday, May 31, 2010

Philippians 4:8 on Humor, Part 1

Humor: The juxtaposition of two or more unexpected or incongruous items.

Now that we know what humor is, we need to determine what God thinks about it. First, does humor carry the qualities worth dwelling on listed in Philippians 4:8?

Is it true? (True: That which conforms to reality or reveals truth)

Good or bad, humor is a part of our world. So if all stories lacked any humor, the picture would be incomplete.

But more than that, while humor itself often doesn’t mirror reality, an element of reality must exist, even if exaggerated. Without it humor doesn’t ring true, and in fact, that element of reality is often what makes the humor funny.

As for revealing truth, what better way to display it than with a form that breaches defenses because it is one step removed from reality?

Is it noble? (Noble: Characters acting with dignity and serious topics dealt with respect)

This one is tough. Some humor does deal with serious topics yet does it with respect. Think of the scene out of Enchanted where Giselle learns Robert’s clients are divorcing. The divorce is treated as the serious problem it is, yet the extreme reaction of Giselle causes humor to exist in the scene.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of humor that stripes dignity from anyone or anything. Turn on the television on any particular day and it probably won’t take you long to find some.

So the answer to this is mixed, marking humor a true gray area with humor both bad and good.

Is it right? (Right: The conformity to the will, standards and character of God)

Will & Standard: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

No, joy and laughter are not interchangeable. Laughter can be joyless and joy doesn’t always involve laughter or even happiness for that matter. However, is joy truly joy if there’s never laughter? And humor is one of the primary instigators of laughter.

Character: “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” Psalm 2:4

God has a well-developed sense of humor. He employs sarcasm in Job 28-41, sarcasm and hyperbole in Matthew 23, and plays on words in John 3. Besides, have you ever studied creation? Consider the platypus and tell me He doesn’t have a sense of humor…

No comments: