Hi! People! After all we're all people aren't we? I heard someone laughing out there at the back. Well done. Good, because the Lord he loves laughter and that's really the theme of my talk today, on this - let's face it - happy occasion: God, the laughter giver, Christ, the Comedian.
Rowan Atkinson, The Vicar's Wedding Speech
And Londonist has to agree, we're pretty sure that God (and we use 'God' in the broadest, most non-denominational sense here) has a GSOH. How else do you explain testicles? But anyone with even a passing interest in world events could be forgiven for thinking that the divine laughter does not travel well to the followers.
Which is a shame because on the whole, religions are not a bad thing. As well as providing some kind of spiritual solace to the great question of the what next, they provide some great blueprints to human co-existence; mainly through tolerance, understanding and getting on with everything else we share this rock with. A question perhaps of don't shoot the messenger but there are still a fair few listeners on all sides that will hopefully find themselves surprised when the man with the horns and the tail appears with their room key for the Hotel Eternity.
So surely it is stronger, more human and more divine to be able to laugh at oneself and one's beliefs than to raise a fist in anger or a round of my God's better than your God playground antics instead? After all when used properly humour can be used to educate, to stimulate, to question and to teach. Unfortunately our fears of mockery seem to be clouding our ability to differentiate the two.
So serendipitous kudos to The Rosslyn Hill Unitarian chapel who are hosting a night of entertainment and discourse on humour in religion this Thursday night.
The night will be a real grassroots event to help people from all religions, and atheists too, to come to grips with the current issues.
The Joys of Blasphemy takes place at: The Rosslyn Hill Unitarian chapel, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead NW3, this Thursday 16th February 2006, 7pm for 7:30 start. Entry is £5 and all donations go to Rosslyn Hill UC's charity work.
We don't actually know much about the Unitarians but they tell us that: The Unitarians are a pluralistic denomination which embrace free thought and encourages dialogue between religions. So they're defintiely up on our 'good guys' list.
Now we understand that there will still be some out there determined to cling on to the idea that any kind of piss taking should be punishable by divine vengeance delivered through human hands. So on this day that, despite the efforts of the card companies, still celebrates the idea of love, we could endeth this lesson with a quote. And although we may not agree with everything the little old lady in question did, it still seems to encompass that general idea that if we all want to die happily in our beds of old age, a little more tolerance, and laughter in the world is going to go a long long way:
If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa
Or perhaps we should leave the last word to one of the twentieth century's most spiritual philosophers, Mr William Melvin Hicks:
You're a Christian, forgive me...