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'Laugh at religion?' Facebook discussion


New Member
I have a habit of linking my atheist related news and blog articles on my facebook page, and this is a discussion that resulted from sharing the Pharyngula article: The Joke

(Unrelated aside) The person I was discussing with is an ex and the whole thing served to make me remember why I find him annoying. (/aside)

Me: Laugh at religion? Why yes, we should, and here's one opinion on why. (followed by the link)

L said:
Laugh at religion? No. Laugh at some pretty extreme and baseless interpretations of it... quite possibly!

Me: Really? I find even moderate religion pretty laughable.

L said:
Since when have you laughed at beliefs different to your own? Why should anyone laugh at something they don't necessarily agree with. I'm an atheist, and I'll happily debate for hours about the merits/disadvantages of religion. But I won't laugh at them for it, it's disrespectful.

Me: Since when? Many years.

You honestly don't laugh at the idea of fitting billions of animals on a single boat? Or a man riding a winged horse into the clouds? Or talking snakes? Or elephant headed people? Or any number of things from any number of religions.

The ideas are laughable, I laugh at them. Idea's and opinion's that are rooted in fantasy don't deserve my respect. PEOPLE will get my respect if they earn it, and I wont laugh at them, but I will laugh at their beliefs if they merit ridicule.

L said:
If they're supposed to be taken literally, I think they're unlikely to have occurred, certainly. Many of the ideas in any religious book you care to pick up are metaphorical to be begin with. I just don't see why I should laugh at something that gives people strength and/or comfort in hard times. I don't have to understand why it does, but if it works for them, good luck to them.

None of them are any more likely, or unlikely, than the principles behind Paganism, that you were (or possibly still are) a huge advocate of. You either accept that such things are possible, or you don't. You can't pick and choose.

Me: You're a bit behind the times, [L], I haven't been Pagan since the early 2000's. And I do indeed find most, if not all, of that religion laughable as well these days. (As well as more than a little chauvinist, but that's another discussion.)

Actually most, if not all, of the 'holy' books were written with the intention of being literal. It is the religious themselves who cheery-pick which bits they are only now deciding should be followed as truth/literal or allegorical/metaphorical. And of course, each different type of any given religion will disagree on which bits fall where.

Which doesn't change the fact that the idea's held within those books are still laughable.

If it was the religion actually giving the person strength/comfort, then sure, that would be great and fine and dandy, but it isn't. They are getting the strength/comfort from within themselves, their families and the community. All of which can be found without the crutch of fable and myth.

L said:
Yes [Whisper], I know that. But many of these people don't feel that they have the strength to do this themselves, even if the contrary is true. In many ways, Religion is a crutch, I don't deny that (and believe it myself), but some people need crutches - both literal and metaphorical, and I wouldn't deny either that luxury. There is something to be said for a motivational tool.

Many of the Holy books have had their meanings lost and mis-interpreted through many hundreds and/or thousands of years. No-one is to say what was intended by whom, and certainly no-one I know is in a position to say otherwise - including you, including me. Some (both inside, and outside of their religious circles) believe the stories to be literal. Some believe them to be metaphorical. If anyone knew for sure, then we wouldn't have had several hundred years of war and strife over the issue.

IMO the stories are there only to provide a wider moral context. But that's just my opinion. Sure, they've been butchered and twisted by the machinations of personal vendettas and political contrivances, but the intention is what is a good one.

As someone who has never really had a faith, I'm sorry that you lost yours. That makes me kinda sad for some reason :( I've always wondered what it's like to believe in something like that, but I've never been able to extend my belief beyond what I can see, touch and explain rationally.

(His last paragraph annoyed the hell out of me, his presumption, condescension and unwanted sympathy, he's talking out of his ass - believe me, I know him - and it rankled me more than I allowed to show in my response.)
My mom said:

My mom said:
oh and:


take your pick

Me: You're 'sorry' and 'sad' that I lost my (not even really believed in) Paganism? Huh.

None of this changes the fact that, yes, I think religion should be laughed at. It IS laughable, even if people use it as that crutch, eve if people use it as a moral compass (I'm sorry, what? The story of Abraham taught us to get our father drunk and rape him if we want to get pregnant, for fucks sake - and Jesus teaches us that we should lay all our wrongs on a scapegoat and sacrifice him - or not really, considering he didn't ACTUALLY die - to make ourselves less culpable...) or whatever other reason you care to come up with to tolerate it's presence in our society.

If you actually read the article I linked to, you'll find another reason it should be laughed at. It helps to rid us of antiquated, un-scientific, barbaric meme's.

L said:
LOL [My mom], that first Video is brilliant, love it! The Fallacies page is interesting :) And point well made.

. I'm not defending specific religions, and I'm not going to start picking apart the Bible, or any other religious book, for examples about what is bad and what isn't. (Though I think that picking any particular references to parental rape and and sacrificing goats is pretty facecious as they aren't exactly issues we have to deal with today in 'modern' society.

I'm not religious, and I'm not going to defend those particular points as I find that they're mostly irrelevant. My point isn't that Religions are right or wrong, or whether the reasons people take on board what they apparently preach are right or wrong.

As my sister will attest (had this conversation with her quite recently as she's turned pretty devout lately) is that I DO think religion is a crutch, a scapegoat and I think that it takes responsibility (both good and bad) from 1 person to give it to someone else. In essense, I mostly agree with you, I just air my views slightly differently, which is what this is about.

My point, is that I don't understand why 1 person would laugh at another person for having a different perspective on life, or an alternative world view.

You think religion is bollocks, I personally think religion is bollocks, but that isn't the point. The issue I'm trying to debate is how the difference of opinion is approached. I think it has to be possible to have those differing views without pushing mocking it and going out of my way to offend the person/peoples that hold that view.

P.S. I'd pretty much forgotten how much fun debates with you were :p

My mom said:
The difference seems to be that [Whisper] - and I - I must add- are ready to laugh at it and you are not- simple as that really - for centuries- if not longer- religion has been 'special' and people were forced to respect it- laughing at it is one way of removing that belief that it is special and beyond humour and must be 'respected'. I am always asking why should it be respected- what places it above other forms of belief or silliness that makes it so special?

If they are forcing their silliness at me then I will take the piss out of them to my heart's content- religion- like any other belief- is not special enough for it not to have the piss taken out of. Mormons or others coming to my door will get laughed at, people accosting me in the street to spout their particular form of hatred will get laughed at- if we don't laugh at them they will continue to get taken seriously and look where that has got us. The church of England must also be laughed at- and last but not least- the catholic church with all its buggery and pomposity must be pricked- and laughed at- else we continue to cry with all the victims of all the religions around the world.

Me: Mom- Which is what I was going to say, but you beat me to it

My mom said:
of course the other side is put nicely by PZ in the linked article to start with :)

"It's all true, of course, in the sense that believers really do believe that their God matters, and sometimes the greatest kindness we godless give to them is that we take them seriously and argue seriously about the meaning of their beliefs. We engage them on their chosen turf and tell them they're wrong, and here's the logic of atheism, and here are the failings of religious belief, and here's why uncritical, irrational thinking hurts our culture"¦and we have to do that, because this is a serious debate about how the universe actually works and how society should accommodate myth and superstition and common delusions."

but there is- as he says- still a time to laugh

L said:
I like that quote! I might steal it actually :p It pretty much sums up everything I've been trying to say, just a damn sight more eloquently :p

Oh I'll laugh, and joke about anything, and always have done... you remember that much about me I hope :D

I see religion as an entity as no more special, nor impervious to the British sense of humour, or any other, as any other idea, subject, musing. Pretty much anything that exists is there to be taken the piss out of - always has been, always will be.

I just think it's the context that it's taken in that makes the difference. I think there's a difference between a scene scripted to highlight the shortcomings or fallibilities/contraditions of any given subject with comedic intentions, and actively seeking out material with the intention of pointing and laughing.

I don't take religion seriously as much as peoples rights to believe whatever they like (as long as it doesn't affect me that is). Live and let live and all that... of course if they themselves step over that particular boundry >:D

Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful 15 minutes on my doorstep a few weeks ago thanks to some wonderfully accommodating (and somewhat slow) Johava's Witnesses. I agree, if it comes to me, I'll laugh. I just won't maliciously seek it out. (I'm not suggesting either of you do anything maliciously or otherwise - I know you both better than that - I was just speaking generally).

Saying that, some people do ask for it. The one eyed Muslim Pirate for instance.

Er..I hope you guys are taking this as nothing more than is intended, a friendly debate on an interesting topic. There is nothing malicious or what have you intended with any of this. It's just quite an enjoyable conversation from here...

Me: And I would also like to add that I am laughing at the beliefs, not the people, unless the people themselves warrant laughter. If they want to get offended at my amusement and derision, then they of course can be so, that is, after all, their prerogative.

My mom said:
Just a debate L- and you know i love a good debate :) nice to see you around by the way :)

and i wish I was as eloquent as PZ :(


So there you go, an interesting little discussion I had on Facebook. And yes, my mother is also anti-theist atheist XD


New Member
Good argument.

Of course if we observe the people around us, if we pay close attention, we would likely see that not everyone has the same opinion or understanding or comprehension with respect to a certain issue.
Easy answer:
I don't laugh at people; I laugh at their ridiculous beliefs. -- edit: ah, I see you said this
After all, ridiculous ideas are by definition worthy of ridicule.
No reason whatsoever for religion to get a free pass on that.


New Member
lrkun said:
Good argument.

Of course if we observe the people around us, if we pay close attention, we would likely see that not everyone has the same opinion or understanding or comprehension with respect to a certain issue.

Wow. It's been a while since I've seen this thread. Damn, I don't understand what I meant by writing this in the past. @.@ Am I always this vague?

Anyway, it's not proper to laugh at another person, nor his or her argument. It's proper to do so, after you've demonstrated why they are wrong. Once you've provided a basis for his or her delusion and adequately demonstrated it, you're free to laugh. You're entitled to it.