On Humor as a Means of Sharing Truth

     “Satirist: I just love it when Christians speak in ‘Christianese’ and fail to communicate anything of meaning.
     LiteralistNo you don’t, you’re lying and all liars go to hell, Revelation 21:8!
     The point of the satirical remark was not to lie, as taken at face value by the literalist, but to point to a reality beyond the remark in a manner that cannot be achieved in a mere propositional format. Though the end does not always justify the means, it should be clear given the tone, delivery, and unexpected statement that this person does not actually mean what they are saying, but are intending to communicate the opposite by saying it in a clever or humorous way that seasons the conversation with grace and salt (Colossians 4:6).

     “I once heard a speaker say: “Everybody wants to go to Heaven…but nobody wants to die.” Ha! Embedded in that humorous comment are two seeds: truth and fear. Humor, properly employed, can have a way of telling the truth in micro-increments that we accept, even if we don’t want to hear them. Fear’s shadow tends to dissipate in humor’s light. Humor makes things more palatable. Improperly employed, humor can indiscriminately bruise or cut and therefore feed the fear that resides in all of us, can’t it?”
     – Dennis Mansfield, A Biblical Theology of Humor

    “All good theological humor points us to a deeper assertion of theological truth…Wield the double-edged sword of wit and wisdom in keeping with a long line of satirical saints who learned to join God in laughing out loud at the folly of man while tempering their delight with the light of truth.”
     – Michael Svigel, The Rise of Theological Humor

     “Satire is humor with a purpose and a tremendous vehicle for truth.”
     – Jon Acuff, Three Rules of Christian Satire

     “Satire is parody with a point.”
     – Steven Colbert, Satire is Parody With a Point

“Humor is something that thrives between man’s aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth.”
– Victor Borge

     “Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.”
     – Leo Rosten

     “Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.”
     – Christopher Morley

     “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”
     – Peter Ustinov

     “Humor must not professedly teach and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever.”
     – Mark Twain
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