There’s a candy-apple chapter I’ve kept out of my reach until I finished my liver-on-a-bed-of-kale chapters. Oh they’re not bad, but they weren’t as much fun as some others — too complicated, too “important,” too full of stuff I HAD to include.
Now they’re done, and it’s time for dessert.
Part III is “Great Works of Atheism,” which could have been deadly. So instead of going in strictly historical order, I created a few chapters around themes. “Lost, Secret, Censored, and Forbidden Works” I’ve already finished, and “Deep Thoughts, Big Thinkers,” which handles most of the important warhorses. The 21st century to date gets its own chapter. But in the midst of all that is my favorite piece of candy: Chapter 12, “Laughing in Disbelief: Challenging the Divine with Humor.”
A lot of the most brilliant expressions of disbelief and challenges to religion have been satirical. I’ve written before about the connection between humor and thinking. I’ve always been fascinated by that. As soon as I finish laughing myself to tears over a line of Minchin or the picture at the top of this post, I start trying to figure out why it’s hysterical, and why the next line or the next parody photo isn’t.
The chapter includes Twain and Carlin, parody religions (FSM, Landover, Bokononism), music (like Tim Minchin), film (Life of Brian, The Invention of Lying), TV (Simpsons, South Park), web (Mr. Deity, Jesus and Mo), and more (The Onion). I’m never going to get to everything — even leaving out some of my own favorites — but lemme ask:
Q: What are some of your favorite examples of humor aimed at religion or atheism?