Religion Can Be Dangerous without a Sense of Humor | Dave Barry


Well, first of all I kind of grew up in a
religious environment—sort of. My dad was a Presbyterian minister; his dad
was a Presbyterian minister. I was actually an altar boy at Saint Stephen’s
Episcopal Church in Aramark New York. I was raised Episcopalian even though my dad
was Presbyterian because he was more of a social worker than like a pastor, and Aramark
didn’t have a Presbyterian Church. So I myself am an atheist. I’m never really kind of was religious, even
though I was raised sort of religious. So I always thought religion was kind of amusing
because it was very benign. I went to this nice church and everybody sang
hymns and stuff like that. And I didn’t exactly want to mock them, but
I didn’t really understand why they believed what they believed and acted the way they
do. I never really wrote a lot about religion
as a humorist, but my sensibility always was A, there’s a lot of religions, a lot of people
believe a lot of different things; they all think they’re right. The value of I guess making fun of that is:
it’s okay to believe whatever you believe as long as you don’t think that everyone has
to believe it, and if you’re willing to laugh a little bit about your own beliefs then it’s
just going to be easier for everybody to get along with different beliefs. If you are like really rigid about what you
believe then there could be a variety of bad consequences, up to and including people killing
each other. So the value of mockery of religion or faith
isn’t so much to (I don’t think) put people down, although I guess that’s an element in
some humor that knocks religion, so much as to say: don’t take yourself too seriously
because that could lead to problems down the road, which is kind of what humor is about
with almost every topic.


57 Responses

  1. ghiribizzi

    April 21, 2017 5:02 pm

    not only religion , science and mainly those over "intelctualized" environments or just the over intellectuaization it's because the lack of sense of humor, probable the lack of analysis synthesis skill to analytically reduce to plain statements instead to barroque argumentation wich is the opposite of sense of humor the reduction to interior-exterior ambiguities or contradictions

  2. calohtar

    April 21, 2017 5:06 pm

    Humor allows you to see things in a different light. This applies to all beliefs, not just religious ones. People who are consumed by their own way of looking at the world are scary people.

  3. Ahmed Sharkawy

    April 21, 2017 5:06 pm

    I think you w
    must review your religion and others and try the best to know which is the real true one and stick with it
    if you homor what you believe then you do not believe actually ,it is just following your dads

  4. Booksarefun666

    April 21, 2017 5:06 pm

    I can agree with the sentiment. I mean, religion gives us due cause to do some truly horrible things if permitted to do so.

  5. MrMalorian

    April 21, 2017 5:13 pm

    Everyone should keep an open mind. That doesn't mean you can't defend your position, but can't be so dead set that you aren't willing to listen to challenges with an open mind.

  6. I'm Gonna Pull A Kurt Cobain

    April 21, 2017 5:23 pm

    I can't keep my sense or humour if you tell me what I can and can't laugh at or what I can and can't joke about

  7. Golden Child

    April 21, 2017 5:35 pm

    There is truth in everything what's funny is realizing what we choose as a right once we realize, we laugh. We laugh because it's funny and it's not. But it is.but it isn't but it is. Smile

  8. LagiNaLangAko23

    April 21, 2017 5:55 pm

    "My, these heretics smell like roast pork as they burn! Oh wait I have an idea, catapult them to Muslims. Ahaha" – Inquisition handyman

  9. Power Clips

    April 21, 2017 6:03 pm

    thats not how religion works lmao. either you take it as absolute divine truth and accept everyone else is wrong and or you don't believe it, at all. if you believe its absolutely true there is nothing to laugh at and if you think there is some non sense in your beliefs you are not actuallu religous

  10. PhilosophicPie

    April 21, 2017 6:25 pm

    So you are basically telling millions of People on this planet " Take it easy mate just get a sense of Humor!" instead of " You might wanna question that Religion Thing of yours…" . Brilliant! What a solution !

  11. Friedrich Nietzsche

    April 21, 2017 6:26 pm


    this channel it's called big think, how about thinking about how theocracies , religious wars and bullshit ultra conservative mental illnesses are fucking corrupting the mind of children and killing innocent and even other religious, fucking ironic, how about how religion it's fucking BULLSHIT.

  12. jcrmitchell

    April 21, 2017 7:08 pm

    This perspective is absolute garbage. Utter nonsense, Dave Barry. All religions are "rigid" and "imposed on others." It's the secular progress we've made that has forced the religious to take this new, two-faced, mewling approach where all of a sudden they've allowed the rest of us to be free not to partake in their childish superstitions.

  13. Rhys Durkin

    April 21, 2017 7:21 pm

    Islam has this problem. They get all defensive like a bunch of pussies. They even killed Charlie Hebdo for it

  14. G G

    April 21, 2017 7:40 pm

    I was born and raised in Miami and was raised up Christian and became an atheist at the age of reason. Anyhow My childhood was ruined by religion. I had an exorcism done on me by my parents because I did not want anything to do with religion. I remember seeing Barry's columns in Miami herald what a relief it was to see his side of humor.

  15. Tamas Egyed

    April 21, 2017 8:02 pm

    Great advice but humor can't apply to religion by default because for religion to have any power in an individual's life, certain concepts must remain sacred, untouchable, beyond ridicule. A religious person might admit that certain aspects of their beliefs and practices are silly but they can NEVER admit that the very concept of faith can be funny

  16. Tor Martin Austad

    April 21, 2017 8:50 pm

    THATS it! Good bye Big Think. Im unsubscribing you. BT has gone from giving intellectual stimulating talks from some really great minds, to all kinds of feel-good-jibber-jabber-non-sense talks. Bye bye.

  17. JCTiggs

    April 21, 2017 10:38 pm

    Those Mohammad cartoons were pretty funny up until those Mohammad followers started killing people. Then religion isn't so funny anymore.

  18. LaughingFox

    April 22, 2017 12:17 am

    Religion is intrinsicly dangerous with or without a sense of humour. "Haha let's keep building huge places of worship and covering ourselves in lavish garments when one ring on my finger could save scores of lives" lol what bunch of hilarious comedians

  19. Mario mario

    April 22, 2017 1:09 am

    well the issue is religions don't tend to have a "humorous" and "ah who cares" tone to it. it's pretty serious stuff. plus there is a lot of dumb and humorous stuff in religious material. nothing wrong with criticising any ideology including religion

  20. Scott Cox

    April 22, 2017 2:09 am

    I think the only good purpose religion servers is providing really good tropes for horror movies.

  21. ThePeaceableKingdom

    April 22, 2017 4:18 am

    Basically I'm in complete agreement… But I'd point out that nowhere between Genesis and Apocalypse does the Tanakh or the Bible (or the Quran as far as I know) ever report God laughing, having a sense of humor, telling a joke, or being amused… While the Greek gods were famous for jests, and Mt. Olympus peeled with Homeric laughter… ya know, just sayin'…

  22. Heleve Joergon

    April 22, 2017 5:14 am

    Condensed into one sentence my experience with philosophical thinkers such as Hitchens, Harris, Nye, Burr (The comedy section), and of course Louis C.K.:

    We're all here by accident. Enjoy whatever this is you feel.

  23. Sean Webb

    April 22, 2017 5:41 am

    Dave Barry dodged the Vietnam War draft as a Conscientious objector and did his service working at a church!

  24. Mad Hatter

    April 22, 2017 9:07 am

    I think that a sense of humor is essential, not just to religion, but for leading a happy and prosperous life in general. Having a sense of humor about the wold, and about yourself, means that you're not so trapped within your own narrow mindset that you can't see it from other points of view. When something bad happens to you, and you can laugh, even while you feel frustrated, it means that you're stepping outside of your usual interpretation of reality, and observing how that interpretation is reacting against other people's interpretations. With that observation comes understanding, and with that understanding comes peace.
    Honestly life is far too short to be taken seriously đŸ™‚

  25. Petar Stamenkovic

    April 22, 2017 12:14 pm

    Very smart. Get an atheist, the one person who is sure not to get religion to talk what religious people should do. Genius.

  26. Cerebral

    April 24, 2017 7:48 am

    If I could only know one thing, it would be the scientific method. That is something children are born with; from testing what tastes good, to hypothesizing what each button on the tv remote does. Religion requires that you discard this empiricism. Basing your opinions and knowledge on belief and emotion rather than reason and knowledge is literally the dumbest thing you can do.

  27. MY PAGE

    April 24, 2017 9:18 am

    "How can each religion be right and have conflicting beliefs? " easy….they are all wrong. Religion shouldnt co exist, it should be forgotten , only remembered as out dark unintelligent backward past, as a footnote in history in regards to our own evolution.

  28. Andrew

    April 24, 2017 2:01 pm

    Well it's funny that he says he's an Atheist because that's another type of belief system which is as ridiculous as religion itself.

  29. Flat Bastard

    April 27, 2017 3:57 pm

    Yeshua (Jesus) was against the religious systems of the world. He constantly called out religious leaders. He also said "laughter is a cure for a multitude of ailments" So if Marijuana makes you laugh then would that make Marijuana a cure for multiple ailments?!?

  30. black ops

    May 8, 2017 2:51 pm

    Faith is not dangerous. It's when faith becomes religion it's when its beyond logic.

  31. Jimi H

    May 12, 2017 4:43 am

    Im a christian yet i have to agree with him, i think every should have a sense of humor, and i think every one should be able to laugh at every thing. However most people take humor about religion too far, from " hey heres a funny/contradictory statement in your religion" to "i hate tour religion so let me tear it down for no other reason than i dont like it"


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