Monday, January 5, 2009

Mirth or madness

"Going deep sounds like an important thing to do," a friend told me after reading yesterday's post. "But it also sounds boring. Is it possible to take the spiritual life seriously without being so ... well ... serious?"

I laughed, as she knew I would. We've been friends long enough to have poked fun at most everything, from politicians to disasters to our families to death itself. But it's not the cynical sort of humor that sneers at the thought that anything has value. Instead, it is the kind of joke that helps us to take human fallibility lightly (especially our own).

Or as the always quotable G.K. Chesterton put it:

“Life is serious all the time, but living cannot be. You may have all the solemnity you wish in your neckties, but in anything important (such as sex, death, and religion), you must have mirth or you will have madness.”

13 comments:

Danbo59 said...

I agree. There's a reason God gave us laughter and a sense of humor. We must never take ourselves so seriously that we forget that we are not here for ourselves, but for others -- just as Christ was!

PornStudent said...

Often our madness gives us mirth.

One of the most mirthful times in my life was during and after a psilocybin mushroom experience (long time ago).

Many of us are familiar with and can relate to Pink Floyd's crazy laughter on the Dark Side of the Moon.

The serious Christian is too restricted to experience the mirth their preachers promise. Maybe it's because they surrender to a mass hallucination rather than their own.

Quibbles said...

Richard: Why did the Christian throw the clock out the window?

Dawkins: Because its incessant ticking reminded him of the relentless self-replication of his dysfunctional meme-complex.

Jane Pope said...

Please refrain from making derisive and generalized comments about other people or beliefs.

That includes accusing all members of a faith of mass hallucination and mirthlessness.

If this sort of comment continues, I will have to resort to approving all comments before they are posted. And if I do that, I'll limit comments to those that add in a positive way to the discussion.

I would prefer to keep the conversation open and unimpaired.

Anonymous said...

Jane, how does one keep religious people honest? For example, pastors, ministers, priests etc. all promise something in after life yet how can we make sure their word is true? Is there a way to make sure they don't lie to us about afterlife?

Anonymous said...

Jane, is it ok to say that those who do not believe are damned?

Isn't that more than just derisive?

PornStudent said...

The "serious Christian" isn't "all members of a faith." There are also the unserious serious, the seriously unserious and the unserious.

A Christian is mirthless, at least partly, when he is serious. There's nothing wrong with being serious, mirthless or mad; or their opposites. Nevertheless, some mirth is lost when one must keep his clothes on; or when one must do or think anything.

Quibbles said...

The three greatest gifts are gold, frankincense and mirth.

Danbo59 said...

Jesus was a man, like us in all ways except sin. He laughed, He cried, He celebrated, He mourned, He hurt and He loved -- but He never forgot that all good things came from His Father in heaven and (even) he -- the Son of God -- never forgot to give thanks for it.

May it be that way for us all.

Anonymous said...

Jesus was just as such of a sinner then any other fictional character.

Danbo59 said...

Looks like I am a "voice crying out in the wilderness here."

Masturbation Saves Lives said...

You imagine yourself a great prophet?

Gina said...

You can't satisfy everyone, but so long as you satisfy yourself in a small positive way, the better off we all are! May your mirth continue to bring us joy.