Friday, March 30, 2007

Comedism's Holiest Weekend

In the run up to April 1, Saint Shecky's Day, the holiest day of the year for Comedists, it is time to reflect upon the history and theology of Comedism.

For those new to the Playground, Comedism is the new religion wherein that which is sacred is that which is funny. It all started a few years back when I was teaching a course in the philosophy of religion at the United States Naval Academy. I was teaching Anselm's Ontological Argument for the existence of God and I found a flaw. God, by definition, according to this argument, is an all-perfect being having every positive attribute to an infinite degree. Yet, when I looked at the holy books of the major religions, there was one positive attribute completely lacking. They could hold their gods to be all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, but there were no grounds for saying he was omnihumorous, all-funny. No, missing from the Torah, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Koran, the Upanishads, all the standard sacred texts were jokes. None. Show me any good zingers, one liners, yo mama jokes, any place where you get "And the Lord sayeth unto Gary, 'Knocketh, knocketh...." None.

Then I was teaching a night class in ethics and we were discussing the difference between moral precepts and social mores. A student raised his hand and asked, "Steve, what are mores?" I looked him in the eye and said, "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a more." At that moment, I knew I was in the presence of the something bigger. Set-ups that perfect don't just happen randomly. No, it had to be Comic Divine Intervention. I knew I had been called to spread the laughs.

Climbing the corporate ladder in the faith industry is tough these days; you've got to be Pat Robertson or Mother Teresa, neither of which are particularly practical. But if you look at those who are truly revered, they figured out the secret to real religious success is like gotta get in early. So I decided that what I needed to do was to start the new religion, Comedism.

The central theological notion in Comedism is the joke. Jokes have two parts, the set-up, where you take a situation you think you understand (a chicken crosses the road or the pope, a rabbi, and a viagra salesman walk into a bar), and the punchline (to get to the other side or at least the beer isn't flat anymore) that forces you to reinterpret the world differently than you understood it from the set-up. The humor comes in the moment where your mind is forced to try to reconcile the irreconcilable views of the set-up and the punchline, where you are wrestling between the different interpretations. Without more than one way to see the world, jokes are not possible. And so Comedists understand that the universe is multifaceted, that there isn't a privileged way of seeing. There can be no such thing as a Comedist fundamentalist, there is no literal interpretation to be taken as THE TRUTH, no to be funny, you need to be able to see the world in many different ways.

This makes Comedists more tolerant. We are strongly in favor of gay marriage. After all, "Take my civilly united, legally recognized, domestic partner, please" really screws up the timing and it simply is wrong to deny a substantial portion of the population even the possibility of telling mother-in-law jokes. Humor, not hatred.

That's not to say we don't have a Holy Skipture. Well,...not yet. Our Holy Book is the Comedist Manifesto and last year on Saint Shecky's day the first section was revealed. Tomorrow we will read from it and then Sunday on the holiest day of the year another piece shall be given unto you.

We also have a holy symbol, an eaily recognizable icon that identifies us. Jews have the star of David, Chirstians have branded themselves well with the cross, and Muslims have the crescent. We have this. Wear it with pride, my fellow Comedists.

Until tomorrow, my friends,

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve