Is This Funny?

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I was forwarded  an e-mail containing a  supposedly humorous joke involving God, Christ, and the Devil…After I read the punchline, I was anything but amused. Since it was forwarded to many, I think I will voice my opinion on the matter. Now, am I being sanctimonious and torqued over nothing or is this joke harmless, clean humor? It would appear to me to be borderline blasphemy if not blasphemous.  Here is what I was sent:

Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering.  Finally fed up, God said, “THAT’S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job.”  So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.  They moused.  They faxed.  They e-mailed.  They e-mailed with attachments.  They downloaded.  They did spreadsheets!  They wrote reports.  They created labels and cards.  They created charts and graphs.  They did some genealogy reports  They did every job known to man. Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell.  Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off..  Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld.  Jesus just sighed.  Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming:  ”It’s gone! It’s all GONE! “I lost everything when the power went out!”  Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.  Satan observed this and became irate.  ”Wait!” he screamed “That’s not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don’t have any?”

 God just shrugged and said,  JESUS SAVES

(sighs) What do you guys think?

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Comments
30 Responses to “Is This Funny?”
  1. Susan says:

    I’ve seen this come in my inbox as well.
    Most times, when I see it’s a God-Jesus-etc joke, I delete before reading (my inbox gets pretty full of such garbage from friends of man-centered churches I used to attend, as well as unsaved family members who keep in touch).
    At any rate, I had read this one through at the time, and I remember thinking it was in poor taste and just plain stupid, but you have me thinking now that it’s more than that.
    I would tend to agree it borders on blasphemous and may in fact be so. I mean, it trivializes Jesus, His deity, His sacrifice, and our very salvation.
    I guess one would have to look up the word blasphemy to see if trivalizing and poor taste qualify.

  2. Susan says:

    You know, Scribe, though… another thought on all of this is – if you’re going to consider whether or not such a joke is blasphemous, you may want to consider whether or not your link to whatum.com on your blogroll qualifies as well. Don’t get me wrong; I like the humor there, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been there, and in reading down the page, the title “Jesus joins the SBC” jumped out at me. Now, I chuckled inside at the article, but is it akin to the joke you posted? Just thinking out loud here…

  3. Rhett says:

    IMHO, It’s lame…

  4. scribe7580 says:

    Jazzy, Mark,…thanks for your input, I’m glad you see how horrendous this joke is.

    Susan,

    I agree with your assessment of the joke wrought in such theological error…

    As per your second comment, I agree as well, though I have not read more than a few of Seth’s articles so I was unaware of the “Jesus” joke. I appreciate your forthrighness and yes, even your rebuke…you are correct in saying so. Thanks for your honesty…

    Rhett,

    Yep, the joke is lame and I intend on doing a Reply-All e-mail as to why I can not laugh at jokes which, as Susan put it, trivialize Jesus, His Deity, His sacrifice, so forth and so on. Thanks for your comment Rhett!

  5. Rhett says:

    As a guy who likes to write the occasional satirical article, I really do appreciate Susan’s comments. It’s a reminder that, in our attempts at being funny, we must be careful that we don’t cross the line into blasphemy: no matter how well intentioned we are…

    (In the few satirical articles I have written, I generally poke fun at Southern Baptists.)

  6. Gayla says:

    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked…Gal 6:7

  7. Lighten up, people! It’s not THAT funny of a joke, but it is does have a slightly endearing cheesiness to it, especially for all of those to whom this has actually happened before (that is, losing work because we didn’t save often enough).

  8. Gayla says:

    ED, I, for one, have a great sense of humor. I love to laugh, cut up, and have a great time. It’s been in the last several months, however, that I believe God has been showing me some things. Generally speaking, we (the Christian community) don’t revere God as we should. We don’t have the fear of Him that we should. All as a result, I believe, of the bombardment of teachings that say, “God is our buddy and he exists to be at our beck and call.” As the verse I stated says, God will not be mocked. Period.

    Take for example the movies, God Almighty and Evan Almighty. I saw the first one, and frankly, didn’t think one thing about it. Now though, with a new change of heart and perspective, I won’t be seeing E.A. Since when did the most drastic event in history, namely God DESTROYING THE WORLD, become foder for comedy?

    I have a feeling that the others would agree with me, and I bet all of them love a good joke too. There are some subjects, however, that are simply not funny.

  9. Susan says:

    Oh, Scribe.
    Forgive me if my question to you re: Seth’s site came across as a rebuke. It was in no way meant to be.
    I have his site linked at my own blog as well. I confess I don’t go there frequently either so I’m as guilty as you if any charges are to be made.
    I was just kind of thinking out loud about it, so forgive me if I came across wrongly.
    Anyway, thanks for raising the questions about this poor “joke.” It’s good to think through such things.

  10. Susan says:

    Scribe,
    I think I’m going to take whatum.com off my blogroll. Only because I don’t get there often enough to check and make sure I’d agree with everything there enough to promote it.
    Just wanted to let you know.
    Thanks to this post of yours, you’ve brought this issue to mind. So thank you.

  11. Susan says:

    E-D-
    To people who take Jesus’ suffering and sacrificial death greatly to heart, these kinds of words that trivialize His having His beard plucked out, having been spat upon, having His brow cut deeply with thorns, having His physical condition wracked through the night before carrying a cross – thought physically unable – tortuously through the streets unto a place where His hands (wrists?) nailed through – almost totally naked before the crowds of onlookers – and His feet bloodied with old large nails – all for the sake of people who rebelled against Him and His Father – so that those people would be saved from themselves and spared an eternal suffering of torment and Hell – well, these kinds of so-called ‘jokes’ equivocating what He did in reality with mere frustrations of everyday technology (yes, I’ve been there as well) – well, it’s offensive to the heart of the matter which is not trivial, but extremely serious, costly, and worthy of our own sacrifice.

  12. well, these kinds of so-called ‘jokes’ equivocating what He did in reality with mere frustrations of everyday technology (yes, I’ve been there as well) – well, it’s offensive to the heart of the matter which is not trivial, but extremely serious, costly, and worthy of our own sacrifice.

    I think you’re making an issue out of something that is not even there. There is no equivocation here between Christian theology concerning the suffering and atonement of Christ and the “mere frustrations of modern technology.” It is simply a play on words. You are the one, in actuality, who is making the artificial equivocation, which places the “problem” with this joke in your own subjective opinions, not in the joke itself.

  13. ED, I, for one, have a great sense of humor.

    I am glad for you.

    It’s been in the last several months, however, that I believe God has been showing me some things. Generally speaking, we (the Christian community) don’t revere God as we should. We don’t have the fear of Him that we should. All as a result, I believe, of the bombardment of teachings that say, “God is our buddy and he exists to be at our beck and call.” As the verse I stated says, God will not be mocked. Period.

    I hardly see that the correlation you are trying to make between humor and what you see as a devolution in contemporary, popular theology is self-evident. If one were to read classical literature for even a few minutes, it would be understood that humans have always had the divine as part of their humor. As humor is, I believe, an intrinsic part of the imago dei, to engage the divine in humor is a validation of the sovereignty of God, not a deconstruction of it.

    Do some jokes break with propriety? Of course. Do some intentionally attempt to mock God? Sure. However, we must guard that we do not become so self-righteous that the divine is categorically stricken from humor. If that happens, we will have banished God from a part of ourselves that is indelibly created in the image of God, subsequently denying God’s sovereign rule over the same.

    I have a feeling that the others would agree with me, and I bet all of them love a good joke too. There are some subjects, however, that are simply not funny.

    So what is and is not funny?

  14. Gayla says:

    E.D. I merely related my own personal thoughts and experiences as they relate to what God has been showing ME as of late. These are things of which I’VE been convicted. I’m not going to debate the matter.

  15. Susan says:

    the artificial equivocation, which places the “problem” with this joke in your own subjective opinions, not in the joke itself.

    No, not at all.
    There is nothing artificial in the fact that Jesus’ atonement – His shed blood – saves. Without it, there is no salvation.
    The so-called joke hinges on the word “saves,” which is a play on the word “saves” in a computer sense versus saving a man’s soul unto salvation – the only way of which is through Jesus’ sacrifice and blood.
    It is comparing the trivial with the vital and sacred.
    To me, trivializing the sacred is blasphemous.

  16. Susan–

    I still don’t understand the equivocation you are making. As you have yourself pointed out, the word “saves” in this joke is a play on words. The joke is not advocating that atonement comes about by means of Jesus saving files on computers; rather, it is simply drawing on the nomenclature of a common religious phrase that, without any needed help from jokes, has all but lost any meaning in the culture in which it is recognizable. So then, I cannot honestly see how you can suggest that the two are commensurate in meaning.

  17. Susan says:

    ED –

    I don’t think I can point out the offense here to you in any way that’s going to resonate with you.

    I can say that just because the joke is a play on words doesn’t take away the offense. Someone could make a joke or play on words out of something or someone dear to you – or their name – and you might not think it funny. Just because it’s a play on words doesn’t change the offense. Even if exact meaning is not commensurate, the “joke” hinges on something other than the secondary meaning. The primary meaning is engaged to make the joke work. Without the primary meaning, the joke wouldn’t work.

    As to a previous point you made, I think as well that God has a sense of humor. I can see that in the world He made. And I have thought in times past that certainly we would not have a sense of humor if God did not Himself. But there are things that just should not be made light of. And that is what this “joke” does – take a serious matter (Jesus does save men’s souls from Hell) and make a joke from that word – because the very act of “saving” is a serious matter – it’s not trivial. Ach, there I go trying to explain it again, when if we’re approaching this from different foundations (you believe men only exist and dissolve, yes?), then it’s likely we won’t convince one another without aid of the Holy Spirit.

    I wish you well, ED. I do enjoy your presence on the blogs.

  18. Marcia says:

    The opening sentence made me uncomfortable… it all went downhill from there. I’m not even going to use words like “I think” or “I feel”. It trivializes the gospel. Period.

  19. you believe men only exist and dissolve, yes?

    Women as well. We have only the mercy and resurrecting life of God upon which to base any hope for persistence in existence beyond the cessation of our lives.

  20. Susan says:

    It can’t be both ways. If we exist and dissolve, then that’s it. But if we have mercy and resurrecting life of God (through Christ) than we don’t just exist and dissolve.

    As an aside, the “only” went with the word “exist” – as in we merely exist and dissolve, nothing more – not “only” as in men “uniquely” and not women.

  21. It can’t be both ways. If we exist and dissolve, then that’s it. But if we have mercy and resurrecting life of God (through Christ) than we don’t just exist and dissolve.

    Theologically, I agree. However, my understanding of “exist~dissolve” is primarily anthropological and ontological, e.g., that which humanity would be apart from the life of God. It is an attempt to get beyond notions of the persistence of the person being located in the possession of a “soul”, to get at what it is really based on–the mercy and power of God.

    As an aside, the “only” went with the word “exist” – as in we merely exist and dissolve, nothing more – not “only” as in men “uniquely” and not women.

    Don’t worry, I got that. My addition of “women” was to overcome the sexually exclusive language which you utilized.

  22. Susan says:

    Theologically, I agree. However, my understanding of “exist~dissolve” is primarily anthropological and ontological, e.g., that which humanity would be apart from the life of God. It is an attempt to get beyond notions of the persistence of the person being located in the possession of a “soul”, to get at what it is really based on–the mercy and power of God.

    Huh?

    You’re going to have to dumb it down for me. I don’t get “that which humanity would be apart from the life of God.” I mean, what’s the point? The impression I have of what you’re saying is what your attempt is exists solely in the realm of theory, not reality. Can you dumb down the language a bit of “persistence of the person being located in the possession of a “soul”,”. I really have no clue what you’re actually saying.

    overcome the sexually exclusive language which you utilized

    I don’t find inclusion of the female gender represented in the masculine form of words as exclusive. Frankly, it’s tiresome to add on word after word such as “he and she” or “his and her” etc etc when one word sufficiently covers both. I have never found “mankind” or other words to be sexist, and I’m female. If anything, separating the sexes by continually having to denote “his and her” etc is cumbersome and more divisive. Personally, I’ve never seen being included in “mankind” etc as offensive. Continually dividing the sexes and the races, etc, is in my mind more divisive.

  23. Rhett says:

    FYI: Seth Fuller (of the Whatum site) and I have corresponded by email many times. He’s a member of the Reformed Mafia and, IMHO, a good guy.

  24. You’re going to have to dumb it down for me. I don’t get “that which humanity would be apart from the life of God.” I mean, what’s the point? The impression I have of what you’re saying is what your attempt is exists solely in the realm of theory, not reality.

    No, it is simply an acknowledgment of incredible dependence which human ontology has on the mercy and power of God. That is, ontology is not something which we possess as a “given”–rather, all of creation derives existence from God. Therefore, my point is simply that of trying to get away from classical, Western “soul-speak” which posits ultimate human ontology (and the persistence thereof) in the human possession of an “immortal soul,” rather than recognizing that human existence–temporal or otherwise–is only meaningful as it is understood to be gifted to creation by the Creator.

    Can you dumb down the language a bit of “persistence of the person being located in the possession of a “soul”,”. I really have no clue what you’re actually saying.

    As I mentioned above, classical Western metaphysics has typically placed discussions of the continuation of human existence beyond death in the persistence of the “soul” beyond the dissolution of the body. However, what this emphasis has done is to subconsciously shift discussions of ontology as ultimately derivative from the life of God to conceiving of existence as something that is intrinsic to the human person. Not only is this metaphysically tenuous, but it is clearly askance of historic Christian theologies of God and creation.

    I don’t find inclusion of the female gender represented in the masculine form of words as exclusive. Frankly, it’s tiresome to add on word after word such as “he and she” or “his and her” etc etc when one word sufficiently covers both.

    So don’t use either. The English language is varied enough that one need not necessarily utilize gendered language whatsoever. While I do not have a particular problem with people assuming “generic” meanings for gendered pronouns (like “man”), I do also think that it creates unnecessary confusion when more descriptive and perspicuous words like “humankind” are suitable substitutes.

    I have never found “mankind” or other words to be sexist, and I’m female.

    My main issue is not with sexism, but with the limitations that imprecision in language creates, especially in regards to gendered language.

    If anything, separating the sexes by continually having to denote “his and her” etc is cumbersome and more divisive.

    But one need not do this. Use gender-neutral language, instead.

  25. scribe7580 says:

    Susan,
    Way to go on your rebuttals, but pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, LOL!

    And there is no need for an apology on your words of chastisment…I deserved it. Faithful are the wounds of a friend… 😉

    Marcia,

    Amen! No need to back away from your convictions.

    Gayla,

    Take for example the movies, God Almighty and Evan Almighty. I saw the first one, and frankly, didn’t think one thing about it. Now though, with a new change of heart and perspective, I won’t be seeing E.A. Since when did the most drastic event in history, namely God DESTROYING THE WORLD, become foder for comedy?

    When so-called “christians” retain a dimunitive view of the holiness of God.

    Mark and Jazzy,

    My sentiments exactly…thanks for your comments. Ironically, the person who sent me the joke eventually conceded that the the Thrice Holy God should not be brought down to such deplorable levels.

    Exist,

    What more can I say…I don’t agree with you?

  26. scribe7580 says:

    BTW, it is uncouth to “bully” those who do not subscribe to your liberal theology. I will grant that you have exceptional debating skills but that in no wise makes you correct…

  27. Where have I “bullied?”

  28. Some years back I used to read a web-comic, until in one of them the author made a joke mocking the death of Christ. When I read it, I emailed him, telling him in no uncertain terms that he had lost a reader. That being said, I don’t think the intention or spirit of this particular joke was to denigrate God or Christ, it’s just a corny play on words that I perceived as indirectly saluting the superior counsel of God over the schemes of the devil (true to life resulting in the devil’s inevitable failure at beating God). I also looked over Seth’s post about Jesus and the SBC, I thought it was a brilliant satire. I’ve heard it said before in sermons and studies (and I agree) that if Christ returned discreetly and walked among us as at first (of course He won’t, but bear with me), He would be condemned and rejected by many of His supposed followers as He was in the first century. I think Seth’s version of this illustration put in the format of a news article underscores that point exactly, it was not a poke at Christ or His glory or divinity, but rather how people tend to effectively treat Him by letting their denominational / traditional norms and fear of negative publicity guide them instead of the One they are supposed to be following. I’m not passing judgment for anyone not liking a joke, and I can understand if you find it lacking in the reverence department, I simply ask that you give the teller the benefit of the doubt.

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