Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Theological Humor

Bizarro is made possible in part by a grant from the E. Madge Anarie Foundation for Religious Studies.

When I wrote this cartoon, I wasn't certain how people would interpret it. When I write a cartoon, I have no way of knowing for sure whether most people will get the joke, of course, and I suspected this one would be open to various interpretations.

Surprisingly, I got no mail about this from "believers," but a number of emails from atheists who loved it and were happy to see their point of view presented in the mainstream media.

However you take this cartoon, I think it's an interesting idea. If God is only in the minds of humans, how is he looking at the sign? If He actually exists and someone did this to Him as a joke, why does it make Him mad?

Because I frequently use traditional Bible themes in my cartoons like Heaven, Hell, the Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, etc., people often ask me what my beliefs are. Some Christians suspect I am one of them, while others have chided me for making fun of their faith. Atheists have assailed me for using mainstream media to promote Christian mythology, others have assumed I'm in their camp.

My own beliefs or lack thereof aside, the reason I use Bible themes so much is simply because humor often comes from common knowledge. Bible stories are a veritable library of common knowledge, most of which has to do with human nature, and is therefore an incredibly rich vein from which to mine humor.

Even though I don't go out of my way to piss people off, I've always thought that as long as I'm making somebody mad, I must be doing something right. My 7th grade art teacher, Judith Miller of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told me on the first day of school that the worst reaction you can give an artist is none.

16 comments:

Martybops said...

i like the links...especially the children with the t-shirts on. i wonder if we can get one that says god hates flesh-eaters.com

Crazy Vegan Mom said...

I got the whole idea right away and it usually takes me a minute. I love the idea of the God hates flesh eaters.com shirt, don't you know my 7 yr old son was looking over my shoulder when I clicked that link, so that left me with an interesting conversation! I did have a bumper sticker on my old car that said Heart Attacks... God's vengence for eating his animal friends.

marin_explorer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marin_explorer said...

The premise is sure more funny than any belief I may have. Then again, any "higher being" out there may just have a better sense of humor than the average human.

Rob Cottingham said...

@marin_explorer - I'm convinced the universe has a sense of humour. I'm just hoping it isn't the haw-haw-you-fell-down kind (all evidence to the contrary).

Dan, I was tickled as hell to see the link to my "anger" image! I'm a cartoonist as well, so this just made my day. Thanks!

marin_explorer said...

@Rob_Cunningham

Based on what little I've seen, irony appears to be a universal concept, yet religious moralists attempt exclude themselves from the joke that we all are comedy.

Rick said...

Hi Dan,

Don't think I've even seen
an unfunny cartoon from your
studio. You've been a great influence...no matter what the fundamentalists may say.

Sincerely,

Rick London
Londons Times Cartoons
www.londonstimes.us

Διαγόρας said...

(that's Diagoras)

Hey Dan,

Thank you very much for a good, honest, intellectually fulfilling laugh.

I hope I have your permission for what I have done here: http://diagoras.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/you_are_here/

(That's your cartoon translated into Greek.)

astarrte said...

I love today's comic and came to the site to see if it was posted. Actually, my first thought was to scan it from the paper and email it to Richard Dawkins. (Sorry - as I said, this is my first time here so I don't know what mention, if any, there's been of that rock star atheist.) I'll be back to see if you've updated with the comic ("magic eight ball") and any commentary.

Peter Anthony Holder said...

I'm glad to see that folks can gather here in the name of humour from both sides of the theological aisle.

I'm also impressed that we can come together on different sides of the food aisle as well. As a raging carnivore I know I will hear it from the vegans, but if we are talking about theology and by extension, miracles, then let's consider chicken as the true miracle food. It's the only thing we eat before it's born and after it's dead!

Now there is an interesting Bizarro cartoon concept!

Garrett Williams said...

There IS pie in heaven! Hallelujah!
And nobody complained about a stick of dynamite next to God, with morbid accusations?

The Rev said...

I'm a minister and I love your cartoons. IMHO, you think more theologically than a lot of self-described Bible experts and I quote your cartoons in my sermons on a regular basis.
Thanks and keep up the good work!
Rev. Susan Leo
Bridgeport United Church of Christ
Portland OR
BridgeportUCC.org

Casey Kendall said...

Dude! I am a "believer" and I got the joke, and thought it was hilarious! I don't agree with some of what you are about, but that doesn't matter because you are still funny! I eat meat and I believe in God in the Judao-Christian way of it, and you don't go for either of those, but whatever. Keep up the funny cartoons that not everyone gets!

Also, to Crazy Vegan Mom, meat is TASTY! =D

GAlcidesS said...

Finally!

This is the image that brought me to your website. I`ve enjoyed its search, good humor you have.

I`ll link this site to mine, your link will appear as a "teacher" with other fun sites.

I hope you don`t mind. If it does, write me to sangelmon@yahoo.com.

GAlcidesS said...

I meant, "Masters"

KelvinL said...

Could I use this cartoon for my Tumblr display picture? I really love the humour.