Religion and humor: the origins of confrontation and the problems of conflict resolution

Authors: Rokotyanskaya L.O., Gubanov N.N., Gubanov N.I. Published: 14.08.2019
Published in issue: #4(78)/2019  
DOI: 10.18698/2306-8477-2019-4-620  
Category: The Humanities in Technical University | Chapter: Philosophy Science  
Keywords: humor, sense of humor, religion, religiosity, theology of laughter, insulting of religious beliefs, unlaughter, reputational risk

The article considers a currently important problem of controversy between humor and religion. Jokes, memes, caricatures are increasingly becoming the trigger for religious conflicts, criminal matters and even terrorist attacks. From the end of the XIX century, the negative attitude towards laughter and humor that prevailed in the public consciousness for centuries (among other things due to the influence of medieval theology), has been gradually changing. The positive paradigm of humor, which has become leading, at least for representatives of modern Western society, has affected all spheres of life - theology is no exception. Beginning from 70-ies of XX century comprehension of the categories of laughter and humor is becoming a trend in Western religious thought. Nevertheless, the traditional religious worldview is still characterized by a certain amount of mistrust in relation to the phenomena of laughter, play, fun and humor. This hidden contradiction between the religious attitude to such frivolous phenomena and general trend in their positive reevaluation may increase tension in situations of offensive humor or situations of being offended by humor. On the one hand, religious conflicts, which are based on dissatisfaction with specific examples of humor, are similar to conflicts around, say, works of art, on the other – include additional risks, primarily reputational.

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