Humour and Blasphemy

This post is written in response to the recent dreadful massacre of cartoonists/satirists in Paris. It's my initial thoughts. I can't claim to know much about Islam… Heck, I don't know very much about my own religion, let alone anyone else's! So these musings are very much a lay Christian's thoughts, which may not be of any great weight or importance.


In my limited understanding, and leaving aside the how of humans coming into being, but thinking about the what and why, we are made (however it happened - direct creation or evolution) in some way to be like God - the bible says we are created 'in His image' - i.e. we have some (or many?) of the same characteristics… Or we did, until we rebelled against Him. That mucked things up a bit, but didn't, I think, change that fundamental likeness.

Now, I have a keen sense of humour, as do most folks I know. Is that 'sinful' - i.e. part of our rebellion against God? It could be sinful, or it could be part of 'being made in the image of God' - pretty much has to be one or t'other. I submit that God, terrifying though he can be sometimes, has a sense of humour. If asked, my kids would tell you that, when they were small, I could be pretty terrifying sometimes - but also that I do have a sense of humour, so being terrifying at times doesn't, clearly, preclude it.


I mention my friends on here from time to time. One friend, with whom I talk a fair bit, is a lovely Christian lady who suffers from chronic migraine - the insights on her blog always make me think deeply.

Recently, in her review of 2014 she said:

"I’ve discovered new things about myself and my own strength and resources; I’m also learning to be more dependent on other people and to ask for help."

And so I began (in the middle of the night, typically, when I ought to have been sleeping) to think on that.

John Donne (1572-1631), in Meditation XVII of his ‘Devotions upon Emergent Occasions’, wrote:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.

And the bible tells us:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body - whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Doubting Thomas

I keep thinking about saying this, but don't really have a proper conclusion. I think the time has come to say it anyway…

I often think that the apostle known as 'Doubting' Thomas gets an undeservedly bad press. If we look at the relevant parts of the gospel, we see that, actually, he was absent for Jesus' first appearance in the presence of the disciples - really, in saying he won't believe Jesus has been raised form the dead unless he sees and touches Jesus for himself, he isn't wanting or expecting anything the others hadn't already experienced.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2022