How People don’t Understand Humor a.k.a. How to Suck at your Religion

I think I can say that my favorite web comic artist – so as web comic – is The Oatmeal. I love all his comics, his witty, don’t give a shit style and the art. Unfortunately not all people shares my opinion, and sadly some of them actually lack of reading comprehension.

Why am I saying this? Let’s take this actual comic as an example. For me it was funny and the bicycle ridding Jews cracked me up. So I shared it with my friends who apparently appreciated it too. But today I saw this blog post, A Catholic Response to “How to Suck at Your Religion”, and I’m puzzled, because I really can’t feel the “atheistic attack” from (or even among) the lines. The only reason I can think of is Reading Comprehension:

“Apple banana blue walk tree happy sing. Surely you were able to read each of the words in that sentence and understand what they meant independently. An apple is a fruit that is usually round and red, green or yellow. A banana is another fruit that is yellow. Blue is a color…and so on and so forth. However, when you look at the sentence as a whole, does it make sense? Probably not. This nonsense sentence demonstrates the difference between being able to read words and comprehend text.”

For me, the point of the comic was to make people realize that being religious is different from being a fanatic and we shouldn’t just talk about “free will” but start to respect it. My very favorite part of the response blog is point 5. which is a response to this stripe:

And the response it:

“This next section is probably the worst, because it’s just an incoherent argument. A kid asks, “Dad, what happens to us after we die?” The author compares providing the Christian answer to this question with correcting your kid for having green as a favorite color. What??  That just isn’t a coherent argument.  In what world are those two ideas parallel, or even comparable?”

To me the strip was funny, because forcing your religion or political views to someone is just as big of a mistake as forcing your child to have green as her favorite color. But again, The Oatmeal didn’t say parents shouldn’t talk to their kids about religion, he just wants them to give “free will” a chance and let the kid discover her beliefs.

But I’m done talking about this thing because the author of Shameless Popery forgets about the major fundamental of a comic:

“The Oatmeal is a comedian and he speaks in hyperbole. If you sharpshoot his work you will find that he exaggerates for the sake of comedy.”

If you want to red “pedantically-impenetrable articles” about religion, by all means just Google them. I know which part of this comic should I take seriously and which don’t, which are for entertainment only and which make a fair point.

I would really like to congratulate Matthew Inman to reach this level of celebrity-ness and after Forbes now fanatics (oops, I might shouldn’t have said this) feel the urge to correct his work. This way you really know what you say matters… at least to someone!

One thought on “How People don’t Understand Humor a.k.a. How to Suck at your Religion

  1. I find it amazing that The Oatmeal, a webcomic, has become so controversial. Webcomic = funny to me! But then again, I suppose all good artists cause controversy. So maybe it just speaks to his amazing ability to strike a chord with people.

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