Humor and truth: Towards a Christian theology of laughter
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This thesis explores the relationship between theology and laughter. It adopts the Superiority theory, confirmed through biblical and theological analyses. Chapter 1 discusses recent theologies of humor and outlines the occasion for the present one. Chapter 2 begins with an historical review of the church's attitude towards laughter and discusses humor's relationship to major areas of theology. Chapter 3 traces the development of the Superiority Theory and contends that much of our laughter is the ridiculing of a butt. Laughter performs a didactic function when it enforces a moral perspective by mocking deviants. Chapter 4 combs Scripture to confirm the theory. Chapter 5 observes that because of competing perspectives, laughter must have an eschatological dimension. It concludes that Heaven will contain the sounds of joy and triumph, defeat and derision. Chapter 6 discusses the implications for a postmodern context and makes application by affirming the role of humor in preaching.