I just read what Peter Russell had to say about being one's own god. He ends by quoting the Dalai Lama:
My religion is kindness.
. . . The Dalai Lama
Whatever else, we atheists need to be kind and fluently persuasive as much as possible---incisive and penetrating yes, but not mocking. The most rewarding among first conversations are with half-believers who are undecided.
I agree. Humour is crucial. As has been pointed out by others, this is why there could be no heaven. Among many other things. Humour helps us cope with and survive many of life's vicissitudes, from disaster to egg-on-face. With no problems, why would we laugh?
So although I agree with Dr. Meaden on the whole, I think we all ought to be up for a bit of ribbing now and then. I have religious friends with whom I am able to trade mock for mock. It eases the tension that might exist otherwise.
Notice how religious fundamentalists, especially the murderous totalitarians, don't obviously do humour. In fact Mohammed Atta, who led 9/11, was known by his family and friends for never laughing. I'm guessing pre-enlightenment Europeans were more focussed on death, sin and demons, rather than sharing a joke. There is a theory that the default mentality of the Dark Ages was paranoid schizophrenia.
Humour is a good measure of the health of an individual and a society, I think.
I made a big generalisation. Many animals have a sense of humour. I almost added that I was taken to the Pro Cathedral in Dublin once and the priest was as good as many stand-up comedians.
But deeply held morbid beliefs and delusions are a bit of a downer for the most part. Generally.
Yeah, humor is a good measure.
It would be a better measure if UKers would stop spelling "humor" and all the other "...or" words with "...our".
Where are the emoticons? I could use the one sticking out it's tongue here!