Comedy, Comedians, and Church: The Interplay between Religion and Humor

Dr Elisha McIntyre discusses her research into religion and humour, particularly looking at comedic work The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as well as a broad range of evangelical comedians. McIntyre discusses the use of religious comedy as a point of entertainment as well as an identity solidifier, evangelical tool, and preaching format within Christianity.

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  • What is RSP?

    The Religious Studies Project (RSP) is an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion. Find out more…

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  • RSP seeking interviewers and audio interns!

    We’re delighted to announce some exciting new opportunities to join the RSP team.

    First of all, we are looking to increase our pool of interviewers. We need interviewers in North America, and especially in Asia, Africa, and other regions that have been under-represented on the RSP to-date. Our interviewers typically record

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    Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies: Disciplines, Fields, and the Limits of Dialogue

    As it happens, just two and a half weeks ago, I was in the audience of a panel called ‘Rethinking Theory, Methods, and Data: A Conversation between Religious Studies and Sociology of Religion’ presented at the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion.  The panel was advertised as a

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    Christmas Special 2016 – The Unverifiable Truth-Claim!

    “The Unverifiable Truth-claim”, recorded at BASR 2016, hosted by David Robertson, and featuring Christopher Cotter, Katie Aston, Jonathan Tuckett, and Krittika Bhatta… Bhatta… Bhattacharjee! Plus a special appearance by RSP Managing Editor, Thomas Coleman! If Carole Cusack isn’t playing, who will win? How many times will Jonathan accidentally swear?

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    No, Secularism is not a World Religion

    Once we acknowledge that the invention of religion as a universal category and its subsequent critique by the forces of secularism took place under a certain Western provenance, why would we continue expanding the scope and reach of the world religion paradigm?

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    Radical experiences that can change worlds

    The observation that ideas are not inherently radical, but that the term is a relative one that involves comparisons to social norms, is of critical importance. The value judgments that we ascribe to ideas are not innate to them but are instead reflections of our own beliefs. These beliefs and norms vary between societies and over time within society.

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    New Horizons in the Sociology of Religion: Beyond Secularization?

    In this longer-than-usual episode, Chris and David provide an interlinking narrative between Grace Davie, Joe Webster, Carole Cusack, Jonathan Jong, Paul-Francois Tremlett, Linda Woodhead and Kim Knott, reflecting on current or future developments in the sociology of religion which challenge the ubiquity of the secularization thesis, problematize it, or go beyond it. The key question: beyond secularization, what is the sociology of religion for you?

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    Musical Secrets and Mystical Language

    Drone music is often described with terms such as violence, aggression, pain and suffering, but it is these markers of extremity which allow a sense of catharsis, dark spirituality and even healing according to listeners. Drone metal, then, addresses deep issues of importance in rather different musical and conceptual registers to Hoondert’s requiem composers and audiences. But in exploring the sacred in music, each are equally concerned with profound themes whose impact for many will elude language.

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    Sociology of Religion – and Religious Studies?

    What makes the sociology of religion and Religious Studies distinct from each other – if anything? Paul-Francois Tremlett, Titus Hjelm and David Robertson discuss what the two approaches have in common, and how they differ. Importantly, they consider how they might learn from each other. Does the sociology of religion over-rely on surveys, or could RS benefit from such large-scale data?

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    The Shifting Normal        

    Does the President elect of the United States suffer from such debilitating ideology which Obama, and Alinsky, argued against, or is he, in line with Francis’s argument, someone who has not become radicalised but rather has joined with radicals pragmatically? As much of the ‘main-stream media’ comes to terms with the election of Trump, it appears to be the second option which they are trumping for.

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    How to solve a problem like World Religions? An interdisciplinary approach.

    Challenging this simplistic conception of religion and its consequences lies at the core of the Critical Religion movement. Schaefer’s interview is an invitation to explore how we can do that most effectively. How do we translate critical insights that have significant real world implications into ideas that can easily be transmitted to students and the wider public?

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    Is Secularism a World Religion?

    Discussion starts with the entanglement of the concepts ‘religion’ and ‘secularism’, a brief discussion of the problems associated with the World Religions Paradigm, and then moves to the pedagogical merits and challenges of teaching ‘secularism/s’ within a World Religions model. We hope you enjoy this experiment!

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    Speaking about Radicalisation in the Public Sphere

    Francis rightly notes, radicalisation and violence are not necessarily linked: people can be what we call radicalised without becoming violent, while many people are violent without being seen as being radicalised. In the general discourse, particularly in the media, all these terms are often seen as somewhat synonymous, which raises the ever important question about the baggage these terms hold, and what is hidden rather than revealed in using them. Are the terms analytically useful? Or do they have some other utility, perhaps in terms of communicating ideas?

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    Researching Radicalisation

    We discuss what we mean by ‘radicalisation’, and what its connections to socialisation, terrorism, and ‘religion’ might be. We take on the methodological question of how one might go about researching such a contested topic, and look specifically at some of Matthew’s findings relating to the causes of radicalisation, and the neo-Durkheimian ‘sacred’.

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    Death, Music, and Ritual: Contemporary Requiems in the Commemoration of Death and Violence

    Hoondert discusses the step away from the liturgy associated with requiems as way for today’s individual to deal with death or violence in their own way. Still, It is clear that the ritual elements of the requiem remains, hence where this contemporary music fits into the sacral landscape is up for debate.

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