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Is it a sin to work as a comedian?

LucianNae

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Hi.

As someone who has had aspirations of working in show-business as an entertainer, stand-up comedian or/and comedy actor, I would like to know whether there is an official position of the Orthodox Church regarding if this is a sin or not.

In his book "Orthodoxy", Christian writer and theologian G. K. Chesterton pointed out something that I've also noticed in the past, namely that the Bible doesn't mention any episode in which Jesus laughed. Here's a quote from his book:

Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.
Please share your thoughts on the matter.

Thank you.
 

hecma925

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The Bible doesn't mention everything Christ ate or how many times he used a latrine, yet here we are.
 

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It's hard to be comical without ridiculing someone. But, I guess its possible.
 

hecma925

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I find that a lot of Christian or, at least, "clean comics" tend to be quite self-deprecating.
 

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Psalm 2, verse 4?
 

LucianNae

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It's hard to be comical without ridiculing someone. But, I guess its possible.
It's pretty much impossible. I've watched many so-called Christian comedians and I don't remember ever coming across a joke that was both funny and something innocuous to everyone and everything in creation. I feel like even making fun of animals, objects, places and anything else in the world is sinful because they were all created by God. As for mocking satan, I'd rather not venture into that territory.

I've considered the idea that we were not designed to laugh, that it was not part of our original design, that it is some sort of perversion (caused by satan and the fall) of the joy we were supposed experience by living in full communion with God.
 

hecma925

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I've considered the idea that we were not designed to laugh, that it was not part of our original design, that it is some sort of perversion (caused by satan and the fall) of the joy we were supposed experience by living in full communion with God.
Can you expand on that thought? It makes no sense to me.
 

LucianNae

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Can you expand on that thought? It makes no sense to me.
Similarly to how we were not designed to lust after each other, but satan twisted the original design for procreation. Same with laughter, maybe, before the fall, we were designed to experience a state of bliss / joy, or whatever you want to call it, by living in communion with God, and, lacking said communion due to living in this fallen world, we adopted a replacement for said joy, a twisted version of it, if you will. And that replacement is laughter that derives from sinful things, such as the misfortune of other people / things or even our very own misfortune.
 

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This is something that needs to be discussed in depth with the spiritual father, who knows you and what you've got going on personally. It is not easy to live an Orthodox spiritual life and be in showbusiness.
 

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I think there is a joyful kind of laughing that is completely innocent and pure. Like when children are outside at play or when old friends meet and reminisce and laugh about old times. When laughter involves mocking or ridicule, then it's probably not of God
 

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Similarly to how we were not designed to lust after each other, but satan twisted the original design for procreation. Same with laughter, maybe, before the fall, we were designed to experience a state of bliss / joy, or whatever you want to call it, by living in communion with God, and, lacking said communion due to living in this fallen world, we adopted a replacement for said joy, a twisted version of it, if you will. And that replacement is laughter that derives from sinful things, such as the misfortune of other people / things or even our very own misfortune.
I don't agree, but can see your reasoning. God has a tremendous sense of humor.
 

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I think this guy would be a good example to look to. He does a great job of maintaining balance and making fun of all sides. He doesn't ridicule specific people, just absurd social trends and behaviors in general.
 

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It's pretty much impossible. I've watched many so-called Christian comedians and I don't remember ever coming across a joke that was both funny and something innocuous to everyone and everything in creation. I feel like even making fun of animals, objects, places and anything else in the world is sinful because they were all created by God. As for mocking satan, I'd rather not venture into that territory.

I've considered the idea that we were not designed to laugh, that it was not part of our original design, that it is some sort of perversion (caused by satan and the fall) of the joy we were supposed experience by living in full communion with God.
Its like action movies. The hero often kills the perpetrator in the end. From a Christian aspect, it's revenge and yet its glorified and keeps people coming back to the theater, because it invokes the primal instinct in us. We feel better when someone else is suppressed.
I equate it to gold fish in a tank. As soon as one becomes a little weak. The rest sense it and start picking on him until he is dead.

Laughter can be generated though. I sometimes laugh at myself. If you do it in proper measure as not to totally offend. You can pull it off.
The problem is everybody has a different threshold and you must know your audience very well.
 

LucianNae

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Psalm 2, verse 4?
What about it? That's one of those Bible verses that doesn't seem to portray an accurate picture of God. Why would an all-loving God Who doesn't want anyone to perish laugh at the humans who are manipulated by evil spirits?
 

hecma925

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God made a bet with Satan and allowed him to manipulate Job's life. Pretty funny stuff, especially Job's wife.
 

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What about it? That's one of those Bible verses that doesn't seem to portray an accurate picture of God. Why would an all-loving God Who doesn't want anyone to perish laugh at the humans who are manipulated by evil spirits?
The context is that the Lord laughs at those who conspire against Him. No one can defeat God.
I don't have a spiritual father. I don't even attend church.
My brother, living a moral life is useless without turning it to God.
 
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Stinky

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First thing required for work as a comedian is to have a sense of humor, to not be overly sensitive.
What about it? That's one of those Bible verses that doesn't seem to portray an accurate picture of God. Why would an all-loving God Who doesn't want anyone to perish laugh at the humans who are manipulated by evil spirits?
Do you judge God in His laughter?
God laughs at me often. And He picks me up and dusts me off and holds my hand and says, " There now, are you ready for my help yet? Or do you need more of that? " I love Gods laughter.
 

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There are many excerpts in the Bible with some subtle humour. Not to mention plots in which humour appears in their own development, like the apostles falling asleep in Gethsemane, the final chapters of the Book of Judges, Sodom and Gomorrah (specially but not solely the subplot of the House of Lot), the entire life of Saul (with his holier-than-thou mess-ups culminating in a fair but prophane death), the tower of Babel, Christ teaching in Jerusalem as a child, the things God demands of Hosea, Isaiah and Ezekiel, the death and resurrection of Eutychus, the parable of Oholah and Oholibah... Or let's see these excerpts:

"And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked." (3 Kings 18:25-27)

"No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn." (Job 12:2-4)

"Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." (Jeremiah 34:17)

"It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." (Proverbs 21:19)

"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." (Proverbs 31:6,7)

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." (John 21:25)

"For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised." (1 Corinthians 4:7-10)

"And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you." (Galatians 5:11,12)
 

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My brother, living a moral life is useless without turning it to God.
I'm trying to, but going to church is almost impossible for me at the moment. As you could probably infer from one of my other threads, I'm physically disabled, and I come from a dysfunctional family. I cannot stand for long periods of time due to various illnesses that can only be treated through expensive surgeries that I am too poor to afford.

I have only recently started seeking God after having lived in sin most of my life. My story is very complicated and I don't feel comfortable talking about it at the moment.

To be honest, I am scared to talk to a priest because I have no idea where to start and what to tell him. There's too much to tell. I have never been to confession (well, that I can clearly remember; I might have been once when I was a child), so I have no idea what to tell the priest. I've done most of the sins listed in the confession guide.

And for those of you who were wondering how I could be a comedian if I am physically disabled, the answer is: the internet, through video sites/apps, such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram etc. I've watched a bunch of comedians make online Christian skits/short videos and they seem to have gathered a decent following.
 

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hecma put it more succinctly.
 

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I'm trying to, but going to church is almost impossible for me at the moment. As you could probably infer from one of my other threads, I'm physically disabled, and I come from a dysfunctional family. I cannot stand for long periods of time due to various illnesses that can only be treated through expensive surgeries that I am too poor to afford.

I have only recently started seeking God after having lived in sin most of my life. My story is very complicated and I don't feel comfortable talking about it at the moment.

To be honest, I am scared to talk to a priest because I have no idea where to start and what to tell him. There's too much to tell. I have never been to confession (well, that I can clearly remember; I might have been once when I was a child), so I have no idea what to tell the priest. I've done most of the sins listed in the confession guide.

And for those of you who were wondering how I could be a comedian if I am physically disabled, the answer is: the internet, through video sites/apps, such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram etc. I've watched a bunch of comedians make online Christian skits/short videos and they seem to have gathered a decent following.
Afterward you will thank God for confession though you dread it now and don't know what to expect. If you are unsure how to proceed your priest will guide you; he is not there to condemn you but to guide you to wholeness in Christ. It is absolutely OK for a disabled person to sit.

My Orthodox godfather (now deceased) was one of the funniest human beings I ever had the pleasure to meet. I was never with him so far as I recall that I did not end up in stitches. He had a friendly rivalry with another fellow at our parish. One day the other fellow was sitting at the back of the church with an empty cup. As my godfather passed he threw a penny in his cup. The reaction was one of the funniest things I ever saw.

I suspect humor is very precious to God; I doubt it would be so rich an experience if He was not the inventor of our capacity for it. I'm not sure I could go through life without it and am certain I would not want to. I wish you were at my parish (not to say it is lacking for humor already).

 
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Stephen Philips

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What do you mean?
It’s a joke about the book of Job, in the Bible

God tested Job’s faith by allowing Satan to kill his livestock, as well as his family, leaving him with nothing. Job also got a disease, rendering his body useless


Even Job’s wife told him to “curse God and die”

Job’s response was that God gives and takes away, and He is always due glory.

In the end of the book, God heals Job He grants Job new livestock, and new children.
 

hecma925

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Job's wife is the stereotypical Jewish woman, a trope that is still around in modern sitcoms written by Jews. If that doesn't tickle your funny bone, think about Jesus pretending not to know what was going on while walking with Luke and Cleopas. All they got out of that encounter was heartburn.
 

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It’s a joke about the book of Job, in the Bible

God tested Job’s faith by allowing Satan to kill his livestock, as well as his family, leaving him with nothing. Job also got a disease, rendering his body useless


Even Job’s wife told him to “curse God and die”

Job’s response was that God gives and takes away, and He is always due glory.

In the end of the book, God heals Job He grants Job new livestock, and new children.
I know. I've read The Bible, but thanks for the summary.

Job's wife is the stereotypical Jewish woman, a trope that is still around in modern sitcoms written by Jews.
Huh. I haven't really watched Jewish sitcoms, as far as I know, except for Seinfeld, but that had very little to do with religion.

If that doesn't tickle your funny bone, think about Jesus pretending not to know what was going on while walking with Luke and Cleopas. All they got out of that encounter was heartburn.
Why did He do that? Also, only Clopas is named in the Bible. Which Luke is this? The evangelist?
 

xariskai

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BTW LucianNae, out of curiosity, what led you to the conclusion that telling jokes might be sinful "as such"? (if ndeed that is your conclusion(?) )
 

LucianNae

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BTW LucianNae, out of curiosity, what led you to the conclusion that telling a joke might be sinful?
There's this constant nagging inaudible voice in my conscience that keeps letting me know what is a sin and what isn't, and it usually brings solid arguments to support its position. Whether it's my conscience, The Holy Spirit or something else, I have no idea. Psychiatrists call it "religious obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)".

According to protestant pastor Dan Moher, it's The Lord:

 

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Some things may be a sin for one person but not for others.
Religious OCD (scrupulosity) can be tricky.
I have found a great blessing in Confession and the Eucharist. May God guide you in His love.
 

xariskai

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I agree with the last poster but will add a couple of thoughts about guidance.

There's this constant nagging inaudible voice.... Whether it's my conscience, The Holy Spirit or something else, I have no idea. Psychiatrists call it "religious obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)".According to protestant pastor Dan Moher, it's The Lord:
That helps considerably to know what you're asking.

In Orthodoxy we place great stock in the centrality of the heart and spiritual discernment ever aware that we are too small to understand all things by ourselves and that sometimes what we perceive from logic, evidence, scripture and tradition are only a beginning for our journey with God especially in its more personal dimensions. It is good that you are looking for the answers to questions which are particular to your own life with your heart and conscience as well as with reason.

"...Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.But whoever has doubts is condemned... and everything that does not come from faith is sin." Romans 14:22 The passage is about food, but has other spiritual application. We see something not singled out by scripture as sinful "can" be sinful if it does not proceed from faith. This is an example -one of many- which is a matter not of logic or exegesis but of spiritual discernment which likely should be ironed out with the guidance of a spiritual father who knows you personally.

Your initial reaction to that "constant nagging inaudible voice" -you initially have no idea what it is- is far closer to the Orthodox spiritual tradition than the referenced youtube pastor (Moher). The voices we "hear" can be and often are *any* of these things. In addition to our own ego speaking to us demons can also attempt to disarm us through false guilt or logizmoi (look this up for further details). The Holy Spirit also relates to us through conscience. It is dangerous to simply "assume" every voice we hear is the Holy Spirit and equally important through repentance, purification, and askesis to seek what is truly his voice at any given time (Matt 5:8). Discernment of the difference is a main goal of the Orthodox spiritual tradition, which we understand requires spiritual guidance of our spiritual father or mother and which begins with purification of the heart and prayer.

Always and ever it is also true that "what is not of faith is of sin." But what is "not of faith" can be something simply mistaken, as in the example from Romans 14:22 (see context) where human weakness led to a view concerning food that was more stringent than required. At the same time we must keep in mind as also mentioned that God often has something different for certain persons, e.g. in scripture where there is specific direction applying not to everyone ("sell all your possessions, give to the poor, and follow me").

I would suggest that there is a way to explore your question of what is right specifically for you, but many such answers cannot be found with logic, scripture, or (especially) internet message boards *alone* speaking with those who do not know you personally in great detail (not to say we should not use such means as far as they can take us, and they do suffice for some or many things), though there are excellent guides written which show in detail how the Orthodox spiritual tradition does go about finding those answers specifically for us through the ancient spiritual path. If you want to look into something like this in greater detail you might read something like Kyriacos C. Markides' book, The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality.

Given what you have written I believe it would be impossible for me to answer the question of the thread for you personally with a concrete yes or no -forgive me if my reply misses the mark, is oversimplifying, or is not helpful for your specific situation. I will pray for your journey.
 

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Hi.

As someone who has had aspirations of working in show-business as an entertainer, stand-up comedian or/and comedy actor, I would like to know whether there is an official position of the Orthodox Church regarding if this is a sin or not.

In his book "Orthodoxy", Christian writer and theologian G. K. Chesterton pointed out something that I've also noticed in the past, namely that the Bible doesn't mention any episode in which Jesus laughed. Here's a quote from his book:



Please share your thoughts on the matter.

Thank you.
If human life ends with laughter, then you can laugh.
 

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Colossians 3:17 NIV
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
 
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