This is another one from the vaults: I started it, shelved it, and then forgot about it. The article I link to below is rather old, but it is as relevant now as it was last year.
Greta Christina has an article on her blog about the right and the wrong place for humour and mockery in the discussion of ideas. It’s an insightful and well-considered examination of the question, “When is it appropriate to use humour and/or mockery when talking about other people’s beliefs?”
It’s a great examination of the proper (and improper) use of humour, from a writer who often focusses her sharp wit on religion.
On the one hand, some ideas naturally evoke laughter from us. Some ideas are ridiculous, and the most natural response when confronted by people who seriously believe them seems to be laughter.
On the other hand, laughter and mockery are not rational arguments, and can tend rather to derail than to advance reasonable discussion.
Greta Christina does a great job of looking at exactly what makes for the appropriate use of humour when discussing religious ideas (or indeed any idea). I’d be curious what my religious readers think of her article. Before you follow the link, I should warn you – she is a sex writer, so there are some graphics (mostly book covers) on her site of a very sexually suggestive nature. Here is the link.