I am particularly fond of an old Jewish folk story called Esperanza’s Bread. It’s a humorous story, and part of the humor involves the religious faith of the people involved. The existence of this and thousands of other Jewish folk stories indicates to me that Jewish people have a great deal of comfort with both their culture and their religion, enough to laugh at it and themselves without being threatened. We’re just starting to laugh at ourselves, and our progress is pretty uneven — one of the most vivid memories I have of BYU is the Varsity Theater editing out the “We’re on a mission from God” line from The Blues Brothers. I guess they thought it was blasphemous.
What is it about different religions and cultures that allow them to laugh at themselves (or not)? Are we as a people becoming more comfortable with our religion and ourselves? Or is my observation just an unwarranted stereotype?