In Reli 321, we have looked closely at many theories that may shed light on the agency of groups to reinvent religion. One such theory is the idea of the “Carnival”. The carnival is a place of reversal. Victor Turner would call this space a space of “anti-structure”. However the structure is reaffirmed when things return to normal. Whether or not things return to normal, important religious work is being done in the space of the Carnival.
Many religions have begun using humor to incite Carnival. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Church of Stop Shopping are two examples of churches that use humor as a tool. The Carnival lies in the mockery of themselves through the mockery of others. By being willfully bizarre, these churches use humor as a destabilizing force.