Abraham and Sarah were presented with a paradox when God told them they would have a son in their old age. Paradox in the Old Testament plays an important part in the dialogue between God and the Jews.
In the New Testament, paradox is prominent in Jesus' teaching and helps to explain the Christian understanding of salvation.
Today paradox arises when religious meaning of traditional culture conflicts with secular meaning of modern culture. Heddendorf argues that a subversive quality in humor gradually replaces traditional values with new cultural meanings. The resulting humor becomes a substitute for faith.
As this secular humor becomes functional for society, it finds its way into many areas of the culture. This process of secularization in humor moves from faith to fun and, finally, to fun as faith. The result of this secularization could be called a ""fun culture."" Redemption of this culture, Heddendorf asserts, should be a continuing concern of the church.
""In this fascinating study, Russell Heddendorf probes the deeper meaning of our post-Christian culture's obsession with 'fun.' He argues that as we trivialize our amusements, we lose touch with the profoundest vocation of humor: its ability to loosen the grip of the immanent, and to point us toward a transcendent reality.""
--Wilfred M. McClay, author of The Masterless: Self & Society in Modern America
""From the Genesis account of God telling Abraham and Sarah they would have a son in old age to twenty-first century jokes about priests and rabbis, the sacred and profane have been juxtaposed in jarring messages about the paradoxes of human life. Russell Heddendorf has done a masterful job of tracing the changing meanings of this complex cultural lineage. Whatever one may think about the current direction of religion and culture, this book offers a rich, thoughtful, and rewarding investigation.""
--Robert Wuthnow, author of America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity
Russell Heddendorf is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He has founded the Association of Christians Teaching Sociology, and he has also served as president of the American Scientific Affiliation. Heddendorf has published a variety of materials describing the interface of sociology and Christianity.