It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. – opening lines from the book A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens wrote these words nearly 160 years ago, way back in 1859. They seemed appropriate for the time, a time of great poverty in Britain and of the French in full revolution. They also seem more than appropriate for our time today because, as always, we seem to be living in a world of massive contradictions.
For some the future is so bright they feel compelled to wear their designer sunglasses inside. The stock market in the States is at an all time high, and companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google continue to increase in financial value and cultural influence. The price of football players also seems to be rising and rising, no matter what the economic climate.
For others however this world is a living hell. As we speak some half a million Rohingya Muslims are on the run for their lives, fleeing from religious persecution perpetrated by Buddhists. We have also recently experienced terrifying hurricanes sweeping across the Atlantic, as well as earthquakes shattering buildings and lives in Mexico. Not to mention the imminent threat of nuclear war between Fat Man in America and Little Boy over in North Korea.
For those who are genuinely suffering, the entirety of my heart goes out to you. May you find some comfort soon. For the rest of us, it is difficult to know what to do and how to feel. It is harder still to know how to keep sane. In the barrage of information and news that we face it can feel overwhelming, not knowing how we came to this, not knowing how you alone can possibly make any positive impact at all.
It is at these crucial times that I believe it is imperative to keep ones sanity. For me the best way to do this is via the occasional dose of comedy and humour. This does not in any way belittle the horrors being faced by many all over the world, but it does allow people to try and function as best they can, considering all they know about the world. If you lose your sense of humour then surely madness is just around the corner:
A sense of humour is the main measure of sanity. – Hunter S Thompson
With this in mind please find below 18 quotes centered around the topic of faith. As best as one can in these best-worst times, enjoy…
Ain’t no pickpocket trying to steal my suitcase. It could be an expensive laptop computer or it could be the end of their life. It’s too much of a gamble. – Imran Yusuf
Barack Obama is not a radical brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free health care. You’re thinking of Jesus. – John Fugelsang
For those of you who don’t know much about us Muslims, you’ll recognise us from that hit TV show, the news. We have been on that one a lot this series, haven’t we? We’ve got recurring characters. It’s on at prime time. We’ve smashed that show. – Tez Ilyas
Giles Fraser, the former priest, in the Guardian, he said that “Jesus would welcome in the migrants.” And I thought well that’s all very well for Jesus, his father’s house has many rooms. – Stewart Lee
I feel something in my heart when I pray. I really do. The connection is there. But I also really feel something in my heart when I get a Tinder match at 2 in the morning. And I don’t know how to deal with that. Do I drive over? Do I pray Fajr? I do both. – Ramy Youssef
I have thought about this long and hard. I don’t think I could be a terrorist. It’s my stance. I don’t think I could do it. I think I would come to America and think “Wow! This place is awesome!” And then I would call back home and say “Guys…I think we should let women read…Maybe it’s us.” That’s had to have happened. I have to believe in the goodness of humanity, and believe that that’s had to have happened, where some guy came to America, and he was going to do all this terrorist stuff, and when the day came nothing happened. And he gets the call. “Hey, what happened?” And he was like “I was totally going to do it, but I went to this place called Hooters last week. WOW! I love America. This place is amazing.” – Fariaz Rabbani
I thought about being a Muslim once, but you’ve got to know geography. Which way is Mecca? I got lost in the way here! Plus they have that whole concept of 72 virgins when you go to paradise. It sounds nice but really I’m just looking for a little peace and quiet at that point. Where do you even find 72 virgins without committing a felony? I don’t think it’s possible. Even if it was, it would be like spending eternity at a Hannah Montana concert. That is not paradise, believe me. – Bart Tangredi
I went to this Catholic church…and I did notice that it was a bit cold in there because they don’t have central heating in there like we do in mosques. I’m not showing off, I’m just saying, you know. We haven’t got as much money as they have, but we don’t spend it on stupid things…like ruby slippers…and all that compensation. – Imran Yusuf
I would respect religious people more if they didn’t spend so much time trying to kill other religious people who weren’t the same type of religion that they are. – Bart Tangredi
If we’re all God’s children, what’s so special about Jesus? – Jimmy Carr
I’m not a religious guy, but I’m still paranoid about all the stuff going on in America with the National Security Agency. That’s why when I’m on the phone I say “I love America” as much as I can. I’m serious. As often as I can. “Hello, how are you?…I’m fine. I love America!…Yeah, I saw Breaking Bad. It was great. Just like freedom. Just like it!” – Fariaz Rabbani
It’s an interesting time being Muslim at the moment because a lot of people have written and said a lot of things about us over recent weeks, months, even years. Like some people, you know, the ones out there, the ones with access to the internet, they think being Muslim is only about animal cruelty, oppressing women, and claiming benefits. That’s what they think it is, and what those people haven’t realized is there are downsides as well. It’s not all summer camps and Nandos up here! Have you tried looking after four wives in today’s economy? It’s expensive. It’s expensive. – Tez Ilyas
Jesus was a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer (M 6:5); but was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay; and was a long-haired, brown-skinned, homeless, community-organizing, anti-slut-shaming, Middle Eastern Jew. – John Fugelsang
My best friend is Jewish. I asked him what do you like most about being Jewish. He said he never thought about that before. I said just give me something off the top of your head. So he gave me his yamaka. I’m just kidding. He sold it to me. – Sammy Obeid
My mother wears the burqa, mainly because she doesn’t want to be seen with my dad. – Shazia Mirza
People always ask me if I’m Muslim. I’m not Muslim. I don’t have a problem with Muslims. I love Muslims. I wouldn’t fly with them. Maybe go for a bike ride or something instead. – Sammy Obeid
So I’m at the Wailing Wall, standing there, like a moron, with my harpoon. – Emo Philips
Terrorists have ruined the lives of Muslims forever. Maybe not forever, but for at least 200 years. They have shattered dreams. Do you know what my childhood dream was? I wanted to be a pilot. Done! This is what happens to you when dreams are deferred: stand up comedy. – Fariaz Rabbani