Kerry Howley takes a stab at highbrow humor, using real excerpts from their books to imagine an exchange between the feel-good megachurch pastor Joel Osteen and the 19th century philosopher of pessimism, Arthur Schopenhauer:
OSTEEN: Well, guess what, Arthur! Our life is a gift from God, and the appropriate response to His gift is joy.
SCHOPENHAUER: Human existence, far from bearing the character of a gift, has entirely the character of a debt that has been contracted. The calling in of this debt appears in the form of the pressing wants, tormenting desires, and endless misery established through this existence…
OSTEEN: The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” One translation says, “Be happy all the time.”
SCHOPENHAUER: The inmost kernel of Christianity is the truth that suffering—the cross—is the real end and object of life. That in recent times Christianity has forgotten its true significance, and degenerated into dull optimism, does not concern us here.