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Regina Spektor "Laughing With" Video, Lyrics and Song Meaning

I listened to Regina Spektor's haunting song "Laughing With" several times today. I don't know Regina's personal religious beliefs, but I think she's written a powerful song. To me the song speaks of the fact that suffering strips away our flippant attitude towards God. We can laugh at God when all is well or when we encounter a caricature of him, but when tragedy strikes we're confronted with the reality that we're helpless. "No one laughs at God in a hospital."

The video and song lyrics follow. Let me know what you think.

"Laughing With" Lyrics:

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one's laughing at God when it's gotten real late and their kid's not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake
No one's laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else and they hope that they're mistaken
No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door and they say "We've got some bad new, sir,"
No one's laughing at God when there's a famine, fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny
When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they've lost all they got and they don't know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they'll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one's laughing at God when they're saying their goodbyes

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny
When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

No one's laughing at God in a hospital
No one's laughing at God in a war

No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
We're all laughing with God

Laughing With by Regina Spektor from the album Far

Comments (90)

That's pretty intense. Never expected Regina to pull a song out like that one! Really, really good :)

I bet that will bring up loads of discussion. Hopefully God praising ones too.

I love the song. I have never heard of her before this song. I do pray that this song causes some to think and discuss some of the truths pointed out in this song. If God isn't real, why don't people laugh before they die?

"Pain is God's megaphone to the world." - C.S. Lewis People don't find the true nature of God through comfort, ease, and security.

I think her assessment of the human tendency toward frivolity concerning serious/spiritual matters contrasted with the serious nature of a deity are both pretty spot on. I think, in at least some ways, she has a better picture of God and the nature of humans (especially in America) than a lot of confessing evangelicals. I admire her poignancy and sarcasm in taking out the health and wealth people with just a couple lines.

Ha ha.

Interesting song. I wonder what she means at the end when she says that we're laughing "with god" instead of at him.

Very interesting, I agree in hopes that this will help initiate some good conversations. I wonder what she means with the last line, "we're all laughing WITH God"...

I'm not sure what to get from this song. On the one hand, I see what you're saying about flippant attitudes when all is well - and sobriety when pain breaches our comfort zone.

What scares me about this song are the lines:

"God can be funny // When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way" and "We're all laughing with God," at the end.

Granted, I'm not sure what Regina thinks about God fully, but it almost seems to caricature God as "the joke" or "the absence" in every circumstance. When life is good, God is a party trick; when life is bad, he's somehow the missing piece that was never there.

Perhaps not. I'm just not opening my arms to this very quickly. Perhaps that's because it's 9:02AM - and I just got home from a tiring workout.

peace,
nathan

We are so flippant with Him if we think we can be... like naughty little children.

I like the idea of laughing with Him, a hopeful ending to the song.

This would be a different sort of laughter than the kind in Psalm 2 when "the One enthroned laughs... scoffs at them." The Psalm goes on to say, "Therefore, you kings, be wise... be warned..."

We need to be reminded of our true neediness. I think this song gently and beautifully expresses that.

"Laughing with God" is a figure in that the writer changes from the meanings used in the rest of song to the sense of the word "laughter" here. Here, it means of course that with Him is true joy. "In His presence is fullness of joy." We were created for joy and it is one of the things that endures. Jesus was "anointed with joy above all his brethren." His joy is abundantly true and enduring and this same kind of laughter is one of its works. Whenever we are with God, we are filled with this kind of joy and thus this kind of laughter. It makes us more fully human as God intended.

While I appreciated some of the lyrics and I pray they stir some good conversaton, it bothers me when Christian women think they have to sing in a sultry, sensual voice to get the attention of their listeners.

And presentation matters. Watch the video again without the music and you'll see an MTV video. She saunters around in a provocative dress (walking up and down glass stairs at one point). Watch her expressions; she looks into the camera with pouty eyes, singing in a seductive way.

Are we so desensitized by our MTV culture that we don't notice the resemblance?

Whatever she is singing doesn't matter to me much at that point. Some of the lines to the song could be thought provoking. It's too bad.

[OK - after commenting, I discovered that Regina Spektor is not even a Christian; she's Jewish. So maybe her video IS on MTV! LOL But I'm still posting my comment because I suspect she is singing to a largely Christian audience who embraces this style of entertainment. Just a few thoughts.]

Josh,
This not related to your blog post, which by the way is very thought provoking.

Anywho, I'm sharing this video with everyone I can think of, it's very thought provoking and humbling.

http://deathisnotdying.com/

whoa... powerful song! Awesome, creative production on the video too!

And such honest, provocative lyrics. When I read them I thought "how can you make lyrics like that flow rhythmically in a song?", but somehow this girl pulls it off.

Regina Spektor? I've heard her name before, but never heard any of her music. Now I'm going to have to check her stuff out.

That's good songwriting, isn't it? Stirs thought, conversation, etc. You don't see that much today in any genre.

The words are very true, we do tend to take God for granted when things are going well.

As sinners we also tend to try to shrink Him down to our level.

But when things start to get tough, we tend to take Him more serious.

I like at the end when she sings. "We're all laughing with God." makes me think of how God will one day turn all our tears into joy!

Amazing and the most honest direct to the point song. I'm posting it to my blog.

Interesting song and also some of the comments. Nathan, I see your point and you may be on to something. The song is not clear as to whether she is speaking against the vain and even blasphemous mentions of God in everyday speech or if she is truly feeling the absence of God in even the hard times.

Admittedly the final line does make it even more confusing too. Thanks Josh for posting this, it really is good to be aware of these influences in pop culture. I am also posting it to my blog , referencing yours.

Re:Stacy -

Her music is not generally directed towards a Christian audience. For her to have a song about God is kind of unlike her. She is on a major label, but her music is generally directed to a more indie music crowd (the genre is sort of anti-folk or indie pop).
Doesn't really add much to this discussion, but I just wanted to clarify. :)

RE: Stacy -

First off, according to Wikipedia, Regina Spektor was born to Jewish parents in the former Soviet Union. Her family moved to the US in 1989 when she was nine.

Regardless of who she is, or what her beliefs are, the words to the song are humbling to man of the reality of God's existence in life's circumstances. And yes, it is powerful.

As Christians what should our response be? Is the first thing that comes out of our mouths judgment on the trivial fringes of the production to make ourselves look righteous in the site of men, while ignoring the real significance of this song in our mainstream culture today?

Stacy...
As a man, the video in subject featuring Regina Spektor was not a temptation or titillation in the least. What I saw was a nice looking young woman, who isn't MTV model perfect or sensual, in a modest knee length dress playing piano while having some special effects to help get the point across. I even watched the video without the sound as suggested... Still nothing.

There are some battles out there that are worth fighting over, and we should definitely point out the evil that prevails in our culture. However, when the main subject matter of an issue is pointing in the right direction, and dare I say God honoring, as Christians we should not "nit-pick" at the trivial details and pound ourselves on the chest for stamping out the evil in our land. Doing this marginalizes us as believers, and renders us as foolish and confused to the world.

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the clarification. My point wasn't to nitpick or even to "stamp out evil." :-) As I said, when I first saw the video I thought Regina was a Christian; and if that were the case, I was pointing out how imitating an MTV presentation, to me, distracts from the lyrics regardless of how powerful they are. And I was disappointed because I did appreciate some of the powerful lyrics.

Wow. I have only ever heard of Regina Spektor's "The Call" for Prince Caspian, which I loved; but this out does it. I don't know if she is a Christian; but I do know that she didn't write that on her own. God knows what the world needs to hear, and he can say it through the mouths of whomever he pleases. That line: "When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way" had to make me think of Word of Faith teachers like Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn and so on. I'm glad somebody who is "popular" in the world's eyes has hit them on the head at last.
~Meg

If you've ever heard the phrase--"I'm not laughing AT you, I'm laughing WITH you!" Even when it's not true, it's quickly uttered to deflect confrontation. In the same way, the last line in this song is stating that this is how people would respond if God ever confronted them about laughing at him. It's sort of like a flippant way to appease an angry person.

Dear Stacy McDonald,
Jesus Christ was also Jewish.
We're all laughing with God.

I see a pretty girl, dressed fairly modestly. No cleavage, no sultry looks, just a unique vocal style that's fresh. Powerful song for our culture and times. I happen to be a 51 year old woman with 3 sons and extremely high modesty standards. Josh Harris also has high purity/modesty standards and I'm doubtful he'd post something 'iffy' in that department.

Christian apologists make the same point...there are no atheists in fox holes, only when they sit in intellectual pride and safety.

Hi Regina,

I love it that you are challenging people to face the fact that when it comes right down to it - when things get bad, they really do want to "believe" He is real and that He will help them. I pray you get some people thinking. It sounds like you already have; praise God!

I pray too, that you will come to know God's only begotten Son as your Lord and Savior. Because believing that God is good and that He laughs isn't enough to save you from His wrath. None of us are good enough. All of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory. (Romans 3:21-26).

Without Jesus, we are lost and sinful creatures. But God sent His precious, perfect, and sinless Son to be sacrificed in our place.

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29, NKJV)

"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth." (Acts 8:32)

"In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10, NKJV)

I am praying God will reveal to you His Son, and that He will grant you faith in Him. And I pray that you and I will one day laugh together in Heaven! Blessings to you.

I heard this song for the first time last week and was immediately intrigued. This morning, I remembered it and played it before my husband left for work. It sparked some interesting thoughts on our end, so we ended up searching for other dialogue concerning its meaning - thus, how I got here.

I enjoyed reading the thoughts and opinions regarding the intensity of the song. However, I noticed that someone (maybe authentically) made a comment under the name Regina S. Whether or not she is Regina Spektor, I noticed the retort made back at her was based on assumptions. This whole dialogue is based on assumptions about what we think the song is intended to signify, and if the potential author of the song is writing a quippy remark as a means of entering into the conversation, wouldn't it make more sense to inquire rather than assume? Wikipedia may be our only source to discover "facts" about celebrities, but really - what good is it when you've potentially got access to the source?? I would encourage us all (myself included) to remember that hurling scripture at someone as a means of "conversion" seldom does more than agitate and come across as close-minded... which might very well be the humor she speaks of in this song.

The profundity of this song can and should render us speechless. As a Christ-follower myself, I know that it's made me realize that a pocket-sized God is not the one I want to put on display for the world. I want the world around me to know that the strength I rely on in my weaknesses is much bigger than any jokes conjured up at a bar. My hope and prayer would be that, as a culture (both religious and secular), we would be able to hear a song like this and talk with (not at) one another about its content.

I like what Stephen Capps wrote: "I think her assessment of the human tendency toward frivolity concerning serious/spiritual matters contrasted with the serious nature of a deity are both pretty spot on."

I've been interested in God and laughter for years, even wrote my master's thesis on it (which you can find online if you google for it). Among the many things I learned:

1) Laughter can be redemptive. It can help us humbly acknowledge our fallenness, and our need for help getting back up.

2) Laughter points us toward the incongruity of God's love toward us. And the unfathomable incongruity of the cross of Christ: terrible/beautiful, shameful/glorious, wrath/love, judgment/mercy, weakness/power, foolishness/wisdom, death/life. I think it's OK to revel in the mystery of the cross, to experience a kind of levity as we're provoked to wonder and awe and appreciation.

3) Laughter can be either virtuous or vicious, depending on whether its characterized by a humble heart or a prideful heart. Laughing at the folly of our sin, and repenting from it, is good. Laughing off what God's law says about our sin, mocking it, isn't good.

4) That we laugh tells me that God values freedom and glory, and that His ways are beyond our ways. And that's fine.

RE: Stacy

I think several people, men included, have pointed out that they see nothing immodest or impure about the video. I would concur. I don't find it seductive at all. I have seen Regina in concert and I think that is simply the way she is sings.

I would caution you to examine yourself in how you respond to things automatically as impure or evil. the bible even states "to the pure all things are pure", so if you are finding something to be sexual when others don't, that would alarm me. It isn't that we are all desnsitized to the world around us, but we aren't quick to cry wolf.

per Josh's blog: I have been a fan of Regina for years now and find her music to always be though provoking, this song is no exception. I'm glad you blogged about it, and I hope that christians will be swift to see the truth and beauty in this message, rather than demonizing a non-christian artist for her thoughts about God.

I can't speak to Regina Spektor's religious beliefs, but she does, unfortunately, support Planned Parenthood.

http://www.nme.com/news/reginaspector/41116

Her songs stand on their own, whatever she may say, but I cannot support an artist who supports abortion.

Brooke, to clarify, I didn't label anything or anyone impure or evil. Please don't add to what I said. I was trying to communicate my opinion (however poorly) on the significance of presentation. To me, the way the video was presented detracted from the message. You are free to disagree with me. I can appreciate and respect that. But please don't add to what I said.

As far as being desensitized. Perhaps that is part of the problem. You have attended Regina's concerts, so you are prpobably used to this style of presentation. I haven't watched an MTV style video since the 80's (when I watched the worst of them...often). Perhaps the video triggered a style of music presentation I'd prefer to forget. :-)

Peace.

That was very good and interesting. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

Was permission obtained to reproduce the lyrics of the entire song? As far as I am aware, doing so is illegal in the USA, because of copyright laws. (And no, it's not fair use, because the entire song was copied.) One more reason to question copyright.

I'd just like to say that I can totally see where Stacy is coming from and I think some of the posts here were a bit hasty to throw judgment upon her. I wouldn't qualify Regina's dress as completely modest either. But, its just a movie vid. by an unsaved person so its not really a big deal so lighten up a bit people. I think it was right of Stacy to speak out, thank you sister.

Impure? Unsaved? God does not speak to us through pure or only saved people. Where did Paul come from? Think of the people Jesus sought out and used to speak his message. If you are looking for messages from God from only people that you think are worthy of delivering a Holy Messsage than you are going to miss a lot of what God has to say to you. It was a thought provoking song that what I get out of it is that God should not be there only when we need him in despair but that he should be there at all times...the main focus of our lives....then we can laugh with him in pure heavenly joy. When we judge people we miss so much of what God is trying to say to us. Thank You Regina for this message and thanks be to God for caring enough about us to send it through her.

Interesting, creative, thought-provoking music and video. Thanks for sharing!

I think the song is very thought provoking. It's not my place to "fuss" with God over how HE brings lessons to me. There have been many times HE's used unexpected people to speak into my life. This was one of those instances. The song made me think on all the times in my life that I've heard someone mocking God, or making light of HIM. As we stand by with our hearts aching..sometimes speaking out in defence and sometimes silent....then when tragedy touches their lives they call us to pray with them and stand with them....It's so true that love is the more powerful gift. This song reminds me to look for opportunities to LOVE others with the love of my Jewish Messiah Jesus/YAHshua...even when they are people that are hard to love. Powerful song! Powerful lyrics! Can't wait till the day when I'm laughing with my Jesus.

so i just want to put out there, one of my first thoughts when watching the video was how she consistantly is modestly dressed, she has a unique style, and is not like other female artists, very cool. So i seriously laughed out loud at the comment about her being in a provocative dress.

im still wrapping my head around the song, i think its cool..

interesting comments....

I'm an atheist and I feel like I mostly agree with this song.

I agree that it isn't nice to laugh at people's beliefs (in other words: god) when they are having trouble in their lives. That's just part of having empathy. I try to help others out when I can.

On the other hand, we should poke fun at ideas that make no sense.

"Nothing but free argument, raillery and even ridicule will preserve the purity of religion." - Thomas Jefferson

Regina, as a Christian, I have to say thank you for your wonderful song. You're right- Jesus IS Jewish, and the Jewish faith supports Christians, not the other way around. The only difference between the two faiths is that Christians believe Jesus is Messiah. Good music is a gift from the LORD. May you be blessed by the G*d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Shalom

I too have no idea if Regina Spektor is Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Buddhist, or something else entirely. I have no idea, but for me that doesn't really matter. Mostly because songs are up for personal interpretation, just like all art.

The real importance of this song for me lies in the statement it makes about people in society in general, especially Americans, who live their life from day to day without grace and thankfulness, but when the time comes and they are really in trouble, they look to a higher power to get them through it. It's a coping mechanism that almost all people have, regardless of religion--to turn to something or someone more powerful than themselves to help get them through it.

It mirrors loosely other trends seen in America at the moment. The financial crisis and home foreclosures and the recession--the government finally having to bail out banks and companies. Everything was all happy and good and people loved to spend spend spend money they didn't have until--bam--the dam broke open and no one knew how to handle it because they'd been in denial all those years.

People live in denial of their own vulnerabilities and weaknesses until a certain breaking point, and that's when many turn to God. And this song, for me, points to that in an almost looking-down-on-the-world (no religious reference intended, I'm not trying to say Regina is godlike), unbiased way--points to how we as people take take take without being thankful for whatever brings us such joy (whether it be God or a parents, etc) but when we falter and fall we expect to be lifted back to our feet by the same person/God we never appreciate when times were good.

For me, it's a powerful message and can be applied to many situations. It is something I will keep in mind for myself, because I am far from perfect.

I just heard this song as my girlfriend added it to a shared list on Spotify. I'm a big Regina Spektor fan and absolutely loved this song, I'm just listening to the rest of the album now.

I think this song beautifully simple, honest and true, and I really commend Regina Spektor for writing it when the default attitudes for many artists seems to necessarily be atheist or anti-theist.

"The Jokes on us!"
In his presence, we'll, see some how, become aware, .............
................................
"We'll all be laughing with God."


Fill in the missing taught!

Ive spent some time on decrypting the video and am 50% complete. Up to her at the Blue Sky w/Clouds piano.

As a Christian I don't think it's any of my business to try and work out Regina's "relationship with God". It's the love and mercy of God that matters, not what I, or any other Christian, thinks.

This is the problem with so much of Christianity - we can be so obsessed with categorising people. It's a kind of control-freakery that does not honour God. I know that there are those who will claim the Bible supports such attitudes, but I could just as easily quote Bible verses to the contrary. It's all a matter of interpretation.

After many years within the "Christian community" I have come to the conclusion that God often speaks more powerfully, more authentically and more movingly through those who are not brooding within a cosy introspective religious sub-culture ("the crazies who say God hates us"), but through those who dare to embrace life in all its mystery and freedom.

I would dare to suggest that this thought-provoking song has been written by such a person.

I know that Regina is Jewish and still observes up. She started playing piano in the synogauge and she kept her faith. I think that the song is pretty powerful. I love it.

I know that Regina is Jewish and still observes up. She started playing piano in the synogauge and she kept her faith. I think that the song is pretty powerful. I love it.

Hmmm at the end when she says we're all laughing with God. IN MY OPINION again IN MY OPINION!, I think she means God is already laughing 1 either because he is just amazed at how people can throw him to the side when all is well and beg for his presence when they are not or 2 he sees that in a couple of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years you'll be asking for him like you've known him your whole life when only a few moments ago you were laughing at him. That's what I think.

Hmmm at the end when she says we're all laughing with God. IN MY OPINION again IN MY OPINION!, I think she means God is already laughing 1 either because he is just amazed at how people can throw him to the side when all is well and beg for his presence when they are not or 2 he sees that in a couple of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years you'll be asking for him like you've known him your whole life when only a few moments ago you were laughing at him. That's what I think.

Did Flannery have a daughter?

Mr Harris, I'm subscribing to your feed after this posting. btw:I enjoyed talking and praying with your dad at Austin in Oct 08. I think it was him. DGM JOB and PDD conference.

That's an interesting song. I like how she just says it like it is. I am a bit confused by the last line, but considering this isn't coming from someone who claims to be a Christian I don't expect her to get her theology right :). This song sort of reminded me of a song called "Jesus Christ" by the band Brand New. It doesn't sound like it's coming from the perspective of a Christian, but it's painfully honest. Most Christians (and non-Christians) won't get that honest about what they think about Jesus.

My post does not necessarily reflect my personal opinion; but rather, my post reflects my impression of the song after listening about a dozen times and watching her video. There are a lot of optical illusions in her video -- windows floating, invisible staircases, a piece of art that is an optical illusion in itself. I get the feeling that Regina is referring to humanities' view of God, in the same way, as more like a convenient "illusion." We are thankful to have the idea of him in our thoughts during hard times -- because the idea of something or someone stronger, helping us, is exactly what we need; in the same light of convenient illusion, ...based on the line "he'll give you money if you just pray the right way" - I consider this Regina's perspective on religious "reward." It is certainly a nice default to give him credit for our successes and times of happiness, because then, we can consider ourselves rewarded. When we can look at God as another avenue for reward, then we are able to feel repaid for our goodness...even though most would argue that being repaid is unnecessary, I push back that we are intimately wired to expect something in return for every action that we give (even if our expectation is a subconscious one): we sit down, we expect to feel at least somewhat rested; we pat someone on the back, we hope to gain/keep a friend; we give to charity, it would be odd not to feel satisfaction from our good-deed. In the same way, religion is often "sold" based on the "reward" one might find from it -- the reward being happiness, success, a new sense of being grounded, guidance...in some cases: more money, etc. Also, in better times, we either laugh and joke about him or use him on our side as "power" against those who don't believe (taken from the line about "the crazies who say he hates us".) I think she's referring to the common dispute between most religions where it's either "believe what I believe or you are wrong."
In sum, I think that Regina's song is communicating the irony of God's existence in our lives. He is all around us but untouchable; yet, even so, we mold him, for our benefit, into a source that stands behind us in whatever situation we find ourselves.
Even though she is Jewish, I don't think that her song reflects any particular religious affiliation.
I think her last line about God laughing with us shows that she believes in a kind and understanding God -- one that agrees with her decision that humanity at large has severely deformed his truth...a God who loves us despite our inevitable confusion about him.

A truly mesmerizing song and artist. I heard Regina and this song for the first time on David Letterman, and then played it on youtube over and over after the show. I am of the same religion and haeritage of Regina. My take of this song is that it is about taking God and life in general for granted. Many of us only fear and respect God at the worst of times. We may often use God's name in a disrespectful manner. When we laugh AT someone, it may be disrespectful. When we laugh WITH someone, it is in fun. At the end of the song, it is affirmed that after everything in mind and with all the lyrics in mind, we are NOT disrespecting God, as we are not lauging AT Him.
If this song does not cause someone to reflect, and think about serious things in their life, they must be brain dead. I wonder if Regina herself wrote this song, as many artist purchase songs from writers. Does anyone know the answer?

Maybe Regina is being sarcastic.
Or, how she says, "God can be funny, when told He'll give you money if you just pray the right way", meaning that this song, represents how people have the wrong idea of God, you understand. Like how some folk label themselves as Christian, just to get by or get what they want; using religion as a crutch. Maybe both.

Religion IS a crutch, one could argue. Because the whole point is, we, people can't do it by ourselves-we need an outside force. Whether you believe in God, Vishnu, Buddha or whatever. When in a struggle, you turn to your god, and ask for help. You just have to figure out which god it is that helps you; who is real.

Maybe Regina is being sarcastic.
Or, how she says, "God can be funny, when told He'll give you money if you just pray the right way", meaning that this song, represents how people have the wrong idea of God, you understand. Like how some folk label themselves as Christian, just to get by or get what they want; using religion as a crutch. Maybe both.

Religion IS a crutch, one could argue. Because the whole point is, we, people can't do it by ourselves-we need an outside force. Whether you believe in God, Vishnu, Buddha or whatever. When in a struggle, you turn to your god, and ask for help. You just have to figure out which god it is that helps you; who is real.

Maybe Regina is being sarcastic.
Or, how she says, "God can be funny, when told He'll give you money if you just pray the right way", meaning that this song, represents how people have the wrong idea of God, you understand. Like how some folk label themselves as Christian, just to get by or get what they want; using religion as a crutch. Maybe both.

Religion IS a crutch, one could argue. Because the whole point is, we, people can't do it by ourselves-we need an outside force. Whether you believe in God, Vishnu, Buddha or whatever. When in a struggle, you turn to your god, and ask for help. You just have to figure out which god it is that helps you; who is real.

I found this info on Regina-

In 2007, she covered John Lennon's "Real Love" for Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. The following year, she participated in Songs for Tibet, an initiative to support the human rights situation in Tibet and Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. The album, Songs for Tibet was issued on August 5 via iTunes and on August 19 in music stores around the world. On January 22, 2009, Spektor performed at the third annual Roe On The Rocks gig at the Bowery Ballroom to raise money for Planned Parenthood New York City. Source: Wikipedia


Dalai Lama? Planned Parenthood?

Lyrics that tickle our ears, that are mixed with truth does not necessarily mean it honors the Lord.


Becky I see your stuck in a Fruit Inspector's Roll. May I suggest that one's spiritual growth should have transcended this. Cheap and ungodly
shots of Regina Spektor.

BobK

Your compromise is cheap and ungodly. Make sure you check your roots...you may be planted in shallow soil.

BobK
Your compromise is cheap and ungodly. Make sure you check your roots...you may be planted in shallow soil.

Our Churches/Denominations, aid us in our focus on heavens goal/growth. Some, At the expense of the view all around us. It's like a (stain Glass) camouflage wall. It's height varies depending on the particular denomination. Is God laughing at us? You have been shown the way. You have excepted the Blood Sacrifice. You have grown in it's belief [WORD] But Why are you stuck on the road? God's in control. His Spirit is here too teach you and guide and strengthen you. Move on-ward in wholeness, Grow inspired, maturing in all His Gifts. You should be all beyond the specks and the planks in the eye, bye now. God must be Laughing
Churches and denominations would have done much for GOD and Christianity. If they would have graduated the congregation every 4 years. The graduates would share Christ with the unsaved, and indoctrinate new members.

Becky, I'm at my bearing Fruit Stage.
Grow in Christ
BobK

BobK--Denominations are man made. It seems you are on the side of the road. You are right though, when you say God is in control, but he gave us a brain and expects us to use it and not be emotionally led by things that simply tickle our ears, but to discern whether they truly are of God. Specks and planks can trip those who follow things just because they "sound" Christian. I'm sure Regina is a nice person, but her "alleged" connections with questionable things is something to pause and consider. If you choose to be a "fan" of someone who supports Planned Parenthood, etc. that's between you and God. If my original post offended you, then maybe it hit a nerve, or better yet a root. Say what you must, but this is my last reply to you Bob. Hoping you grow in a Biblical relationship with the Lord and bear fruit to His glory.

Becky

Dear Becky: Thank you for your persistence. It's not that I don't fully agree with you but that I don't agree with your final conclusion, for the need or wariness as important.

Yes Regina Spektor is a very talented young woman with a Jewish/Russian heritage.
Regina has preformed on many various venues', in here six years touring.
Two of theses charity's name sake/nature representation, could/would be in question, for her participation (If she was a Christian).
Her lyrics tend to include love, death, religion (particularly Biblical and Jewish references),
She wrote and preformed, "Laughing with..... which reveals a fickle/faith relationship towards [God] by humanity. This song awakes some mystical need/call/awareness by the youthful masses of young females and adult males (Female 13-17; Female 18-24; Male 45-54) mostly favorable. All acknowledging in, the millions, there awareness' of a creator or a god. (Atheist's are reeling in their comments, in this songs forums/groups)

"God is Laughing at us" The reality is we don't know, the full and whole Regina Spektor story, it is still as a mystery, as the song and [God].

Should we be jumping to conclusions'? There's one God, and many Religions. [God] is working in many lives thru out this Plant. I doubt he needs input, our misgivings, relating to cases like this.[God] will use theses lyrics' and melody with it's songstress, for his glory and honor.
[God] is awesome, amazing and mysterious. I trust in him and his powerful work. Life can be so troubling that I prefer laughing with God than the alternatives.
See Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cbancAd600

I do not presume to speak for Regina, but the anonymous poster who said "Even though she is Jewish, I don't think that her song reflects any particular religious affiliation" probably has a point, but she is Jewish, and it is an important part of who she is

For those who feel it necessary to lecture her or any other Jew or to proselytize to us ("believe, believe, believe," as Regina has said) I can only suggest that a God who will "give you money if you just pray the right way" is, indeed, a pretty funny one, and not mine.

I bought the CD a few weeks ago...this song spoke to me as well...it's very true of the world we live in. People laugh at God until they really need Him most.

Becky: "Lyrics that tickle our ears, that are mixed with truth does not necessarily mean it honors the Lord."

I hope you are not suggesting that those of us who appreciate this song are either naive or compromising or both ("tickle the ears" - what an insult!). I thought the world was cynical but it's amazing how dismissive some Christians can be of anything that does not neatly fit into their own preconceived little theological box.

Even if Regina Spektor is as morally degenerate as you seem to be suggesting, does that mean God cannot express Himself through her life and words? He is after all GOD, and He is also sovereign (as evangelicals love to point out) and so therefore He can do what He likes with anyone's life, and, furthermore, He will not be dictated to by people like you - or me, or anyone else.

Have you not even read about how the Apostle Paul showed an appreciation for the Greek poets - read Acts 17:28? So therefore Christians are permitted to hear God's voice - yes, with discernment - through anything within His creation.

So before you start accusing other Christians of compromise and shallowness, you would do well to think about your own level of understanding of the Bible.

This is the longest time to browse this webpage. I've found awesome stuffs here.

This song is deep.. It makes me ask myself about the state of my relationship with God right now.

Judgement, Judgement, Judgement.

This post is a Judgement.

ha ha.

I've loved Regina Spektor for a long time. I don't really care what religious background she comes from. In fact, I was thinking how we don't have many or any artists in the mainstream who's root faith is other than Christian (even if it is just cultural) How many songs on the radio are sung by Hindus, Muslims, or Jews? Name me the last Chinese singer on the top of the charts. Anyway, I think being open to diversity is a good thing. All the people seem to post about is who Regina is and that she's jewish.

I thought we were supposed to be commenting on the SONG. the song is indeed provoking and when I first heard it i hit repeat a few times and contemplated. I think Regina's song writing is terrific and can really capture things about life. While i don't know what her take is on it, i see the truth that people don't laugh at God in suffering, C.S. Lewis- "Pain is God's megaphone".

to piggy back, look at jordin sparks' song, Battlefield. It has LOTS of biblical references in there, "go and get your armor" (um ephesians anyone?)

i think its great fun to take a secular song and find Christian meaning in it.

and look how many people are thinking about God because of Regina Spektor. woot. to God be the glory.

There is a difference between thinking about God and thinking about the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son. God has different definitions to people. The God and Jesus of the Holy Bible are what need to be focused on, not someone's version that doesn't line up with the Bible.

I really loved this song, it's sweet, and I think many people can get all kinds meaning from it. Wether or not she intended for this song to have Christian undertones, I'm not sure but, at the very least it makes you think. I did find an interview with Miss Spektor about this album, if anyone is interested...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKcVziEKv4c&feature=fvw

I read through every post (wow, it took a while) looking for any reference in a post to what I believe was one of the most powerful IMAGES in the video.

Did no one notice?- the image of thousands in BLACK, bowed in MUSLIM PRAYER in the DESERT during the lines:
"No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they'll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one's laughing at God when they're saying their goodbyes"

I'd love to hear more thoughts on why she might have paired this image with those lines in the song.

I can't get that picture out of my mind. I feel it holds much weight to the meaning behind the song, but can't put my finger on it.

Universalism, maybe? Thoughts?

Previewing your Comment

Every time I think I've had a good, or partial good taught. And I have pages of detail taught's and interpretations. Driven for an answer. Yet, I see the abstract silliness of it. Because, I know, already that there is no one good answer/or taught, all are right and yet possibly none are right.

Regina Spektor has marvelously created something amazing/purposely questionable/unanswerable, an enigma in Laughing with... It's a mystery, as is [God]

Any interpretation is troublesome because, only the artist Regina Spektor knows her true intention.
(In the video. She even pulls a magical disappearing act, "Who does magic like Houdini" (signifies false, silly, Wealth and Health, God followers?) while uttering, the last line "We're all laughing with God." Is the joke on us? or is she joking with us? LOLWG

I have no idea what the meaning of the lyrics to this song are, but I do know that Regina Spektor's lyrics are often in voice other than her own, e.g., Chemo Limo and Apres Moi, just like an author and a narrator are often very different people. So looking at her personal religion may not be the best way to determine the meaning of the song.

""If you've ever heard the phrase--"I'm not laughing AT you, I'm laughing WITH you!""
Posted by Joe | July 3, 2009

""I have no idea what the meaning of the lyrics to this song are, but I do know that Regina Spektor's lyrics are often in voice other than her own""
Posted by Tom | August 31, 2009


Aaaah Tom and Joe as well as others thank you!!!! Thank you for your post about Regina's singing voice it's variations/patterns etc..And that phrase.

It has influenced this whole taught and idea.

We must forget the image of Regina S. and the video for the most part, they are two different works of art, that can clutter confuse and prevent clarity in the translation.
Now re-imagine that the singer is a young bright intuitive little girl of around 8-10 yrs old. Does the voice with it's usual fluctuation make sense? ( forgive me, I'm a old man of 60+ ) She sings, this poetic/song expressing her deep feelings, and observations of the humane condition with it's unknown, flippant relationship to a/with a God.
In hear own words, sarcastically or metaphorically she uses this repetitive sad expression
"No one laughs at God".....a very child like usage and it all makes sense!

"But God can be funny"......another powerful child authored line...a give away, As well as the context of the lines that fallow including joke..choke..genie..Houdini..Jimminy Cricket and Santa Claus...
"God can be so hilarious Ha ha Ha ha...."

I'm sure your hearing/seeing it by now

Re-Read the lyrics now, with this in mind.

In her hurt mind, is her God, like the unwanted playmate, who's excluded in other childrens games?

No one's playing with God

In her sadness there is that remnant of a positive child like nature, and hope that things will turn out positively/for the good.

"No ones laughing at God
No ones laughing at God
No ones laughing at God
We're all laughing with God"

I thank God for what this song has influenced/generated in taught, in all of us.

Include God in your life
God Bless the children!

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Jesus Christ/God/Holy Spirit

As far as I'm aware, Regina has a very ambivalent attitude towards the existence of a deity. She says in one of her interviews: "I don't even know half the time what exactly I believe...I do know that in some moments, I'm sarcastic about religion, and sometimes, I'm in awe of it, and sometimes, I'm angry at it, and sometimes, I love it." As far as I'm concerned - as with most of her songs - 'Laughing With' is an exploration into human nature, it is not a declaration of her believe/non-believe in God. She is simply observing the relationship between man-kind and religion. This is what makes Regina sparkle. God, I think I'm in love.

*belief/non-belief

Though i have more of an agnostic outlook, I love this song. I also love the interview you have posted, Abi, and I agree with you. I think this song can really hit home both with believers and non-believers, and I think that is something very special.

This brief interview gives you a glimpse at Regina's religious views (or lack thereof):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKcVziEKv4c

"If God isn't real, why don't people laugh before they die?"


Because, well, they may be in pain and about to die...maybe that is why they are not laughing?! Pathetic comments like that are what turn me away from religion.

Just wanted to say thank you for posting this Pastor Harris! My housemate, who covers Regina Spektor songs, sang this at a concert last weekend and it's been on my mind a bit since then. It struck me because I know Regina isn't a Christian by her other songs, but I was struck by the quite Christian undertones of the song.
It really hit me this morning-so I looked it up and searched on Google to see people's interpretations of the meaning of it-and was so thankful when your site came up among the first.

When I first heard the last line, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But I was reminded, as I read through the comments here, of the difference between Sarah and Abraham's laughter in Genesis. Sarah was judged for her laughter-it was mocking God, Abraham's laughter was out of humility though for the greatness and kindness of God. It's neat to see the song through that lens of the earlier laughter being like Sarah's, and the last line like Abraham's.
Just a thought.

Thank you again, Pastor Harris
it was helpful to see someone I respect looking at this song too and thinking the same.

Soli.Deo.Gloria

I love Regina and this song. I don't care about the intent behind its creation. It's beautiful and thought-provoking.

there is a jewish adage that says " man plans and god laughs."
no man plans for these crises that regina has listed....and those things clearly happen...when we come to understand the nature of man...planning his plans, without keeping god as his partner at all times, god will have the last laugh...and when man plans and his plans go awry, it's best we laugh with god...cuz that's what he is doing.

there is a jewish adage that says " man plans and god laughs."
no man plans for these crises that regina has listed....and those things clearly happen...when we come to understand the nature of man...planning his plans, without keeping god as his partner at all times, god will have the last laugh...and when man plans and his plans go awry, it's best we laugh with god...cuz that's what he is doing.

there is a jewish adage that says " man plans and god laughs."
no man plans for these crises that regina has listed....and those things clearly happen...when we come to understand the nature of man...planning his plans, without keeping god as his partner at all times, god will have the last laugh...and when man plans and his plans go awry, it's best we laugh with god...cuz that's what he is doing.

"If God isn't real, why don't people laugh before they die?" - Posted by Matt Svoboda


Because it is not funny to die? This sentence just does'nt make any sense. What has god to do with the fact that it isn't funny when somebody loses his life?

I never stop asking the question of whether people's beliefs are real or not. I am always searching for answers that I don't expect, but wish to find. everything I've seen, heard, felt, acknowledging that so many people struggle everyday- in my personal life and on TV, in countries I've never stepped foot in, I've watched people slowly dying of preventable and non-preventable diseases, people born into poverty with no way of escaping it, war, natural disasters that have no mercy, without doing anything wrong to anyone else people are murdered and judged because of their differences in belief or lifestyle or even skin color, jealously, hate, I have had people close to me who believe in god and have tried to commit suicide because they're are so depressed they can't even get out of bed and while praying for peace, I picked my mother of the floor after she swallowed a bottle of pills when she told me that god is always watching and has a reason for everything, mental illness, cancer, serial killers, priests that turn out to be pedophiles, people who kill animals for sport or fur, when I was younger I thought that people who were married were actually happy together but unfortunately I don't know anyone who is happy in their marriage and it's very upsetting(I'm not saying that everyone isn't happy with it, I just don't personally know any who is), people who say gay marriage ruins the sanctity of it when 40 to 50% of people in America who get married get divorced, addiction, STD's, uncontrollable feelings or impulses, abuse, rape, disturbing stories of girls getting pregnant and have the baby only to leave he/she in a dumpster, ...and the lists go on forever. I have seen beauty, experienced unconditional love, given to charity without expecting any reward, I try to be the best person I can be because it's who I want to be not because I believe someone is keeping a list of my right and wrongs, and I want to understand differences because of my own differences. at this point in my life I don't believe in heaven or hell, but I do think the idea of it exists here on earth, in the decisions we make, in the people we choose to be, in the people we can't help but be, in the unexplainable things that happen to us all, in how we all affect each other. I don't want to judge anyone's beliefs. I don't care what you believe if it makes this mess make sense or makes easier to live or just because you were born and raised to believe in it. I feel as though some people tend to twist religion to fit their life better as well. I personally don't need eternal bliss because my idea of happiness isn't in any religion. I'd just really love a few good years. Music to me has been one of the things that make this world bearable. These people express their feelings in creative beautiful ways to hopefully have people gain their perspective along with their own or to make people talk about it. Regina Spektor is one of my favorite musicians. I admire her so much because she isn't afraid to express her feelings or beliefs. She is a beautiful person who I don't believe is desensitizing the song or whatever her meaning of the song is by looking at the camera with pouty eyes or singing in seductive way and wearing a provocative dress. When it comes to music you have to have passion, you have to be into what you're feeling and what you're singing and I think that she's captivating, and I believe that she's one of the most modest people in the spotlight today. Are we not supposed to show any skin, covered head to toe? I really love this video but I'm really not sure what she means. In an interview she says she always thinking about religion and spirituality and she's not sure what she believes and she asks well does religion help or harm and she thinks it does both. In her song baby Jesus it seems like she singing from the perspective of a non-believer. Sorry all the long random thoughts I just think about this stuff all the time and never really get to express it.

All this song says is that fear drives the belief in a god. Wow! What an original thought! By reading the comments, one can see that humanity has a long way to go before being able to free itself from the shackles of superstition.

Wow! Where do I start. When I first heard this song, my first impression was that people don't really acknowledge God until there is a tragedy in their lives. However, the more I listened to the song, I began to see that she is poining out the mysterious absence of "God" during the worst times of our lives. Further, she reveals the hypocrisy of christianity in the line "God can be funny When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way". The next line in the song also compares "God" to other mythical, non-existent characters, namely Jiminy Cricket and Santa Clause.

The last line in the song is the most poignent for me; "We're all laughing with God". When I listen to this line I think of the line in Bruce Almighty when Bruce says that God is nothing more than a big mean kid frying ants (us) with a magnifying glass. We're laughing with God because he is laughing at us!

"All this song says is that fear drives the belief in a god."

Funny, I always thought it was fear that drove *disbelief* in God. Go figure.

And the more I listen to the song, the more I think it might be about the hypocrisy of atheism. Kind of like the old saying "There are no atheists in foxholes"... a lot of people ignore God or laugh at the idea of faith in God, until they are being shot at, or find out they have weeks to live, or some such.

It's not the fear that creates belief in God, but it's the intrusion of real life - which includes fear and suffering - that often strips away shallow and breezy denials of God. It's easy for fat Westerners to claim they have outgrown God, when they haven't ever given the question two minutes serious consideration.

And by "serious consideration", I don't mean the process of massing a pile of arguments and "evidence" to make you feel better about the position you have already staked out. I mean giving serious thought to the possibility that you could be wrong, and how and why you could be wrong.

Do honest atheists ever doubt their position? Ever get a horrible suspicion that their Godless universe may be a wish fulfillment dream?

To the person saying that Regina is using "seductive" moves and an MTV style:

Tipper Gore, nobody invited you here.

Let Regina do her own thing...I'm sure she isn't intending to come across that way. The stairs are symbolic. And her "seductive" expressions aren't that "seductive."
That's just the way she sings. She wants to appeal to the audience and show serious emotion, maybe even a smile or two for comic relief.

Why the hell would someone want to be sexy and seductive in a music video about god?
She's waring a nearly full length BLACK dress, and showing no cleavage.
Come on now...

Matt, thank you for sharing your point of view about the song. Ever since I heard the song the first time, that was my opinion as well.

I can see the other point of view as well, but to me, the last line of the song is inconsistent with that point of view.

And as Matt pointed out, she compares Him with fictional characters.

When I listen to the song, I hear a woman who has been burned before. A woman who has suffered and wondered "Where is God?" A woman who sees the suffering of the poor and sick and thinks it again.

I think the song is sarcasm. And if you listen to the rest of the cd, there's a lot more sarcasm and mention of atheism.

What I get from the song is that God isn't funny at all when we're suffering (meaning, not funny to Christians), like He's not there to help us... He's only funny in a "good god themed joke."

It's like she's saying God's idea of funny is torturing us and watching us suffer. You can tell by the way she says "God can be so hilarious, ha! ha!" It's very sarcastic.

And then of course, the last line when she says "We're all laughing with God." Like Christians are all watching it happen.

That's just my opinion of it. I've listened to it over and over again, and I feel like that what the song's saying. I wish I could know for sure that the other were true, and wish that Regina were a God fearing woman who loves Jesus. I pray she would come to know Him and accept Him as her Savior.

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