Is This Funny?


The following joke was forwarded to me by a Christian who was dismayed that I took offense: 


"An atheist was seated next to a little girl on a plane when he turned to her and said, 'Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker when you do.'
"The little girl replied,
 'Okay, what would you like to talk about?'
"'Oh, I don't know,' said the man, smiling smugly at her sweet, trusting innocence, 'maybe how we know that God, heaven, and hell are all imaginary.'
"'Okay,' she said. 'Those could be interesting topics, but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, a cow turns out flat patties, and a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?'
"The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, says,
"'Hmm, I have no idea.'
"The little girl replies, 'Do you really feel qualified to deny the existence of God, heaven, and hell, when you don't know shit?'"



I asked Peggy what she thought. "Christians might like it," she said, "unless, of course, the roles were reversed." I reversed the roles: 



"A Christian was seated next to a little girl on a plane when he turned to her and said, 'Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker when you do.'
"The little girl replied,
 'Okay, what would you like to talk about?'
"'Oh, I don't know,' said the man, smiling smugly at her sweet, trusting innocence, 'maybe how we know that God, heaven, and  hell are all real.'
"'Okay,' she said. 'Those could be interesting topics, but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, a cow turns out flat patties, and a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?'
"The Christian, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, says,
"'Hmm, I have no idea.'
"The little girl replies, 'Do you really feel qualified to affirm the existence of God, heaven, and hell, when you don't know shit?'"



Turning the joke around is like remaking a silent film so that a fair-skinned maiden with golden curls laughs dementedly while tying a swarthy man in a black cape to a railroad track. Jokes about Jews, gays, black men, blonde women, atheists, and other groups, usually rely upon unflattering stereotypes, so by reversing the roles of the characters, a joke simply becomes a head-scratcher. But in the case of atheists, what stereotypes? That atheists are conceited, embittered, condescending, unethical, white, and male*. 



I think it possible that the creator of this particular joke was inspired by the story of David and Goliath and by Matthew 18: 2-6:



"And He [Jesus] called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, '... Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven... but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.'" 



Although the child in the joke failed the humility test, the predatory desire
of the atheist to use his imagined superiority to vanguish her belief in Jesus put me in mind of a documentary about the life of Bill Nye. In one cringe-worthy incident, Ken Ham was giving Nye a tour of Ham's creationist theme park in Kentucky when Nye inexplicably tried to persuade a little girl (of six or so) to study up on evolution. In the minds of creationist Christians he surely assumed the unflattering role of the atheist in the joke, the same role for which Jesus thought drowning was too good. The downside of being a member of a despised minority is that your detractors are eager for any excuse to justify hating you all the more--and encouraging others to do likewise. 

Do you regard this joke as innocent humor?


*Although 78% of American atheists are white (http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-family/atheist/), women atheists outnumber men atheists in the under-65 category: http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-family/atheist/gender-composition/.

31 comments:

Marion said...

Lighten up, Francis! We all KNOW you are a touchy, Left Coast atheist whose entire life was ruined by THE CHURCH and the state of Mississippi. It was a JOKE! I am a Christian/Buddhist, yet I feel no desire to whine about atheists all the freaking time. Try growing up your entire life with pedophiles and drunks then it only got worse: METH ARRIVES to destroy your loved ones!

Snow, really, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at??? Go pet those pretty cats and chill. xo

A Priest, A Minister, A Rabbi And A Bear

A priest, a minister, and a rabbi want to see who’s best at his job. So each one goes into the woods, finds a bear, and attempts to convert it. Later, they all get together. The priest begins: “When I found the bear, I read to him from the catechism and sprinkled him with holy water. Next week is his first Communion.”

“I found a bear by the stream,” says the minister, “and preached God’s holy Word. The bear was so mesmerized that he let me baptize him.”

They both look down at the rabbi, who is lying on a gurney in a body cast. “Looking back,” he says, “maybe I shouldn’t have started with the circumcision.”



Elephant's Child said...

It doesn't tickle my funny bone. Jokes which categorise groups rarely do.
Mind you, I have seen far fewer jokes about atheists than about organised religion.

Elephant's Child said...

PS: After reading this post I wandered off and thought about it. Jokes of this ilk are the reason I generally DO support political correctness. Language and actions that could be offensive to others, especially those relating to sex, religion and race should be avoided.

kylie said...

The atheist/ Christian part is just the set up for what I thought was a very clever punchline. You could use any two groups you liked (although it would denigrate one of them)
I thought it was funny and fairly inoffensive. I guess I need to evolve a little more

G.B. Miller said...

I found it funny enough to bring a slight smile to my face. Unlike the other comment who lovingly embraces political correctness, I do not find life to be that offensive.

Charles Gramlich said...

Neither version offends me. Neither version is very funny in my opinion though. of course, most humor is meant to belittle.

PhilipH said...

Religion is the biggest joke of all. Totally laughable.

Snowbrush said...

"It was a JOKE!"

But, Marion, that's what people always say when they put down a minority group under the guise of humor. The following is from a Huffington Post article, and comes with a link to a study.

"Research has shown that humor that makes fun of marginalized groups, such as homosexuals, obese individuals, religious minorities and women in the workplace, tends to provide social approval to prejudiced individuals to openly express their biases.

"In one U.S. study, for example, participants higher in anti-Muslim prejudice tolerated discrimination against a Muslim person more after reading anti-Muslim jokes than after reading anti-Muslim statements or neutral jokes.

“'The veil of disparagement humor as ‘just a joke’ and its pervasiveness in popular culture make it an insidious means of promoting expressions of prejudice,' study researchers stated."

"I am a Christian/Buddhist, yet I feel no desire to whine about atheists all the freaking time."

Are you unaware that the Buddha mocked and rejected the very idea of God: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/was-buddha-atheist/? Also, you live in rural Louisiana which makes it unlikely that you even know an atheist must less have been discriminated against by one. You and I are not on equal ground. I left the South largely because of its in-your-face religiosity. Have you considered moving away because of the way you're treated by atheists? WHAT ATHEISTS? I knew a total of two in Mississippi, that is unless I count my father who was on-again/off-again about God. Finally, you've been physically and emotionally abused, so tell me truthfully, would you be as accepting of jokes about abuse and molestation as you are to jokes about atheists; would they not instead be like someone throwing salt on an open wound?

While it's true that I haven't been through what you have, and that what you've been through was horrendous, the fact remains that what I experienced at the hands of religious people hurt me terribly and lastingly, so for to you dismiss it by saying, "Try growing up your entire life with pedophiles and drunks then it only got worse: METH ARRIVES to destroy your loved ones!" suggests nothing to me other than the fact that you are so caught up in your own distress (and how much worse your distress was than my distress), that you regard my pain as unworthy of consideration. So what would you have me do, keep my mouth shut about my feelings because I'm in the presence of someone who has suffered far worse than I? For starters, I think it odd that you feel the need to compare, which you often do with the result being I always come out on bottom in your mind. It's also true that there are two parts to suffering. One is the event itself and the other is how the victim is able to deal with the event, so even if you're right about my life being a comparative cake walk, it makes no difference in regard to what I feel because we are all vulnerable to different extents and in different ways

Besides that, when it comes to the horrible things that have happened to you, someone can always come along and trump your high card. For instance, someone might say to you, "You think YOU had it tough. Just listen to what I've been through." So what do you do if you agree that, however sucky your life has been, it's nothing compared to the life of this other person? The fact is that the experiences and the suffering of others, however great, doesn't invalidate your experiences and your suffering, and it doesn't speak well of you that you to try to invalidate mine. I get it, you are devoid of compassion for me, and you don't even regard my little problems as interesting, but it makes no difference to what I write about.

Namaste, Marion. No matter what your opinion, I'm glad you're here because you always give me things to think about.

Snowbrush said...

"Jokes of this ilk are the reason I generally DO support political correctness."

Depending upon how it's defined, I think that political correctness is the societal equivalent of putting paint over a pile of shit. While its intentions might be honorable (although I think that PC is more about control than about doing good), its result is simply to make people more cautious and therefore less willing to honestly address differences. For instance, your very next sentence goes:

"Language and actions that could be offensive to others, especially those relating to sex, religion and race should be avoided."

What a superficial, let's-all-be-nice-24/7 society that would be! How would you even enforce this, and how could anyone ever get it right in the absence of carefully monitoring their every word for fear of losing their job or worse if they dared to be spontaneous, knowing that even then, they would get dumped on for "subliminal bigotry"? I offend people on this blog, but unless you mean to do it now, no Christian has ever said they would like to limit my freedom of expression (although they might have thought it, and although I'm sure that many would). Don't you, an atheist, realize that your list of subjects to be avoided would mean the end to every atheist rights group that exists because the mere existence of atheism is an offense to most, if not all, theists in that atheists are like the little boy who cried aloud that the emperor had no clothes. There is no way that you, me, or any other atheist can even be an atheist without implying (however politely we try to put it) that the religious beliefs of others is a bunch of hooey.

In this country, there was a recent incident in which a popular entertainer named Roseanne Barr tweeted that a black woman was a cross between a monkey and a terrorist. She had often said similar things, but this time, it got her fired. A few days later, some stupid comedian called Trump's daughter "a feckless cunt," and she kept her job. Conservatives cried foul, and liberals responded that sexism is nowhere near as bad as racism. IN WHAT UNIVERSE?! The fact that I oppose PC doesn't mean that I think that anyone should be free to say anything and still keep her job.

"I thought it was funny and fairly inoffensive."

So you agree that it's offensive, but you don't think it's all THAT offensive. I can see that. It might not show on this blog, but I laugh easily, and I have few barriers to what I will laugh at. For instance, Sarah Silverman did a video of a stand-up routine that even included a holocaust joke, and I thought the routine was so funny that I bought the video. No doubt, I would have found the joke less offensive if I had considered it funny. Instead, it's just stupid as I see it. The little girl uses a completely irrelevancy to tell an adult that he doesn't "know shit," and that's funny?

"Neither version offends me. Neither version is very funny in my opinion though. of course, most humor is meant to belittle."

I think that humor can mean "laughing at" or "laughing with," and that both have their place. Here's the thing though, when you have people who are in the vast majority making jokes about people who are in a despised minority, the jokes are likely to be tinged with hostility and to deepen the majority's hatred (see my first response to the comments). You and Marion both live in Louisiana, and I'm sure that a great many religious people in Louisiana enjoy jokes about their own religion. For the Catholics, the jokes would be about priests or nuns. For Baptists, their church's deacons. But can't you see, Charles, that there is a mean-spiritedness about THIS joke than what you usually find in jokes about religion that are told by people who are religious in that this joke stereotypes atheists as being exactly the kind of assholes that many (if not most) religious people believe them to be?

Elephant's Child said...

Yes, sometimes political correctness is taken too far. And no, I am not such a hypocrite as to demand that no-one ever criticises anyone else. It is the blanket denigration of a secondary group which underpins unpolitically correct insults which offends me.

Anonymous said...

Thought both versions of the joke were lame, neither humorous.
Kris

Starshine Twinkletoes said...

For myself, political correctness is something hijacked by the extreme right and left folks to get out of being polite and thoughtful before opening their mouths. The origin was to do as I said, but much like the word 'Feminism' it has become an allconsuming umrella term that people often find derogatory. It doesn't suit many people to be polite and thoughtful, I do so myself every day, but humour is also important. Marion was able to slap you down in the same way someone would slap down a joke about black folks or Jewish folks, and you are right there, but humour can't have a blanket ban, it needs to be thought about for heaven's sake. To tell an atheist that joke, the teller will be fully aware they're having a dig, and your turnaround, which is perfectly executed would be received much as you received it. Religion is a joke I agree with Philip, and it's unusual for me to come across an atheist who is as offended about this kind of joke as a Christian would be. I know lots and lots of atheists and they do find humour in themselves, but the joke would have to be funnier than this one. Personal offence is the sticking point, and if you take humour away for fear of offence as a general ban it leads to people being called things like 'Snowflakes' - a term the right use on the left all the time to say they are weak and easily offended. Recently the left over here started calling the right 'Gammons', referring to their ruddy cheeks and solid fat brainless heads. Calling people names is childish and doesn't help at all either way, and boy the right wingers didn't like it turned on them, but that just fueled more anger, it hinders any kind of resolution or meeting in the middle we may have. You have to be a complete git or dim not to realise that after hundreds of years of slavery black folks will be offended by black stereotype joke, and the same is true with Jews, who have been portrayed humourously as being full of avarice (see Fagin in Oliver as an example). People use PC as a term to attack people, not because they find a joke simply funny. They know what they are doing. It's all down to the line in the sane and where people place it. The best way to handle it all to my mind is to be kind and considerate and if you end up in a situation where a joke has upset someone so much they tell you about, (which is the main way to find out), then TALK to them about it intelligently and say you meant no offence, and meant to highlight how little an atheist/Christian makes sense to you. To answer saying 'get a life and chill out is the absolute epitome of 'insult upon injury'. Humour will always be contentious at times, - it's how we handle it personally that makes the difference to one being a kind good person, or someone who wants to be able to say what the hell they want regardless of any damage caused. It isn't hard to be a good person, it's just that many folks are too selfish to even want to try and consider other people. Extremes on the right and left will always be just that, and only fuel fires that are damaging to society.

rhymeswithplague said...

I am a little weirder than your average correspondent, to be sure, but the thing I like least about the "joke" is not whether an atheist told it to a Christian or a Christian told it to an atheist, but that the punchline ks a particular four-letter Anglo-Saxon word. I'll go out on a limb here and say it would be a much better word if no one used Anglo-Saxonisms except the Anglo-Saxons, and since 1066 even that is iffy. Earthiness, vulgarity, crudeness offend my sensibilities. Maybe it's the way I was raised. Read Psalm 19. Read Psalm 141. Remember the old saying about making everything you say pass three gates: Is it true? Is it needful? Is it kind?

I suppose there's no prude like an old prude.

By the way, I agree with Elephant's Child and Starshine Twinkletoes and Starsine's husband, Moonbeam McHinkle.

rhymeswithplague said...

much better world

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Whatever this is, is not a joke. None of it makes a bit of sense. No little girl would know the differences in animal digestion and no one would put their child alone in an airplane. If this is how "Christians " joke, let me stay away from them.

I took biology. I think I could explain the differences leading to the charming word 'shit' but that would not make me an expert on the existence of God.

Snowbrush said...

"For myself, political correctness is something hijacked by the extreme right and left folks to get out of being polite and thoughtful before opening their mouths."

Interesting point. I don't see political correctness (a term that's actually avoided by its proponents) as having much to do with respect or courtesy but a lot to do with authoritarian control whereby a person can be silenced and otherwise penalized simply by calling that person a racist, a sexist, or whatever, and if they object, saying that their objection proves, at best, that they're oblivious to their bigotry! It's a no-win situation, and people at many companies can lose their jobs for telling what most people would consider a harmless joke or expressing a considered opinion. The hospital that Peggy worked at became as dour as the most hardcore Puritan could have envisioned because of political correctness. I wouldn't have lasted a month at that hospital, and I hate the place until this day because what I saw there was a level of morale that dropped into the negative numbers, and because of which Peggy became disillusioned with her employer and distrustful of her co-workers (the fearful world that PCers would create is in the direction of the fearful world of North Korea). I've no doubt that Trump's win was partly a reaction to PC. Yet, the fact that I detest political correctness doesn't mean that I support a person's moral right (as opposed to his or her legal right) to say any mean-spirited thing that comes to mind.

"To tell an atheist that joke, the teller will be fully aware they're having a dig"

I've heard insanity described as the result of being told that one's reality has no correlation with the external world, and although the forwarder of the joke did apologize, she first responded in the same way as did Marion by claiming that it was, after all, only a joke, implying that my belief that it contained malice was all in my head, so I just needed to lighten up and be glad that I had no real problems. Yet, if I sent a member of a minority a joke that relied upon insulting stereotypes, I fully believe that I would have seen the malice in it, so what am I to think? Am to trust the word of the forwarder, although it means denying my own best thinking? And what if I trust myself, am I not then putting myself in the position of the politically correct by saying that, "Even if you did think this was harmless, it only means that you are subliminally hostile to atheists?" Well, the fact is that I DO believe this person is subliminally hostile to atheists because this isn't the first time that she has described atheists with insulting stereotypes. My complaint about political correctness isn't that there is no truth in its reasoning, but the aggressiveness with which it tries to ferret out and eliminate what it regards as bigotry in the interest of creating a society that is pure according to its own arrogant, narrow, and humorless definition of purity.

Snowbrush said...

"Religion is a joke. I agree with Philip..."

Is calling religion "a joke" anything but an ad hominem attack? When I read Philip's remark, I immediately understood (smart man that I am) that he didn't mean a ha-ha kind of a joke, but rather an expression of his belief that religion equates with absurdity, the implication being that religious people are themselves absurd, at least in regard to religion. I actually don't agree with that, my reason being that I see religion as answering a deep psychological need that people can't fill elsewhere, and that most atheists don't seem to experience. I think we all have our myths, many of them unrecognized as myths, my only problem with religion that it's myths cause unspeakable misery and oppression than. I, perhaps, understand the need for religion because I'm not like most atheists (at least in this regard) just as Rhymes is not like most Christians due to his genetic Jewishness. Partly because of this, I feel a great deal of compassion for Rhymes, and it being clear to me that the difference between ourselves (meaning him and me) and our fellows is both a blessing and a curse, something that it can never be completely bridged, and something that we share.

"the thing I like least about the "joke" is...that the punchline is a particular four-letter Anglo-Saxon word."

Let me guess, you didn't care for the scene in Borat where he returns from the toilet at the culture instructor's house in Georgia with his bowel movement in a bag (there supposedly being no flush toilets where he was from). That said, in the context of the joke I agree but moreso because I doubt that it is ever, ever funny, or ever, ever innocent to tell someone that they don't know s___, even in a joke and especially if the person who you're telling the joke TO is in some significant way LIKE the person IN the joke. But (be honest now), do you and Mrs. Plague really go around saying things like, "Did you take the dog out for her nightly bowel movement?" I don't even say "bowel movement" when I'm talking to my doctor because to me it is a euphemism that is 50% awkward and 50% laughable, which means that I actually find its alternative to be LESS offensive. As for it being Anglo-Saxon, I would be amazed if every--or nearly every--language on earth doesn't contain its equivalent. Because you like to do research and post the results, you might look into whether there is any language that doesn't contain profanity. By the way, I remember a study (I really don't know how good) from perhaps than five years ago that determined that profanity is good for a person in that it enables them to dismiss strong negative feelings that would otherwise continue to bother them.

"Earthiness, vulgarity, crudeness offend my sensibilities. Maybe it's the way I was raised."

My mother was like you are, while my father only cursed when he was mad. The trouble was that he was mad for hours everyday, and when he was mad, he cursed long and loud without regard for who could hear him. In fact, he had developed a sing-song litany of profanities that he chanted with enormous sincerity. I have probably become more profane over time, and I KNOW Peggy has (I sometimes threaten to record her and send the tape to her clean talking Baptist deacon father). I'll tell you a funny story though. When Peggy was a young nurse, she often used the word "frigging" at work, but because it was the only such word she used and because it was completely at variance with her modesty, propriety, and soft way of expressing herself, someone finally asked her if she even knew what the word meant, and of course she didn't. This leads to a question--do you use words like darn, and heck, and shoot?

Snowbrush said...

"If this is how "Christians " joke, let me stay away from them."

You might want to read Rhymes' comment because he is a Christian, and he too was appalled by this "joke."

"I think I could explain the differences leading to the charming word 'shit' but that would not make me an expert on the existence of God."

Yes, it was a complete non sequitur. The joke had a hero and a villain, in this case a straight man and a buffoon. The villain was obnoxious. The hero was both obnoxious and irrational. Surely a joke that describes a conversation in which a hero puts a villain in his place shouldn't make the hero look as bad or worse than the villain, but then to the Christians who thought it was funny, perhaps the child was the equivalent of the Goliath-slaying David. And, yes, the child did seem to know an awful lot about poop.

The fact that this joke was considered hilarious by a Christian seems incongruous to me because the joke's hero was both obscene and scornful, yet both of these things completely contradict the "Christian values" that I was raised to accept (however poorly they were practiced). Would Jesus have gotten a hearty laugh out of this, I wondered. It reminded me of the fact that those who claim to uphold Christian values (and who created and forwarded this joke around to however many thousands of people) were probably, in many cases, the same people who voted for and continue to support Donald Trump, a man who is the antithesis of those very values. What does their religion mean to them, I wonder. I just know that it is being used as a unifying force for the purpose of political domination, and this makes me feel sad for people like those of my readers who make every effort to be humble and respectful, yet are increasingly lumped together with the likes of Franklin Graham. The joke served to remind me yet again that if the likes of this child and Donald Trump are their heroes, then Christians as a group are anything but the upholders of modesty and morality that they claim to be.

rhymeswithplague said...

To answer your question, when I lived in my parents’ home we used phrases like B.M. (which meant bowel movement) or “make duty” and also “break wind” for flatulence. I’m not kidding. In our home with our own children, the terms were poop and pass gas. With our dog we say poo-poo or go potty and pee-pee. Sometimes I tell the dog to make sura or mut (Albanian words whose spelling I am not sure of). Again, I’m not kidding. When my mother died and my dad re-married, my new step-family regularly used words like s**t and t**d and f**t (but not f**k) and I stayed in a constant state of shock. Nowadays I hear the words everywhere but I try to overlook them. It’s very difficult. I think I would have made a great late Victorian.

rhymeswithplague said...

Part 2: My dad’s favorite adjectives were damn and goddam and his favorite noun was hell but I was not allowed to talk that way, so he gave me my own special swear words like gosh and golly and darn and heck. I never used them, however, and came to believe that cursing was the sign of a poor vocabulary. I have told people that I never curse, but that where I spit, grass never grows again. Just recently a Jewish friend of mine who also became Christian asked on Facebook why people say “Oh my God’ when they could say “Oh my gosh” instead. I reminded him (I hope he took it humorously) that even “Oh my gosh” is what is known as a minced oath and his only safe alternative was probably “Oh my stars and garters.”

I remain,
Your strange friend,
rhymeswithplague


Joe Pereira said...

Hi Snow, that joke made laugh and I prefer the second version. It’s good to see you’re still posting regularly, I wish I could say the same for me. I checked my reading list and to my horror lots of my old favourites have stopped posting. I hope, like me, it is merely a brief interruption.

Snowbrush said...

"Nowadays I hear the words everywhere but I try to overlook them. It’s very difficult. I think I would have made a great late Victorian."

I can't imagine how anyone could call Trump's daughter (or anyone else) a "feckless cunt" on TV, and keep her job, and I will never again watch anything Robert DeNiro is in after the recent incident in which he twice said, "Fuck Trump" at an award ceremony. Once people do that kind of thing, with the intention of bringing attention to themselves by shocking an unsuspecting audience, they permanently become personas non grata to me, but I am hardly less bothered by the growing acceptance of the butchery of pronouns and the endless repetitions of the word "like," the implication being that it doesn't matter how poorly a person uses the English language, as long as others know what he's talking about. Well, it matters to me!

"My dad’s favorite adjectives were damn and goddam and his favorite noun was hell but I was not allowed to talk that way..."

I'm going to share my father's litany with you. It went, "Goddamn the goddamn mother-fucking goddamn son-of-a bitch to hell, goddamn it." He said this loudly, in long repetitions, and over, and over, and over, throughout the day, applying it to tools that broke, boards that were warped, nails that bent, and especially to things that he needed but couldn't find. He didn't care who heard him, and people would look at him like they thought he had lost his mind. When I later heard the term rageaholic, I thought that, yeah, that's my Dad. One day when I was around age 30, and no longer physically afraid of him, I decided to mock him to show him how asinine he sounded. When he ignored me, I said, "How do you think I can respect you when you carry on the way you do?" He replied, "Fuck you, son, I don't respect myself."

"I checked my reading list and to my horror lots of my old favourites have stopped posting."

I'm glad you came by, Joe. I wonder how many times when people stop posting, it's because they're dead. I've known bloggers who I knew to have died, and I've known bloggers who said they were giving up their blogs, but it's the ones who I think I'm friends with only to have them permanently disappear without a word that I wonder if they're still alive.

Snowbrush said...

"We all KNOW you are a touchy, Left Coast atheist..."

It occurred to me that my British and Australian readers might not understand the reference. "Left Coast" is a popular conservative talk radio insult that is based upon a double entendre. One part of the double entendre has reference to the West Coast being on your left if you're looking at a map of the U.S.; the other part is in regard to voters on the continental West Coast leaning toward the political left.

Myrna R. said...

I think if I were atheist, I wouldn't like the joke. It attacks the beliefs people have a right to have. Unfortunately, too often we're rude or offensive because we're ignorant and don't realize the value not just of political correctness but of simply being polite.

rhymeswithplague said...

‘The following joke was forwarded to me by a Christian’

Not wanting to be judgmental in the slightest as I don’t know said person, but calling oneself a Christian because one sits in a building with a cross on top is rather like calling oneself an automobile because one sits in a garage. Some people call themselves Christian because they were born in America. If a cat gives birth to her babies in an oven, are the kittens chocolate-chip cookies?

Snowbrush said...

"I think if I were atheist, I wouldn't like the joke. It attacks the beliefs people have a right to have."

You lost me, Myrna, because I don't know what you mean by "right," there being a vast difference between legal right and rational right, and a great deal of disagreement about what constitutes the latter if not the former.

"Unfortunately, too often we're rude or offensive because we're ignorant and don't realize the value not just of political correctness but of simply being polite."

With this, I agree.

"...calling oneself a Christian because one sits in a building with a cross on top is rather like calling oneself an automobile because one sits in a garage."

Cars have started talking to you, have they? The person who forwarded the joke is a self-proclaimed Christian who started life in the Church of Christ, moved to the Southern Baptist, then to the Episcopal, and, last I heard, to whatever denomination (including the Roman Catholic) suits her on a given Sunday. I think she would agree with the designation "liberal Christian." I frankly have trouble making sense of what she believes, but that's true for me with liberal Christianity in general because it seems to me that, in trying to solve the problems of literalism, it creates a whole other set of problems, not the least of which is vagueness. For instance, it holds that the Bible is not the Word of God, but that the Bible contains the Word of God. However, it has no agreed upon way to determine which parts of the Bible God inspired and which parts of the Bible God abhors; and it doesn't answer the question of why God couldn't have come up with a way to make it clear to his creation who he is and what he wants of them. And then what of all those other religions, do they too contain the Word of God? As with conservative Christianity, liberal Christianity is faith-based, by which I mean that one believes in it either because one wants to for the comfort it brings, or because one is afraid not to believe it in for fear of despair. This is what passes for faith. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

rhymeswithplague said...

Hebrews 11:1 states what faith is. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Neither one of your definitions (because one wants to - positive, for fear of despair - negative) is really the same thing as hope.

If you don't know this poem, you should. It's a good one:

Hope is the thing with feathers (254)
by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

PhilipH said...

Certainly a short and very sweet poem.

Tom Sightings said...

I must admit ... I laughed. But after reading your analysis, I feel chastised.

Anonymous said...

I think the joke is stupid. Children don’t talk like that and proving or disproving a point through descriptions of shit is gross. And since when does A equals B? The whole premise and comparison strikes me as very shallow. I’m surprised it caught your attention .

Love
kj

Joe Todd said...

Well done