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religious jokes

I'm sure it's happened to other atheists before.

Religious person sends you joke. You respond in what you think is a humorous way. They get bent out of shape because you didn't respond the way a religious person would. This is the exchange I had with a religious friend over email:

A: Where do people in hell tell each other to go when they are pissed off?

B: I suppose it depends on your conception of hell. Since the Christian conception of heaven sounds horrid to me, and all the interesting people are in hell anyway… I suppose if it was me, I’d tell them to go to heaven! :)

(I actually deleted the part here, that I wrote initially, about how if hell is the way Christians describe it to be, then people will be writing in such agony that they will hardly be able to conceive of anything but the pain, and so the question will be moot. It really is the conception of hell that makes Christianity monumentally immoral.)

A: I was thinking about you on the way to work today -- I was worried that you didn't know that the whole hell thing was just an excerpt out a list of funny questions that people were reading off at work... I thought it was cute.

I know that you hate Christians and all but, it is ok to just laugh at a joke without making a statement about how wrong you think Christians are...


B: First of all, with respect to the joke, I actually deleted the part of my initial response that was really bad because it was creeping even me out. You didn’t think telling people to go to heaven was funny?? As I’m sure I’ve observed before, most people don’t think I have a sense of humour. I didn’t accidentally leave Christianity. I left it for a reason. Very hard to joke about in a way that Christians won’t find offensive. Culturally, I understood where you were going. From my perspective, I was also being cute. Surely, you must understand by now that anything with a religious twist to it is going to elicit a response from an atheist that will be different than the one you get at your church? We look at the world in different ways.

I just can't believe that it doesn't occur to Christians that we will see that kind of joke differently than they do. Send me a joke about cute kittens, and we can share a laugh. Send me a joke about religion... and, well, the results are a bit unpredictable.

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