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Makes them stop and think

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Here is a joke my mother-in-low sent to me. I was a little surprised because she is a good Christian and the joke was rather anti-Christian in my understanding. I told about it to my husband who is a Christian also, and he said it's an anti-atheists joke. Now my atheistic brain is confused.
"MAKES THEM STOP AND THINK

An atheist was walking through the woods one day, admiring all that evolution had created. "What majestic trees! What a powerful river! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 8 foot grizzly bear beginning to charge towards him.

He ran as fast as he could down the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was rapidly closing on him. Somehow, he ran even faster, so scared that tears came to his eyes.

He looked a gain and the bear was even closer. His heart pounding in his chest, he tried to run faster yet. But alas, he tripped and fell to the
ground.

As he rolled over to pick himself up, the bear was right over him, reaching for him with its left paw and raising its right paw to strike him.

"OH MY GOD! ..."

Time stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.
Even the river stopped moving ...

As a brilliant light shone upon the man, a thunderous voice came from all around,
"You Deny My Existence For All These Years, Teach others That I Don't Exist; And Even Credit Creation To Some Cosmic Accident. Do You Expect Me To Help You Out Of This Predicament? Am I To Count You As A Believer???"

Difficult as it was, the atheist looked directly into the light and said, "It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"

"Very Well." Said The Voice.
The light went out.
The river ran.
The sounds of the forest resumed.

... and the bear dropped down on his knees, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, thank you for this food which I am about to receive."
That's all - you should laugh here.
"Makes them stop and think" - whom?


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Perhaps this is funny to another {xenophobic} Christian who is easily amused. It's unfunny enough that it deserves to be studied, as follows:
There is a word for this kind of story that's not coming to me...commedia dell arte? It's a story in which the 'villain' is portrayed as a buffoon in trouble or a spiteful but formidable someone, usually rich. Under crisis, he changes his colors as a cheap form of escape, thinking he can take advantage (yet again) of the good nature of others, only to have the tables turn on him or so his situation becomes much worse.
This is used in comic forms, or sometimes for mock-comic relief. It is in particular popular in anxiety tales about Jews with money: Shylock in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice; Jake Cohen in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises; Simon LeGree as depicted in vaudeville sketches of the 20's and 30's; and of course innumerable cartoon villains. The key thing is that the character is always overdrawn and one-dimensional. They typically suffer from an overriding vice (Shylock: greed, Cohen: narcissism). Shakespeare's Iago (envy) and Milton's Satan (pride) are similar. Unlike these other characters, however, these figures are rounded out, complex. One is sympathetic, the other troubling.
In this joke, the anxiety surrounding the character is out of whack. It locates that anxiety (unbelievers!) in the protagonist and drops him in trouble without any reason we can see. Refusing to see the error of his ways, even with proof of God's existence right before him, the atheist tries to outwit God rather than admit he was wrong. Gets eaten for his trouble. Har har.
This story type is actually a direct inverse of a schlock form popular in campfire ghost stories. It's usually the devil some vain protagonist is trying to outwit, which of course we know is a doomed effort. As told, this joke is overburdened with making the atheist out to be an ass. I'm sure people who really need to scorn non-Christians would laugh the hardest, much the way die-hard NRA members might laugh over a story about a gun-control Democrat who gets shot with the pistol he keeps under his pillow.
[ January 24, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]

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Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
"It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"
- I see here an amazing act of courage and self-respect. The protagonist realizes his inevitable death yet addresses God with subtle irony: "perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"
My main concern, however, is bear's conversion. Shows that Christianity doesn't change anything in nature of beast - it cannot. It doesn't stop living beings from eating other living beings, it make them thanks God for the opportunity to eat other living beings! What an insult for God. At least, when the atheist ate animals, he supposedly did not glorify God!
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
And why should a bear not eat a human simply because the bear is Christian? Wouldn't a human Christian eat a bear if he was hungry? I don't see anything the least bit anti-Christian. Jesus never preached vegetarianism.


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Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
And why should a bear not eat a human simply because the bear is Christian?


Tom, so what is the difference between an atheist and a Christian? After your post, the only difference I see is that Christians say "thank you, God" before eating human beings and atheists do not
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1751
    
    2
Map,
Isn't there a Communist-era Russian anecdote -- I'm sure you could remember the details more accurately than I could -- about a student taking an oral exam on atheism and why it's part of the One True Way. When the teacher tells the student they passed, the student, almost involuntary, utters a "Slava Bogu" (thank God).
I see (at least) two different bits of irony. (1) The suggestion that the official atheism of Communists is just a veneer -- that they're all really Christians underneath. (2) The potential hollowness of religion -- that it's reduced to meaningless sayings that people repeat without understanding or feeling.
Could you give your take on that one?
[ January 25, 2002: Message edited by: Michael Matola ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

Tom, so what is the difference between an atheist and a Christian? After your post, the only difference I see is that Christians say "thank you, God" before eating human beings and atheists do not
Christian bears would fight with each other over who was the better Christian, of course! Atheist bears don't need a reason to fight with each other.
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
To underanalyse that "joke", wasn't it more likely an example of irony? When the aetheist asks God to make the bear Christian, the aetheist expects that this now Christian bear will respect the commandmant "Thou shalt not kill." Instead the unexpected result is that the now Christian bear falls to his knees and invokes another popular Christian custom.
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
I protest. This is an anti-bear joke. We do not eat people, we always say grace before every meal.
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
Don't worry, Pooh. The bear in the case clearly represents Russians, and the tale demonstrates that even Christianizing them would not be enough to tame their murderous nature. Naturally, they enlist one of their agents here to try to suggest alternate interpretations, in order to sow confusion and attempt to prevent the real message from getting through. :roll:


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Isn't there a Communist-era Russian anecdote -- I'm sure you could remember the details more accurately than I could -- about a student taking an oral exam on atheism and why it's part of the One True Way. When the teacher tells the student they passed, the student, almost involuntary, utters a "Slava Bogu" (thank God).
The most correct explanation is that "slava Bogu" is used so widely that it almost lost its literal meaning and became an interjection. Another widely used word, "spasibo" (thanks), is made of "spasi Bog" which means "save you God". Say it several times a day and you will think about God no more than when you say "thanks" in English.
Now let's move to more creative interpretations
I see (at least) two different bits of irony. (1) The suggestion that the official atheism of Communists is just a veneer -- that they're all really Christians underneath.
My first reaction was to answer "more like pagans..." But thinking about it... Communism and Orthodox Christianity do have a lot in common. Intolerance and antihuman inclinations. Russian orthodox Church participates in ecumenical movement, but Chursh authorities have to overcome inner opposition and look like dissidents for majority of the clergy. :roll: What sense does it make to participate in oecumenical meetings, when there is only one true religion and we all know which one Good totalitarian approach. Another detail, there is no place to sit in Russian temples, you have to stay 1-2-or how-long-it-may-take hours during the ceremonies. As an orthodox Christian you have to avoid certain kinds of food during certain periods of time, from few days to few weeks. This notion of comfort as self-indulgence is common to both doctrines and probably has independent origin rather than being borrower by one from another.
(2) The potential hollowness of religion -- that it's reduced to meaningless sayings that people repeat without understanding or feeling.
To worse to situation, all service goes in old Russian language that is barely understandable. Statistics of attendance says that so-called "middle class" is absent among believers; parishioners are either undereducated, and in this case probably do not care that much about precise meaning , or, conversely, overeducated. PhD in philology are in special abundance; old Russian is a required course for philological major in Universities, so for them it must be some kind of connection to tenets of the language and culture
 
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