Tag Archives: tolerance

The atheist and the bear or, why I don’t think my family will be sending me passive aggressive emails about my (non) religious beliefs anymore.

26 Apr

I am an atheist. I have been for a long time. My family knows this, and for the most part, they just kind of leave it alone. However, my dad just sent me the following email (complete with giant multi-colored text and photos of bears) with the subject line: “This is good stuff!”

An atheist was walking through the woods.
“What majestic trees!”
“What powerful rivers!”
“What beautiful animals!”
He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him.He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him.

 He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him.

He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped & fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him.

 At that instant the atheist cried out, “Oh my God!”

Time stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.


As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. “You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don’t exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?”
The atheist looked directly into the light, “It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian?”

“Very well,” said the voice.

The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:

“Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.”

 

I love my dad. We actually get along better now than we ever have before. But this kind of shit still annoys me. “Oh look, when it comes down to it, the things you believe are wrong, and your faith in them will never be as strong as mine.” He probably doesn’t think of it like this, he probably sees it as harmless ribbing. But if I decided to convert to Islam, would I be on the receiving end of anti-Islam jokes? Would he send me anti-Semitic “joke” emails if I started going to temple? Or is it alright as long as I believe in something? Maybe I’m taking this too seriously.

But I sent him something back:

An atheist was walking through the woods.
“What majestic trees!”
“What powerful rivers!”
“What beautiful animals!”
He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him.

He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him.

However, instead of running like a fucking idiot, he stood his ground, avoided direct eye contact, and spoke in a soft monotone. When the bear continued to charge, he curled up on his side and played dead. Though injured, he was left alive, and able to hike out of the woods for help and medical treatment. When the doctor asked if faith had saved him, he said “Yes, faith that spending my Sunday mornings watching nature documentaries on PBS is a much better use of my time than going to church, where they teach you that having imaginary friends and drinking before noon are acceptable adult activities.”

Maybe I do need Jesus Christ in my life. He seems like he’d be a hoot at parties.