It’s official. There is a winner for the best “religious” joke of all time.
Comedian Emo Philips tells of walking across a bridge and seeing a man standing on the edge, ready to jump off. He ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he said.
“Well, there’s so much to live for.”
“Well, are you religious?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?”
“Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
“Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”
“Wow, me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”
“Baptist Church of God!”
“Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God or Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
“Reformed Baptist Church of God!”
“Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?”
His new friend replied, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915.”
To which Philips replied, “Die, heretic!,” and he pushed him off.
Yes, it’s funny. But like many jokes, only because it’s painfully close to the truth. The lack of unity around “mere Christianity,” much less the lack of civility between disagreeing Christians being played out on the internet, is one of the great public disasters of our day.
So while it may be the best religious joke ever,
…it’s no laughing matter.
James Emery White
Voting as cited by GQ Magazine; www.emophilips.com.
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is now available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit www.churchandculture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.