Here's a little Sunday irreverence.  Someone else has probably written this story before, and I'm sure the points have been made many times, but it popped into my head when I woke up and I thought it might be fun to write it out.


Last week I was walkin' along mindin' my own business when I met a Christian Minister, who asked me if I'd accepted Jesus as my Lord and Personal Saviour.  "Why I sure think so", I responded, "But...what was that name again?".  "Why, Jesus!" he answered, and began to launch into an account of this man's fascinatin' historical doin's, when I interrupted him.

"Funny you should mention it", I replied.  "I do accept as my Lord and Personal Saviour a man who was born of the blessed Virgin Mary in Bethlehem long ago, and was the Son of God, but we call him Schmesus."

The poor man choked and started turnin' a little red, and warned me in menacing tones that lest I accepted his JESUS, I would burn forever in the fire and brimstone of Hell.  "For sure!", said I, "We Schmistians know ALL about Hell.  After all, we use your same holy text, only we call it the Schmible.  It's got all the same books of Genesis an' Paul an' all that, with all the same verses.  There's just one key difference which makes us Schmistians prefer our religion to yours."

"What's that?", he spluttered.

"Well, we have an extra book, called PATCH, which was discovered in a clay jar inside a 1600-year old commode by our prophet and founder during a school trip to the Holy Lands.  It contains only a few lines.  The first asserts the absolute truth of the Bible as the Word of God.  You agree with that, right?"

"Why, of course!", the man replied.

"Then you're well on your way to bein' a Schmistian already!  There's just a little more.  The second line describes the holiness of the sound "Schm", and the importance of using it when describin' sacred things like Schmesus.  The third explains how easy it is to convert from Christianity and believin' in the Bible to Schmistianity and believin' in the Bible plus this little 'ol PATCH, via a simple ritual.  And the fourth states quite clearly that those who follow the Schmible and are true Schmistians, forsakin' all other false prophets who forsake PATCH, have a three-fold chance of makin' it to heaven' instead of to hell.  So ye can preach all ye want, my friend, but I'm playin' the odds".

The man was clearly confused and yet struck by the sense of what I was sayin.  "Do ye mean", said he, "That you believe in the Gospel of Mark, of Exodus, you believe that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, an' all of that just like we do?"  "For sure!", said I.  "Like I said, we believe in the whole of your Bible, we just add the book of PATCH.  Really, there's no reason not to convert, after all the Bible don't say nothin' bad about the book of PATCH or that there can't be no future additional words of God.  In fact, the addition of the New Testament to the Old makes it clear that extra wisdom will come down on occasion from on high.  Since we worship the same God as you, there ain't no conflict.  It's what you might call a dominatin' play to go through the conversion ritual 'n become a Schmistian - no downside at all!"

Bein' much taken by the idea of triplin' his chance of gettin' into heaven, the man inquired further about what this ritual entailed.  "It's very simple", says I.  "In the original Bible, God requests a tithe of ten percent per annum to the church.  The book of PATCH explains how this is a misunderstanding, garbled by the selfish hand of man.  First, the tithe is a mere one-time event.  And second, it goes not to the church, but is instead divided up among all your fellow Schmistians, in proportion to their own initial tithes."

"Why, that does sound superior", the man said, quite struck by the concept.  "Not only is it a one-time tithe, but I may recover the fee through the tithes of later converts, or even profit thereof".  "Indeed!" said I, "a clever observation indeed, and there you have the great holiness of our method.  Why, my own initial tithe has come back many times over, and all while following the Holy Schmible and livin' much the same as any Christian man like yourself lives.  We ask you not to reject or dismiss any of the book by which you've lived your long and fulfilling life, but merely to accept this little addition of PATCH, whose holy 'n historical provenance we will happily demonstrate to you upon receipt of your entry tithe.  In return you get a share in the tithes of future converts as well as a three-fold chance of eternal SALvation 'stead of eternal DAMNnation.  Way I see it, a man 'ud have to be a fool not to do it!"

We exchanged cards and agreed I'd see him next Sunday, and I headed on, happy at havin' generated a good sales lead for our Schmurch, whose motto is alwaysway ebay osingclay.



I know there's a lotta people out there all down on religion.  But I think they got the wrong perspective.  Spinnin' tall tales is fun, dontcha know, and ain't no better place to do it than in a field based purely on tall tales and old stories and the hair-raisin' adventures of long dead mystical heroes.  P'raps we should restrict our arguifying on facts and experiments to those fields based on facts and experimentin, and respond to myth merely with meta-myth, to pernicious memes with schmirnicious memes, as they deserve.


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15 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:02 PM

the Bible don't say nothin' bad about the book of PATCH or that there can't be no future additional words of God.

Well, actually, it does, or at least can be interpreted that way. But whatever. :)

What does this have to do with rationality?

The epilogue explains it. Maybe the best way to fight religion is with meta-religion.

God forbid something is entertaining

That would have been nice. This is more along the lines of "ha, ha, religion is stupid".

Who gets to be the arbiter of humor? It's an individual interpretation, not a proclamation to be made by one for all.

I am not quite so daft as that - I'm genuinely glad you enjoyed the story (presuming you did) and have no negative opinion of you or anyone who chooses to disagree with me on a matter of this kind. I found it as preposterous and heavy-handed as a Chick tract, and did not like it for that reason.

But Chick tracts are so entertainingly awful!

Will you think less of me if I say I didn't like Catch-22 either? (:

Honestly, I thought it was worthwhile just for the Pascal's Pyramid Scheme joke; most of the text is extraneous to that main joke, which is clever and funny.

I can understand that, but I couldn't get past the surface.

Right on. I was maybe a little over sensitive about your style of opinion.

No, you were perfectly justified - I dithered quite a bit about posting it that way precisely because it is such an arrogant way to express my personal opinion.

Valid point. It often seems pointless to attack illogical arguments with logic. A bit like putting a square peg in a round hole.