The Greatest Religion Joke Ever Told?

“When I mention religion,” says Parson Thwackum in Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, “I mean the Christian religion; and not only the Christian religion, but the Protestant religion; and not only the Protestant religion, but the Church of England.”

This is, I think, pretty much akin to the narrow attitude of some American voters and/or religious polemicists who demand that their presidential candidates either share their theology or be effectively barred from high office in the United States.

Which brings me to what some, at least, consider the greatest joke on a religious topic ever told.  An American comedian named Emo Phillips claims to have written it, and I have no particular objection to giving him the credit.  (I certainly didn’t write the joke.)  It runs as follows:

Once I saw this guy on a bridge, about to jump.

I said, “Don’t do it!”

He said, “Nobody loves me.”

I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”

He said, “A Christian.”

I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”

He said, “Protestant.”

I said, “Me, too! What denomination?”

He said, “Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”

I said, “Me, too!  Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

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