Religious jokes

Religious jokes December 9, 2011

I just got a copy of Fr. James Martin’s book Between Heaven and Mirth for an upcoming Patheos Book Club discussion. (You may know Fr. Martin from his role as chaplain of the Colbert Nation.)

This provides an excuse for a fine “Share Your Favorite Religious Joke” open thread at Deborah Arca’s Take and Read blog, which has dozens of good ones, groaners and classic old chestnuts.

Any discussion of religious jokes, I think, has to include Emo Philips’ classic bridge-jumper joke (video here). Philips wrote about that joke winning a Ship of Fools contest for Best Religious Joke in 2005. Philips, who seems slightly more normal in writing, also includes some of his other good religious jokes in that column. One more of his he doesn’t include there:

I pray a simple prayer every morning. It’s an ecumenical prayer. I think it speaks to the heart of every faith. It goes, “Lord, please break the laws of the universe for my convenience.”

Some other classics I like:

  • “Of course, but not all Baptists.”
  • “That’s where we put the fundamentalists. They think they’re the only ones up here.”
  • “I sent a radio report, a rowboat and a helicopter, what more do you want?”
  • “Buy a ticket already!”
  • “I know I’m supposed to say ‘Jesus,’ but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”
  • “Look busy.”

But if I have to pick a favorite, I’m going to reach back even further. This is a very old joke, but it’s still funny:

The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’

But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’


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