29 July 2014

Sects-related deaths

There is an old joke that goes like this...
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: "Stop. Don't do it."

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

"Well, there's so much to live for!"

"Like what?"

"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 are you 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?"

He said: "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."

I said: "Die, heretic scum," and pushed him off. 
It's not really a funny joke, but rather one created to emphasize the tragedy of intolerance not between religions, but between sects of the same religion.  And it happens in real life:
Taliban terrorists stopped a convoy of minibuses traveling through western Afghanistan, questioned the passengers, then pulled all the Shiites into the road and shot them dead...

The Islamic militants then demanded to know which riders were Shiite. Fourteen were identified — including three women. The terrorists then bound their hands and led them off the bus and down the road.

The 14 were shot and killed.

The other passengers were allowed to continue their journey.


  1. One church I used to go to (right before I stopped believing any of it) frequently preached about how wrong the other churches were... including any of their own (tiny) denomination who would dare set up shop in tha same area. They pretty much thought the Catholics were worshipping demons.
    The folks there were nice as pie... but it seemed pretty obvious there was a current of fear and anger just under the surface, especially with the men... and given a bit of power there's no telling how far they might have gone in 'expressing their faith'.
    My experiences there certainly convinced me that A Handmaid's Tale wasn't all that far-fetched.

  2. Taliban, not funny. The Emo Phillips joke however is pretty funny I think. And so do a lot of people: http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2005/sep/29/comedy.religion

  3. See Mark Twain on the evils of 'an Established Church'. There's many wonderful quotations on the subject from his work over the years, but a rather high concentration in 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court'. The general idea, at least as I understand it, is that when any religion starts to get political power, they fall to the oldest rule in the book; power corrupts.


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