The Biggest Joke Book on Earth

By Carl S ~

Back in the 1960's there was a popular TV series called “Get Smart.” The show was a spoof of James Bond-type counter-espionage. Agent 86, a.k.a. “Smart,” was played by Don Adams. I didn't see many episodes, but I do remember a gag he often repeated. When Smart reported to the head of his agency, he would sometimes say things like, “Would you believe there were 200 of them?” There would be a long pause, and then, “Would you believe 100? What about 75?”

Would you believe this report: a guy fed 5000 men with 5 loaves of bread and two fishes? Well, would you believe 50 loaves and 200 fishes? Would you believe 500 men, and no women and children? Didn't you believe me when I told you he also walked on water? Would you believe me if I said the lake was frozen? Would you believe a man lived to be 400 years old, and then he built a gigantic boat, when any 100 year old man would have trouble building a ship model? What else?

One commentator wrote about an atheist mother…

My Brief Story

By Van ~

I thought about telling the story of how I got to where I am today but decided it would be entirely too boring and tedious. Here's the abridged version.

I got involved in Christianity in 1997 when I met my future wife. We married in 1998, became members of the church she grew up attending, and got very involved in Christianity. Here are the highlights:
  • Sunday morning worship (duh)
  • Sunday school (including leading and teaching)
  • Many Sunday and Wednesday night programs
  • Small home groups
  • Teaching children's classes
  • Running sound for worship service
  • Working for the Christian school co-located with the church
  • Working directly for the church
  • Christian based martial arts (teaching as well as participating)
  • Baptism
I was never "on fire for the lord" but I was certainly enthusiastic. I also felt Christianity/church was an important part of a family. In spite of this, I always felt some level of dissonance and discomfort. While present, it stayed pretty low until around 2004 when I was working for a Christian school. There was some separation from church activities and other aspects of my life until that time. Once fully immersed, the dissonance festered. I left the school but the dissonance remained.

In 2007 I had some interesting health issues (long story) that resulted in me getting heavily involved with the martial arts program taught at the church. In 2009 I accepted a technology job at the church. I took this job for two reasons. First, my health issues necessitated a lower stress job and I thought the church would provide that and, in many ways, it did. Second, I wanted to see if I could finally make Christianity work for me. The executive minister of the church was new and had some very different ideas from the church's conservative roots. I had hope but it proved fruitless and the dissonance grew.

While I did talk to my wife about the growing dissonance and my general dislike of church, it wasn't until about the time I left the church that I expressed the intensity of my dislike. I slowly began extricating myself from the church and related activities. The two most significant changes were leaving martial arts (I'd earned my black belt and was an instructor) and leaving the church job.

As of today, I consider myself agnostic. I thought I was a deist but I think I was trying to rationalize something that would cause the least upset and disappointment to my wife and social network. I did a lot of rationalizing since 1997. I find myself in a difficult situation now.

My wife believes it's important to attend and be involved in church. She wants our sons to be involved in youth group. I attend worship services with her because it's important to her. Our sons attend a rather conservative Christian school. The vast majority of our friends are Christians we know from the previous church. My wife's parents, who live four miles away, are conservative Christians. I am surrounded and unless my wife has a change of heart, Christianity is going to play a significant part in my life.

This is not where I want to be. If I could wave a wand Christianity would just be something I thought about after reading some scandalous news story. The bottom line is I am here because of choices I've made and because I was too afraid to stand up for my own beliefs. I am responsible for creating this life that I am eager to change. Changing this life is also my responsibility.

The bottom line is Christianity is not important to me at all nor is it something I can take seriously. I am tired of pretending otherwise.