Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Insightful Old Joke

There is an old joke that periodically makes the rounds, especially amongst non-believers, that I think is actually quite insightful.  It goes like this:

It seems a Christian missionary was visiting with remote Inuit (aka, Eskimo) people in the Arctic, and had explained to this particular man that if one believed in Jesus, one would would go to heaven, while those who didn't, would go to hell.

The Inuit asked, "What about all the people who have never heard of your Jesus? Are they all going to hell?'

The missionary explained, "No, of course not. God wants you to have a choice. God is a merciful God, he would never send anyone to hell who'd never heard of Jesus."

The Inuit replied, "So why did you tell me?"

The rather obvious answer to the Inuit's question is this:  "In order to coerce you to join my religion."

In other words, the joke is actually an illustration of the psychologically coercive nature of religion in general and the myth of Hell in particular.  Most people won't see this, however, unless it is pointed out to them.

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