How would the Church of England deal with "the cat sat on the mat" if it appeared in the Bible?
The liberal theologians would point out that such a passage did not of course mean that the cat literally sat on the mat. Also, cat and mat had different meanings in those days from today, and anyway, the text should be interpreted according to the customs and practices of the period.
This would lead to an immediate backlash from the Evangelicals. They would make it an essential condition of faith that a real physical, living cat, being a domestic pet of the Felix Domesticus species, and having a whiskered head and furry body, four legs and a tail, did physically place its whole body on a floor covering, designed for that purpose, which is on the floor but not of the floor. The expression "on the floor but not of the floor" would be explained in a leaflet.
Meanwhile, the Catholics would have developed the Festival of the Sedentation of the Blessed Cat. This would teach that the cat was white and majestically reclined on a mat of gold thread before its assumption to the Great Cat Basket of Heaven. This would be commemorated by the singing of the Magnificat, lighting three candles, and ringing a bell five times. This would cause a schism with the Orthodox Church which would believe that tradition would require Holy Cats Day [as it would be colloquially known] to be marked by lighting six candles and ringing the bell four times. This would be partly resolved by the Cuckoo Land Declaration recognizing the traditional validity of each.
Eventually, the House of Bishops would issue a statement on the Doctrine of the Feline Sedentation. It would explain that traditionally the text describes a domestic feline quadruped superjacent to an unattached covering on a fundamental surface. For determining its salvific and eschatological significations, it would follow the heuristic analytical principles adopted in dealing with the Canine Fenestration Question [How much is that doggie in the window?] and the Affirmative Musaceous Paradox [Yes, we have no bananas]. And so on, for another 210 pages.
The General Synod would then commend this report as helpful resource material for clergy to explain to the man in the pew the difficult doctrine of the cat sat on the mat.
Priest and Rabbi Meet on a Plane
The Dalai Lama once commented that we should look for what spiritual paths have in common rather than the differences. Case in point:
A Priest and a Rabbi are riding in a plane. After a while, the Priest turns to the Rabbi and asks, "Is it still a requirement of your faith that you not eat pork?"
The Rabbi responds, "Yes that is still one of our beliefs."
The Priest then asks, "Have you ever eaten pork?"
To which the Rabbi replies, "Yes on one occasion I did succumb to temptation and tasted pork."
The Priest nodded in understanding and went on with his reading.
A while later, the Rabbi spoke up and asked the Priest, "Father, is it still a requirement of your church that you remain celibate?"
The Priest replied, "Yes, that is still very much a part of our faith."
The Priest replied, "Yes Rabbi, on one occasion I was weak and broke with my faith."
The Rabbi nodded understandingly for a moment and then said, "A lot better than pork isn’t it?”
Jewish and Chinese Calendar
A Hebrew teacher stood in front of his classroom and said, "The Jewish people have observed their 5,759th year as a people. Consider that the Chinese, for example, have only observed their 4,692nd year as a people. What does that mean to you?"
After a moment of silence, one student raised his hand.
"Yes, David," the teacher said. "What does that mean?"
"It means that the Jews had to do without Chinese food for 1,063 years."
Church on Fire
During a recent ecumenical gathering, a secretary rushed into the meeting shouting, "The building is on fire!"
The Methodists immediately gathered in the corner and prayed.
The Baptists cried, "Where is the water?"
The Quakers quietly praised God for the blessings that fire brings.
The Lutherans posted a notice on the door, declaring the fire was evil.
The Roman Catholics passed the plate to cover the damage.
The Jews posted symbols on the doors, hoping the fire would pass.
The Congregationalists shouted, "Every man for himself!"
The Fundamentalists proclaimed, "It's the vengeance of God!"
The Episcopalians formed a procession and marched out.
The Christian Scientists concluded there was no fire.
The Presbyterians appointed a chairperson who was to appoint a committee to look into the matter and submit a written report.
The secretary grabbed the fire extinguisher and put the fire out.
Bread for Jewish New Year
As prelude to the Jewish New Year—especially its Tashlich ceremony, which rids one of an entire prior year of sins—just taking a few crumbs from whatever old bread is in the house lacks subtlety and religious sensitivity. Consider these alternatives...
A Woman went to the Post Office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.
"What denomination?" Asked the clerk.
"Oh, good heavens! Have we come to this?" said the woman. "Well give me 50 Protestant and 50 Catholic ones."
A student was asked to list the 10 Commandments in any order.
His answer? "3, 6, 1, 8, 4, 5, 9, 2, 10, 7.”
Dead Sea Gull
I was at the beach with my children when my four-year-old son ran up to me, grabbed my hand, and led me to the shore, where a sea gull lay dead in the sand.
"Mommy, what happened to him?" the little boy asked. "He died and went to Heaven," I replied.
My son thought a moment and then said, "And God threw him back down?"
Bill Keane, creator of the Family Circus cartoon strip tells of a time when he was penciling one of his cartoons and his son Jeffy said, "Daddy, how do you know what to draw?"
I said, "God tells me."
Jeffy said, "Then why do you keep erasing parts of it?"
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry. The bill to change the value of pi to exactly three was introduced without fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville), and rapidly gained support after a letter-writing campaign by members of the Solomon Society, a traditional values group. Governor Fob James says he will sign it into law on Wednesday.
The law took the state's engineering community by surprise. "It would have been nice if they had consulted with someone who actually uses pi," said Marshall Bergman, a manager at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. According to Bergman, pi is a Greek letter that signifies the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is often used by engineers to calculate missile trajectories.
Prof. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama, said that pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be changed by lawmakers. Johanson explained that pi is an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits after the decimal point and can never be known exactly. Nevertheless, she said, pi is precisely defined by mathematics to be "3.14159, plus as many more digits as you have time to calculate.”
"I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational, and it is time for them to admit it," said Lawson. "The Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the alter font of Solomon's Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass."
Lawson called into question the usefulness of any number that cannot be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the exact answer could harm students' self-esteem. "We need to return to some absolutes in our society," he said, "the Bible does not say that the font was thirty-something cubits. Plain reading says thirty cubits. Period."
Science supports Lawson, explains Russell Humbleys, a propulsion technician at the Marshall Spaceflight Center who testified in support of the bill before the legislature in Montgomery on Monday. "Pi is merely an artifact of Euclidean geometry."
Humbleys is working on a theory, which he says will prove that pi is determined by the geometry of three-dimensional space, which is assumed by physicists to be "isotropic,” or the same in all directions. "There are other geometries, and pi is different in every one of them," says Humbleys. Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is Euclidean, he says. He points out that a circle drawn on a spherical surface has a different value for the ratio of circumference to diameter. "Anyone with a compass, flexible ruler, and globe can see for themselves," suggests Humbleys, "it's not exactly rocket science."
Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to support the bill, agrees. He said that pi is nothing more than an assumption by the mathematicians and engineers who were there to argue against the bill. "These nabobs waltzed into the capital with an arrogance that was breathtaking," Learned said. "Their prefatorial deficit resulted in a polemical stance at absolute contraposition to the legislature's puissance."
Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the way math is taught to Alabama's children. One member of the state school board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi into the state's math textbooks, but thinks that the old value should be retained as an alternative. She said, "As far as I am concerned, the value of pi is only a theory, and we should be open to all interpretations." She looks forward to students having the freedom to decide for themselves what value pi should have.
Robert S. Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a state legislature has attempted to redefine the value of pi. A legislator in the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to have that state set the value of pi to three. According to Dietz, the lawmaker was exasperated by the calculations of a mathematician who carried pi to four hundred decimal places and still could not achieve a rational number.
Many experts are warning that this is just the beginning of a national battle over pi between traditional values supporters and the technical elite. Solomon Society member Lawson agrees. "We just want to return pi to its traditional value," he said, "which, according to the Bible, is three."
And Jesus answered and said, “But whom do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as His rationality and then, by an act of His will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being co-equal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple."
And Jesus, answering, said, "What?"
The Irishman at the Pub
An Irishman walks into a bar in Dublin, orders three pints of Guinness and sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more.
The bartender says, "You know, a pint goes flat after I draw it; it would taste better if you bought one at a time." The Irishman replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in America, the other in Australia, and I’m here in Dublin. When we all left home, we promised that we’d drink this way to remember the days when we drank together." The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it at that. The Irishman becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way: He orders three pints and drinks them in turn.
One day, he comes in and orders two pints. All the other regulars notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don’t want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your great loss."
The Irishman looks confused for a moment, then a light dawns in his eye and he laughs. "Oh, no," he says, "everyone’s fine. I’ve just quit drinking."
While leading the Friday evening services, the Rabbi noticed a member of the congregation, Bernie, walk in with a St. Bernard dog. The Rabbi, horrified, asked the Cantor to continue the service and went to talk to Bernie.
Rabbi: "What are doing here with a dog?"
Bernie: "The dog came here to pray."
"Oh, come on." says the Rabbi.
"YES!" says Bernie.
Rabbi: "I don’t believe you. You are just fooling around; that’s not a proper thing to do in temple."
Bernie: "Its true!.”
"Ok,” says the Rabbi (thinking he would call Bernie’s bluff), "then show me what the dog can do."
"OK" says Bernie nodding to the dog...The dog proceeds to open up the barrel under his neck and removes a yarmulke, a tallis, and prayer book and actually starts saying prayers... in Hebrew! The Rabbi is so shocked he listens for a full 15 minutes.
When the Rabbi regains his composure, he is so impressed with the quality of the praying he says to Bernie. "Do you think your dog would consider going to Rabbinical school????"
Bernie, throwing up his hands in disgust says, "YOU talk to him!!! He wants to be a doctor!"
Turmoil rocked Heaven this morning as allegations arose that God had had an affair with a former worshipper. The scandal was begun when a 21 year old woman, known only as Mary, claimed that she had given birth to God’s "only son" last week in a barn in the hamlet of Bethlehem.
Sources close to Mary claim that she "had loved God for a long time,” that she was constantly talking about her relationship with God, and that she was "thrilled to have had his child." In a press conference this morning, God issued a vehement denial, saying that "No sexual relationship existed,” and that "the facts of this story will come out in time, verily.”
Independent counsel Kenneth Beelzebub immediately filed a brief with the Justice department to expand his investigation to cover questions of whether any commandments may have been broken, and whether God had illegally funneled laundered money to his illegitimate child through three foreign operatives know only as the "Wise Men.” Beelzebub has issued subpoenas to several angels who are rumored to have acted as go-betweens in the affair.
Critics have pointed out that these allegations have little to do with the charges that Beelzebub was originally appointed to investigate, that God had created large-scale flooding in order to cover up evidence of a failed land deal.
In recent months, Beelzebub’s investigation has already been expanded to cover questions surrounding the large number of locusts that plagued God’s political opponents in the last election, as well as to claims that the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was to divert attention away from a scandal involving whether the giveaway of a parcel of public land in Promised County to a Jewish special interest group was quid pro quo for political contributions.
If these allegations prove to be true, then this could be a huge blow to God’s career, much of which has been spent crusading for stricter moral standards and harsher punishments for wrongdoers. Indeed, God recently outlined a "tough-on-crime" plan consisting of a series of 10 "Commandments,” which has been introduced in Congress in a bill by Rep. Moses. Critics of the bill have pointed out that it lacks any provisions for the rehabilitation of criminals, and lawyers for the ACLU are planning to fight the "Name in Vain" Commandment as being an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
A Catholic priest and a Rabbi are talking about job prospects:
"Well," says the priest, "there's a good chance that I'll be the next Bishop - maybe within the next couple of years."
"Bishop!" marvels the Rabbi, "very nice. And after that?"
"Oh, I don't know, I suppose it's possible I could become Archbishop... given luck, and God's blessing."
"Very nice, very nice; and after Archbishop?"
"Ha! Well, you know, it's Cardinal after that, but it's really very unlikely. But in theory, I could become a Cardinal."
"Lovely!" enthuses the Rabbi, "the scarlet would suit your complexion. So what's after Cardinal?"
The priest smiles: "After Cardinal? Well, it's Pope - but I'm hardly likely to become... hmmm, oh I suppose it's just possible. If a Pole why not an Englishman again? Yes, I could just become Pope."
The Rabbi is delighted, "Splendid! And after Pope?"
The priest looks at him in surprise: "After Pope? There's nothing after Pope! I mean, there's just God above the Pope - I can't become God."
"So why not? One of our boys made it."
Moses made a third pilgrimage to Mount Sinai. After much climbing he arrived at the burning bush and removed his sandals. Kneeling down, he said a prayer of entreaty:
"Oh mighty God, your people have sent me back to ask you a question about the Ten Commandments."
"What question do they have?" roared the deity above.
"They want to know, are they listed by priority?"
Theology vs. Astronomy
A theologian and an astronomer were talking together one day. The astronomer said that after reading widely in the field of religion, he had concluded that all religion could be summed up in a single phrase.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," he said, with a bit of smugness, knowing that his field is so much more complex.
After a brief pause, the theologian replied that after reading widely in the area of astronomy he had concluded that all of it could be summed up in a single phrase also.
"Oh, and what is that?" the astronomer inquired.
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star; how I wonder what you are!"
He Could Have Been a Doctor or a Lawyer
A Jewish father was troubled by the way his son turned out, and went to see his Rabbi about it.
"I brought him up in the faith, gave him a very expensive bar mitzvah, cost me a fortune to educate him. Then he tells me last week he has decided to be a Christian! Rabbi, where did I go wrong?"
"Funny you should come to me," said the Rabbi. "Like you I, too, brought my boy up in the faith, put him through University, cost me a fortune, then one day he, too, tells me he has decided to become a Christian."
"What did you do?" asked the father.
"I turned to God for the answer," replied the Rabbi.
"And what did he say?" pressed the father.
"God said, 'Funny you should come to me...' "
After years of hard work, a man who has finally made his way in business decides to treat himself and buys an extravagance: A new Lamborghini. However, after buying it, he feels a bit guilty. So, he goes to the Rabbi of the Orthodox synagogue in his town and asks for a mezuzah (a parchment scroll placed over the doorway to bless a Jewish home) for the Lamborghini.