In spite of the title, this post in no way is meant to imply that the atheist and the bear had intimate relations resulting in male offspring. No, this is simply a continuation of my series (previous entries here and here) on the idiotic Atheist and the Bear stories that are still being emailed and posted all over the internet.
A recent variation begins: An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the "accident of evolution" had created. Boy is that atheist gonna find out soon how wrong he is, yuk, yuk, yuk! Stupid atheists! Behold the righteous vengenge (in bear form) of our pyscho God. Never mind the facts or that evolution doesn't happen by "accident". No, let's just bash atheism, science and evolution by passing around asinine "jokes" like this one. Now, if you want to see the other side, i.e., reason, truth, and science, fight back militant style, check this out.
Anyway, folks, I've finally written my own takeoff on this stupid story. Behold, The Atheist and the Christian in the Woods:
The Rev. P.T. Peppercorn was working on his sermon, to be called, he'd decided, "The Amazing Power of Prayer", yes, that's what his lukewarm congregation needed, a reminder that God was indeed omnipotent (hmmm, he wondered how many of his flock would understand a big word like that), he crossed out omnipotent and replaced it with all-powerful. There, that was better. He smiled.
He got out his well-worn Bible and opened to the gospel of Mark. Mark 11:24 would be his text :"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." How absolutely astonishing that so many Christians would rather watch television then spend time in prayer when they had a heavenly Father that made promises such as this one. He shook as head. It was so sad how little faith there was nowadays.
Two miles away Charlie, an unbeliever who the locals had started calling the village atheist (one ardent believer had said "More like the village idiot") was packing himself some sandwiches and his gun, getting ready for a walk in the woods. There were bears in them there hills, so he always had a firearm at his side when he went. He'd had to shoot a wild animal once before, a mountain lion in that case, though before the big cat was dead, Charlie had received a few wounds that would leave permanent reminders of the encounter.
Back at his house, a lovely place paid for by his congregation, Rev. P.T. Peppercorn was stuck in the middle of writing his sermon, writer's block having overcome his ability to put down words. He put down his pen (he always wrote his sermons in longhand, feeling that God's thoughts were better able to flow through him that way, it being a more take-your-time approach to composing) and got up from his chair. He looked out the window and thought a nice walk in the woods would restore his inspiration and give him a chance to meditate on the sermon in progress. He packed himself some sandwiches and his Bible. He never took a walk without a Bible by his side, for he knew God's word was powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. He patted his Bible, opened the front door, and headed for the hills to enjoy some quiet time with his thoughts and his Lord and his Lord's wondrous creation.
Charlie the atheist checked his gun, "Yep, fully loaded," he said. Okay, now he was ready. He opened his front door and headed for the hills, looking forward to a beautiful day in the woods and all the wonders of the natural world, the amazing products of millions of years of evolution.
Rev. P.T. Peppercorn started his walk at a brisk pace, but soon slowed down. He looked all around as he walked.
"What majestic trees!" he shouted, as if the trees themselves had ears to hear him. He thought of this himself and laughed, thinking that some in his congregation were less likely to hear him on a Sunday morning then trees.
He noticed all the things around him and said, "What beauty."
He was getting hungry and found a clearing and a rock to sit upon. It was time for lunch. He retrieved his sandwiches and sat down to eat.
Charlie the atheist was enjoying his trek through nature, but soon he got hungry as well. He happened upon the same clearing as Rev. Peppercorn. Startled by the presence of another, Charlie approached with caution, then saw that the figure was Peppercorn, a man who had once denounced him from the pulpit for handing out atheist literature on a street corner (thus the village atheist label, a label that Charlie figured old Peppercorn had first applied).
"Well, Preacher, what brings you out to these parts? Are you lost?"
Oh no! thought Peppercorn, It's HIM! But then the good reverend had a second thought. Maybe this was the perfect opportunity to do some seed planting. After all, everything happened for a reason on God's green earth and maybe this was a chance to save a truly LOST person, that wicked blasphemer, Charlie the atheist.
"Good to see you, Charles," said the Rev. P.T. Peppercorn with a false smile. "I once was lost, but now I'm found. Do you know what that means?"
Charlie couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was the preacher actually going to try to convert him? "It means you're wasting your life on a lot of hogwash," replied Charlie.
"Charles," began Peppercorn.
"It's Charlie," said Charlie.
"Charlie, have you ever noticed how everything in nature is amazingly complex and seems designed for its environment?"
Charlie took a bite of his ham and cheese sandwich. "Yeah," said Charlie, talking with his mouth full. "The pig that gave up its life to become lunch meat was perfectly designed to be a sandwich ingredient and go good with Swiss cheese."
Peppercorn was about to respond when suddenly a huge bear emerged from the woods and entered the clearing.
"Oh my God!", shouted Rev. Peppercorn.
Charlie took another swallow of sandwich and then calmly took out his gun. The bear looked angry and ran straight for the two men.
"Oh Lord Jesus, please protect us and send this animal back into the woods!" prayed Peppercorn. The bear kept coming. "Father I ask you in Jesus name, send this wild creature away!" The bear moved closer. Rev. Peppercorn noticed Charlie holding the gun. "Well, what are you waiting for!" Peppercorn yelled. "Shoot it! Shoot it!"
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much", said Charlie. "I'm waiting for your praying to avail us."
"Don't be ridiculous. You've got a gun, use it!"
"You've got a Bible, Reverend," said Charlie. "Which item do you think will be more effective against this bear, your holy book, or my firearm?"
Before Rev Peppercorn could reply the bear was upon him. Charlie had fired the gun, but he missed. Peppercorn was thrown to the ground by the great beast. "Jesus help me!" he screamed. As he watched Charlie aim for another shot, Peppercorn suddenly realized he had indeed wasted his life, and that no God or Jesus would save him, only an atheist with a gun would. Charlie fired again and the bear fell dead, hit by a bullet to the head. The Rev Peppercorn was bleeding profusely, but he was alive. He looked up to the patch of sky above the clearing and forgetting his most recent thoughts, said "Thank you, Lord for saving my life and killing this bear."
"I killed the bear!" said Charlie indignantly.
Later the Rev. Peppercorn died in the hospital from his wounds. Charlie skinned the bear and turned it into a rug. He kept it on the floor in front of his favorite chair, to remind him that bullets did more damage than prayers to bears and that guns were more powerful than gods.