At my bridge club, on one of the days of the week, there is a tradition of someone, who is I think the oldest person in the group, starting the session with a joke before we start playing. Her jokes are usually raunchy and pretty funny, and she tells them well. But on days when she is absent, someone else will tell a joke and this week the person told one about an atheist and a bear. It is an old joke, the kind that gets circulated that you can read here. I had heard this same joke about ten years earlier and wrote about it then.
It struck me this time that although the atheist is supposed to be the butt of the joke whom we are supposed to laugh at, Christianity comes off worse, with their God being portrayed as vengeful and vindictive with a cruel sense of humor, hardly the loving and forgiving deity that is advertised nowadays. The atheist, on the other hand, comes across as a reasonable, honest, and principled person, not pretending to have a religious conversion even as he faces death. I wonder if the Christians who like to relate this joke realize this.
I was also amused because I do not think that the people in my bridge club (other than my bridge partner) know that I am an atheist. In general, I do not make a point of talking about my beliefs unless it comes up naturally in conversation. I know and like the woman who told the joke. I wonder if she would have made the joke if she knew about my lack of belief in gods.