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Ask the Patriarch 74
Are you serious or are you a joke?

From Gerry M.

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I am writing you as one of the Steering Committee for the Humanist Association of Hamilton, which is part of the Humanist Association of Canada. I have read the main sections of your website (not the articles) and I hope you don't think I'm rude, but is your group meant to be "serious" or is it a joke. I enjoyed it either way, but would like to know your purpose, etc. I would like to come to the event you are holding in April, and intend to be there. I hope to be able to talk to you then, if not before. Thanks.

The Patriarch replies:


I hope you are able to make it to the April[1] meeting.

I would hope that if you get around to reading the various articles, you would be left with the same confusion. Are we serious, or are we a joke?

I think there is a joke at the heart of all religious movements; unfortunately most such movements have forgotten the joke and take themselves entirely seriously.

Initially, it was a joke to promote agnosticism as a religion under the name Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic, complete with the Three Articles of Faith.

But still, there is a serious motive; to promote agnosticism as a viable and logical alternative to both religious belief and atheism. The serious element has come to predominate over the past ten years. But the formal name has never been changed to remind us, first of all, to laugh at ourselves.

So - Are we serious, or are we a joke?

Yes! And Yes.


  1. Meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario 9 April 2005. If you are interested in attending - and the date has not passed, details are at the Agnostic Church of Hamilton website.