The battle was still raging when all the atheists were ordered out of the foxholes and sent home. “With every fiber in my body, I shall fight to uphold the integrity of both: the atheists and the foxholes!” the general had proclaimed. “From now on, there shall be no atheists in foxholes! Foxholes must be completely devoid of atheists!”

While the atheists were riding the rails away from the front and towards a future of happy days with their loved ones, the general was making powerful speeches before his troops, filled with promises of bloody battles and glory.

“You will all die a glorious death, I kid you not!” the general joyfully declared with his booming voice. “Some of you will be torn to pieces by shrapnel; others will be killed by snipers or bombs or roadside booby traps. But make no mistake: we all will be dead by the end of the day! Well, with the exception of me and a few of my sycophants you see weaseling around me. We will have to direct the battle from behind, of course!”

The general, proudly eying his men, his medal-laden chest swelling and heaving up and down, asked if there were any questions. A nervous private raised his hand timidly.

“Well, sir, General, sir…I am actually an atheist, too,” he said, his voice quivering.

“What? Are you insane? Are there any more?”

A few more hands went up.

“This is an outrage!” The general was beside himself.

But before he was able to face this new situation, he was interrupted with the news that a delegation from the enemy had just arrived, asking for a momentary ceasefire in order to have a conference with him. Reluctantly, since he had so looked forward to a casualty-filled, bloody battle, the general agreed to receive the delegation. After they had settled down and been served with the finest of the fine provisions, both parties spent some time viewing each other with great suspicion. Finally, the tallest of them, dressed in funny garb stood up and spoke with a funny accent.

“I will not talk around and around, but instead I will come right to the comma,” he said.

“You mean—come to the point?” the general asked.

“In our country, we don’t have points, just commas,” the comically-dressed enemy replied.

No wonder we’re about to kill these morons, many of the men were thinking. How backwards can you be: only commas?

“Well, is that what you came here for—you only have commas?” the general impatiently asked.

“Of course not; we have comfortably structured our way of speech around the fact that we only have commas, so we don’t need stinking points,” the enemy officer stated angrily.

It almost came to blows had cooler heads not prevailed. The coolest one had just removed it from a barrel of cold beer, blowing bubbles and making funny sounds, facilitating a round of raucous laughter amongst the men.

“I don’t mean to spoil the fun around here,” the funny enemy piped up again, interrupting the enormous merriment that had just erupted. “But we have a situation here: we have atheists in foxholes!”

Suddenly there was total silence.

“This is an outrage!” the general finally screamed at the top of his voice. “There will be consequences, I’ll tell you that!”

“There is nothing we can do,” the enemy delegate said.

After hours of negotiations, they reluctantly came to the agreement that the battle would have to be postponed, perhaps even the entire war.

What a waste, the general thought. He had so much looked forward to a casualty-filled, bloody battle.