Dear proselytizing assholes,
What must I do to convince you that your many visits to my house are spectacularly pointless? Must I decorate my front door with an inverted cross in a virgin’s blood? Burn a pentagram into my front yard? I would chase you off my porch while wielding a lead pipe, wearing nothing but a sock over my genitals and chewing on an Alka-Seltzer tablet to simulate foaming at the mouth, but I’ve noticed that a good deal of Christians lack a sense of humor, which would lead to the unfortunate involvement of law enforcement – and THEY are equally mirthless when consulting my many arrest warrants for murder in Branson, Missouri.
Instead of breaking out the aforementioned tools, I will merely – and with a sigh of resignation, as I know the effort to be a futile one – make one more attempt to beseech you to leave me and my heathen family alone. I could enumerate my numerous and long suffering complaints against organized religion – you might have better luck recruiting me for a Christopher Hitchens book club - but allow me instead to touch upon the most important reasons that I wish to be left alone.
First, you claim that you seek to wish to help me achieve redemption through your prescribed set of gatherings, mindless recitations, whooping exultations and worst of all, belief. I don’t buy what you’re selling. Redemption is not achieved through these things. God does not redeem us. We redeem ourselves through reason, righting our wrongs, and by ignoring cultural prescriptions of good and evil and simply being kind and compassionate. I know the difference between right and wrong, and I don’t need your book of magic spells (you call it the Bible) and your shamans to know it. When I do something right, it feels right. When I do something wrong, it feels wrong. I don’t need the “good” book to know what that feels like, and I never will. True morality is not the product of religion – it is inborn, sociopaths excluded. Not being a sociopath myself – excluding my behavior in multiplayer modes of first-person shooters – I find myself sufficiently moral in all the ways that matter.
Second, even if I drank your particular flavor of non-carbonated sweetened and artificially colored beverage, I couldn’t put anything other than Shake-n-Bake coupons in your collection plate. And just admit it – that’s the unstated purpose of your “mission.” The more people you manage to figuratively poison with your mercury, the easier it is to pick their pockets with your forked tongues. All that being said, there are more affluent and dumber folks you should be talking to.
Third, I find your endless attempts to convert me to your cause sickeningly opportunistic. I would imagine that the reason you’re knocking at my door regularly is because you hope that, eventually, you’ll find me at my weakest – which is exactly when most people turn to the cold comforts of religion in order to console themselves. Broke? Nevermind that. God will provide – after all, he’s got his lieutenants talking all that “prosperity theology” bullshit all the time. Dead parents? Be patient! They’re waiting for you in heaven. Lost and purposeless? Fuck it! We’ve got a set of repetitive and meaningless tasks for you to repeat that will turn the aching sadness into a kind of bromidic banality whose romantic appeal plummets faster than a rebel angel into the abyss. Even at my lowest, these platitudinous comforts are of no comfort to me at all. In fact, in my darkest hour I am reminded of the one axiom by which I live – that we are spectacularly fragile, short-lived and deeply flawed creatures, that the only life we KNOW we have is this one (belief in life after death, or anything else, doesn’t make it real) and the corollary of those two truths – that I must do real and permanent good in this world before my days are through.
You know what I mean when I say real good – providing for the poor, the hungry and the homeless, treating each other and everything else that lives and breathes with compassion and respect in times of ease and forgiveness and mercy in times of strife, honoring the commitments we’ve made, etc. Waking my kids up on a Saturday afternoon while they’re napping isn’t real good. It’s real fucking annoying, and one day you’re gonna make me real fucking mad next time it happens.
Finally, I am sick of picking these motherfucking things up out of my yard.
And so, for the umpteenth time, I beg you – stop littering my property with your spiritual offal and interrupting my family time. Let’s make a deal – you stop trying to convert me to Christianity, and I promise not to try to convert any of your congregation into heathenhood. You should really take me up on the offer. I’m a smart and profane infidel with a chip on my shoulder and a penchant for forcing people to confront their irrational beliefs and behaviors… plus, what’s worse, your flock is starting to look a little sickly.
In the words of poet and philosopher Rocko: “You just do you – umma do me.”
Don’t make me get out the sock.
Figure 1.1: Your garbage and my front lawn don’t mix… much like my shovel and the back of your your head.