At the playground with Neptune today, I was suddenly
accosted approached by a Jehovah’s Witness. She handed me a copy of Awake! with the headline: “How To Be A Better Parent.” (Seriously: what is the difference between Watchtower and Awake!?) We talked for a while, I challenged her, she challenged me, but I’m not crazy familiar with the Bible that I can pull out scriptures to support my ideas. She asked me for my phone number and I was like: “Woah! You are so not coming to my house,” so politely declined. I didn’t really mind talking with her, but I find proselytizing religions a bit troubling, and especially Jehovah’s Witnesses a little too presistent. It’s like a busy-body’s religion, imposing and telling everyone what to do, what is right and what is wrong and judging people accordingly. I mean I don’t mind if a religion includes that as part of their mandate, but please don’t shove it in my face. I do like talking to devout people, of any denomination, and trying to convince them that: 1) we are both right, and that we share many views, values and opinions, and – more entertaining – that 2) my belief system, the church of something but nothing in particular, is better than theirs. Of course, I really don’t think that it is possible to have a better religion. Religion generally helps people figure out their own lives and who they are and some people really need that; others don’t really have an option to exclude religion from their life because it’s so deeply part of their culture. Anyhow, I could go on forever, and then I’ll have to start organising my argument and then that could go on forever too. So in closing, I fully expect to meet Sister Violet again in the streets of Park-Ex, and we will continue our discussion.
Could I just mention, also, a memory from my childhood? I remember having this illustrated Bible when I was a kid. It was from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and had really dramatic, painted illustrations of the major narratives; a sort of “Best Of the Bible.” I just remember a lot of flames and those infamous pillars of salt. I think now, who really wants a kid to read one of the most tormented stories ever told? A book full of people making horrible mistakes and wrong decisions, of great human suffering and lament. I mean, I get that there’s a greater meaning, but when you’re 8-years-old how much of the subtext do you really get? Shouldn’t the Bible technically be rated PG-13? Or get a “Teen” ESRB rating? I mean, it’s about a million times more racy than Pokemon. I suppose the goal is to etch the images and morals into young minds. It kind of worked on me, though I have forgotten all the details, and now just remember pictures of crumbling cities, of shrouded women in tears, and of babies floating down rivers in baskets.