Saturday, July 21, 2012

The worst don't seem to have much conviction either.

The good news (I mean, aside from "Jesus is risen"): I found a Bible tract in a restroom stall at a ballgame.  The bad news: it's the least visually dynamic tract ever.  I checked the press's website, and now I'm doubly disappointed; the people who put it out are certainly credibly crazy.  Why couldn't I have gotten the one aimed at the rad young dudes?  Or the one about the Demon Rum*?  Or even (I'm not sure even ChickCo has ever done anything quite this psychotic) the pro-death-penalty one?  Mine's pretty generic by comparison.

*I think that was the title of a Friends episode.

This poignant tale may work better if you imagine "Cat's in the Cradle" playing over it, but it's inevitably gonna suffer from the fact that no irreligious people have ever used these rationales to avoid converting ever.  I mean, isn't the reader supposed to be able to relate to the story?  If not, the point seems to have been lost.

Look, I don't think being a Christian would be a bad thing, necessarily, once you get rid of the homophobia, the misogyny, and the prosperity-gospel bullshit that assholes have grafted onto it.  My only problem is that I just can't really accept any of the supernatural aspects of the gospels, and without any of that, it seems kinda meaningless, you know?  Point is, though, I can see why someone would convert, and I don't think one's reasons would necessarily be dumb/thoughtless/incoherent.  But that also is why tracts are useless, because they're incapable of giving anything other than dumb/thoughtless/incoherent reasons.  I feel like there someone would have to have substantial lived experience.  A miniature powerpoint presentation ain't gonna do it.

Still, what're ya gonna do?  I do understand the bind that evangelicals must find themselves in: on the one hand, YOU MUST witness to people 'cause they'll go to hell if you don't what kind of jerk ARE you, anyway?; on the other hand, it's just gonna be incredibly awkward and painful to just approach random strangers who are almost certainly going to view your testimony with indifference if not outright antipathy.  Actually making the sort of connection with someone that would be necessary for them to actually understand and empathize with your worldview is hella difficult, especially when you're viewing them as less an individual and more an unpleasant task you have to fulfill.  How much easier to just leave tracts lying around and delude yourself into thinking they might have some effect on someone somewhere!  The feeling of relief that this is an option must be palpable.

So yeah, on the one hand I do sympathize--but on the other hand, what the fuck, assholes?  Look: you know that the people who leave these things around are gonna be voting republican.  They just are.  Maybe you can find an exception or two somewhere, what with more things on heaven and earth and all, but those numbers will not be statistically meaningful.  And they're voting republican because they think that the political values espoused by republicans match up with their religious values.  So let me get this straight: you're voting for this party of radical psychotics, the most racist, misogynistic, homophobic, fuck-the-poor, anti-environment motherfuckers imaginable--you're doing this, and yet your convictions regarding the things this vote represents to you aren't even sufficiently strong that you're willing to make a little effort with the evangelizing?  You're fucking us all over for values that, as indicated by your actions, you're really only kinda lukewarm about at best?  GOOD GOD.  This contempt that I feel for that quite washes away whatever sympathy I had.  That's some weak shit, guys.  No, I'm not keen on the idea of more people coming up to preach to me, but I'm even less keen on seeing them so clearly demonstrating that they do not, in any way that matters, actually care.


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