Image via WikipediaLast Saturday there was a knock at my door at around noon. I opened the door, and there, stood two women in very conservative attire holding magazines. They asked if Santos lived here. I recognized the name as a former neighbor and told them that he had moved a year earlier. They tried to pull me into a friendly conversation figuring out the last time they had seen him. I didn't know much about him or his family, so there was not much help I could offer.
Soon enough they said they wanted to show me something. I asked if it was religious stuff. They said yes. Right of the bat, I said I was not interested. It did not deter them (neither did the mezuzah on my door-sill). The talkative one launched into a series of questions. She asked for my name. I told her. She asked what it meant. I told her. She broke into a story about how she met someone with an interesting name and what it means and blah blah blah. I stood there and thought, "When are you going to leave? Can't you see I am not interested?" Finally she got the message and said good bye. I smiled politely and said good bye.
After they left I was so mad at myself. Why did I have to be so nice to them? Why did I let them talk and talk to me and did not tell them to just get lost? Is it because I am programmed to be nice to religious people? Is it because I was brainwashed to treat religious people with deference?
I was pissed at myself. For giving in. For succumbing to this bullying of the religious establishment they represented. Who do they think they are? Knocking on my door on a Saturday morning and bothering me for such a long time, trying to be friendly, using all those 'strategies' they learned during the introductory course "how to reach the hearts of the lost souls?" Who the f*** do they think they are, trying to redeem their miserable existence by selling this utter nonsense to me? God damn it. Next time they come I should give them a piece of my mind, tell them what I really think about the nonsense they are spreading all over the world. How they're being conned into believing stuff that anyone with a hint of a brain can tell is pure gobbledygook.
Sam Harris says we shouldn't worry about offending the sensibilities of religious people when we hear them talk religious nonsense; that we should hold them accountable to the nonsense they spread around. And I agree one hundred percent. I just lose my nerve when it presents itself to me, out of habit and a little discomfort, too. No more. I don't want to pretend that it's okay. Because it's not. Next time they come to my door they should be prepared to hear my side of the story. I'm really going to tell them what I think about God and all the nonsense that accompanies that silly notion. I'll tell them about the flying spaghetti monster, the celestial teapot and the invisible pink unicorn; all the other good stuff they can believe in.
This morning there was a knock on my door. When I opened it there stood two women, holding magazines. They wanted to talk to Robby. I said he didn't live here. They asked if they could talk to me about something. I asked if it was about religion. They said yes. I said, "Don't talk to me about religion," and slammed the door in their face.
God, it felt good.
Next time I'll prepare a better speech.
Michael Shermer on strange beliefs