I do not go to church at the moment and I do not mention God's name in every other sentence. But I am a believer of the Trinity and have a personal relationship with God, The Father and The Holy Spirit. I became spiritual/religious at a young age despite the fact that I was raised by non religious parents. It was a CHOICE I made, and continue to believe in. Yeah, I curse sometimes, and I might retell a dirty joke I heard... etc etc etc. I'm not perfect and I'm not trying to be either. I don't think I'll go to hell for that.
Today at work I had a frustrating exchange with a Jehovah's Witness. By the time he finally walked away I was SO ticked off. Partly at this guys audacity to try to engage me in a religious dialog while I'm behind the register, partly at myself for giving him any kind of leeway what so ever and letting him get to me at all, and partly because my usual kiss off tactic didn't work on this one as it has always worked on any and every one of them that has come before, trying to convert me.
Usually, I tell them nicely but straight up honestly... I'm not interested. I'm very familiar with the religion. I have family who are Jehovah's Witnesses so I grew up with it all my life and I'm completely staunch in my religion, so I am not interested. Then they usually ask who my family member is and when I tell them, that's what shuts them up. He's well known in the Jehovah's Witness community and they know if HE hasn't converted me all my life, no one will. Then they thank me for my time and leave.
But no, not this time. He completely ignored my name dropping and continued to argue with me. And that's what ticks me off so bad... IF YOU WANNA HAVE A SIT DOWN DISCUSSION WITH ME ABOUT IT, FINE. I'M GAME. IM NOT AFRAID TO DISCUSS OR EVEN, IF I FEEL THE NEED TO... DEFEND MY CHOICES. BUT DON'T ARGUE WITH ME AND MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO DEFEND SHIT TO YOU. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU ANYWAY!!!!!!! My religion is my CHOICE. I wasn't forced into it. I'm not a lost soul looking for answers. The insistance that I need educated on why what I CHOOSE to beleive in is wrong, is the utmost in disrespect to a complete stranger.
It just gets me SO aggravated! My sister and I had our little hearts broken by this aforementioned Jehovas Witness family member. When someone pretends to care for you and swoops in like some kind of champion of our little struggle filled lives, and then come to find out they only want you on Wednesday's because Wednesdays are bible study days for them and the rest of the time it's like we didn't exist? It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Eventually we came to the realization that we were little more than a potential religious conquest to him. I'm sure in his heart he cared. But he cared only because he felt that if he didn't try his best to convert us, our sinful blood would be on his hands. He even said as much when him and my sister got into an argument years later. She had told him she didn't want him to come around anymore if that was all it was going to be about. He was welcome to come visit anytime. But to do so meant he would have to accept HER religion the same as she accepts his. And that meant not coming over to challenge her beliefs. But to be a loving family member and visit for the sake of being interested in you as a person. But they can't do that. It's always about the conversion. They are compelled and in fact indoctrinated, to not only save us one and all, but to not otherwise socialize with worldly (according to them) people.
It's interesting to me how it only seems like it's the males of the congregation that are the instigators in these kind of exchanges. They are the only ones allowed to be elders in the Kingdom Hall, who God speaks to and there fore are not to be questioned. Sure, sometimes there are women that stand idly by during a home visit ... but it's the men that take the lead and always seem to have all these sneaky ass tactics to bait you into a challenge of beliefs. This is how it went today...
The guy bought some JoJo's at the deli counter. I rang him up. Just as I was counting his change he asks me...'Do you have an invite to the memorial?' I said, 'For who... a what? A memorial?' He says, 'Do you have an invite?" ( Witnesses-- who don't 'celebrate holidays' --hold April 17th as a special day in which they celebrate as an annual memorial of Jesus' death) I hesitated in confusion, as if I was supposed to know someone in the community who died, and then he reached into his jacket so as to pull something out, and I knew right then what was up!
I fully expected him to produce a Watchtower pamphlet as they all do and have all my life. But this was a smaller booklet that had three pictures of Jesus. He began to point to each one asking me... 'When you think of Jesus do you think of him as: A baby...a man? Or a spirit?" I looked up at him and asked... 'Is this Jehovah's Witness?' He said, 'Yes.' This is when I gave my polite as possible spiel - to no avail. Since I had said I was familiar with the religion, he says, 'Oh, so you are familiar with the Bible?' I said, 'The bible has many interpretations. Your bible, my bible. Pretty much the same in many ways, but different by way of interpretation and I believe with added content.' Meaning... anything he was about to quote me from the (their) 'bible' would mean little to me. He then says, 'So you know what Luke (blah blah blah something or other) says.'
Ok. He got me for a moment. I quickly recovered and said, 'No, I can not QUOTE it to you.' At this point I was holding back because it was beginning to feel like a challenge and I was getting highly irritated with him. He went on to tell me what the bible verse said and how it was essentially the opposite of Easter. Something about remembering him in death... there fore meant not in life. (They believe Jesus' spirit was resurrected into heaven, that he did not walk again on earth in his human flesh days after his crucifixion . This, despite the fact that the bible states there were 500 witnesses to his physical resurrection.)
I'm fully aware that many of modern Christianity's celebrations and symbols are taken from pagans. I know that it's highly unlikely that Jesus was actually BORN on Christmas. I know that rabbits are the sign of fertility and we've adopted that as a concept of re-birth. Easter is as much a celebration of Spring as it is of Christ's resurrection. They just happen to coincide and people like to wrap it up all into one big happy and religious day.
What is wrong with that? Because every day is special and no one day should be chosen to worship on more reverently than another? Then why do Witnesses go to church at all? Why is April 17 ok to hold as an annual event? They should tell the world about another important day to them which they call 'Nissan 14'. And oh yeah, anniversaries are ok to celebrate. Talk about hypocrisy. Just sayin'. Celebrating Mother's Day or Father's day is not WORSHIPING my parents. A little bit of appreciation and respect is a loving and positive thing. And what is wrong with a little bit of inspiration? Who CARES if it's origins are pagan? What does that matter to the person RELIGIOUSLY celebrating? Does that mean they are secretly pagan and they don't even know it? Pshhh. Whatever.
So what if the pagans had good, fun, interesting ideas. So what if regular religious holidays help to remind people, if even only every once in a while, what they believe in their heart. So what if that's what it takes to introduce people to your religion, if it's the only religion that some people ever experience and if it makes people be a little warmer, a little more giving, and little more joyful. My God does not judge me for buying jelly beans or giving my daughter the joy of an Easter Basket on the front porch come Easter morning. I do not worship or idolize crosses and bunny rabbits. It's anyone's choice to embrace and assign positive attributes and symbolism to a day. And no one will show up at your door or place of work and inform you why you should hide eggs on April 8th. Not unless the Jehovah's Witnesses decide to embrace it that is.