I was accosted today by an angel of Christian mercy. Wonderful.
Let me set the stage (writing this with a red haze of anger). It's a beautiful evening in LA. I had dinner with two of the boys whose company and friendship make living here worthwhile. We went for a drink, and ran into other good people. We want a quiet night, so leave early. I'm walking home, basking in the glow of a pleasant, chill night with people I care about, enjoying the cool, pretty night.
And then I run into this fat, scruffy, hippy-esque woman, who's passing out flyers or posting them or something. I assume it's for Topanga crafts fair (painted rocks) or the latest in chakra healing crystals or something.
Apparently, she's a messenger from God. Now, when I look at the lutin Benedict, with his fabulous clothing (um, and he doesn't like gays why?), and I hear he's God's messenger, and I contrast it with this woman, who also claims that, I get confused.
Before I go further, let me also say that I don't just not believe in God, I believe there is no God. I have two degrees in First World War history. I don't see how you can be a serious student of history - the study of human misery and the unlimited capacity of human beings to be cruel - and not believe there is no God. Any God that is all-powerful, but does not stop the suffering of humanity, from the trenches to the Holocaust to the poverty in Africa to the misery of the slums here, is a God worthy only of contempt, not adoration. Any God that cannot stop it is not omnipotent and not a God.
She walks past me, and says "Jesus loves you, just not what you do."
I stop. I turn around. She smiles sheepishly, "He doesn't love everything I do, either." (Like judge?). (Aside: How did she know I'm a 'mo? I mean, granted, I was wearing a pink Abercrombie polo, and have short hair, and am in shape, but seriously, my hips weren't swaying that much as I walked!)
I confront her: "Is this some crazy Christian anti-Gay thing?"
She says yes, and explains that she knows this. I ask her how it is that she, out of the six or so billion people in the world, is personally favoured with divine wisdom (as opposed to, for example, the wisdom of the Moderator of the Church I was baptized in, that has absolutely no problem with gay marriage and testified before the Senate of Canada that not allowing gay marriage was religious discrimination against them). She explains that Jesus speaks to her, and that the Bible tells her that. I don't mention the Bible also bans wearing two kinds of cloth, and she's clearly wearing polyesther along with unbleached cotton.
When I start to substantively challenge her, she walks away. Of course. That's the Christian tactic - quote the Bible (unauthenticated hearsay) and then walk away. You can't argue - they win by saying, "Jesus says." See my earlier posts on "National Security."
At the end of the day, I don't get it: if I'm going to hell, let me go. Why should she care? Let her live in her self-righteous bubble, believing that God speaks to her. If I'm wrong, I'll burn in hell forever. Why should she care?
Conclusions on this later, when I'm not seething.