Tonight I was tempted - tempted to do something I have told myself a thousand times I would never do: walk up to perfect strangers and leave them with a home-made booklet espousing all the wonderful benefits of a life without God. What made me even entertain the idea of doing something so selfish and disrespectful? As some may guess, the idea was not an original one.
I was sitting at a table in a coffee shop reading through a booklet I made consisting of all my blog entries posted here on Living Without God - A Life of Reason (a couple of people expressed an interest in having such a booklet so they could peruse it at their leisure) when several people walked into the shop and sat down at a table nearby. At first I noticed one of them had what looked like a smudge of some kind on his forehead. I wondered if this person had any idea his face and forehead were in need of a good cleansing. A moment later, I noticed the same smudge marks on the foreheads of the other three people as well. Then - the light bulb went on over my head. It had to be that Catholic rite of Ash Wednesday. (Apparently I was making some progress toward vacating my mind of all those old religious rituals.)
For a moment I was experiencing what had to be the same feeling those annoying bible thumpers have right before they pounce on their unsuspecting prey and inflict their religious inanities on them all because they want to save their lost souls. Then suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. I glanced over and saw a little demon - pitch fork, horns and all - looking up at me and urgently muttering, "Go ahead. Give them a taste of their own medicine. Throw that booklet on the table and tell them to have a nice read!"
I rubbed my eyes to cleanse them of the apparent apparition, but to no avail. That little devil just kept looking at me and tempting me in that special way only a real demon knows how to. Then, a moment later, another tap. This time on my other shoulder. I looked down and noticed a little angel - wings, halo and all - looking up at me and urgently muttering, "Don't do it, Billy. You know better than that. Two wrongs don't make a right."
I rubbed my eyes again, but the visions persisted. For several minutes these minions of my imagination took turns attempting to seize my will. In a trance, I got up, booklet clasped firmly in hand, and began making my way toward The Table of the Ash Heads. Just as I was about to invite myself into their sanctuary and point them toward the light, I suddenly emerged from my deep daze and instead offered a polite greeting to my caffeine cohorts before ambling toward the exit knowing in my heart I had just done the right thing.
I guess I'm just not an evangelical atheist after all. As strongly as I feel about my views, I was determined never to stoop to the level of the thumpers. As for the next time one of them approaches me, when I begin to contemplate my evil responses, I hope that little voice will be there to say, "Whatever you're thinking, don't do it, Billy."
3 years ago