Today I was told that I am an evil person who will rot in hell for eternity, and that I deserve it. No, I wasn’t fighting with anyone; I was serving tea. You see, an older couple showed up at my door and were quite concerned with my eternal soul. When they found out that I wasn’t, they immediately launched into their sales pitch. The pitch started with love and concern, and finished with threats and intimidation.
It turns out that because I am disinclined to join their particular sect my soul is in serious danger of spending eternity burning in a lake of acid. And even worse, when they found out that I do not belong to anyone’s team, it almost sent them into fits of apoplexy. Apparently being a non-believer is so much worse than belonging to the wrong sect that it is akin to murder.
“God loves you,” the little old man said to me. “But if you don’t accept him into your heart and believe only in him then he will not hesitate to condemn you to hell.”
“Nice guy,” I replied.
Apparently it doesn’t matter what kind of person I am. They tell me that it isn’t too late; even if I was a serial killer all my life and repented at the very last second before dying, God would reward me with eternal harp music and clouds. I didn’t tell them that harp music for eternity sounds a little torturous to me, but I digress.
These people know nothing about me or my family. But apparently it wouldn’t matter anyway. I could have told them that when I was a paramedic I crawled into vehicles through broken glass to help injured people. Or that while I was a lifeguard I put my own safety second while saving people from drowning. They wouldn’t have cared less. If they knew that my husband is the type of person who never hesitates to give friends, family, or even strangers a helping hand at any time of the day or night. Or that my daughter worked with handicapped people for ten years trying to give them a better quality of life. To them we are evil, godless, morally bankrupt people because we do not believe in the invisible man in the sky.
They stressed many times during their visit that it is impossible to be law abiding, kind, or empathetic without taking direction from the confusing, archaic, discrepancy-ridden book that is the Bible.
“The main reason I do not follow the Bible is because it advocates hatred, slavery and murder,” I said. “It’s also big into genocide. And in my opinion these are not great lessons to pass along to children.”
They were shocked and outraged. The Bible advocates none of those things. It is all lightness, hope, love and wonder.
“What about killing your neighbour if you see him working on a Sabbath? What about drowning every man, woman, and child on the planet? What about selling your daughter into slavery?”
“That’s the Old Testament.”
Apparently God is now over his anger management issues. But the nice old couple were not. You need to get your house in order, they admonish as they finish the last of their tea; otherwise we will be laughing and rejoicing as you writhe in everlasting torment.
Real nice, I think. I wave at them as they leave and turn to find my hand-basket. I’m going to need it.
“Hell’s Eternal Punishment” by Vaticanus. Creative Commons Flickr. Some rights reserved.