[Curiously Clever 06 Jan 2012]
As a one-time missionary (Believe It or Not!), I have legitimate reasons for my mild contempt toward evangelical religions in particular. It’s a simple and uninspiring tale of a young woman with low self-esteem trying to fill a void with a belief. (Spoiler alert! It didn’t fit.) After years of careful observation of Baptists in their native habitat and much rational contemplation, she abandoned the excruciating anxiety of living under the faith vs. works conundrum. She chose instead to stoically face a cruel and random universe, armed only with her cynicism and doctor-prescribed meds. Anyhoo, one result of this voyage of non-belief is that things like this tend to irritate me:
These pearls of Good News were carefully and conspicuously placed on the visitor check-in desk of the New Jersey hospital to which my mother-in-law had just been admitted. My husband and I were a little worried—his mother had suffered a major stroke only hours before and been airlifted from her local hospital to this one. You can imagine the sense of peace and comfort that washed over me when I read, “Death: It Happens Every Day”. What a compelling yet reassuring title. And it was only the gateway to a tiny trilogy of enlightenment! I had to have them—a voice was urging me, “Take these My child. Please”. (The voice was mine—I often think to myself.) So I stuffed the bits of Biblical condensation into my purse. I couldn’t bear the thought of them being carelessly tossed into a convenient recycling bin. If anyone were to deliberately throw them into the trash, or worse yet, burn them, I wanted to make sure it was done right. As it turns out, these tiny pieces of Western religion have become the pithy souvenir of the only time I’ve ever watched a loved one die.
Published by Fellowship Tract League, which happens to be a Baptist endeavor, these pamphlets have had a powerful impact on my life. Maybe I should let the Fellowship Baptist Church know that their pamphlets have removed any possible doubt I may have had that there is a god, while their logo has proven that it doesn’t take talent to get work from people who can’t tell their ass from a hole in the ground. It’s like a Rorshach test: is it a pitcher (jug perhaps?) inside a hamster ball? Is it a poorly drawn silhouette of a rodent in a hamster ball?Is it a globe with all the continents smooshed together by God’s love? Like God Himself, graphic designers work in mysterious ways.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am in no way mocking a true personal belief in God (or ethnic equivalent). My mother-in-law was a devout Catholic and she drew considerable comfort from her beliefs. Just as I would never have tried to dissuade her from her convictions, she never once criticized or condemned me for my views. She never tried to get me to go to church, although I am sure she prayed for me everyday. For that kind thought I am grateful. However, had she been born into a different belief system, I know she would have been the same generous and kind person. Her faith did not define her and it did not create her. If there is a heaven, and for her I hope there is, I know that she was welcomed—not because of the church she attended, but because of the person she was. If everything she was died with her, I know that she will never again suffer and will always be loved by those who knew her.
That being said, I think that Catholicism—as an entity—and every other known religion that ruthlessly indoctrinates their followers and aggressively proselytizes the ignorant, are a blight on humanity. The fact that the dispenser of these tracts would attempt to take advantage of people, who were very likely emotionally fragile, was insensitive and utterly lacking in empathy. If you really want to be a positive ambassador for Christ, show some compassion. WWJD? Hopefully he wouldn’t be a dick.