But that's not the part where I played Loki. It was a reward for playing Loki because I have taken it upon myself that if any religious nut invades my personal space, I give them three warnings before I play Loki. And she struck out (or in, depending on your point of view).
Strike one: A nicely dressed woman asked me my name, and would not let up when I asked her why.
Strike two: Tried the, "Do you know why we met today? Jesus loves you and want you to be happy." intro
Strike three: When I countered some her points and questions with passive theosophic comments about religious dogma, she ignored me and continued to use stock "leading" questions about God, Jesus, and Heaven.
So she asked for it. I don't hold ill will against these people, I mean, we're all searching for answers. I used to be pissed off, and take it personally, like, "How dare you invade my space???" like I was some dude who was too important to deal with "these people." But over the years, I realized that I can share what I have seen and experienced, and even if they don't listen, it's not my fault. Most of the time, these people get yelled at, spat upon, laughed at, told to go away, so I feel kind of pity on them because I think that most of them have good intentions. So I don't come over them like a flood of bitterness, out to prove them wrong, but to reflect the things they say back at them in a different frame of reference.
I plant seeds.
Now, this blog is not to plant seeds. I don't know who reads this, and I don't want to start ideas without some personal interaction to make sure you're not flipping out. I don't even know if I'm right, and I'd hate to be proven wrong, and then this gets put in some search engine, spreading my previous ignorance like a cancer. Religion is very personal, and if I passively wreck someone's belief structure "just because I want to look clever," and take away the security that truly made them happy, I would feel very, very bad.
As a side note: I have always been curious why Christianity has cornered the market in converting. You never see Jews asking, "So, have you had a bar mitzvah already?" or Buddhists coming up to you with a bowl and robe an ask if you'd like to join his followers in enlightenment. Not one has a Wiccan told me mother Earth wants to see me about all this polluting I have been up to, and whether my altar has been properly blessed. What about Mohammed? He had a lot of good stuff to say.
When asked questions, I usually take the academic approach. I counter some of their poor logic based on the so-called "experiences by proxy," where they claim something is true because someone told them so instead of seeing for themselves. I mean, if you truly believe that Jesus rose from the dead (and no one else can do so), then I have to respect that you have witnessed it personally. If you think he rose from the dead because a 2000 year old book told you so, that has been rewritten and translated at least sixteen times by some people very susceptible to corruption, and only read it because yet another person told you to do so and accept is as real... I feel MY path in life is to make you at least realize that's not a very stable basis to found a life path. As Dennis told Sir Arthur, "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."
I also point out that no one knows what happens when you die because those that really know are... well, dead. This is then followed with several philosophies of the more popular religions. This may also include the Norse theory that you go to nothingness, and the Frisbeeitarians who believe that when you die, you soul goes on the roof and gets stuck. The latter is to test if they have a sense of humor.
I also realize that there is a 90% chance that this part of their life is only temporary, and that in a few years, they will have some church politics get in the way, and they will leave or be cast out because of some snob or busybody who only joined the church for personal power reasons. And then they will be lonely and bitter. I may be their only chance at realizing that church and beliefs are two VASTLY different things. So I counter some of their comments about joining a church because I believe that God is personal and everywhere, and I can speak to him or her at any time at any place I like. And I do. My religion is based that it is part of my philosophy every second of my life, and I mold my actions with it. Morality has no strength when it relies solely on the teachings of other mortals just as frail as anyone else. I also know, from personal experience, that organized religion is made of people who don't all agree, and they tend to fall apart. As Serendipity said to Bethany, "It doesn't matter what you have faith in, just that you HAVE faith." That's the key right there. Often, these people don't know I am quoting fictional films, and will nod like I am a scholar, which is kind of sad, because that means they'll listen to any voice of authority closest to them.
Then I ask the kicker, "Why DID God give us free will?" I usually ask this because at this point the conversation is about salvation and turning away from God being a bad thing (Hell, damnation, fire, brimstone, and so on). Most of my readers are immune to this question. But to those who completely believe the bible via proxy, this is like telling one of Mudd's androids, "everything I say is a lie." If God is truly infallible... why does he need our help?
This woman was no different. This is why I want to be in front of those I plant seeds into, because if they show signs of anger or fear, I want to make sure I stop and don't leave them that way. Even though I probably didn't plan to be interrupted on such a nice day, that's not excuse for me to lash out and conquer her thoughts. She was, like many who are sent out into the street, weak and impressionable, clinging to a script. It's cruel, in my belief. Man, even Amway people have some "super-Amway" dude in the wings, ready to take over when a student is failing. Same with car dealerships, and those places are REALLY frightening what they do to people. So this woman was faltering because she was beginning to realize that she did not have the answers, and unlike many Mormons I have met who would admit, "I don't know, I'll go find out," (this is why I'll respect true Mormons on that level), she is alone, confronting someone she doesn't know but has reversed the manipulation, exposed her weakness of faith, and left her unsteady.
So with those seeds, I gave her a little light. "It's really okay," I told her. "God is in charge. I have seen it, I know it, and want you to know that the reason we met today was not so much what I have learned from you, but this experience that will help you a little later on. No matter what happens, no matter how much doubt you have somewhere, or what you did, it's your actions and love of others that will carry you into the next life. Mortals have no business questioning God's plan, because it's too complex and ethereal for our conscious experiences to compare it to anything. But know this: it's okay. God is infallible by the very nature of his existence, and everything is working as it's supposed to. You may not need to know this now, but later, knowing this will really help you make the right decisions when you are called upon." See, I HAVE experienced near death, and have experience faith, the presence of deities, and my troublesome questions were answered by listening to the real world around me. I CAN speak from personal experience, which some of those seeking faith have starved so long for because dispassionate preachers have told them what to believe instead of to go out and experience.
Am I wrong for doing this? I really don't know. But sometimes when I am pressed to help another human being, I feel, by my own nature, that I should spread a little love that has helped me through tough times. Not because I am better or greater that her or anyone else, but because I feel it's the right thing to do.
Those who don't understand the last statement should see, "Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain."