Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Preachin' Against Preachin'

There is a Monty Python skit that goes something like this:
At door: Knock, knock.
Woman: “Who’s there?”
Man: “Burglar!”
Woman: “Burglar?”
Man: “Yes, Madam. I am a burglar. Please let me in so I may nick your valuables.”
Woman: “I don’t know. You sound like an encyclopedia salesman.”
Man: “I assure you, Madam. I’ve only come to tie you up and steal your jewelry.”
Woman (hesitates) “Are you sure you’re not an encyclopedia salesman?”
Man: “Madam, my only intentions are to rob you, nothing more.”
Woman: “Well, okay then, as long as you’re not an encyclopedia salesman.”
She opens door and a man enters.
Man (looking around): You have a very nice place here. However, no home is truly complete without a full set of encyclopedias.”
Woman: “Oh, damn!”
I love that bit!
Hate when it happens in real life.
I bristle when someone pretends to be one thing and when you invite them in; they turn out to be something completely different. For example: If you see a man walking down the street wearing robes, a big metal cross and a hat that looks like someone split a canoe in half and placed it on his head, you assume that he is either the pope or some other high level church guy.
If you see a man wearing a black suit, white shirt and black hat who also has a beard and curly fry sideburns, you can assume that person is Jewish.
If you see a guy wearing either a turban, or a pill box hat and carrying a prayer rug, odds are he’s Muslim.
If two guys come to your house, well-groomed, wearing a white shirt and tie and carrying copies of The Watchtower. You can safely assume you are going to hide and pretend you are not home.
My point is you can see what they’re selling by their clothes. If we find ourselves in a conversation, I’m not offended when he goes into his sales pitch. That’s his job and I knew beforehand by his attire what I was in for. No harm, no foul.
But what really pisses me off is buying tickets for some entertainment venue and having to listen to some smug, self-righteous sonavabitch start in on how anyone who believes in God is an idiot and starts rattling off chapter and verse of the atheist’s creed.
Bill Maher, Paula Poundstone and Penn Gillette, I didn’t pay my hard earned money to listen to twenty minutes of you proselytizing Atheism. Imagine how pissed off you’d be if you forked over a week’s pay to see the Rolling Stones only to have them play gospel hymns and other religiously related material.
This is not to say I have anything against atheists. I do not. I have atheist friends and we get along just fine. But if as atheists you decide to preach your views to the masses, at least create some bizarre outfit, so when we see you coming, we can run like hell.
It’s only fair.
Why? Well although I am a devoutly religious, none of my friends know it. This is because you don’t convince people of your religion’s value by running your mouth to every poor soul you have backed into a conversational corner. You convince them of its validity by living a life that people admire and wish to emulate. 
And in keeping with one of my religion’s tenets, ‘Don’t point out another’s shortcomings without first addressing your own,” I must therefore point out that I am a hypocrite. I know this because a dear friend of mine, a pagan, routinely visits the elderly, the sick, runs errands for them, reads to them and spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas working at a soup kitchen doling out food to the hungry
Apparently she is a lot better at my religion than I am. I spend the holidays stuffing my face and watching football. Maybe I need to rethink my own beliefs.
Therefore should you see me dressed in glittering robes, wearing a propeller hat, barreling down the street on a pogo stick, holding up a book and shouting to all who will listen that I have ‘found the true way!”

Run like hell!

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