I was playing piano and I heard the doorbell ring. Figuring it was my parents, I opened the door. I instantly see the suit and I know it has got to be some religious bloke. At least he was rather polite, and he wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness. I think he was opening up a new church and was trying to recruit people. I know I’ve probably changed some of the details and left things out, but here’s a recount of the short conversation:
“Are your parents home?”
“No, they’re not.”
[hands me something, gives a quick introduction of himself, blah blah]
I don’t know what impelled me to, but I say, “Actually, I’m an atheist.”
“Oh, how old are you?”
“Do you think you’re old enough to make a decision to be an atheist?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Did you know it takes more faith to be an atheist than being a Christian?”
“No, because atheism is the default position, you don’t start out believing, you don’t have to know anything really…”
“So, you’re saying you don’t know anything.”
[Okay, that was my mistake. I meant this: Animals don’t believe in a god. Babies, when born, don’t believe in anything. They’re born atheists. I lose the point there.]
“Well, not exactly.”
“That’s what you said. Do you go to a church?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Have you ever gone to one?”
“No, I have not.”
“What about your parents?”
“I don’t know. But, at my school, I’ve taken religious classes, so I think I’m rather informed.” [I go to a catholic school.]
“Learned all about all the religions.” [emphasis mine. I think he may have been thinking something about the whole ‘equal’ treatment of all religions thing.]
“Well, no, but I’m planning on taking a major religions of the world course.” [which I actually am going to, already signed up]
“Tell me, what happens when you die?”
“I decompose.” [easily my best line. I say this calmly. If I was unsure, he would have attacked. Instead, it seems as if I’m sure and resigned to this fact.]
“That’s very interesting.” [he tells me about the back of the handout, tells me to read it. We shake hands.]
[exit, door closes]
I wish I was a quicker thinker than I already am, but then again, I didn’t want to be rude. I don’t believe I came across as a teenage smart-ass.
Actually, remembering another event is why I said it, now that I’m reviewing my motives here. My family and I were at a restaurant and some guy comes up to us. He says that we must be a good Christian family because we were really nice-looking and quiet, etc. We aren’t Christian, but none of us really say much. He can infer it, but we’re not overly contrary to him. So, I guess this was something of a second chance for me.
The guy was nice, and he didn’t try to uber-proselytize. He just wanted people to know about his new church and wanted to give them an opportunity to join. I think he was the pastor. I don’t remember because I threw away the sheet.
Well, I thought it was a bit interesting. This is the first real event that inspired a thoughtful weblog entry.