February 28, 2011 had turned into one of the most memorable days of the year thus far. It had culminated with the creation of little flying pink elephants because I was a bit too caught up in the moment to recall the much needed then personal god of mine – his noodly-ness the Flying Spaghetti Monster….
My memorably manic, mad Monday started right after midnight on Sunday. For the first few hours it was wonderful – dancing, having fun, eating a fried sausage on the Vaclavske Namesti, sleeping a little bit… But then it got weird. First I had to go to the Russian Consulate for some paper-work. On the website, opening hours were stated from 7am. In reality, opening hours for the general public were from 9am… If I had known that, I would’ve slept instead, but I decided to only catch a short nap after the last party of the weekend, get the task done and over with and sleep afterwards… My desire to be in time for the opening, of course, didn’t pay off, so I walked to the nearby McDonald’s, got myself a coffee and managed to stretch reading the free newspaper to almost 1.5 hours.
Even though I was among the first people to come, it took another 1.5 hours to make 2 black and white copies and have them stamped and signed… The beauty of bureaucracy… I then proceeded home and finally caught a nap.
After a very challenging class at uni (‘challenging’ was the ‘keeping the eyes open’ part 🙂 ), I had 2 hours until the train… The train was destined for Moscow and I needed to send the 2 pieces of paper along with it – a faster alternative to any form of mail, including express, second best only to airplanes, but airports are way too far from the city to bother going there to pick up a piece of paper or two.
And this is where my main adventure of the day began. Actually, it was at the KFC, where I decided to spend the time waiting. After a snack, I read some homework article and was sitting there chilling. As chance has it, right behind me sat two people engaged in a conversation in Russian. One was a man in his thirties explaining to another one in his twenties why the latter should live his life with God…
I listened for about 3 minutes, having counted that the men in the course of his explanations had contradicted himself about 20 times. Somewhere inside me the little devil was nagging me to go and bother them two. The other devil was hitting the first one on the head with a frying pan and trying to talk me into listening silently. I looked at my watch… At least an hour more to spend… “To hell with it”, thought I and went to ensure for myself one of the most memorable evenings of 2011 :).
Basically, I had ended up semi-politely intervening in their conversation and then quarter-politely bombarding the older guy with questions about the more-than-numerous inconsistencies in the bible. I’m sure in the end of the grilling session, although I must give it to him he was trying very hard to answer and was very polite, he definitely wished that hell existed so that I could happily burn in it for the rest of eternity.
I won’t recall everything from that conversation, but some highlights included me asking, for example, the following: in the beginning there was Adam, Eve, Kain and Abel (soon to be killed by Kain). That makes mom, dad, and son. According to the bible, that’s where all 6 billion people came from. Which means we are all brothers and sisters. Which means any time anyone on the planet begets a child, it is a child of incest… Which, in the bible, is punishable by death… Oh, and there was also the great flood, which narrowed the genetic line down to one single family yet again… The man agreed that yes, in the beginning this was what happened.
Now, to leave the part out that 6 billion people could not possibly have come from a single genetic string, as the entire population would have long ago mutated into annihilation if we were, indeed, descendants of a single set of parents, I asked why incest became one of the gravest sins. He said it was because there was no longer need for incest because there were enough people on the planet. To which I objected something he was unable to understand: regardless of the number of people, if they all belong to a single genetic line, are all related closely by blood, it will ALWAYS be incest – every act of inception. That was beyond his grasp. I also asked why incest became a sin punishable by death simply when it became no longer ‘necessary’ (that was after I realized that passing the message though to him that the number of people in that case won’t change the fact that it’s still incest all the way through, if we come from one set of parents, was as attainable a goal as seeing the notorious camel pass through the needle-hole), did it just happen like “okay, from today on, incest is a sin” or over time. If over time, how was it determined who was sinning in that transition period and who wasn’t. None of it was answered (hint: it can’t be answered. Nothing in the religions makes too much sense).
We also had a very long debate on heaven and hell. Among other things that make no sense whatsoever about heaven and hell, like the fact that 95% of the population of the planet is doomed to hell (simply by the virtue of denying Christ, of course – the guy’s own statistic and words), he also said that if I go around and kill, torture and otherwise make unhappy millions of people and then deep inside my soul will repent for my sins and accept Lord Jesus Christ as my savior, I would earn a free speed-ticket to heaven. I asked would a person living without Jesus who would spend all their life helping other people and living righteously then go to hell. The answer was “yes, for it is not for the deeds but for the act of deep, truthful repent of one’s sins and acceptance of the Lord that one deserves to go to heaven”… If someone cannot see this as something mega-fucked-up, I strongly suggest to that person to immediately call the nearest psychiatric clinic and insist on being admitted as an in-mate patient and receiving some serious treatment.
I forgot to ask him why ten commandments exist then, if it’s not for the deeds that we are to be judged… These should be then not ten commandments of “thy shall not”, but instead a “friendly reminder to please repent in case of committing either of the following actions: (insert the 10 commandments)”. Because God cares not about one’s deeds but only about one’s adoration and admiration of His holiness…
I asked about abortions and death penalty. In the light of “thy shall not kill” it always bedazzled me that the most profoundly religious people most often are anti-abortion (even in cases of rape, danger to mother’s life and/or child’s life, and in cases when the child once born would be forced to grow up in such extremely poor and intolerable circumstances – i.e. slums of Sao Paolo and the like – for the rest of his/her short life that it amounts to torture) and pro death penalty. How they can simultaneously hold those two convictions is as hard for me to understand as how they hold the rest of the shitload of contradictions their holy texts are full of in their heads without the latter splitting into two halves… Both guys said they were anti-abortion. I asked them what about the above-mentioned cases. They said “well, God knows the truth and in this case, of course, it would be seen differently.” I called him on his BS and said there either is a “yes” to the right to terminate pregnancy, or a “no”, and no sitting on the fence pretending to be cool. They were very friendly towards the death penalty though… So, like, extracting a few rapidly dividing cells and halting their growth is “no” and “murder”. Death penalty – a.k.a. putting a grown-up human being to death – is ok. Makes me wonder if all hardcore religious people are suffering from split-personality disorder…
He was trying to convince me that life without Christ is full of suffering. I humbly disagreed because I think guilt-tripping about pretty much everything humans do on a regular basis (like having sex, eating nice foods, cussing and etc) , spending all the mental effort on trying to convince God that you truly deeply to your heart repent for all those sins, and on top of that facing the potential eternity of torture in hell leads to a far more miserable existence than that of a rational atheist. Actually, it was that point in their conversation that tipped me over to get up and intervene – when the older guy was saying that in this world, when we are hurt, our wounds heal because God is always near us all, but in hell the body never heals… As far as I’m concerned, it’s the soul that goes to hell and it has no body; millions of believers suffer and don’t heal; millions of non-believers heal and just generally none of that makes any bloody sense :).
It was an extremely entertaining bashing session, but I had to go, and so did they. In the end, the man asked me what I believed in. I said the first thing that came to mind: little pink flying elephants. He said they couldn’t exist because they were not mentioned in the bible. I said back in them days there were no microscopes and elephants are tiny. I should have said “wtf, so your car, tv, cellphone, internet and (fill in the list) cannot exist because they were not mentioned in the bible?” but I was tired. Once outside, the man was even kind enough to offer to pray for me. He closed his eyes and thanked his God for the opportunity to have a conversation with his friend, with me, and then proceeded asking lord to “open the eyes of this young woman, heal her heart from all the suffering and pain, and allow her to find the path to God.” Uhuh. Thanx but, ehm, maybe in another lifetime… I let him know that I am a happy person and I wouldn’t change a second of my life, so he was quite a bit off with his “suffering” bit, received upon myself a parting blessing from “the lord”, gave him one from the pink elephants and ran to the train station.
Of course, as the story has it, the train schedule had been changed and the train was leaving an hour earlier than normal, which means I missed it. But at least I’ve had my first crusader debate with a Lutheran Protestant that was backed up by evidence I gathered from many sources over the years of all the ridiculous-ness of believing that an old myth book (pick yours – any holy text or mythology collection, same stuff) is THE manual to ‘good life’ (When I mentioned Zeus and such gods, he called them “Pagan”, so he apparently is unaware of all Pagan symbology, rituals and celebrations that are a part of Christianity…). I suggested to the man to re-read the whole Bible replacing “god” with “flying dragon” to test the validity of the text outside of the “blindly believe” context. He nervously smiled… I really hope he tries though…
What I am planning to do, because the poor soul needs to be saved and because he didn’t actually study enough history and literature at school to know that a myth of a guy born 3 days after the winter solstice, raising the dead and healing the sick, tortured and killed to then be revived is a very common story in cultures that existed thousands of years before Christ, is to send him some food for thought. I’m going to ask him my own questions that I forgot to ask, and link to him a whole selection on all the information he had by-passed in his education. I’m going to do this in part because he mentioned that if he would find out that there were other stories that have the same line as the one of Christ, who he claims was the only one with such a fate, in other cultures in times before any of the Bible was written, he might change his mind. So I’m on a mission to convert the lost sheep back into the rational world.
If you have suggestions of videos, articles and information for the pile designed to try save his soul before it’s too late, please feel free to let me know. I will later up-date this entry to include the collection I would assemble. May the tiny pink flying elephants be with you, alongside the FSM all-noodly.
Update: well, I have amassed so much information and so many links in just a short period of time that I have decided to dedicate a separate post to it, which you are welcome to read and explore here.