I've recently noticed that there's a real lack of anti-Jesus freaks in the city. I am constantly inundated by people downtown who want me to meet with, walk with, and do Jello shots with Jesus; they're concerned about my everlasting soul. To save my soul--which is where, exactly?--I must deepen my relationship with Jesus. Listen up, Followers: I could double, triple, then multiply my love for Jesus, and at the end of the day I would still be left with ZERO. Deepening a relationship that starts with zero sounds like something I did at age 19 with a guy named Jake; repeating that nightmare with a guy named Jesus doesn't sound like a step forward, it just sounds like a lot of unnecessary work for a relationship that will ultimately go nowhere. Believe me, I'm the Queen of Crappy Relationships; I've learned my lesson.
Why aren't there people on the streets with anti-Jesus literature? When will the indie rock bands and rap stars appear in Westlake Park to un-convert the masses? Where are the people who represent The Other Side? Sitting in my treatment room on Saturday, across from Westlake Park, I became a resentful hostage to the light and love of the Big JC. First up was the feedback-friendly "rock band" who screamed their way through a set about their respect for the ultimate rebel. Next was the unintelligible "rap group" who gave mad props to Big Jeezy. The last act was a heavily-miked choir (which I actually enjoyed) who sang the shit out of some gospel, girl--but it didn't make me run into the nearest church to get saved. If they'd told me the church was air-conditioned, however, getting saved would have been at the top of my list. "Save me, Jesus... from this goddamn fucking heat" would have been my one and only prayer.
The bass-heavy, drum-pounding, rumbly love of Jesus permeated every corner of our spa, for about four hours. It would have been funny if the clients had found it funny, but they didn't. Truthfully, had I been a paying customer, I would have been pissed, too--I wouldn't pay $125 for a facial that comes with an unwelcome soundtrack. I'm not saying that as an atheist (because I'm not really an atheist)--I'm not completely without a respect for, or a curiosity about, spirituality (or whatever buzz word the hipsters are using these days)--because if I'd been Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or something other than Christian, it would have annoyed me, too. Anyone trying to sell me something annoys me, whether it's a set of knives that can cut through cans, or an organized religion based on the creepy science fiction of L. Ron Hubbard (emphasis on the word fiction).
Scientology is thought of as the craziest religion of them all; their story includes aliens, brainwashing, volcanoes, dark lords, and intergalactic space cruisers that resemble Boeing 757s. As Creation stories go, it's weird, outlandish, and unbelievable--IT'S INTERGALACTIC, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD--so people dismiss Scientology as a cult for idiots, a gathering of Tom Cruise fans, or a place for people who have nothing left to live for (Tom Cruise fans, I'm still talking to you). Other interesting stories come to mind. Envision a heaven that has three degrees of salvation: telestial, terrestrial, and celestial glory. Telestial is for the peeps who chose wickedness over godliness--the heathens (that's me!); terrestrial is for those who rejected Jesus but accepted Him after death, which surely means people in marketing or advertising; celestial glory is for the unbearable brown-nosers (you know who you are). At death, if you're a non-believer, you head to paradise to be judged later, or to perdition, where your spirit has a chance to repent and gain a higher heavenly option. Perdition is also known as Spirit-Prison Hell, which is a temporary state, although it can last for over a thousand years. If this sounds like a barrel of laughs to you, join the Church of Latter-Day Saints. How about a story about a man--to some, a prophet--who became the savior of humanity by suffering like a man, dying like a man, and then rising from the dead like a zombie so he could save us from
I have so many unanswered questions about religion. Why are there certain religions out there who feel the need to publicly advertise? What's with the door-to-door thing? Do they really think we're at home or in our cars, perusing the tracts they shoved into our hands? Is a flower all that practical when I'm trying to board an airplane? How many points is Joseph Smith worth on his bicycle? And how in the name of all that is holy did Madonna and Tom Cruise become big players on the international stage of religion? Have we all gone completely insane?
I don't care what you believe in, I'm going to mock you either way; I'm a mocker, that's what I do. I don't care if you're religious, non-religious, or crazy religious, because it's none of my business--but people keep trying to MAKE it my business by putting it in my face. Maybe they think I'll cave one day, in a moment of weakness, and snatch up their literature with a profound new hope in my eyes--"YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES", I'll shriek, and we'll embrace over the Good Book and a Starbucks coffee. Look, I don't care if Jesus is your homeboy, because that has nothing to do with our relationship. What I wonder about is this: where is the balance--is there one?--and is it necessary for an objective discourse about religion? Objectivity doesn't seem like the point; having an open debate about God and religion--people don't want to discuss, they want to convince. There are a lot of people on a lot of corners holding pamphlets and enormous signs, in every city in America, who are trying to save a soul or twenty, EVERY SINGLE DAY. What's on the other side? Who is out there, questioning God's presence (in public, like everybody else), or demanding proof of His existence? We all know He's popular, but that isn't the question. Why do we tolerate prostelitizing from certain special interest groups? You all walk by them, but probably push the Ignore button on sight; another name for the Ignore button is Volume on your Ipod, or Send on your cell phone. Sure, scream 'The First Amendment' to me, which I wholly support; it's the uber-Christians I'm talking about, even though they have every constitutional right to be wherever they are, doing whatever they want. Maybe that isn't fair to pinpoint them, but I haven't had a lot of Zoroastrians preaching The Word to me lately. There's an imbalance here. People seem to hate Satanists, as though they're taking to the streets with their 'offensive' beliefs, but I've never even SEEN a Satanist, much less been bothered by one. People aren't very tolerant of the Jehovah Witnesses, but they're generally nice people who keep to themselves (after the required 'humanitarian' efforts of pestering you door-to-door). Everyone rolls their eyes at Scientology and Kabbalah, because they're filled with celebrities; if those religions were buildings, they would probably be an upscale strip mall with businesses like Fondi's Pizzeria or an Abercrombie & Fitch. I feel like we're focused on the wrong group of people. So To The Right Group Of People, here is what I have to say: It's mid-afternoon on a Tuesday, early evening on a Saturday, or the crack of dawn on a Thursday... if you had a job, you wouldn't have to bother me while I'm walking to mine. Put your pamphlets away, enroll in the community college, and reach your potential! I understand I'm a magnet for weirdos and religious folk alike, but JESUS CHRIST, enough already.