In other news:
I believe I mentioned the Chronicles of Narnia box set last time. You see, Uncle Brian got that for me the last time he visited, but unfortunately, I already have the whole series (and read it all in 4th grade). The whole set costs about $43. They're down in Florida right now and got caught in the hurricane (nobody's hurt, thank goodness), so it's not like they're in the position of giving out money, either.
So today my grandma took me to the Family Christian Store to exchange it, and I had the choice of buying something there (because I don't think my uncle would appreciate me using his money for something he doesn't approve of). But the thing is...it's a Christian store. My grandma is Christian, my mom's an atheist, and I don't know what my dad is- he's not the religious type, at any rate. And neither am I. I'm not a Christian, or a Buddhist, and I don't think I'm an atheist because I do have some faint spiritual feelings. At this point, I'm still figuring things out for myself.
So there I was, looking around, thinking 'What the heck am I doing here?' Of course, I didn't find anything I wanted (I would have liked this one pretty lamp, if there weren't so many crosses hanging off of it), and I went back to see my grandma, who was talking with the cashier. He was black, very friendly, and seemed like a cool guy. I told my grandma my situation, so she said we can go look at Barnes and Noble.
So we leave, get there, and now I'm looking in the book store. I turn around, and to my surprise, I see my grandma talking with that same cashier. At this point I'm thinking 'WTF? Did he follow us?' I walk over, and we have some friendly chit chat. And I don't know how the topic started, but suddenly he's talking to me about religion, and inviting me to his church. Umm? I told him I wasn't interested, and I may have sounded a bit more cynical than I intended, but he didn't stop. By now he's practically giving me a sermon- he's not looking directly at me, but a little to the left, as if in a trance. He must have had the whole thing memorized. It was creepy.
He talked as if he assumed he knew everything about me, even though we'd met barely ten minutes ago, which was rather irritating. I'd told him I wanted to be a writer- he asked me whether I would like to write anything with any meaning- I reply with some annoyance that I wouldn't be writing it if it didn't mean anything to me. He described his experiences in the marines, about how he killed many people and watched his friends die in front of him. I felt sympathy, but couldn't help but wonder if this was an appropriate time and place to tell me his life story. He says he knows that the devil is whispering in my ear, telling me that he must sound stupid. Excuse me? I can think for myself, thank you very much. My grandma comments that she takes me to movies and stuff to connect with me- the guy says she could try all she wants, but could never get a true connection the way I am now. EXCUSE ME? WHO ARE YOU TO SAY THAT?
It went on and on and on. I started tearing up (I admit it, I'm a crybaby) because of the pressure and because WHY WON'T THIS GUY LEAVE ME ALONE? Eventually I just walked away. I know it was incredibly rude, but I couldn't take it anymore, and I didn't want to cry in a freakin' bookstore. I look around the Literature section for a while, then they find me again, and he continues his lecture. I firmly say I'M SORRY, I'M NOT INTERESTED- he says if I ever need to talk about anything, to give him a call, and he gives me his phone number. (Okay, but why would I want to talk with a complete stranger?) Finally I lose him. I'm shaking all over, relieved and a little scared.
I always try to stay open minded about things. I know and like a lot of religious people, and respect their beliefs, unless they pressure me about it like today. I think that encounter actually turned me off of Christianity even more. Even if my mom is an atheist, I don't let her influence me too much in that respect, and the conclusions I've made about religion have all been from my own ideas and experiences. I look at history, and see so many contradictions and conflicts (The Crusades, the Reformation, etc etc). How can Christianity and/or monotheism be the "one true religion" if millions of people in Asia and the America's never knew about this "God" before being told of it? Does this mean that they were all damned to hell just because they were ignorant of a culture foreign to theirs?
Like Mr. Bausch (my Creative Writing teacher) said, and I paraphrase: "If the history of mankind is the length of my arm, going from my shoulder and ending at my fingertips, then religion starts at my wrist. I don't think it's such an important thing to worry about."
Religions are basically successful cults- it requires some degree of obsession, and anything that gets in the way is seen as "heretical," "sinful," and must be abolished. I agree that it can and does help people, and on the whole it does a great deal of good- but on the other hand, there are horrible people who claim themselves superior to others simply because they're going to heaven AND YOU'RE NOT. I don't see how you can live with people and believe they are going to hell, just because they practice a different religion. It doesn't make sense to me.
*ahem* Anyway, I've added two more books to my reading list: The Mapmakers by John Noble Wilford and Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner. I don't think my uncle would object to these. ^_^
Speaking of which- I'll have to explain having bought the second Haibane Renmei DVD with that giftcard he sent me last year. It shouldn't be too bad, since it does have some religious overtones.
Speaking of which- Justine! Did you watch?