Thursday, November 7, 2013

They Came for MY SOUL

We had our first "Intruder" upon our property yesterday morning, and it shames me to admit that we were completely unprepared for them: A Jehovah's Witness. She came by herself, an 84 year old woman in a long coat and a crocheted cap. My husband & I might have panicked a little at first, we're in a rural enough area that only a few people are really SUPPOSED TO KNOW our exact location, so to see a stranger sauntering up to our door on the security monitor was a bit of a surprise.

My husband answered the door (behind the scenes I'm grabbing my revolver out of it's holster, just in case) and before John even opened his mouth she already had a little pamphlet held up in her hand at him.

Something to the effect of 'I'm going around town with these leaflets because my church is having a Bible Study tomorrow, we're inviting people to come attend, perhaps you've heard of us?' John nods at me: Not a threat, just an annoyance. John makes the mistake of asking what church, she answers.

The Kingdom Hall of Huntsville, Arkansas: It's about 45 minutes from where we are. That means this person went way the fuck out of their way to go bother complete strangers.

You bet your ass I was chomping at the bit when those words came out of her mouth, I stashed my fire-arm in my waist-band and headed on up to the door. Yes, I'm one of those 'asshole Atheists' you see tend to see on the Internet blasting dumb-assery online (mainly Twitter.) I've been trying to slow down and pick my battles more carefully as of late, but this one literally came to MY HOUSE and sought me out. I may as well make it worthwhile, I'm already armed so what's the worst thing that could possibly happen, right?

After my husband took the pamphlet she handed him, he glances it over while she talks about her "Bible based church group" that she says she's inviting people too, as she's thumbing through more papers in her hand (stacked on top of an old Bible, of course) when she asks what denomination we happen to be: The answer to THAT question, of course, being "None" because we're Atheists.

I'd like to note here that not once during the entire conversation did the words "We're Atheists" or even "Atheist" in of itself ever leave either of our mouths. People have a very negative perception of non-believers as it is, we want to avoid coming off as hostile.

And when we say "None, we're not religious" she actually looks a little confused for a minute. This the Arkansas Ozark Mountain Range, the hairy arm-pit of the American South, nearly everyone out here is either a bat-shit-loco Holy-Roller or a tight-assed Baptist. Meeting people who have no religion at all out here is a bit like finding a 14 karat gold needle in a whole field of hay-stacks. I think within a few moments it clicks in her head that we quite literally do not subscribe to any religious belief nor take anything the Bible (or any holy book for that matter) says to heart, and then asks why. Why what? Why we don't believe in god? Why we don't go to any church? Both?

I 'accidentally' cut John off right as he was about to say something, sorry about that, babe: "Because if any religion on Earth had any real merit to it at all, people wouldn't be killing each-other over them. I'm an Iraq Veteran, ma'am, I've seen and heard quite enough of what people are willing to do in the name of their holy books. If that's the kind of thing that any god is okay with, then I want nothing at all to do with it."

She paused for a second, and what came out of her mouth next absolutely stunned me: "Well the Lord actually tells us that he wants us to live without any war." 

SOMEONE, in 84 years of being alive and advertising her special brand of Bible, obviously hasn't actually read that fucking book!

Seriously? Do you actually think for ONE SECOND that I'm going to fall for that? Now to be fair, she IS only doing her job: She's not a physical threat to either of us and things haven't become hostile or abusive, just a tad weird so far. But really? Lady, I heard my down-range roommate say it's not a sin to kill Iraqis because they're not christians, and I won't even start with the days on end of constant 'calls to prayer' while our base was under attack from insurgents. But nope, apparently she really thinks that the god of the Bible is anti-war and forbids his chosen followers from fighting. Sure thing, what's in the cookies they bring to these Bible Study groups of which you speak?

She reminds me that Jehovah Witnesses are in fact forbidden from either joining the military or going to war, I'm thoroughly aware of this. Not only have I met one or two Jehovah's Witnesses before, but I also briefly worked with an NCO who joined them for the sole purpose of getting out of the Army. When I told her this, she seemed even more confused, as if something not physically possible had taken place: Either I described the dishonest actions of a misled and desperate person seeking a means to an end that went against the Watchtower Society's teachings, or I spontaneously grew a penis out of my forehead.

'Well that's not why he joined us, I promise you,' That's pretty much she says, and she really does seem sincere in saying this, "That young man wouldn't have done such a thing, there'd be a huge stigma... um, against that sort of thing." Ma'am, I hate to burst yet another bubble of yours, not only was this dude in his 40's and knew exactly what he was doing, but he DID IN FACT join your organization just to get out of the Army: At one point within a few days after the original blog post I'm linking here, I heard the words come out of his mouth myself. Yes, ma'am, there are in fact people out there who are taking advantage of your organization for their own means, and I find it equally confusing even if not for the same reasons you do.

Like any other religion, the Watchtower Society and their members are literally trying to sell you a lie. The only difference is that Jehovah's Witnesses will lie directly to your face in order to accomplish this, in fact they are encouraged to do so. 

Now I get it, this lady is just doing what she's been trained to do presumably since she was a young lady being brought up under the Watchtower Society's rules, but twice now she's already lied to me and pretty much pissed on my leg and told me it was raining. Anyone who served with me in the Army will tell you my philosophy about why people lie to each-other: There are, fundamentally, two common reasons why any human being would lie to another human being. The first is because they're afraid of what the other person will do to them if they knew the truth, the other is because they think the person they're lying to is stupid. I've done nothing to harm or threaten this woman, and since she has a "product" that she's trying very hard to "sell" to us, logic dictates that it's reason number two.

Guess what, lady? That shit didn't work on me in Iraq, it didn't work when I got home, and it's not going to work now. But you keep thumbing through those little tracts and pamphlets you keep handing me, I'll take them and I will in fact read them later on, because I know that this kind of life is all that you have ever really known. John and I COULD try to debate you while you're standing on our porch on a rainy day, I think on some level you really don't want to be there either. If I live to be your age, I'd rather stay at home with a cat on my lap either reading a book or cleaning one of my guns, not wandering out in the rain lying to strangers to convince them to join a cult. 

We told her multiple times that we had errands to run, shit to do, but that if we had any honest questions we'd come to the Kingdom Hall and ask: She still wouldn't get off the porch. 

The very same NCO who joined the cult once told me that when a Jehovah's Witness comes to your door trying to preach to you, that they're trying to do you a favor so you should be polite and hear them out. I'll give someone a chance to talk to me, they obviously went through a great deal of effort to get here. But no, I don't OWE THEM my time or courtesy: When I tell you to leave, that means leave. Yes, I still had the gun behind my back, no, I still didn't think it was necessary or wise to just whip it out like a psychopath. She wasn't trying to get inside, she was just damn convinced that she really was trying to help us (in a sort of Scientology-ish fashion, but in reality just as futile and frightening) 

At which point, after about the third or fourth "we have to go now, goodbye" she kept asking for our phone number. Um, no. Seriously, no. I know what happens when organizations like the Watchtower get a hold of your contact information, you 'mistake' it for an invitation, I'm not giving you my phone number nor my e-mail address because I get enough spam and solicitation via both channels. 

The whole of the encounter lasted just under five minutes, as I'm typing this I'm using her pamphlets and tracts as a coffee-coaster.

I still haven't read any of them. I can't be angry at the old lady herself, rather I feel sorry for her. True, nobody was holding a gun to her head and FORCING HER to go door to door in the rain, but religious groups like the Watchtower Society and Scientology have (in some cases, literal) death-grips on the lives of their followers. Not only do I very strongly disagree with the very notion of gods and afterlives, but I don't want to live my life as a slave to something I can't even prove to be real, nonetheless forced or in any capacity coerced to mold every aspect of my being to such ideals.

Lady, go home and stay there for a bit. Take a rest, have some tea and re-think your life. You've obviously had A LOT of time to think about it before, I can't help but wonder if you even want to try and enjoy whatever you have left of it.

And tell your "boss" not to send anyone else, we're not interested.

We're Atheists.

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