So, the morning before I left on my work trip last week, there was a knock on the door. Well, I didn’t have to leave for the airport for about an hour, so I went and opened the door to find a 40 something lady and her maybe 10-year-old daughter on the porch. She was clutching a small black book, and some loose paper. There was no doubt what this was.
My first encounter with a Jehovah’s Witness.
Now I don’t really know much about these folks. I obviously know lots about catholics, I know the basics of the bigger mainline protestant groups, I’m familiar with some of the more evangelical fundamentalist groups, I’ve read about the mormons, jews, muslims, but I don’t know a whole lot about the JWs. They leave little paper flyers on our door every couple of months, and I know there’s a kingdom hall just down the road a bit, but that’s about the extent of it. I think they might be somewhat related to the seventh day adventists.
Anyway, she was nice enough. She gave a short spiel about how this time of year many people start thinking about jesus and such, because most people around here are christians. Well, I broke in and let her know that I was not of that persuasion, and that I was actually an atheist. She didn’t freak out or anything, and mentioned that she had come across a few of us in the area. That was a bit of a surprise to me, but I guess it shouldn’t have been. So she asked me if I was more agnostic, and I said no, that I was convinced there is no such thing as a god, in the sense that that word means anything.
And we got into a nice little back and forth, where she would ask me what I believed and then she’d put in her little bit of bible goodness. She mentioned how they don’t follow the old testament so much, with all the stoning and dashing babies against the rocks when I brought it up. She said they followed what jesus said when he said to love your neighbor as yourself, and to love god. I said I wholeheartedly agreed with one of those statements.
She then asked me what I thought of the bible, and the state of human society now as opposed to then. I don’t think there was any chance either of us would change the other’s mind, but it was in fact a very pleasant conversation. I enjoyed it, and as she left, she thanked me for having such a friendly conversation with her. I’m guessing she’s seen a few doors slammed in her face.
It’s sad that someone who is evidently pretty smart buys into such patent nonsense, but of course, I see that around me every day. Still something like 80% of the population of this country openly professes to be christian in one form or another, with another 5% being muslims, hindus, buddhists or jews.
It’ll be a long struggle, requiring many different methods, but I believe we are making progress in banishing superstition to the history books. I’ll continue doing what little I can in my own way, and help others when I can.