I was woken up this morning by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Only this one was a whole family – father, mother, three year old daughter, baby boy.
Normally, I inform the Christians who come to my door that I am not one of them. But what can you really do when it’s a whole family? All I could do was smile, and accept the tract they’re giving out in the spirit in which it was given. There was no other action which would have done any more good.
I’m always happy when a religion brings others joy. It’s wonderful that there are people who accept Jesus Christ as their saviour, or who join the Church of Latter Day Saints, or who find a sect of Protestantism, and find real, honest, meaning in life through that. If Christianity is the means through which people can come to peace with themselves and the world around them, and is the inspiration for them to connect with humanity, to do good for the human race, that’s fantastic. But I don’t understand why Christians have to go around converting everyone. I mean, can’t they just leave the rest of us to find our own paths?
And how much good can it do for peoples who have their own cultural/religious beliefs, to take on Christianity at a late date? How much does it detract from the heritage of a non-European individual to have a Eurocentric version of Judeo-Christianity imposed on them? I’m lucky – Judaism is something that’s part of my heritage. When I chant in Hebrew in synagogue, I am connected to the six thousand years of ancestry that make up that half of my DNA. But if I was Asian, or South American, or African, with only a few generations of recently converted Christianity, wouldn’t that disconnect me from who I was born to be, from the history and the lives of the people who were born before me?
This morning, I took the tract, skimmed it, wished them a good morning, and dropped it in a bin of recycling as soon as they left. A few years ago, I would have probably told them to get the hell out of my neighborhood. After all, they’d introduced themselves as “neighbors”, but didn’t even live in Mar Vista – they were up from Playa. And I didn’t ask what I really wanted to know, which was, does this really bring you happiness? Does this religion really hold meaning for you? Or are you ringing doorbells in Mar Vista at ten on a Saturday because you’re trying to fill in a space, trying to cement a belief, an artificial respiration of a hollow plastic faith?