As I was minding my own business this Friday afternoon on campus (U. Mississippi) waiting for calculus class, I was accosted by a street preacher. Before talking to me, I overheard the man talking with another student a few metres away. It seemed that he had the poor chap convinced. Anyway, when he was done with that student, he began talking with my friend I was waiting with, a Christian, about "salvation" and such. After being reassured that my friend would certainly go to Heaven upon death, he turned to me and asked what I believed. I told him simply, "when I die, my brain will decay and that which I call myself will cease to exist." Of course, this marked me as open game, so he began.
It was the usual argument from fundies of the sort; we're born sinful, we're all going to Hell, Jesus died for us (yet doesn't coming back from the dead sort of negate any notion of true sacrifice there? He didn't answer me that question), and we need to trust in him with our hearts, not our minds (though, again... what does that _mean_?).
The street preacher was exceptionally good at dodging my questions and turning the discussion to other subjects, as I could never get a straight answer out of him on anything. For instance, when he attempted to prove God by invoking the "conscience" and tried to argue that Christianity leads to morality, and I answered with statistics such as the Norwegian crime rate versus that of Christian nations, he responded, "I'm not trying to argue morality here...."
What are these people even trying to do? Their methods don't generally work on the more intelligent and educated people; we see that in studies of religiosity versus education all the time. They certainly can prey on the emotions after serious emotional trauma, but wouldn't they be better in a hospital, then?
I chuckled when I read the first few lines of the pamphlet he handed me:
"Please do not resent us for giving you this tract. We love your soul, and we want to tell you that if you have never been born again, you are on your journey to a place where you will burn forever and ever."
Don't get me wrong; I don't resent them. I just find amusing irony in the fact that they make such horrific baseless claims. I thought about warning him of Flying Spaghetti Monster Hell; in hindsight, that would have been a much more intellectual conversation than simply arguing facts versus a proselytizing theist who claimed at one point that the "faith" I have in my cell phone (it's not faith; it's trust and understanding of the underlying concepts on a chemical, physical, and informational level) is the same as that which he had in his god. I should have warned him of how when he died, if he didn't accept FSM, he'd go to a place where the beer volcano is stale and the strippers have venereal disease.
Oh, well. To quote my own mother (indirectly, yet explicitly): "When I'm in Heaven I'll be happy no matter what, even if you're in Hell. I will be at the maximum level of happiness possible."
Guess you can't win all the souls. This poor bastard seems damned to FSM hell. I'll warn him if I see him again.
Anyway, you're probably wondering about the title, right?
Well, when I got up (I had been sitting on a low wall) my left leg did not work! He had cast some kind of spell on me! It took over ten minutes for me to get full use out of my numb leg again; riding my bike was hell! Guess you have to give them a little credit for their magic, anyway. Scary shit!