Never sit on your front stoop after a couple of drinks. A neighbor came by and introduced himself. He seemed like a very nice man and he had a nice dog. After some small talk I heard the word “Jesus”, and then more words about loving Jesus, and working for Jesus and what Jesus did for the world. “I know you love Jesus” he said. “Well, yes, I do, why not? I love all the prophets. They were intuitive.” There was a continuation of commentary about the meaning of suffering and the promise of Heaven. Instead of nodding like an ignorant Christian, I took offense at the man’s insistent faith in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Evidence? Who needs it? “Oh, are you Nietchian or merely Agnostic?” he asked. Both sounded suspect. “I am not a member of any cult. In fact I am trying to separate myself from the Collective Unconscious.”
There were strong words spoken. “You can really believe in all that hogwash.” I said. He took no offense. After all, he was speaking with a heathen, a woman destined for hell, or worse, another biblical chat on the stoop next week. I was out of my element. He was winning every argument being that he did not have to present any facts or proof, just blind faith. How do you compete with the brainwashed? Thankfully, while he expounded in The Virgin Birth and The Three Wise Men, I remembered a Theological Abstract I’d read in the waiting room of Midas Muffler concerning Mithras and the cultural dynamics that led to the rise of the Christianity Cult. (google-Mithras=Christianity) “Yes, I think I’ve heard something about that.” he said.
“Well, of course you have. A seeker of the truth, such as yourself….would certainly want to know why many people think Christianity is based on ancient pagan rituals and does not contain a single original thought.”
I felt like the Devil himself, attacking God on his throne, pulling off his white beard, cursing the Crusaders, the horny Priests, the Evangelical Barbarians, and good old Jesus, who was no doubt a great guy. Why was I sitting on my stoop hyperventilating? Why do I give a shit, or more specifically, a Rat’s Ass? Religious freedom is the foundation of our democracy. Our stoop chat was a true slice of American Life. The neighbor shook my hand with sympathy and went on his way, leaving me with a sharp pain in my lower back and a severe headache. I went to bed and cried, fearing that common sense was a detriment to mental health, Individualism a curse. Because of who I was I could not take advantage of free rehearsal space in church basements or exploit the professional connections readily available at every altar. There are no Straight Pride marches, no “I don’t Really Know” religious retreats, no “Almost Feminist” woman’s groups, no “Collective for the Sports Unenthused.” Let me reread Nabokov and Schopenhauer, Nietche and Thoreau. Let me avoid the front stoop.