Aug. 5th, 2013

dormant_dragon: Sleepy Stan from 'All Yesterdays' (Default)
This morning I stood at my front door and debated with Jehovah's Witnesses.

I know this is an ultimately pointless exercise, of course, because nothing I can say is going to convince two middle-aged men who are heavily invested in their religion that they might have less cause for certainty than they think. But it was satisfying and there are reasons for this that run deeper than the superficial joy of having at least shunted the JWs out of their script.

A few weeks ago, I was walking along the foreshore in front of Southgate and there was a man waving pamphlets and mumbling something about "If you want to be saved"...blah, blah, blah. Part of me really wanted to walk up and ask him what he really thought he was talking about - who, what and where was this god he was peddling? Of course I didn't do that. I was not that person, not that day.

Today I became that person.

So why is this a good thing? 

I have spent a lot of time over the past several years contemplating life's manifold absurdities and wondering how, as conscious beings, we humans might approach them; I've been questioning my beliefs, discarding ones I found lacking and building new ones, hopefully on the basis of at least some substantial evidence; and learning how to defend them.

The thing is, it's easy to think of an argument against theistic belief (or anything you happen to be arguing against) when you're on the other end of an internet link. It's easy to trot out the same old rejoinders that have been typed and typed again in countless online fora. It's not so easy to martial one's thoughts when put on the spot in the face of a committed opponent.

Now, the two JWs I encountered this morning were not exactly incandescent with evangelic zeal - I was hardly batting in the big leagues. But the me that obtained only a few weeks ago would have politely told them I wasn't interested and sent them on their way, rather than engage them in discussion. That difference is important to me, not just  because I now don't have to spend the rest of the day regretting a missed opportunity.

You see, there comes a point at which one's beliefs really can't be taken seriously unless they manifest themselves in behaviour. Today I stood up for what I believe. In a small way, to be sure, but it was real. I know. I was there.

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dormant_dragon: Sleepy Stan from 'All Yesterdays' (Default)
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