My youngest went to his dads home for the weekend which means I got to sleep in. I still got up at a decent morning hour but I felt miserable. Last week I was shorted a lot of sleep so I decided to feed the pets and then go back to bed. Not long after falling asleep my other son woke me to tell me there were people at the door. Sometimes my daughters friend comes over to see her and the family on the weekends so I asked if it was her. He said it wasn’t that these people were taller. I never know what to expect when it comes to him, he often doesn’t recognize people so I had no idea if it was friends or complete strangers.
When I got to the door in my frazzled just woke up state I was happy to see the door still shut and locked. An ongoing safety process he did well at today. I opened the door and met two ladies with clip board type things in their hands and something in my head said, “Jehovah Witnesses”. Sure enough when I looked closer to see what was on the nearest and more dominate ladies clip board it was a Watchtower booklet.
After introducing themselves I had already mentally decided not to play with these ladies brains and just be kind, up front and honest. So I let them know I knew they were Jehovah Witnesses and was already familiar with the Watchtower. The talking lady then asked me where I had heard of Jehovah Witnesses and the Watchtower from. I paused for a moment, I really didn’t expect that question. I then let them know the answer was that I am forty five years old. They both smiled even brighter and she informed me she was the same age. My answer seemed to have satisfied them and we moved on from there.
Almost right away I let them know I didn’t want to waste their time so I would get right to it. I told them that I am a kind person who likes to help people and do the right thing and that I am an atheist. I had been raised very religious and I’ve studied a lot of religions but now, here where I am in this part of my life as an atheist, I am happy. I let them know I had no intentions of de-converting them, for all I know they may need their religion at this time in their lives, and I would not be converted by them so there was no use debating it out. I went on to explain that I believe in coexisting and I would just like to see people of different beliefs get along. I know it’s possible because I’ve seen it and it’s a great thing. They maintained their sweet smiles and disposition ’till I was done with my short speech.
While holding her Watchtower pamphlet in a way that suggested she was about to hand it to me the lady acknowledged that I had mentioned studying religions and wondered if I knew a lot about theirs or wanted to know more. I told her I had studied her religion but it was a while ago and I was not interested at this time. They said their good by’s and I wished them well as they left.
I know a lot about Christianity and the Bible because I was raised immersed in it most my life. Well, it was my life. After leaving Christianity I learned that what I had been taught about other religions and beliefs was seriously flawed and most of it was lies. I was naive enough all those years to not know that most Christian authors, teaches, preachers and even friends and family had no conscience about lying. So I started researching other regions and beliefs as they came up to fix the misinformation I had been programmed with. At one time I considered being a UU minister. I love how the UU’s I have attended incorporate the various beliefs and get along regardless of each other differences. I understand not all UU’s are that way and they are flawed likely because humans go there. But it’s a great idea and some churches actually pull it off. At one time I had expressed this idea to a UU friend of mine who then let me know I would have to go to a four year collage and get a degree before I could become a UU minister. It was said in that tone I heard all to often as a kid, ya know, that you can’t do it so I am using the threat of school to stop you from bothering, kind of tone. I didn’t even know her very well so I was surprised she had already passed judgment on me and my future.
I have a strong tendency to take the, “just wait and watch me” attitude but I’m not gonna get a career just because someone thought I couldn’t, I’ll get a career cause it’s what I want to do.
I haven’t been success at going to collage over the last six years due to being a single mom and having kids with learning and mental challenges so I filed the idea of being a UU minister in my head. After some time went by and I was thinking about my idea I had to be honest with myself and admit I don’t actually like studying religions. I don’t mind spur of the moment research because I want to learn more about someone or an event and so on but as far as theological studies, no. I don’t want to go to school to be a mathematician either. There are some things I am interested in and some I am not. While I don’t mind the idea of being in a leadership part of an atheist congregation, I don’t want to be a minister that has to have a degree in theology. I’d really rather study science and psychology. Those subjects are way more interesting to me. I do believe the other things are an important part of our society and I would not discourage others from getting that kind of education, it’s just not for me. I don’t think my UU friend meant to throw down a gauntlet but she did and I’ve decided not to pick it up after all.
I do wish more people would not assume other people can not do things but instead use their resourceful minds to find ways to help other people find the road to the future they desire. If they don’t make it in the long run, at least they tired. I may be a gauntlet picking up type person but not every one is like me. Too many people have had their hopes and dreams squished by others judgmental ideas of them. It’s not right. Actually, in my past I did have some of my dreams squished by those type of people, so I know how it feels and I understand that mentality. Yesterday my kids nurse practitioner, whom I normally like, decided to go on about how much school one would need to be a medical doctor. She thought something had been said about my younger son being interested in being a doctor. Thankfully he has no interest in that at this time so it didn’t discourage him, he just ignored her. Regardless I did my best to redirect her conversation quickly before any possible seeds of doubt were sown in his or his brothers head. People like her and the UU friend mentioned before do not wear warning labels, I wish they would.
Back to the lovely ladies who came a knocking on my door this morning…
Thinking back on the short time I spent talking with them my only regret was that I didn’t have a Recovering From Religion (RR) card or flier to hand each of them. I would have loved to have let them know that if they ever did question their faith and need a non-judgmental understanding ear to talk to either I would be happy to be that ear or they could call an anonymous person on the RR hot line and talk with them without worrying not only about not being judged but also not being witnesses to about a different religion or any attempt to de-convert them. The hot line is there to listen and provided resources when needed. Musing about this and wishing I had thought of it isn’t really a regret but more of a thoughtful process I have a habit of doing so I can improve myself.
Best of all I really enjoy the lack of stress not witnessing to people is. Sure I would like people to be happy and free but working to convince them to change their way of thinking is a task and is usually a disappointment. People will only change when they are ready to, you can’t force it. Doing what religious people do to convert, as in manipulate, hypnotize, condemn, praise then condemn some more, etc, isn’t right and an honest person should not follow that example. And in case you are wondering, yes, most churches of most religions do this. Not something they want the general public or their congregation to know. While religion does do some good, it’s not really an example to live by, too many horrible damaging flaws. It’s better to just live a decent kind loving human existence and be there for those who may need you.