By the title of this post you must have already surmised that I’ve got a bone to pick with those who wish to spread their religious message to others. That would be correct so let’s just cut to the chase.
By us I mean the unsuspecting bystanders you see in public. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had my peaceful train ride, walk or trip home interrupted by the messengers of Christ. Yes, I know that it’s not only the Christians that do this which is why I say, “religious fanatics”. However, my experience has been solely with Christians and I will be sharing some of my experiences in this post.
DISCLAIMER – I was raised as a christian, I went to catholic school, I have very religious family members so I am not anti-religion.
The first encounter I’m going to talk about, occurred a few years back when I was in high school. Picture a 5’1, thin, nerdy girl walking home from school. As soon as she crosses the street, she’s confronted by a missionary worker. The worker seems friendly enough and strikes up a conversation. Now, this nerdy high school girl was raised to be polite so she listens to what the worker has to say while walking home. However, as she enters her apartment building the missionary worker follows her in and continues to talk. The worker then asks the girl where in the building she lives.
Pause….anyone else thinks that’s creepy?
The girl proceeds to tell the worker that she has to go. However, the worker insists that she should come upstairs and talk with her more about the word of god. At this point the girl firmly says NO! The missionary worker seems unfazed by this and then pulls out her trusty clipboard. She asks the girl to write down her name and contact information. Annoyed, the girl does as she asks but also made sure that the information was false. Finally, the missionary worker leaves and the girl makes her way up to her apartment clearly disturbed by the unrelenting persistence of the missionary worker.
If you got lost for a bit, the girl in the story was obviously me. If by any chance any Christian missionaries are reading this post, leave underaged kids alone.
My second story occurs where most people end up bothering me anyway – the Toronto subway. So one day I was on my way to class at the beginning of my second year at University. I switch lines, get on the second train and end up sitting next to this middle aged Phillipino lady reading a bible. Trust me when I say I tried my hardest to zero eye contact. But that was to no avail as she turned to me anyway and started with her friendly greeting. See that’s how they reel you in…friendly conversation. Don’t fall for it. The preaching started and I had to listen to her interpretation of the bible. Basically she was saying that god is a woman. The entire time I responded with, “hmmmm”, “okay” and nodded my head. The train gets to the final stop and we both get off. I say, “Bye it was nice meeting you” and speed walk to my bus. Unfortunately for me she was getting on the same bus and continued with her sermon all the way to my university. We get off the bus and she asks me for my number. In my head I’m thinking, “Really lady?”. So I politely decline and leave. But no she wasn’t done. She asks me where I’m going. So I tell her I’m heading to class but I don’t tell her where. To my relief she seems to have given up at this point and let’s me go. However, once again I walk away feeling annoyed by the encounter.
Your persistence is annoying.
My third and final story is the one which prompted this post. Last week, I was once again sitting on the train on my way to class. As usual, I’m sitting with my laptop on my lap doing my readings before class. I had an hour to get through 8 pages and I could’ve done it if not for another one of the religious fanatics. This man gets on the train and sits next to me. The first thing I noticed is that he was humming. This is strange because people don’t really hum like that in public. Normal people just sit there quietly. However, I ignored the humming by turning up my music and continued to read a chapter on the Public Sphere by Jürgen Habermas. At some point I noticed the guy next to me staring intently at my computer screen.
Why though? WHY?!
Now everyone knows this is just rude. What was on the screen was none of his business and I really just wished he would’ve looked and kept it moving. But no…..this was when the friendly hello and the questions begann. Apparently, he saw some mention of religion in my reading and needed me to explain what it was saying. Now remember, I’m trying to finish this reading before class but at this point it wasn’t going to happen. Somtimes I think that I’m way too polite but excuse me if my mama raised me right. Anyway, the conversation continues and he proceeds to tell me how turning to Christ saved his life and the usual spiel. Meanwhile, in my head I’m counting the stops until I have to get off. Finally, I get to my stop and get ready to exit the train. However, my new friend was getting off at that stop too and continues this testimony all the way up to the platform for the next train. Once I noticed that we were getting on the same train, I went to the opposite platform and I got on the train going in the opposite direction. Yes, I did that. I went that far just to avoid him. Sure, it took me a few more minutes to get to school but that was okay. In my mind it was worth it. I was really not in the mood. The station I ended up in was Museum station. If you live in or have ever been in Toronto then you know that the station itself is a work of art. I ended up taking some great pictures for my snapchat (expired in 24 hours) while I was waiting for the train and that was the only positive thing to happen from that encounter.
I’m 100% sure that this won’t be my last encounter and that’s unfortunate becuase I really just want to be left alone in peace.