Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Trying To Convert People Is Stupid

The other day I met a dogmatic, close-minded individual who wouldn't shut up about his belief system and how the world would be better if everyone believed what he believed.

The weird part as, he was an atheist.

There are plenty of religious assholes out there, but when you're talking about 'religious assholes' I don't think the 'religious' part is the problem.

I've never understood why religious people OR atheists would feel the need to convert anybody. If what you're saying is true, what difference does it make whether or not other people believe you? I believe in gravity, but I don't feel the need to prove it's real to anybody. I figure gravity speaks pretty clearly for itself.

The other reason I don't like people trying to push their spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof) on other is...well, most of our beliefs sound kind of stupid when you say them out loud.

I know mine do.

Whenever anyone asks me to explain Buddhism to them I always front-load it with the rational stuff, but the weirdness still sneaks out.

PERSON: So what is Buddhism?

DAN: Well, you know it's a way of looking at the world and trying to reduce the suffering you cause for yourself and others through meditation, compassion, and a moral life.

PERSON: Okay, so how do you do that?

DAN: Well...we meditate. And we try to live a good life. And, you know, be compassionate.

PERSON: Why?

DAN: Well, because in doing so we reduce the amount of suffering for ourselves and others and free ourselves from the negative karmic consequences that we *cough*accumulatedinpastlivesaswetravelthroughthesixrealmsincludingtheHelloftheHungryGhosts*cough*

PERSON: What was that last part again?

DAN: Well, you know, consequences...freedom from suffering....

PERSON: No, explain the part about the six realms again. And I believe I distinctly heard the words 'Hell of the Hungry Ghosts.'

DAN: Well, it's kind of-sort of metaphorical. And...look the Tibetans came up with that part, okay? They're not even real Buddhists. It's more like Himalayan Voodoo Buddhism.

PERSON: So what IS real Buddhism?

DAN: Can we go back to calling atheists stupid? That was way more fun.

I would make a terrible evangelist.

1 comment:

Mary said...

totally get it. as a Christian, my personal faith is grounded in hope and love.

but technically:

I believe a carpenter who lived 2000 years ago died for my sins, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven.

this does not sound right when you say it out loud.