I was sitting at my computer the other day enjoying a cool glass of Boppin' Strawberry Hi-C when I heard a strange knocking sound. It took me a while to detect that the sound was coming from my door. This was unusual seeing that the only people who ever make it to the third floor of my apartment building are generally friends of mine who just barge in unannounced and head straight for the fridge.
The only person who's ever really knocked was my landlord, Ribs. But Ribs would surely have been at work. "Who?" I wondered aloud. "Who could this be?" It was at least a half minute's time before I remembered that standard protocol in this type of situation is to get up and walk towards the door to get your answer. But in today's fast-paced world of cell phones and buddy lists, who wants to do all that work?
So I walked into my kitchen and saw two women standing at my door. I had a sudden sinking feeling in my heart as everything came together. They were dressed very nicely holding clipboards and briefcases. It hit me. These were religion people.
"Hi sir, have you ever wondered: 'What is the Purpose of Life?'" One asked.
"Then I would like you to look over this booklet. And maybe we could come back and discuss it with you sometime soon."
"Great we'll see you soon."
What had I done! I was too shocked. This is the sort of thing that only happens to people on TV like jury duty, blind dates and those swivel doors between the parlor and the kitchen that swing open in both directions. Religious people don't actually come to people's houses. Do they?
Now I was stuck. I have an inability to be rude to people in person and a strong ability to laugh about them behind their back. It's a virtue really. One of my finer points.
Confused and frightened already by their impending return visit I opened the booklet and began to flip through its pages so I would at least be prepared for them when they came back.
The cover featured a wide variety of puzzled looking people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds:
Looking inside it seemed to me to be a collection of random facts and passages relating them all, of course, to the bible. I marvelled at how much these religious pamphlets haven't changed since the days of my youth when Paul and I would make fun of similar booklets in high school. I read on: "At present rates we shall, by the year 2000, have removed 65 percent of forests in the humid tropical zones." Hey wait a minute! This is one of those booklets I used to make fun of in high school. This took me back to a time when everything bad in the world was going to heighten and heighten until finally in the year 2000 exactly the world would be at its worst. Ah, how I long for those misguided days. This booklet was from 1993 and, at almost 10 years of age, it wasn't exactly cutting edge.
It talks about Tu Wei-Ming, a noted Confucian scholar, but then proceeds to forfeit all credibility by accompanying the discussion with this picture:
It goes on to use DNA as evidence that god exists and then starts talking about the wonderful paradise God has in store for us when he dies. It tells us one of Christianity's favorite tales, that of Adam and Eve. And what's more is it gives a picture of the two of them in their idyllic paradise world. Everyone admits that Adam and Eve were very attractive, I think that's a pretty universal fact. This pamphlet takes matters into its own hands showing the world's most famous couple like so:
Eve is portrayed as a beautiful woman with long chestnut hair. Adam on the other hand looks like that guy from Thirtysomething. What a tool! I mean, look at him!
The inside of the back cover is perhaps the most disturbing portion of the entire booklet. We see the following picture:
It's a happy family strolling through a beautiful scene. There are snow peaked mountains in the background, a majestic river sweeping through the countryside, a cottage, presumably theirs, off in the distance. And, of course, wild animals frolicking (like they so often do) with humans. Seems quite pleasant, right? Look again.
That little girl is playing with a bobcat! Good heavens, someone stop her! Bobcats don't like to be played with. Is this the purpose of life, to teach your children to play with bobcats? And look at the mother:
Look at her! She loves it! She smiles as if to say: "That's right, honey... pet that wild fanged animal." But there is even more trouble in store for this little girl because the bobcat's mother is staring right at her!
I don't think that sweater-wearing dad is going to be any match for the enraged felines. I hope that they have all accepted Jesus as their savior and that the little girl is free of sin, because I have a feeling they're going to be experiencing "everlasting paradise" soon enough.