Archive for the ‘Religious stupidity’ Category

A Thank You Note to Stupidity

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

I’ve found that wrestling with stupidity has strengthened my nerves and sharpened my mental faculties. Stupers (short for indefatigably stupid persons) have helped shape me into the person I am today, and I thank them. In turn, I try my best to help others be enhanced rather than enraged by their run-ins with the hollow headed.

My friend Margie, a sweet person of a calm and passive disposition, called me in tears. Her daughter’s one-week-old marriage had fallen apart. But that didn’t activate the waterworks. Her sister-in-law, Sally, had sent her a letter about a month after the nuptials.

Before we get to the letter, let me tell you about Sally. You may even know someone like her. She tends to take religious verses out of context or too literally and without any real purpose. Sally has had the same page of the Bible plastered on her forehead for about thirty years. It’s quite tiresome to be relentlessly reminded that Jesus died for our sins.

But first, I must reiterate; I believe religion can provide wondrous contentment. The capacity for kindness and generosity in one who practices spiritual teachings is limitless.  Such enlightenment can and should promote harmony. That said, Sally was more of a pew warmer than a pious person. She actually believed that the ear she kept pressed to a drinking glass against the wall gave her a direct line to God.  

Once out in the world (say the Church parking lot, for instance), Sally had zero tolerance for others. This basically amounted to a form of a superiority complex. Yes, there are stupers who believe they are superior.

Back to Margie’s letter. Sally was offended that she didn’t receive a thank you note for the wedding gift that she provided for the ill-fated marriage. So what if the couple broke up? Sally needed to be thanked or the wedding gift should be returned to her. Pronto.

Sally’s letter scolded Margie for not teaching her daughter better manners and for both Margie’s and the bride’s thoughtless inaction. The scathing note fell into my hands when I visited Margie a short time later.

Margie’s initial reaction was to do nothing; she’d just write a thank you letter to Sally on behalf of her daughter. But that would have led Sally to believe she was justified in her accusations. And a wishy-washy note would have been fruitless. Watered down missives won’t even light a fire in such cases as stupers do not comprehend indirect communication. The response had to be direct, brief and concise.

The surly tone of Sally’s note swayed me into suggesting Margie write a very firm, blunt response so that there would be no question as to how she felt about the matter. We wrote the letter together and included these key points:

– Judge not, lest ye be judged;

– Enclosed please find your stinking gift;

– How can you add to some one’s pain when understanding, love, and patience are required?

– Haven’t you learned anything from your three-decade-long, weekly Bible readings?

– Go suck an egg.

The directness of the letter caused a positive reversal. Sally, the prodigious zealot, revised her uncivilized stance by writing back to Margie, apologizing profusely and asking for forgiveness. Perhaps something in the letter had awakened a drowsy awareness in Sally of the inappropriateness of her insipid action.

Good thought is worth much and costs little.

Think good thoughts!


What does “No Trespassing” really mean? (Part 2)

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

When I left my house yesterday, who do you think I saw ambling along the highway? Religious proselytizers (there’s that word again!). Not the holy gatecrashers from before, but a new batch, looking as cheerful as a pair of penguins in the Kalahari.

Back to my last question from Part 1: why open the front door when I know that there are iron-tongued sermonizers (no, I did not make up that word) on the other side? Those of you who are thinking that I’d be better off ignoring them are absolutely right. I could have ignored them. But I did not want to live a life of fear, avoidance or annoyance, for that matter.

I resided in a neighborhood. I opened the door to girl scouts and school kids selling candy. If a neighbor wanted to stop by for a chat, I was game. However, I did not want to be held hostage by those who insisted I was going to Hell if I did not agree with their tilted doctrine. 

The question here is not, “Must all people think alike?” That question is rhetorical. The real question is, “Must all people think?” Yes! Unless a person has harnessed his or her power of intuition to the degree of having a workable sixth sense, we all must think.

Imagine for a moment, a world where everyone exercised thought before speaking or acting. Kindly, meaningful thought. Then the sign, “No trespassing” would actually have significance. It would make sense, for heaven’s sake! Instead of opening a closed gate just to drive to a stranger’s home to tell them that the world is coming to an end, that there is only one true religion and that, unless I join up, I’m going to be obliterated at Armageddon, perhaps a proselytizer (I told you I like this word) could take a different approach. They could leave their lighthearted (I couldn’t resist) pamphlets for me to read at my leisure with a note thanking me for my time and consideration. Then I might actually read and maybe even learn something.

My intent is not to belittle anyone’s religion. As stated in Part 1, I believe religion can provide a tremendous sense of comfort. It’s the aggressiveness associated with some faiths that I find needlessly offensive.

I responded fiercely to the gatecrashers because they took me by surprise, and I regressed to my old, intolerant self. Yes, even stupidity specialists have relapses. Once I stopped to assess the situation, I realized that I could have handled it in a positive manner.

Going door-to-door is a necessary prerequisite to living life for some people, however disagreeable I might find it. My resistance only made me upset. The periodic intrusion is acceptable; I formulated a new reaction: to smile and say, “No, thank you.” This way we all live happily ever after, and stupidity slinks quietly away.





What does “No Trespassing” really mean? (Part 1)

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Wouldn’t you agree that religion, spirituality, and a belief in the Divine can provide wondrous contentment?  Religion has the potential to fortify the soul…and hopefully, the mind.

I believe spirituality is a private matter, to be discussed in a proper venue where one is voluntarily present or among friends who have chosen to engage in a conversation of a religious nature. My front doorstep does not constitute a proper venue. Never-before-seen people do not constitute friends.

Anytime anyone aggressively promotes their religion while invading the privacy of another, it’s highly probable that sheer stupidity is at work.

Last week, I was on an important phone call in my home, minding my own business. It was one of those glorious mornings, where I found myself alone for a few hours to do as I pleased; my husband and kids were away.

Some background on my home: my driveway has a gate which is closed. Said driveway is just under 200 feet long and wraps around my house. You cannot see the house from the street. I live in a community of 52 homes; the entrance sports a large sign stating, “No trespassing. Must have owner’s approval.” What exactly does “no trespassing” mean?

My two dogs began to bark furiously. As I sat in my office, I saw a BMW SUV drive completely around my house and park somewhere near the front door. I figured a neighbor had an emergency of some kind. Placing my caller on hold, I stepped outside. Two people waited in the car while a woman stood next to the vehicle, held at bay by my extremely intelligent, 9 month old German Shepherd, Barbie. Dog #2 had found the visitors boring and left.

“The other dog is fine, but I don’t know about this one,” were her first words (the woman’s words, not Barbie’s).

No attempt to identify herself, explain why she needed to trespass or that she was in fact, a dreaded religious proselytizer (I just love that word and was hoping for an excuse to use it). I pointed to the gate and said in my best Darth Vader voice, “GO!”

Forget about the fact that Barbie could have bitten her (if she was that type of dog, which she’s not) or that, for all these trespassers knew, I was waiting with a sawed-off shotgun. No one wants to be accosted in their home. How about that “No trespassing” sign? Were these religious intruders illiterate, foreign or blind? No, they just thought…whoops! No thought. Therein lies the problem. The sign meant something to the reasoning mind. The meager mind just saw a blank sign.

My one word sent them scuttling away so fast, they completely forgot to leave me a ubiquitous “End of the World” pamplet. That was a first. In the past, these unannounced, headache-inducing-drop-bys truly disturbed my sense of equilibrium. 

When I lived in Los Angeles, these gate-crashing worshippers appeared on my front porch nearly everytime I opened the door. They came weekly; sometimes twice weekly. Word must have gotten out that I was in dire need of conversion.  It got so bad that the mere sight of a neatly dressed, average looking person on my doorstep sent me sobbing into the depths of my home. One poor man rang my doorbell sending me into hysterics the moment I laid eyes on him. He calmed me by managing to convince me that he’d merely stopped by to tell me my front sprinkler was broken, spewing water onto the street. 

You may be asking right about now, why open the door? The answer to this and more in my next entry.

Keep thinking,