Today, an over-zealous co-workier of mine basically told me I was going to hell for not believing that Jesus Christ is my savior. I'm still pondering this whole exchange. . .threw me for a loop, and I think I'll be stuck on the incredulity of it for quite awhile. Allow me to explain.
Another slow Sunday at Glen Ivy, and the girls and I start talking about religion. A friend of mine who's Catholic askes me what religion I am, and I tell her I'm an atheist. She looks like she's just seen a ghost. . .and tells me that she feels "sad" for me because technically if I don't believe in Jesus, I'm going to hell. I tell her that I think it's a shame that when she looks at me she's going to feel sadness, because I'm an upbeat person who loves life and is in no way sad. But I also tell her I respect her feelings. Okay, this was wierd, but this isn't the scenario that shocked me.
While we were talking, I happened to bring up the fact that while I don't believe in an afterlife of any kind, I do think that if there were one, I would be going to "heaven" simply because of the way I choose to conduct my life, aka the way I treat people, the kind person I am, etc. So. Then this girl from the next cubicle row over (who wasn't even a part of this convo, BTW) comes over to me with her Bible. Not kidding. She stands in front of me and proceeds to read me a verse that I can't understand. She finishes, cites the verse, and I say, "Uh. . .okay. . .and?" And she says, "The Bible says right there that your getting into heaven is not determined by your good deeds, but by your belief in Jesus Christ as your savior. He died on the cross for you, he shed his blood for you."
Naturally, we're all STUNNED. Everyone's jaws dropped. It was all I could do to repress the blood boiling inside me from this absolute blindsiding, and try to respond in a respectful yet firm tone.
I told her with a smile, "Well, I guess I'm going to hell then." And she said, "Well, not necessarily. . ." to which I replied, "Well, those are your beliefs, and I don't agree with them, but I'm also not going to force my beliefs down anyone's throat and I would appreciate it if you would do the same." She said, "Oh, I know, I just heard you talking earlier, and I wanted to correct you."
The office was in shock. My managers took me aside and told me that I handled things well and that they were going to talk to her about keeping her religious beliefs to herself and not forcing them on others. I'm still a bit baffled by the whole thing. I think that overall I'm just so amazed at people who can be this young (I think she's around my age or younger) who have literally been brainwashed into religious zealotry. Amazing. I can respect the fact that your beliefs are different from mine, but I would never belittle them or accuse you of being wrong about them. It's a sad state of affairs when such young, bright, talented people can be so corrupted. What a shame.