converting the sinners

Riffing on my last post and thinking back on some events… why is it that some people cannot keep their religion to themselves? And why is it the recently converted who are the most pushy about it?

I understand that you find Jesus, and he is the most wonderful thing to have happened to you, and how great your life is now that you have him. And I can understand wanting to share that with other people, by say, suggesting to them that they try it. For example: I go to Pampas Pete’s Argentine Steakhouse And Tango Emporium. The experience totally revises my hitherto low opinion of steak (note: not bloody likely). I then proceed to tell my vegetarian friends that this restaurant is wonderful and they should try it — it might convert them away from vegetarianism. But then they tell me, “no thanks, I’m perfectly happy being vegetarian, and furthemore, steak is gross. Do you know how many resources it takes to fatten up a cow for slaughter?”

At this point, happy steak-loving me shuts up and doesn’t try to convince them that they are wrong to not eat the delicious steak, and that top sirloin is the best accompaniment to Astor Piazzolla’s wonderful music. I keep my steak opinions to myself. If I was a pure carnivore, I wouldn’t eat meals with them. But otherwise we could live and let live.

Not so with the some recently converted evangelists. They try and try again, they tell you that you are living in sin and you should approach a state of grace. The thought never occurs to them that maybe you have thought about these things for a while and come to a rational decision, and that it is not a topic that you wish to discuss. It’s like the political activist who won’t stop talking to you about politics or trying to change your mind about their pet issue.

And in the end, will they succeed in their conversion? Again, not bloody likely, and they may lose your friendship. If it’s a family thing, as it so often is, they strain and strain the family. If you disown them, you’re a bigot. If you give them an inch, they take a mile and you have to listen to a sermon. I know that religion is not dietary preference, and that Catholicism isn’t a steakhouse (though wouldn’t it be more delicious if it was?), but it’s really about being able to give and take a little.

This again shows how the view that homosexuality is a sin is different. If you are gay and come out to your family, most often you are not trying to “convert” your family members. Similarly, if you convert religions and tell your family, you’re not trying to convert them. However, if you tell your family and then constantly harangue them to convert to, then you’ve crossed a line. It’s not a difficult concept, but it seems to elude otherwise sharp minds.

0 thoughts on “converting the sinners

  1. It constantly amazes me how absolutely entertaining you are. I LOVE the wistful “Catholicism isn’t a steakhouse (though wouldn’t it be more delicious if it was?)”

    When the Mormons would show up at my door, I’d greet them in booty shorts with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Over the long run, I wound up either sleeping with them or running them off, so I won either way.

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