Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Good Word

Underground preachers are pretty common here, as anyone who depends on the subway can tell you. As part of my route from home to work every morning, I happen to pass through the tunnel that connects Times Square with Port Authority. For as long as I've been here, a nook of this tunnel has played host to a group of Proselyteers, whose church--a couple of folding tables with placards featuring the harsher sayings of the Bible in large fonts--I've struggled to find a witty name for for years now. ("Under the Rock of Ages"? "Sub-Corpus Christi"? It'll come to me...)

Today, like most days, someone tried to hand me a pamphlet with the Good Word and, like most days, I politely declined. But it again got me mulling the ongoing discussion about why atheists don't proselytize, and for the first time I felt in my gut that our absence from such public forums was a bit sad.

Here was a religious man spending his precious time trying to get his fellow travelers to think about the afterlife. Wouldn't it be of infinitely greater value for one of us non-religious types to impress upon our fellows that they'd be better served by concentrating on the treasures of this life?

Then again, knowing how absurd the idea is of changing a stranger's entire belief system through one sloppily-printed flier handed off while said stranger is walking from the 7 train to the blue line at 9:45 in the morning...maybe by not wasting hours thus proselytizing we atheists are indeed treasuring the little time we have on this earth.


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