I was innocently walking across the plaza on my way to a 5 p.m. class when I, in a moment of weakness, accidentally made eye contact with someone.
If you have been on CSU’s campus for any extended period of time, you know that you never, under any circumstances, look anyone in the eye on the Lory Student Center Plaza after the hour of 4 p.m. Seems melodramatic, no? The innocent freshmen or naïve upperclassmen may be wondering why I would ever be so rude.
Let me explain: after 4 p.m., many sane students are done with classes for the day and have fled the plaza in search of better things to do. This also happens to be when the religious fanatics come out to play. Making eye contact with someone of this nature is basically telling them that yes, you would love to sit and debate religion with them for hours. Since they have no identifying factors, like a warning label on their forehead, you never know which innocent-looking student will be the next one wanting to “ask you a couple questions”.
Sure enough, that ill-fated evening on the plaza ended up with me desperately trying to ditch the annoying guy following me while furiously pointing to a quote in Hebrew. This one was on a mission to make me realize that there is a God the Mother, and that I will not be accepted into Heaven because I don’t know the Holy Spirit’s specific name. He didn’t even ask if I was interested in hearing it before he launched into his spiel that was so theologically inaccurate I was literally cringing.
Here’s the thing: I am a Christian. I went through 12 years in a parochial school and studied the Good Book cover to cover. And yet, the people who want to debate religion with me pick up a Bible and think that they’re suddenly an expert — that they have a better grasp on salvation and the Holy Trinity than I do. Somehow I doubt that.
Even though I am a Christian, I would rather stick myself in the eye with very sharp objects than engage in a discussion with these people. Every time I do, I am told exactly what passage I’m not grasping, and why my particular ideology, that I’ve been studying for 20 years, is wrong.
For those of you that find it necessary to bother innocent people on their way to class by asking them about their religious affiliation, I have a couple questions for you:
First off, what exactly do you think you’re going to accomplish? Never, in all my years, have I heard of anyone finding Jesus because a complete stranger wouldn’t leave them alone until they’d heard about the “right” religious practice. Unless people are living under rocks, they’ve heard about the whole Jesus thing. Whether or not they believe it is their choice, but I highly doubt you’re going to make anyone a believer by ruining their quiet walk to class.
Secondly, do you not realize that people go out of their way to avoid you? Those people that make elaborate excuses as to why they cannot have a discussion with you are most likely lying through their teeth in order to avoid having to sit through your “couple questions”. And those poor folks that couldn’t come up with a decent excuse fast enough? While you’re reciting your speech about God the Mother, they’re desperately looking at anything but you in the hopes that you’ll give up and walk away.
It’s time for you to keep your theology to yourself until the right time, in the right place, when someone actually wants to hear what you have to say. Because really, you know it’s bad when Christians, people that are supposedly supposed to be on your side, don’t want to be affiliated with you.
It’s time for you to stop putting a bad name on Christianity and zip your lips. I’m done avoiding you, I’m done being suspicious of everyone that looks me in the eye, and I’m done having people follow me to tell me that I’m going to hell. I’m done.
Brittany Jordan is a sophomore Psychology major. Her column appears every other Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.