“Is there a God?”
The question was plastered onto a sign hanging at a booth at yesterday’s Heritage Festival. Not just any booth, but the Creation Research, Science Education Foundation booth, which was across from our Drama Club table. The Drama Club, where gays and Atheists flock.
Someone had left a card that they picked up from the CRSEF booth at our table. It had a picture of a dinosaur and a story that seemed neither in support of or against The Bible. My friend, who is Christian, took it upon herself to investigate the purpose of the organization. Particularly, to find out what their stance is on The Bible. Let’s call my Christian friend Rachel.
Rachel wanted someone to go talk to the CRSEF people with her — understandably, because confrontation is terrifying (even for theatre people). So two of us tagged along. That is, myself, an Indian Hindu, and my friend (let’s call her Jane), a mixed race foreign-born lesbian atheist.
“Hi,” Rachel said. “I was just wondering — what is your stance here? Like are you in support of The Bible, or…?”
“We are fully in support of The Bible,” he said. Let’s call him Jeff.
Jeff’s booth was decorated with dinosaurs and fossils and random quotes about science and dinosaurs and Christianity. National Geographic. Smithsonian. T-Rex. Are you as lost as I am?
“We are fully in support of The Bible.”
“Aren’t you?” he asked Rachel. I was shocked.
“Yes, I am,” she said.
She told him she was confused about the dinosaurs. Anyone would have been. The organization was preaching that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark because they were some of the first animals created, and their fossils weigh more so that’s why we find them in the deeper layers of Earth. Or something. I actually couldn’t tell you what they stood for, because after spending 15 minutes talking to this man, I really do not know.
“On the sixth day of creation God created what?” he asked Rachel.
“Um, I…” she stuttered. She couldn’t remember.
“Wow,” Jeff said, dragging out the vowel. “You’ve been going to church for how long? Let’s count.”
“I’ve been going to church since I was born,” she said.
“And you can’t tell me what God created on the sixth day?”
I would’ve walked away then and there if my friends were satisfied. This was the second time he had talked down to Rachel, and I was beginning to get upset. I could tell Jane was as well.
“You’ll have to hold me back from saying something I shouldn’t,” Jane whispered to me. She jumped in the conversation and asked something about fossils.
He showed us a fossil, put it in Jane’s hands, and asked us to tell him how old it was.
He asked how someone would draw a creature from the description of someone who had never seen the animal before.
He told us that a pterodactyl weighed more than an elephant.
“I don’t mean to offend anyone, I really don’t,” Jane said. “I really don’t want to make anyone upset, I’m not religious, but I am wondering –”
“– Well I’m not religious either,” Jeff said, cockily. “I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but I’m not religious.”
Jane and I dozed in and out of his rebuttals. We couldn’t care less. Not because we are not Christian and don’t have any relation to Christian explanations, but because of this man’s stubbornness. He would hardly listen to what we had to say, whatever came out of his mouth was self-deemed more important.
For the first five minutes, he did not once look at Jane or me. We’re clearly not your typical white Christian church-going innocent girls, so there was no point in interacting with us, he maybe thought. Jeff didn’t care to even look at us. That is so degrading. I thought we’d all moved passed that years ago?
I’m very different from everyone I know. I’m one of the few Indians in Drama Club, one of few Asians I know uninterested in the field of science and math. I don’t play tennis. I’m not involved in Student Government or National Honor Society. I have an obsession with Lady Gaga, unlike most of my friends.
But I’m one of so many minorities in Mason. It’s getting to the point where the majority is almost a minority. Every time my path crosses with someone as repulsively curt as the man my friends and I spoke with today, I resent living in Mason. But would it be different anywhere else? This kind of person is duplicated throughout the country, throughout the world. One idea is the only idea, according to them.
“Don’t think that all Christians are like that,” Rachel said to Jane and me as we were walking away. “I’m not like that.”
There’s a difference between expressing an opinion and degrading another person to prove an opinion is right. Jeff made us feel small. Jeff made us feel ignorant. Jeff made us feel low. Jeff made us feel wrong.