In angry defense

(I have no idea...)

Empty blue crates resting against the newspaper boxes. The yellow sign slathered with tasteless, large sans-serif advertisements, ‘Have a break! Have a … Kitkat’—wow; worming its way into popular consciousness. But I don’t break the fast; it’s still Lent.

Speaking of which, I’m walking by the Cathedral this afternoon, and I catch quite an earful:

My god you secular atheists are lazy; always so pale. Don’t you at least believe in sunshine? Maybe you’re outside today to get a tan?... Ha, I pity anyone who never even learned their basic Bible stories. Say what you like about faith, or lack thereof; that’s a huge gaping hole in your education. Hello—Noah, Abraham, John the Baptist—ever heard of them?... How can you call yourself a member of Western civilization? Oh wait, I forgot, we’re in Canada—‘cultural mosaic,’ blah blah blah. ‘Deluded cultural wasteland’ is more like it. Face facts, your parents did you a myopic disservice by not bringing you to church, and your wishy-washy ignorance is the result. Huh, what’s that? Oh there I go again, you say. The Holocaust? No, you’re wrong—Hitler wasn’t Christian, any more than Stalin or Pol Pot: they were all practising secularists; what Hitler believed in was the rational mechanization of the state, not a higher power. True, faith gone wrong may lead--every few centuries--to brazen crusades like the current insane terrorist jihad; I grant that, but look at the numbers: it’s cold, rational reason—that’s what fuels a genocide. ‘I’m just following orders, it’s for the ultimate good; the betterment of society.’ God is dead, right? Well so are six million Jews, 25 million Soviets, 1 million Cambodians; who knows how many in China? That’s the spiritual lesson of the 20th century. So don’t insult my intelligence by dredging up that ‘why is there suffering?’ chestnut. And don’t dismiss or mock me because I know the words to the Lord's Prayer or 'cause they forced me into a confessional when I was only eight years old. I feel sorry for you; as you get older, you will realize how much you missed. And you won’t catch my kids within 50 miles of a public school; not even close... Just remember: you and I both are going to die someday too, whether it’s by genocide, jihad or falling down stairs and cracking our skulls. Yes, the death rate’s still at an all-time high: 100 per cent. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you secularists are scared shitless about that. ‘Rage, rage, against the dying of the light?’ Forget poetry, forget those insolent academics; you still gotta pay the piper... Me? I’m fine with mortality—this planet isn’t the be all and end all of the world; I’m not afraid of that crossing… What, leaving so soon? Ok, ok; I’ll shut up and leave you be. It makes you uncomfortable? Fine, I’m kidding about the whole thing… I’m just playing on your massive spiritual insecurities…hahaha. Ok? Ok. Last laugh.

By this point he is red, veins bulging; grotesque. I turn and tell him—politely—that I’d been to Mass already that morning; that I’d given up chocolate for Lent, and how about him? Haha, you shoulda seen the look he gave me—priceless. ‘Oh… sorry,’ he says eventually, and I go on my way. Haha. I chuckle. Preaching to the converted. Jesus, what a world.

(But I lied about going to Mass.)

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