#Pocalypso | A Strange Package in the Mail

2020-05-05 – Got a strange package in the mail yesterday: a book called The Case for Christ and a package of toilet paper. It was a surprise, because it was the result of a conversation I had back in December. I had forgotten all about it until I opened the package.

The reason for the package was the book. The toilet paper, I presume, was a joke.

Working from home did not start for be when the pandemic came. I’ve been doing it for over five years. My company’s headquarter is in North Carolina. I’m a writer, so there’s really no need to live near the office. But we get together once a year, usually at the time of the holiday party in December. That’s when “the conversation” took place.

M is another remote employee of the company who lives in Missouri. She is an Evangelical Christian and right-wing political, but she has a complicated background. And she’s fun at the holiday meeting. Still, I try to stay away from the topics of religion and politics.

But my conversations with M are never just her and me. And others at the table are less circumspect. Although I don’t bring up the dreaded religion and politics, I don’t hide my beliefs either (though I may try to change the subject).

In that context, last December, M asked me if I had ever read The Case for Christ. I said I hadn’t. She said it was very good and presented “evidence” for Christ. I told her that I thought an “evidentiary case” for Christ was a red herring. I don’t deny the existence of the historical Jesus. I just don’t believe in the significance of his life. It’s not a matter of evidence, but of faith.

She asked if I would read the book.

I have characterized myself as a reform atheist (with a definite Jewish background). I say “reform” because I don’t feel strongly about the denial of god. I just don’t see a god in the world or my life and don’t believe there is any sort of deity that craves my prayers. If there’s a god, fine. Let that god eradicate hate from the world and I’ll sing hallelujah. Until then, leave me alone. That’s my style of atheism.

But I come from a Jewish background and once wanted to be a rabbi. And I studied the holy books. I was both inspired and repelled by them. So, in spite of my weak atheism, I am still fascinated by the power these books hold over people. And not just Jewish holy book. I am interested, as well, in the holy books of my neighbors.

So I told M I would read the book (not guaranteeing that I would finish it, but I would give it a good try).

So here we are. She sent me the book.

I have read stuff like this before (though not so voluminous). I don’t think the “evidence” will sway me toward any sort of religious faith. More likely I will have additional questions. But I am always happy when a book surprises me. I told M that back in December.

In spite of that, she sent me the book. Is she trying to proselytize me? Or is she hoping that I will proselytize her? Either way, she will have a long wait.

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