Spreadin’ the word

“Your soul is dead.”

That’s what someone told a good friend of mine at a party last weekend. And it wasn’t just a clever way to break the ice, either. This guy really meant it. 

Ouch.

It came after a quick interrogation about my pal’s religious beliefs. Upon being asked, my friend said he believed in heaven, but admitted he didn’t go to church often, and that he wasn’t exactly sure who God was, or what God was. He added that he worked hard to respect others, and tried be an honest person. Some of the questions were tough: Why do you think we are here? Who is God? Is there an afterlife? Is there a Hell? Who goes where? Where will you go, and why? Name all 10 Commandments?



I’m not sure we’re even supposed to know the answers to a few of them yet (he batted .400 on the commandments questions).

The whole thing only went on for about five minutes, anyway. But in that time, this person was able to figure out, remarkably, that my buddy’s soul was dead. Apparently, it died because he doesn’t have the correct faith in God – meaning, he doesn’t worship the way this person thinks he should.

“Are you sure it’s dead? It feels fine.”

“Yep, she’s a goner.”

“How can you tell?”

“Because I’m really, really religious. And you’re not.”

That was about the gist of it.

He started to question me next. I told him I had so much soul it was causing me health problems, and that I had to get soul-bypass surgery. He walked away resting assured that any of the leftovers would surely be donated to my lacking friend.

“Your soul is dead.” “Soul-bypass surgery.” Adults say the darndest things, don’t they? Especially when they’ve got a lot of nerve, or not enough.

Religion must come down to nerve. Because who really knows which side is right and which side is wrong? What if you don’t have a side? What if you’re not sure? Does not knowing – enough to tell someone else their soul is dead – mean you don’t have any guts? For me, trying to fully understand religion and the meaning of life is like trying to think about where space ends. I certainly don’t know the answer – my only ammunition in a religious debate are sick jokes. But if telling strangers their souls are dead is what gets you into heaven – especially if not telling them keeps you out – I’d better get over my fear of making a good first impression.

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It’s safe to say referring to a women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hoes” isn’t a heaven booster, but it apparently gets you $20 million bucks. That’s how much Don Imus reportedly got in settlement money after he was fired by CBS for the shot he directed at the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team. That sum is half of what his broadcasters owed him. Getting half a salary, for getting fired, for making racially insensitive comments – is that an incentive or a punishment?

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