I’m not sure what it is about me that makes religious people target me but in the last year a born again Christian and a Jehovah’s witness has stopped me in the street to share the word of God. Maybe its my resting bitch face and obliviousness to most things outside my headphones that makes me look like I’m in need of saving.
Today as I was on my way to Uni when a man stopped me with some odd questions about Polish people and I honestly thought I was about to have a debate with a UKIP or Brexit Party campaigner. Thankfully it was just a Jehovah’s witness and thanks to Youtuber Mr Atheist I felt fairly prepared to discuss things with him. He seemed really concerned about the environment talking about the rivers in India and pollution and I’m always up for talking about ways to alter the course of destruction we are headed in. But then he revealed that he had no intention of doing things to stop climate change choosing instead to view it as the Armageddon promised in the bible.
He started to list things society are doing that has forced God to punish us but unfortunately for him the first thing he mentioned was the announcement by Strictly Come Dancing that next season men would be dancing with men. As a member of the LGBT community I think this is excellent progress and told him so. I explained to him how important it is that we are represented across a broad spectrum of entertainment to help us and others accept that we are queer. I told him about how isolated I felt as a gay child knowing no-one who felt the way I did and how much it would have helped me to see someone I could identify with on TV. He saw this as proof that entertainment is harming children but after I explained that LGBT children are more likely to self-harm, die by suicide, develop addictions and become homeless and that perhaps that is more harmful than a straight child knowing what a gay person is. I think he logically understood but I know his religion will not allow him to accept that understanding.
He spoke about other things he believed were signs of the Apocalypse including rising crime, war, and of course climate change. I agreed that these are horrible and scary things but can be resolved through policy and redistribution of wealth. When I asked him, whether he voted to try and help these issues he told me he votes for ‘the Lord our God’ and that right there is my main issue with religion. It forces us into complacency believing that God must have a plan instead of accepting that the world is only ever changed by those living in it.
It made me pretty angry that Jehovah’s Witnesses are using the very real threat of climate change to promote their religion which does not support doing anything to combat it in his words ‘it is too late, God has decided’. I will not accept this; clear and defined policy like the Green New Deal and scientific innovations can and must save the planet before our extinction and to give up and condemn humanity to Armageddon is unforgivable. We chatted for a while on what I consider to be tangible policies to neutralise our impact on the planet including banning fossil fuel extraction, taxing and suing the oil, agriculture and fashion corporations that caused this mess and funding renewable energy across the world. He of course did not accept that anything could stop the power of God but when I asked how he would feel if these things are implemented and succeed would he revaluate his belief and to my surprise he said if thing improve he would not believe in God anymore because the bible would clearly be wrong. I tried again to convince him that voting was the most important thing to do but of course it must be hard to vote for parties set on tackling what you consider to be the will of God.
We left on good terms I thing I shook his beliefs far more than he did mine and it was interesting if not an infuriating twenty minutes of my day.