They found our lack of faith disturbing

Continuing my convention report, I figured I’d briefly mention our encounters with fundies over the course of the weekend. Akusai wrote about it here (and here’s his first convention post), but I’m writing this before I read that, so my perspective isn’t tainted by anything except standard two-weeks-later memory loss.

According to the con-veterans, fundies at GenCon is a new phenonmenon this year. In any case, they were out in Force (pun intended, as you’ll see shortly). Sadly, the first one we encountered was probably the most entertaining, although the second set could have been fun if we’d been able to stick around.

So, I may be a little off on the whole timeline of the situation, but I think the first fundie was on Friday. We were walking out of the convention center toward either the parking garage or Video Games Live, and there was a guy on the corner in a Hard Rock Cafe: Sydney t-shirt handing out what looked like business cards. I took one and glanced at it:Holy Sith!And naturally I assumed it was for some store or new gaming system or something. I mean, it’s a convention, and it was a Star Wars business card; such things are a dime a dozen.

At some point, though, I turned it over. The giant wall of text was the first tip-off that something was wonky. Two sentences in, I made some sacred and profane exclamation, and showed it to the rest of the group. To those of us who pay attention to this sort of thing, “every painting needs a painter” is like a foghorn screaming “Ray Comfort”! The unconnected, back-and-forth non sequitur nature of the text, the list of rapid-fire asinine apologetics, and the way it violated copyrights to make its point all confirmed it in my mind. We had just been evangelized by one of Ray Comfort’s cronies. The website confirms (at the very least) that “Redeemed Scoundrels” takes inspiration from Comfort’s Living Waters Ministries.

So, as luck would have it, we had made a wrong turn and had to pass by our evangelist pal (heretofore referred to as “Smiley,” due to his perpetual, implacable, totally blank ear-to-ear grin) again. He tried to hand me a second card, and I just brandished the first and said “Ray Comfort? Really? Really? Is that the best you’ve got?” I shook my head and we walked to the corner.

Smiley followed us after a few moments and asked me “How do you know Ray Comfort?” I replied “Vapidity and insipidity of that magnitude can be seen from pretty much anywhere on the planet.” Note that the phrase I was looking for at the beginning was “arrogant ignorance”–not that what I said and many things besides aren’t equally true. Smiley was silent, his shit-eating grin totally unfazed. I just kind of looked at him, waiting for a response. Eventually Akusai said (something along the lines of) “We’re saying he’s kind of a shithead.”

At about that point, the traffic light changed and we began to cross the street. Akusai shouted back (again, something including but not limited to) “God doesn’t exist, and you can take that to the bank!” About another third of the way through the crosswalk, Smiley shouted a lame “Every painting needs a painter!” And we just laughed.

Somewhere in all that, or it may have even been later that day, Jason (one of our group) was somehow singled out to receive a pamphlet and a Book of Mark from a Jew for Jesus. The pamphlet was pretty funny–it had clearly been made in the very early ’90s, and referenced the Star Wars films, Burton’s Batman movies, Home Alone, and the Alien series, all as sequels that would pale in comparison to the second coming. It’s interesting how pure serendipity masked its total irrelevance, since there have been recent Star Wars, Batman, and Alien sequels. Sadly for our Messianic Semite pal, Home Alone still dates the piece. We didn’t have much contact with the Jew for Jesus, and the pamphlet wasn’t extreme enough to warrant extended blog attention; still, I’m not sure I understand what exactly the Jew for Jesus thing is. Are they just Christians who keep kosher, or what? What makes them not Christians?

We came out of Video Games Live later that night, and we noticed that a bunch of apocalyptic preachers had set up shop on the street corner, complete with a giant cross with a purple loincloth draped over it. I didn’t hear much beyond the usual end times clichés–something about this being the 40th generation or whatever the prophecy is. It would have been nice to stick around and mess with them, but we were all pretty tired by that point.

The remainder of the weekend provided us with only two more examples. First, on the same street corner as Smiley, there was a kid dressed in goth-punk garb, silently handing out the Star Wars cards. I took a second one in passing, just in case, and told him “that’s some real half-assed evangelism there. Congratulations.” He didn’t react much, and we didn’t see him again.

Finally, after the gothtastic White Wolf party, we were all riding home in Akusai’s car. We passed by a theater where signs proclaimed that Bill Maher was performing. And outside the theater? A candlelight vigil. Oh, how I wish we could have participated in that.

Coming in the next day or two, I’ll finish stuff off with a brief recap of the White Wolf party (we saw the Prime Minister!) and a sentence-by-sentence evisceration of the Sith card. Hokey religions and ancient apologetics are no substitute for a good argument at your side.

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4 Responses to They found our lack of faith disturbing

  1. Ezekiah says:

    I realize this is a bit late, but I’ve been without internet for a while and am just now catching up on blogs.In the spirit of answering your question about Jews for Jesus. I lived in a house situation with one during college, who while very nice, did little to elucidate what the hell the distinction was.I do know that she did *not* keep kosher (since I asked her), nor did she follow any Jewish law that I could remember. Keep in mind that this is one individual, but, from what I remember (it was a couple years ago), she believed in the “no sex before marriage” thing that Christians do (which I don’t remember any of my devout Jewish friends being too hung up on), talked about Christ alot (though seemed to go to great lengths to talk about the Jewish version of what the Messiah is supposed to be) and generally reminded me of a slightly evangelical christian. I can’t remember if she indicated if she was ethnically Jewish (though one would assume that’d be at the very least since the whole rest of it is so unrelated).Generally, the answers that I could glean without being worried about being disrepectful (some third parties called me that when I was talking Jews for Jesus with them) were…. vague.Anyway, hope that’s useful.

  2. Akusai says:

    That’s interesting. I’ve always thought that Jews for Jesus was basically a bunch of evangelicals pretending to be sort of Jewish so they could better evangelize to Jews.I’m not sure where I got that impression, to be honest. Time for Wikipedia!

  3. Will Staples says:

    According Wikipedia, the Jews for Jesus are a Christian group dedicated to converting ethnic Jews (regardless of belief) to Christianity. They are not looked kindly upon by most Jewish denominations; they also view the Messiah as part of the Holy Trinity, which most Jews reject as a corruption of monotheism. They were founded by Moishe Rosen, an agnostic or atheist who converted to Christianity (y’know, like Jerry Falwell) who was born into an Orthodox Jewish family.And according to an article on them, “Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups. … They differ from some Evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel continues to exist as a ‘covenant people.’ They also integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.”So yeah, they literally are a bunch of evangelicals pretending to be sort of Jewish so they could better evangelize to Jews. You know that “perfecting Jews” flap that Ann Coulter got herself into? That’s their whole schtick.

  4. Pingback: Gen Con 2010 Wrap-Up « Dubito Ergo Sum

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