Tonight, I received a call at 9:00 PM from your church telling me that I was invited to attend your services. I was not allowed to talk with an actual person. Instead, I was read a recorded message by a machine. I suppose that on a Saturday night it must be difficult for you to find members of your church who are willing to spend their own time to be missionaries to their own neighbors. They must be doing something else, like holding family prayer meetings in the privacy of their own homes, or giving assistance to the needy, or reading the Bible. Yes, I'm sure that's what your church members were doing on Saturday night instead of talking to me, person to person, about why I need to attend your church to find salvation.
I called your church back. No one answered. I went to visit your church. No one was there. The lights were all out. Maybe you were out somewhere living the "Greater Life". Quite right that you couldn't spend your own valuable time converting the unsaved. I guess you take Saturday evenings off and let the machines do the holy work for you. You must have been asking yourself what Jesus would do when you made that decision.
Let me tell you who I am. I am an atheist. I'll explain what that means, just in case no one has ever told you about what an atheist is. I think that Christianity is a lie. I think that you are all wasting your time, giving money to egotistical preachers who like to get up in front of you every week and tell you what they think is right and what they think is wrong. I think that you are wasting your time praying to a God that doesn't exist. I think that you are wasting your time, but you know, that's your business, and it's all right with me.
What is not all right with me is that you have wasted my time by hiring a machine to interrupt my Saturday evening. What makes you think that this is acceptable behavior? I don't bother you, even though I think that you and your entire religion is a mistake. I let you Christians make your mistakes because I don't think it's respectful to intrude into the lives of strangers to tell them how wrong they are.
How many times have you had an atheist knock on your door, or call you late in the evening, or send you unsolicited mail, or leave pamphlets in your door, to invite you to give up Jesus Christ? It doesn't happen. How many times do you think I have had to listen to Christians tell me that I deserve eternal punishment because I don't think the way that they do? Your religion is pushy. Your religion is disrespectful. Your religion is rude.
But you know, your religion is pretty successful. You get new converts all the time, lining up to make your reverends richer. Maybe I've been wrong, trying to be a nice, polite, quiet little atheist.
Well, you've taught me a valuable lesson. From now on, I'll be as rude as a Christian. Tonight, I'm forming a church of my own: The First Lower Life Missionary Church of the Happy Sinners. You'll be hearing from us, every Saturday night, inviting you to stop on over to our 9:00 Sunday morning service of godless profanity. We'd be happy to de-baptize you, free of charge. Of course, if you want to tithe, we won't refuse.
See you there!The Wrong Reverend Jonathan C. Cook