4 December 2014

Jehova's witnesses: finally, they found me!

I've been told that Jehovah's witnesses exist in Uppsala and they do their usual thing: go from door to door, in pairs, trying to convert people. I've been in Sweden for more than 4 years and haven't met a single Jehovah's witness. And finally it happened. Twice in a week.

Last weekend, in the center of Uppsala I saw a bunch of guys distributing some kitsch-looking pamphlets in English and Spanish. I stop for a second and looked. One of them approached me and asked me if I wanted one. What are you, I asked. Jehovah's witnesses, he said. Oh, there they are, I thought. But why in Spanish? Well, there are South Americans in Sweden and we try to get to them. Are you Swedish, I asked. No, Greek, he says, I was born in Athens but lived in Sweden all my life. Do you know about Jehovah's witnesses, he says, in Greek? Sure, I said. Interested? No, thanks, no. I don't like religions, especially those that were established in the US and brought over here, like you, Mormons, Pentecostals, and others. (Not that I like non-US religions, but I felt like saying this to point something out he probably didn't want to acknowledge.) He looked at me puzzled. We're not an American religion, he says. Sure, you are, check your facts. Ok, he says, sure, the first people who thought about the truth were American, but this does not mean that we're an American religion, we've gone everywhere, we're international... We exchange a few friendly sentences in Greek, he asks me about my religion and wish him well and good luck and go.

This morning it happened again. The bell rings. I open the door and two friendly women introduce themselves to me. While doing so, I look at what they were carrying so I saw similar kitsch-looking pamphlets and I guessed... Yes! They were Jehovah's witnesses. Are you interested in.. event... tomorrow.. bla bla... No, no, thank you. Take this leaflet. No, thanks, I won't. Smile. What do you believe in, they ask? Believe? What is "to believe"? I consider the word "belief" something that has to be avoided as much as possible (while, of course, being aware of the impossibility and slight irrationality of the statement I'm making), but, in fact, I don't believe in believing. So we chat for a few minutes. Nice ladies, quite charming, not pushy at all, I felt I could be as pushy as I wanted, but, hell, why should I do that? We talked about the perils of believing, they kept referring to the bible, even though I told them it's not a book that contains uniformly consistent and contradiction-free information, to which they replied (I guess it's one of the things they learn by heart when they receive their training) that it depends on how one reads the book. I gave them a disapproving look so we switched to a different topic. They seemed to be happy with our conversation because, as they said, Swedes typically don't speak to them and that, at least, I had lots to say and that all made sense. It took about 10 minutes of discussion and then they said goodbye and left.

So, am I in the Jehovah's witnesses' friend list now? I don't know. Let's see.. Should I do like the father of someone I know who tells me that he's been inviting Jehovah's witnesses for tea every time they knocked at his door and that, at some point, they wondered "how come, after so many visits, you are still not convinced?" Answer: "oh, because it was me who was trying to convert you." I believe they didn't show up again.

P.S. This posting was discovered by a religious site. Look!

No comments:

Post a Comment


What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant