It’s here! It’s here! Page 100 is here! And the true reality of my addiction to this park isn’t a secret anylonger. And there’s no better way to celebrate this occasion than by giving you a full, video-packed page of Amazing Strangers with all your favorite regulars. Teenagers with cigarettes and cheap highs, bumfights, gravers, and harassing Christians from the midwest.
I was in rare form last night. I took on a whole team of Christians and sent them packing. It was a sight to behold to say the least.
When I arrived at Union they had their booths already set up on both sides of the park. I sat down directly in front of the one on the west side of Union Sq South, and immediately one of them in their yellow smocks came up to me and asked if I would like one of their pamphlets. I replied “No thank you. I don’t believe in God.”
They love that answer a lot.
And that began what was probably a 40 minute discussion with this girl. Then her coworker friend came over, both of these girls were from Alabama and probably 19 years old or so. And her friend, let’s call her Amy (because I forgot her name), was total cult member status. Trained with the best of ’em to repeat phrases like “God made it that way,” and “I don’t believe in fantasies. I believe in Jesus!” She even, at one point said, during a discussion of a good father going to hell, and a murderer going to heaven, that this was a beautiful thing!
Anyhow, this was all as usual. No new exciting arguments from their side.
“He’s not gonna change his mind. Did you see the tattoos on his arms? You’re both wasting your time trying to convince each other.”
One interesting thing that happened was when this blond lady sitting to my right spoke up and said, sort of agitated “Why are you guys bothering to discuss this? Neither of you are going to change your minds? Why don’t you just believe what you want to believe, and you girls believe what you want, and be done with it?” All this said in a tone that you could tell she was irritated having to listen to what we were saying.
The girls, of course responded with, “Because I want him to go to heaven.”
The lady replied, “He’s not gonna change his mind. Did you see the tattoos on his arms? You’re both wasting your time trying to convince each other.”
I said to her, “I’m arguing this because that’s what we should be doing. Discussing differences of opinions is what’s going to save the human race. Not shutting up. Not war, or violence, or flying planes into buildings, but discussion. That’s what we all should be doing. Not believing whatever we want to believe, and remaining ignorant of each other. That gets us nowhere.”
That lady hung around and listened after I said that, and the girls were stunned. She even jumped in later and asked why God didn’t make it so good deeds get us into heaven. I made her care.
Their cult-stare showed extra bright when I presented them with the “Heaven is Hell” question. They couldn’t respond with anything other than “That’s why we’re out here tell people about Jesus.”
But they could never look the question dead in the eyes and respond. No matter how I spelled it out.
“You’re going to heaven, right?”
“Yes!” They gleefully responded.
“And there are people in hell, right?”
“Yes.” Less gleeful.
“How can you enjoy any kind of paradise while your brothers and sisters from earth suffer and burn forever?”
They couldn’t even hear the question. They were stunned. I stated, “All I want you to say to me is ‘Yes, I can enjoy a heaven while others burn forever in hell’ But you can not say it. Why?”
Of course they couldn’t respond.
Then when they said they wanted to pray for me, I said, “Please don’t. When people pray for me, it’s like wishing me to be in that horrible place you call heaven. Praying is you wanting to separate loved ones from each other. I don’t know how anyone could ever want that.” They were paralyzed. Utterly speechless. And I was elated! I’d just discovered what to say when someone wants to pray for me! Something that paints their prayer in an unmerciful, vomit-colored light!
And when these girls couldn’t answer my questions anymore, I said “I wish you could get someone over there to answer my questions for me.” And boy, they jumped on that invite to get away from me. They ran back to their booth and told on me.
They sent over this big, giant, fat, black man who stood above me (mind you I remained seated on the steps of Union this entire time), and said, “Hello brother. My friends told me that you needed some questions answered?”
And his response to the “Heaven is Hell question” was? “When we get to Heaven we no longer worry about those things. God said that in Heaven we will be given a new body and a new mind. We will not have the same feelings we had here on Earth.”
“We won’t remember our loved ones?” I asked.
“No, I’m not saying that. We’ll remember them…”
“We just won’t love them anymore? Like we did here on earth?”
“No. I didn’t say that. We just have to move on. We have to get on with our lives.” He was getting angry with me.
“Heaven sounds horrible. I don’t know why anyone would want to go there. We seriously forget about all of them?”
“No, now if you refuse to believe what I’m telling you then you won’t go there!”
“I don’t want to go there! Being on a throne in heaven while my brother burns in hell forever? It sounds like a nightmare!”
He too wanted to pray for me, and I said that I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to go to this horrible place he called heaven. After a while of this he got quite frustrated with me and stomped away saying things like “I guess you won’t get to go to heaven then!”
“Why would I want to go there?” I replied. “I love people.” I was honestly saddened by their heartlessness with the matter. And let me say, I was not speaking to them sarcastically, but as openly and curious as possible while he was totally trying to intimidate me, standing over me as I sat on my ass on those steps. I rather enjoyed it. I had no fear at all. And when someone is doing their biggest display to intimidate someone 5 feet below them, and it still doesn’t work, it really makes them look really bad.
So I was left alone for a little while longer. Then this guy from Faith4Living.com came up to me (very much the kindly Ned Flanders type), and greeted me, “Hello. A friend of mine, Amy, was crying over there, and she told me she wanted me to come over here and pray for you.”
We shook hands, and I said, “I’m sorry to hear she’s so upset. I just told her that I didn’t want her to pray for me because to me that’s basically wishing me to go to heaven. And the heaven she told me about sounded like a horrible place to be.”
This all took the usual turns that I’ve told before, but this guy, who seemed so calm in greeting, got the most agitated! His face was turning red, veins popping out all over his neck and face, and he was shaking saying some of the most outrageous things! Like, when presented with questions about Noah’s Ark, said that every species of animal lived there on that continent at the time. They didn’t have to travel across oceans to get to the ark.
“Kangaroos were in Iraq?!?!” I retorted.
And he tried to explain how some species of every animal was there on that side of the world, yet he also argued angrily against evolution with me too! It was crazy crazy.
He got so frustrated with me that he finally had to end it. I know he’s going to email me. We exchanged emails addresses, and he was dying to show me some intro to some book where the guy who invented evolution said that there was no proof for it.
So I made Amy cry. And as they were leaving, Amy, looking sad but not crying, waved to me. I looked the same waving back to her.