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Sunday, July 31, 2005


The Alchemist is a man of science, it is his ineluctable nature. There are things the which I simply cannot take on faith.

From the perspective of my Immortal Soul, this would be a bad show, if I had one.

From time to time I, like your good self, I should not wander, am visited by a brace of Jehovah's Witnesses with the rather curious belief that I might make a lifelong (or, from their perspective, eternal) commitment to their deity if they provide me with sufficient free magazines. Actually, if truth be told I would probably worship anything you care to name if I got a subscription to the Fortean Times out of it, but as you will appreciate, the Watchtower is not quite in the same league.

Typically, once we have exhausted the evangelists first plan of attack (You should worship my god because my holy book tells you to) and the second (you should obey my holy book because my god tells you to) we get down to my own opening gambit…

It runs something like this:

Alchemist: “This deity of yours, he’s omniscient, right?”

Evangelist: “Oh yes.”

Alchemist: “And he made me, and indeed everyone else?”

Evangelist: “Yes”

A: “And all he demands from me is faith and genuine repentance of my sins, if any?”

E: “That’s all, and you can enter paradise.”

At this point the Evangelist (there are always two of them, but only one will speak) will be just a little fervent, sitting on the edge of the sofa – converting me will earn her a dozen god-points and the admiration of her fellows.

A: “You’ll excuse me if I am being thick, but, your omniscient god, who made me knows me to be a man of science, a man unable to have faith. He knows I can never achieve paradise under his rules.”

E: “Erm…”

A: “He knows that an iota of proof would have me on my knees in a moment, but that no amount of preaching can sway me. Your loving god made me, and he made me incapable of faith and thus damned from the moment I was born.”

D’yee see where I am going with this? At this point the silent evangelist will look from me to her speaking companion, clearly as interested as I am to see how she gets out of this one. Typically the speaking evangelist will tell me that I am wrong, that I can have faith, that I can be swayed by preaching, and she will hint that she is just the woman for the job.

Nether your humble obedient, nor the silent evangelist are entirely happy with this answer, I doubt the speaking evangelist is either because presently she will depart, her mind too occupied by evil atheist logic to remember she had a scarf when she arrived.

The next time she shows up I return the scarf and challenge her with the same paradox, and receive the same unsatisfactory answer.

Lately she has been coming less often, and not coming in but staying in the porch.

Next time she comes I will be nicer to her, I will tell her that she cannot win them all (in fact she cannot win any of them, she once told me she has never won a convert, sometimes I wander if anyone ever has) and that, if it makes her feel any better she will do no worse than me in the afterlife, since there ain’t one.

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