I got a letter in the mail today. It isn't often that I get letters in the post, what with e-mail and text messaging. I wondered if it was a stranger sending me a check or returning that ATM card that I'd lost two months ago.
It was a handwritten letter addressed to Dear Neighbor. It went on: Most people will readily admit that along with some happiness, we also face a lot of problems. No argument there. Many are being weighed down by the stress of living in this fast paced world. When pressures of life get us down, we need the comfort of a willing and supportive listener. Finding someone to turn to can be a challenge. I suppose that's why the sender was facilitating my quest with a suggestive letter.
That is why I've enclosed this tract that discusses who we can turn to in times of trouble. The tract was one of those hand-out pamphlets that we've all seen decorating urinals and floors across America. Closer examination found that it came from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society - the Jehovah's Witnesses.
For those of you too young to remember, they used to canvas the neighborhoods in little groups ("Flocks," I think the scientific term is) and proselytize for their cause which is ... well, I'm not sure what it is, really.
So, now they've gone 19th Century on us and are using the Postal Service to make their rounds. I was supposed to be impressed by the handwritten letter, I suppose. Mostly I was curious as to why they wouldn't just print something out on the computer.
The overriding theme of the missive was that I am supposed to take my 21st Century problems and hand them over to their God, the "willing and supportive listener." A more realistic option for a single person living a solitary life would be to have a person to talk to, who could actually do something besides listen. Frankly, at this stage, I'm thinking that talking to God is tantamount to talking to oneself. He may be listening, but we can't prove it, which is the principal way that religion works. None of us can prove it exists, so the safe thing for people to do is say that it does just in case, so that even if you're wrong, you have errored on the safe side. That's where human nature comes in.
So far, the only benefit I can see has been to the religions themselves and the people in charge. Had they succeeded, I wouldn't be so weighed down by the stress of living in this fast paced world.