By Joseph Worthington
As anyone who ventured past the Brower Student Center on Friday is now painfully aware of, Friday, Sept. 12 was Sin Awareness Day.
Although it is not a widely celebrated holiday, those who choose to partake often do so very loudly. The festivities this year included various men preaching, yelling and aggravating students on their way to meal equiv or to class, all while holding various signs spouting ideals such as “Evolution is a lie,” “Be sure your sin will find you out” and, of course, “Atheism is a temporary condition.”
Not that these guys are a problem —the fact that they have the right to do this is a large part of what makes this country so great. What needs to be addressed, however, is the exercise in frivolity that was taking place before the often large and continually rotating crowd.
You know how it’s often said that sometimes things are so horrible you can’t look away? It’s the train wreck effect, if you will. An argument broke out between a few vocal students and the demonstrators about their positions on various faith, science and belief-based differences. What transpired were the most useless arguments that could be observed, the unyielding yelling at the unshakable, a circular screaming match that unfolded over the course of at least four solid hours.
It brings up one simple question: Why? Waving signs and yelling about hell isn’t going to convince anyone who doesn’t already believe, and shouting out retorts about the problems with God isn’t going to convert any believers. Zealotry is a major turn-off from a gateway standpoint, as anyone on the fence is likely to be disturbed by a public display of unashamed passion. If you’re not ready to hop on the soapbox yourself, seeing others waving around graphic pictures of aborted fetuses and literally thumping Bibles isn’t going to be a very good inspiration to get you in the game.
This is not to say that the mob members actively taking part around them were more correct in their actions. Yelling louder doesn’t make your point any more valuable than those you disagree with, and yelling about perceived contradictions and inaccuracies doesn’t change the minds of those who are dedicated enough to give up their Friday to come to the College, invest their money in an impressively elaborate sign collection and stand up zealously in front of the masses.
At one point, a member of the crowd actually ran up and stole a sign from one of the demonstrators and started waving it around, yelling about an erroneous deity that exists only to bash on the beliefs of others. What’s the point of shouting at those who refuse to hear you, except to further satiate, in your own mind, the belief that you’re right?
If you’re looking for self-validation, join a group of like-minded people and have futile “discourse” with them and leave everyone else be. For all the good it did, one might have well just tried to convince the brick wall that the demonstrators were standing on. As if further proof that the ordeal garnered absolutely nothing productive on either side, a memorable revelation overheard while walking away form the shouting match: “There’s a Sin Appreciation day? Weird.”