I Fell Into a Burning Lake of Fire
Even in today’s day and age, magicians are still often confused with witches from deeply religious circles. Apparently finding a selected card from one’s face is the devil’s work.
I had just finished what was maybe my toughest show in several years. A unnaturally hot Michigan day for a small group of festival goers braving shadeless seats, questioning if watching me pull toilet paper out of my mouth was worth the risk of skin cancer. After a thirty minute show was accomplished in seventeen minutes, I said goodbye to a crowd desperate for water and a refund (the show was free).
I started packing up my things, when a man dressed in all purple began to approach me. I was told the Mayor of this small town was going to be nearby and I assumed this was the guy. He asked, “What’s going on here?” And I told him we just finished a “magic show” (I didn't use air quotations, but I really wanted to).
I noticed he was holding some small pamphlets with religious symbols on them. I thought to myself, “What a strange thing for a mayor to be holding.” Then he asked, “Are you going to hell?” Then I thought, “What a strange thing for a mayor to ask.”
He wasn't the mayor. He was the local religious fanatic. I think it is the law for small towns to have at least three per square mile. He finished his question and tried to hand me the small paper in his hand. I told him no thanks, and you could tell this really irked him. I don’t think anyone has ever turned down his get out of Hell free card before.
The purple man then asked, “Well what religion are you?” I had the sense to know that saying Atheist really wouldn't end well if he wasn't a fan of fake magic, so I changed tactics and said Buddhist (Not entirely true, but I do subscribe to a lot of Zen philosophy, so I figured it was close).
“Oh, where do they go?” the man asked.
“Uhh…most Zen traditions believe nothing happens when you die. You just continue being part of everything else in a new form. Basically the circle of life.”
He paused for a moment then said, “The Lake of Fire would be a privilege for you!” and began to stumble away. I told him to have a nice day, but he didn't look back. I saw him continue to a woman in her mid seventies and begin his pitch all over again. I suppose she was more of his target market.
I wish that man happiness. Hopefully one day he will wake up and realize condemning everyone who isn't Christian really wasn’t what Jesus meant when he said, “Love thy neighbor.”