Sunday, August 1, 2010

God comes to a vehicle near you!

What I don't get is why people feel the need to advertise their love for their god on their vehicle - especially when those people happen to be zealots.

I want to be clear in my article here and in my viewpoint so I will state that I am not religious and, while not a hardcore Dawkins-esque, atheist, still a non-believer all the same. Having said that, I hold the viewpoint that while I may not choose to believe in a god almighty, others do and I have to be accepting of that. But I draw the line when being a believer also turns into being a religious recruiter. Your views are yours, mine are mine, let that be the end of it - live and let live. But that topic could in itself be an entire post, so I will get on with the main crux of my gripe.

I wish that I could get the photo of the vehicle, which proved to be the muse for this post, off of my cellphone camera, but thanks to being a customer of a certain big-red company, I can't. But I digress. On my drive home on Friday evening of last week I witnessed I saw a vehicle that shocked me. Do you remember the van that Tony Danza drove in Who's the Boss? The blue, box-shaped van? Well, a van similar to that came up beside me in traffic and I swear there wasn't a single foot of this van that hadn't been painted with zealotous religious rantings about how only believers in Jesus would get to heaven; how the rest of us are sinners and are going to hell; and how we should repent to bask in the glory of Jesus' light. There were illustrations of crosses and possibly even lakes of fire. I have never seen anything like this before. It was so over the top that it was comical. I mean seriously comical. I was laughing while driving and, admittedly somewhat distracted because I was trying to get a picture of him on my mobile. I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the driver and he fit the stereotype of a person one might expect to see have religious markings like this all over their car.

He was an extreme example of how ridiculous it is for people to advertise their religious views in this manner. I think the Jesus fish is bad enough. But the people who feel the compulsion to share their love for Jesus through a magnetic fish or bumpersticker or DIY auto-detailing, I just don't get. As I said, being religious is fine - as long as it doesn't impede on those who don't share those same views. Does having a bumper sticker saying something like, "Jesus' is love, kill a homo!" mean anymore than someone with a sticker that says, "I brake for pancakes" or seem any less ridiculous than those who have an outline of Newfoundland on the back of their car?
Hell, at least the pancakes one is a warning that if you see an IHOP, watch-the-eff-out because this guy is serious about panckaes."

For what it's worth, I don't think the darwin fish or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster decals on the back of cars are any better, though I will admit, at least the FSM one makes me laugh. And the best of these type of car ornaments I've seen was a T-Rex eating a Jesus fish (if that isn't comedy I don't know what is!". But it's all done to provoke a reaction or to try and convert someone from his or her current belief system. ANd that is just lunacy in this writer's opinion. My religious views are no closer to being changed by a Jesus fish than I am more likely to get a $5 pizza because someone is waving a stupid sign!

I also wonder if this won't become a bigger problem once other religions start decorating their cars with their idiology. Imagine if a muslim were to drive a van that said things like, "Hail Allah!; Kill the Jews; Women in Back; 9/11 was just the beginning; or Jihad is here, sign up for the winning side." The backlash that would occur - the sheer outcry of how it's hateful and inciting violence - would consume the newspaper's and talk radio shows for days. And yet, how is it any different thant having "Repent now all ye sinners. Jesus is the only path?" Just because you don't like what the Muslim message is saying (again, this is a hypothetical situation), why should he have any less right to decorate his vehicle in such a manner?

Religion these days is simply too personal and, unfortunately, still provokes too many strong reactions from those with dissenting view points, to allow people to advertise it on their cars. Driving is stressful enough with out the religious zealots starting a war on the roads.

I just don't get why anyone would want to advertise their viewpoint on religion, regardless of how proud one is of it, or how strongly one feels it, considering the possible outcomes and possibly negative reactions you could recieve. Please, keep religion where it belongs, heart, house, mind and church - not the passenger's door.

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