In the coffee shop, a lady approaches.
“Do you have a few minutes to help me with a survey about religion?” She’s non-threatening and wrinkled and somehow I don’t feel like escaping with using my usual, “I don’t want to talk to people right now” line. I say sure, and she seats herself across from me, introducing herself as Angel. She spins around a tablet showing a picture of the world, burning.
“What do you think of when you see this picture?”
“So, do you think the world will end because of global warming?”
“If you mean end by all humans dying–” She nods. “Then no, but I think humans will end themselves unintentionally before too long anyway.” Heh. “We already came really close with bombs once! And we’re developing new technology so quickly, so it could be bioterrorism, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, or stuff we haven’t thought of.”
Angel’s face remains neutral. “Do you think it makes sense for religious people to believe the world will end?”
“If they take the… stuff… seriously, then sure?”
“But have you considered that the Bible isn’t literal, and this is a misinterpretation, and really the Bible is a collection of parables?”
“Yeah, like, I actually just think people wrote it and it’s definitely not the literal history of the world and what morals should be.” This isn’t anything like a survey, but it’s free of conversion attempts and vaguely information seeking. I wait for another question, but apparently, Angel doesn’t have more questions for me. I have one for her. “I’m curious. What was this survey about?”
“We’re making a new Bible Study group to help fix misconceptions like thinking the Bible is literal and that the Bible says the world will end.”
“Cool! Well, I think the world will end anyway, but I guess I’m unusual. Thanks, Angel.”
Happy to help.