Probably few of you know this, but once I started hanging out on Mill Avenue in Tempe with kytsune on Saturday nights again a couple of months ago, the silly street preachers inspired me to start writing a kind of "atheist tract" or "anti-religious tract" to combat their "Bible tracts".
At first we looked for things that other people had already written, but we couldn't find many, and none that we found were solid enough for me. I just don't like passing out anything that I don't think is completely accurate or that I can't defend, so I wrote my own.
The first one, God Loves Slavery has been pretty well received, although now that I have a bit more experience I'm going to rework it and make it more shiny and fun.
This one is about the fact that the Bible repeatedly and explicitly condones and gives guidelines regarding the taking, keeping, selling, beating and even sacrificing of slaves to Yaweh. It does suggest that people treat their slaves a little better in the new testament, but it never directly condemns the practice.
The second is about Christmas History, including things like the contradictions in the different accounts of Jesus's birth in the Bible, the pagan roots of the Christmas holiday, and the fact that the Bible is explicitly against Christmas trees.
I was unable to pass out many of them this season due to holiday parties and things like that. Fortunately a friend we met down there passed a bunch out for me, so I think it was worth doing, and Christmas will still be there next year too.
The most recent tract, which I finished yesterday, is about "God's Justice", some of the many terrible things that the god of the Bible does to people, and why he does them.
The God Loves Slavery tract has been the easiest to pass out since it has a good hook. Just hold one out and say "God loves slavery!" to someone passing by, and you're likely to get their attention. They may be confused, but at least they're looking.
The new tract, currently titled "Don't #&*@ me, bro!" uses three different rhyming headings, "Don't tase/raze/praise me, bro!", and in talking to a friend there we realized that although we can't walk up to people and say "Don't #&*@ me, bro!" since it's unpronounceable, it might be effective to just say "Don't tase me, bro!".
I tried it on the first person who came buy, and he lit up and said "Don't tase me, bro!" himself while excitedly taking the paper from me. Although I do get occasional positive responses, I think that this was the funniest response I've seen. It was near the end of the night so I only did a couple that way, but from the responses it looks like it might be a good way to go next time. I might even put tase in the main title.
On the other end of the spectrum, I received what I consider my first real recognition as an author.
As with many of the people wandering the street, I offered tracts to a nice young couple who walked by, and they handed them right back to me. Then, after a minute of rummaging around in her purse, the girl asked me to give one back. I handed her one, strongly suspecting what was coming, and she immediately...singed it.
Luckily for her, kytsune was there to teach her how to burn things, and as I looked on in amusement at the irony, she chastised me for not blindly "loving the lord" like she did and she set fire to the very section of the paper where I warn people about the dangers of turning off their rational minds and ask them to "never stop thinking".
Once it had a good flame going, she dropped it and her self-righteous partner-in-stupidity stopped mumbling pious nonsense under his breath long enough to give it a good angry stomping. :)
Because I was very amused by the whole scene, I think I may start carrying lighters or matches for people who need them. Maybe I can get some special match book covers printed up to honor the willfully ignorant who I would be giving them to.
So that's it. The first time I can remember someone trying to burn my dangerous ideas out of existence. I consider it a great success and a milestone in my "career". :)