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There's No One Here to Save
Her eyes widened with surprise and then narrowed with contempt. She then asked coldly “What are you then?”
“I’m Hindu,” I said calmly, not averting her eyes and refusing to let her stare me down. “My whole family is Hindu. I’ve been going to temple every Sunday since I was four.”
“So you don’t believe in Jesus?”
I sighed knowingly, tiring of the explanation. “Hinduism is pluralistic. I don’t have any problem with Jesus. I can respect and learn about his teachings and still be a Hindu.”
“But you don’t specifically believe in Jesus as your sole savior?”
For a second, I know what’s coming even before it happens. I know exactly what she’s going to say as soon as I answer, like some sick law of nature.
She shook her head almost imperceptibly and then dropped the bomb.
“You’re going to hell then.”
I brace myself for the battle that will soon follow. I gird myself with the words I know will irrevocably damage our friendship.
She flushes red and immediately stammers, “No offense. It’s just what I believe. The Bible has this whole thing about false idols.”
No offense. The ultimate teenage copout. Do people actually believe that they can say whatever offense garbage that comes to their mind and then avoid any backlash with those two simple words? You’re a terrible person and will face eternal fiery damnation. No offense.
“So because I don’t believe exactly what you do, I am condemned? Automatically?”
“Well, yeah,” she retorts, sensing the anger that slowly bubbles through my modicum of calm. “You can always convert though! Jesus is the way and we accept everyone!”
I resist the urge to laugh in her face. Who the hell does this girl think she is? I am reminded of all the arguments and awkward questions I’ve faced about my faith throughout the years. All of a sudden, I don’t feel like keeping calm anymore.
“Do you where I was this weekend? Take a guess,” I say, gritting my teeth and restraining the dam of rage that threatens to overwhelm me.
“I don’t know? At the temple worshipping Allah or Buddha or whatever?” She spouts this gem with an eye roll and a hair flip.
“Nope. No devil worship this weekend. I went to build a railing for an elderly community as a part of someone’s Boy Scout Eagle project. It took all of Saturday and half of Sunday, but it was worth it. All those good people couldn’t get down to their garden, but now they can. I hope I made Satan proud.”
She flushes once more, darker than ever before. “I never said….”
I cut her off smoothly. “Do you know what my mom did this weekend? She went to a CHURCH and made blankets for the Ronald McDonald House. See, I couldn’t make both service projects, so my mom decided to help out at the other. Of course, she had to give up her weekly snake charming! Oh well….”
She glares at me defiantly, but I have her on the ropes. I am no longer able to restrain myself.
“Let’s figure out what you accomplished this weekend, shall we? Trust me; I listened to your whole vapid summary. You went to Chelsea’s party on Friday and got ‘totally wasted.’ You woke up the next morning and ran off to see your boyfriend. He really wanted to go all the way, but you said no. You saint, you. Then you spent all of Saturday at the mall, getting your hair done and getting nails filed. And finally, you’ve come to my house to desperately beg for biology help.”
She starts off again, “I didn’t make you help…”
There’s no way I’m letting her get a word edgewise.
“I know you’re pulling a solid B in English right now, so let me ask you a question. Do you know what ‘hypocrisy’ means? You think you have the right to judge me? To tell me whether I deserve salvation or not?”
She bursts in, “It’s not me! It’s the Bible; I swear, look it up!”
“Look at what I did this weekend. Look at the good my non-Christian family accomplished. Look at yourself. If there’s a God, any kind of fair or just God in the world, he’ll recognize the truth in what I’m saying.”
She snatches up her bag. “I’m leaving,” she declares. “I don’t have to take this.”
“Nope,” I retort calmly. “I’ll see you later.“
I walk to her door politely. She turns to leave.
“Hey, Alex,” I call quietly. She turns back around.
“Try actually reading the Bible. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
I slam the door in her face with a smile.