We were sitting on a tranquil park, somewhere within the urban North-West London dumping ground commonly known as Wembley. We had just worked out, and were finishing the final morsels of a Boots meal deal; we felt peace, surrounded by the varying elements of nature - whether in the form of century old Trees, or month young Squirrels.
Out of nowhere, a young male of West African descent; conservatively dressed in dull trousers, brown shoes, and a cardigan hiding a plain shirt approached us. His demure matched his eyes - kind and non-threatening, yet judgemental - as if he were about to provide us with the magical secrets of existence. His name was Yan, and he was a Jehovah's Witness; ready to convince us how the path he follows is the correct path, and how the rest are all lies.
Jehova's Witnesses are an extreme from of Christian; they believe Jesus Christ is the son of God, and God was the man who created Earth. However, unlike protestants, they carry a strict, overtly conservative set of ethics in their worship; they abstain from Television, gambling, cigarettes, homosexuality, divorce, and the wearing of any form of elaborate clothing. In essence, they are modern puritans, leaving us all as flagrant sinners in their eyes.
I explained to Yan my personal belief how human beings do not need a religion in order to find God, and that God exists as the universe and nature; where every living creature is born with God within them, therefore while it works for some, I don't personally feel I need a religion as an avenue to God. He responded in a calm manner, explaining that I have issues with my 'accurate information', only to proceed to tell me how the Bible carries all the true answers of life on Earth. In reply, I asked Yan to explain why the Bible is the ultimate book of truth, and not The Koran or Torah... he never provided an answer, and repeated the term 'issues with accurate information'.
I repeated that God - whatever it is, loves everyone equally, and doesn't care which religion a person belongs to; as long as they live a life in which they treat anything which lives with a good level of respect, decency, and virtue. That religion isn't about having more converts than the others, preaching right or wrong, and certainly not judgement - at least towards others and their system of religious ethics. He seemed a little dumbfounded, and all his lips could parse were the words 'need help with the accurate information', along with a Bible quote. It was here I understood the point; I was open to discuss the accurate information, Yan wasn't. I respected his decision to believe I am wrong - I cannot say if he respected mine.
I had spoken with Yan all I needed to. Before he left, we shook hands and said our goodbyes. As he walked away to find another lost soul to salvage and add to his collection, I imagined him disparaging my ignorance in lacking true understanding, knowing I would eventually burn in hell for eternity - because how good a person I am is irrelevant; I must believe in his path, his ideas, and his way, to enter the pearly gates of heaven in the afterlife. For a moment I envied this man, for he was clearly unbreakable in the ideals he carries - and whether I agreed with his personal doctrine or not, his faith is likely to carry him through many of the darker chapters of the life he lives.
I thought again, and remembered in following his path, I would need to silently reject every other religion which exists, as well as many of the people within it - and I just cannot do that. And anyway, any religion which forces me to give up watching Eastenders, just isn't worth the worship; at least where Phil Mitchell's useless parenting is concerned, I always understand the 'accurate information'...