Sometimes I feel such a hypocrite...
Am I? The reason I ask myself this question and now put it to all of you is what started the last summer and continued until a couple of weeks ago.
During the summer I was working with a couple of guys at my college. Both of them really nice, a Japanese guy and an American of Lao descent. The Japanese guy, let's call him Taro, one Friday invited me to a party "for international students". I said sure, let's go. I hadn't gone to any party since I got to the US and after working the whole week lifting boxes, I sure was in the mood for partying.
While in his car (he was giving me a ride), Taro told me that in that party people don't usually drink. Something didn't click in my brain. No drinking in a party? Ok, I wasn't to be picky. Then he told me that they didn't dance. Second thing that didn't click in my brain. No dancing and no drinking? How could it be? And last thing, the party usually ended at 1 in the morning, which is way too early for me. Still, I was in the mood for having a good time and was sort of curious about where were we going.
We arrived at a big home in which a very nice woman, white, in her 50s, sort of fat, our host received us. Hello, nice to meet you, my name is Diego, Taro invited me. Nice meeting you, get yourself comfortable. There were also a couple of Japanese girls, not bad looking, but neither gorgeous. Hi, hi, I'm Diego, what's your name... they were also shy and didn't speak English very well, not that my English is perfect, but theirs was harder to understand.
I started walking around the house, in which I noticed there were walls covered by pictures of various groups of young people, most of them Asians. Many of the pictures looked pretty old, which made me think that meetings for international students were being held there since many years ago. And then I saw it:
International Students Christian Fellowship
I felt trapped. My first thought was "Oh shit, where the fuck I am?" Taro hadn't told me that we were going to a christian home. I thought that sooner or later they would ask me about my beliefs and, since I have never been the kind of person who keeps his thoughts for himself, the whole house would be against me. Jesus fucking christ. Anyway, whatever comes, would come.
I sat and started talking with the people that was starting to arrive. Most of them were asian, mostly Japanese, which I liked. I said hello to some girls and even tried to hit on one... who later I found was one of my friend's wife. Damnit. Anyway, some minutes later, the same woman who greeted me when I arrived, our host, invited us to eat. On the table there was a great variety of dishes to choose from, like a buffet. I was hungry so, what the hell, let's it. But, oh no, we had to pray first. Ok, I can wait. The woman's husband, a tall Asian man in his 60s prayed for the food. And then invited us to have some. By that time there were around 30 people there, mostly young Asian people. The food was good, I can't deny that. I ate and talked with some other people around until the time for worship came.
We all sat in the living room, in front of a screen with a projector and a guitar, drums and a piano. One of the guys greeted us and asked the newcomers to introduce ourselves. I did so, my name, my country, my major, my hobbies and my favorite ice cream. And then we started singing. Praise god, fill me with your love, etc, all the christian mumbo jumbo. It had been ages since I hadn't sung anything god related.
There was also an offering time. I did participate in that, since I thought I should give something for the food I had eaten before. And then more singing.
After the singing finished, we were separated in groups to make some bible study. Then I realized I wasn't the only non-believer there. A young and really nice pastor started talking to us about the love of god and his experience with it. Now, this young pastor was not what I was expecting to see. He was very open and giving a very good image to the non-believers there. But I wasn't any non-believer. Most of them were Asian students who didn't know much about christianity. But I did. So when the pastor said "I know god loves me" I jumped to the question "Are you sure you know? Or do you just believe?" We had a long discussion, always in very good terms. At the end we didn't reach an agreement, since it was obvious that most of the others weren't understanding what we were talking about and there was very short time left. Before finishing he prayed for us so that we can accept the lord. I laughed in my insides, but felt a little bad for him. I had given him a hard time, and it was obvious he was a nice guy.
After the bible study, the table was full of desserts, like ice cream, cookies and cake. I got some for me of course, while chatting with some other people. I learned that the hosts opened their homes for international students who, obviously, had no family in the US and knew very few of how to behave i this country, so that house and that could be a family for them. And of course, they could teach them about the bible so they can accept jesus.
I've been going there since June. I stopped because now I work on Saturdays, so I can stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, having free dinner, dessert and games (they have a ping pong and pool table, which I love to play), and also, discussing with the christians there.
The question is, am I a hypocrite? Should I have been attending the meetings, even though I don't have the least intention of becoming christian and thinking that their fairy tales are just farfetched inventions made up hundreds of years ago to control people, but still enjoyed the treats they had? Should I have stopped going just after I noticed the christianism going there? Or was there nothing wrong in going, since I was just giving them the opportunity to "convert" me?
What do you think?