October 20th, 2017

Good deeds

A now-familiar sight in front of the train station: volunteers hand out foodstuffs to a crowd, queuing in the morning chill on Saturday mornings, on the square between the stairs leading to the station and the walls of my school. On week days, it's people coming out of the bus, dressed for work, getting started with their day as the sun finishes to rise. But on Saturday, real business starts.

Behind the crowd, there are usually two or three people standing with their hands in their pockets, and a display full of copies of The Watchtower and booklets about the real message of the Bible. They don't do much. They don't annoy passers-by. They just stand there, spending their free time waiting for people who might be ready to hear the message of their faith, while others spend their free time giving out bread and tins of food.

I can't help being a little uncomfortable every time I see them. I hear religion is about being good. It's very strange to see people who care enough about that to spend their early mornings talking about God with strangers, but who still stand by with their hands in their pockets while others take care of giving basic necessities to those who need them. You'd think there's a great opportunity to be virtuous waiting right in front of them. Is it so much more important to give religious booklets to strangers?

Obviously, I'm in no place to judge. I don't spend my mornings there myself, although I do try to make myself useful in other ways, when I can. I suppose religion merely confuses me. Do people really think so differently when they've made a place for God in their head? I'm certain there's a very good explanation for all those things I don't understand.

Still, this is Marseilles. There are so many things here that seem more urgent than whether people believe in God.