I’m a fan of Craigslist — use it to get rid of lots of extraneous hoopla without a lot of fuss (I am a bit of a pack rat and have way too much stuff just sitting around being stuff). Completing transactions through Craigslist is sometimes a bit weird though. You get the people who are insanely interested in whatever you have when they first email, but then seem to disappear once you respond with information about how to get in touch with you. Or those who set up a time to call or come by and then never come. Or who try to haggle over $1 because actually paying the price you asked would somehow mean they had failed.

And then there are those who invoke god in the deal as if an all-powerful being would give a hoot about a $15 transaction on an online marketplace. It is just this sort of buyer I’ve been involved with for the past several days. Beyond the narcissistic notion that a god would care about her potential leg pillow, I am befuddled by this buyer’s presumption that a person she “knows” only through an email exchange initiated on Craigslist 1) should be told about the details of her current health situation and the prognosis for her mother’s long-term care and 2) will be rewarded by heaven if I should decide to meet her with said pillow rather than making her drive the whole 16 miles to my house. Is that honestly supposed to influence my action? “Oh, wow! I better drive to meet her because otherwise I’m going straight to hell!”

Not only that, but she invokes melodramatic popular culture notions of “paying it forward” to seal the deal. If I inconvenience myself for her convenience, not only will god reward me but she promises she’ll then do the right thing by someone else. If it’s the “right” thing, shouldn’t she do it regardless of what I do or do not do?

Or is that notion something that only atheists and other believers in the non aspire to? Is religion really “belief” if it is only used to control others and not to inspire oneself? Or maybe this perpetual guilt to do good is the actual meaning of “doing the Christian thing” (certainly reminds me of much of my Catholic upbringing). Who Would Jesus Manipulate?


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