So, we’ve got these posters up all over campus for an “event” tonight called “AFTERdark” and it’s pissing me off because I think this is a microcosm of the general bait-and-switch of religion.
The campus event of the year
the compelling drama of
“a top 10 influencer of the century”
-New Man Magazine
Island Records recording artist
It’s got photos of the two guys (actually looks like it was made on a Mac…) and some dark clouds & whatnot in the background. There are also students walking around with T-shirts that say “AFTERdark, [date/location/time]” along with our school mascot and the website on the back
A student came into our classroom one morning to write it on the board, so I asked her what it was.
“Oh, it’s just an event.”
“What kind of event?”
“Well, there’s a concert.”
“Is that it?”
“No, there’s also a reenactment.”
“A reenactment?” vague images of SCA come to mind, “What kind of reenactment?”
“Oh, like a play.”
“…What kind of play?”
“I think it’s about the Passion,” as she scurried away.
To be fair, throughout this whole conversation, she was attempting to scurry, getting closer and closer to the door with each exchange. Perhaps she had thirteen more classrooms to write in before class started, I don’t know what her hurry was, but I definitely felt like I was getting the run around.
So I went to the website, since I was curious. It also doesn’t give much information (except that it’s “One night. One campus. One movement.” and some general testimonials: “best night of my life!” “changed my life”). So I Googled it and got this article from more than a year ago, “AFTERdark Deceives Students to Preach Gospel”. So, AFTERdark consists of a random up-and-coming artist and an evangelical speech by some other random dude. But that information is hard to get.
During our weekly announcements, a classmate stood in front of the class and invited everyone to it: “There’s a concert, it’ll be awesome, hope to see you there!” We didn’t really get a chance to ask him questions, so I didn’t then. But the next day, I saw someone with a shirt on. So I asked her:
“Hey, do you know what that is,” I said, gesturing toward the shirt.
She looked down, then made eye contact and said, “Yeah.”
We looked at each other for a moment. “…what is it?”
“Well, it’s a event.” I had had this conversation.
“Okay, what kind of event?”
“There’s a concert…”
“So it’s a concert.”
“Not just a concert.”
“Oh. Okay, what else is it?”
“…there’s a speaker.”
“Oh, cool—what’s he speak about?”
“Oh, stuff that’s relevant.”
“Like politics? Is it a rally?”
“No. Like the Gospel.”
“Oh! Okay, cool, thank you.”
“Yeah, no problem.” She looked at me shiftily.
“You know,” I said, keeping her a few more moments, “it’s really hard to get that information.”
“Oh?” She looked shiftier and laughed nervously, “it’s not supposed to be.”
Then she scampered off.
Now I have a mission: shanghai everyone with an AFTERdark shirt and get them to admit that it’s an evangelical preach-fest. I also have a tactic: the naïve idiot.
Employee in the cafeteria:
“Hey, do you know what AFTERdark is?”
“Well…it’s in Alumni Park!”
“Right, but what is it?”
“It’s a concert, Jon McLaughlin is this record-signed artist who’s really cool.”
“Oh, what kind of music does he play?”
“Just…music. Pop. Nothing Christian.”
“My fiancee thinks he’s hot.”
“hehe, cool. So it’s just a concert?” I resisted the urge to assume or imply genders about his fiancee.
“No…you know, I really don’t know a lot about it. Some students asked me to wear the shirt. But I’m going to it!”
“Oh, okay. It’s just hard to find information about it.”
“Huh. I wonder why that is…”
Me, too, dude. Me, too.
Look, I go to a(n ambiguously) Christian school. I get that. I understand that they probably reserve the right to prosthelytize to their students. But I do expect them to be honest about it. “AFTERdark: concert and prosthelytization. Free cookies!” People will go, you don’t have to deceive them! Trust me, free food on a college campus plus anything = attendance. Homeland security plus In-N-Out = attendance. Prop 8 with Mormons plus ToGos = attendance. Torture and bloodletting plus pizza = attendance! The deceit makes me feel like they think they’re doing something shady by trying to get us to come to Jesus. The deceit turns it into something shady. I’m really uncomfortable with this religious bait-and-switch and feel that it’s endemic of the whole religious “thing”. They don’t want my soul to come honestly to a belief in a higher power that makes me want to be good, love my neighbor, and hate gays. They want to trick me into it.