Since the dawn of religion – which is to say the dawn of man – religionists have tried all manner of tactics to get the attention of the less religiously inclined.
The Romans and Greeks conquered many a people and foisted their pantheon upon them. The 5th century AD Holy Man – Simeon Stylites – spewed forth wisdom from atop a fifty-foot pillar. Now religious students are plugging in their sandwich makers – toasties are the new religious order of the day.
Christian Unions (CUs) across the land – not to mention those across the pond – know their audience. Students are a hungry bunch, not to mention bordering on penniless. Text-a-Toastie is the perfect way to spread the word and appeal to the ravenous atheist horde that occupies most university campuses.
The week of the Text-a-Toastie event, CUs will hand out flyers and put up posters with a phone number attached. It is pretty straightforward: text a question about God, JC, or religion, with your preferred flavour of toastie, along with your address, and wait for your free meal. The more enterprising CUs will theme these events, using slices of Yule Log and mince pies at Christmas.
Full disclosure - I took advantage of this in my university days. Having a theological discussion, toastie in hand, certainly beat crying over the state of my dissertation. And yet I still find something odd about it. Though I am not overly religious, I was raised Catholic and the solemnity with which God is traditionally treated seems a little more appropriate. To attract people to religion, while appealing to their desire for creature comforts, seems a little odd.
On the flip side, the worryingly sincere preacher on street corners is still going strong. They may be a bit much but at least you know what you are getting with this lot: the occasional reprehensible view, a painfully loud voice, but also genuine extraordinary conviction, untainted by bribery.