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Arguing With Street Preachers


Crunk Bishop
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So I just had my first argument with a street preacher in the quad of my university...

 

They had a water color visual aid which depicted the logo of the Bible and had "higher education" written on it. Typical tract fare... Romans Road.

 

So they gave me a tract and I went back to my office and looked up a short list of Bible contradictions that I keep on file, gave him my email and invited him to check us out here at Ex-C.

 

He was a nice guy... but the argument was all Kirk Cameron/Ray Comfort's technique... y'all know, "Have you ever lied, well then you're a liar!" type stuff. I told him I was an ex-Christian and of course his response was that I must have never really been a Christian in the first place. He even said it was pointless to debate with me unless I was going to change my mind... sort of a franchise mentality.

 

He told me that God was all good and just, so I posed "Euthypho's Dilemma" and he seemed to founder a bit.

 

But of course, the discussion went nowhere.

 

I'm pretty experienced at battling street preachers, but it's been five years since I've done it. (The last time I did it was in downtown Athens, GA on good friday 2001. I already had three drinks too many and these guys came strolling up the road dressed like Roman soldiers and they were "whipping" a person dressed like Jesus who was carrying a cross. The preacher told me that when I sinned, it was like I was whipping Jesus... so I asked him to give me the whip and let me do it myself!! He got so pissed and started yelling at me "why would you want to do that?!?" Man I miss those days.)

 

So I'm wondering... what is everybody's approach to street preachers? Do you just ignore them, or do you engage them? What is your favorite strategy?

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I just tend to avoid them. Theres one guy that stands in the town centre with various boards set up as visual aids. Never stayed long enough to hear what he's saying but there's always a small crowd of people that do.

 

There is another regular street preacher in the town...though he doesn't draw a crowd, rather no one goes near him at all. Then again what does he expect when he stands in the middle of a shopping area with bible in one hand, megaphone in another and screaming at passers by :loser::Doh:

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I usually wait for them to tell me that unless I change my ways, I will go to hell. At that point I say, "I am changing my ways right now. I was walking toward you, but now I'm walking away." And on that note, I turn and walk away.

 

But then again, I never could resist being a smart ass.

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For the most part I have learned to savor the drama of evangelicals. It's performance art if you choose to view it that way. All the world is a stage, so says Shakespeare. These morons are a sideshow in that performance. Because I too can be mischievous, I often encourage their performance. It's either that or get into a pointless argument that only serves to reinforce their belief system. The moment that you argue with them is the moment that they become persecuted.

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I don't bother to argue with them. I mean, what's the point? They'll just point to scripture and bullshit, while trying to make you feel convicted with "What will you do on judgment day?" crap. Preachers are the ones real deep in this. It's like explaining to a 1-year old why it needs to change its diapers. I just either avoid them or say "Keep chasing the white rabbit in wonderland."

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I generally ignore them. However, one day, in the Walmart parking lot I kept being approached by these young dudes from Vitcory Outreach..they are encouraged to get "donations" on the street.

 

After the third one, I'd had enough. I told them sternly "We are Buddhist*. Leave us alone!"

It took all of my strength not to bust out laughing as I said this..the look on my daughter's face was priceless! :lmao:

 

*we are not really buddhist. It just came out.

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I just tend to avoid them. Theres one guy that stands in the town centre with various boards set up as visual aids. Never stayed long enough to hear what he's saying but there's always a small crowd of people that do.

 

There is another regular street preacher in the town...though he doesn't draw a crowd, rather no one goes near him at all. Then again what does he expect when he stands in the middle of a shopping area with bible in one hand, megaphone in another and screaming at passers by :loser::Doh:

 

He expects extra stars in his crown.

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The best thing I think you can do is just laugh at them. If they get worked up and point a finger at you and say, "You are going to hell!", start laughing at them. Don't even bother insulting them or arguing - that's what they want.

 

Act you're humoring them. Pretend like you're really scared, then laugh.

 

Then just walk away. :mellow: Usually they can't cope with someone mocking the threat of eternal damnation.

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How about, "Jesus told me to come over here and tell you that tonight you will be with him in paradise." Then walk away.

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GO DAWGS! I was there from fall 2000 until summer 2005. Some of the best times ever!

 

I haven't seen my street preacher buddy again and he never emailed me... maybe he's lurking around though... you never know.

 

The thing with them is that arguing seems futile because they'd never admit you're right about anything b/c they've got to be the authority in the situation and continue to dominate the discussion... they even train with that principle in mind. I like to think that by arguing with them perhaps I've "planted the seed" of doubt. Or that I've spared some other poor sucker that the preacher would be preying with had I not been there. I just think that turnabout is fair in that situation.

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I mostly avoid street preachers now, but I wasn't always that way. One night in Dallas a street preacher grabbed me by the shoulder and said "Daughter, turn away from your witchcraft!!" I was young and my response wasn't well thought out perhaps. I said to my friend, "Larry, would you buy me those pretty runestones in that window?" The preacher guy sort of freaked out and my friend and I hurried away.

 

Not two blocks down a different street preacher approached me. I seem to be a magnet for these people even though I look perfectly ordinary, no weird hair or visible tattoos or wearing all black or anything. The street preacher said to me, " Child, do you want to go to heaven??" Wishing to avoid a repeat of the earlier experience I said, "No thank you sir." I thought that would work, ah the folly of youth. Of couse that just set him off. Ever since then I avoid the street preaching nuts.

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Ohh the holy ones....So he asked you if you lied..Oh I would have LOVED to have been there. He is hitting you with the LAW. I would hit that dufas right back with his own medicine the LAW..I would ask him

1.Have you sinned today?

2.Did you lust this last week after a woemn?

3.Did you covet....or want something..like that powerball lotto?

4.Do you really worship god with ALL your heart mind and soul? "nobody does it is impossible.

I can go one but that is the gist...No one can keep these laws.Not even teh most holy and pious..

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I usually roll my eyes and walk on by. Last night though, the street preacher was surrounded by nice christian girls in dresses and long sleeves that were obviously praying. It was interesting to see. I have much better things to do on a Friday night than worry about the life of some stranger, let alone thousands of them.

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I'm pretty experienced at battling street preachers, but it's been five years since I've done it. (The last time I did it was in downtown Athens, GA on good friday 2001. I already had three drinks too many and these guys came strolling up the road dressed like Roman soldiers and they were "whipping" a person dressed like Jesus who was carrying a cross. The preacher told me that when I sinned, it was like I was whipping Jesus... so I asked him to give me the whip and let me do it myself!! He got so pissed and started yelling at me "why would you want to do that?!?" Man I miss those days.)

 

Damn, I'd have paid money to see you do that! Especially since it happened in Athens - I live in England now, but my family has been in the Athens area since the late 1700s (one of my great-great-great grandfathers was the first doctor in Winterville). I've spent a lot of my life in Athens and have never once seen a street preacher, odd as that sounds because there's sure no shortage of them. It's a shame too because street preachers fascinate me in much the same way that picking up a rock to observe the creepy-crawlies underneath scurrying around did when I was a child.

 

I love the city of Athens itself because I find it to be a liberal place with a great music scene and some fine drinking establishments, particularly for the deep South, but once you get into the countryside surrounding it, you're deep into fundie-land (as I'm sure you're well aware) - and my family is part of it. The people you ran into probably came from one of the gazillion Baptist churches there. I know from personal experience that a lot of the people who live in the many small towns in that part of Georgia think that Athens is a devilish, sinful place - although they're more than happy to go in to shop at Sam's Club and Wal-Mart.

 

All this is slightly off-topic, but you've made me homesick for an Athens pub crawl followed by a trip to the Varsity for a chili dog and some onion rings. Maybe even spotting a lurking street preacher...

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