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Harangued In Az


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So I was at Starbucks (forgive me, they're the only coffee shop open on Sundays around here!) drinking coffee and playing with a new set of juggling balls I just purchased, when a middle-aged couple walk in, look at me with tight-lipped scornful smiles, then proceed to buy their coffees.

 

I decide it's time for a cigarette so I stepped out onto the deck, holding open the door for the aforementioned couple as they were exiting right behind me.

 

They proceeded out to their car, then quickly returned with pamphlets for their church and invited me to their "revival". They asked the usual questions (did I know if I died today if I'd go to heaven, etc.) and I mostly just nodded and smiled.

 

Yes, I do know "if" I would go to heaven (didn't say one can't go someplace that doesn't exist)

Yes, I do know the "good news" (didn't tell them that their idea of "good news" was thoroughly repugnant to human dignity)

Yes, I did accept Jesus "Christ" as my lord and saviour (didn't tell them I found reason in my early 20's and haven't looked back)

Yes, I had been baptized and did go to a church (didn't tell them that "did go to a church" means I attended my sister's wedding 3 years ago)

 

I wanted to just "go along to get along" and not have a drawn out discussion with the fundies, but I felt like I was betraying myself inside by not making waves. Their proselytizing is not ok, I do not care to discuss their imaginary friends with them AT ALL, and even relatively "civil" conversations about that mind trap in which entangled my mind for so much of my younger years, is borderline traumatizing. My hands were shaking, I was in a sweat, and I felt like wrecking shit just to work off the adrenaline rush.

 

They pose as good intentioned, but little do they know the "fight-or-flight" response that arises in me when they approach me. My mind has sprung free of their trap and I refuse to fall back into that cesspool of ignorance.

 

Just needed to rant.

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Guest pineapple

I actually think you did exactly the right thing in that situation. Just lie. If you get into a lengthy discusion with them and even if you blow their arguments out if the water, odds are they're so blinded by faith that they won't get anything out of the conversation other than thinking, "we planted a seed, we're doing God's work". They will think that their discernment to talk to you was correct and that they were able to reach out to a poor heathen soul. If everybody just smiled and nodded when they approached, evangelizers would probably get bored and stop bugging us.

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I guess I'm not sure. On the one hand, going along to get along does keep the peace and makes life easier. On the other hand, it is kinda like pretending there is a Santa Clause until your kid just stops caring. Except, these aren't kids. These are grown adults who can (and will) vote and judge according to their childish beliefs.

 

Only 1.5 months ago, I was a youth pastor. Today, a mere 45+ days since my employment ended at the church, I just can't bear to pretend in fairy land any longer. I'll respect them as people. I will not respect or cater to their delusion though. I'll also not let them waste my time with "apologetics" unless I really am looking for a good discussion.

 

I don't fault you for going along with it though. I mean, we only get one life, and thats about 10mn of yours regained. However you chose to spend it, it certainly was time saved.

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...even relatively "civil" conversations about that mind trap in which entangled my mind for so much of my younger years, is borderline traumatizing. My hands were shaking, I was in a sweat, and I felt like wrecking shit just to work off the adrenaline rush.

 

I just want to say that I totally understand that reaction. I have the same feelings, really - it just shakes me to the core. That's why I don't want to talk about it at all.

 

The problem is that they just take you unawares, and in a public place you just don't want to go there. I might have done the same kind of response as you under the circumstances.

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I think you did the right thing actually. We all know nothing you could have said would have changed these people's minds, and technically you didn't lie. I could have said yes to all those things too on the technicality that I now reject it. :) Immediately after leaving Christianity I wanted to talk to my sisters and close friends about it, but it never got anywhere and all I did was make myself look a jerk trying to take something important away from them. At this point I have no interest in discussing religion with any believers unless they come seriously considering leaving religion behind and want to have open and honest conversation about their struggle.

 

Anyway, good job keeping your composure...I'd have a hard time not losing my temper.

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Hi Normadic Techno guy!

Wow! It sounds to me like you did a great job keeping it together. I don't know if I could have done as well! Just being polite and non confrontational will usually get them to leave. You never know there may come a time when it will feel like the right thing to do is disagree with them. As humans, we change, our feelings, our circumstances, where we are in our comfort zone, etc. Just be open to the fact that there is no right answer. I love saying that! For years, all I wanted was to do it RIGHT! So, listen to your gut and do what seems best TO YOU! :D

jody

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Hee hee.

 

Amazing how so many folks think 'full honest disclosure' is absolutely required regardless of context. I think it's a leftover residue of celebrated martyrdom.

 

The idea that you should stick to your beliefs in public...even if someone has a gun pointed at your head...is touted as a "virtue" amongst the religious minds. Imagine...survival behaviors are publicly derided as cowardly.

 

My cousin thought I was going to go off on a guy who'd handed us a tract. She stared at me bug-eyed waiting for me to foam anti-apologetics at the guy. She wasn't paying attention to the CONTEXT.

 

1. We were just exiting a forest trail into the parking lot, which was not visible from the main road.

2. No one else was around.

3. This guy was physically bigger than both of us put together.

4. Before he was aware of our presence, he was rocking in place from foot to foot.

5. He was cheerful, but vacuous. He seemed rather Special Needs....how he got way out to this park...I still don't know.

 

I took the tract, said thanks, and smiled when he told me Jesus loved me. DUH!!! :Doh:

 

My cousin actually told me she was surprised I'd been "nice" after we got in the car. I responded with "Yeah...upsetting a large guy a few cards short in an isolated area. Great idea. Let's do THAT next time."

 

We do not owe complete strangers (particularly complete strangers capable of ripping us to confetti) any sort of honesty regarding the contents of our heads.

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white raven,

what I hear you saying is we are "allowed" to use our brains and do what seems right at the moment, instead of being bound by some unwritten code to "explain" our position to any asshole who gets in our face. Honestly, it's so refreshingly simple! And,btw, good example to your cousin on how to look after your own best interests, something we weren't supposed to do as "good christian" girls.

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I take you don't live in a big city. After a few years in the city you just learn to say "no thanks" and walk on. Either that, or you just walk past completely ignoring them. This goes for panhandlers, people passing out fliers, scam artists of various sorts, and religious nuts.

 

I hardly even see them anymore. It's just background noise.

 

If that sounds harsh, think about this. That straight couple that harassed you likely did so because you have long dreds (I'm assuming the avitar is you) and looked like a heathen that needed to be saved. When they walked to their car to get their tracts they were feeling self righteously smug and hopeful that they could help clean up one of the scum caught in the grips of satan. No need to even acknowledge that. It's not good for your mental health.

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Sometimes, a simple, "No, thank you," is enough.

 

Indeed. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. More often when I'm approached by Christians a simple "No, thank you" isn't enough. It's followed by more questions or statements.

 

Hi Normadic Techno guy!

Wow! It sounds to me like you did a great job keeping it together. I don't know if I could have done as well![...]listen to your gut and do what seems best TO YOU! :D

jody

 

Thanks for the kind words all! I got more of the people trying to "save" me when I recently deconverted. . .now my appearance tends to make many of them shy away.

 

I take you don't live in a big city. After a few years in the city you just learn to say "no thanks" and walk on.

 

 

Well, I was just coming to sit on the porch and roll a cig, so there wasn't much "walking on" to do. I certainly didn't want them following me on a smoke break! And I don't live in big citys anymore. . .born in Houston, spent lots of time in the rural East Texas area, now traveling with the renaissance festivals.

 

Thank you all for the comments/suggestions!

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I guess I'm not sure. On the one hand, going along to get along does keep the peace and makes life easier. On the other hand, it is kinda like pretending there is a Santa Clause until your kid just stops caring. Except, these aren't kids. These are grown adults who can (and will) vote and judge according to their childish beliefs.

 

Only 1.5 months ago, I was a youth pastor. Today, a mere 45+ days since my employment ended at the church, I just can't bear to pretend in fairy land any longer.

 

Wow, congrats on the recent turn for the better!

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Yeah, a guy approached me at Barnes and Noble last night. He saw that I was reading Does God Exist: The atheist/theist Debate (I already know my position on this subject but I like reading debate material). At any rate, this guy comes up to me and hands me a flyer and says, "I saw what you were reading and the answer is YES! he does exist! E-mail me and I'll send you a CD that proves it!"

 

I'm like, "yeah, okay." And left it at that. I just ignore them. I'm not going to get into a debate with anyone because it gets me too upset.

 

I've got a pretty aggressive personality so if someone walks up to me and hands me a tract I sneer at them. I've been known to politely tell people to fuck off.

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I've got a pretty aggressive personality so if someone walks up to me and hands me a tract I sneer at them. I've been known to politely tell people to fuck off.

 

 

Might have to try that :grin:

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