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Spot The Doubter


Tollo
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I have to go to a Christian function coming up that I'd rather not attend, but while I'm there I thought it might be fun as a personal game to try to riddle out who (if anyone) might be a future ex-Christian based on their statements, people they reference, overcompensation, etc. not going to do anything with my observations (mayyyybe I'd be a little more friendly to them), I'm really just looking for an activity to make it less tedious. Any ideas? Do you know any "symptoms" that might signal a potential apostate, even just knowing yourselves?

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Language that doesn't use as much jargon as everyone around them. Particularly a lack of "praise Jesus" and such, if that's a common thing to do in that group.

 

Staying silent and perhaps even looking uncomfortable every time one of the crazies starts spewing hate. Around fundies, this is often political nonsense. I don't mean just expressing a political opinion, but where someone's nearly spitting in their hatred of "liberals" or "gays" or whatever. Now, some nicer christians might be bothered by that and try to say something to tone it down, maybe something about being loving or leaving it to god, but being more upset by it than going along with it can be a sign of someone who doesn't quite belong.

 

There's aways the not closing your eyes and bowing your head during prayer.

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The big tip off is during prayer they look around the room.   

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I was a doubter, and I was found out by fundamentalists.

 

First, the doubter always tries to be the reasonable one in the group. "We can let the gay guy in. So, maybe he wants to see what we're all about. You can always show him the door if he picks a fight." ... that was me, 2003, Purpose Driven Life small group. And i was even worse: "We're not clear on the science yet behind homosexuality. After all, at one time, the deaf were thought to be damned because they can't hear the Word."

That last one was pretty gauche in that environment, and got me a few jibes from some women about how I can't possibly be a good priest in the home. Hmm, not so wrong now  were they?

How about that guy who just seems uneasy, like others have said. Maybe gives the ministry people a break, brings them a plate of food. .... oops that was me again. I was painfully aware of their burnout position, being my wife was among them for a time.

Oh, I'd love to take you out for a beer or six and get you pumped and ready for this. I was their object of dog-sniffing out the doubter for years. Unlike what some of them might suspect, I am not the least bit bitter. They were right, and helped me deconvert.

Watch the one who gets smaller in his seat when they start talking winnowing, remnants, everything that can be shaken will be shaken out.

Oh, and the doubter is definitely fast and furious with the note taking. I had a Braille Windows Mobile tablet at the time, being Blind. And I'll tell you fortunately the doves and the magic bears were too obsessed, either cooing or talking about me getting a miracle, to notice I was writing everything down they said up front fast and furious, to cross check, take stock of what was said. Read the entire chapter instead of the one verse or half a verse they would use.

The doubter will be the one who is very up on apologetic and counterapologetic arguments -- those things the Christians argue about with each other. So if you're pentecostal, she will be the one who has read up on dispensationalism and the age of miracles and similar stuff from the Baptists and other people.

Oh, here's the best part. If the doubter is no longer defensive, trying to assure those around them that yes, they are in fact a Christian, even if a little bit different? They're on their way to deconversion. Dog-sniffers pressing them won't make them defensive anymore by then, they'll just agree the sniffer may be right about their inauthenticity, and leave the sniffer befuddled.

 

O, D'Souza: You only wish that some of us were atheists because of our penises! If you only knew how many of your works and the works of your contemporaries that we read, and how they helped us deconvert!

 

Church people, you fear porn? You really are terrified some of us have been looking at pictures and stories about sex on the Internet? You should only wish that was what we'd spent months and years doing! You have answers for that, if apparently flailing and faltering ones. But when the foundations of your fundamentals quake, crack, and brick by brick start to crumble in our hands, there just isn't any coming back. And you were right when you sniffed us out, found us unorthodox, tested our Christianity and political loyalties. You helped us find out for ourselves what we are, and more to the point, what Christianity really is!

 

... hope that helps, though I did get a bit personal there.

If the orthodoxy-sniffers can sniff out doubters, why can't deconverts? Turn about, and all that.

Don't mind me if I take private vicarious pleasure in you running into some doubter like I was. Say, you'll have to get her away from her believing husband, or him away from his believing wife.

Stick to the edges: that's where they are. Unless their spouse takes their hand and pulls them in to the prayer circle or something.

You may find a few washing dishes and stuff. ... just, sayin'.

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I'm guessing everyone there will have name tags on? Presumably something you can use, if you can see.

Listen to what people say about other people. If they start talking about how confused by, or concerned for, someone over lunch or something, and it's not your run of the mill sleeping around, drugs, booze, you can probably start to watch that doubter.

"not getting into the spirit," "Not getting behind the leadership," "Well, she really is sincere for the Lord. I mean she studies the Bible a lot and stuff, but haven't you noticed ...?"

Man, the way the Christians talk about each other? they're the best! I mean, how else is someone who can't see supposed to find fellow doubters? If you can't see body language, or you're not in the room with people at the time / think you might miss one, trust me: the rest will talk. Just listen through the ribble rabble for that 'c' word: 'concerned', and ask who it is.

I have met quite a few doubters that way in the churches over the years. Of course, most will be saying stuff like, "Oh yes, I'm a Christian. I'm just being reasonable about the whole thing." and "The nonsense can't really be God."

Not downplaying the visual at all. I get that. If you can use it, use it. But if you're at a conference, you are only at one place at a time. Listen while others talk and give you clues.

Damn! and a good deal of that time, I had deluded myself into thinking we were just finding each other to strenghen ourselves in the faith, in ways the more emotional political types couldn't.

You will find some. Getting them away from the goon squad of thoughtcrime monitors might could be a problem. Less of a problem perhaps, if you can visually see opportunities for how and when.

Whatever you do, you're gonna be a breath of fresh air for someone there.

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