I've been living in my hilltown home for about 32 years. In that time, Jehovah's Witnesses have been coming to my door at least once every three years, usually in the spring. I suppose the reason for such frequent visits is that there is a Kingdom Hall less than half an hour's drive from here.

I'm not at all adverse to inviting them in for a discussion on religion, especially since the visitors are different people each time. Over the years, however, these discussions have gotten rather boring and offer little that's new or challenging. By and large, JW's are the most closed-minded, intellectually illiterate theists I've ever encountered. During the early 1990's I took to issuing this caveat to them before entering into any discussion: "You're not qualified to witness to an atheist because neither of you (they always come here in pairs) understands what atheism is, nor do you understand atheistic or humanistic philosophy."

My questions for atheists in this forum are: How often to Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door or canvas your neighborhood? How do you deal with them? Do you converse or correspond with them? Do you tell them to take a hike? Do they know that you're an atheist? Have they ever simply walked away upon finding out you're an atheist? Do you have any interesting anecdotes about your encounters with JW's either at your door or elsewhere?

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Jehovah's Witnesses came to our UCM campus a few years back. They were standing on corners giving out bibles and talking to people. I just walked by them because I didn't care at that time, looking back I wish I had done something. They should have been escorted off campus at least.

There was an interesting podcast by the irreligiosophy guys http://www.irreligiosophy.com/

They interview a female ex-witness, its really interesting. I was especially interested in how they treated women, like objects just like so many other religions.
I get them very rarely here in Australia, when I do I simply say thanks for their time, but I'm an athiest and am not interested in hearing about their religion.

I'm not rude to them as it doesn't achieve anything.
When I was younger I would politely tell them I wasn't interested. After a few of them got overly pushy or downright rude, telling me Im going to burn in hell, I gave up being civil. Now I just laugh and slam the door in their faces. I do this with both the JW's and the Morons. I'd love to get them both to show up at my door at the same time. It'd be a hoot to try and get them to fight over my soul, LOL.
After a few of them got overly pushy or downright rude, telling me Im going to burn in hell, I gave up being civil.

In the interest of accuracy, no JW ever told you that you were going to "burn in hell". JW's don't believe in such a thing and never have.
With all the mormons, JWs, & other various jesus freaks who've knocked on my door, i get them confused sometimes. Thanks for the correction.
With all the mormons, JWs, & other various jesus freaks who've knocked on my door, i get them confused sometimes. Thanks for the correction.

Don't get me wrong, they still see you as bird food if you don't join.
I agree with Nate. Whenever I've brought up the subject of Hell with JW's, they've always said that they don't believe in Hell. According to them, souls that die in sin face oblivion.
My neigbors were JW's. The guy would talk to me and was pretty cool. The wife would give me a quick nod at the most. They never tried to talk to me about their cult. I am not sure if that is because I am an atheist or out of respect for the neigbors.
My neigbors were JW's. The guy would talk to me and was pretty cool. The wife would give me a quick nod at the most. They never tried to talk to me about their cult. I am not sure if that is because I am an atheist or out of respect for the neigbors.

There are all kinds of JW's- like all kinds of any religion. Most born-ins are pretty "cool", trying their best to navigate reality from a pretty weird place. Many are embarrassed. Imagine being a kid going door to door and dreading the prospect of running into a classmate. You'd be surprised by how many JW's, young and old alike, fake pressing the doorbell. They're just keeping up appearances for the sake of group acceptance. I miss a lot of my old JW friends. But when you leave, it's "game over".

Then there are the true believers, the hardliners, that don't go an hour without mentioning their faith or handing a pamphlet to someone.
Over the years, however, these discussions have gotten rather boring and offer little that's new or challenging.

They're probably as bored with it as you are. The cult was formed around a sense of urgency about the imminent arrival of Armageddon. When you've been predicting something for over a hundred years, it's difficult to maintain enthusiasm.
It is interesting to note the number of times the JW's have predicted the End Times, only to have the date pass with nothing happening. I've pointed this out to younger Witnesses as a way of proof that their religion is false and nothing but a cult. Surprisingly, not one of them seems to have any knowledge of the failed End Times prediction of the mid-1970's. Either they're refusing to openly acknowledge it (and past failures), or the church elders are making it a point to eliminate it from the current indoctrination curriculum. I believe that young Witnesses are also forbidden to research past JW literature which would confirm these failed predictions.
It is interesting to note the number of times the JW's have predicted the End Times, only to have the date pass with nothing happening.

Did you know that Carl Sagan addresses the failed JW prophecy related to 1914 in Broca's Brain?

One prominent American religion confidently predicted that the world would end in 1914. Well, 1914 has come and gone, and - whole the events of that year were certainly of some importance - the world did not, at least so far as I can see, seem to have ended. There are at least three responses that an organized religion can make in the face of such a failed and fundamental prophecy. They could have said, Oh, did we say '1914'? So sorry, we meant '2014'. A slight error in calculation. Hope you weren't inconvinenced in any way. But they did not. They could have said, Well, the world would have ended, except we prayed very hard and interceded with God so He spared the Earth. But they did not. Instead, the did something much more ingenious. They announced that the world had in fact ended in 1914, and if the rest of us hadn't noticed, that was our lookout. It is astonishing in the fact of such transparent evasions that this religion has any adherents at all. But religions are tough. Either they make no contentions which are subject to disproof or they quickly redesign doctrine after disproof. The fact that religions can be so shamelessly dishonest, so contemptuous of the intelligence of their adherents, and still flourish does not speak very well for the tough- mindedness of the believers. But it does indicate, if a demonstration was needed, that near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry.

It might be cool to offer to listen to their "presentation" if they'll first identify the "prominent American religion" to which Sagan was referring.

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