In the past few months, I have been approached not once, not twice, but three times by solicitors who want me to find Jesus through their website. I am deaf, and apparently one of my neighbors alerted this group that there was a deaf man in their neighborhood in need of salvation. This website purports to translate the Bible into American Sign Language, making it accessible for those who are deaf. The first time someone came by, I simply said that the Bible wasn't my thing, and when pressed, I politely told them I wasn't a believer and wished them a good day. I was very polite, but still ticked off. This same group followed up today with a different batch of solicitors, this time three nice ladies, two sisters and their mother. I took their pamphlet and told them I would take a look at it later because I was hungry for dinner and didn't want to chat.
Never mind the fact that I am an atheist. First of all, I have a master's degree and attended UC Berkeley, where I majored in English literature. I also work as an editor, and am more than competent when it comes to reading the English language. I am sick of these solicitors who assume that (a) deaf people cannot read, and (b) I am a Christian or someone who is seeking life's answers and can find them in an old collection of folk tales.
I try to be as polite as possible to these solicitors, but as soon as I say good-bye, I toss their pamphlets into the recycling bin.
Even worse, my massage therapist e-mailed me a link a few days ago to this very same website, saying it was oh so cool that the Bible has been translated into sign language. I considered this guy a good person (and a great masseuse), not the type to go about pushing religion on a client. Make that a former client; I will now look for a new massage therapist.
When these people just won't leave you alone, what do you do? I might expect this type of in-your-face solicitation in the Bible Belt, but I live in California, far from the Bible-thumping crowd.
Sorry you have to deal with that, Nick. I have big-time Fundie neighbors next door. We got along great for 22 years, until last Fall. They are both, well, let's just say, not smart at all. The woman kept getting in my face whenever we were outside and going on and on about "Obama is a SOCIALIST." I tried to explain Socialism to her, etc., but she'd give me a blank look and say, "But he's a SOCIALIST!" I walked away. Then she said "THEY" shouldn't get healthcare, because it would take away from "US." I told her everyone should have healthcare. Then she told me "THEY" get it anyway. They just go to the emergency room. So I walked away. I think she heard me call her a not very nice word while I was in my garage. I have successfully avoided her for close to a year. What a horrible person. I'm sure she thinks I'm the horrible one, since I'm a Liberal Atheist.
Nick, I understand you not wanting to irritate neighbors. I go out of my way to do the same.
However, I wouldn't be afraid to argue with religious solicitors even if I suspected they were sent by neighbors. I would not call them names, or raise my voice to them, but I would, and do, point-out why their beliefs go against reality.
To the first jehovah's witnesses that came by after I became atheist, I told them I was an atheist that accepted science instead of faith, but that didn't deter them. My response to the second group was "I was brainwashed into religion as a child, when I couldn't think for myself, but I finally broke-out of that indoctrination and I hope you can too." That still didn't deter them and they ask if I had read the bible, and wanted to show me verses that indicated they were compatible with science. I then started to tell them some of the many things wrong with the bible until they gave-up and left.
If they come by again and ask me if I've read the bible, I intend on saying "Of course. That's one reason I'm an atheist. Have you read Richard Dawkins The God Delusion, and his, or any renowned evolution scientist's book on evolution?"
If they still want to talk, I'll just repeat my hope that they can break-out of their brainwashing, but that I can't waste anymore of my time trying to convince them.
If one of my neighbors want's to talk to me directly, I'll be a little easier on them than on solicitors, but will still tell them what I think.
Sorry to hear about your massage therapist. My nice doctor kept trying to convert me, but I quit him and finally found one that's probably agnostic or atheist. Yea!
Glad to hear you're doing the same.
I had the same problem. Someone leaked to church groups I am a deaf guy in south Florida, where I lived before I purchased a house and moved out last spring. I think solicitors target deaf people for advantage I am not stupid, but had to deal with solicitors especially Jehovah's Witnesses people came to my doors. My solution, I had two large windows on front house. I can see who's who come. When I saw JW people walked toward to my door. I immediately stripped my clothes off and naked. I answered the door with my naked body . They got the message and never return again. It works! Now I have a new home where no solicitors are allowed in my area.
That reminded me of Dr. Kellie's welcome to missionaries, which she described at "what boobs are good for". (Great comments there.)
"They stopped dead in their tracks and looked down, then slowly turned and walked away. I can only assume this is because I was not wearing a shirt, or a bra. Perhaps from this point on I will be answering the door shirtless. Should give the Mormon boys something to talk about."
Ah, that's a bit extreme! But if you are comfortable baring your skin to perfect strangers, more power to you.
Glad to hear I am not the only deaf guy here. Some people have asked me if I am mad at God for making me deaf and if that's the reason I'm an atheist. I want to answer, "Are you mad at God for making you an idiot?" but I have yet to work up the courage to come back with that zinger.
The chutzpah comes with time, Nick, presuming that's the direction you want to go in. I suspect that the more you own your atheism, the easier slipping a zinger in will be!
I am not the only deaf guy here.
But Nick Bottom has giant ears!