THE SOCIAL CRIME OF RELIGIOUS WITNESSING BEHAVIOUR

Religious door-knockers, button-holers and junk mailers engender a range of emotions in their victims which are almost entirely negative. The range includes amusement, boredom, irritation, frustration, anger, and even rage. While others identify the behavior as rude, religious zealots and fundamentalists who engage in “witnessing behavior” appear to be ignorant of several generally accepted social rules.

Extended or repeated "declarations of faith" are considered acceptable if they are projected towards those with a similar world view - in which case you could expect a reply in kind. (“Praise the Lord, my Savior, My Shepherd and my Eternal Helper.” “Hallelujah”)

They are also considered acceptable when directed towards individuals or groups who have freely elected to subject themselves to the experience - such as someone attending a Muslim mosque, a Hindu temple, a Pentecostal service or an American Evangelical Crusade as part of their general education and curiosity about life.

Such "witnessing" is considered to be rude when directed at people who do not fit these criteria because it is an act which makes the perpetrator feel good but causes negative feelings in the recipient.
It is grossly bad mannered when directed towards those who once held the speaker's position but abandoned it after encountering inconsistent realities.

When ex-believers are informed of the "relationship" which someone has with something which the ex-believer has discarded as purely imaginary, this is what they hear:

"The conclusions which I have drawn from my subjective experience, and which I have no interest in logically examining, are far superior to the conclusions you have reached after careful examination of the evidence. I have no respect for your reasoning ability, your theological studies, or your formal and informal education because your conclusions differ from mine. If you don't believe as I do then you must be ignorant, stupid, evil or cursed. You are therefore inferior to me. Let me fix you and show you how you to think correctly.

This is the arrogance of ignorance, not wisdom. This is rudeness, not respect. This is selfishness, not love.

Views: 91

Tags: christian witness, evangelizing, proselyzing, religious behaviour, rudeness

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Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on April 9, 2009 at 9:38pm
@Angelina, I lived next door to a family of JWs some years back. They had some of the most undisciplined and disturbed kids in the neighborhood. When we asked the parents to prevent their children from coming into our land and cutting down the bamboo we were accused of engaging in religious persecution!
Comment by Angelia Arrington on April 9, 2009 at 7:26pm
I was raised in the Jehovah's Witness faith. I was dragged to at least three meetings a week (not counting getting hours standing on the street corner with the literature, going from door to door and one hour a week personal family bible study). For some reason, I never "became" one of them and could not embrace the theological dogma.

I was always acutely aware of how annoying our knocks were, but I doubt if others know how embarrassing it was for the innocent children who were forced to tag along.
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 27, 2009 at 8:41pm
Moonbeam: Yes, choose a nasty passage and then "pray" to thank god for a moral message of such relevance in today's morally rudderless and confused world.
Comment by Moonbeam on February 27, 2009 at 8:13pm
Good for you, Daniel. I've been wondering what to do at work about people reading from the bible when we have our "Reflection", which we start every meeting with. I asked to do it once, and I said, "I would like to thank God for this economic crisis, which will keep all of us together for so much longer than we had planned!" They were not very amused. I work at a Catholic hospital, so I'm not sure of the rules about bible-reading; it appears to be allowed even in mixed company, but maybe nobody has ever protested. I guess I could pick out a particularly nasty few verses to (innocently) read sometime, that might be more fun anyway.
Comment by unholyroller on February 26, 2009 at 1:24am
Payback's a bitch and funnier than hell! Thanks for the guffaws!
Comment by unholyroller on February 26, 2009 at 1:16am
Laughing so hard tears are rolling down my face!! I usually just say "I'm atheist..get off my porch." and close the door. I like this much better!
Comment by Daniel W on February 25, 2009 at 10:34pm
I think they must have my house crossed off from their list - I don't get visits from pairs of religious evangelists. Sometimes I wish they would come by so that I can react like that nice lady. Or ask to look at their magic underwear. Really, I would like to see it!

When religion comes up at work, I gently remind people that we have a diverse workplace, and discussion of certain topics like religion, politics, and sex, can be violations of safe & fair work practices. We are fairly well indoctrinated into those workplace rules (employer does not want lawsuits about workplace harrassment or intimidation) so it doesn't come up much.
Comment by zeeman barzell on February 25, 2009 at 7:00pm
Amen, Gramma, amen.
Comment by Buffy on February 25, 2009 at 6:52pm
Kristy,

I like your veteran friend. :-)

I also like this plucky lady.

Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 25, 2009 at 6:35pm
Hilarious!

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