Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thoughts Tonight...

I'm sure we have all asked these questions at one time or another, but what's the big deal? What makes it so difficult for people (Christians specifically) from understanding the concept of simply NOT accepting their faith? I run into this so often, and so often I tend to keep quiet simply due to the fact that I understand for the most part people "needing" their faith. The part that irritates me the most is the arrogant claim that it is the "ONLY" way! or if I don't accept their faith I'm doomed for hell...

This brings me to my actual thought tonight. My opinion's of the strategies used to witness. These are arranged in what I've experienced and methods that I've seen first hand used by people in an attempt to witness to me.

#1) The nice approach.
This method is typical and the one encountered the most. In this situation they simply try to witness by leading a "good" life, being kind to others, and throwing in a "Thank God", or some other blip like "Today is a wonderful day that God has made", etc... I don't mind these people because they are genuinely nice people, and usually I can carry on great conversations with them. This is the majority of those that I have encountered recently. (Granted this is only true if my lack of belief in a god does not come up witch it hardly ever does simply because I'm not really what I would consider an Evangelist for the atheist cause. I live my way and let them live theirs.) As a footnote, these are typically the ones that will not often discuss Politics or Religion.

#2) The "Visit" approach.
Now, this is the next most common encounter, and to be fair, I've usually done something to increase my chances of this happening. Typically, it's because I actually went to a "Church" function and that required me to attend a service. I can't really blame the individual for coming by the house to see if I'll come to church again since I did make the initial visit regardless of the reason I went, by attending the function or service Knowing full well what was going to happen, it would be quite dumb of me to not expect at least 1 or 2 visits by either the pastor or members of the church wondering if I'd come back. This is further complicated in the fact that my in-laws regularly attend the church and are probably constantly reminded of their "Wayward" son-in-law that keeps their daughter and grandson from being raised in church. Anyway, moving on... This visit is usually very cordial. Most of the time it's just an open invitation to come back some time and is mostly a very friendly encounter. Usually stated like: "It was great to see you in service xx Sunday's ago, would love to see you again" or something similar, and they do not ask questions. That's #3...

#3) The "Visit" Approach, but they ask a question.
This one has sub-categories, because right off the bat even before they ask the questions they have already formulated what they think the reason is that I don't go to church. Here are a two examples of typical opening "phishing" lines used:
Q1) "Why don't you go to church? Have you been hurt before by church?"
A1) No, I was not hurt in church, but yes I used to attend frequently. However, I no longer attend. At this point, the conversation gets a bit more dynamic. If they are Really interested, then i might attempt to begin explaining why.. Otherwise, if they are only interested because they have ammunition they are waiting to use... I will usually just drop it, and end the conversation.
Q2) "Do you ever feel like your missing something from your life?"
A2) Of course! Doesn't everyone at some point feel like they are missing something? Just because I may be feeling slightly down or left out, Does not mean that your god can fill that need. As a matter a fact, I will promise you that even with your faith you too will still have that empty feeling on occasion. It's perfectly natural.

Unfortunately, these last type of "Visits" rarely end on an upbeat note. Usually, because they find it so difficult to understand that you could possibly be living a full, happy, and content life without their religion or their god. They have been convinced that the only way to be "Truly" happy in life you must be living for their god. In addition as soon as many christians encounter someone that will not accept their faith, I think it causes them to consider the possibility they might be wrong.. This creates a cascade effect and in a moment they go from polite to indigent. Because the simple fact that you exists is in direct contradiction to what they believe and creates a paradox for them. If they are wrong, then their parents were wrong, and they've been living a lie... and the anger usually escalates depending on the person. This almost always end with them ending the conversation by saying "I'll be Praying for you" or "One day you'll understand". etc..

This brings up some funny comments I've heard. Once during a healthy discussion, I was told that my "Intelligence was blinding" me. Another time I was told that I "Should not read books". Both comments were just rather amusing, thought I'd share :)

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