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A Time of Doubt for Atheists

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#41 Godeskian

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 08:11 AM

Delvo, on Jul 20 2005, 12:31 PM, said:

Those of you with these lists of times you've been "accosted" over religion are seriously beginning to make me wonder what else you're not telling that would explain how in the world you've kept managing to get it to happen to you... no such thing has ever happened to me or anyone else I've ever heard from in any of the places I've been.

I wish I could explain it. The most egrarious case was where I simply was sitting in a McDonalds reading through a D&D book. (Council of Wyrms if I recall correctly) and a woman piointed me out to her pre-teen daughter with a warning that if she didn't behave she'd grow up to be a satanist like me.

You know, now that you mention it, several of the cases where i've been accosted have involved roleplaying supplements of one kind or another. hmm... I need to think on this.

However if it's a matter of quantity and references you want, I can point you to dozens of websites of people who've experienced similar things. It's not a unique phenomena

Edited by Godeskian, 20 July 2005 - 08:12 AM.

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#42 Elara

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 09:24 AM

Delvo, on Jul 20 2005, 06:31 AM, said:

Those of you with these lists of times you've been "accosted" over religion are seriously beginning to make me wonder what else you're not telling that would explain how in the world you've kept managing to get it to happen to you... no such thing has ever happened to me or anyone else I've ever heard from in any of the places I've been.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


~.~ Then you can count yourself as being lucky or perhaps you have never mentioned, what you are, to someone that is opposite. But if you are suggesting we may be asking for it or are attacking someone else for what they are, in my case (as I can only speak for myself), you would be in error.
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#43 Cardie

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 09:56 AM

Well, clearly, if there's no way an atheist or non-Christian self-identifies as that, they probably would not be accosted.  But that doesn't make it right for someone to come over and berate you for what is on your t-shirt, or the Star of David around your neck, or the book you're reading in public, or for your mentioning non-belief when the conversational topic among friends or colleagues turns to religion.

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#44 sierraleone

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 10:09 AM

Cardie, on Jul 20 2005, 10:56 AM, said:

Well, clearly, if there's no way an atheist or non-Christian self-identifies as that, they probably would not be accosted.  But that doesn't make it right for someone to come over and berate you for what is on your t-shirt, or the Star of David around your neck, or the book you're reading in public, or for your mentioning non-belief when the conversational topic among friends or colleagues turns to religion.

Cardie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Unless they ask you ;) I suppose it would be politest just to refrain if there is a religious conversation going on unless asked (from discussing your non-belief anyways, but if you wanted to civilly discuss the topic at hand w/out going off into your non-beliefs in it, that would be fine).

Not sure I can completely agree w/ that sentiment. There are different shades of that. If they were discussing married life, and you are gay, are you not allowed to discuss your 'married' life (keeping in mind in some places its legal, as well, people will talk about married life when they are only common-law and such). Of course, someone could say, if you are single and distain married life, its politest not to comment at all, and at least the commited gay person can relate to the other couples in many ways, so it'd be more like a Protestant entering into a Catholic's discussion on religion (though some might use Pagan/Islam/Buddist instead of Protestant in my example ;) ). And the straight person representing Atheist.

I suppose the closest example isn't a gay person, since they are still playing the game, just w/ a different twist.

Hate to use this as an example, but I suppose its like the politeness in people not telling young kids Santa doesn't exist (as its up to the parent as to when, if the kids don't figure it out themselves)

Edited by sierraleone, 20 July 2005 - 10:11 AM.

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#45 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 10:42 AM

Cardie, on Jul 20 2005, 10:56 AM, said:

Well, clearly, if there's no way an atheist or non-Christian self-identifies as that, they probably would not be accosted.  But that doesn't make it right for someone to come over and berate you for what is on your t-shirt, or the Star of David around your neck, or the book you're reading in public, or for your mentioning non-belief when the conversational topic among friends or colleagues turns to religion.

I think the problem with that is that some people feel that your soul is on the line.  Just to use the "Sin like you mean it" (which, btw, I love that T-shirt idea) example, if somebody truly believes that by sinning you will be damned to hell for all of eternity, they may feel a moral obligation to approach a person wearing that shirt.  Now, there may be polite and impolite ways to make this approach, but (whether you agree with it or not) can you really fault somebody for making contact for that reason?  

I, personally, call people out over statements they make loud and clear all the time (whether it be a shirt, bumper sticker, or signature line).  I'm still bitter that I didn't get a chance to talk to the person wearing the "God doesn't believe in athiests" T-shirt (who would want to worship a God that doesn't believe in all of his creations?).  

Even for something more subtle, like a star of David around the neck, or even a cross around the neck, it would seem to me that you are displaying your faith because you are proud to believe - and if you can't handle somebody politely questioning it (and if you can't accept any questioning of your faith as being "polite") you shouldn't advertise your beliefs.  

But the next time you are berated for wearing a shirt and are preached to, take a moment to wonder if the person is just holier than thou, or if they truly are making an effort to save your soul from eternal damnation.  Whether I agree with it or not, I have to give a lot of credit to somebody that would approach a stranger for the purpose of saving their soul.

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#46 Godeskian

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:22 PM

Rhiannonjk, on Jul 20 2005, 04:42 PM, said:

But the next time you are berated for wearing a shirt and are preached to, take a moment to wonder if the person is just holier than thou, or if they truly are making an effort to save your soul from eternal damnation.  Whether I agree with it or not, I have to give a lot of credit to somebody that would approach a stranger for the purpose of saving their soul.

I'd like to think about this before I respond, but I'd just like to say that this paragraph did make me stop and think.

I shall return to this topic once i've thought.

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#47 Rhea

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:25 PM

Rhiannonjk, on Jul 20 2005, 07:42 AM, said:

Well, clearly, if there's no way an atheist or
But the next time you are berated for wearing a shirt and are preached to, take a moment to wonder if the person is just holier than thou, or if they truly are making an effort to save your soul from eternal damnation.  Whether I agree with it or not, I have to give a lot of credit to somebody that would approach a stranger for the purpose of saving their soul.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I don't much care how sincere they are about saving my soul - that's THEIR problem. I don't proselytize for atheism or agnosticism or whatever and I expect them to do me the courtesy of leaving me alone as well.

To put it another way, their rights end where my nose beings.  :hehe:

Edited by Rhea, 20 July 2005 - 12:34 PM.

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#48 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:36 PM

^ but, if an athiest doesn't push their opinions on a religious person, they don't believe that the religious person is going to suffer eternally.  Perhaps they are going to suffer in this lifetime, by wasting time and emotion on religion, but there is no need to help people from wasting time.

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#49 nutmeg

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:43 PM

Quote

But the next time you are berated for wearing a shirt and are preached to, take a moment to wonder if the person is just holier than thou, or if they truly are making an effort to save your soul from eternal damnation. Whether I agree with it or not, I have to give a lot of credit to somebody that would approach a stranger for the purpose of saving their soul.


Hmm, no here I disagree -- specifically with "giving a lot of credit to somebody that would approach a stranger for the purposes of saving their soul."

Two points: 1) If I wanted to discuss the state of my soul, I would ask someone I knew and trusted with something so personal. A stranger invading my space with their comments/beliefs is not welcome. A person equating paganism (if that were my belief) with satanism is especially unwelcomed.
2) The idea that a 'soul' actually exists is in itself a belief. If I thought that the concept of a 'soul' was unproven, then it would be even more unwelcomed to have some stranger invade my space with their need to 'save' a part of me that I'm not sure that I even have. And if I do have one (a soul that is) why is it the stranger's responsibility to decide if it is in danger or not (from my book or t-shirt)? When did any of us give others' the responsibility to monitor our beliefs and permission to intrude in our lives if our beliefs apparently differ from their beliefs? Because my soul might be in mortal danger? Oh dear, back to the issue of whether someone's belief that I have one in danger gives them the right to confront me as I go happily along my way not caring one way or another about  the concept of a soul.

Oh, BTW, my soul is fine - and it's still nobody else's business to intrude in order to "save it".

nutmeg

Edited by nutmeg, 20 July 2005 - 12:47 PM.


#50 Zwolf

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:50 PM

Quote

Whether I agree with it or not, I have to give a lot of credit to somebody that would approach a stranger for the purpose of saving their soul.

***** I've only run into a few who really seemed sincere about soul-saving.  Mostly it's just fear-of-nonconformity or attempts to enforce their will.  While I still think it's arrogant in the extreme for anyone to presume that they are "saved" and you are "damned," I am a lot more patient with the ones who seem sincere.   Back in high school, while I was putting up with all the Christian-jihadists who wanted to beat the love o' Jesus in me, I did get approached by this girl named Becky, who was concerned because she knew I liked Black Sabbath, and something in her sunday school literature said that Black Sabbath was evil, so she was "worried about me."  Now, Becky was one of the ones I always had respect for:  unlike most of my hard-drinking, skoal-dippin', drug-takin' fornicatin' n-word-knockin' yee-haw supposed-Christian classmates,  she actually walked the walk.  Didn't drink, didn't smoke, didn't take drugs, didn't screw, and didn't spout racist b.s.   This gave me more in common with her than not, despite our widely-varying religious views.   And I've never wasted a lot of respect on people who just gave things lip-service... at some point, they have to pony up.  She was legit, and I never caught her slipping, so I didn't resent her.  All I did was give her the lyrics to a Black Sabbath song - "After Forever" - which is so pro-religion that I even have Christian metal bands who've covered it.  She tossed her Sunday school magazine in the trash.  

Being approached by a sincere person doesn't make it any less annoying, but I'm more inclined to be patient with them and to not try to destroy their faith.

Nowdays, though, if I get approached with that stuff by anybody who I know doesn't walk the walk, I push back.   And I've done that hard enough to wreck a few people's religion.  One lady actually still thanks me from time to time for leading her off the religious path... she didn't realize how miserable it was making her.  But, those are extreme situations, and aren't often called for.

Cheers,

Zwolf
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But I'm never talking to you again
There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
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#51 woody000

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:52 PM

The fact is though, it can be done with good intentions, even if it's not  appreciated, nor the right thing. They don't have to be condemning a person. (And shouldn't be, anyway.)

#52 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:56 PM

To you, Nutmeg, your argument makes perfect sense, and I see why you feel that way.  While I know this is bringing up another hot subject, but some people would see a blatant advertisement of non-christianity the same way another person might see a person beating a dog in public.  *You* don't think your soul is in danger (and I am in no way telling you it is - I am just interpreting what I have been told by some very religous people) but they see it in so much danger that it would be wrong not to intervene.  Just as some people would never imagine not stepping in and stopping somebody from beating a dog (while some people think that beating an animal is the appropriate way to teach it a lesson).

I am in no way saying it is right, or that people *should* do this, I'm just trying to put a perspective on some of the religious people that bring the subject up.  Now, for them to interpret things incorrectly (like approaching you because you are reading a seemingly pagan book, etc) and rudely preach at you is another issue - but still, the moral of the story is that they *think* that you are not aware that you are headed straight to hell, and want to save you.  Lots of rude, bad, and even  mean things happen to people as they try to "save" others.  

Unfortunatly there is no universal symbol for "Comfortable with my soul no matter what shall happen after death."

***Is easily distracted***


#53 woody000

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:57 PM

Zwolf666, on Jul 20 2005, 05:50 PM, said:

who was concerned because she knew I liked Black Sabbath, and something in her sunday school literature said that Black Sabbath was evil, so she was "worried about me." 

Hehe, I'm a Christian and I've had discussions with other Christians about that. I listen to black sabbath, and as a musician that appreciates quality music regardless of theme, not to mention as you say, the fact that many of the themes are actually pro-religion, I'm quite proud and happy to say I listen to it. The only legitimate debate there is that it's trivialising the idea of the devil. But I don't agree with that personally.

Quote

she actually walked the walk.  Didn't drink,

For the record, I don't see that as walking the walk. :p

#54 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:59 PM

Zwolf -  I have nothing to say in response to your posts throughout this thread except that I agree with almost everything you have said.  so, uh.... here here!

Quote

QUOTE
she actually walked the walk.  Didn't drink,



For the record, I don't see that as walking the walk. 

depends on what you are talking :)

Edited by Rhiannonjk, 20 July 2005 - 01:00 PM.

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#55 Cheile

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:01 PM

Zwolf666, on Jul 20 2005, 06:02 AM, said:

******* In my experience, Christians don't mind pagans nearly as much as they mind atheists.  Pagans are still "spiritual" and are still playing the game.  They're not as much of a threat.  And being harrassed for having friends who are something isn't nearly the same as being harrassed for being that thing yourself.  So, sorry, but based on your original statement - that believers are harassed much more than non-believers - I still don't think you understand the perspective.  But, nobody says you have to...

Cheers,

Zwolf

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


um yea guess you've never dealt with right-wingers who persist in labeling all pagans as Satanists, corrupters, whores of Hell, choose your hypocritical insult and insert it here.  to them:  atheists?  psh....they are written off as godless and therefore hopeless--or handed off to the fanatics who want to convert them.  pagans?  OMG THEY DARE TO HAVE A RELIGION THAT ISN'T MINE!  and then turn on me and order that "no real Christian would EVER associate with THAT type of people!!"  and i never get an answer to "what about Jesus saying 'judge not lest ye be judged', huh??"  to these idiots, being friendly to pagans is as bad as being one of them.

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#56 Zwolf

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:16 PM

Quote

The fact is though, it can be done with good intentions, even if it's not appreciated, nor the right thing. They don't have to be condemning a person. (And shouldn't be, anyway.)

****** I agree that many times it is done with good intentions.  And, like I said, I'll usually politely listen before turning 'em down.   I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, and even if they get pushy about it I sometimes let it slide - everything's got a price on it and not every wrong has to be avenged.   If they persist and won't take no for an answer, though, then they've asked for it.    

One thing that's got to be understood, though, is that it's pretty impossible for someone to come up to you and presume that you're going to Hell because you don't believe what they believe without it being condemning, though.   I may think that people are wasting a whole lot of their lives by going to church, but I'd have a hard time escaping arrogance if I went up to them to share my sincere concern tht they were wasting their time.    I don't think they'd appreciate it any more than I appreciate their fears of my spending eternity in a place which I know doesn't exist.

One of the first and most important things an athiest has to learn - at least to function down South - is to indulge people.  This may sound offensive, but it's the truth so I'll say it:  I listen to religious people witness the same way I listen to toddlers tell me about their imaginary friends.  I'm glad if it makes them happy, and if they're not using it to hurt other people, then I'm all for it and wouldn't try to take it from them.   I know people hate being "condescended to," but that's the only thing I can do when someone starts preaching to me.   I used to work at a gospel radio station (it turned into one - it was classic rock when I started there) and so I got used to indulging people.  And I sincerely liked many of them - they were very nice people.    And I don't mind if religious people think they have to "indulge" non-believers.  That's fine; they believe what they believe, so they naturally think they're right and I'm wrong.  And that's okay, as long as they have enough respect not to try to "correct" me.   If they push that, then I start popping balloons.   If they don't, then I'd be out of line trying to crush their faith...

Cheers,

Zwolf
"I've moved on and I'm feeling fine
And I'll feel even better
When your life has nothing to do with mine."
-Pittbull, "No Love Lost"

"There are things that I'd like to say
But I'm never talking to you again
There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
- Husker Du, "Never Talking To You Again"

#57 Eskaminzim

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:25 PM

Rhiannonjk:

I hope you don't mind my replying to a post you addressed to another (Nutmeg, specifically), but I had some difficulties with your example.  A person beating a dog on the street is doing harm to another living being, as well as likely committing a crime.  

Someone wearing a t-shirt isn't causing harm to another living being, nor is he committing a crime of any type.  

Perhaps a better analogy would be someone running into a McDonalds and preaching to the customers there that the eating of all that fat is asking for their heart and arteries to be condemned to hell, so to speak.

Or walking into a bar and preaching that liquor is a one way ticket to liver disease.

Even these are relatively poor analogies, since it is proven that fat can lead to heart disease and liquor can lead to liver disease, but no where is it proven that the soul or hell or heaven or G/god exists.

So, perhaps a better analogy even than that would be:  You're walking down the street wearing your favorite plain black t-shirt and someone stepping up to you and telling you that wearing black is a basic invitation to the M-eer-zzzztt people of Mars to be beaming their death rays directly into your large intestine and that if you wanted to save your digestive system, you better change the color of your shirt, pronto!

I doubt many would feel an admiration for such a person coming up to them with that, and yet, it is no more proven that G/god exists than it is proven that the M-eer-zzzztts inhabit Mars in their invisible form.

It's my own belief, neither proven nor disproven, that G/god is a mass delusion brought about by the human species' knowledge of their own mortality, and, frankly, I don't want, need, or desire anyone foisting that delusion off on me, any more than I'd want anyone foisting their drugs on me, or their delusion that microwaves are secret CIA brainwave transmitters.  

I'll live my life, and the believers can live theirs, and in the end, if I'm right, it won't matter, and if they're right...it still won't matter.

IMHO, of course.

#58 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:26 PM

Zwolf666, on Jul 20 2005, 02:16 PM, said:

One thing that's got to be understood, though, is that it's pretty impossible for someone to come up to you and presume that you're going to Hell because you don't believe what they believe without it being condemning, though.   I may think that people are wasting a whole lot of their lives by going to church, but I'd have a hard time escaping arrogance if I went up to them to share my sincere concern tht they were wasting their time.    I don't think they'd appreciate it any more than I appreciate their fears of my spending eternity in a place which I know doesn't exist.
You do have a point with presuming people will go to hell.  And I can't imagine any situation where the reverse that you mention would be acceptable.  
"Hello, I notice that you were just making plans for church.  I would like to share that I think you are wasting precious moment in a life that will surely end with nothing more than your last breath, from this body in front of me, and nothing more.  Please, go enjoy life instead of planning for an afterlife that doesn't exist!"
^while to me that would be a great message to send, and one that everybody needs to hear (especially the part about living every moment instead of planning for an afterlife) I can't imagine anywhere in society where it would be accepted, no matter how politely you approach.


(Eskaminzim I see your post, it popped up while I was typing this one, I'll reply in a sec)

Edited by Rhiannonjk, 20 July 2005 - 01:27 PM.

***Is easily distracted***


#59 Zwolf

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:35 PM

Quote

^while to me that would be a great message to send, and one that everybody needs to hear (especially the part about living every moment instead of planning for an afterlife) I can't imagine anywhere in society where it would be accepted, no matter how politely you approach.

***** Exactly. :)   And it would be presumptous of me to do that.  I figure that the people who are going to church are going because they enjoy it.  They get something positive out of it, and as long as it's not one of those "Fred Phelps" kind of churches that set out to hurt people, then... why should I interfere?  I wouldn't want to take something away from somebody if it's a comfort to them, unless it infringes on me somehow.

It's like baseball.  I don't care much for baseball, but... eh, I know a lot of people do, so I'm happy for them to watch the games. :)

Cheers,

Zwolf
"I've moved on and I'm feeling fine
And I'll feel even better
When your life has nothing to do with mine."
-Pittbull, "No Love Lost"

"There are things that I'd like to say
But I'm never talking to you again
There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
- Husker Du, "Never Talking To You Again"

#60 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 01:53 PM

Eskaminzim, on Jul 20 2005, 02:25 PM, said:

I hope you don't mind my replying to a post you addressed to another (Nutmeg, specifically), but I had some difficulties with your example.  A person beating a dog on the street is doing harm to another living being, as well as likely committing a crime. 
I don't mind at all, in fact, the passion that you feel here is exactly what I was trying to evoke.  Some people think it is perfectly acceptable to beat a dog (and for this, we can say "beating a dog" is something as light as popping it with a newspaper to "teach it manners"), while you see it as on the verge of being a possible criminal act (whether you see it as *being* a criminal act or not is a totally different issue).  

I'm not defending the practice, I am just trying to put it in perspective, as I have been told by bible-belt christians that to let a person live without being "offered Jesus Christ as their savior" would be the same as letting a person beat a dog.  I'm not changing the analogy - and I don't expect you to see them in the same extremity.  But some people go to church every sunday and are told that they *need* to approach people to keep them from going to hell.  They call is "being saved" for a reason.  ("they" being, in my mind at the moment, baptists)  

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Someone wearing a t-shirt isn't causing harm to another living being, nor is he committing a crime of any type. 
no, but they are advertising that they aren't following the path that will save them from eternal hell.  So for somebody that believes that this person *is* going to eternal hell because of what they are saying by wearing a particular shirt, it is as important to approach them as it would be if they were causing harm or comitting a crime.  Are we only allowed to approach strangers if they are causing harm to somebody or committing a crime?

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Perhaps a better analogy would be someone running into a McDonalds and preaching to the customers there that the eating of all that fat is asking for their heart and arteries to be condemned to hell, so to speak.
some people feel passionatly that this should be done - and wonder why the trend isn't catching on (at least that was the message that I got from "Supersize Me." )

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Even these are relatively poor analogies, since it is proven that fat can lead to heart disease and liquor can lead to liver disease, but no where is it proven that the soul or hell or heaven or G/god exists.
Again, does it have to be that extreme for people to talk to others?  

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So, perhaps a better analogy even than that would be:  You're walking down the street wearing your favorite plain black t-shirt and someone stepping up to you and telling you that wearing black is a basic invitation to the M-eer-zzzztt people of Mars to be beaming their death rays directly into your large intestine and that if you wanted to save your digestive system, you better change the color of your shirt, pronto!
LOL!  that's hilarious.  And yes, I think that analogy is just as valid as mine.  I am not defending the people that walk up to save your souls, I'm just trying to give you a perspective as to why they do it.  

And as for your beliefs, I don't care.  I *don't* like being approached by somebody trying to save my soul, and I have, many many times.  I, therefore, don't advertise my beliefs, because I *do* believe that people who feel strongly enough about something will always try to share it with others, and what better way to find people that don't believe the same as you than those people that are "advertising" it in some way?  

In case I haven't said it in many round-about ways, I am not defending the whole "approach people to save their souls" idea, I am just explaining why I understand, and occasionally admire, people that do it.

***Is easily distracted***




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