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A Time of Doubt for Atheists

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#61 Godeskian

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:00 PM

I've thought about what you said Rhiannonjk, and I find that I both agree and disagree.

The state of my soul, if I have such a thing, is between me and whatever God exists. If God truly exists, and truly loves us all equally, then he doesn't need to make his pitch with prostelysers. What's more, when you come to me, and interrupt what i'm doing to tell me that i'm wrong and you're right, you make me very angry.

However, if you are truly trying to save me, then part of me does appreciate the efforts. It won't convert me, but sincerity will stop me from very loudly tearing into you (please note, this is a generic you) with every bit of venom I can.

I wear silly slogan T's, including the 'sin' one, because I find the catchphrases funny, nothing else.

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#62 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:08 PM

^ I agree, on every count.  
In fact, I want a "Sin like you mean it" shirt in one of those ways that I would never spend money on one, but if somebody left one at my house I'd wear it.  

And I promise that *I* would never approach you about your soul, unless it just looked really troubled and you needed to talk to somebody.  Then it wouldn't be a matter of religion, it would be a matter of checking on a fellow human being.  

Though I totally reserve the right to joke about your soul, ("you" in this case being as generic as when you used it) question your soul, and make random comments about you going straight to hell.  though only if I know that the generic you I'm talking to has a sense of humor.

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#63 Eskaminzim

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:15 PM

Rhiannonjk:

I honestly do understand what makes people feel they must "save the souls" of others.  Now, I was raised in a Roman Catholic household, and from my experience (which may not be anyone else's), RC's usually don't feel the need to save anyone else's soul from damnation.  Their faith is usually between themselves and their priest.

And I was even a theology minor in my very Roman Catholic college (Villanova) if you can believe that!

As I got out on my own, I've been accosted by more than one person of faith (be that of an organized religion, or one that has a congregation of one and worships the common garden slug of outer Micronesia), and usually when I'm wearing formal business attire, or my dang SCRUBS.

In Arizona, I'd consider the day a success if I wasn't preached to about the state of my soul by at least one team of well dressed, well coiffed, exceedingly earnest Mormon males.  Here in Atlanta, I consider my weekend a success if I'm not accosted on my way in or out my own dang door by a team of well dressed, well coiffed and exceedingly earnest JWs.  It's gotten so bad that I've resorted to putting up a sign on my door telling them to not bother knocking, because I"m not going to answer.  Now, even my friends have to call me before I'll answer the door.

Is it in any way admirable that I'm forced to do that?  I don't think so.

To me, that is every bit as much of a mugging as some wanna be thief who accosts me on the street demanding my money...because THESE people, no matter their reasons, are demanding something even more precious to me...and that's my TIME.

You money gets stolen, you can make it back with a little effort.  You can NEVER make back time, and I resent it strongly when someone feels the need to steal my time to save something I don't even believe exists.

So while I understand why they feel they must do it, I also understand why a mugger feels he must deprive me of my hard earned cash.

And I render equally unto both my anger and my desire that they'd just leave me their Hell alone.

#64 FnlPrblm

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:21 PM

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Rhiannonjk, on Jul 20 2005, 12:56 PM, said:

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."


There is one important difference in your analogy.  In one scenario, one being is doing something to another which in most Western countries is deemed immoral and inhumane.  In the other scenario, one being is "harming" themselves (which spiritually in the Western world is their freedom and inalienable right).  Since the governments of the Western countries I know of felt there was no need for such thing as a religious-police force (outside the Swiss Guard who protects the Pope), the common person should not feel to take it upon themselves to become enforcers of their own religious ideals.  Now if someone was broken down, feeling depressed about something and wanting help/answers...then intervention may be a possibility.  I would suppose it'd depend on the situation.

dah!  I see that Eskaminzim beat me to my first comment (no pun intended :p).  Well there is a slight difference afterward.  If we speak of most anything outside the religious aspect (alchie was mentioned), the arguement is changed.  Why?  Because the freedom to kill yourself is not a law or inalienable right (at least that's how the governments state it).  I'm not aware of any country that suicide is legal and/or endorsed by law.  Suicide (in this case) of course meaning the end result is that of a great many 'immoral' things, whether it be drinking yourself to death, driving intoxicated and going off the road, having wide-open sex and contracting something...blah blah blah.  The law in most Western countries protects the rights of all religions (and/or lack there of), they don't protect those of the other things.
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#65 nutmeg

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:27 PM

Rhiannonjk,

I appreciate the fact that you are trying to explain behavior that is not your own. And Eskiblahblah :) that was a great post to Rhiannonjk's reply to my post.

Let me put what I said earlier another way. I have no patience with others who want to force me into their beliefs (even with sincere good intentions). Life can be complicated enough. I don't see why I have to spend any of my time fending off getting sucked into what I consider someone else's 'fantasy' life. I don't ask anyone to give up their beliefs and embrace mine. I want the same courtesy.

To confront my attire or me when I'm trying to read my book and minding my own business is the height of discourtesy. I promise.  I don't ever intend to pester people about saving their immortal bexemphs and not going to pharpenwarpen for all eternity. How about a little reciprocity then?

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#66 Kevin Street

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:37 PM

Wow, this is such a revelation to read! (No pun intended.) :blink: Up here you never get approached in such an aggressive manner, except by panhandlers and telemarketers. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses use a half-hearted "survey" now to try and trick their way into your home before they lay down the religion. I wonder what accounts for the dramatic differences in intensity and technique. Is it a cultural thing?

#67 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:49 PM

Hey, I'm not saying they *should* do it, I'm just explaining the logic and reasoning, and intense passion that some people feel about approaching others in regards to faith.  

I think all of you (Eskaminzim, FnlPrblm, and nutmeg) are basically saying that you don't care what other people think is going to happen to you in the afterlife, you don't want anybody nosing around in your business now.  That's great!  But seriously, short of coming up with some sort of "Don't talk to me about my soul" sign, is there a realistic way to do this?  You can put a "no soliciting" sign on your house, put yourself on "do not call" lists, and if you don't want people coming up to you in public, don't wear a shirt that says "Sin like you mean it."  

People will always be stupid, and misunderstand that a dark looking book means you worship the devil and must be saved.  If you feel so strongly about not having to hear from them, tell them kindly to go away.  But the only way I see to avoid ever being approached by somebody would be for people to stop talking to strangers in general, and that sounds like a sad world to me.

Edited by Rhiannonjk, 20 July 2005 - 02:50 PM.

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#68 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:54 PM

Kevin Street, on Jul 20 2005, 03:37 PM, said:

Wow, this is such a revelation to read! (No pun intended.) :blink: Up here you never get approached in such an aggressive manner, except by panhandlers and telemarketers. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses use a half-hearted "survey" now to try and trick their way into your home before they lay down the religion. I wonder what accounts for the dramatic differences in intensity and technique. Is it a cultural thing?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes - I know at least where I am, it's more of a "southern baptist" thing, which I think originates in the thought process of "for the church to survive, it needs more people, in order to get more people in here, we need the congregation to bring new folks with them, and in order to engage the congregation to do this, we need to convince them that they need to approach people that need saving."  

I might be makinga huge, sweeping generalization there, but that's the way I interpret what I've seen and heard.  

Do you see evangelists on TV on the weekends?  you can get a good idea of what it's like from some of them...

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#69 Godeskian

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 02:58 PM

Actually, I like that. 'Don't talk to me about my soul'

There's a T-shirt in that notion somewhere :)

Thanks for the insight though, this has been a very interesting thread to read.

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#70 Kevin Street

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:00 PM

Nah, I haven't watched any religious programs in a long, long time. We have a spiritual cable channel called "Visions," but they interpret their mandate very broadly, and they're as likely to have Muslims or Hindus on TV as Christians.

#71 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:02 PM

^oh... that would be nice.  I'd like to watch some different faiths on tv.  I'm sure they are out there and I'm just not searching for them though.  

If you are in the US, I assume some of the real evangelical types are on nationwide (and it's not just a southern thing) - tune in for a few minutes the next time they are on.  It's um... interesting.

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#72 woody000

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:07 PM

Yeah, this has actually been a really good thread. Interesting...

Eskaminzim, on Jul 20 2005, 06:25 PM, said:

Rhiannonjk:

I hope you don't mind my replying to a post you addressed to another (Nutmeg, specifically), [...]

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!


[...]it still won't matter.

IMHO, of course.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


And lol...entertaining in the case of the above post.

Edited by woody000, 20 July 2005 - 03:08 PM.


#73 nutmeg

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:15 PM

Quote

and if you don't want people coming up to you in public, don't wear a shirt that says "Sin like you mean it.

Actually, its lots of fun if people smile and nod their heads. They 'get' it.


This next response is just for clarity of my views. I'm not asking you to defend the (what I consider) intruders of my time and space, Rhiannonjk. So here goes:


Oh. but I want much more than having to put up with the people we have been speaking about (insert evil laugh here). You see, I don't think its my responsibility to run up to a person in a "Jesus is my personal savior t-shirt" and tell him that his personal savior is a myth and that he is wasting his finite life on a fantasy, (and screwing with his mental health by living in fantasyland). I ignore the person and their message. So, why must I just accept that its ok for someone to take issue with me and my belief and intrude on my space and time? The answer is that I don't, so I tend to ignore them except for one occasion many years ago.

Person who ran up to my car when I was stopped at a red light. Said person bent down and spoke to me through my open window  and said: "Have you found Jesus?"

Me, as the light changed (yes, but it was an orginal response years ago): "No, is he lost?"

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#74 Eskaminzim

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:20 PM

Rhiannonjk:

Believe me, I'm not saying you're saying that people should be doing that (I think that sentence is right!).  It's more like you're playing Devil's Advocate (heh!  Another pun!), and that's cool.  Just explaining my side of the story.

Kevin:

I think that it's a combination of things, actually.  Cultural, yes, as well as certain types of religions which aim more towards evangelism vs. some types which are more "live and let live".  

And I think that alot of it DOES have to do with keeping the church's coffers full by recruiting.  Which, of course, isn't setting out to save someone else's soul.  It's setting out to save your OWN.

I spoke to a Mormon tag team once who stated, quite bluntly (and whether or not this is the truth, I have no way of knowing, not being a Mormon) that the more people they could convert, the more 'points' they would get, leading to their own advancement within the Church heirarchy, and storing up for a higher place in the Celestial Kingdom.  Very capitalistic, those guys!  So for them, at least, it had nothing to do with me or the state of my soul, but with them and the state of their positions within their church.  My soul, or lack thereof, was very much secondary to the ultimate goal.

RCs don't (or didn't) have any need to evangelize or 'recruit' because their strict 'no birth control' stance always ensured full pews with mama, papa, and their fifteen offspring.

Some Southern Baptists, or so I've been told, use the outright fact of southern hospitality to get their foot in the door.  I've been told that it's just about a law in the deep south that if someone knocks on your door, you invite them in.   Someone stops to talk to you on the street, you stop what youre doing and listen.

So, it's no small stretch to see why they might want to capitalize on that.

Now me, I was raised in the NY/NJ area, and if someone came up to preach to you on the state of your soul, they'd like as not leave with a few less teeth than they approached you with, so it stands to reason that fewer folks would tend to use that tactic.  Saving another's soul, apparently, isn't as important as saving your own bright smile.   :devil:

I think that the people who have a genuine, non selfish interest in the state of anyone's soul but their own are few and far between.  I find it far more common that they go after people because they think it makes them look better in the eyes of whomever their G/god happens to be.

I believe this, most sincerely, because in all the years I've had to put up with this nonsense, I've YET to see my accosters go over to the homeless, or begging, or ill, man or woman or child two feet away from me and offer them anything other than a smirk, a sneer, or a "GET A JOB, WHY DON'T YOU????"

Apparently, Jesus' saying of "When I was hungry, you gave me food, when I was naked, you gave me your cloak" comes in second place to Jesus' non saying of "When I was walking along minding my own business, you gave me your sales pitch."

#75 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:21 PM

[to nutmeg]
thats great.  and I don't see where you need to put up with them.  I, personally, think that most people actually do approach people because their minister has told them to (to save souls), because the minister wants more people at his church, so the church can make more money.

[esk]
yeah, I'm having fun with all of this.  glad you understand where I'm coming from here.  

And with the mormon heirarchy thing, I think the JW are the same way.  We had them come to my door once (when I wasn't home) and my roomate's bf drove them to tears by questioning them (he was a biblical scholar).  when I heard about it I was like "don't make them cry, they just want to save your soul!" and he told me that they were really just trying to get a higher spot in heaven, and I had less pity.

Edited by Rhiannonjk, 20 July 2005 - 03:26 PM.

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#76 Cardie

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:27 PM

What I find particularly amusing is people who think a t-shirt indicates the state of the soul.  I could be the most moral person in the world, could even be a Baptist, and just happen to wear a shirt that someone thinks brands me as a lost soul.  It is not their business, anymore than it is my business to approach a stranger about any logo displayed on his or her shirt.  Do people from M.A.D.D. accost people wearing t-shirts advertising beer?  I suppose they might, but it's none of their business.  The person may just have found it cheap at a second-hand store.  

Also, in a majority Christian country, it's pretty likely that a person who believes in the soul, the after-life, and the Christian recipe for redemption can find his or her way into a church.  The idea that someone who knowingly rejects salvation is going to see the light because you berate them about a t-shirt is ludicrous.  Either they don't believe in God and souls or they stubbornly reject salvation.  Either way, it's not your business, it's theirs.

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#77 Han

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:32 PM

Quote

Person who ran up to my car when I was stopped at a red light. Said person bent down and spoke to me through my open window  and said: "Have you found Jesus?"

Me, as the light changed (yes, but it was an orginal response years ago): "No, is he lost?"

Had a similar situation, but I pointed in a random direction and said, 'He went thata way."

;)
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#78 Anastashia

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 03:39 PM

Rhiannonjk, on Jul 20 2005, 04:02 PM, said:

^oh... that would be nice.  I'd like to watch some different faiths on tv.  I'm sure they are out there and I'm just not searching for them though. 

If you are in the US, I assume some of the real evangelical types are on nationwide (and it's not just a southern thing) - tune in for a few minutes the next time they are on.  It's um... interesting.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#79 Delvo

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 04:14 PM

Godeskian, on Jul 20 2005, 02:00 PM, said:

I wear silly slogan T's, including the 'sin' one, because I find the catchphrases funny, nothing else.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In other words, YOU were the first one to push your beliefs (or lack thereof) on THEM.

#80 Godeskian

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 04:19 PM

Delvo, on Jul 20 2005, 10:14 PM, said:

Godeskian, on Jul 20 2005, 02:00 PM, said:

I wear silly slogan T's, including the 'sin' one, because I find the catchphrases funny, nothing else.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In other words, YOU were the first one to push your beliefs (or lack thereof) on THEM.

you know what, nevermind delvo. You win, i'm a horrible monster for wearing a t-shirt with a what i thought was a funny slogan. Congrats

Edited by Godeskian, 20 July 2005 - 04:23 PM.

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