So after leaving class the other day, i was walking towards the exit. an older man in a suit was standing by the door handing out bibles to everyone who passed by. So as to not hurt his feelings, i kindly smiled and took the bible. Once i was out of the mans view i offered it to another classmate in hopes that they were christian: she said she already had one. After that, i got home, and placed the bible directly in the garbage.
After pondering this for quite some time, i realized how bothered by this i truly was. How could this man honestly expect everyone passing through that door to be christian? What if i would have said "no thanks"?
I discussed this with a friend of mine who instantly claimed i was misinterpreting the situation. he stated, " the man was giving you an opportunity to see a different side of things. He was not expecting you to be a christian." I replied "he could have simply asked "would you like a bible?" rather than just handing it to me in a slightly presumptuous manor. Its easy to see why i thought he expected me to be a christian.
I'm not one to bash other people's religions, but to me this is another example of christian ignorance. What if the same situation happened with another person who was say, muslim or hindu?
I probably would've just said, "no thank you."
I think the really interesting question would be what if someone was handing out copies of "God Delusion" or "End of Faith". Even if the gesture was intended to, like your friend suggested, give people the opportunity to see a different side of things, I don't think it would be a well-received gesture.
thats a very interesting point haha.
Why would you throw the book in the bin? It's a useful reference work. I'd have recommended just saying, 'No, thanks'; it was rather presumtuous of this man to offer you a Bible without comment, but hey. Free Bible.
Yeah I was always taught, and am glad of the lesson, that you should never throw away any literature (or sheet music - long story). That is off topic though.
I don't think he was being presumptuous when he handed it out, I think it probably was in his head that a Christian would take it happily, and the polite non-christian would take it to be polite if not given an option like you weren't - assuming that he hoped you read it and saw the light (however reading the bible is the best way to become an Atheist).
I think this is clearly just a case of Christians trying to get you to believe, because as Hitchens says "It doesn't make them happy to believe this, they're never happy until you believe it too".
These men hang around my college all the time. They believe that by passing out the Bible, they can actually change peoples' minds. It's the same philosophy as the people who stand on corners with signs supporting their political parties. As if simply exposing you to the idea will change your mind. It's an ignorant practice, but there you go.
If you didn't want the Bible, there's really nothing wrong with telling him "No thanks." By putting himself in a position where he is attempting to force his beliefs on people, he makes himself susceptible to taking offense from people who disagree with him. Do so peacefully, and it alerts him to the fact that there are people who don't view the world the same as him, but that these people are not attacking his beliefs.
Were this to happen in America and the distributor was a Muslim or Hindu, many Christians would likely take offense. There is a sense of entitlement amongst many Christians who think that evangelizing on behalf of Jesus is acceptable, while other religions should not be allowed the same right. In all situations, it can be quite annoying for people like us who see all these religions as mere fairy tales. But, that is the sacrifice we make to live in a country where we can openly express atheism as well.
This is where the word 'tolerant' comes into things (christian sense of entitlement). Sorry to quote Hitchens twice in two messages, but the Christians pull this tolerance off too well: "We will tolerate you" is a disgusting phrase with an air of bigotry through it.
If they can hand out bible's in a place of learning, we should hand out God Delusions at churches (places of un-learning).
Oh, the uproar! The Persecuted Christian(TM) would certainly have something to say about that.
That's very balanced and reasonable.
Hmmm...my first instinct it to agree with your friend. It doesn't sound like he MADE you take it, in his mind he was probably just offering it and you did have the right to keep walking. I see it kind of like the Salvation Army bell ringers at Wal-mart, they don't expect you to make a donation, but they'd like it if you did. Actually, they might be a bad example since I don't think the bell ringers themselves care, but regardless, it's optional.
However, I also agree with you. I get so frustrated with Christian ignorance. I live in the south and people here don't ask, "what's your religion?", they ask, "what church do you go to?" without even qualifying whether or not you actually go to any church at all. I also like your point about the possibility of it being propaganda from another religion. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't go over so well.
What are ya gonna do?! Next time just walk by or say a simple "no thanks".
I was visiting the wifes' family just south of Atlanta, and ran into one of theose "What church do you go to?" types (full points to her. I was a foot taller, a hundred pounds heavier, and several years younger than her. Were our roles reversed, I don't think I'd be bracing a stranger in a similiar fashion.)
I did have a response, though. I have a sister-in-law who was married in a church which was in a converted movie theater. So I just smiled and saidf, "I go to Our Lady of the Immaculate Double Feature". And while she was wrapping her mind around THAT, I made my get-away.
I do the same thing with political propoganda..."oh, yes, I am very interested! I think my whole family would like to look at some of these leaflets!!!" I figure they're more likely to get recycled if I take them. :-)
You should have put it in the recycling bin at least, maybe they could have made something useful from it.