How many times have you been stopped in your tracks while going about your day, minding your own business and someone asks you "do you go to church?" or "do you know the lord jesus christ as your personal savior?"
EEEEEEK!!! Are you not totally offended? Well I am! It happens quite a bit here where I live.

Does anyone have some good stories to share about their experiences and how you dealt with it?

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This happens all the time. I have managed to stop at least 95% of the door-to-door version of this (see http://www.atheistrev.com/2008/01/ending-door-to-door-proselytizing...), but what you describe is way too common out in public.

I will freely admit that I don't deal with it very well. If they catch me in a good mood, I generally ignore the question(s) and walk away. Other times, I may say something along the lines of "Why would I want to waste any more of my life in church than I already have?"

A previous next-door neighbor with whom I was hoping to cultivate a friendship asked the church question. I politely responded that I did not go to church and did not have any interest in doing so. He never spoke to me again.
I feed the Mormon ones because I had a friend that was a missionary and he came back emaciated, had to be deloused, dewormed and told us the most awful stories of his experiences in Portugal. It's a little easier if you realize they are humans and really doing either what they think is good work, or under insane amounts of pressure from their families.
Seriously, I'll play along, get some food in them and then start asking the hard questions. Sometimes they even come back for more. (either food or discussion, I'm not sure.) In the very least, it gives THEM something to think about. Turning the tables is always a great reward.

Now, when I'm going about my day and stopped on the street, a simple. "is this really the place to have this type of conversation with a complete stranger?" Works well. You validate their points without being rude, but make it clear you are otherwise engaged.
@vjack thanks for the link, very helpful.

Here's one of my stories: First of all let me make it known that my husband and I have alot of visible tattoos so that makes us an easy target. So my husband and I decided to go to the library (which is downtown by the christian university called LEE University) with our two children (4yrs and 7mos). We parked across the street and just as we reached the other side, a van pulls into the lot and a guy is hanging out the window.

He says "Hey can I talk with you for a minute?" And he is blocking the entrance and there's construction going on in part of the library as well, so we shouted back "okay". First thing he asks is "Do you guys go to church?" and we say "no, we aren't christians and we've been down that road and don't want to go there again. It's not for us but thank you."

He then proceeds to ask "well do you go to a bible study group to study the word of god?"
And my husband is tickled at the question because he actually went to Lee University and got a degree in bible and theology which lead to his shedding of faith and christianity lol. So he told the man "yes, and we actually read it more now but not for the reasons you do"...the construction was getting louder with drilling going on and people were being blocked and they were honking their horns, so we just walked off.

Anyways, my husband went on about his day not bothered and I on the other hand was furiated! I pisses me off! Why won't they leave us alone!

Oh and another time I had a lady at the grocery store walk up to me as I was putting my child in the buggy and she lays her hand on my shoulder and says, "Can I pray for you?" and I said firmly "no thank you!" and got the hell out of there!

So I have come to the conclusion that if they think they can ask me if I am saved, go to church, or know the lord jesus christ as my personal savior then I have the right to turn around and ask them "well what color is your underware?" NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS! Of course, and it throws them off completely lol

She touched you!?  That would set me off more than anything.  I'd lay my hand right back on her shoulder, and say, "Do you understand how inappropriate this is, strange woman with whom I am not acquainted?"

 

Watch it with that underwear stuff, they'll probably think you're coming on to them. ;-)

I don't know how, but apparently I have managed to find a little pocket of Dallas. TX where you don't get preachers at the door (we do get people trying to sell things but no church people that I have seen) and the closest thing I've had to someone telling me about jesus was this lady who wanted money to get on the DART rail; I gave her 5 dollars and then she proceeded to insist that I keep her in my prayers. I wasn't sure how to respond to that without upsetting her, she seemed to think that prayers were a matter of life and death the way she was so concerned that she be prayed for. I think I ended up nodding because I just wanted to get home and didn't have the care to start a discussion about why I don't pray; it also probably wasn't the best time for that women to lose her beliefs either (which is a possible outcome of discussing religion). But, that was the only time...no one asks me what church I go to, what religion I am, if I want to go with them to their church etc.
good for you!
It happens sometimes. I usually just reply "No. I don't go to church." Most of them let it drop. However...

I was at a Midas Muffler as a customer and a 60 year old guy was listening in on a conversation I was having with an employee. We were laughing it up and allowed his eavesdropping. He came over and joined to conversation. Long story short. He dropped a couple of baited comments about god and jesus. I deflected them without comment and continued with the joking.

The employee left and the guy, who was very nice, asked me point blank. "What church do you go to ?" I politely said. "None." and turned my head to indicate that I was not interested in going further. I knew he would not like where the conversation would lead. He resisted as long as he could and approached me again.

"Can I ask why?" I politely said, "Sure! Because there is no god." Again, I walked away. I really did not want to get into it with what seemed like a nice old guy.

One last time, he resisted as long has he could. Clearly he was struggling with the little angel on his shoulder. Finally, he came over one more time and said that he would really like for me to come to church with him this sunday.

I smiled and said "No, you wouldn't. And I'm not at all interested in discussing it."

When he pressed his case, I'd had enough. "Shut it Freak !", I almost yelled as I put my hand in his face.

The freak did, in fact, shut it and went away.

I felt cool and powerful for a few minutes but then was sorry that I'd lost my cool.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when he went home to dinner that night.

TD
oh wow what a story!! I get so nervous when i am approached by bible thumpers..my mind goes blank and i feel so victimized! i never know what to say, i just feel automatically defensive!
Sometimes it might help to say, " No, why do you ask?" That at least puts the ball back in their court for a few seconds so that you can gather your thoughts. It is hard when you are just getting acquainted with people and don't want to offend them too much but are hoping to find an open-minded person who will not jump to conclusions about you on the basis of this one thing.
try it out a little "street encounter" Q&A with your atheist friends for practice. Have fun at first with what you'd love to say: "Have you accepted Jes.." "EFF off A$$h0le !". Then develop the lines you will really say. Something that is right for you.

Always keep a conversation ender in your pocket too. "Sir, we're done talking now !"

If they continue after this, it's time for verbal abuse.... or call 911. Whatever feels right.

TD

Keep a tongue in cheek business card on you. Hand it to them and walk off.

The card:

 

Dr So and so

Clinical Psychologist

Make Believe, USA

I have helped many with their delusions AND I CAN HELP YOU!!!! 

I wouldn't say this happens to me often, but every once in a while I do stumble upon an evangelist or someone looking to me to spread "the good word".

Most recently it happened about two months ago. I was with my girlfriend at the time, downtown, and a man walked up to me and asked me "excuse me sir, can I tell you about Jesus Christ?" or something along those lines, to which I responded "I'm really not interested." He then said, "well let me ask you this," as I kept walking, "do you think you're a good person?" I shouted, "absolutely! I know it!" He said, "well here, read this to see if you truly are as good as you think you are." He handed me a little pamphlet that told me all of these "rules" God has, that I've probably broken. I was proud to see that I had broken most of them. I then realized that I must be a horrible person. So sad.

Then about a minute later, as my girlfriend and I were about to walk into the restaurant we were going to eat in, a little boy walks up to me and said "I need to give this to you." He handed me another small pamphlet, this one with a very bloody picture of Jesus on the front. These psychotic parents just love getting their children involved in this garbage...

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