Ugh...Face palm self for my own inaction

Earlier today I was outside hanging up clothes to dry on the line and a pair of kind little old JW ladies drove onto my property. One handed me a flyer about a couple of services they were going to have to talk about jesus and easter, I basically just nodded my head and said uh huh. Mind has went mostly blank after hearing we are commanded to observe what christ has done for us. My face and head hurt while maintaining a pleasant expression demeanor. I was busy and just did not want to get in a debate and just wanted to finish the my chores. They said well I see you are a busy man and made one last plug about the services. I wish them a good day and they left.

 

I told my (theist) wife after she got home from work and she told me that I should told them I was an atheist or that they were trespassing. Her comment surprised me a bit.

 

I feel like I failed to meet a potential moment to present my non-belief. I allowed myself to get caught off guard and did basically nothing. My head hurt for a while after they left. Was I thrown off because they were little old ladies and I did not want to be mean? I am usually kind and friendly but I think it got in my way. I hope being polite doesn't get in my way when I am trying to make a point. I really need some advice so I am better prepared. I'm usually quite confident during a conversation but being such a newbie atheist is new territory for me.

Views: 87

Comment by James on April 14, 2011 at 1:07am
Don't feel too bad. I had one stop by work a couple days ago with the same message. Since I was at work I tried to hide my complete disinterest in the wares he was selling and decided it was a poor local for a debate. So he gave me the pamphlet, said his piece, said I looked busy and moved on. I did bring the paper home though so I could recycle it in hope it may become something actually useful in the future.
Comment by Heather Spoonheim on April 14, 2011 at 2:56am
I can't really debate in person here because of the language barrier, but even in English Canada I didn't often 'get into it' with the poor sods handing out the flyers.  Most of them aren't actually capable of discussing their beliefs so it rarely goes anywhere.  The strongest I typically get with such people, particularly little old ladies, is to just say, "Yeah, well, not really my cup of tea, ok?"  That usually ends it pretty quickly.  When they are up for a debate I let them open with their position and then deal with it from there.
Comment by IEatDinosaurMeat on April 14, 2011 at 3:24am
I had a Korean JW that I would occasionally get coffee with, he wanted to know where my apartment was but... Psht... no way buddy. Anyhow, we had coffee a few times and he used to call once to twice a week but when I stopped answering he got the point. Funny part is, that is exactly how I should have behaved culturally here. Listen and nod, then ignore them and not take their phone calls. If I meet him I will politely say "I have been too busy."
Comment by Graham on April 14, 2011 at 3:57am

The problem is, I think, that religious people in general, and JWs in particular assume that the agenda is theirs, and by our social timidity, we concede it to them.

I'm as guilty as this as most polite atheists, I suppose, but I keep promising that the next JWs that have the poor judgement to knock on my door (and expect to invade my space to pour out THEIR opinion to change mine) will only be given admission on the condition that THEY listen to ME.

But a frank exchange of views is not what they are interested in. Nice little old ladies or shiny schoolkids or not, they exhibit stunning arrogance.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on April 14, 2011 at 6:37am
I challenge them all the time. Six months ago two J.W.’s called to my house to tell me the good news. So began regular (and ongoing) weekly visits to my house. Now it is only the “big guns” that call. I have successfully taught them various things which they now admit are correct, i.e. that they were wrong. The best was hearing them admit that I was correct in my explanation that the Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with how life may have begun.

However in order to make that point I was able to properly explain the Theory to them. It was kind of subtle. I got them to think about Evolution while they thought I was only explaining why it did not attempt to explain how life began. I am “studying” the prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem (circa 66 bce) for the next visit.

When the Pentecostals call I never mention the word “Atheist”. I just act as if I have never heard about the Jesus man-god before. Since everyone has a different idea of what god is or who Jesus was the Q and A can be so revealing that it sometimes kick starts the doubting process for them.

I always challenge them as a little doubt can start an avalanche of reason in a short period of time. It is also good to do as it improves my arguments and debating abilities. There is a Mormon house a few doors up which seems to be their HQ as there are new faces every few weeks. They refuse to call to me even though I have invited them twice!! So you are telling me that the native American Indians are descendents from a tribe in Israel………?
Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on April 14, 2011 at 6:45am
edit line 3 above - that they were wrong - on some points, especialy regarding Science.
Comment by Denise W on April 14, 2011 at 7:35am
Don't beat yourself up...Cass pointed out, it takes practice. Graham made a nice point about reciprocity, but that doesn't always work either, since they're at your door, and we've been taught societally to be polite hosts to polite guests --and no matter how distasteful we might find any door-knocker's message (be they JW, LDS, et al), they are rarely rude. I had an interesting incident transpire about 3 weeks ago that I blogged about - among the most surreal experiences I've ever had in one of these situations...I hope that if you read my entry, it brings a smile...because I was smiling all day - even though they never really got their message across short of a pamphlet that I can use as a reference should JW ever be something I need to review and counter. :)
Comment by Denise W on April 14, 2011 at 8:22am
Lee...that is hilarious!!! Yeah, pushy door-knockers get my less-than-polite side...I will have to remember your approach should we receive any Baptist callers (and there are plenty Baptists 'round here)...answer the door in one's birthday suit would strike fear, since after all...it might lead to *dancing*...LOL! :D
Comment by Graham on April 14, 2011 at 8:47am

Denise W made the point: "and no matter how distasteful we might find any door-knocker's message (be they JW, LDS, et al), they are rarely rude." Well, I see where you're coming from, but their politeness is only superficial. Their being on your doorstep, with their intention to preach AT you is, in my book, fundamentally rude.

I would never berate them, swear at them, or be in any way unpleasant to them. I would merely expect them to provide me with the same courtesy of listening to my point of view, with an open mind, as they clearly assume and expect that I will give to them.

Nothing rude about that.

Comment by Denise W on April 14, 2011 at 8:53am
Absolutely - agreed. Keep in mind, I live in the deep South, where manners are a matter of perspective and expectation *grinning at you* ~ I know when I'm hearing poison words spilled from smiling lips, whether we're talking religion or any other topic. Kind of a "bless your heart" sort of thing around here...and while it's gotten better, that trait has never disappeared. Although I wasn't raised here, I was raised by that mindset, and I can usually hear it right off the top. The incident in the blog entry I posted? Those women asked me directly about my perspective (part of why it was so surreal - I had never been asked "why are you an atheist?"...ever. Nor was there too much argument when I countered their scriptural passages with some of my own from memory that refuted what they were saying...alongside actual relevant history that is only presented from one perspective in the bible. Twas a VERY interesting (and bilateral) conversation that led to conversations entirely external to anything religious - and into something most of us appreciate: GOOD FOOD. *huge grin* I don't expect I'll ever have an experience like that again.

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