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Author Topic: On prosleytizing
fern hill
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posted 22 July 2005 11:36 PM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[This probably doesn't belong in Culture, but it's intended to be a companion to "On Swearing", also in this forum.]

I find proselytizing as deeply offensive as some people find swearing. What gives these people the idea that they can knock on my door or stop me on the street and push their irrational superstitions on me?

At least when people swear at me, it's usually in a context of some familiarity.

When total strangers swear at me, it's pretty clearly a case of irrationality.


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Suzette
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posted 22 July 2005 11:47 PM      Profile for Suzette     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When this issue came up in the other thread my thoughts went immediately to a few members of my former partner's family who were very religious. Which is just fine by me, each to their own. My problem with it came when they used their faith self-righteously as an indicator of "goodness" or worth. Family dinners were interminable as they sanctimoniously rammed their beliefs down everyone's throats and made it clear just how very holy they were... and how holy we weren't. I was the most soiled of all, being the only non-Greek there. Judgement, judgement, judgement from soup to cheese platter. Fuckers.
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Nikita
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posted 22 July 2005 11:52 PM      Profile for Nikita     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
'Tis the nature of Christianity.

I find it terribly arrogant. I have met people at school who describe our campus as "their ministry" and they are going to make it their work to introduce everyone to Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour.

I don't tell anyone how to live, so don't I deserve the same respect? Ack.


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 22 July 2005 11:55 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In fairness, I think we all prosleytize in one way or another. I know I spread the good word on scepticism whenever I think it might be appropriate.

But I don't go door to door with it, and it is conversational, meaning I'm ready and willing to sit back and listen to the other person's philosophy.

The kind of prosleytizing I find offensive is the door to door type, or the sidewalk stalking. These people have no intention of having an exchange, or in fact have a care for you beyond being able to go back to their group saying they brought another soul into the fold.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
gunnar gunnarson
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posted 23 July 2005 01:16 AM      Profile for gunnar gunnarson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Q: What do you get when you cross a Hells Angel with a Jehovah's Witness?

A: Someone who knocks on your door at eight o'clock on Sunday morning and tells YOU to fuck off.

There. I've tied swearing and proselytizing together.


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 23 July 2005 01:38 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In fairness, I think we all prosleytize in one way or another.

Ya, for example:

Me: Green Tea ice cream rocks! It's amazing! You have to try it!

Someone else: I have, and I prefer chocolate.

Me: Ya, chocolate is good too.

Compare that to most religious proselytizing.


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fern hill
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posted 23 July 2005 01:44 AM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:

Ya, for example:

Me: Green Tea ice cream rocks! It's amazing! You have to try it!

Someone else: I have, and I prefer chocolate.

Me: Ya, chocolate is good too.

Compare that to most religious proselytizing.


Hee. I distinctly remember the first time I thought polls were crap. I was about seven and I heard that the number 1 ice cream choice was vanilla. I thought, sheesh, that's stupid, chocolate is way better.

But your point holds, Mr. M. Proselytizing about ice cream is way better.


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DrConway
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posted 23 July 2005 02:03 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I proselytize the wonders of chemistry.

Seriously, though, I do find religious proselytization to be off-putting and somewhat offensive. I get quite uneasy when I have a self-professed Christian (it's always a bloody Christian, never any other religious member) start asking me to Bible study and prayer and all that.

Problem is, you can't say no because it would seem like rejecting them personally.


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Deep Dish
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posted 23 July 2005 02:57 AM      Profile for Deep Dish     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have a lot of clients in the USA, and some of them are quite prone to prosletyzing even at work (Christians do this yes, but the worst offender is not a Christian).

I do get pretty offended when its on a voice mail message for example, and I am forced to listen to the entire sermon in order to leave a message or I get blessings of various sorts at the end of phone calls.

I have yet to see this in a Canadian office, and since its a client I really can't say please don't bother me with this stuff. That is annoying and more offensive than casual swearing.

People handing out flyers and leaflets, or coming to the door - an "I've really spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I am really not interested in what you have to say - I think I have it all straight" has worked for me everytime except once with a Hare Krisna, who nearly got punched.

[ 23 July 2005: Message edited by: Deep Dish ]


From: halfway between the gutter and the stars | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 23 July 2005 03:04 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:
Problem is, you can't say no because it would seem like rejecting them personally.

You're too kind. No doubt a very gentle soul. I can easily say "No".

But, I do enjoy the occasional discussion over a beer or coffee with a prosletyzing Christian. It's fun to play with their small minds...and then squish them when I finallly weary of the exercise...


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
satana
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posted 23 July 2005 03:44 AM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think proslytizing in itself is offensive, although some methods some people use are very annoying.
I consider prosletizers who go door to door as salespeople. I take their literature, and sometimes, if I have time, I invite them in.
Proslytize back. Challenging them to think about their beliefs is sure to keep them from coming back.

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Crippled_Newsie
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posted 23 July 2005 07:16 AM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I recall going to a job interview at a photo lab many years ago, and as I approached the door I noted a sign that spelled out business hours. It was the standard Mon-Sat 9-6, but on Sunday it read: 'Attend the Church or Synagogue of your choice.'

I backed slowly away, and got on the next bus home.


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 23 July 2005 07:38 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I have met people at school who describe our campus as "their ministry" and they are going to make it their work to introduce everyone to Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour.

I'm surprised they'd convey that out loud in front of you!

quote:
But I don't go door to door with it, and it is conversational, meaning I'm ready and willing to sit back and listen to the other person's philosophy.


I actually like it for the most part. I'm very very interested in what other people think and how they got there.

I'm also particularly interested when I meet someone who was fundamentalist and then lost their faith. I have tonnes of questions but I restrain myself because I appreciate that they probably think that I am just finding a nice way to chat with them so I can call them back to us! They'd be hesitant to see the questions as sincere which I understand. For the most part I just hold back but sometimes I'll get around it by asking a male who left instead.

quote:
The kind of prosleytizing I find offensive is the door to door type, or the sidewalk stalking

I don't like the sidewalk stalking at all. It makes me nervous!

I am fairly blunt with JW's who come to my door and ever ever EVER patient with LDS. I could not be rude to a LDS person to save my life!

quote:
Seriously, though, I do find religious proselytization to be off-putting and somewhat offensive. I get quite uneasy when I have a self-professed Christian (it's always a bloody Christian, never any other religious member) start asking me to Bible study and prayer and all that.

Problem is, you can't say no because it would seem like rejecting them personally


I have stopped doing it because I sensed it made people uncomfortable but, honestly, when people have a life that is really shaped around their faith it often involves going to church 3-4 times a week. I wouldn't have, at one point, seen it as rude at all to invite someone to church, bible study, or choir nights it would have been no different to me than inviting someone to join me at the gym, for example.

I'm not saying I was right at all - I am just trying to say it was a part of that being normalacy for me - it wasn't intended to be imposing on the other person. I was always no more offended by a no than I would be if the person said no to any other activity I suggested.

quote:
I do get pretty offended when its on a voice mail message for example, and I am forced to listen to the entire sermon in order to leave a message or I get blessings of various sorts at the end of phone calls

I really cannot imagine how unprofessional that is to put on a business answering machine.

I honestly have to say I've said "God bless" when leaving messages for people without ever thinking that was rude. I ROUTINELY tell people when they do a good thing or such "You've blessed me!". I always tell people if I think they are a blessing. I honestly have never once thought of that as rude.


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 23 July 2005 07:43 AM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Hailey:
I wouldn't have, at one point, seen it as rude at all to invite someone to church, bible study, or choir nights it would have been no different to me than inviting someone to join me at the gym, for example.

Ah, but as we've seen in the thread about childhood obesity, that's rude too. It's one thing to invite me to join you at the gym if you already know I have an interest in working out or are looking to change because I'm unsatisfied with mine.

Quite another to invite because because you think I need to work out.


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Hailey
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posted 23 July 2005 07:46 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You make life too complicated RB!
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Michelle
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posted 23 July 2005 10:12 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is this just confined to religious proselytizing or political as well? I always feel somewhat uncomfortable at election time when it's time to volunteer for the local NDP candidate, because that invariably means going door to door, or going through a telephone list, and trying to convince people to vote for the political party I believe in. I'm especially uncomfortable asking people, "Can we count on your support?" because you're basically asking them how they're going to vote, which is private, and I see that kind of along the same lines as, "Have you been saved by Jesus?"
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 23 July 2005 10:22 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've done canvassing and done canvass organizing in the past.

I'm not sure how other ridding associations like things done, but it was my preference to have canvassers identify the vote, and leave the selling to the Party through advertizing and the campaign at large.

The odd time I'm at home during a campaign, and have the opposing party's canvassers come to my door or phone me, I do what I can to slow them down, lead them astray, make them think that if they just found the right words, I'd take that sign for Joe Fontana or whoever the tories are throwing up as a candidate.

Ye'd think the big ol' NDP sign on the lawn might clue them in, but it doesn't.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 23 July 2005 10:29 AM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
In fairness, I think we all prosleytize in one way or another. I know I spread the good word on scepticism whenever I think it might be appropriate.

A case can in fact be made that education against all forms of superstition is vital to the future of humanity. Russia tried this and failed, so it's certainly not easy. How broad is your definition of "whenever I think it might be appropriate?"
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
I always feel somewhat uncomfortable at election time when it's time to volunteer for the local NDP candidate, because that invariably means going door to door, or going through a telephone list, and trying to convince people to vote for the political party I believe in. I'm especially uncomfortable asking people, "Can we count on your support?"

But any community organizing campaign works the same way: outreach, education, persuasion, commitment. Doesn't matter if you're asking them to help fight a landfill site proposal, or a high-rise development, or whatever else someone is trying to shove down your community's throat, or elect a good government. As Stephen Lewis loved to say "gently remove the soup-spoon from the voter's hand, carry him to the poll, and promise to carry him home in time for dessert."

[ 23 July 2005: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 23 July 2005 10:46 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
A case can in fact be made that education against all forms of superstition is vital to the future of humanity. Russia tried this and failed, so it's certainly not easy. How broad is your definition of "whenever I think it might be appropriate?"

Well, the Soviets failed because they tried to suppress the one religion that thrives on supression.

If I was a fascist dictator, and wanted to rid my country of Christianity, I'd leave it alone-- except to tell them that I intended to adopt one particular sect as the state version over all others. They'd do your dirty work for you, for the most part.

But because I'm not a fascist, nor a dictator, I prefer to not waste my time with "true believers", whether they are into religion, the paranormal or other flights of fancy. There's no convincing them, and I have more entertaining ways to waste my time.

I talk to people that are receptive, and I try to be gentle. People are better "converted" if they are lead to do most of their own thinking. Just point out a few tools. Humour and satire work well sometimes, too.

Oh, and in the Soviet example, they didn't offer reason as a substitute to religion, just the party line. Some sciences in Russia are still far behind because it conflicted with Party dogma.

[ 23 July 2005: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 23 July 2005 07:15 PM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well I think that sharing the gospel just through daily living comes natural to people and if they are not being overbearing about it it's really no different than sharing other aspects of their life.

There are people that go overboard though. http://www.whiteboydj.com/babygotbook.html


From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
fern hill
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posted 23 July 2005 07:52 PM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well treating one's friends and acquaintances to a virtuoso display of salty language is just sharing part of my life and I don't see anything wrong with it. And if it offends, well, hell, that's what it's for.
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Raos
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posted 23 July 2005 08:19 PM      Profile for Raos     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm especially uncomfortable asking people, "Can we count on your support?" because you're basically asking them how they're going to vote, which is private, and I see that kind of along the same lines as, "Have you been saved by Jesus?"

I don't see those as nearly the same thing. Obviously anybody can refuse to answer that question. I absolutely hate "Have you been saved by Jesus?" I think it's pretty much the same things as the "Have you stopped beating your wife?" question, except one is usually said humorously as a joke, and the other is meant seriously. The question immediately assumes that, whether you have or have not yet been saved, you need Jesus. Asking if you can count on somebody for their support in an election is an honest question. But the loaded question is kind of what defines proselytizing for me. If you are approaching me with the intent that you are right, and are going to liberate me from my ignorance, then it's proselytizing, and it's a bad thing because it's hypocritical. Somebody who is proselytizing is expecting you to change your mind, when they aren't willing to consider changing theirs. If you're going to expect me to have an open mind about your beliefs, then don't expect me to accept you having a closed mind.


From: Sweet home Alaberta | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged

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