Saturday, March 6, 2010

You steal the paper, your already going to Hell

Do you remember the Sienfield episode when Elaine got mad at her boyfriend Puddy because she found out he was Christian and Puddy wasn't trying to save her? She stole his Jesus fish and was messing with his car radio where he had dialed in all the christian music stations. Yadda yadda yadda.

I know we Christians can be a little obnoxious now and then about witnessing to you all. So let me ask you what method of our evangelizing suites you best?

A. The guy at work who thinks he witnessing to you by telling you everyday "Your going to hell".

B. The guy who invites you to church every week? And then calls to see if everything is OK with your family 'cause he didn't see you there.

C. How about those welcomed visits from those folks banging on your door when you have nothing else better to do.

D. Maybe it's everyone favorite.. TV Evangelists

E. The neighbor who tells you "if you only had God" that bad thing that just happened to you wouldn't have happened.

I'm sure you guys will have your own thoughts. I'll tell you what I do, and then you can tell me how you think we should go about it. What I try do is this. St. Francis who is a fascinating dude, google him if you wish, says "Preach the Gospel every day. And if you have to use words". I like that. And I try to live a life that is worthy of a follower of Christ. I often fail, but keep plugging along. Any ways I usually never approach any one about the Lord. But often they approach me. Then I go into my "Joshua" speech. I tell them how great God is, and about all the great things he has done in my life, then let them decide for themselves.

Dueces, feeno


  1. Nicely done. The only thing I would add to the Joshua speech (if you haven't already) is the wonderful things God has done in my life that are totally undeserved. In fact, if it were not for God's undeserved mercy, I would be the one going to hell.

  2. I apologize if someone's comment was deleted?

  3. Beats the rest of the stuff you listed, all right. And the blog is good too, because those who want to respond can and nobody else has to.

  4. There is only one appropriate way to evangelize, as far as I'm concerned, and you're doing it feeno. No, not setting an example with your actions: putting your message in a place those looking for it will find it.

    While you wouldn't guess it, B is probably the worst method you listed. If you invite me to something and I don't show up, don't call me afterwards! Maybe you don't know this because you weren't on the dating scene very long... it's called "taking a hint." If I didn't come and didn't warn you ahead of time, it's because I'm a spineless, passive person who certainly doesn't want to be confronted.

    Here's how I would rank all of your methods, from best to worst:

    1. D (I can just change the channel)
    2. A (Only four words, so very little of my time is wasted)
    3. C (This could be #4, if it's early enough)
    4. E (My response: "I would have called the fire department when your house was on fire, but I didn't want to get in the way of your God." And yes, I set the fire.)
    5. B (Nothing is more annoying than persistence)

    People don't like it when religion gets in their face. I mean, even I wrote a post against those atheist billboards. I never see Christians talking about how unbelievably saturated most parts of this country have become with evangelism.

    Some mythological character I read about once said we should treat other people the way we want to be treated. Would you appreciate atheists, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc. pushing their ideas in your face? Does the fact that they intend to save/correct/help you make it any better? Do you respect them for their audacity to claim they know better than you and your ideology?

    I got news for you: real Jews don't leave Christians because the Christian wouldn't push Jesus down their throat. Jews hate anything down their throat, trust me.

  5. I like the Christians who tell me I'm wrong about evolution, the origin of the universe, on morality, etc. and when I ask them to cite the references they don't give me scientific papers or research done by professionals, they site Exodus or some other archaic scripture.

    And I'm like... really? That's how you're going to convince a skeptic? And I think to myself... just keep telling yourself that buddy.


  6. But you know what... it might turn out that I am actually be wrong.

    But my skepticism isn't based on what ifs. It's based on the discernible truth revealed by what the evidence shows. That's why I'm a skeptic!!! Still, it helps to understand what the theory or argument is about before you deny it. (I don't think many religious people do. Some perhaps, but not many, otherwise they would not be so confident in their faith-based assumptions and assertions).

    I blog, and if people want my opinion about what I have to say, then they can read my blog.

    And I'll post comments on conversations about similar subject matter for conversation's sake but only in settings where the conversation is called for. I'm not going to go to a baking site and tell people they shouldn't believe in God... but a lot of religious people do this silly thing.

    I don't think it's fair to force my opinions, and I won't go up to some random stranger and proselytize by telling them they're wrong because they believe in A, B, or C.

    But I will point out to people, when the timing is right, that they may be incorrect if by observation we find that B and C contradict A, and to maybe re-think it a bit.

    I want people to think for themselves, and I let them decide. So I'm not forcing them to take up my beliefs. I'm only asking them to examine theirs more closely.

    And that, I would suggest, is the reasonable thing to do whether you are a skeptic or a believer. ;)

  7. Dear Tristan,

    Aren't all assumptions, at least all primary ones, "faith-based?" You're not suggesting your epistemology is a faith-free zone, are you?

    Also, I would point out that the Bible is really quite compatible with evolution. In fact, it teaches it in a very sophisticated way, at least for the epoch in which it was written. It's disappointing to learn you've had so many encounters with Christians who have not pointed this out to you before.

    Of course, this Christian would love it if you could cite a scientific study that explains the origin of the universe. And, by the way, did you do any of this scientific analysis, or do you just believe what others have told you, or what you've read in the most authoritative texts?



  8. This is a tough one Feeno... I find any kind of evangelical approach to be offensive. I believe that if someone wants it and is going to look for it, they will.
    I actually respond best to the way that you are.... Humble, open minded, talking with us, acknowledging that there is alot more to the story, and being kind to others. Actually getting down with the other side and listening. That is why Christianity is falling behind. They fear the other side of the story.

  9. @Bill-

    Yes, I agree. Most assumptions are faith based. I believe in was is quantifiable, and falsifiable, and that which can be derived at via experiment, observation, and evidence as being a more accurate description of reality than that which is completely unsupported or otherwise unfounded in what we know about reality. God, the Christian one at least, just doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Victor Stegner's "GOD: The Failed Hypothesis" is correct, because if there was such a supreme being evidence for it would be superfluous. Which it's not. Which is why there are skeptics like me in the first place. More importantly, is the REASON for why there are skeptics like me in the first place.

    And this is only after we realize that God fails philosophically on almost all fronts, and that theology is not adequate to salvage a failed ideological premise as faulty and flawed as the Christian concept of God. We don't need science to see the fundamental errors in logic or bald faced contradictions or inherent discrepancies within any holy book. Most of them are apparent to any discerning or critical reader. The difference between me and a Christian is this: I don't try to harmonize away the findings I don't agree with. I take them, on faith as you might say, but what it is is I believe the theories that hold up to scrutiny over those that don't. Or of two options, I will choose the one which is less contradictory and problematic for the one that seems, in all estimation, to work. Gratned I may be wrong (maybe). But I am willing to correct myself if proved wrong. The devout cannot, because they would cease to be genuine believers if they relinquished their convictions when their beliefs were falsified.

    The true person of faith clings to only one type of faith. So we both have faith you and I. But mine is what I would all an independent faith, a rational means to an end so to speak, whereas yours is dependent entirely on whether or not God turns out to be real.

    I'm not really up to par on evolutionary biology. I'm not a biologist. But most Christians don't cite accredited papers or biologists in the first place. In fact, I have yet to meet one who does. And I've known more than a few Christians in my day. After all, I was a Fundamentalist Christian for 30 years.

    Needless to say, I have read some interesting papers and most of the popular books on Evolution, such as the works of Charles Darwin, most of Dawkins impressive tome, Jerry Coyne, Neil Shubin, Bruce M. Hood, and so on. My favorite of the evolution bunch is Dan Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea." He give a philosophical overview of the impact which Evolutionary theory has had on our thinking and I highly recommend it. It's a great book.

    However, biology isn't a concern for me so much since I believe God, almost all conceptions of a Creator being, will be disproved scientifically in 10 to 12 years.

  10. My scientific interest is in physics and cosmology. I'm not a cosmologist, I'm a historian, but I do love physics and cosmology. So yes, I try and keep up on the cutting edge theories, I read many of the papers and books on the topic, and I have a rudimentary understanding about the working processes of the ideas and concepts.

    And since biology and chemistry come from our cosmic stellar origins, I don't even see the need to argue over evolution. It's just more proof that if God did exist he made it appear as if he didn't by creating everything with a natural process of evolution. It's origins most people are concerned with. I think cosmology has better estimations and approximations of what that description may be.

    To answer your other question:

    And Fenyman explains what my certainties are, or rather, are not. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and varying degrees of certainty about different things... but I'm not absolutely sure about anything. I can live with doubt:

  11. Feeno- I agree with Tink. I wish more Christians were like you.

    Curious, thoughtful, humble, inquisitive. There are all good qualities to have. Anything that is noble and true, let of think of these things.

    I think you do that better than most the Christian I meet online. And that is a fact.

  12. Tink and T-Vick, please stop, I'm blushing.
    But thank you.

    Late, feen

  13. So let me ask you what method of our evangelizing suites you best?

    Most churches I'm familiar with use this outline. Ever heard of it?

    Most assumptions are faith based. I believe in was is quantifiable, and falsifiable, and that which can be derived at via experiment, observation, and evidence as being a more accurate description of reality than that which is completely unsupported or otherwise unfounded in what we know about reality. God, the Christian one at least, just doesn't hold up to scrutiny

    And yet science itself contains unprovable assumptions. "The assumptions of the Judeo-Christian worldview are compatible and generally identical with the assumptions and methods of classical science. This permits one to integrate his religion and science and have a consistent approach to life.

    True science and Judeo-Christian approaches depend upon at least three underlying assumptions: The first unprovable assumption states that the world is real, and the human mind is capable of understanding the nature of that reality." Link

    They go on to list 2 other assumptions.

  14. @ Tristan.... In my opinion, he is the only Christian that I have met online who can hold his own. I also think that your humility is related to the fact that you accept us as we are, as we do with you. What makes you real is that you disagree with Fred Phelps as much as we do, and that is really good.

  15. What is also interesting is this. Only Christians actively evangelize. I don't know if it is because becoming Jewish and Muslim requires an active conversion process. But, Christians are the only ones who require very little effort to become one of them. All you have to do is, basically say it, get a little water put on, and you are assimilated.

    In fact, Jewish people discourage conversion, you have to really work hard to get a rabbi to go along with it. This can be the hardest part, you have to be really aggressive. The reasons have to be right, or you are rejected. After this, you go to intensive Hebrew School (6 months to a year) to learn language, history and customs. Then, you go to "Religious Court" where they further assess your knowledge and sincerity. If you are male, after this you undergo a circumcision. Then, you undergo a ritualisitic bath called an immersion, and give an offering to the temple. Often this is a donation to charity, then you choose your Hebrew name, followed with a public ceremony in your synagogue where you are expected to tell them why you want to become Jewish, and what you have learned. After all of this has been completed, it is complete. You have to go after it, you have to want it, you have to be committed to both the process and the outcome. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone's time. Maybe if Christians made it more exclusive and less of a subjective commitment, more people may consider conversion.

  16. TV, I also ran across this quote recently,

    ""Why not consider the possibility that life is what it so evidently seems to be, the product of creative intelligence? Science would not come to an end, because the task would remain of deciphering the languages in which genetic information is communicated, and in general finding out how the whole system works. What scientists would lose is not an inspiring research program, but the illusion of total mastery of nature. They would have to face the possibility that beyond the natural world there is a further reality which transcends science."

    What do you think?

  17. I think the best method is to simply say this:
    -Ahn, so you are an atheist? Well, if you ever wanna go to church or see what's my church like to see if you like it, just let me know.

    The most respectful way I've ever heard. ^^
    It's actually quite nice to know they are willing t help you with it if you want to, but don't keep bothering you everyday if you don't want to.

  18. Al

    I like it. I just might use it. Good lookin' out.

    btw Coke Zero for me, at least for awhile.

    late, feeno

  19. Feeno.... More Christians need to look at your blog and take example. If more of them were like you, I would take it easier on them.

  20. I'd describe my faith as strong and resilient, and my beliefs are strongly held, but I'm not in your face or overbearing. I like your approach, Feeno.

  21. Thanks again Tink. But I'm probably a lot more like them Christians than you think? But I will say how well I've been treated by many atheists who comment here. I always tell Jeff a quote from my Brother who says "our friends are our friends in spite of ourselves". I'm not sure if my Brother was the first to coin this phrase, but he did come up with this gem "a friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body".


    Ross, I clicked over to say hi, and realized your not the Ross I thought you were. Welcome, I'm glad you found your way over here. Thanks for the comment.


    Other Ross, Our friendly neighborhood librarian Ross. Hello to you too.

    Peace in Mississippi, feeno

  22. I realize that I am late to this thread, but perhaps I can weigh in even now.
    Aggressive proselytizing, particularly by Christians who are (as noted above) the only western religion that seems constrained to do so, is most often annoying and ultimately off-putting to any non-beleiver, but is especially so for Jews and/or any other religious believer. Implicit in "bringing the good news" to those of us who do not believe as you do is the message "You are foolish and misguided in that you do not see that you MUST accept Jesus (as I believe Him to be) into your life". This can be readily paraphrased as "I am sooo much better than you are!!" How anyone could fail to see that such a message is generally doomed to failure and precisely the opposite outcome from that which alledgedly was hoped for by the perpetrator is beyond my undertanding, unless, of course, one realizes that the major (if not the only) reason for Christian proselytizing is the need for affirmation that you "have it right" in your beliefs that you will achieve some Heavenly reward after you die. Since there is no other way to achieve this affirmation (at least in this life), you need to get as many fellow humans to agree with you, as possible.
    To me, this suggests that if you are actually at peace with your particular beliefs, you would have no need to actively seek to convince anyone else that you are right. Therefore, your stated approach of "witnessing" by life example and then answering questions that mmay come to your attention without any direct solcitation on your part would seem to be intellectually honest, at the very least.

  23. Thanks Harvey and your never too late. I can't really disagree with anything you said. But I think sometimes many of those "annoying" proselytizer's intentions, aren't really to come across as "were better than you"? I can only try not to come across that way. But the simple fact that I believe puts me in that category?

    I also 100% agree with you about the Jews. I read a book titled "Your people shall be my people" written by Don Finto that went into that very thing.

    Thanks for stopping by. feeno

  24. Feeno:

    Although the fact that you believe does not automatically put you into "the better than thou" category, I think that most proselytizing Christians seem to fall prey to the sin of pride in this regard. Needless to say, I am painting your co-religionists with a very broad brush here, (as perhaps so many of you do to those of us who claim atheism/agnosticism) but from the outside looking in, as it were, it surely appears to be so.

  25. Thanks again Harvey. And once again I can't disagree with what you say. I like what Smart LX and Tink said about a blog, if you want to talk about atheism/christianity you can find it.

    Dueces, feeno