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Slightly off-topic but there's a book I picked up at Exclusives yesterday and started reading while having a Seattle latte - that had me thinkning of you. Would have bought it if I was certain you'd read it. Decided I'll just recommend first. Called Yoga by Osho. In the first chapter I read, he addresses the idea of "belief" and how you can believe anything and then swop those beliefs but they don't necessarily change you. I like that idea. Belief is of the mind, not an experience.
If you can't get the book but would like it (re. the recommendation of your new lady to try Yoga) let me know and I'll send you a copy.

Nope, you know what, it's not enough for me. Even though they mean well and have good motives, I still think they should just leave us alone. Don't those of us who don't practice religion deserve some respect?

Prostelitizing and conversion is part of certain Christian doctrine, mandatory for some. "Points" were/are given for bringing non-believers into the fold. During the Crusades, one could buy himself into heaven, even while living a sinful life. If one could not afford to buy himself into heaven, then converting three "non-believers" was a ticket into heaven.

I agree with Maureen. Just because one "believes" that he must prostelize to me, doesn't mean that he has a right to or that it's even acceptable. These are the same people that bitch that gay-marriage forces gay life on their lifestyle by just exisiting, but they are fine forcing/projecting their lifestyle on everyone else. Total hypocrisy.

Maybe, before the stalker says something inappropriate to Adam and Kate you should politely inform the stalker that *Marko* is a dedicated heathen (or whatever) and is uncomfortable with her visits.

I dont know Tertia - that would piss me right off, and I am a Catholic. However, I am a Catholic who does not discuss, push upon, enforce her views on ANYONE else. If thats part of my job as a Catholic, then I suck at it. I go to church FOR ME - its got nothing to do with anyone else. My husband is an athiest, so I suppose that's how I understand the "each to their own" concept. Live and let live I say. If you want to go to church, happy clap, join a hippy revolution, then do it, just leave everyone else the hell alone.

I suspect with the Prayer Stalker and people like her, she gets strength and comfort from her beliefs and she thinks if she can just get you to see what she sees, you'll feel the same strength and comfort. In that respect, you can't really think badly of her but some people are dense (and not just about religion) and can't take a hint.

I wouldn't put that person, necessarily in the same category as those who make it their mission to convert non-believers (or different believers). I don't follow that type of religion but I think its part of their job in the church. Myself, I can respect that too as long as the person respects my "No thank you. I'm all set."

I find bicycling Mormon missionaries, street-walking Witnesses, and their ilk to be offensive. (I drove past a pair of Mormons and a Jehovah's WItness yesterday! The Witness was sitting at a busstop holding high a copy of The Watchtower.) My beliefs are none of their business, and it's awfully arrogant of them to presume to ring someone's doorbell and tell them they ought to consider believing something entirely different. (That's not being courageous--think of the personal payoff your Happy Stalker gets by haunting your house and thinking she's improving your life.)

Missionaries who travel to poor villages in poor countries and dig wells are doing a good thing. But must they also build churches and translate their bible into the local language? Shouldn't helping other people be enough for them to earn their way into heaven, without trying to persuade strangers to change religions?

I suspect no Happy Stalker would be pleased if I came to his or her home and proceeded to explain my arguments against the existence of god and left copies of chapters from Richard Dawkins' or Sam Harris's or Christopher Hitchens' books on the subject.

Eh. I was raised in a missionarying religion so I heard all the reasoning and then some. Once I left it I still felt horribly guilty about not letting the well-meaning 19 year olds in my door so they could tell me all about how they knew the answers to all of life's most difficult questions. At 19. With a flip chart. Then my late husband pointed out that it's awfully rude of them to show up at my house, uninvited, and expect to be allowed in (or linger on the door mat) while they talk about something that should be deeply personal. Aha! So now I have an internal deal: I'm not rude enough to slam the door on them, but I refuse to allow their bad manners either and I politely cut them off in 30 seconds or less. Best answer I've come up with yet to make them run away is still "I'm much, much happier this way."

I was raised Catholic (atheist now). My mother told me to just tell anyone coming to the door to proselitize, "I am perfectly happy with my current religious beliefs" and politely close the door. That way they can do their thing, I can do my thing, and no one gets hurt.

Except me, since I am clearly going to hell :)

Of course, now that I am an atheist, my mother is praying for me.

Christians are suppose to "win people to Christ." Some have different views on how to do that. Some are more vocal, door bellringers, etc. Some just live by example. And hope others notice.

JW are "required," from what I understand, to do the door-to-door thing. I accept there flyers and thank them and tell them I am Methodist but thankyou for coming by. They have never tried to come in. I've heard if you tell them that you're Catholic they'll run. LOL That was from a Catholic so don't get all huffy anyone.

"Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'" We have a Biblical obligation to witness - it was commanded by Jesus Himself, and to say otherwise is not being true to His word.

However, I totally disagree with some of the "attack witnessing" that is done by JW, LDS and other church members. No, not all do that, but I have experienced it with many. I've had to repeatedly tell JW's to please stop coming to my house, and convince LDSers - even when I said I was already a member of another church - that I had no interest in their church. Just this last week, my church hosted a week long series of evanglism events. We invited people to the church, where we did a mixture of eating, socializing and witnessing. People were free to come and go, and many came to know Christ not out of a door knocker's pressure, but through their own decision to drive to our location that was designated for that purpose.

As far as the subject of prayer, I think too many people are walking around with a chip on their shoulder. As a Baptist, I could choose to be irritated by my JW, LDS, Pentecostal, Muslim, and other "spiritual" friends who offer to pray for me, but I choose not to be. I may not agree with their doctrines - or even the beliefs they share with me - but I choose to appreciate them caring for me, regardless of how I personally feel about the belief system, and thank them for their prayers.

We are all made up of many subgroups and can all be offended by one another...or, we can realize there is no big conspiracy group trying to drive us nuts, say thanks, disagree when we feel the need to, and then move on.

Well, it was fine for Christ to chastise his followers and tell them it was their job to convert the masses, but they had witnessed miracles and had heard the word of God at Christ's knee. The bible has been translated so many times it can't be counted, and there isn't anyone alive anymore who got the word of Christ first hand, so I've got a problem with people coming to me and trying to tell me the word of God as THEY know it to be. It really isn't necessary to spread the word of Christ anymore since it's everywhere you look, and most people have a faith of their own, or are practicing atheists or agnostics, so they don't really NEED someone else's version of Christianity pushed on them just so a JW or the like feels "saved".

I'm not sure there's an explanation anyone could offer that would make me okay with people ringing my doorbell and trying to tell me they know something that I don't. No one KNOWS anything (they can believe what they want), so it's condescending to imply that as a Christian, you're aware of this special thing that the rest of us are just clueless about, and IT IS YOUR JOB to tell us. I really believe that's patronizing and insulting, and no amount of good intent is going to make me okay with that. "But I've had this incredible experience and I want to share it with you even though you don't care to hear about it, because I know in my heart that that's what's best for you!" How can people not understand how patronizing that is? I've figured out that the Bible is chock full of inconsistencies and of questionable historical origin, and I would just love to ring your doorbell and share that with YOU. Except I don't, because I respect both your time and your intellect and am sure that you're perfectly capable of deciding what you believe for yourself.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, lots of HCs will be there, along with a bunch of mothers-in-law and anyone else who ever told me what's best for me as if I'm not old enough to divine it for myself.

I can appreciate the desire to "spread the word" if you will and keep all us heathens from burning in hell. I think your sister makes good points about the reasons for wanting to convert others and tell them of the comfort you have found in religion. And consequently I have no problem at all with people standing on a public street corner and preaching to everyone walking past or handing out pamphlets in a public place. You are also free to buy are time and ads in newspapers and do the same thing without any complaint from me.

But I have a HUGE issue with people coming to my home and preaching to or trying to convert me there. I never had this problem where I used to live and I don't know what it is about my new house but I cannot stay home on a Saturday afternoon without being accosted by solicitors of every sort. They try to sell me various religions, newspaper subscriptions, candy bars for charity or get me to vote for their candidate in the upcoming city council election. I swear I am ready to sick my mean little Chihuahua mix on a girl scout at this point if she tries to wanders up my driveway to sell me cookies - If you want to sell cookies stand in front of a grocery story damn it! When I am home I want to be LEFT ALONE! This is my private space. I work hard to pay this mortgage! It is incredibly rude to come up to someone’s door and preach at them in their own home. If these rude, inconsiderate people are the ones populating heaven I'll be happy to get my suntan in hell thank you very much.

Tertia, what I don't get here is why you let the Praying Stalker into your house! I figure, you know, if someone wants to pray for me that is no skin off my nose but they are going to have to do it on their own time, and definitely not in my living room.

I was once prayed for by over 250 people in a meeting hall because I declined to accept Jesus as my lord. (I think I said, "I'll pass, thanks," or something to that effect.) Needless to say, that wasn't the meeting had I thought I was attending. It was a tad awkward.

I guess it is the prerogative of the God People (as my family calls them) to proselytize if they wish. But I do not feel in the least obligated to listen to them.

Tertia! How can you say God doesn't answer prayers? Look at Adam! Look at Kate! Two of the most gorgeous, adorable and clever children in the world. Both healthy. There's no denying that you've been through trials to get them, but you are BLESSED with what you have got!

I considered posting this comment on your sister's blog but I doubt that anything I say to her will persuade her to change her mind. (No offence to her - it's a good discussion, she puts her argument across coherently, and she is obviously genuine in her convictions). However - and this is a BIG however - I vehemently disagree with her viewpoint, and I think you are quite right about being resentful about your Prayer Stalker. In fact, I'm astonished that you should have been so tolerant for so long. If she'd had the nerve to invade my privacy, and if I'd been through the heartbreak you've endured, I would have given her good kick in the VJ and sent her packing.

Let me nail my colours to the mast. I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God, or any higher power. I don't believe in deities, heaven, hell, fortune, luck, fate, astrology, fairies, UFOs, angels, or anything of that ilk. If I could define my spiritual outlook, I would call myself a secular humanist. (Google it if you've never heard of it).

Anway, my point is that it is gross effrontary for any person to criticise, analyse, or try to change my spiritual point of view. (And yes, atheists are spiritual too, if you take the meaning of the word 'spirit' to mean the intangible essence of what it means to be 'you', and how this 'you' fits into the universe you perceive). It's nothing but bare-faced cheek and presumption to come to my door and try to convert me. I won't go into the reasons why I think organised religion is crappy, a blight on the noble and brave spirit of us humans, and a cruel slap in the face to anyone who is experiencing true human misery (the exploited and hungry children of the world spring to mind here, as do parents, like you Tertia, who have lost their children) but suffice to say that I don't believe a word of it.

What really galls is the presumption, among religious people, that they occupy the higher moral ground, and that somehow I am a pitiful soul who needs saving. I can take being scorned and pestered by believers of all sorts (particularly Christians, who cannot keep their faith to themselves) but what really gets up my nose is that my children are also exposed to this pernicious form of spiritual blackmail.

There has not been a school I have sent my three kids to (and we've been through five) that has not had the temerity to question the atheist ethos of my family. My kids, over the years, have been subjected to all sorts of insults and indignities that, if they had been imposed on, say, Jewish or Muslim or Hindu kids, would have caused a national scandal. They've been vilified, scorned, criticised and ostracised. One teacher had the cheek to suggest to my child that he had no right to receive presents at Christmas; she also asked him why he had 'bothered' to come to a Christian school if he didn't believe in Christ. Another son was repeatedly punished by prefects at his school for declining to sing hymns. My nephew, also from an atheist family, was publically humiliated at his school when he declined to pray.

I find it a bitter irony that we, a good, law-abiding, charitable, principled and happy family should be treated like pariahs because we're atheists. After all, we're not the ones who believe in fairy tales. And I'm sorry, but IMHO God, heaven, hell, Satan, etc, are exactly that - fairy tales. There's not shred of evidence to support the existence of God (and puh-lease, the Bible is not evidence of the existence of Christ/God, any more than Harry Potter is proof of the existence of the boy wizard).

I'm perfectly happy as I am, thanks. I respect your right to believe whatever you like, but please don't foist your beliefs on me. In other words, get the fuck off my doorstep.

Sorry for the long rant, but REALLY. Tertia, kick this annoying energy-draining person out of your life.

If the door-to-door God salespeople really mean well, why do the express so much contempt for other religions/faiths/belief systems?

If the door-to-door God salespeople really mean well, why do the express so much contempt for other religions/faiths/belief systems?

Amen, Juno!

I don't ever expect to convert anyone, but I do express my faith in my life. It's a part of who I am. For example, if some one asks me how I deal with such-and-such stressor in my life, I'll answer according to my faith. But, I don't do hard selling, as it were. What I don't understand is why people get all pissy when you respond to them as a show of support that they will be in your prayers. Why does it matter that you don't believe? Why would it be ok to say, "You're in my thoughts." but not, "in my prayers?" I have Muslim and Jewish women praying for me on a regular basis. I find it comforting that they are caring enough for me to share me with their God.

Juno~I totally get where you're coming from and respect that, but I do have a question. Did you send your kids to religious schools? Because where I live, we have problems with parents sending their kids to Catholic schools and then complaining about the kids having to go to Mass and religion classes with the rest of their class. It always confused me why they would expect their kids to NOT have to participate just because it wasn't their beliefs. Now, if your kids are going to public schools and being treated that way I would be fighting that to the end.

aaaaaaaalrighty then...

Maureen, thanks for the comments, and that's a good question. One of the schools I sent my kids to was a public school, and the rest were private schools which had an open and proud Christian ethos. We sent them to these schools because they offered the best education we could afford. And we had no problems with them attending chapel, church services or masses - in fact,we were keen for them to be exposed to organised religion, as a vital part of their education (they certainly weren't getting any of it at home! I had little exposure to the Bible or to any other religious texts as a child, and I regret that now, because there's a big gap in my learning). What shocked and disappointed us about these institutions was how judgemental they were towards our kids and our family, and our atheist ethos. It was as if my babies had grown horns.

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