Prepared to confront them »« Baby steps

Christians got no manners

More from ill-mannered intrusive uninvited missionary Christians planning to crash the Reason Rally, this time from a site called Ratio Christi: Student Apologetics Alliance. They call their rude intrusive uninvited plan Reason Rally Reachout 2012. “Reachout” is it – crashing other people’s event in order to harass them with dogmatic nonsense that you know they dislike and don’t want – that’s “reachout.” Nice name for it. Yo student apologists: if we all turned up for one of your Apologetics meetings would you consider it Reachout?

Ratio Christi, along with some other groups and campus ministries, are planning on attending the rally to interact one-on-one with skeptics and atheists in attendance, conduct surveys, engage in dialogue, and present the Christian view in a well-reasoned and respectful manner. This trip does not involve street preaching, tract distribution, or blind faith.

That’s just fucking rude. It’s aggressive and obnoxious and rude. They don’t want to interact with you, do they – they’re there to interact, for once in their lives, with thousands of people who are not theists, all in one place. They’re not there to get the Christian view, are they – they’re there to escape from it, and enjoy their freedom from it. Do you creeps think they’ve never had the Christian view presented to them before? Do you really think they need to get it from you, on that one day at that particular time and place?

Of course you don’t. You just want to mess it up. You just want to be theist pains in the ass. You just want to patronize and be passive-aggressive pseudo-nice and do your best to muck up everyone’s fun.

There will be two mandatory training sessions for all UNCG participants. The dates and times will be decided soon (they will be in late February and early-mid March). Failure to attend the training may result in an inability to attend this trip as this is a mission trip into the “lion’s den” so to speak.

Ah so you admit it. How obliging. Fuck you and fuck off.

Really; what is the matter with you? Why can’t you leave them alone? They don’t intrude on you, why are you insisting on intruding on them?

Also, as with anything like this, please pray. While we are promoting a reasonable faith and offering well-reasoned responses to questions, we also believe that the Holy Spirit works through our reason to draw people to Himself. Please bath this event in prayer and ask others to do the same.

Or bathe, whichever works worst.

But seriously. I find this “offensive” the way some people profess to find Motoons “offensive.” I consider it deliberately hostile and aggressive – a flat refusal to let people do a perfectly reasonable (yes reasonable) thing unmolested. A flat refusal to just mind their own god damn business. It’s like Joe Lieberman and others announcing that freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion. Yes it does!! That’s exactly what it means, and it would be nice if the Christians would allow it.

 

Comments

  1. Iain says

    “present the Christian view … [t]his trip does not involve … blind faith.”

    How does that work then? Is blind faith not a necessary part of the Christian view?

  2. otrame says

    I suspect the reason they are doing it is to try to instigate trouble so they can claim atheists are violent and intolerant and all those other things. It might be a good idea to mention this from the podium occasionally. Not that you can’t tell them to fuck off if they approach you. Telling them to fuck off should be plenty for them to get on video and show their parishioners and prove what brave souls they were “in the lion’s den” and how much they need more money.

    Or, instead of telling them to fuck off, why not just laugh at them. Point and laugh. “Hey, everyone, this guy is trying to tell me about Jesus. He thinks I’ve never heard of Jesus. What a maroon.”

  3. Ken Pidcock says

    Yo student apologists: if we all turned up for one of your Apologetics meetings would you consider it Reachout?

    Well, no, but then, you see, you don’t have anything to offer the way they do.

    I have to feel sorry for the poor chumps.

  4. Brownian says

    as this is a mission trip into the “lion’s den” so to speak.

    I didn’t realise the Reason Rally was going to be a catered affair!

  5. Buffy says

    and present the Christian view in a well-reasoned and respectful manner.

    1. Don’t they realize every atheist there already knows “the Christian view”?
    2. There is no such thing as “well-reasoned” when it comes to Christianity.

    Imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth if some atheists attended even one church service out of millions to talk to believers. But these people see nothing wrong with descending on a major annual gathering of atheists to proselytize. Ugh.

  6. Christopher Petroni says

    As annoying as this is, plenty of attendees are going to have a lot of fun with this missionary insurrection.

  7. Just Visiting says

    Some of them really do think it’s that simple. My aunt once told me with some astonishment that the folks she was visiting in prison really had heard about Jebus already! Some of them already had a Bible!

    I’m afraid they’re just seeing the rally in the same way.

  8. says

    They need to be told that we’ve heard it all before, we know in advance what their line will be, and rather than be ‘reached out’ to, we would prefer to use our limited time in other ways.

    That means, respect our right to decide whether or not we want or need ‘reaching out’ to.

  9. Kevin says

    I recommend buttons…potential slogans.

    “I’ve Heard It Already”

    “No Godbots”

    “No Thanks, I’m an Atheist”

    …or, you could be honest

    “Fuck Off, Jesus Freak”

    Sell them for $1 a piece, and donate the proceeds to the FFR Foundation.

  10. says

    Maybe we need some training on how to deal with these people firmly but politely.

    I remember the 100-odd anti-Obama people among the 1.5 million people at the Inauguration in 2009. They only made a limited noise, and most of us just ignored the know-nothings.

  11. uberd00b says

    Screw the Reason Rally, I want to go to one of these Christian training sessions preparing these lambs for the…rally. That sounds amazing, I can only imagine how that would proceed;

    “Ok these atheists are going to say a lot of stuff that makes perfect sense so you might want to not actually listen to anything they say.”

    Brilliant, sign me up.

  12. says

    Reminds me of the time when I was living in Western Sydney. Got a knock on the door one Saturday afternoon, and there’s a Jehovah’s Witness man with a boy of about 10 in tow, all dressed up in his best church clothes.

    After listening to a bit of the spiel, I said that I wasn’t interested. Then I asked the man why this kid was dressed up in this monkey suit going around door to door like this when he should be out with his mates kicking a football around.

    Fastest getaway I ever saw.

  13. Stacy says

    There will be two mandatory training sessions for all UNCG participants.

    I think this is just adorable.

    Seriously, the best thing to do is smile and otherwise ignore them. I suspect their little training sessions won’t have prepared them for that.

  14. Jon H says

    I’m frankly not sure what all the fuss is about, the opposition tends to show up at any event. And frankly, if we want to spread reason I think this would be as good a start as any for atheists to take the home-field advantage and change some minds.

    That said, if any Christian starts going beyond their rights of free speech and start harassing atheists fuck em.

  15. redwood says

    It probably wouldn’t hurt to have some things ready to say to them if we are approached and I wasn’t thinking of “Oh, look, it’s another fucked-up Jesus freak!” although that might be appropriate after a certain number of them appear.
    How about asking them if they would be willing to change their minds if they had a serious discussion? That’s only reasonable since they seem to want to change ours. Or ask them if they believe in evidence to support what they think is true. Or even ask them if they know Santa Claus and then if they believe he exists. If we can get them to give reasons why he doesn’t, then we can use the same ones to tell them why gods don’t exist.
    I’d hope it would be a chance for some humorous exchanges, but most Christians I know seem to have left their senses of humor in the pews somewhere, maybe hiding behind the hymnals.

  16. Theodore says

    “this is a mission trip ‘into the lions den’, so to speak”.

    When they get there they’ll be a tiny minority relative to the number of non-believers, and yeah, they’ll probably get laughed at, and told to ‘fuck off’ a lot, and ignored etc. And the worst thing is, they’ll use this as an opportunity to feel as though THEY are the ones being persecuted and harrassed.

  17. Buffy says

    And the worst thing is, they’ll use this as an opportunity to feel as though THEY are the ones being persecuted and harrassed.

    Typical. They go barging in on others, tell those others how evil/wrong/stupid they are, then pretend they’re the aggrieved party when their behavior is rightfully called out for what it is. They’re even setting the stage for their persecution meme by claiming they’re going into “the lion’s den”. They’re the predators here, FFS.

  18. devdasdavids says

    I think that at least a few of the Christians attending this rally will be set upon the path out of dogma by their encounters there. And while you are right in saying that the rally is not for them, in the long run the more people that escape from dogma the better: one day some of those same Christians will return to a future rally as atheists.

    Not that any of this makes what they are doing right. I’m just pointing out that some good can come of it.

  19. johnhodges says

    I plan to put together a leaflet or three, to give to any Christian evangelists I encounter. I have some of these in my apartment, ready for any door-to-door evangelists who knock.

    The first one, that I printed up some years ago and still have some copies of, can be seen here:
    http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/deconstructing-christian-1
    It is a summary of the ethical teachings of Jesus, with short quotes and references in support. Most Christians don’t even KNOW what Jesus taught, much less FOLLOW it.

    Another possibility, either as a “companion piece” or standalone, would be “Atheist Ethics in 500 Words”, http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/atheist-ethics-in-500-words

    A personal favorite of mine, though it never caught on like the FSM did, would be the gospel of the Great Gesargenplotz, as received by Harlan Miller:
    http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/the-gesargenplotzian-gospel

  20. Dave J L says

    I loved

    “While we are promoting a reasonable faith and offering well-reasoned responses to questions, we also believe that the Holy Spirit works through our reason to draw people to Himself.”

    Their understanding of reason is somewhat different to mine.

  21. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    While there are many atheists who never were believers, most North American atheists are ex-Christians. We were raised in the faith, we learned the cant and apologetics, we know about “Jebus is luv” and the rest of the spiel. But these gate-crashing proselytizers seem to think we were raised by wolves and never, ever heard of Jesus in our entire lives.

    Recently I explained to a Catholic what papal infallibility and ex cathedra actually meant. Many atheists are more familiar with Christian dogma than most Christians are. That’s because we took a long, hard look at the dogma during the process of shedding it.

  22. Emily Isalwaysright says

    Ian, I like telling the JWs I am a satanist, and would they mind coming back later when I’ve finished sacrificing my goat?

  23. Aliasalpha says

    Maybe everyone could be equipped with silly string and squirt any godbotherer who starts crapping on

  24. says

    I think this is an ideal opportunity. Think about it. Would we be able to get that many Christians to come to one of our events if we tried? I doubt it. There should be two or three people ready with cameras to get footage of as many of their encounters as possible. If they do any filming it will no doubt be heavily edited later on. If they have a designated leader that person should be singled out and engaged very politely and given the opportunity to make his case and then, again very politely, be torn apart in a very lionly fashion. I would have people ready to receive them and welcome them.

    I would also have several people paying attention to their interactions with us, acting like angels on our shoulders so to speak, reminding us of their intentions and helping everyone to stay calm and collected. There may even be a group of very articulate and polite volunteers who would gladly stroll about and engage them at length to keep the burden off everyone else. This could easily be turned around. Hell, tell them if they insist on evangelizing they have to sign a video release and then we put all of them up on youtube. I would look at it as an opportunity to show people what reason and reasonable really means.

  25. TV200 says

    I like telling the JWs I am a satanist, and would they mind coming back later when I’ve finished sacrificing my goat?

    I usually tell them that I have a baby in the oven, and you know how dry they get when you don’t baste them.. Well, used to, I haven’t had a visit in over a decade.

    Yes, it is obnoxious, but I think it will be easy to ignore with the amount of great speakers and performers. I mean, it could go like this.
    Fundie:” I’d like to talk to you about Jesus”
    Attendee:”No, I’ve heard it all before”
    Fundie: :”I don’t think you have…..”
    Attendee:” Yeah, just wait a minute, have you seen Tim Minchin play piano?. I can’t miss this” substitute speaker/performer as appropriate.
    Though I’m sure they will be a bit more insistent than that, then tell ‘em to fuck off.

  26. says

    Pity that an article protesting Christian rudeness is rude in itself. By the attitude you display in the article, and reflected again by some of the commentators, it looks like the attendees will certainly be feeding the video cameras lots of fodder.

  27. Svlad Cjelli says

    “Or bathe, whichever works worst.”

    It is funny because the word “bathe” works better grammatically and bathing works better for being attractive.

  28. says

    One expression many Christians don’t seem to have ever heard of is live and let live. Or should we get out our bullhorns and start picketing churches and handing out choice photocopies from God Is Not Great every Sunday?

  29. Jeff says

    Actually it should be advertised to the religious this way:
    Please join us but beware; the natural human mind is susceptible to
    rational thought and evidence. You may end up losing your ability to
    hold the beliefs about the world that you currently do. We disclaim any
    responsibility for any upheaval in your life no matter how devastating
    it may be though be assured, it will not last.
    Having said that; Have you heard the good news? There is no god?
    We are free to make sensible choices and develop an even more civilized
    world unhampered by those traits that we share with our brother and sister
    primates as well as other mammals, of which the religious stage is only one.
    Welcome.

  30. Beth says

    I think PZ’s episode with the catholic wafer is very much an example of “crashing other people’s event in order to harass them with dogmatic nonsense that you know they dislike and don’t want”. Do you have any problems when atheists arrange “field trips” to the Discovery museum or attend Homeschooling conferences oriented to a conservative Christian (i.e. creationist) audience? I haven’t noticed any complaints from you about that sort of behavior and the general attitude is one of support for such efforts.

    I don’t see this as any worse or less appropriate. If it’s a public event anyone is allowed to attend for whatever reasons they choose. Complaining when the Christians do such things and applauding with atheists do them is a double standard.

  31. janine says

    I would give the proselytizer one chance to tell me something about their big sky daddy that I have never heard before. As soon as I recognize the argument, I would turn and walk away. Still working on if I should just remain silent or give the name of the particular apologetic as I go.

    —————————————————————

    Pity that Adrian Thysse cannot seem to understand that it is legitimate to be upset at a threatened rude action and blames the atheists for giving the godbotherers fodder.

  32. janine says

    I think PZ’s episode with the catholic wafer is very much an example of “crashing other people’s event in order to harass them with dogmatic nonsense that you know they dislike and don’t want”.

    Did PZ go to a Mass or go to a gathering of Catholic people in order to put a nail through a wafer, toss it in the garbage along with pages from the Koran and The God Delusion? (Funny how some people delete that detail from their whine.)

    Do you have any problems when atheists arrange “field trips” to the Discovery museum or attend Homeschooling conferences oriented to a conservative Christian (i.e. creationist) audience?

    The only way that this can be a legitimate gripe if the same groups that run the creationist museums did not use any public money and did not actively work to inject their religious message into public education.

    Sorry, Beth, but your argument is inane.

  33. says

    Beth – how can PZ’s wafer moment possibly be the same kind of thing as Christians going to the Reason Rally to pester the people attending? You do realize he didn’t actually interrupt a Catholic mass, don’t you?

    Going to an X museum when one is a Y is also not comparable, because a museum is not a one day event, it’s a permanent installation. Atheists going into a church is one thing, and atheists disrupting a religious ceremony is quite another.

    There is no double standard.

  34. mnb0 says

    For those who go – I live in Suriname and am Dutch, so I won’t be there alas – and like to have some fun with those idiots, pick your favourite quotes and learn them by heart:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/index.htm

    http://www.evilbible.com/

    My favourite one is currently 1 Timothy 2:11-15, especially recommended for the females amongst us. Handicapped people (sorry, I am not PC) might prefer Leviticus 21:17-23

    Whosoever … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. … Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries.

    I love that book. I cannot think of any better anti-christian propaganda.

  35. says

    I think PZ’s episode with the catholic wafer is very much an example of “crashing other people’s event in order to harass them with dogmatic nonsense that you know they dislike and don’t want”.

    Except that PZ didn’t do his stunt in a church or in any other religious gathering. He didn’t in any way intrude on their space or force them to witness his actions or listen to his words.

    Do you have any problems when atheists arrange “field trips” to the Discovery museum or attend Homeschooling conferences oriented to a conservative Christian (i.e. creationist) audience?

    You mean when they quietly attend an event, don’t disturb anyone or disrupt the proceedings and then write reviews of it on their personal websites?

    I don’t see this as any worse or less appropriate

    Maybe you should look a little harder.

  36. says

    Some thoughts…

    First, I feel a lot of “oh, these are but a minority that will attend”. That is setting yourself up for failure (by underestimating your opponent). Considering from what I’ve seen from here (Holland) it might be a lot more then you think. one xian for every 15 atheist is already disruptive to a nasty degree.
    Plus what I’ve seen these people actually do (proselytizing, shouting matches, picket-lines) can get on your nerves pretty soon. With luck you don’t have to deal with Muslims like we have to here, try having a debate with a constant allah-el-akbar in the background.

    Just saying to poke a little bit at the hubris ;)

    And then, how to deal with most of them.. here’s an idea.. Anyone ever seen Charley in the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp?
    There’s this one INCREDIBLY annoying boy. And each time he tries to be heard Willy wonka (depp) looks at him annoyed and says “you really need to speak up a little” or “why is this boy mumbling all the time?”. or: http://bit.ly/zQ7ExV
    I found that hillarious and tried that in several occasions.. It works. It gets under people’s skin pretty soon..

    “I want to tell you abt christ”
    “excuse me?”
    “I want to tell you abt christ!”
    “I’m sorry, but you really need to stop mumbling, speak up man!”
    “I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT CHRIST”
    just look at him a second or two
    “I’m sorry, can’t make heads nor tails from that.. if you will excuse me”
    walk away leaving them stumped..

    Or similar. Really, it’s amazing what effect it has on people..

  37. says

    You mean when they quietly attend an event, don’t disturb anyone or disrupt the proceedings and then write reviews of it on their personal websites?

    Oh, is that what Beth meant? Just, like, reporting on an event? Good grief, how dishonest can you get.

    Bad behavior, Beth. Sly. Tricksy. Deceptive.

    Come on. Play by the rules. I quoted the apologists talking very openly about getting up in people’s faces, not just going along to observe and report. Argue honestly if you’re going to argue.

  38. Grendels Dad says

    Reaching out to someone implies that they want or need help. Nobody at this rally is asking for help from the religious, or believe they need any. The religious are subverting the desires of the attendees.

    This isn’t an example of reaching out, it’s just another christian reach around.

  39. anne says

    Maybe the organisers could set up a special outreach tent, where volunteers could meet these Christians who are so eager for dialogue. And maybe they could ask the Christians to respect their request to confine their proselytising activities to the tent. (Acts 18.3)

  40. says

    It’s quite possible that there have been cases of atheists behaving in an unruly manner at such events, but it’s far from common. For example, when PZ visited a creation museum in November, he posted some rules for any atheists that wished to join him. The first one was:

    Be polite and nondisruptive. This is their property and you are a visitor.

    Those wicked atheists. Will they stop at nothing?

  41. says

    @anne

    Good suggestion. At the very least, I think it might be an idea to have a representative meet with the christians and point out that this is an event for skeptics and atheists, giving them a chance to network and socialize. It’s not meant as a forum for debating the other side.
    Maybe some rules could be outlined for what is acceptable behavior. That would also provide a clear guide for when it’s ok to kick out a disruptive individual.

  42. Beth says

    Oh, is that what Beth meant?

    No. I don’t think PZ’s stunt with the wafer qualifies as just observing and reporting. It was meant to offend and infuriate. It succeeded.

    Just, like, reporting on an event? Good grief, how dishonest can you get.
    Bad behavior, Beth. Sly. Tricksy. Deceptive.

    Except that wasn’t what I meant.

    Come on. Play by the rules. I quoted the apologists talking very openly about getting up in people’s faces, not just going along to observe and report. Argue honestly if you’re going to argue.

    If you consider

    interact one-on-one with skeptics and atheists in attendance, conduct surveys, engage in dialogue, and present the Christian view in a well-reasoned and respectful manner.

    the same as

    rude intrusive uninvited plan…crashing other people’s event in order to harass them with dogmatic nonsense that you know they dislike and don’t want…openly about getting up in people’s faces

    then your definition of an honest argument differs considerably from mine.

    By the way, I don’t object to PZ’s activities. He isn’t doing anything wrong. He always advocates polite and respectful interactions with them in person during such activities. But that is what they are advocating as well. Either the behavior is acceptable when done by either “side” or it’s not. It’s a double standard to support what he does and then condemn these actions by Christians for being rude and offensive.

  43. says

    I haven’t yet read what came after Beth’s comment…

    I think PZ’s episode with the catholic wafer is very much an example of “crashing other people’s event in order to harass them with dogmatic nonsense that you know they dislike and don’t want”. Do you have any problems when atheists arrange “field trips” to the Discovery museum or attend Homeschooling conferences oriented to a conservative Christian (i.e. creationist) audience?

    Way to totally miss the point of those exercises, Beth! PZ did not actually disrupt any magical ceremony that Catholics hold where they pretend to turn a cracker into the flesh of Zombie Jesus. And the Creation “Museum” creozerg (field trip) was an educational excursion to bring to light the utter crap that people are sadly falling for. In no way are those two events comparable to a bunch of cult members going out of their way to interrupt and disrupt an atheist event.

  44. says

    Beth. Stop that. You’re moving the goalposts.

    I didn’t say PZ’s cracker demo wasn’t meant to offend. That was not the salient difference.

    “Except that wasn’t what I meant.”

    Then back up what you did mean. Give an example.

    In the rest, you have missed (or pretended to miss) my point. It is crashing the event for missionary purposes that is itself rude and intrusive, no matter how mildly and politely they go about it. If I force my way into your living room and attempt to convert you to something or other, it doesn’t much matter if I talk in a soft voice the whole time.

  45. says

    Another thing is that the whole line that the theists will be confronting the atheists with love appears false from the atheist perspective. The theists just don’t respect our beliefs at all. They don’t respect the facts and knowledge we have or the reasons we have to oppose their beliefs. It isn’t very loving to annoy others or intrude on others’ events with the intent of confronting people there who don’t agree with you. So why pretend otherwise?

  46. says

    @Ophelia,

    :) Sometimes I come across statements by others and find myself unable to move past them without a personal response.

    To Beth’s reply, I would just like to point out that the theists can say they are being loving, polite, and respectful all they want but that doesn’t make it true and it doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation.

  47. Richard Simons says

    You could always allow the ring-leader to give a 10 minute uninterrupted presentation, provided they agree to a 10 minute uninterrupted presentation by an atheist in their church.

  48. Stacy says

    I think PZ’s episode with the catholic wafer is very much an example of “crashing other people’s event in order to harass them with dogmatic nonsense that you know they dislike and don’t want”.

    Except for the part where PZ didn’t crash anybody’s event, he didn’t make his point in a dogmatic way (he disrespected The God Delusion and the Koran too, remember) and you had to have actually read his blog in order to feel “harassed”.

    Other than that, yeah, Beth, it’s exactly the same.

  49. Banjobee says

    These godder numpties thrive on argument and reaction, it feeds their delusion like petrol feeds a fire. Its what they want, what they crave. Just as atheists have heard all their arguments, countless times, they have heard atheist rebuttles countless times in turn. But heads full of wind tossed sand and tumbleweed aren’t very receptive vessels for rational thought. Just ignore them as if they don’t exist, exactly the same as you do to their god. When you meet them look around them, through them, over them. Don’t acknowledge them. Act as if their words are unheard and their presence unseen, or look puzzled as if the wisp of a ghost just brushed passed you. If you must respond then do so by politely handing them a FSM church flyer, and above all things, treat them with sympathy and compassion, since terminal delusion deserves some pity afterall. Oh, and have a great, great rally.

  50. mnb0 says

    @Beth: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
    Shouldn’t you as a christian woman follow this advise?
    On this page you don’t take your own holy book seriously. Then how are we atheists supposed to?
    It’s there. In your holy book. Be in silence, for the sake of your beloved Christ.

  51. says

    @Beth

    Did PZ do his cracker stunt in a church? No, he didn’t. He did it in the privacy of his home and he then posted about is on his personal blog. If the Christians hadn’t actively sought him out, they would never have know what he’d done.

    The point of it was NOT to offend and infuriate, but to make a point about nothing being really holy. That’s why he added also threw a copy of the god delusion in a trash can. In fact, PZ has on several occasions said that he was quite surprised that the reaction was so strong.

    Furthermore, showing up at an event that is specifically meant for people who disagree with you, to allow them to interact between themselves, is rude and certainly uninvited. Presenting the Christian view simply can’t be done without being dogmatic or talking nonsense.
    They may be saying nice, polite things, but if you really believe that, I’ve got a bridge for sale.

    So, this isn’t a double standard. It’s a matter of entirely different situations.

  52. Pteryxx says

    PZ’s blog and PZ’s trash can are not someone’s church. Besides, has everyone forgotten so soon that PZ’s cracker stunt was criticism of Catholics threatening a student for taking a communion wafer home with him? PZ’s cracker stunt, on his own blog, in his own home, was far more polite and non-intrusive than the religious threats were.

    From PZ’s blog:

    Never mind that the Catholic League demands that I be fired, thousands of Catholics write to me demanding I be kicked out of the university immediately, and that they send me death threats, both the explicit kind and the vaguely menacing kind. Let’s not forget Webster Cook, who started this all by simply walking back to his seat with a cracker, and now faces censure and possible expulsion from his university. Oh, those Catholics sure are forbearing and tolerant.

    And those threats came when he was merely discussing destroying a cracker. He hadn’t actually done it yet.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/the_great_desecration.php

  53. janine says

    I see that Beth cannot understand the difference between PZ driving a nail through a wafer in his backyard and true believers who feel the need to confront a crowd of people simply because the crowd rejects the religion of the true believers.

    Beth, try again when PZ pulls the stunt at a mass.

  54. says

    I think I’ll respond with “Been there, done that, then I grew up”. Depending on the mood I’m in, if there’s a speaker I want to hear, etc, I may expand somewhat on that theme.

  55. TomeWyrm says

    @Beth
    Bless your circumcised heart.

    You are defending a bunch of Christians who want to go to an Atheist rally… full of people who don’t want to drink your flavor of Kool-Aid™! Didn’t Jesus say to turn the other cheek? Love thy neighbor? Any of that ringing a bell? I don’t recall any lines about “go into thy neighbor’s gatherings and preach to them while they really don’t want to listen to you”.

    If you’re trying to see what atheists are like, go there and OBSERVE. Don’t rally a bunch of your friends to go talk to them as Christians! That’s like going to a Gay Pride parade with a bunch of lesbian and gay slur jokes!

    Sheesh!

  56. Godless Heathen says

    I definitely plan on ignoring any proselytizers. I will also bring my own water or maybe a water bottle full of something else.

  57. ernie keller says

    I don’t have a problem with anyone attending a secular meeting. So long as they observe the general rules of civility that apply to everyone regardless of belief, they can come and disagree in precisely the way we would at a public meeting of religious people exercising their rights. Do I think that they will behave reasonably? I really don’t know, but I suspect that some of them might wish to create an incident that would demonstrate that the intolerance is on our side.

  58. says

    I love the idea (mentioned on PZ’s blog) of treating them as a zoo exhibit, complete with commentary and cameras. Someone needs to make a “documentary”.

  59. JJMMWGDuPree says

    Its always worth trying the “But you are an atheist too! There are millions of gods you don’t believe in. Justify your disbelief and you’ll understand mine.” line.

  60. says

    ernie – oh I don’t have any problem with their attending either – it’s the planning to “interact” and “share Jesus” and do missionary outreach that I have a problem with. If they just want to attend, then by all means.

  61. says

    I watched part of the discussion between Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams that took place on 23 February at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. Williams was dressed in clerical garb with a crucifix around his neck; of course, these are a visible indication of his position on the topics being discussed. Dawkins wore a business suit, shirt and tie.

    I would have really enjoyed seeing Dawkins wearing The Magic of Reality t-shirt under his jacket. But,imagine the hue and cry if he were to have done so. Wearing a symbol of execution is acceptable, but wearing a The Magic of Reality or atheist t-shirt is not. I protest against this double standard.

  62. Rich Woods says

    @Anne #42:

    Maybe the organisers could set up a special outreach tent, where volunteers could meet these Christians who are so eager for dialogue. And maybe they could ask the Christians to respect their request to confine their proselytising activities to the tent. (Acts 18.3)

    I like that idea. I don’t know how many of them would turn up and whether they only plan to bring water, but if they should get hungry maybe someone could take them two loaves and five fishes.

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