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Humbly lovingly thoughtfully crashing the party

Here’s something I hadn’t seen before. I probably could have predicted it if I’d thought about it, but I didn’t, so I didn’t. It’s a website called True Reason, set up to rally Christians to go to the Reason Rally in D.C. next month in order to pester it, because religion doesn’t get to pester us enough already without shoving itself into an event that is not all about religion.

It has a nice line in passive-aggressive pseudo-decency.

This is not a counter-demonstration. We are going there to share Christ person to person as opportunity arises. We will not raise our voices. We will talk with those who want to talk with us. We will offer gifts and materials to all, but we will not press ourselves on those who do not wish to converse.

Nonsense. They’re already pressing themselves on those who do not wish to converse by horning in on an event that they know perfectly well is about not doing the kind of thing they do. The Reason Rally for instance is about realizing that “sharing Christ” is a bit of empty jargon.

They admit they know this when they go on to say

We’ll provide you some advance training by way of Internet, so you will be prepared for interactions in this unique “Lion’s Den” environment.

They’re actually the ones who are importing the “Lions’ Den” by intruding on other people’s rally. The only sense in which the Rally will be a Lions’ Den is that the Christians weren’t invited and aren’t wanted (not as opponents and missionaries, that is).

They claim that they’re just as fond of reason as the people attending the Reason Rally.

A Reasonable Response to the Reason Rally

This website represents Christians from all over the country—even some from as far as Australia and New Zealand—who know that Christianity is both good and reasonable.

But you don’t know that. Christianity is not “reasonable” in the sense of being based on reason.

Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers and other New Atheists are planning a “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C. on March 24. They’re billing it as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history,” and they’re using it to trumpet their message that reasonable people reject belief in God.

We disagree.

Together, we represent Christians from the United States and around the world who believe that Christianity is a reasonable worldview.

Well you would, wouldn’t you, but nevertheless, it isn’t.

Our goal is to demonstrate a humble, loving and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally.

Not possible. The only humble, loving and thoughtful response would be to mind your own business. It would be to stay away and let other people do what they want to do. It would be to refrain from intruding. We don’t pile into your churches every Sunday; why the hell can’t you just extend us the same courtesy? [I speak broadly when I say “us”; I can’t afford to go to the Rally so I’m not part of that “us.”]

They want it all, don’t they. They want to throw their weight around and they also want to get credit for being humble and thoughtful. Not going to happen.

Comments

  1. baal says

    My first exposure to Michelle Bachmann was in a news story about a local parade where one candidate got to the end first, went back to the float of the other candidate and then stole signs, vandalized the float, booed, hissed and heckled while walking on the parade route and otherwise extreme boorish behavior.

    Bachmann’s team was the one doing the harassment.

  2. peterh says

    Just what is a “New Atheist”? How would one compare with a “new atheist,” an “Old Atheist” or an “old atheist”? Aside from making it clear these evangelicals intend to oh-so-politely intrude where they’re very much out of place, what are they really saying about those they wish to speak with?

  3. andrea says

    I see that they are wanting to spend thousands of dollars bothering us with their little booklets, which I can guarantee have nothing new in them, just the same old lies. Funny how that money could be spent doing something good like oh, donating to a food bank in Washington DC, or any charity that actually helps people.

  4. Marshall says

    That’s it, I’m going to church on Sunday. I’m going to sit quietly, and then I’m going to raise my hand. I’m going to leave it up until someone notices and asks what I’m doing, and then I’m going to say I have a question. If at all possible, I’m going to ASK my question. I’m going to do all of this in the most polite manner possible.

    It’s only fair, after all. I’m just sharing reason with them in a polite way, right?

  5. Sunny says

    From one of the links on their website, following is the plan:

    A united effort, […], is being prepared under the group True Reason, which will engage the attendants at the rally with:

    – Random acts of kindness (such as giving away free water).
    – A 32 page mini booklet summarizing the content of an upcoming e-book.
    – Other materials and booklets reflecting on Christianity and atheism.

    Source: http://weshouldallmakeaneffort.blogspot.com/2012/02/brief-word-on-reason-rally.html

    ———-
    At least you will not have to pay for water.

  6. jolo5309 says

    I think this is awesome! It will allow theists to mingle with non-theists and see that they are real people, not caricatures.

    It all depends on whether you invite them to the orgy as well…

  7. Yellow Thursday says

    At least you will not have to pay for water.

    I’d be extremely suspicious about a stranger handing me a free bottle of water. Just sayin’.

  8. Steve Bowen says

    Free water! Why? So they can claim that they are generous loving and charitable people presumeably, because obviously atheists aren’t, or at least that’s the implication. Anyone whose going, please point out to them that giving people stuff for blatent ulterior motives is not an ethical thing to do. On the other hand, if any of them manage to turn the water into wine, genuflect gratefully and enjoy.

  9. fastlane says

    Marshall beat me to it, but I think you should arrange some groups to hand out Reason Rally flyers at some local churches.

    To make it clear, put something like ‘Inspired by True Reason’, with a link to their website.

    That should confuse some of the faithheads enough to make their heads assplode.

  10. Marshall says

    Marshall beat me to it, but I think you should arrange some groups to hand out Reason Rally flyers at some local churches.

    Actually I didn’t beat you to THAT, which I think might be a great idea, and one I refuse to take any credit for.

  11. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    One thing which does annoy me about Jesusites is their insistence “you need to hear this.” This is a lie. We don’t need to hear it, they need to say it. It’s not about us or our wants and desires, it’s all about them. They need to proselytize and they couldn’t care less if we want to be proselytized at.

  12. Jeff Sherry says

    I can see it all now, the approach with the Pat Robertson poo eating grin, “have you heard of jesus?”

    Yes I have, too many times during my life.

    The proselytizers are not going to be happy with the folks they approach, because this will not be their territory for that time.

  13. says

    I may be in the minority here, but I don’t actually mind when Christians do this sort of thing. I’d prefer they didn’t, in the same way that I’d prefer for all of my Lifesavers to be red or green, but honestly, I’d rather deal with Christians who want to discuss these matters than with ones who want to sit back quietly, vote against women’s rights and gay rights, and “mind their own business” otherwise.

    And besides, this is consistent with their worldview. They believe that spreading their message to as many people as possible is goal number one in life, where it conflicts with other concerns. They (most of them, anyway), genuinely believe that we will suffer for ever if we don’t change our minds on this score. I don’t think it would be very humane of them to never try to confront us with that.

    To me, the problem isn’t that they’re vocal; it’s that they’re wrong in the first place. The rest just stems from there.

  14. says

    I don’t know why I used the word “vocal” in my last sentence in the previous post. It didn’t sufficiently cover the situation. “Annoying, intrusive busybodies” would have been more accurate.

  15. says

    I get hassled on my doorstep 2 or 3 times a year by evangelists of one sort or another. I’m definitely going to invest in some leaflets to hand to them, while inquiring kindly for their address, so that I can call round later, with some friends, to make sure they have understood them. They need to hear this.

  16. Brigadista says

    Perhaps Giles Fraser can do a piece on this, as he did in the UK Guardian back in 2009:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/06/religion-another-thought-for-the-day

    He can reproduce all his disingenuous (or just downright facile) arguments but this time in reverse, replacing the word ‘atheist’ with ‘believer’ and vice versa.

    I wish believers would get a life and stop following atheists wherever they go, demanding to join in.

    You get the idea …

  17. says

    Mason, yes, but that’s just it. Because they are wrong, and should be able to realize that they’re wrong (at least in the sense of having reliable knowledge of their god and what it wants of humans, knowledge that anyone else should accept as such), they shouldn’t thrust themselves on other people. They should realize that they don’t know what they claim to know and therefore should not be trying to push other people into accepting what they claim to know.

  18. kf says

    Inspired from Marshall and Steve I think the best idea is to ask the intruders if they’d think it appropriate for the freethinkers to return the visit at one of their Bible study sessions.
    As to the water, just say no, thanks. Or do point out that they give it away for selfish reasons: to get themselves into heaven….

  19. Rrr says

    As to the water, just say no, thanks. Or do point out that they give it away for selfish reasons: to get themselves into heaven…

    Or maybe just suggest they take the water with them on the flight back home >:-)> Have an interesting journey heavenwards.

  20. 1000 Needles says

    You’ve got to love the event description from the RatioChristi event page.

    …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.

    So they’re bringing books and booklets to hand out, and this is somehow different than “tract distribution.” They also want to “engage in dialogue” which will somehow be meaningfully different than the typical street preaching.

    I suppose it should be taken as a point of pride that they feel the need to water down their agenda with such milquetoast vocabulary.

  21. 1000 Needles says

    …also, their idea of “respectful dialogue” includes mandatory training sessions. Mandatory! How cowardly.

  22. Tom says

    I’m planning on being one of the Christians to attend this rally. It’s unfortunate that we have been thrown under a stereotype that says we are unable to participate in reasonable dialogue and that we must resort to some type “Jesus just wants to be your best friend!” kind of approach or to screaming hellfire and the like.
    The Christians that are planning on attending this rally are not your average churchgoers. They are Christians that have often struggled with doubt themselves, and have devoted themselves to searching for the real answers by listening to both sides. Most Christians would be afraid to attend this rally, because they do not know how to make a rational defense of their faith. Atheists are not scary because of what kind of people they are, but rather because of what beliefs they hold. However, I assure you the Christians that shall be at this rally are unafraid because they have searched and found the truth.

    Also,there is clearly a misunderstanding on this board concerning the Christian understanding salvation. A Christian does not believe that by going to you and giving you water and booklets he will secure his salvation. Rather, his salvation is secured by placing faith in Christ. It isn’t based on doing good works. So why do we go? Because Jesus commanded us to go out to all the world and make disciples, and because we love you guys. We want to help you find the truth, because the truth has set us free, and we want that freedom for you as well.
    Hopefully, i’ll get the chance to have some good conversations with many of you at dc. I’ve been going to atlanta every week chilling with the people at occupy and making friends, and I hope I’ll be able to become friends with some of you as well.

  23. says

    @Tom — It’s not “loving” to pursue and harass people who have made it perfectly clear, on multiple occasions, that your presence and proselytizing IS NOT WELCOME. It’s called STALKING, and just makes you Christ-bots out to be creepy and cultish.

  24. says

    I assure you the Christians that shall be at this rally are unafraid because they have searched and found the truth.

    Tom, how do you know you have found the truth about whatever it is you are talking about? Tell us the process you used to determine what the truth is. I would venture to guess that the process you used is as faulty as the process dowsers and homeopaths use, but let’s hear about the process you used. (Note: Sticking your fingers in your ears and singing at the top of your lungs is not a reliable or rigorous process for establishing what is true even though it may make you unafraid–just in case that is how you do it.)

  25. says

    Tom, what stereotype are you talking about? I quoted directly from the article, and took issue with what I quoted. How can that be a stereotype? It’s not something I made up, it’s something another person wrote.

    I haven’t said the Christians who go to the Reason Rally to argue with the people there are going to scream about hellfire. My point is that going to the rally as missionaries is itself rude and presumptuous, however mildly and quietly it may be done.

  26. says

    Tom @29 says

    Most Christians would be afraid to attend this rally, because they do not know how to make a rational defense of their faith.

    It’s hard to defend the irrational rationally.

    Atheists are not scary because of what kind of people they are, but rather because of what beliefs they hold.

    We don’t have beliefs, Tom. We have conclusions. Conclusions arrived at by an honest and critical evaluation of the evidence. Try to keep up.

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