Proselytizing: Do Christians Need Instructions to Talk to Atheists?

I don’t remember quite how old I was – eleven or twelve maybe – when there was a knock on the door of my childhood home and I was home alone. They seemed insistent. Got me out of bed even. I opened the door to see the older couple who lives at the end of the road. Turns out they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was the nineties in a very rural area so the thought never crossed my mind to just not answer the door (which is what I do now). They asked if my dad was around. I said no. At that point, I thought they would leave but instead, they asked me, “Do you ever wonder if there isn’t a god?” I said yes and they whipped out a pamphlet. I don’t remember exactly what the pamphlet said or how long they stuck around, I just remember how awkward I felt. They got me out of bed to talk about god. I didn’t know them well but they weren’t strangers, either. I know proselytizing is an important part of Christianity, but who the hell ever thought that it was okay to talk to the little girl down the road about god?

If anyone does that to my daughter, there will be hell to pay.

Apparently, there are instructions on how to talk to atheists. It looks like Christians have to think long and hard about ways to defend/spread their religion. I think that’s funny because it is so easy to poke holes in their arguments. 

I recently read these two articles:

Great Questions to Graciously Engage Your Atheist Friend

How to Talk to Atheists with Clarity and Confidence

Reading the articles I felt like I was behind enemy lines watching them try to crack a secret code. Have you seen these articles before?

My whole entire life I’ve felt awkward around Christians and proselytizing is why. Keep that shit to yourself. How about live and let live?


  1. Katydid says

    I suppose they do that because they’re insecure and feel the need to raise their status by “winning converts”. And yes, it’s annoying. A couple of weeks ago I was approached in the parking lot of a supermarket by Mormons, but I shut them down. SO RUDE. And people who go on “mission” to evangelize should be locked away–the gall of people to go to other countries and insist the people there are worshipping wrong.

    I’m surprised nobody’s been sued for barging into the home of an underaged child, as you were.

  2. maggie says

    Before I retired I was a shift worker. I worked rotating 12 hour day and night shifts. Obviously, when I worked nights, I would sleep in the day. Therefore, 2 pm was the night shift equivalent of 2 am for day workers. The Jehovah people came to my door at 2 pm and woke me up from a deep sleep. Annoyed, I asked the leader of the pack for his home phone number and when he asked why I told him that I work nights and would call him at 2 am on my break. They left and never returned to bother me at that address. Different story when I moved. Now I just tell them “two words, three effs.”

  3. John Morales says

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a typical mainstream Christian denomination; they’re more akin to a cult.

    As for the evangelism, it’s an actual requirement for them, unlike for most Christians. Bad social consequences if they don’t at least go through the motions.

  4. says

    Christians have ALWAYS needed instructions to tell them how to talk to non-believers. Early Christian writers gave their flocks such instruction manuals starting not long after Jesus himself buggered off ascended to Heaven.

    And what’s really sad/laughable about their instructions is that most of the gung-ho evangelist-wannabees who try to use them, totally fall on their butts the minute their prospective mark says anything off-script. This is mostly because the evangelist-wannabees simply don’t understand the talking-points they’ve been given, and thus can’t convincingly follow through on any of them. All they can do is declare victory when/where their script says they’ve won the argument.

  5. says

    Proselytizing is baked into the Xtian religion, right from Square One—the Big Book of Multiple Choice, aka the Bible. The Xtian term of art is “Great Commission”, which refers to a couple of different bits of the Big Book. Like, for example, Mark 16:15-16:

    15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    That is why Xtians make such great efforts to sell their god-concept to everyone else.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    Some Christians came to my door once, a couple of addresses ago, not long after I’d moved in. It was a lovely day, and they were going door to door – two women, and a little girl I’d estimate to be about eight or nine. I opened the door, having nothing else on at that point and no idea who they were or what they wanted.

    The two women remained silently smiling – bit creepy – while the little girl piped up cheerfully something along the lines of “Have you heard the good news about Jesus?”. I immediately crouched down to her eye level, completely ignoring the two child abusers standing either side of her. I looked her right in the eye, smiled, and said something along the lines of: “I have! The good news about Jesus is that he’s like Santa – a lie adults tell children to make them do as they’re told and do things they don’t want to do. You can’t trust grownups.” Six years I lived at that address. I saw them going door to door many times, but they never, ever came to my door again. That little girl will now be in her late twenties – I do hope she’s heard the good news about Jesus.

  7. Peter B says — 3 Great Questions…
    >…an objective moral standard exists outside of ourselves.
    I question the “exists outside of ourselves” because groups without standards like “killing others for sport is bad” tend not to survive.
    >And therefore, someone had to put it in place.
    Citation needed.

    “How to Talk to Atheists with Clarity and Confidence” is more likely to lead thinking Catholics away from the church.

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