Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Got Visited by Jehovah's Witnesses!

I argue with theists who are trying to convince me of their views online all the time, but it's rare I come across one in real life (other than old friends and family from Orthodox Judaism.)

Half an hour ago, two very nice older ladies rang my doorbell, introduced themselves, told me that they were Jehovah's Witnesses, and asked if they could talk to me about God.

I smiled and said, "No thanks, I'm not interested."

The apparent spokeswoman asked, "Can I ask why not?"

"Well... I'm an atheist."

"Oh!" She smiles at her companion. "We were just talking about that. Do you think that humanity will be able to overcome all the problems that the world is facing today?"

"Hmm... I hope so," I replied. (In hindsight, I'm sure we won't be able to overcome ALL of them.)

"So you do think about that sort of thing?" she asked.

"Yes, of course." I smile again.

"Can I ask why you're an atheist?"

Here I paused. I didn't want to launch into a rant and I was trying to end the conversation, so I sort of choked. "Well, you know, evolution and stuff."

No response. Then she gestures towards her companion and asks, "Well, if we find some literature that we think might be new to you, can we come back and give it to you?"

I smile again. "No thanks, I've done my research."

"Okay, well have a nice day!"

"Thanks, you too!"

I know I didn't change any minds. If I had wanted to get into it, I could have ranted about the immorality of refusing necessary blood transfusions for yourselves and your children, or about believing in a God that lets only 144,000 people out of 6 billion get into Heaven. But I'm not here to argue with little old ladies that their entire worldview is fraudulent and immoral.

That's why I have the internet. :)


Laura said...

Jehovah's Witnessess are SO much fun! If you think the reaction to "I'm an Athiest" is funny, try "I'm a witch"...

My dad told me once that he was painting the house when two guys came by and asked to talk about God... so he said why not. He was almost done, and they stayed there the whole time yapping at him - making him frustrated - thus making him paint faster. When he was done, he stopped them, said OK, I'm done here, and went back inside.

I have to agree though, little old ladies are tougher to deal with in that situation. I mean, who wants to insult grandma, right?

Wandering Coyote said...

Well, they sure knocked on the wrong door. But you handled it well. I know from experience that you could rant till you were blue in the face and you have been wasting your breath. One of my oldest and dearest friends is a JW and she knows better than to get into it with me, but I have learned that she is not your typical JW, either.

Juggling Mother said...

They never come knocking on my door. I'm most insulted;-)

If they came at a convenient time, I might well invite them in for coffee and a chat, but all the other salesmen chose the most awful times to call, so they get very short shrift.

I did get some 7th day whatsits when I was a student. They ended up giving me some money, then ran away fast:-)

The Jewish Freak said...

Years ago, when I was still an orthodox believer the JW came to my door and started talking about the "Kingdom of God". I told the young gentleman that the definitive book on utopia was Plato's Republic. I instructed him to go home and read it and then he could come back and talk to me. Several months later, my landlord came to me with a very confused look on his face and said "The strangest thing happened today. A JW came by saying he was here to discuss Plato's Republic with you". I got a good laugh out of that. Never saw him again though.

Wandering Coyote said...

Actually, not too long ago a couple came to The Centre and asked if they could leave some of their literature for us. The receptionist said, no, we have our own literature, thank you very much. Once they'd left, I said, "The gall!" But one of the priests pointed out that this is a safe place for them to go and they knew full well what the answer would be. They'd rather be turned down by someone nice rather than have a door slammed in their faces. And I'm sure they get plenty of that.

Foilwoman said...

I think its very important to be polite, especially those of us rejecting the view that a particular book or tract or doctrine will save us. Imagine the mental defenses that could be erected even higher in response to "I'm an atheist and you're an idiot." No, better to behave well. I offer tea, and then wish them well.

Jack's Shack said...

Jehovah's Witnessess fibd me all too frequently.

rod said...

I'm Jewish, my best friend is an ex-Watchtower member. He would probably write an 'about me' similar to yours. He's also my Tanach instant reference and knows some basic Siddur Hebrew. For good or bad, the way they raise their children is quite similar to some ortho groups. Discounting failed prophecy and stuff like the 144,000, their views of death until resurrection have more in common with a certain non-xtian religion than the other xtian groups.

We have more in common with them than either does with any xtian group, including Shoah.

I've chatted with the ones that have come to my door, they know what a Mezuzah is. We've had some interesting non-confrontational "old testament prophecy" discussions, and they've invited me to visit but they accept me as Jewish - they may approach someone who says athiest differently.

They're also someone to go out for Chinese with on xmas.

rod said...

If you want to talk irritating - the paid PETA soliciters are the worst. I tell them we're all part of the food chain - eat or be eaten, and I know the neighbors black lab is hungry...

Mereadlin said...

At one point, the office I worked in was out of my boss' home. Two JW ladies used to come by regularly, and I'd chat for a few minutes if I had time. One day they gave me a Children's Bible. I think it was one of the scariest things I ever read.

Foilwoman said...

mereadlin: I haven't seen the Jehovah's Witnesses' children's Bible. What's scary about it? Or scarier than any other children's Bible? I remember a picture of Abraham ready to sacrifice Isaac, knife out, kid tied up, that gave me nightmares for a long, long time as a kid.

Mereadlin said...

Putting it that way, you make a good point. What I found scary was that the phrase "Satan the Devil" was often repeated throughout it and seemed very fear-based to me. Because that is so different from my own experiences, I thought it was a scary thing to give to children. Hope that explains it better! :)

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

You could have tried the Rodney Dangerfield joke.
"I can't be a Jehovah's Witness"
"Why not?"
"I didn't see the accident"

Danny Haszard said...

Up close and personal Jehovah's Witnesses can be wolves in sheep's clothing.

Think about this-When the devil comes knocking on your door he may not have the 'dark goth look'.They could be smartly dressed and wielding the Christian Bible.

I have Jehovah's Witnesses family in the usa who practice the Watchtower JW enforced ritual shunning that i have not seen or heard from in 15 years.

The central CORE dogma of the Watchtower is Jesus second coming (invisibly) in 1914 and is a lie.Jehovah's Witnesses are a spin-off of the man made Millerite movement of 1840.

A destructive cult of false teachings, that frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths (bogus blood transfusion ban).

Yes,you can 'check out anytime you want but you can never leave',because they can and will hold your family hostage.

The world has the Internet now,and there are tens of thousands of pages up from disgruntled ex-Jehovah's Witnesses like myself who have been abused by the Watchtower cult.

Jehovah's Witnesses are often a mouth that prays a hand that kills.The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.
Danny Haszard former Jehovah's Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation

cfg said...

I took the time to talk to the JW's and I told them to prove it. I have respect for the Bible, and guess what? Every thing they said can be backed up with the Bible. Not taken out of context, not some obscure scripture. What they believe is what is taught in the Bible. Makes me wonder where the other religions using the Bible got their info.

Anonymous said...

Jewish Atheist? Ha, one in the same. It's more economical to call yourself, Jew.

You can't escape those genes, sadly.

JB said...

Sounds like you dealt with them quite well.

tom sheepandgoats said...

Jewish Freak: JWs came by to discuss Plato's Republic?? Not sure what they might have said. But perhaps they might have brought up this excerpt from Michael Hart's The 100:

Only those persons who show that they can apply their book learning to the real world should be admitted into the guardian class. Moreover, only those persons who clearly demonstrate that they are primarily interested in the public welfare are to become guardians.

Membership in the guardian class would not appeal to all persons. The guardians are not to be wealthy. They should be permitted only a minimal amount of personal property, and no land or private homes. They are to receive a fixed (and not very large) salary, and may not own either gold or silver. Members of the guardian class should not be permitted to have separate families, but are to eat together, and are to have mates in common. The compensation of these philosopher -kings should not be material wealth, but rather the satisfaction of public service.

Anyone familiar with Jehovah's Witnesses will realize at once that this description almost exactly describes their "governing body," the agency that governs members of the faith. Only the "mates in common" does not apply.

Thus, Plato would appear to have much in common with Jehovah's Witnesses