There was a knock on my door…

At 9:55 this morning there was a knock on my door. I was kind of surprised because people don’t generally just drop by my house.

I went to answer the door, accompanied, of course, by the curious resident pit bull who would do nothing more to a stranger than sniff and lick him to death.

I was only able to open the door slightly (I am not very wide) so as to keep the dog from fleeing the house.

Who should be on my stoop on this lovely, chilly Saturday morning?

There were two nicely dressed men standing there, holding a plethra of literature. Immediately, I knew.

I said “Hello.” One man spoke up: “Hello. I wanted to share some stories with you from the Bible.”

Of course, me being me, I assume that I am more familiar with this man’s Bible than he is. But, again – me being me, I didn’t say that to him. Rather, I simply said, “I am an atheist and I am not interested.”

To this, he said, “Thank you,” and he and his companion turned to leave.

So, I was wondering… when was the last time religious folks knocked on your door and how did you handle it?

  • Emily

    I live in a dorm this year so it hasn’t happened at school. Our house at home is on a main road and set quite far back from the street. We don’t even get trick-or-treaters, let alone proselytizers.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Well that’s no fun! I would have invited them in and proceeded to grill them about biblical contradictions and history. :)

  • Jasen777

    The same thing happened to me this morning. Only I was asleep (it being Saturday) and they woke me up. Then they didn’t even stay at the door long enough to talk to me – I only saw them walking away. But 2 guys in suits on a Saturday morning, it’s pretty obvious they were some variety of religious door knocker.

  • Lacuna

    Like you, I politely tell them I’m either not interested or am an Atheist. However, I have four large dogs who bark and try to get outside (to jump on and lick the visitors – however, it sounds more like they want to rip them apart).

    So being jostled around by these dogs while trying to keep the door from being flung open is usually enough to keep the thumpers from hanging around too long!

  • Nicole

    As a small, Canadian atheist child, I used to dream about the day some religious nutbars would come by and try to convert me. I had so many great lines stored up. (Un?)fortunately, no one has ever knocked at my door with conversion in mind. Dang.

  • http://www.neonbubble.com/ Mark

    They regularly come down my street but for the last two years they’ve bypassed my house as I kept talking to whichever two would turn up and arguing. Politely, of course. I guess there must be a blacklist to prevent any dangerous thinking occurring in the more junior member of The God Team.

    The final time I managed to get a long, confused silence from the pair of them followed by a smile and goodbye; I argued that they were worshipping the wrong being as the Bible clearly states the Earth belongs to the Devil (temptation in the desert) and then asked them to give me approximate figures for numbers of deaths caused by God and Satan in the Bible so I could choose the more peaceful of the two. Ever since, the pairings have clearly avoided my house. I miss those chats.

  • mikespeir

    Weird! At about the same time I heard my own doorbell ring. Outside were two ladies: one elderly and one her daughter. The elder was holding a book. I noticed that it said “New World Translation” on its leather cover just below “Holy Bible.” I observed aloud, “Ah, you’re Jehovah’s Witnesses.” That set her back a little, because I think she wasn’t expecting me to be savvy to her pitch. In fact, I told her I was familiar with her teachings. That’s when her daughter took over.

    I could make the story long, but to shorten it I immediately made it clear that I didn’t believe the Bible, though I used to teach it. That seemed to put her off her feed a bit. Even so, she read me a few verses. I was quick to mention that I was familiar with the cited passages. That destabilized her even more. More than once she concluded tentatively with something to the effect of, “but, of course, if you don’t believe the Bible….” She seemed unsure of how to handle the situation.

    Ultimately, I took a piece of their literature, assuring them I would read it, and I thanked them for their sincere interest in me. With that, they were on their way.

  • matt

    I think that they’re acting like salespeople and telemarketers. As such, I reserve the right to toy with them, just like the poor souls who try to sell me credit cards and free cruises.

  • Ender

    Last year I had two female Jehovah’s Witnesses turn up on my doorstep. I asked them if they were here to teach me about Jesus, they said yes, and I pointed out that 1 Timothy 2:12 forbids women to teach men. Of course the next day two men returned…

  • dsamsa

    I pretty much handle it the same way you handled it. I usually jump right in and let them know that I’m an atheist and not interested before they have an opportunity to get a word out. I’m not rude, but I am short and very clear that I am not interested in anything they have to say.

  • Lazareus

    I ask them where they meet, and explain that I would like to come say a few things to their congregation. This has happened several times, and amazingly, none have been willing to have me come and speak to their group.

  • Chris S

    Just last week some local pastor and his friend showed up at my door. The weather MUST be improving, the salespeople are coming out of hibernation.

    After politely saying “no thanks, I’m good” I get a reply of “You’re good? No one is good” To which his friend jumps in with the “Jesus says so in the bible”
    I replied “NO ONE is good. I find that hard to believe. Nobody is perfect, but there is no one good?”

    This went on for about a minute (think “Who’s on first…”). I then said I really didn’t want to do a religious debate today and shut the door. It was still cold and I don’t need to pay more on the gas bill with the door open for these people.
    Witness season will be approaching this spring and I plan to be prepared.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    Happens a couple of time a year. Whenever I see someone at the door with a Bible, I give them a bored look, say “not interested” and close the door before they have a chance to say anything.

  • http://www.end-of-silence.org larrinski

    I handed out the flying spaghetti monster brochures! They looked perplexed…

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    It depends on how busy I am. I’ve actually had civil conversations two or three times (Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons)

    I’ve had yet to convert any of them though. :)

    Check out this video; this guy dressed up with an atheist and went door to door in Salt Lake City and gave the Mormons a taste of their own medicine.

  • Lauren

    Luckily, this has only happened once since we’ve had our own place. I told them that I was “all set, thank you” and they were very polite. We haven’t had anyone bothering us since then. Maybe the pentacle wreath on the door scares them away..?

  • http://cyberlizard.com CyberLizard

    My wife is the one who always ends up answering the door. I never get to practice my “Lord and Savior Satan” speech. I can’t believe you let an opportunity like that slip by.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    Ooops, I screwed up the link.

    The video is here.

    This video shows an atheist owning someone who was trying to convert him.

  • lavinient

    Just this morning – in a Walgreens’ parking lot. Two ladies sitting in a car next to mine got out with brochures (I could tell they were Christian, but that was about it) in their hands as I walked up to my car and asked if I had a moment to talk. I just smiled, said “no thanks” and got into my car.

  • http://ornerypest.diaryland.com/ OrneryPest

    I invite them in and tell them I believe in Zorb the Sacred Crocodile, and inundate them with so much meaningless jabber that they can’t get a word in edgewise. Eventually they give up and leave.

  • http://www.end-of-silence.org larrinski

    Oops. Forgot to link to them!
    venganza.org
    As well, a shameless plug to get them at my site too…
    end-of-silence.org

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    this happened to me last week. two mormon guys were a little taken aback by the presence of snarling doggies (who would definitely do nothing more violent than sniff them and then look around for the nearest hand to beg pets from), and they were somewhat more taken aback when i told them that i was a happy hindu and not interested in conversion, but more than happy to ask them in to talk about God…

    they were suddenly not as interested, said that someone would be getting back to me and walked away quickly. oh well…

  • Tim Wright

    It happened once here. I did a similar thing to you – “I’m sorry, we’re heathens”. They said OK and wandered off.

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger

    I haven’t had to deal with any recently, but I’m definitely going to print out a couple of those Flying Spaghetti Monster brochures to use in the future.

  • http://sanguinity.livejournal.com Sanguinity

    Same as you did. “No thank you; we’re atheists.” And they politely thank us and leave. All very pleasant.

    It always surprises me a bit that they’re so amicable about it. But I do have to admit, I’m far more willing to listen to people who respect my wish to not talk with them. They’re probably doing themselves well in the long run.

  • p.Johanna

    I was raised as a JW since the age of six. I called it quits in my mid 20′s. At first I wouldn’t open the door, then one day I did. I let them give their opening speech and start asking them questions that I know is going to lead them to my KO punch where they sit blankly and don’t have the answer. When they get to that exact moment one will always ask, are you familiar with us? When I say a simple yes, they look at each other scared and walk away like they just dealt with the devil in person, I have yet to find one that can answer my question…

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    For me, it depends who’s at the door. I’m never rude to them, because they really are motivated by love in my experience. Often I invite them in, offer a drink, sometimes light up a smoke. And who knows? There’s a chance a meeting with one of these people could end up fruitful for either party.

    Also, I give Mormons a different response than JW’s, for example. If they’re Mormon, I ask why they have faith in the Mormon church. If they’re JW’s, I ask them how they can have faith in the New World Translation and the Watchtower Organization, or if they’ve ever heard of miracle wheat.

  • http://seanharlow.info/ Sean Harlow

    I had a pair of Jehova’s Witnesses back in the summer of ’02 who kept coming by at the crack of 9 (I was a high school student off for the summer, so I didn’t get to sleep until 4-6 AM and slept until noon normally). I didn’t answer the door the first few times, but after they woke me up for the third time I decided to play the stereotypical satanist they imagine exists.

    I set my alarm and next time they showed up I answered the door with Black Sabbath blaring, black makeup, covered in fake blood, etc. One of them nearly fainted, then they apparently called the cops (which made for an interesting few minutes, as by the time they showed up my neighbor and I were playing paintball in the front yard)

    It was rather amusing at the time (still is actually) though now I also see it as a bit immature and probably in the same situation today I’d have invited them in and tried to do some conversion of my own.

    Haven’t had another visit since through about a half dozen residences.

  • Chal

    I had a couple Jehova’s Witnesses show up to my apartment in Toronto. Since I didn’t know much about them, I just played dumb and took the pamphlets. Very depressing stuff.

  • Richard Wade

    Closed door strategies:

    1. Rig your sprinklers to turn on at the push of a button.

    2. Make a cone of newspaper and chant through it in a really deep voice so they have to listen through the door for a moment to understand it, “Hail Satan, Hail Satan, Hail Satan…”

    Open door strategies:

    1. Answer the door naked.

    2. Mess up your hair and act extremely sleepy, blinking incomprehensibly at them, rubbing your face, never saying anything no matter what they say, seeming to be unable to summon complete consciousness. Do this wordlessly until they say “Well, uh, thank you, we’ll be going now…”

  • Brett

    Living in the “Southern Bible Belt,” I have had many occasions where proselytizers show up on my doorstep. Most times I say no thanks. Once I was in a peachy mood when a few young Jehovah’s witnesses show up at my door, and I invited them in to talk.

    I had a good hour long debate with the three witnesses. (one female) I made many good points opposing their views on intellegent design and evolution. I contradicted them on the churches desire to be an instrument of peace and harmony instead of an instrument of fund raising, fear mongering and discrimination.

    When it became obvious they weren’t going to convert me no matter how hard they tried, they very politely excused themselves; and on my sidewalk, they had a group prayer, where I assume they preyed for god to forgive and save me.

    Based on the tone and direction of the discussion, I think I might have made two of them question whether blind faith was the best option, but the third was obviously shutting out anything that was contrary to his teachings as if I was the Devil tempting him.

    I have always been pleased with the politeness of door to door proselytizers, with the exception of the sidewalk prayers that to me seem to be an overt passive-aggressive display.

  • stephanie

    Richard Wade said

    2. Mess up your hair and act extremely sleepy, blinking incomprehensibly at them, rubbing your face, never saying anything no matter what they say, seeming to be unable to summon complete consciousness. Do this wordlessly until they say “Well, uh, thank you, we’ll be going now…”

    What makes you think I have to act this out? This is usually what happens when they knock on my door. ;)

  • http://mojito.over-blog.net Inti

    Not at my door, but this was funny:
    During a Rome trip with my girlfriend, we were walking away from St Peter’s basilica, and we passed by a group of guitar-and-song proselytizers. One approached us with a very friendly (but obviously phony) smile saying she just wanted to talk. She insisted until my girlfriend nonchalantly said “Sorry, we don’t like Jesus”. I loved it.

    Too bad she left me since.

  • What Would Professor Pat Pending Do?

    Wait around for them to leave. When they are at the end of the walk, open the door and look outside, craning your neck to peer up and down the street. As they turn around to come back (they will) head back in the house, closing and lock the door. Repeat as necessary.

    My personal record is 5 return trips.

  • Not one for confrontation

    I can usually see them coming down our street. At which point, I run and lock the doors and hide in the basement.

  • http://notapottedplant.blogspot.com/ Transplanted Lawyer

    Real story:

    * knock knock * It’s two teenage boys with name badges and holding the Book of Mormon at my doorstep.

    Me: Oh, you guys must be missionaries.

    Mis. #1: Yes, sir, we’ve come to give you our testimony.

    Me: Well, thank you, but I’m an atheist.

    * pause *

    Mis. #2: So you, like, believe in evolution and stuff?

    Me: Yep.

    Mis. #2: * shakes his head sadly *

    Mis. #1: Well, what if I told you that a man came two thousand years ago to forgive all your sins and save you from hell?

    Me: I’d say that not every story you hear is true.

    Mis. #1: Can we at least leave you this information to read later?

    Me: If you do that, I’m just going to throw it out right away. Have a great day, guys.

    Mis. #1: You too. We’ll pray for you, sir.

    Me: * smiles and closes the door *

  • lisa

    The second to last time this happened, it was 4 ‘soccer moms.’ When they started their pitch, I politely interrupted and said that I wasn’t interested, I was an atheist. Their eyes got big, their jaws dropped and they fled to their mini-van. — Not what I expected.

    The last time I was bothered was about a year ago. I told the two guys that I heard some churches had a ‘do not call’ list and if theirs did, I would appreciate if they added me. So far no ones come back.
    I actually wasn’t expect

  • http://charlesfrench.com Chaz

    Knocked on my door? Late 90′s two Mormons, I was in the middle of some serious naked time, and was not amused, I opened the door a bit, just enough so they could see I had nothing on and was quite sweaty.

    They beat a hasty retreat…

    I recently had two randomly buzz my apartment to get into the building, I told them they had the wrong apartment, to which they said they just rang my bell to get in so they could talk to people about Jesus.

    I told them to go to hell and slammed my door.

    I should have ran them out of the building and threaten to call the cops, or you know moon them, but I didn’t think of those until I was back in my apartment.

    I am Chaz, the Unfriendly Atheist. ;^)

  • sil-chan

    A while back these two Mormon ‘brothers’ dropped by my parents house and, me being who I am, I had a lively debate with them. They’ve never dropped by my parents house since. However, ever since they found out I live across the street from their church, they have sent their new recruits to my house in what I can only describe as something of a religious hazing ritual.

    My usually response is to keep the religious person locked in a debate for as long as possible to keep them from bothering other poor people.

  • Herk

    I’ve had many encounters with proselytizers.

    Once it was a pretty young lady. Mom stood off about thirty feet away watching. That was interesting. I asked her, “Are you one of the 40,000?”

    No, she replied, I’m just one of the common masses.

    “So, you guys have changed your story again?”

    Hmmph.

    Recently, I was working at a rental house and the tenant was absent. A flock of Mormon missionaries came traipsing up like ducks with the lead character going on over and over how I was his friend.

    I was heading into the house with some tools. They were about to follow me into the house, which, of course, I could not allow, since it wasn’t mine.

    Lead duck says, “We’ve been sent by Jesus to tell you about the Mormon Church.”

    I turned to him in the doorway and replied, “Fine. Bring him with you next time and we’ll talk.” I slammed the door in his stupified face.

    I really had no time to listen to regurgitated guck from smoke salesmen. I was on the clock. I suppose it’s difficult when you’ve got about a 40 IQ and nothing to do all day but spread the good news to understand that other people have jobs.

  • http://www.cognitivedissident.org cognitive dissident

    They always seem to arrive while I’m still in bathrobe-and-coffee-cup mode, dammit!

    I’m working on becoming more prepared for the (inevitable) next time, though…I have some “Church of the FSM” brochures to hand out–along with Russell’s “Why I Am Not a Christian” essay–and my freethought books are nearby in case anyone is still standing on my doorstep after round one.

  • Ido

    Here they come by our door almost every day. They don’t come to convert people, here in Israel. Here they want donations. I usually reply “My parents are not here” with a small child’s voice, and they leave. :D

  • PrimeNumbers

    “your God is the top guy?” I asked. I was assured it was so. “He’s the guy in charge – nobody above him?” Indeed, the answer was yes.

    “And what do you call someone who doesn’t believe in a higher power? An Atheist?” – yes, yes.

    “But your God doesn’t believe in a higher power does he? There’s none higher than your God, you just told me so?” Um…. Yes…..

    “So your God is an Atheist! Just like me. If Atheism is good enough for your God, it’s good enough for me!”

    ……

    Silence…..

  • Jen

    Ender- love your story!

    I have yet to get witnesses at my door- and get to be the one to answer the door when it happens. I know that they have been around our block before, and look forward to the next time they are there. The real problem is that I want to be nice to people, and be a friendly atheist- and yet, the idea of answering the door with a sex toy in hand/ an arm covered in blood/ The God Delusion is soooo tempting.

  • http://erkkila.org epe

    We live 1100′ off the road up a long driveway through the woods. So they have to be *really* serious in order to come up here. We have only gotten a few in 10 years, even during ‘Mormon season’ when the masses descend on our town for the Hill Cumorah show.

    If they don’t see the ‘no bible thumpers’ sticker on the door (courtesy evolvefish), I usually cheerfully tell them ‘No thanks, we’re both atheists!’ and that’s the end of it.

    My husband’s more of the ‘get the f*ck off my property’ bent when it comes to uninvited religious guests.

    Maybe next time I’ll show them my invisible pink unicorn tattoo!

    We do have Mormon friends, but they’re not inclined to proselytize so we get along great. :)

  • http://www.woofkitty.co.uk SAMIZDAT

    generally, they offer me a free lunch/cake/chocolate fountain and the religion’s in the small print. If I’ve got time, I take them up on it, eat their food, and think about what they say with an open mind. Generally it’s all preaching to the choir, nothing that seriously challenges an atheist. Harmless, and no problem in exchange for a free lunch. That’s british universities for you, though. I expect door-to-door and american uni unions are a little worse.

  • http://bornagainblog.wordpress.com Justin

    I was walking home not too long ago from the deli down the block and I saw two LDS dudes headed my way. There was no way for me to avoid them, so I approached them instead.

    I walked right up to them, shook their hands, welcomed them to the neighborhood and asked if they speak Spanish. My neighborhood is primarily Hispanic and they weren’t gonna have much luck otherwise.

    I told them I was an atheist and wouldn’t be interested in their religion, but that we were probably on the same page about a lot of things. They mentioned trying to love each other and I agreed this was the priority.

    That’s what happens whenever I talk to a religious person, btw. I tell them I think we’re on the same page about what’s important. They mention loving each other. We agree.

    I hope that they walk away from that with a new understanding that godless does not equal bad, so that if they are astute enough to question their religion they won’t be afraid to go down that path.

    If they aren’t astute enough to question things themselves it won’t help them for me to do it for them. They usually have no idea how destructive their religion is and they aren’t going to believe me anyway. Pearls and swine, I figure.

  • Nicole

    Hasn’t happened to me yet, but when/if it does I just hope I’m wearing my Jenova’s Witness t-shirt.

  • weaves

    i’ve only received one, ever. last year after i moved to the city and i was so confused and flustered by the weird/odd experience of having someone at my door talking about god even after i stated my lack of belief.

    it was a windy day so the door shut behind me and locked, and i told the guy so and he KEPT TALKING for the next 30mins while i vainly tried various methods of polite “i need to climb through the window and go to work and i really don’t care”

    next time, i think i’ll burst into tears.

  • Anonymous

    Last time I had a pair at my door, they gave me the standard spiel (Jeebus, chosen few, etc.) and asked be to bring them a Bible, so they could show me what they were talking about. I produced a copy of the Qur’an and started chanting, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”

    They promptly left.

    I have a friend who is a practicing Greek Orthodox Christian, and he went through the same thing one morning. When the Witnesses asked him to bring them a Bible, he brought them the one he usually uses. He said the look on their faces was priceless when they opened it and realized it was all in Greek!

  • Indigo

    Prosthelytisers have only knocked on my door once; I looked out the window, noted a copy of the Watchtower, and pretended I wasn’t home. I would have opened up but I had an exam later that day and really not any time to be distracted.
    I prefer the story of what happened when JWs approached my great-grandmother. Apparently one day they knocked at the door and asked her if she’d heard the good news about Jesus or whatever it was, and she invited them in…and proceeded to lecture them for an hour or so about the British Israel Society, of which Great-Grandma was a member.

  • http://blog.calumnist.com/ Danny

    Door-to-door missionaries are rare in my area, but if one happens to come by my door, I’d probably take his literature but not let him in. If his cult looks interesting, I could step out and chat with him outside. Assuming I don’t have anything better to do.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Many years back, I remember rescuing a friend from the doorstep callers. They tried to get me to take their literature up to the point when I asked them for it so that I could conduct an analysis and rebuttal of their argument for posting on the internet. They ran off down the street at that point, me chasing after them asking them for their literature!

  • MV

    These visits are really funny, especially when there is a Jehovah’s Witness only a half mile away.

    I like it when they turn away when I say I am not interested(this is the majority, and they are normally very nice), but there are several of these visits that stick in my mind.

    One tried to start converting me by quoting Scripture at me. I closed the door so he left.

    Another tried to stick his foot in the door before I could close it. It did not end up well for his foot.

    Another stood outside my house and started calling fire and brimestone down upon me. I called the cops down upon him. That one was by far the most satisfying.

  • http://www.rationalitynow.com Dan Gilbert

    The last time I ever got a visit was way back in college (about 20 years ago) when I was living in a house with 3 other guys. Three of us were atheists and one was a Catholic. I actually invited the guys in and they started with “Do you believe in Jesus?” to which I said yes. That progressed to “Do you believe Jesus was the son of God?” to which I replied no. We chatted politely for about 2 or 3 minutes. Then the guy who was Catholic came downstairs, I introduced him to the two missionaries, and promptly left the house to go visit some friends.

    My roommate told me later that they were there for TWO HOURS talking to him. LOL!

    Fortunately, he thought it was funny as hell and wasn’t pissed off at me. ;-)

  • ssns

    Did you know there are JWs in northern Japan? They’re Japanese, but they speak English to convert the military members stationed there.

    I surprisedly opened the door one day, held my own huge mutt back, and felt really bad about these polite women shivering in the cold, bowing to me as they asked to talk about Jesus. I didn’t want to be rude in the same way I would be in the US, so I basically just told them I was an atheist, but I did take the literature they shoved on me. They did come back a few months later, but my husband opened the door and took care of it.

    Really, what do you do when they’re so exceedingly polite, and you don’t want to be an ugly American? A friend of mine told them to come back in a month (for some excuse she made up), and they did. I’ve got to respect that.

  • sc0tt

    I had a father-son Jehovah’s Witness team a couple weeks ago. The kid was probably about 9 and the father was very proud of him; both were in nice church suits.

    So I let the kid get in a few sentences and I decided if he was old enough to do this he was old enough for some conflict.

    I ignored the father and talked directly to the son – “Do you ever think maybe all this stuff isn’t really true?” “Doesn’t it feel like you’re just playing make believe when you pray?” Kid was a little shocked and dad tried to control the conversation.

    One interesting thing happened – dad asked how come science couldn’t mix up a bunch of chemicals and create life from non-life. I asked him “If they do someday, will you change your belief? and he said he would.

  • Michael

    About 3 years ago I had a couple of young chicks come by and try to give me stuff about how evolution was a lie. Unfortunately after a few of their dumb statements I just got so angry that I lost my cool and just started yelling abuse at them. I’m not a debater and have no time for fools, even if they’re cute.

    That’s one that stuck in my mind, I’ve had two old ladies and a little girl since moving house, but I think I just said no thanks, whilst feeling a bit disgusted at their (ab)use of the child in their proselytizing.

  • http://saganist.blogspot.com/ Saganist

    I get the JWs sometimes, and I usually just listen to their spiel while nodding politely. Never let them in the house though. Afterwards, I usually feel like a doormat.

    Also, the Mormon missionaries come around fairly regularly (I’m technically still a member of the LDS church, and living in Utah after all), and sometimes we feed them dinner. They’re good kids trying to do what they feel is right, but they’re just horribly misguided. So we politely let them do their spiel too.

    But my sister recently moved in with us, and they’ve shown up asking to talk with her. I think they think I’m actually going to help them try to convert her or something. So I’m guessing I may need to get a little more firm with them pretty soon.

  • TC

    I’ve found that most missionaries recognize the sound of a 12ga shotgun being racked, even through a closed door.

    “Can I *clack-clack* help YOU find Jesus?”

    I’ve actually had Mormons simply turn and leave.

    At least I used to do that. I’ve sense come to realize that being mean to idiots isn’t really all that virtuous and simply reinforces the stereotype that atheists are dicks. I’ve since shifted to being extraordinarily polite.

  • http://holdingtheempty.blogspot.com Issa

    I have tried various tactics over the years. The best interaction was back in my pantheist days. It was a married couple, and their first mistake was asking “What is pantheism?” Now, I was “educating” them. By the time they got to having me define anthropocentric for them, the husband was pissed and the wife was enthralled. I think I could have converted her right there, but he eventually dragged her away while I was in mid-sentence.

    Lately, I’ve just been saying, “Oh, I don’t believe in God,” cheerfully and with a great big smile on my face. They’ll ask why not, and I just shake my head and continue to smile at them, like I know a huge secret and they will eventually catch on. They tell me to have a nice day and just walk off.

  • anonymouse

    My boyfriend and I (and several of his friends) rented a beach house a few years back for vacation. The house was CLEARLY a rental, as a sign read “For Rent” outside of the house.

    Well wouldn’t you know, 9ish AM this guy and his son come up and ring the doorbell. This wakes all of us up, including our (at the time) new dog. I answered so no one else would have to get up, and I saw exactly where this was going, and told them we weren’t interested. This was after the pretended that they didn’t know we didn’t live there. (Isn’t lying a SIN!?!?).

    My boyfriend was PISSED when I told him who it was (and rightfully so! We are on f@*%ing vacation!). It was really rude.

    They obviously knew we were renters and decided that we were heathens who needed saving. We were minding our own damn business, not leaving any trash, not being loud/disrespectful to our neighbors, etc. My boyfriend got up and chased them down the stairs yelling, and told them how absolutely unacceptable it was for them to do that, especially at that hour.

    He also looked the kid in the face and said something close to, “Remember this the rest of your life! Find things out for yourself! You only believe this because you are forced to.” The dad was really upset and whisked him away. Hopefully that kid remembers!

    I have friends who live about 1/2 mile from a JW church, and they have a sign on their door that expressly mentions them, because they have harassed them so much. Even after they asked them several times to not come back.

  • Nathan

    About two years ago…

    (Three Jehovah’s Witnesses gave their standard intro speech)

    Me: “Well, I actually don’t believe in god, so I don’t want to waste your time.”

    Them: “You don’t believe in God? How do you think the Universe started? The Big Bang?”

    Me: “Yeah, to the best of my knowledge.”

    Them: “But where did the stuff that caused the Big Bang come from. There has to be a beginning, doesn’t there?”

    Me: “Well how did God begin?”

    Them: “Hmm, I’m not really sure how to answer that. If I get an answer to that question, will you be willing to talk to us some more.”

    Me: “If you can tell me how God began, I would LOVE to talk to you as long as you want. Come back anytime.”

    Them: “Okay, we’ll come back.”

    (Of course, they never came back)

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I usually think it would be fun to argue with them all afternoon, but whenever any have come by, I always seem to be rushing out somewhere and just need to blow them off. Maybe one day I will have a bunch of free time and toy with them and let them almost convert me…

  • Kevin

    We had a pair of women stop by last weekend. One older and one younger. I knew what they were up to the minute I opened the door, so I politely told them that I was not interested. Normally that would have been enough to dissuade them. Not these two. They really wanted to talk to me, asking personal questions and things like that. I finally had to tell them to “Go fuck yourselves.” I’m not proud of it. My wife was even surprised. I am usually pretty diplomatic about things like this. Maybe it was the 5:00 AM telemarketing call we got that morning that put me on edge.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    I love door to door missionaries. Sadly i don’t seem to get many, they always come round after i’ve left for work and my girlfriend, staunch atheist though she is, doesn’t bother debating them, she just tells them she is an atheist and no thank you and they leave.

    The only ones i’ve been in for were a pair of sweet old ladies from the JW. Their opening pitch was “Do you think there is a place for Jesus in the modern world”. I told them i thought christianity and religion in general was a harmful concept and was holding mankind back from its true potential. That led us in a long debate about “The world getting worse” (To which i answered, compared to when, we’ve never had it so good), “The wicked gays” (I told them some of my friends are gay and they are perfectly decent people, then i asked them if they knew any gays themselves, they didn’t, i asked them how they knew gays were wicked and they told me it said so in Leviticus) “Leviticus” (I loved this, i got them on blokes without beards (Both their husbands), shellfish (which they’ve eaten), clothes made of more than one material (They couldn’t tell me whether they were wearing polyester blends or not) and working on the sabbath. When i became clear i knew more about their holy book than they did, they politely excused themselves and left.

    I miss the missionaries and fervently hope i get some soon. Its a great chance to spread some doubt and for me to polish my debating skills.

  • TXatheist

    As an ex-JW who use to knock on doors don’t be mean because there’s a chance they will become an atheist. It’s pretty simple. If it’s JW’s ask them who wrote their bible(NWT). Then ask them if they even knew Hebrew and Greek? I doubt they’ll leave and become atheist but those got me thinking. If they are Mormons just inform them that Joe Smith plagiarized the View of the Hebrew to conjure up the BoM and ask if they really believe jc was here in America? The mormons seem to be more arrogant and confident so don’t hold your breath on them.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    About two weeks ago. I was beating playing the kids at Wii Sports. I would have invited them in but my unwife won’t let them in the house because she thinks that they are mentally unbalanced and unpredictable.

    I did take a paper\flyer\crap which I later read cover to cover and scribbled notes in the margins while laughing. Hil (aforementioned unwife) told me that I shouldn’t be so mean and should respect other people’s beliefs. This from the woman who equates them with psychopaths. I am, of course, under no obligation to respect anyone’s belief and actively discriminate against some beliefs. It is the person that should be respected not the beliefs and then only until the person does something to lose that respect.

    The JoBos were the instigators of a domestic disagreement. I’m keeping score for next time they’re round.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    As someone who did that for 2 years, I have to say that it was a liberating experience to see people’s reactions to someone cold-calling them at their door. Most were nice, some angry and others just slammed the door.

    As for when the last time I had visitors, I think it was back in 2000 when I was dating this one girl. We invited them in, offered them some water (it was a summer afternoon) and visited for a bit. They were respectful of us and after 20 mins, left and wished us well.

    For the most part, they move on when someone is not interested. At least that’s been my experience.

  • Jack

    I did as you did…simply stated that I didn’t believe in any gods and wasn’t interested in religion, as politely and pleasantly as is possible. The folks looked amazed but were polite as well and walked off.

    I once had a very gentle and open conversation with a pair of Mormon missionary kids. They were unfailingly polite and reasonable; very unlike evangelical witnesses. I answered their questions, most of which were basically the usual misunderstandings about atheism.

    At my statement that I found no clear or consistent proof of supernatural beings they responded, “well, if we can come up with something you’d accept as evidence, would you hear us out?” I said I would indeed and we all shook hands and I never saw them again.

  • http://atheistlibrarian.blogspot.com Adam

    My dad told me a story about his parents once letting a set of Jehovah’s Witnesses into their house. My grandmother, being the lady she is, offered then cookies and lemonade and my grandfather started talking about philosophy and religion interspersed with math (the man was a chemist at a steel mill and something like 4th in a line of atheists that lead to me and my brothers). Anywho… as the story goes, supposedly the two leave as doubters and my grandmother gives the rest of the cookies to my dad to take to his friends (don’t know why that parts important, but it’s always in the story).

  • Tom

    When I used to live and commute in the city more often, I’d frequently run into mormon missionaries trying to convert me on the subway. I’d simply explain to them that I’m a gay man and an atheist, that I know enough about their religion to believe it’s immoral and not be interested… but that I’m single and they’re cute and if either of them would like a date…

    They would say “no thank you” and go away.

    Once a pair of them got themselves let into my apartment building by ringing a random doorbell, and woke me up in the morning by knocking on my door. I was groggy and grumpy and didn’t use my manners: I answered the door in my underwear and propositioned them. Both of them. I told them I was horny and invited them in for a three way. You could see the blood drain out of their faces before they turned and left…

    Strangely, no religious door-knockers have bothered me since I moved to the burbs. I thought I’d get more of them here.

  • melba

    Had the delicious experience once of inlaws, my inlaws visiting from several states away who are retired Lutheran pastor and wife, reacting when people knocked on our door. Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was painfully polite to them, nodding understandingly and thanking them and saying goodbye; as soon as the door was shut, in-laws over and over angrily spoke of how the Witnesses were trying to get poor little me suckered in. But all the while they said these things, I was thinking, I treat you two with the same tolerant, painful politeness: don’t you see?

  • Steve

    How hard is it just to listen to them for a minute and say ‘no thanks’ and close the door. Why do people need to be rude? As a general rule they are coming to your house because they care for your welfare, even if their theology isn’t up to scratch. At least give them decency and respect.

  • Gaff

    I was cornered by some church lady across the street from where I work. She works her magic on all of the developmentally disabled people who live where I work and across the street (which I think should be a crime). I basically told her that I had no interest in the church and held no faith in any religion.

    She kept telling me that I should come to their church (southern baptist) and find out if I would like it or not. I basically told her that I was burned by the church at a younger age, and there was probably nothing they could say or do that would change my mind. Then I brought up how much Christianity contradicts itself, and how violent their god is. Then I tried to convert her to Buddhism (I’m not even Buddhist, but it I knew enough to piss her off).

    I said something to the effect of “Buddhism is a philosophy. Take the positive teachings of Jesus and remove the magical nonsense and a violent, jealous god”.

    Either way, she said she was going to pray for me.

  • Luna

    steve said “How hard is it just to listen to them for a minute and say ‘no thanks’ and close the door. Why do people need to be rude? As a general rule they are coming to your house because they care for your welfare, even if their theology isn’t up to scratch. At least give them decency and respect.”
    ………………

    Because we are sick of being woken up at 6am with their garbage? because our lives are none of their business?

    Because they are a pack of mindless zombies preaching about stuff they can’t even back up with facts?

    just off the top of my head.

    They dont come over to my place anymore.. they know better.

  • http://www.whatdomormonsbelieve.com Thaddeus

    Luna said: “They dont come over to my place anymore.. they know better.”

    Don’t flatter yourself, Luna. Unless you pointed a shotgun at their heads they will have forgotten all about you ten doors down.

    They meet dozens of your kind every day. The only people they remember are those who took a moment to be kind and listen for a moment.

    P.S. Mormon missionaries don’t begin proselyting until after 10am, and they quit by 9:00pm.

  • AnonyMouse

    No door-knockers, but I ran into someone on YouTube the other day (over Easter weekend, in fact).

    We started out with a comment-debate on a video – something to do with God lying to Adam about the fruit – and after awhile she decided I needed some old-fashioned convertin’ and sent me a PM detailing her horrible childhood, sinful parents, conversion, and now all-better life. I wrote back to her and explained my warm, fuzzy, Christian childhood and my subsequent deconversion.

    We chatted back and forth for awhile after that. Discussed a lot of points in the Bible (like “If Adam was immortal, why would God be worried about him eating from the Tree of Immortality?”), chatted on a couple of other subjects, and overall had a pleasant and polite time. I even got her to cede that if God is omnipotent, he shouldn’t be too busy to reconvert me if he wanted.

    When I had to break it off (after two days, I was getting tired, and she kept calling me “hon” and sending me Christian videos she’d made), she told me she loved me (a nice sentiment, I thought) and departed gracefully. The one thing we agreed on: if God wants me back, he’ll do something about it, so there’s no point in being forceful.

    Despite her irritating idiosyncrasies, she really was one of the nicest net-Christians I have ever encountered.

  • Jon

    Why not your real intent. I remember.


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