Street Preacher Cage Match, Part 2

Street Preacher Cage Match, Part 2 July 30, 2015

Here’s side 2 of the banner. (Side 1 here.)

Atheist sign

I was with this sign at an outdoor festival in Seattle one year. Some Christian group was near the entrance, haranguing the people waiting in line to get in, so I positioned myself nearby. I wasn’t saying anything, and I wasn’t close enough to be confrontational. Their group had maybe ten people, including two girls who were about 17 years old. They came over to talk. One of them asked if I had heard of somebody—a Russian numerologist or something. I hadn’t, but I wrote down the name to check later. She gave me her email address and said that she’d like to hear what I thought after doing some research.

We had a pleasant conversation for about ten minutes until the leader of their little group—the one who had been bloviating the most—came behind them and said, “Girls, you’re not to talk with this man anymore” and took them away.

That’s weird. Here they are, trying to put into practice what this crazy cult was teaching, just twenty feet away, and they get their hands slapped.

But it gets worse. A few minutes later, the Führer returns with one girl. He wanted to know, Had she given me her email address? I confirmed that she had. He said he’d like it back, so gave it to him.

If these girls had been ten years old, it would make sense to demand that dependency, but they were young adults, presumably about to go out on their own. I can’t imagine how humiliating them in public is a good thing—unless keeping them dependent was part of the plan.

If millions of people say a foolish thing, 
it’s still a foolish thing.
— Anonymous

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/26/12.)

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  • MNb

    It’s all about control.
    My female counterpart had a masseuse more or less regularly visiting her for a solid treatment, especially of her painful shoulders. This masseuse is member of an evangelical church. A few weeks ago she called her again for an appointment. The masseuse (around 60 I guess; I have teached her granddaughter last year) refused to come. Her minister has forbidden to pay visits anymore, because she might be threatened by demons.
    My female counterpart now is convinced that fundies can be dangerous indeed.

    • MR

      I hope he compensates her for lost revenue.

      • katta

        Why should he? He saved her “soul” which is far more worth than a little lost money …
        (… as long as he can keep it….)

      • MNb

        Of course not.

  • L.Long

    I have found that many atheist or actually anti-theists are way too polite. When I meet a preacher (or religious ) who makes the mistake to talk with me with others around, I flat out call them liars, so why should I listen??? When they mention the buyBull I show him mine which has a front page that says “this contains a load of BS!” And then ask him do you know who wrote that? And how can you know it is a lie? Well that applies to the rest of the book as well.
    I like your sign holding!! And the signs themselves.

  • 90Lew90

    Years ago I was back in Ireland from London during the summer, sunbathing and having a beer in my father’s garden. A JW arrived and, having had a beer and feeling chatty, I invited her into the garden. I was flirting with Buddhism at the time (I still find it charming), so said as much “for the craic”. The discussion was polite and she eventually went on her way with me having explained more about why I thought Buddhism made sense than her proselytising.

    Little did I know how persistent this woman would become. She kept landing on my father while I was away, and then caught me on my next two trips over — Christmas, and then Easter — but it was the Easter visit that was the clincher. At Christmas she’d found me in a lot less responsive mood so I pretty much sent her from the door. At Easter she came twice. Once alone, and again I politely sent her off. Then she arrived a couple of days later with a teenage girl. Now, I could be wrong but I don’t think I am. This woman was trying to use the charms of the comely maiden to get me interested in her religion. It seemed a conscious attempt to proselytise me via my cojones. I’m sure she’d have feigned deep offence if I’d asked her if she was now doing a little pimping for Jesus but come on! I just found it very poor show. What am I supposed to be interested here? The Lord or the little lady?

    • MR

      Obviously she had a thing for you! Just because she’s a JW doesn’t mean she doesn’t have needs!

      • 90Lew90

        Could you imagine the face if I’d said “bring me a boy and then we’ll talk”?

  • RichardSRussell

    No big surprise here. He was annoyed that you were trying to interact with his property, as if you’d been talking to his car or his microwave or other brainless appurtenances that he’d acquired to embellish his otherwise sterile existence.

  • Cults like to use sex to recruit young people.

    I would have refused to return the email address unles the young lady asked me to personally.

    • Sophia Sadek

      An excellent tack.

  • Greg G.

    I missed this at John Loftus’ Debunking Christianity. Cross Examined got mentioned.

    • Interesting, thanks.

      As an aside, I wonder why his Alexa ranking is so poor. I’m sure it’s a popular site.

    • MNb

      Until a while ago Chris Hallquist debunked christianity (particularly WL Craig) as well, but unfortunately he stopped when he was done with WLC. It’s via Chris Hallquist that I found Cross Examined.

      • Greg G.

        I read Hallq on Freethoughtblogs and followed him to Pathos. I enjoyed The Friendly Atheist and must have seen an interesting title that lured me to Cross Examined.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i really should take more/better ‘self-tracking’ notes. i can’t remember how i originally stumbled or even re-stumbled onto any patheos content.

      • From what I remember him writing about it, he seems to have just lost interest in atheist-Christian debates since the argument was so obviously settled in one direction. I’ve started to agree with him on this; the Christian arguments are so bad that they don’t even seem interesting any more. The counter-arguments are already out there for anyone who wants to look at them, and don’t really need to be added to.

        • I find nothing wrong with what you say … but where do we go with that? We can declare victory and moved on to blogging about gardening or decoupage, but surely there is work to be done to help Christians deconvert?

        • Most of that work is in getting more Christians familiar with the incredibly basic knowledge that we all take for granted. Most Christians seem to be unaware that there’s any doubt about the traditional authorship of the Gospels, or that they copy each other. Heck, most of them can’t even name the Gospels. I suspect that the process of just gaining enough knowledge to have a sensible debate on the subject would be enough to deconvert quite a few people.

        • MR

          That certainly contributed in my case.

        • TheNuszAbides

          testify! 😉

        • Agreed.

        • Rob

          Well, I gotta say this, because this aspect of apologetics doesn’t come up very often:

          If a troll is someone who causes a productive conversation to turn unproductive, then isn’t all of xtianity just one big troll? I agree that the arguments need to be made, but I’m not so sure why or even if they need to be repeated ad effin nauseum.

          We are only repeating these arguments because they are repeating theirs. That doesn’t quite seem like a good enough reason. I can’t help but feel we’re being led around by rings in our noses that were installed by them – while we were looking! It’s faintly humiliating, just like when someone snatches your hat off your head and then tosses it to another person as soon as you get close enough to snatch it back. Anyone remember THAT feeling from school? Coz I still get it all the time at Patheos!

          I guess there’s an answer to this. Like: the only workable alternative is to kill them all off, and that would backfire at least a bit, so we avoid that approach.

          I do reserve some admiration for those like Bob S., and Matt Dillahunty and AronRa, who slog it out day after day. But at the same time, I can’t get over the idea there has to be a more efficient way to fix humanity, that we get to by all of us looking at the “bigger picture”. But I guess that would entail getting ALL of us into earth orbit to attain the proper perspective, and that just isn’t feasible.

        • The problem is that atheists are spending most or all of their efforts engaging with professional and amateur apologists, or in other words, with the unusual minority of Christians who are both relatively informed about their religion, and able to retain their belief in it. Most Christians are not informed about their religion, even on a basic level, and those who become informed tend to stop being Christians in the process. Instead of engaging with those who are religious because they are ignorant of the problems with Christianity, atheist critics of Christianity are engaging with those who are most willing to simply ignore or rationalize away those problems, and who will repeat the same arguments regardless of how often the errors in them are pointed out.

          The real difficulty is in reaching the majority of Christians who are not actively engaged in arguments about their religion, and who aren’t going to make any effort to find objective information about their religion. An effort by experts in subjects like Biblical criticism to improve the state of public knowledge would probably do more to counter Christianity than the rebuttals produced by atheists. Unfortunately most of those experts seem fairly content to let the public stay ignorant.

        • If you get any tangible ideas for how better to help society get a clue, air those thoughts here.

        • MNb

          I agree that the battle is won; my favourite atheist philospher, Herman Philipse, thinks the same. So I understand that Hallq has lost interest. I just think it’s a pity.

  • MyTwoScents

    Christians sure have a talent for creating non-believers.

  • Pofarmer

    I thought some of our astute commeters might be interested in this, although I’m hesitant to draw him any more traffic.

    • Rob

      His bio says: “onetime television personality (several times)”.

    • MNb

      Not really. Why address such a fine collection of evident strawmen?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      He’s trying to coopt wonder as an exclusively religious domain.

      I don’t accept that.

  • Sophia Sadek

    I told a “pro-life” demonstrator that his hand sign showing an aborted fetus was pornographic. He agreed with me, but claimed he was not responsible because he did not abort the fetus in the first place. What a dolt!

    • Rob

      It’s a bit odd that he agreed with you, because that isn’t pornography at all! It’s certainly upsetting, but equally certainly it’s not pornographic – pornographic means sexually arousing in regards to visual materials.

      • Sophia Sadek

        You are right about the literal definition of pornography. The word can be used metaphorically, as well. For example, another definition of pornography applies: “obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, especially those having little or no artistic merit” Obscenity includes other forms of disgust besides sexual arousal.

        • The One True Rob

          While I’d agree that “obscene” includes “pornographic” as a subset, the reverse does not (and logically cannot) apply.

          If it isn’t sexually arousing, then it isn’t porn. Let’s not change that, we need the word ‘pornographic’ to keep that meaning, b/c we need the ability to describe/label things that are sexually arousing but not otherwise upsetting, since there are in fact super-duper-vast troves of material that can only be described by that word. I mean, we can’t just put the meanings of words up for grabs in a capricious way.

        • Sophia Sadek

          That is the joy of poetry. A word can be used in a way that nobody thought of before.

        • MR

          Sometimes in these forums it’s hard to turn off the critique filter. 😉

          *I* for one understood what you meant.

  • Rob

    If you want to see some great pro-reason (and xtian-oppressing) banners, google pix & vidz of the Reason Rally.

    I love the way xians call themselves persecuted and oppressed. It’s going to end up being a farcical repeat of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. You would think they could see that far ahead, but that’s a giant NOPE.