Whether they be Witnesses, Mormons, or another proselytizing religion, how do you deal with people coming to your door to spread their religion?
I just had my first experience since getting a place of my own and had a decent conversation through the crack in my door. After I told him I was an atheist he tried to use apologetics; when I told him I was familiar with his arguments and didn't find them convincing further explaining that I take a scientific route of belief and chose not to believe until there is evidence for a god. He understood and thanked me for explaining and listening to him and he left with a handshake. I was surprised at myself for how civil I was to him but how does everyone else usually respond?
I usually just say no thank you, or that I'm not interested and shut/lock the door. Sometimes I'll say that I'm atheist. There used to be an elderly couple (when I was 18/19) that must have had me on their list, but I haven't had door-knockers in a couple of years. If I feel like, I'd engage in conversation, but not be rude or get heated. I volunteered as a campaign canvasser from local, governor, and presidential races, so I know how door knocking can be. I actually don't do it anymore (but that's a different topic). Anyways, my advice is either not engage or keep it short and simply, but be friendly (or atleast decent!)
So my doorbell rings and I answer it and there's these two well-groomed too-young-for-me women there. Obviously missionaries.
Missionary 1: "Hi! We'd like to invite you and your family to come to our church's Easter celebration. There's a big musical stage production, it's very impressive to see."
Me: "Oh, that sounds cool. Do I have to believe in God to go?"
Missionary 2: "No! No, you don't. You could come and just enjoy the show. Like she said, it's a very good production, our stage manager used to work on Broadway."
Me: [Smiling.] "You girls are all right. I'll take your flyer, and maybe you'll see me there. Have a nice day now."
The flyer went straight in the trash after they left, of course, but I appreciated that Missionary #2 was playing heads-up ball and engaged with my question.
I tell them that I am not, and never will be, interested in hearing what they have to say. I ask them to never come again. Or I just don't answer the door.
Does this happen often for you?
I've lived in the Pacific Northwest or the Bay Area most of my life and I cannot recall this happening more than 3 times in 40+ years.
apolgetics are for atheists and fundamentalists. So if the person you are talking to is one or the other that is cute and fine but immaterial. I approach them with curiousity. The last Mormon at my door ended up talking to me about his awesome dungeons and dragons campaign. for 30 minutes.
if you feel the need to be hostile to a religious adherent who is not being a dickfuck then go get in therapy. half of the awesome humans I know are religious they rock...I just think their beliefs are idiotic. meanwhile, some of my atheist buddies have had atheists break their hearts. life is not about propositional concepts. it Is about not being a piece of shit (imnsho)
I still live with my parent's and we don't get door knockers. We got Jehovah's witness before and mom told her she has her own belief and told them goodbye and shut the door on them. xD When I have a place of my own and if someone comes to my door... i'll probably be like "No thank you. I don't like liars and being lied to, have a nice day!" and shut the door.
I tend to be much nicer to religious people coming to my door than I am to people trying to sell me something. As long as people are respectful when they ring my doorbell, I am respectful back. The Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses tend to be very nice while salespeople tend to be pushy and rude. Nothing makes me angrier than having to ask more than once for a sales person to move on. The religious types always seem to respect my space and leave when asked.
I love talking to them, honestly. I know more than most about the Bible due to my tortuous twelve years of Catholic school, so I can generally talk circles around them about Christianity (and many other religions). But if I don't have time, I tell them that the topic of religion is too personal and I'm not going to discuss it with any-old-body that knocks on my door or approaches me on the street. My grandmother was Methodist and employed the same tactics, and I really admired her poise and non-impositional approach to belief.
But if they approach me with hateful shit, I'm going to become incredibly rude.
once when I answered the door two ladies started in reading passages in the bible. flipping back and forth reading this one and that they eventually ended the discussion with "thats why everyone needs to find god". I answered that if I were allowed to choose what order sentences in a book should be read I could predict the end of the world using the phone book. They never came back( phone book ,obviously this was a long time ago)
I always chat with them if I have time. For the most part these are good people who were indoctrinated or deluded just like I was before leaving religion. And just like me they are usually ignorant as to how much harm their religion can cause, so I try to bring that up in our conversation. I also explain how and why I left Christianity. The Mormon interruption is annoying but they're not the enemy. They’re just people convinced of something silly.
Generally I respond pretty civil. They open up with their marketing pitch, I decline and say not only do I, and forever will, not believe in religion but I'm actively against it. Generally they try to get me with "religious alternative facts" as to why there's evidence, but it's never peer reviewed so I tell them that. Anecdote is not evidence, never will be. That usually ends up the exchange with them asking if they can leave reading material with me, and sometimes I'll accept if they say they'll never come back.
I like to have them in and talk some sense into them when I have the time.
I can't say I have had much success in that, but I do know now that they have a "No Fly" list, If you have them in and work on them instead of the other way, No one will come to see you again for ages.
I don't take them on - I just sit and listen and let them do their spiel my granny taught me a long time ago that whilst they are staying with you they are leaving someone else alone. Mind , I have never had a heavy preacher at my door they seem mostly weak people who have been caught in someones net to carry the word .
If I am bored, I invite them for a theological discussion.
Had one JW pair leave on the verge of tears stating "I hope that you are not right or we have been wasting our lives"
Generally I just hold up a palm with the full force of my personality behind the arm and they flee.
The thing I try to remember is that, in attempting to recruit me, their organisation is actually reinforcing their faith rather than really trying to gain recruits.