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Open air evangelism

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Open air evangelism or street preaching is literally what it says, evangelising in the open air in public places and on street corners. Business conventions are also targeted as are college campuses presumably to get to intelligent, impressionable young people. Where this is legal people using shopping centres may also find themselves having to listen to that type of preaching. Some religious groups notably the Jehovah's Witnesses knock on people’s doors trying to give them a religious message. It can involve preachers trying to attract a crowd of listeners or evangelists targeting individuals.

Popularity

It is increasingly popular with certain evangelists and increasingly unpopular with those members of the public who are pressured into listening to how some preacher thinks their souls are in danger and they need Jesus.

Dealing with open air evangelism

  1. If you don’t want to listen walk firmly and decisively away.
  2. If you have spent a great deal of time studying atheist material you probably know enough to make the preachers doubt. Below are approaches that this author has found effective.
    1. God cares less about me than you do, after all he created me foreknowing where I would spend eternity. Follow up with pointing out that according to Christian mythology their God knew the overwhelming majority of people would end up in hell before he created the world. Note: if you use this the preachers will inevitably target you with hellfire preaching. Keep going about how a god who allows such suffering must be a tyrant and fortunately there is no reason to believe such a god exists. If you don’t feel comfortable listening to hellfire preaching use alternatives below.
    2. There’s no reason to take the Bible more seriously than other Bronze Age and Iron Age mythology. When Christians start insisting that the bible is more wonderful than these other mythologies, point out that the bible was written at the same time as, for example Egyptian mythology, Greek and Roman mythology, and was written by the same type of people. The god of the bible is as improbable as, for example Jupiter, Apollo, Diana and the other gods and goddesses people believed in at the time. This is likely to work better than arguing about evolution or scientific cosmology for example. It's very easy to understand and even those who are wilfully ignorant can't avoid seeing your point.
    3. If the Christians start with Pascal's Wager or even if they don’t start with it tell them, “But there might be a god who rewards rational thinking and punishes blind faith. In that case I will go to heaven and you will be in big trouble for not thinking critically. You will also be in big trouble for encouraging people to avoid critical thinking." This can be very effective because afterwards the evangelists become frightened about not examining their doubts and a whole can of worms can open.
  3. You can argue for as long as they let you, alternatively if you don’t feel like standing and arguing for a long time you can just make some point briefly with a decisive tone of voice and body language, then walk firmly away.

The above is unlikely to break anyone’s faith but it can cause sufficient doubt so that particular person stops doing open air evangelism. Efforts by Christians to get you back to their church or to any meeting where they will be the majority should be resisted. When Christians are the majority they can use a type of brainwashing pressure that would be bad for you.

It is alleged that evangelists sometimes can cause psychological damage.
"By breaking down self-confidence, self-esteem, a sense of one's ability to know what is right intuitively and trust one's own instincts. "- [1]


There is a good and a a bad side to Christianity, see the category page

See also

References

  1. Christian Funamentalist Evangelism as Spiritual Rape

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