Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jesus' Free Gift? Keep it please!

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistant that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

-Thomas Paine

We've all experienced it at some point or another. It might have been in the form of a Mormon god patrol stopping you in the street. Or maybe the Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on your door before mid-day on a Saturday. It might have been someone on a soap box, or someone handing out those insipid Chick Tracks. Or, if you are a glutton for punishment like me and voice your atheistic views on Youtube, it might have taken the form of an email, comment or private message.

However, you might have experienced it, it's the same: A Christian trying to convert you.

Now, I often hear from people who would rather so called "active" atheists and anti-theists just go away, "Why do you pick so much on Christians? You must hate Christianity more than any other religion." Well, this is demonstrably not true. A quick scan of his blog will show you I take aim at religion generally, and most of the big ones come in for their specific bit of criticism sooner or later. But the fact is I live in a predominately Christian society and therefore it is only natural that I comment most on the world I happen to live in. Where I living in a Muslim or Hindu dominated nation, I'd probably be picking on them more.

Of course, there is another reason as well. No Muslim or Hindu has never, ever stopped me in the street to try and convert me. The cold calling conversion attempt is something that, so far as I know, almost exclusively Christian.

What also marks the attempts by those Christians bent on converting others is how aggressive they are about. Now, maybe this just me, but Mormons in particular seem to be able to hunt me down like a pack of bloodhounds. Maybe I have a bubble over my head with the words "HEATHEN" written on it, or maybe the Mormons have developed some kind of advanced heathen sonar system or something. I don't know. But each year, a pack of three of them find me in downtown St. Catharines. Its a different god patrol every year, but one thing is common: They don't take no for an answer. They just don't.

Take this example from my last run in with the LDS god patrol:

Mormons: "Excuse me, do you have a few minutes to talk about Jesus?"

Me: "No thank you. Goodbye."

Mormons: "Well, sir, it will only take a few minutes and its a message you really need to hear."

Me: "No I don't. I said no. Good day." [walks away]

Mormons: [following] "Well, have you ever considered the power of Jesus to change your life?"

Me: [walking away, cracking knuckles] "What part of no do you not understand? You're barking up the wrong tree."

Mormons: [still following] "Well why do you think that, sir? What tree is that?"

Me: [getting annoyed, still walking] "Buzz off. I'm not interested."

Mormons [still following] "Why is that sir? Why aren't you interested."

Me: [stops and turns around] "Stop following me. Get lost. I said no."

Mormons: "Well, do you know anyone we might be able to call upon who might be more open than you that we can share the message of Jesus with?"

At that point I walked into a bank and the trio of mormons left. What I really wanted to do was introduce them to my knuckles. But I wasn't raised in a barn so I didn't. But man was I sorely tempted.

They just don't give up. But as annoying as Mormon missionaries can be, nothing can be the used car salesman pitch used by Evangelists. Seeing as logic and science and reason are not their strong points, their strategy seems to be to ask a series of stupid question which they obviously thing are so penetrating . Check out the following bits from a Youtuber named Helivz who has been trying to convert me for several days:

"If you claim that Christ, Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit is non-existant, then why are you atheists so hung up on it? There, thats proof enough that a supernatural world does exist; one for good and one for evil.
One day this whole world / universe is going to be governed by Christ and all His followers. Get used to it. If you like losing, then stay on the path you are on. If you like winning, turn to Jesus before it's too late."

" You are my evidence that God does exist. The fact that I believe in God, and that I irritate you is evidence. Now, can you prove that satan doesn't exist?Oops, I don't think so. He was impeached during his last term just before Bush took office."

"Go to a free, Bob Larson rally and you'll see public exorcisms. Still doubt it? Go and confront Mr. Larson to his face, or the person with the demon for that matter, that Larson is ministering to, and see for yourself. That demon will likely name off every secret sin in your life, past and present. I'm offering you proof, but be prepared to be humbled."

" Lets talk about Heaven now.
1.)Streets paved with GOLD.
2.) No more pain, death, sorrow nor devil.
3.) Sin, sickness, disease will be a thing of the past.
4.) Uninterrupted pure joy, peace, contentment.
5.) No more "Madonnas" and "Britney Spears" to lead people into hell.
6.) Eternal life. The list goes on and on.

Why pay a high price for the counterfeit when the best is free?!"

Now, that last is the one that caught my eye. Not because this remotely qualifies as a argument or evidence that the Christian sky god exists. But because of that last line. The one about Jesus being "free."

This is the saddest example of evangelism out there, and it is about as common as a te;evangelist sex scandal.

You see, Christians pull a line from the book of Romans in which Jesus's offer of salvation is a "free gift." Well somewhere along the way, some beliefs left the poetry of the New Testament behind for what I can only describe as used-car salesman preaching. Even more vapid than Pascal's Wager, this is an attempt to hustle you into a religion using pitiful, high pressure sales tactics.

You find this "free gift crap" everywhere. Like this website for instance where the "free gift" is offered. Run the words "Jesus" and "free gift" on Google and you'll probably find better examples.

I say its used car sales man tactics because it is that low-brow. You'll hear them say things like "You know, when someone offers you a free gift, you usually think "what the catch?" But there is no catch with Jesus's free gift. It's free! How many things to you really get for free? You've have to be insane not to take something that is free!"

This is really one step away from a some kind of Used Car's by Jesus commerical:

"Hi! I'm Jesus, and have I got a deal for you! Tell me, son, what's it going to take to put you into this religion today? I got a free gift for you! My prices are so low, you'd think I should be crucified!"

I really have to wonder on what kind of mind this sort of huckerism works on. Can you really imagine someone saying "Oh well, its FREE! Well, then I'll just jump on board!"

Of course its not really "free" is it? You have to give up your will, the right to free thought and subject yourself to the authority of those who run a church...and that has always turned out just so great in history, hasn't it?

Still, in a way, its still better than the "convert by stealth" approach advocated by this website

which recommends you become friends with an atheist first and then after burrowing your way into his life, start to work on his mind until he caves.Anyway, to any Christians that might be reading this - get the message. We don't want your "free gift" and we aren't impressed by your car lot sales tactics. So give it a rest!

Oh and before you go, do you have a minute to talk about Charles Darwin and how the Origin of Species will change your life?:

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