Tuesday, September 07, 2010

redefining irony

The Jehovah's Witnesses redefine irony (Pharyngula - PZ Myers)
A new group of atheists has arisen in society. Called the new atheists, they are not content to keep their views to themselves.
That's right. The door-knockin', rabidly proselytizing cult is rebuking atheists for not keeping their views to themselves.
Wow, that really does redefine irony. I mean, you know, I have had quite a lot of atheists try to convince me that my participation in religion is deluded and strange, despite my constant explanations that my spiritual views and practices are consistent with reason and science, that I regard most theology as mythology and metaphor, and I'm only interested in practices that enhance my life. Also I have frequently pointed out to the atheists in question that religion is about practices and values, not beliefs (the idea that it is primarily about beliefs was introduced by Christian fundamentalists in the late 19th century, though sadly this attitude has spread to other groups).

But none of these atheists were complete strangers who were knocking on my door and trying to sell me irreligion. Though that might be quite fun - some of my best anecdotes involve the things that I and my friends have said to Jehovah's Witnesses and other doorstep evangelists. Let's face it, doorstep-evangelist-baiting is a national sport.

As I have said elsewhere, though, evangelism and proselytising are completely counter-productive and wrong. Interfaith dialogue is good; it's also good to communicate what your religion is about, so that other people can understand it, and join if (and only if) they feel the same way. And that goes for atheism too.

The thing that really annoys me about JWs is their rampant homophobia and the fact that they drag their kids around with them on their door-to-door evangelism.

The last time some JWs called at my house, I happened to have a copy of The Inquirer (Unitarian magazine) in my hand, so I brandished it at them when they tried to give me The Watchtower.

For the benefit of people who are unable to distinguish between different kinds of religion, may I refer you to my blogposts on liberal religion and non-theism? (for educational information only, of course).


G said...

I have in the past confused Jehovah's witnesses by telling them my theories of when the world's going to end.
Oddly enough, though it was all scientifically worked out, it didn't, as it turned out.

Yewtree said...

I think my favourite response to some doorstep evangelists was when they asked "Who do you believe is the ruler of this Earth?" and I replied, "I do not believe the Earth can be ruled, I believe she is a goddess in her own right." They didn't have a scripted response for that.