Wednesday, 23 December 2009

We're not here atheists!

Journal of Imaginary Sciences, 2009, Volume 30,
Atheists on the attack

Once people used to turn the lights off and pretend they weren't home when the Jehovah's Witnesses came to call. Now, they have to fear not just the righteous, but the sceptical.

In a quiet street in Cambridge, two people are knocking on doors. Normally, when this happens, you expect two soberly dressed, crew-cut young men to greet you and introduce you to the "Good News". Instead we have two normally dressed people, one an older woman and one a younger man, asking people if they think God exists.

This new ministry has been set up by the local chapter of the British Humanists and we interviewed Richard Dawkins to discuss what the purpose of this new practice was.

"As a scientist and popular author on evolution I regularly get many religious people trying to save me." Dawkins explained. "For a lot of people in this country who are non-religious, these attempts are quite frankly idiotic and annoying. So rather than sitting back and ignoring them, we decided to turn the tables."

These tables, as Dawkins explained, represent people doing the same as evangelicists. But rather than indulging in explanations for God, these atheists, discuss the scientific evidence and the problems with religion.

"We hope to provide an alternative viewpoint to the religious fanatics and to hopefully increase their worry about their tactics" said Dawkins. "Hopefully, if we target some of the Jehovah's Witnesses themself, they might realise how annoying their tactics are. And if we innoculate some people from the religious fanatics they might stop their tactics."

Dawkins then shows me what they do. The video shows two people discussing with an eldery couple whether God may or may not exist and what the evidence is present for a lack of belief. They leave, promising to come back and help out with some minor chores around the house.

However, Jehovah's WItnesses aren't pleased at all with the ideas.

"This is prepostorous!" Said one senior Witness. "These people have no message to send but death and immorality! They mock our moral obligations to the local people completely!"

Whilst this may be so, it is indeed a novelty to open your door to find someone not trying to convert you to believing in their God.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Christmas, now bugger off and steal something else from another winter solstice festival

Well after a hiatus caused by massive workloads, I'm back and ready to write.

Yesterday I had tremendous fun turning away Christian missionaries from the door. I was just about to make dinner for me and my girlfriend when I hear a knock on the door. Next thing I know, I've got two soberly dressed young men asking me if I've heard of the good news from the gospel. And of course, when I politely suggest they move on as I'm not interested and they must be getting cold, they offer to come in!

I have this regularly every month with people who wish to convert me and my girlfriend. I'm currently contemplating which is the best way to get them to leave us alone. Currently, I'm contemplating a counter-campaign of simply asking them if they would appreciate someone trying to convert them to Islam or Atheism. This ideal, whilst appealing, has the regrettable tendency for religious blindness, i.e., they will simply come up with the fact that they have a book which is right, no matter what the other religion says.

Other ideas would be appreciate, but please, I'm looking for the novelty of breaking their pattern of thinking, not trying to frighten them away. Hard to do but...

More to come soon.