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Author Topic: Dealings with devout Christians  (Read 7539 times)

coxy123

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Dealings with devout Christians
« on: October 22, 2012, 12:16:41 pm »
Hi everyone

Having recently converted to Paganism I've had a couple of run-ins with devout Christians and was wondering how you dealt with them. At the moment I'm just trying to ignore the constant evangelism!

Thanks
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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 12:25:33 pm »
Quote from: coxy123;77648

Having recently converted to Paganism I've had a couple of run-ins with devout Christians and was wondering how you dealt with them. At the moment I'm just trying to ignore the constant evangelism!


This is one of those places where I think the context matters a lot: dealing with immediate family is going to be way different than dealing with strangers, or even people you only see occasionally.

I have very few problems with it (this is partly because while I know a number of devout Christians, I have always lived in places where overt evangelism is considered rude.) But I also don't hesitate to set limits: I'm delighted to talk religious stuff with my mother, for example, as long as she understands it may not necessarily change my mind about anything.
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Jezebel

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 12:36:50 pm »
Quote from: coxy123;77648
Hi everyone

Having recently converted to Paganism I've had a couple of run-ins with devout Christians and was wondering how you dealt with them. At the moment I'm just trying to ignore the constant evangelism!

Thanks

 
I've not really experienced it in my neck of the woods, and I don't exactly wave my religious beliefs around in public.

I think the best way to deal with it, is either ignore it or just nod and smile. Getting defensive in any way usually makes it worse, though I know it can be hard to deal when someone is telling you you'll go to hell.

Starglade

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 12:39:30 pm »
Quote from: coxy123;77648


 
I've only ever had to say something to an evangelizing co-worker one time, in all my years (I'm 54, I was Wiccish for a good part of my 20's and 30's, and have considered myself Buddhist for the last . . . 9 years or so, I think). She started witnessing to me while we were seated together on a job at the plant where we worked, and I listened politely for about 10 minutes before saying "Christine, I understand where you're coming from, but I am not Christian. I'm Buddhist, and I would appreciate your respecting that. Thanks." She didn't quite know what to say--and was silent, which was really all I was after at that point.

I've never had any problems with family; we just aren't the types to discuss religion with one another.
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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 01:43:07 pm »
Quote from: coxy123;77648
Hi everyone

Having recently converted to Paganism I've had a couple of run-ins with devout Christians and was wondering how you dealt with them. At the moment I'm just trying to ignore the constant evangelism!

Thanks

 
Ditto with the context. If you're just around them and religion isn't coming up, then interact with them like you would anyone else. If religion is coming up, but in a non-evangelizing way, then there's still really nothing to "deal" with. Unless they're talking at you, saying offensive things, preaching, trying to save you, or whatever. Then it's probably your best option to just diffuse the situation rather than put up a fight.

I spent this past saturday doing volunteer work with my mom and people from her church, who are some pretty devout Christians. There was a lot of praying, a lot of talking about god, and even someone hinting that they were a hard-lining creationist. But not once did I feel disliked or pressured, so there was nothing to "deal" with. I was simply in the company of people of faith, and I am really no less religious or spiritual than they are-- just differently so. Many of them were very nice, actually, and I had a good time. Wouldn't mind doing it again.

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 05:01:12 pm »
Quote from: Maps;77660
If you're just around them and religion isn't coming up, then interact with them like you would anyone else. If religion is coming up, but in a non-evangelizing way, then there's still really nothing to "deal" with.

 
This. The majority of people I interact with are Christians, but religion never comes up in conversation. Maybe it's a regional thing, but most people around here don't talk about religion outside of church. There is the occasional crazy campus preacher who tells everyone they're going to Hell, but nobody really cares what they say.

Asch

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 06:05:27 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;77678
This. The majority of people I interact with are Christians, but religion never comes up in conversation. Maybe it's a regional thing, but most people around here don't talk about religion outside of church. There is the occasional crazy campus preacher who tells everyone they're going to Hell, but nobody really cares what they say.

 
Heh same here. I also find that the evangelical / blinkered Christians generally *assume* that I'm a low-key Christian. I generally let them enjoy that assumption until they flat out ask etc. Their reactions are generally amusing and the embarrassment falls squarely on them.

The only aggressive proselytizers I've encountered are the Jehovah's Witnesses and they're incredibly creepy and pushy. I usually deal with them by ignoring them or, if they're particularly unlucky, my father will answer the door (I rent a room from him and help him around the house as he's on disability) and there will be much profane shouting and threats of shotguns and death.

Sage

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 06:17:14 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;77678
This. The majority of people I interact with are Christians, but religion never comes up in conversation. Maybe it's a regional thing, but most people around here don't talk about religion outside of church. There is the occasional crazy campus preacher who tells everyone they're going to Hell, but nobody really cares what they say.

 
Wow. That must be nice and totally awesome.

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What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

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Asch

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 06:19:26 pm »
Quote from: Sage;77686
Wow. That must be nice and totally awesome.

...can I move out of Jesusville now?

To be fair in my particular portion of my county (host to at least one super creepy mega-church) I suspect it's more because every dang person assumes that everyone is Christian even if they're not active in a church, which, in its way, is super insulting.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 06:21:33 pm by Asch »

Sage

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2012, 06:36:19 pm »
Quote from: Asch;77687
To be fair in my particular portion of my county (host to at least one super creepy mega-church) I suspect it's more because every danger person assumes that everyone is Christian even if they're not active in a church, which, in its way, is super insulting.

 
I go through cycles of cynicism and idealism (or maybe it's better to say optimism and hopelessness) when thinking about American Christianity. I know the rest of the country isn't like my county in Virginia - I know that most of the Christians in my county are nice, normal people, if a bit sheltered. I just get so, so tired of Jesus. Everywhere. I can't get away from the underlying assumption I must be Christian, or the fact I have to play along to avoid awkward social situations. Of living near a Mormon college (right beneath their hill, in fact) and having evangelism from them, the Witnesses, and other denominations. Of it not being safe, physically or emotionally, for my girlfriend to hold hands with me, because she's the wrong race and I'm the wrong sex.

It's exhausting, and it's heartbreaking. My neighbors have and continue to vote against my civil rights as a queer individual. Not all of them, of course - there are liberals and non-Christians in town, and not all the conservatives or Christians are bad people who hate gays - but dammit if I don't feel constant pressure for being wrong, and I'm not even super out of the closet.

It just makes me sad that when I end up moving in with my girlfriend in the next few years, I can't live here. I mean that I do not have the mental spoons to do it. I can't raise a family here. I can't build a life. This culture is toxic and consistently tells me I'm wrong for being a queer Pagan, and I can't do this for much longer.

Sorry for the rant - it's been wearing on me for awhile. I try not to blanket-hate anyone, and most people I know are Christian and most of them are fine. It just wears at a person.
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

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Asch

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2012, 06:51:36 pm »
Quote from: Sage;77691
I go through cycles of cynicism and idealism (or maybe it's better to say optimism and hopelessness) when thinking about American Christianity. I know the rest of the country isn't like my county in Virginia - I know that most of the Christians in my county are nice, normal people, if a bit sheltered. I just get so, so tired of Jesus. Everywhere. I can't get away from the underlying assumption I must be Christian, or the fact I have to play along to avoid awkward social situations. Of living near a Mormon college (right beneath their hill, in fact) and having evangelism from them, the Witnesses, and other denominations. Of it not being safe, physically or emotionally, for my girlfriend to hold hands with me, because she's the wrong race and I'm the wrong sex.

It's exhausting, and it's heartbreaking. My neighbors have and continue to vote against my civil rights as a queer individual. Not all of them, of course - there are liberals and non-Christians in town, and not all the conservatives or Christians are bad people who hate gays - but dammit if I don't feel constant pressure for being wrong, and I'm not even super out of the closet.

It just makes me sad that when I end up moving in with my girlfriend in the next few years, I can't live here. I mean that I do not have the mental spoons to do it. I can't raise a family here. I can't build a life. This culture is toxic and consistently tells me I'm wrong for being a queer Pagan, and I can't do this for much longer.

Sorry for the rant - it's been wearing on me for awhile. I try not to blanket-hate anyone, and most people I know are Christian and most of them are fine. It just wears at a person.

 
*hugs* rant away it's an untenable and heartbreakingly unfair position to be in All The Time.

HeartShadow

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2012, 08:12:46 pm »
Quote from: Sage;77691


 
Midwest.  Seriously.  Keep your lawn mowed and keep away from (super) tacky garden ornaments and you'll be fine.

Even if your neighbors don't "approve" they'd never DREAM of saying anything because that's just WRONG.

and *hugs* that's just miserable and not-right.

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2012, 08:19:55 pm »
Quote from: coxy123;77648
Hi everyone

Having recently converted to Paganism I've had a couple of run-ins with devout Christians and was wondering how you dealt with them. At the moment I'm just trying to ignore the constant evangelism!

Thanks

 
I live in a super-Christian area where people just assume you're Christian.

I'm lucky that the symbol of my faith is an ankh, which looks like a fancy cross.

It's like being a secret agent in a society that would rather I didn't exist. "Out" pagans don't have an easy time in my neck of the woods.

It's not uncommon for people to talk about the Christian God everywhere--even at work. On occasion, someone at my job will ask me if I've "found God" (yet strangely enough, I've only had this happen in one other place). My coworkers must get suspicious every now and again, given that I just smile weakly when they start talking about hellfire and damnation. Oh, and teh ebil gheys.

I give the person in question a beaming smile and say that I have found peace in God. It's not a complete lie. I just happen to have more than one god. . . and goddess.

The Jehovah's Witnesses like to come around every few Sundays. I give these people a beaming smile, and, when they're gone, toss their pamphlets in the "to burn" pile by the fireplace.

When in doubt, my approach is to fake it. Actually, I fake it around the few pagans I meet around town because I haven't met any with even a bit of discretion. I remember talking to one guy on our super-Christian campus. He's a Wiccan and talked LOUDLY about his Wiccan status. It's like, dude, tone it down. But this is the same guy who didn't realize Thoth's Kemetic name is Djehuty and that Djehuty has lunar connections. -_- Yes, because Djehuty is only about magic and writing. . .
Leave your darkness with me, and I will make you shine.

Maps

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2012, 08:38:58 pm »
Quote from: Sage;77691
I go through cycles of cynicism and idealism (or maybe it's better to say optimism and hopelessness) when thinking about American Christianity. I know the rest of the country isn't like my county in Virginia - I know that most of the Christians in my county are nice, normal people, if a bit sheltered. I just get so, so tired of Jesus. Everywhere. I can't get away from the underlying assumption I must be Christian, or the fact I have to play along to avoid awkward social situations. Of living near a Mormon college (right beneath their hill, in fact) and having evangelism from them, the Witnesses, and other denominations. Of it not being safe, physically or emotionally, for my girlfriend to hold hands with me, because she's the wrong race and I'm the wrong sex.

It's exhausting, and it's heartbreaking. My neighbors have and continue to vote against my civil rights as a queer individual. Not all of them, of course - there are liberals and non-Christians in town, and not all the conservatives or Christians are bad people who hate gays - but dammit if I don't feel constant pressure for being wrong, and I'm not even super out of the closet.

It just makes me sad that when I end up moving in with my girlfriend in the next few years, I can't live here. I mean that I do not have the mental spoons to do it. I can't raise a family here. I can't build a life. This culture is toxic and consistently tells me I'm wrong for being a queer Pagan, and I can't do this for much longer.

Sorry for the rant - it's been wearing on me for awhile. I try not to blanket-hate anyone, and most people I know are Christian and most of them are fine. It just wears at a person.

 
Big hugs :[

I know how it feels, to an extent... I'm an androphile that's married to a cisman, so I'm pretty straight-passing. You know what's funny, though? Most of the binarist bile I get is from my dad, who's non-religious.

Anyways, if you want to talk, my PM box is open~

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Re: Dealings with devout Christians
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2012, 08:44:21 pm »
Quote from: Asch;77687
To be fair in my particular portion of my county (host to at least one super creepy mega-church) I suspect it's more because every dang person assumes that everyone is Christian even if they're not active in a church, which, in its way, is super insulting.

But that assumption is probably true for the vast majority of the people they interact with in the average week. I don't think it is really insulting unless it done to purposely be insulting -- and yes, I've seen a small handful of people in my life who treated people they knew were not Christian as if they were to rub in the fact said non-Christians they were not "normal" in their eyes.
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