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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » If Al Qaida were like the Mormons (Page 2)

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Author Topic: If Al Qaida were like the Mormons
Brian J. Hill
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One thing that we haven't discussed yet here is how all the missionaries I've met would rather do ANYTHING than door-to-door tracting. It is usually a very discouraging, ineffective use of their time and the few positive instances outweigh the bad. Imagine spending several hours A DAY, 6 days a week where your sole goal is to spread what you earnestly believe is a soul-saving message. Doing it door-to-door is by far the LEAST effective way to spread this message, yet in the absence of referrals or street corners to preach on, there isn't much else to do.

Having said this, I agree that missionaries should respect the no solicitors signs hung on people's doors. I just have a hard time buying that highly charged names like arrogant, boorish and rude automatically apply to them if they don't. In some cases, it could truly be ignorance.

I guess my main point is cut these guys a little slack. They have a tough job, and though sometimes they screw it up, I think all in all their hearts are in the right place.

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lem
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FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

Go or the Jugular!

[Taunt]

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erosomniac
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quote:
Having said this, I agree that missionaries should respect the no solicitors signs hung on people's doors. I just have a hard time buying that highly charged names like arrogant, boorish and rude automatically apply to them if they don't. In some cases, it could truly be ignorance.
True, and the same could be said of door-to-door salespeople, people asking for donations, political grassroots workers, etc.

quote:
I guess my main point is cut these guys a little slack. They have a tough job, and though sometimes they screw it up, I think all in all their hearts are in the right place.
Oh, if only this were true.
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Brian J. Hill
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quote:
Oh, if only this were true.
You have evidence to the contrary?
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Belle
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quote:
This was a fun little thread where people of a common culture were swapping (in their opinions) amusing little stories. And now it's a name-calling free-for-all. The couple comments people have been able to post about the original topic since you showed up were given quickly and quietly, and were completely ignored.

Baron, never ever let the fact that a thread on hatrack drifts off topic upset you. Expect it to happen. Know it will happen. Embrace the topic shift.

I believe there are other places on the 'net where you can go that are restricted to only Mormon posters, that would be the place to post this and not expect any negative comments. But at hatrack, you have so many different backgrounds and so many opinionated people, topic shifts on religious topics are inevitable.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Brian J. Hill:
quote:
Oh, if only this were true.
You have evidence to the contrary?
Absolutely. You're telling me you've never encountered or heard of door-to-door religious types acting more out of self-interest or the interest of their church than out of any desire to help those they're speaking to?
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Brian J. Hill
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No, but I never claimed that I've never "encountered or heard of door-to-door religious types acting more out of self-interest or the interest of their church than out of any desire to help those they're speaking to?"

I said that all in all, their hearts are in the right place. I still feel that that is an accurate description of the missionaries I've met. Oh, sure, I've met my share of ones with ulterior motives, but that doesn't make the generalization less true.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
Embrace the topic shift.

Great line! [Big Grin]
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Brian J. Hill
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
Embrace the topic shift.

Great line! [Big Grin]
Ditto! [Big Grin]
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Rakeesh
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Belle,

I wouldn't say I was jumping to conclusions, but I will admit I should've asked for clarification.

quote:
I would never, ever suggest a Mormon church because I've missionaries at my door that were annoying and didn't want to go away after I explicitly told them I didn't want their information and was happily enrolled in a church already.

To be fair, though - I've had Mormon missionaries that were delightful, so maybe this pair just caught me when they were having a bad day. Still, the impression is there in my mind - Baptist missionaries as friendly, considerate folks and Mormon missionaries as rude inconsiderate folks. Who am I going to recommend?

You mentioned 'pair' in the second paragraph, so I (incorrectly) supposed that you had this one negative, rude, pushy experience with more than one pair of Mormon missionaries. I further imagined the number of missionaries you had a positive experience with to be greater, but that is a product of my own outlook, because if I've had an experience with such a tiny sample of a given group, I generally don't give recommendations at all based on experience. However, I do understand your point about first impressions.

There is still a part of me, however, that wonders how you would feel if someone else were posting from the opposite end, with only a small amount of experience with Baptist proseltizers (sp?), and because of the bad experiences there, refused to recommend Baptists to others. But that's an instinctive question, rather like first impressions.

quote:
I completely disagree. No soliciting applies to solicitation of any kind, be it sales, donations, or proselytizing. I would expect anyone who was out calling on the public to know and understand that.
So your response to my suggestion that maybe some people define the word differently is to reassert that it doesn't mean that, and insist on the (correct) definition? If someone (incorrectly) feels that proseltizing is not solicitation, then naturally they will not view a "No Soliciting" sign as applying to them. Judging those people, should they exist-and I think they do-as though they did understand the term and willfully ignored it seems a bit unfair.

Doesn't really seem to address what I was saying, which was not to excuse their behavior but to point out that it was perhaps not so dreadfully vile as Paul seems to think. Ignorance is no excuse, but it can be a mitigating factor-or do you disagree?

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Brian J. Hill
I guess my main point is cut these guys a little slack. They have a tough job, and though sometimes they screw it up, I think all in all their hearts are in the right place.

This is what you said, and it reads as: "Missionaries have a tough job, and though sometimes they screw it up, I think all in all missionaries' hearts are in the right place," not as "Missionaries have a tough job, and though sometimes they screw it up, I think most of their hearts are in the right place." There's a substantial difference between the two.

If the former isn't what you meant, sorry!

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Brian J. Hill
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The former is what I said, but your interpretation isn't what I intended. I use the term "all in all," perhaps incorrectly, to signify that I'm getting ready to make a generalization. I think we're just arguing semantics.
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Rakeesh
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Baron Semedi,

quote:
1. 95% of the people whose doors I knocked on weren't interested in the church, signs on their houses or not. This is a fact of life you have to deal with if you're going to survive a mission.
This has little bearing at all, if any, on what should and shouldn't be done when faced with a 'No Soliciting' sign.

quote:
2. There were many, many times in my two years of tracting that knocking on doors with "No Soliciting" signs led directly to interesting religious conversations, and occasionally follow-up appointments. At least two of my favorite investigators had such signs on their doors. In fact, although I don't think any real numbers were ever run, it was a common understanding in my mission (and never disproven in my experience) that these signs didn't really have any noticable effect on the rate of acceptance of our message.
Then you have to ask yourself, do the ends justify the means? If you are aware that 'No Soliciting' applies to proseltizing-and it does-and also aware that ignoring that statement might lead to someone accepting and embracing your message, do those ends justify those means? Quite possibly so. That doesn't mean you should sugar coat it, either.

quote:
So, regardless what you, I, or the dictionary think of the word "soliciting", clearly many of the people who put the signs on their houses don't consider the definition to include proselyting. And I think their opinion does matter a little.

I don't think you're examining this very rigorously. Can't you imagine another reason they might not just throw you out, verbally or physically, aside from not really meaning what their signs clearly state? Many people, even when given ample justification for being rude themselves, shy away from it.

For the record, I ain't one of `em [Wink]

quote:
It was very rare on my mission to have someone throw open the door like that and start screaming at me. But when it did happen it seems to me that, at best, the rudeness went both ways.
If this happened at a home where "No Soliciting" was posted...well, play with fire, you might get burned. Throw rocks at a beehive, you might get stung. Ain't rude of the fire to burn or the bees to sting, though. Natural potential consequence and all that.

I disagree that this thread is a name-calling FFA.

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Paul Goldner
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"Doesn't really seem to address what I was saying, which was not to excuse their behavior but to point out that it was perhaps not so dreadfully vile as Paul seems to think. Ignorance is no excuse, but it can be a mitigating factor-or do you disagree?"

See, the thing is that, in this case, I think being ignorant is going to happen 99% of the time because of arrogance, disrespect, and general rudeness. "Well, this guy doesn't want salesmen, but of COURSE someone who doesn't want to be bothered by salesmen wants to have a missionary show up at his door."

Of course, I think its rude in general to knock on someone's door uninvited and try to "sell" them anything. I don't have much respect for door to door proselytizing, and think that we should have a "no proselytizing" list similar to the no-call list. Though, honestly, in both cases, I think it should be "opt-in" rather then "opt-out"

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lem
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quote:
Having said this, I agree that missionaries should respect the no solicitors signs hung on people's doors.
I don't agree with this statement. America has a national do-not-call list which acts much like a no soliciting sign for the telephone. It does not apply to charitable, political, or religious groups.

It is a not ignorant, arrogant, or rude to ignore “don't solicit” signs on houses if you are not selling a product. Choosing to ignore it can be a rational and polite decision. If proselyters become a persistent problem for a citizen, there are plenty of more specific signs they could put up to clarify their position.

I don’t want perfume salesman to come to my home, but a Jehovah’s Witness every once in a while is a hoot. If I bought a don’t solicit sign, I would expect a salesman to respect it and I wouldn’t blame a religious, charitable, or political group to ignore it--much like they are exempt from the do-not-call list.

If I lived in a highly proselyted district, I would get a different sign.

At the end of the day, tho, more money goes out of your pocket from joining a religion then buying a product.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Brian J. Hill:
The former is what I said, but your interpretation isn't what I intended. I use the term "all in all," perhaps incorrectly, to signify that I'm getting ready to make a generalization. I think we're just arguing semantics.

We are, but they're important semantics. Regardless, you've clarified, so it's moot. [Smile]
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Theca
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Are there signs for third shift workers, so people know what hours they might be asleep? But then that would be letting people know when they aren't home, so I suppose nobody wants a sign like that.

I see so many patients who are miserable about their daytime phone calls and door knockings because they work all night, or have a baby in the house, that I'd have a very hard time ignoring a no solicitor sign, I think, for any reason.

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Paul Goldner
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"I don't agree with this statement. America has a national do-not-call list which acts much like a no soliciting sign for the telephone. It does not apply to charitable, political, or religious groups."

Yeah. And thats a big mistake. But its not a "do not solicit" list, either.

"It is a not ignorant, arrogant, or rude to ignore “don't solicit” signs on houses if you are not selling a product."

You are selling a product. You're selling your religion.

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Baron Samedi
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I occasionally ran into signs on my mission warning of a sleeping baby or a night-shift worker, and I never, ever knocked on those doors. I never met another missionary who did, either. I didn't ever see a sign specifically requesting that religious proselyters not knock. But if I had, I probably would have left those houses alone.

I know what you're saying about people's motives for listening to me despite a no soliciting sign. I fully grant that there may have been some people whose doors I knocked on who meant the sign to keep me away, but were too polite to immediately launch into profanity. Those were probably the people that said, "no thank you" and sent us on our way. But you have to admit that there were likely also some people who put that sign up to keep away the Amway people, but had no problem talking religion with a kid from Utah. If that weren't the case, we never would have got in the door at those houses, and we'd have soon learned to leave them alone.

The fact is, the word "solicit", as used in the common vernacular, is ambiguous at best. Heck, there might be a British person in the house who doesn't like lawyers. Seeing a car out front with a "Darwin" fish on the bumper, or a cross hanging on the front door, is probably a more telling indication that people aren't going to pick up what we're laying down. And rather than spending all my time trying to deduce the personal characteristics of the residents of each house, we found it more efficient to let them tell us themselves. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

[ October 01, 2006, 09:18 PM: Message edited by: Baron Samedi ]

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Megan
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I don't answer my door unless I'm in my living room and am therefore visible through the sidelight and unable to avoid being seen. Otherwise, if you're knocking at my door, chances are, I don't really want to talk to you. Plus, the knocking and the doorbell ringing drive my dogs (one of whom thinks he's a guard dog) insane.

To my mind, No Soliciting means "If I don't know you personally, don't knock on my door." If I put a sign up like that, and you knocked on my door anyway, I would not be a happy camper. I would not send anyone off with profanity, but I certainly wouldn't be as friendly to that person as I might if I met them randomly walking around.

(That's my favorite way to encounter Mormon missionaries, btw--walking around campus. Nice talking, delimited by the amount of time it takes me to get to where I'm going.)

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Baron Samedi
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
Baron, never ever let the fact that a thread on hatrack drifts off topic upset you. Expect it to happen. Know it will happen. Embrace the topic shift.

I understand the concept of a topic shift. That doesn't make this type of shift any less rude. There's a big difference between a conversation growing and shifting organically and being knocked off the rails by some jackass that wasn't supposed to be involved in it to begin with.

I don't watch baseball, so I stayed out of Paul's baseball thread. I didn't go in there, demand that they recognize that I don't like baseball, and call them a bunch of idiots until they switched the topic to something I like better.

That's where the coffee shop analogy came from. If I were talking about this subject with some friends at a restaurant, I would expect that some people might be listening in. They might even start a quiet conversation at their own table about what a dummy I am. But I'd also expect that if they didn't agree with my point of view, they'd keep it to themselves and let me have a good time with my friends.

There are people who enjoy going into threads, insulting people who are minding their own business, and forcing topic shifts. There's even a word for them, although I'm taking great pains not to say it. In any case, most people can tell the difference between fun threads and threads that were started for the purpose of serious debate, and it is commonly considered good form to respect the distinction.

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Theca
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Gee Baron, I kind of thought this topic affects anyone who has a front door.
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Baron Samedi
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quote:
Originally posted by Theca:
Gee Baron, I kind of thought this topic affects anyone who has a front door.

The topic was started by someone who used to be a missionary and wanted to share a video that might be particularly amusing to other missionaries. It evolved briefly into returned missionaries telling anecdotes about their experiences.

I don't see how that has anything to do with the archetecture of your house.

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Megan
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And it evolved again when someone responded to one of those anecdotes. That's how things work here. It may not be true of other online forums, but topic drift is a way of life here. Imagine it not as a conversation between friends at a coffee shop with someone else not in the party butting in, but a REALLY LARGE party at the same coffee shop, all participating. No one here is NOT in the party.
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Baron Samedi
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I disagree. I've been here for many years. I've seen people walk into threads and start hurling insults at people who were minding their own business. And that is not the way it works here.
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Megan
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I don't think I mentioned insults at all. I mentioned topic drift, which is what seems to have gotten your back up. I don't think you'd be quite so upset about the topic drift, though, if everyone agreed with you.
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Baron Samedi
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That's the point. This wasn't a topic about agreeing or disagreeing. This was a topic in which people with a common cultural background were having a good time.

There are plenty of threads on this forum devoted to debate. And there's a nice, large, friendly button at the top set aside specifically for creating one of those threads. This "topic drift" occurred because someone felt that hurling insults (and yes, there were insults, and no, they weren't called for) was easier, or more his style, than pushing that button.

Anyway, this once fun thread, that actually gave me a few laughs when it started, has devolved into a meta-thread as a direct result of those uninvited insults. And I hate meta-threads. So I'm off.

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Megan
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Hmm, but some interesting discussion on how people view door-to-door proselytization has ensued. Some insults did occur (never said they didn't, never endorsed them), but that doesn't negate the rest of the interesting discussion. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And, if you have more anecdotes to tell, well, heck, no one's stopping you, man.

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Paul Goldner
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" This was a topic in which people with a common cultural background were having a good time."

I'm sorry, I didn't see a post at the top of the thread saying "for proselytizers only."

In fact, I don't think such a post would be respected on hatrack...

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airmanfour
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
" This was a topic in which people with a common cultural background were having a good time."

I'm sorry, I didn't see a post at the top of the thread saying "for proselytizers only."

In fact, I don't think such a post would be respected on hatrack...

I'd disrespect the hell out of it. "Common cultural background" my foot. Samedi can go fry an egg on my all-inclusive....griddle.
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Silent E
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"95% of the people whose doors I knocked on weren't interested in the church, signs on their houses or not."

For me, I think this is the point. As a missionary, I already knew that 95% of the people I wanted to talk to wouldn't want to talk to me. Adding a "no solicitors" sign wouldn't give me any more information than I already had.

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Megan
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Wouldn't it give you the information that the person in the house didn't want you knocking on the door? Not just that they weren't interested in the church, but that they didn't want anyone coming to their door.
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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Silent E:
"95% of the people whose doors I knocked on weren't interested in the church, signs on their houses or not."

For me, I think this is the point. As a missionary, I already knew that 95% of the people I wanted to talk to wouldn't want to talk to me. Adding a "no solicitors" sign wouldn't give me any more information than I already had.

I find it mind boggling that you wouldn't distinguish between people who were likely unwilling to listen to you and people who had gone out of their way to tell you to stay away.
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gnixing
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An Apostle of the LDS church gave a promise to those that share the Gospel to others. That even those that refuse to listen, will one day thank them. If not in this life, the messages of gratitude will come in the world to come, when those that had been invited to know the Gospel come to know the truth and will understand the intentions within the heart.

A missionary should always hold that promise close to their heart to give them the proper perspective. And to those who feel it inappropriate - well... you're entitled to your opinions. But remember, those guys out there knocking on doors aren't trying to piss you off. They're saying, "Hey! I've got something important that you need to hear. I know you're busy, or tired, or irritated by the last solicitor, or trying to take a nap... whatever your issues may be. But, God loves you - I love you. Let me tell tell you this wonderful news."

If we are right, then someday - you'll appreciate the candor and the urgency behind our message. If we are wrong... well - does it matter?

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erosomniac
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quote:
An Apostle of the LDS church gave a promise to those that share the Gospel to others. That even those that refuse to listen, will one day thank them. If not in this life, the messages of gratitude will come in the world to come, when those that had been invited to know the Gospel come to know the truth and will understand the intentions within the heart.
We understand this.

quote:
A missionary should always hold that promise close to their heart to give them the proper perspective. And to those who feel it inappropriate - well... you're entitled to your opinions. But remember, those guys out there knocking on doors aren't trying to piss you off. They're saying, "Hey! I've got something important that you need to hear. I know you're busy, or tired, or irritated by the last solicitor, or trying to take a nap... whatever your issues may be. But, God loves you - I love you. Let me tell tell you this wonderful news."
Again, not all missionaries are like this. As time goes on, the percentage of missionaries I'm willing to grant the benefit of the doubt in this regard gets smaller and smaller as I deal with more and more that seem to be more concerned with meeting a quota, feeling a sense of self satisfaction or possess other ulterior motives.

quote:
If we are right, then someday - you'll appreciate the candor and the urgency behind our message. If we are wrong... well - does it matter?
...the whole point of what Paul, I and others have been saying is that yes, yes it does matter.
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gnixing
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quote:
...the whole point of what Paul, I and others have been saying is that yes, yes it does matter.
When I say, does it matter... I'm refering to the eternal scheme of things. If you are also, then please - enlighten me... how does it matter?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If we are wrong... well - does it matter?
If you're wrong, you spent two of the best years of your youth accosting random strangers for no good reason.
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gnixing
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Tom - how is it a waste of two years? And if I'm wrong, what do I care if I ticked off some people.
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TomDavidson
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Well, I'd like to think that you'd care about your fellow man regardless of whether or not you picked the right religion.
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gnixing
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I'd like to append to my last remark that the message that missionaries are bringing is not a harmful or negative message. Which means - if someone gets ticked off... they have issues.
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gnixing
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and they really need that message.
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TomDavidson
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It depends on how you define "harm," really. Lots of people who sell Kirby cleaners door to door really believe that they're peddling the best vacuum in the world.
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gnixing
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I'm not a Kirby salesman - but I don't disagree that they have a very fine vacuum.
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gnixing
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And if I were a Kirby salesman, and felt that the vacuum was capable of bringing you the greatest blessings that man can obtain... I'd ignore the No Solicitors sign even then.
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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by gnixing:
quote:
...the whole point of what Paul, I and others have been saying is that yes, yes it does matter.
When I say, does it matter... I'm refering to the eternal scheme of things. If you are also, then please - enlighten me... how does it matter?
I wasn't referring to the eternal scheme of things, because that leaves too many possibilities open to write a considered response. You, on the other hand, seem to think the only alternative to your doctrine is, well, nothing. I'm not sure WHAT the correct answer is, but I'm betting there are a few people out here who aren't Judeo-Christian and aren't atheists that would have a few things to say about that attitude.

But let's go with what you implied: that the alternative to your doctrine is nothing, that we're dead and in the ground, and our actions on earth have no eternal consequences of any kind.

If that's the case, then it should be easy for you to see the gravity of your attitude: since all the time we're allotted consciousness is contained in a lifespan, each second becomes an even more precious jewel, and you're forcing strangers to waste time in their limited lifespans. If someone has a "NO SOLICITORS" sign posted on their door or has otherwise made it clear they aren't interested in hearing what you have to say and you go right on ahead and attempt to tell them anyway, you've gone from committing the minor crime of being a time wasting annoyance to the major one of inflicting intentional harm.

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TomDavidson
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Oh, absolutely. I understand that motivation perfectly. But any time you're disregarding someone's request because you think you know better than they do what they need, you're going to be accused of presumption.
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gnixing
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Oh, absolutely. I understand that motivation perfectly. But any time you're disregarding someone's request because you think you know better than they do what they need, you're going to be accused of presumption.

When it's a message of eternal salvation... an accusation of presumption is always to be expected from a non-believer, and should never be a motive for failing to try to share your message.

And ersomniac - I would expect believers of other faiths to understand the intentions and goal of a proselytizing missionary, and forgive them. And in the atheistic worldview that life ends with nothing in the hereafter... I presumptuously state that if such were to be the state of our existence after our mortal body fails... then I don't believe the consciousness of one's lifespan is all that precious.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
When it's a message of eternal salvation... an accusation of presumption is always to be expected from a non-believer, and should never be a motive for failing to try to share your message.
You know, there ARE non-believers who actually request your message. [Smile]

The problem with this argument -- X is justified because it's necessary for happiness in the hereafter, which is the only thing that matters -- is that you can insert any given value for X. Here it stands for "annoying strangers," but it could be expanded to "spray-painting stop signs" or "sacrificing virgin koalas" just as easily.

Which is why any argument which denies the value of THIS life, or relies on the hypothetical existence of an afterlife to lend value to this one, subverts itself.

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gnixing
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The problem with your rebuttal is that if someone believes that their message - X - is necessary for happiness in the hereafter, they should absolutely, by all means attempt to share their message.

If I had a Do Not Solicit sign on my door, and an Al Queda came by to proselyte Mormon style, saw the sign, and skipped my house... If their message turns out to be the correct message, then I just missed out on something.

Perhaps in this life I don't care. I believe that I have found the truth. Perhaps if they did ignore the sign I would be upset, irritated, whatever - maybe I'd be true to my beliefs and use it as an opportunity to share my message with the proselytizer. However, in the next life - when I learned that their message was correct, I would indeed be grateful that they tried.

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erosomniac
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quote:
And ersomniac - I would expect believers of other faiths to understand the intentions and goal of a proselytizing missionary, and forgive them.
Oh my.

Methinks you need to do a little--nay, a lot--of reading.

quote:
I presumptuously state that if such were to be the state of our existence after our mortal body fails... then I don't believe the consciousness of one's lifespan is all that precious.
Very, very presumptuously.
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