January 11, 2008

Ending Door-to-Door Proselytizing

Almost nobody truly likes door-to-door proselytizing. I tend to view it as an invasion of my privacy, as a disruption of the limited free time I enjoy at home. It is inherently condescending, annoying, and thoroughly unnecessary. I think we can manage to find a church ourselves if we should so desire.

A Brief Message for the Christians Among You

You just returned from church and are spending a quiet Sunday afternoon with your family before you return to church that evening (it is revival season, after all). Your doorbell rings, and you open the door to reveal a well-dressed young man with a small child in tow. "Good afternoon! I was hoping I could take a few minutes of your time to tell you about the church of Satan." In stunned silence, you realize your mouth is hanging open and your 6 year-old daughter is now standing beside you at the door. He continues, "You see, we believe that Christianity is a perversion of basic human truths and..." You manage to shut the door.

If you are a "bible-believing Christian," I am guessing that you would be upset if this scenario happened on your front porch. Please try to understand that I feel every bit as upset as you do when this happens on my porch but the intruder is an evangelical Christian. And I'm fairly confident that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Here are some specific thoughts that often flash through my head when I am interrupted by an evangelical Christian peddling superstition at my door:

  • "What makes you think you have the right to disturb me with this nonsense?"
  • "How dare you invade my privacy with this crap!"
  • "How would you like it if I came to your home and tried to sell you on my beliefs?"
  • "Does this sort of idiocy actually work on anybody?"
If you'd rather not have to endure the Satanist on your doorstep, why must you put me through your nonsense? Are you really so blind that you cannot see that you are every bit as welcome on my porch as the Satanist is on yours?

For the Atheists

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. If you are an atheist and want to end proselytizing at your door, I've learned a couple of things that may help. The first thing I tried was putting up a "no soliciting" near my driveway, just large enough that it could be seen from the street. This has helped to deter some evangelicals from parking in my driveway and throwing pamphlets on the ground (yes, this was quite a problem). This sign also helped reduce those trying to sell goods and services door-to-door. Unfortunately, it was not terribly effective in reducing door-to-door proselytizing. 


I added one of these anti-proselytizing symbols in the window next to my front door, and it has helped tremendously. I still get pamphlet litter dropped all over my porch and the occasional knocker, but nothing like before. I ordered mine here, and I must say it has been well worthwhile. Amazon.com sells one that might blend in a little better too. If you want to see a dramatic reduction in the number of evangelical Christians knocking on your door, this might be worth a try.

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