May 1, 2005

Spreading Superstition Door-to-Door

A Rodin Sculpture titled "door to hell&qu...
A Rodin Sculpture titled "door to hell" inspired by the work of Dante. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the joys of living in the Bible belt is that Christians are always knocking on the door, eager to tell me about Jesus. The doorbell rang yesterday afternoon as I was getting out of the shower. Unfortunately, by the time I got there all that was left was Christian literature about how those who didn't accept Jesus as their savior were headed for some sort of hell.

I guess this raises two questions for me. First, what is the point in going door-to-door to spread their superstitious beliefs? Do they actually get converts this way? They always want to tell me about their church. What if I already belonged to one? Would the goal then be to convince me that theirs was better? Or is the point simply to make themselves feel like they are doing something positive without actually taking any risks (i.e., risks like working with the homeless, donating their time to various shelters, etc.)? These people could do great things for the community instead of irritating me.

The second question, and perhaps more fun to consider, concerns how one should behave when one encounters these morons at the door. I am usually very polite in the beginning. "No, I'm really not interested in discussing religion with you. Thanks anyway, and have a great day." After all, I'm not interested in mass prayer sessions on my front lawn. However, I generally lose my pleasant demeanor when asked where I attend church and then told I am going to hell when I reply that I do not attend church. A friend once answered this question by explaining that he was Jewish and attends temple nearby. He received the same query about whether it bothers him that he will burn in hell for not accepting Jesus. Do you get this sort of thing in your neighborhood, and if so, how do you handle it?