December 4, 2005

Unwelcome Visitors

About 30 minutes ago while I'm in the middle of some complex photo editing, the doorbell rings. Crap! The dog is going crazy barking. Who is bothering me on Sunday morning? Isn't everybody around here in church at this time?

I open the door to reveal...Christians. Two large African American women dressed in their Sunday best, one clutching a worn bible to her chest, are standing on my porch. I can barely hear them over the dog barking, but the one holding the bible is saying something like, "With everything going wrong in the world today, don't you ever wish there was more out there?" She then wonders if I'd like to invite them in to hear about their faith, their "good news," or some garbage like that. I reply, "No thank you, I'm really not interested in any of that" and close the door.

What is the etiquette surrounding this sort of thing? Should I have informed them that I am an atheist and quite happy without their silly superstitions? Should I have invited them in, heard their "good news," and then pointed out all the problems with it, etc.? Nah, none of this would have made any difference. Worse, had I been outright rude, it would have just confirmed their stereotypes about atheists.

In the future, I suppose the best approach would be to politely explain that I am an atheist and perfectly content to live my life without religion. Then I could thank them for coming by and wish them well. That would force them to deal with the image of a kind atheist. Of course, that would also require more patience than I seem to have on most days. Oh well.