April 15, 2009

Tricking People to Believe

College feels like a long time ago (probably because it was), but I do not feel as out of touch as I might otherwise since I work on a university campus. One of the things I remember from my college days and see quite a bit of in my current workplace is Campus Crusade for Christ. The thing is, their tactics have changed quite a bit. As Friendly Atheist pointed out in a recent post, they are increasingly resorting to trickery and deception to promote their superstitious nonsense.

When I was in college, you could spot the Campus Crusaders a mile away. They used to wear these t-shirts depicting a bloody crucifixion of a certain mythical figure they desperately wanted to tell everyone about. I remember sitting behind one of them in class on more than one occasion and feeling queasy (although whatever I'd had to drink the night before probably had something to do with that).

They went out of their way to insult anyone who appeared to be having fun. There were a few in the hall of my dorm, and they were never content to keep to themselves. Instead, they would sit in their open door ways and ask intrusive questions about where I was going so late and wouldn't I rather play cards with them than go to a party, etc. I had no qualms about telling them to fuck off and keep that Jesus shit to themselves, but I never initiated the interactions.

From what Friendly Atheist reports and what I have seen in my workplace, the crusaders have changed their tactics a bit. I see the sort of random messages, web addresses, and the like all the time. The goal is quite clear - put out an ambiguous message to arouse curiosity and then spring the trap when people investigate. I suppose this tactic makes sense. After all, when one's message has become aversive to so many, trickery may be one's only option.