Unbeliever

There was a knock at the door a few moments ago. A rather loud and confident knock. I made my way to the door, wondering if it might be the little boy that lives across the way, hoping to play football with our children. I would have to tell him that they had gone out for the day. Opening the door revealed two women – one in her early twenties, and the other perhaps in her early fifties.

“Have you experienced the Kingdom of our Lord?”

“No”

“Would you be interested in…”

“Excuse me for interrupting, but I think it’s only fair before continuing that you know that I don’t believe in or follow any relgion at all.”

They paused for a few moments, before the older woman edged forwards.

“Is there a particular reason you lack faith ?”

Ok. Now they were pushing it. I leaned on the door frame, and wondered what I could say that would shut them down without being either disrespectful, or discourteous.

“I don’t lack faith. I have faith in lots of things – just not in any kind of intelligent creator figure or figures. I think people should be allowed to believe (or not) in what they want, as long as it doesn’t impact on others.”

“Has something happened in your life that has caused you to think this way?”

“No.”

We smiled and said goodbye, and then I sat and thought about what I would like to have said. Although a tumult of thoughts were swimming randomly around my head, I found it difficult in the moment to organise them – I’ll never be an orator of any kind.

Perhaps the following might have been a better response…

“I think it’s wrong to push any sort of agenda door-to-door. I realise you’re only doing what you’ve been told, but there lies perhaps my main objection to all of this – by doing so you have reduced yourself to little more than a pyramid scheme sales person. If anything I would rather learn what *you* think about things – not what you read in a book and are trying to get others to agree with you about.”

It’s unfortunate that when I start railing against organised religion, it’s like opening a flood-gate in my head. I have to temper the contradictory arguments I might challenge others with, for fear of causing offence. Nothing seems to offend others like challenging their beliefs.

The French have a phrase for the things we wish we had said after the fact – “L’esprit de l’escalier” – “staircase wit”. It originates from an observation by Diderot in Paradoxe sur le comédien :

“A sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again [when he finds himself] at the bottom of the stairs”

6 Replies to “Unbeliever”

  1. There’s a Kingdom Hall in our neighbourhood, walking distance from our house. They come to our door at least twice a year, usually Easter is a big one, and sometime in late fall or early winter. A sign ‘no soliciting’ on my door has in some cases deterred some of them but not all of them.

    One day I actually read over one of their flyers. It was around Easter time. And I found none of their stories or arguments believable. Essentially they simply described a situation that happened which they believe to be true, and then finished off their story with ‘this is proof’ or something of that nature.

    It’s not proof to me. And I didn’t ask anyone to prove anything to me, either. 😛

    Faith is a personal thing. I don’t push my beliefs or non-beliefs on random strangers, I’d appreciate the same respect in return. Right? Don’t come knocking on my door where I live to spread your unsolicited messages.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly! I could have carried on my “foot of the stairs rant” for quite some time – questioning if they have their own mind about anything at all – if they blindly believe everything they are told – how they would feel about me turning up on their doorstep to tell them about the improvement in my life since I started eating Pizza on friday nights…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I sometimes wonder if the religious ones are afraid NOT to believe and therefore believe out of fear.

    I am also one who can not think of a response until a good 10 or 15 minutes after the discussion is over and everyone has moved on. Sucks. LOL

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I get theses visitors every so often . When I open the door I always. Say to them … before you start with whatever you came to say I have my believes , my religion and I do not need to hear nothing else .. they always look dumb founded and then say we’ll have a good day and walk away . Lol it’s always that easy lol.

    Like

  4. I don’t like anyone trying to press their beliefs on me. I have no problem with them having them though. I also know that we can’t know what goes into someone’s mind as they fall into those beliefs and I try to keep that in mind.
    I also don’t answer the door.

    Like

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