Street Preachers

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Street Preachers

#1  Postby solazy » Nov 15, 2016 12:09 pm

What is an atheists or antitheists response to street preachers?
Not just the Jehovah's standing there glumly in the rain when I turn a corner, but anyone who tries to mug you unexpectedly.
You can look the other way, but what do you do or say when you are taken by surprise?
Happened to me in the unlikeliest of places. On the golf course, in a country park, even walking on a remote part of a coast path in Wales.
I'll be burning in hell if I do not believe in God. If I am not a Presbyterian the best I can hope for is Judgement day. I am living in end times and I need to repent. Only way out are the Baptists.
Help. I'm doomed. Any ideas?
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Re: Street Preachers

#2  Postby LucidFlight » Nov 15, 2016 12:12 pm

Look them straight in the eye and say, "I have a boyfriend."

To be honest, I've never been taken by surprise. I usually smile or wave and keep walking.
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Re: Street Preachers

#3  Postby solazy » Nov 15, 2016 12:15 pm

What would Richard Dawkins say?
Probably ask: 'Which God are you talking about?'
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Re: Street Preachers

#4  Postby surreptitious57 » Nov 15, 2016 12:37 pm


Be silent since it is impossible to argue with someone who is mute
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Re: Street Preachers

#5  Postby chairman bill » Nov 15, 2016 12:55 pm

You could simply say that you have no interest in their superstitious beliefs. If they say their beliefs aren't superstitious, point out that superstition is the belief in supernatural agency, and if they believe a god created everything, that is by definition a superstitious belief.

I've twice left preachers thinking about how to respond, and as I've walked away, reminded them not to step on any cracks in the pavement. On a remote coast path in Wales, I might be tempted to check that nobody is watching, then give the buggers a quick shove :-)
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Re: Street Preachers

#6  Postby Sgt Kelly » Nov 15, 2016 3:16 pm

Over the past 20 years I've bumped into exactly one poor man who approached me clutching a religious pamphlet. I didn't even have to say anything, he could apparently tell from the way I looked at him which way it was going to go. So he apologized and quickly scuttled away.

I actually felt a bit sorry for him.
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Re: Street Preachers

#7  Postby Alan B » Nov 15, 2016 3:21 pm

How can one be 'surprised' by a person who has no credible message.

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Last edited by Alan B on Nov 15, 2016 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Street Preachers

#8  Postby Scot Dutchy » Nov 15, 2016 4:27 pm

Never seen them here apart from an evangelical band that used to play on a corner which has now been demolished but they never appeared again.
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Re: Street Preachers

#9  Postby laklak » Nov 16, 2016 12:45 am

Don't see them around here very often. The few times I've encountered one I just walk away.
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Re: Street Preachers

#10  Postby chairman bill » Nov 16, 2016 5:02 am

They're a regular feature in Cardiff city centre. I've even been approached by evangelical Muslims
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Re: Street Preachers

#11  Postby Fallible » Nov 16, 2016 8:29 am

This has never happened to me. JWs at the door, yes, but no street preachers.
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Re: Street Preachers

#12  Postby solazy » Nov 16, 2016 11:47 am

chairman bill wrote:You could simply say that you have no interest in their superstitious beliefs. If they say their beliefs aren't superstitious, point out that superstition is the belief in supernatural agency, and if they believe a god created everything, that is by definition a superstitious belief.

I've twice left preachers thinking about how to respond, and as I've walked away, reminded them not to step on any cracks in the pavement. On a remote coast path in Wales, I might be tempted to check that nobody is watching, then give the buggers a quick shove :-)


Guess I might have a persecution complex, but being approached by 2 men in suits on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path was a defining moment. Afterwards I regretted not having yanked their ties off.
I managed to get into an argument with the Presbyterians this year on the golf course. There is something very inconsistent with their arguments. They did not believe the God of Abraham applies to Islam, which has a separate god. They put me on the spot with their proof of God which was that the universe MUST have had a creator. This is dumbest explanation for the universe I know. I responded with the first cause argument, as to what created God.
I agree that ALL religion is based on the supernatural, when there is no evidence at all of anything supernatural.

To stay sane to the challenge of theists I use a few intuition pumps, otherwise I can see why so many fall into the trap of religion.
Occam's Razor: I don't need to complicate the universe by inventing a supernatural God.
Sturgeons Law: While I don't think everything in religion is 100% crap, at least 90% of it is.
Pascal's Wager: Could be applied to atheism. If I assume no god, I don't waste my life in superstition and worship, especially as I am told I can still repent and be saved seconds from the end of life if I still have the presence of mind.
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Re: Street Preachers

#13  Postby NamelessFaceless » Nov 16, 2016 3:43 pm

They're a staple around here. We have a large Christian College in Pensacola and it's my understanding that Street Preaching is a required course for the men. Most of the time they stand on street corners holding a bible and yelling at passing cars. And I can only assume the women are required to stand nearby wearing denim skirts and holding signs, because that's what they do. Those are easy to ignore. Just drive.

The ones who approach you are a little harder to ignore, but really, there's no reason to engage them. It's a waste of time. If they come at with you things like "if you died tonight would you go to heaven or hell!?" you can just brush if off with a simple "false dichotomy" or something, but then keep walking.

They want you to stop and ask questions. Don't do it. I made that mistake once. (Well, more than once, but we'll ignore that first time since alcohol was involved). There's a popular restaurant here that always has a long wait outside. Street preachers like to stand across from it yelling at the people waiting to be seated but they ignore the strip club right next door. Mr. Faceless just had to ask, why are they shouting us when we're just trying to eat when the "real sinners" are over there. That guy kept us there for 45 minutes explaining how he came to Jesus before finally answering the question - that those guys over there know they're sinners because they run inside and shut the door. Those of us waiting at the restaurant don't know we're lost because we're just sitting outside. That's why he targets us. Bottom line - they had a captive audience at the restaurant but not at the strip club. :facepalm: That's 45 minutes of my life I'll never get back. But you can learn from my mistake.
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Re: Street Preachers

#14  Postby solazy » Nov 16, 2016 5:16 pm

NamelessFaceless wrote:The ones who approach you are a little harder to ignore, but really, there's no reason to engage them. It's a waste of time. If they come at with you things like "if you died tonight would you go to heaven or hell!?" you can just brush if off with a simple "false dichotomy" or something, but then keep walking.

The Presbyterians engaged me with that argument. Where do you think you go when you die?
My answer: When I die, my body starts to decompose. I have requested cremation. Some of my atoms will go up into the air while others will go down into the ground and become worm or plant food. I will know nothing of it in the same way as I knew nothing before I came into this world.

They want you to stop and ask questions. Don't do it. I made that mistake once. (Well, more than once, but we'll ignore that first time since alcohol was involved). There's a popular restaurant here that always has a long wait outside. Street preachers like to stand across from it yelling at the people waiting to be seated but they ignore the strip club right next door. Mr. Faceless just had to ask, why are they shouting us when we're just trying to eat when the "real sinners" are over there. That guy kept us there for 45 minutes explaining how he came to Jesus before finally answering the question - that those guys over there know they're sinners because they run inside and shut the door. Those of us waiting at the restaurant don't know we're lost because we're just sitting outside. That's why he targets us. Bottom line - they had a captive audience at the restaurant but not at the strip club. :facepalm: That's 45 minutes of my life I'll never get back. But you can learn from my mistake.

That's a very honest description and I take comfort from it. Yes it is a mistake to engage with them because it seems they hold all the aces. Belief is more powerful than non belief. I was very irritated recently when walking through a crowded town centre to hear a guy using a microphone to get his evangelical message across. I am talking about the centre of Birmingham. This is the hotspot of religion in the UK. It is not unusual to find Christian evangelists and Muslims yelling out at passers by and only yards away from each other. It's like a fevered sales pitch. Sooner or later they know they will make a hit even if most people do ignore.
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Re: Street Preachers

#15  Postby NamelessFaceless » Nov 16, 2016 6:13 pm

Yes, it's irritating, I agree. But just be thankful for Freedom of Speech and keep going. :cheers:
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Re: Street Preachers

#16  Postby Animavore » Nov 16, 2016 6:16 pm

There'a a guy on the corner of Talbot Street and O'Connell Street. Comes out with some convoluted reasoning which suggests that no matter what we do we sin. Everyone else just walks by him. So do I. To be honest, I don't want to look as mad as him by engaging him.
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Re: Street Preachers

#17  Postby NamelessFaceless » Nov 16, 2016 8:10 pm

We've got this guy who sits on a street corner right in front of the largest Southern Baptist Church in town. He's actually street preaching at Christians! :lol:
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Re: Street Preachers

#18  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Nov 16, 2016 8:24 pm

There's guys who try their darnest to make a career out of this. And, horrifically, succeed, at times:
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Street Preachers

#19  Postby The_Metatron » Nov 16, 2016 9:32 pm

I once saw a pair of fools trying to sell Jeebus on the campus of the University of Oregon to a pretty large crowd. It was highly entertaining and heartening to see so many of the students listening to them and tearing their tripe to shreds.
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Re: Street Preachers

#20  Postby Alan B » Nov 17, 2016 10:30 am

Birmingham Street Preachers
Perhaps this one's doing a penance (or can't afford a loud-hailer)
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This one's better equipped
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And of course, the Islam Tent - directly opposite the above two.
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