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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 10:59 AM
Original message
How should we deal with fundamentalists?
In my very liberal Sunday School class, we have been studying Karen Armstrong's The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism. The question we have pondered lately is "How should we deal with fundamentalists?" Love them? Hate them? Associate with them? Try to change them? The only person in the class who has a definite, firm answer says simply that we should ridicule and make fun of them. Being that we live in Alabama, we have lots of opportunities. Any suggestions from any of you? Thanks.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
1. I think you first
need to identify your purpose. What is it you want?

Do you want them to leave you alone?
Do you want them to change?
Do you want their vote?
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Since we are a Sunday School class, I think we ideally want
them to change and then get their vote. Perhaps the hard core ones are never going to change, but there must be lots of people who are on the fence.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
20. Okay. Then I think
that making fun of them will just alienate them. We all have our different cultures, world views, even our own physical needs that lead us to a particular faith or lack thereof. So I think respect is where you start.

After that, if you really want to bring folks to your side, it takes positive communication, hanging out together, listening. The more you listen the more brilliant they think you are. Then you ask questions. And listen some more.

And you teach by example. If you are a person of faith, don't be afraid to let them know it, pray with them, etc., so they can see that faith does NOT equal politics. But it's so important that they see you as a person of integrity and with no hate, even for your enemies. That level of charisma draws people to you.

When I read posts here on DU that are about hate, I often stop and rethink my level of commonality with those people. Because to me, that represents the extreme in the Democratic community, and it is no different, in my opinion, from the extremes in the right. Hate and intolerance are wrong and counterproductive whether it has a D or an R after it. It comes from the same negative source.

Or you can forget about them and make fun of them in private?
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. thank you
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
2. You can find all the ammunition you need
At www.infidels.org . It's a treasure trove.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. leave them alone
After all, Jesus said to worry more about your own shortcomings than your neighbor's (the mote and the beam parable)and to judge not lest ye be judged. The only time to tangle with them is if they are trying to inhibit your rights. Then use facts and the truth to explain why their position is wrong.
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Seabiscuit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. So when are they not actively working to inhibit our rights????
I still say: hose 'em down.
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. thanks
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Seabiscuit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
4. Take 'em all out back and hose 'em down.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
8. Hmm. Need more info - For example, are they carrying poisonous snakes or
not? That definately would go into my decisionmaking on this.
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. No literal snakes...I guess we are afraid that they will dominate
all the religious thought, especially in the South, and that thinking folks will be turned off from religion completely. We're tired of their making us non-fundamentalists look like Satan himself.
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malachibk Donating Member (780 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
9. Question them
Being a northeastern, liberal atheist and never having had the opportunity to meet/know a Republican let alone a fundamentalist (how lucky/sheltered am I?), I often wish that I could ask them why they choose to ignore certain parts of the Bible in favor of other sections.

For example, the chapter in Leviticus that supposedly calls male homosexuality an abomination also outlaws wearing clothing woven of two fabrics (so no cotton/poly blends) and suggests death for people who work on the Sabbath. So, why ignore the other 20 or so "outdated" rules but base so much on hatred and fear of homosexuality?

Why "an eye for an eye" instead of "love thy neighbor"? And I know it talks a lot in the Bible about helping the poor but probably not so much about hating illegal immigrants.

I also remember wondering in 6th grade -- a year dedicated in my school to Ancient Greece -- why we thought that Athena being born from Zeus' head was so outlandish, but Eve being born from a rib made perfect sense.

I'd also like to know how they can use the Bible to hate the very thought of abortion but be perfectly OK with the death penalty.

I guess the theme here is the overarching hypocrisy of the religious right. Never could tolerate/understand that.

Maybe by asking honest questions, you'll get (a) some answers for me and (b) a few of those fundies to realize the disconnects in their thinking.
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. thank you
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
10. As if they were Human Beings.
Edited on Wed Nov-16-05 11:12 AM by Bridget Burke
A cursory glance at Amazon shows Armstrong's book to be an interesting review of the growth of Fundamentalism in (mostly) Judaism, Islam & Christianity. There are reasons people turn to Fundamentalism--often as a reaction to very real problems. Are there other possible reactions? Of course.

Some Fundamentalists just want to live their lives. Wouldn't the Amish & Mennonites be considered Fundamentalists? Others want to tell everyone else how to live their lives--& make their beliefs into law, if necessary. In the US, we see the Religious Right & the Republicans locked in an obscene embrace; it's a dangerous situation, but not all Fundamentalists are involved. Here's one source of info: www.theocracywatch.org /

Expressing contempt for someone about whom you know very little will accomplish nothing. Except make you feel superior?

By the way--what's your Denomination?

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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. Methodist
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melnjones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #10
18. Very well stated.
And that's from a former Mennonite with Amish roots :-) Fundies are people too.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:32 AM
Original message
However, no one would ever mistake a Mennonite or Amish person
for a CHRISTOFASCIST. If they want to have their conservative beliefs of their own free will, more power to them. These groups truly understand that their rights end where our bodies begin.
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melnjones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
53. Not all Amish and Mennonites are as peaceful as all that...
You are wrong. I've seen some amazingly fundie Mennonites especially.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. They CAN be fundie-ish, but they believe firmly in the
separation of church and state, because they were run out of several countries in Europe for not belonging to the "official" church. Fundie or not, they are our friends. They are also very committed pacifists.
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melnjones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #54
59. No no no,
you are stereotyping. Yes those are SUPPOSEDLY their values but that does not mean that's what they all follow. I grew up Mennonite, trust me. The scariest fundies I know are the Mennonites from my hometown. Some of them are indeed our friends. Others want us shot. By the way, the scariest Mennonites I've seen are those that leave the Amish church. I'm also well aware of the Anabaptist movement history from Europe. You are still wrong and are stereotyping.
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melnjones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #10
19. dupe.
Edited on Wed Nov-16-05 11:19 AM by melnjones
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melnjones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
12. Do all the studying you can.
Let them argue with you, remain calm the whole time, and win every argument (even if they don't think you won). Let them see through your life that you worship the same God and have the same core values, and let them see that no matter how nasty they treat you, you will continue to see them as your Christian brothers and sisters. God CAN work in their lives and change their hearts and minds. Sometimes we forget that, but I've seen it happen. Sometimes it takes YEARS, but God can and will use you if you are speaking Truth. He always honors that. If it means attending classes at a nearby seminary, do so (but make sure the seminary is biblically based, of course). If it means buying an expensive set of Bible commentaries and reading them, do so, or borrow them from the library. You have to remember though that they are still your brothers and sisters, Christ died for them too, and He is working change in their lives as well. That doesn't mean roll over and play dead when they are being jerks for the sake of being "nice," but it does mean to speak the truth in love. Repeatedly. And make sure that what you are saying IS Truth. Blessings to you, it's hard to be Christian and liberal, but there are a few of us out there, and some of us, like me, are even aspiring ministers :-)
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. thank you
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #12
22. Well said
also, try inviting them to functions at YOUR church. One thing I know about fundie churches is that there are a lot of schisms because there are such strong, sometimes extreme, philosophies.

If your group is laid back and welcoming, you can provide a haven for people suffering from that sort of schism.
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Jacobin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
16. Find a tall cliff
Put a sign on it saying:

"All ye who believe jump off to join the rapture"

Tell all your fundie friends and neighbors about it.

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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
17. I think we try to tolerate them. But not let them force their beliefs
on us.

Democrats typically espouse multiculturalism and secularism. The former implies toleration of the rights of others to live the way they want to -- speak their languages, have their cultures, espouse their beliefs, and generally exist without interference. The latter separates God from State, church from government, and likewise imposes an obligation on those living in society to recognize the right of others not espousing your particular theism to live their own way secure in their own system of belief. There is obviously going to be a tension between the two and how that works out determines the contours of the society that we will have.

I have always thought that ridiculing the beliefs of others is wrong. We should tolerate them. Dems tolerate Zen Buddists, vegetarians, Hari-Krishnas, Moonies, the Amish, and atheists. Why do fundamentalists trouble us so much?

I think tolerating them, but insuring that they do not unduly interfere in the affairs of state to the extent of imposing their views on others is consistent with multiculturalist and secular values. In other words, don't mock or persecute, but don't let them mock or persecute us either.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #17
26. What you said!
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jokerman93 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
23. Lots of BBQ sauce
I live by Habanero's. Fundie children are the best.

:evilgrin:
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Double T Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
24. Fundamentalists are extremists.
Edited on Wed Nov-16-05 11:34 AM by Double T
Fundamentalists have the right to believe as they choose. Fundamentalists don't have the right to force their extreme views on others. Extreme views often mask or cloud the IMPORTANT actual message or idea.
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AUYellowDog Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
25. We here in Alabama still have
plenty of pitchforks and torches. Lets get goin!
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
27. Keep looking for cracks in their armor
One that tends to make their heads explode is that Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind books, has been associated with the Moonies since 1981.

Have a stock of Bible verses to quote back at them, such as the one that used to be my sig line: "The Biblical tax plan: For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required (Luke 12:48)."
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
28. Take over the airwaves. Do for liberal theology what
Air America is doing for liberal politics.

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southpaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
29. Leave them alone...
Edited on Wed Nov-16-05 11:56 AM by southpaw
And no... you are not the last Yellow Dog standing in Alabama.

I am a former fundie turned athiest. I've lived in Alabama all my life. True fundies are unreachable. They may eventually turn when the cognitive dissonance within their own minds becomes to much to ignore, but any outside attempt to alter their thinking just strengthens their resolve. Plus, if they identify 'liberal christians' as critical of their beliefs, they will consider you the enemy (hell, they already do) and oppose you on all fronts.

just my .02

edited for grammar.
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LearnedHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #29
58. What Southpaw said! nm
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thebigidea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
30. very sarcastically.
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win_in_06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
31. Does your "very liberal" Sunday School class study right from the
Bible? If so, how do you deal with the very fundamental nature of scripture?
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. I have been a member for only a few months, but generally, the
answer to your question is no, we do not take most lessons from the Bible. When I joined the class, they were in the middle of studying a book about how science and religion mix (or not). Since then, we have been on the Armstrong book since it is quite long and complex.
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win_in_06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. It would seem hard to approach or deal with fundamentalism
if you aren't dealing with the actual source. Why don't you ask your teacher about that?
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. We approach the Bible very differently than the fundamentalists.
I think most in the class would say that the truth the Bible speaks generally is not literal truth. The story of Jonah and the whale speaks a truth, but is not a factual story. I suppose the two approaches to the Bible is where our differences begin.
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win_in_06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. Does your class believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #37
41. We don't believe that it is infallible.
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win_in_06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. 100% God inspired? You should ask your teacher this question.
I think that is the beginning of understanding/dealing with fundamentalists.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
32. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. Well, we deal with the mentally ill with medication and therapy.
Maybe someday there will be a fundamentalist pill!
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #34
38. maybe reeducation camps
for deprogramming
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MN ChimpH8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #32
46. Hosing them down with scalding horse urine might
be a good start. It is a damned shame about the shortage of lions, isn't it? :evilgrin:

Perhaps the thing to do with the religiously insane batshit fundies, Talibornagains and Christo-fascists (normal mainstream Christians are not within any of those groups, so hold yer flames) is give them their own otherwise uninhabited islands somewhere in the middle of nowhere and then resume A-Bomb testing in the same neighborhood.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #46
48. we already nuked the Bikini Atoll
Maybe there is a "Modest One-piece Atoll" somewhere for them.
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formernaderite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
39. black, white or both?
Because I've met plenty of pentecostal tongue speaking black democrats...in my opinion they're all crazy. But I'm assuming you are speaking of the white right wingers....careful, they pretty much believe in the same way.
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. I believe most in the class are thinking of white fundamentalists, but
I know what you mean about the black fundamentalists. My brother has had several discussions with some at his work, and they pretty much told him that if he did not believe the Bible literally, he was going to hell.
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win_in_06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. These are the same churches (the black ones) that our candidates routinely
campaign in. Right from the pulpit too.
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formernaderite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #40
50. Exactly....there's really no difference.
Here in my very blue state, the folks pushing the anti gay marriage crap were the democratic black fundies. Surprisingly they're still democrats, but they're really hardline conservative on social issues.
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shayes51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
44. Thank you to all who have taken time to answer.
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AZBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
45. They have the right to believe what they want to believe. We all do here.
The problem is what do you do when they try to preach and convert you? I don't think that's right and I don't want to hear it.

But, if I believe that everyone has the right to worship the way they want and part of their religion is evangelicalism (spreading the word of God to everyone and converting others) then how do I allow them to practice this without violating my own right not to have to hear it?? It's a question my friends and I have debated before and haven't figured out yet. Quite the catch-22.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #45
47. How can you avoid being evangelized?
Tell them you aren't interested. As politely as you feel the situation requires.

If you're at work, get back to work. Big companies will have HR policies that might help you. Small companies can be more problematic--especially if those "preaching" outrank you.

If they come to the door, don't let them in.

If they are on the TV, change the channel.

If you just hear them in passing, learn to live with it. I'm sure some folks wish they didn't "have to hear" Cindy Sheehan.
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High Plains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 03:39 PM
Response to Original message
49. Throw them to the lions
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boobooday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
51. I think you should carry copies of the Scanlon memo
It isn't so much that they have irrational beliefs in talking snakes and stuff, it's that they have been made tools of a very wicked cabal.

Give each one of them a copy of the Scanlon memo, or at least this paragraph:

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

I've been sharing this with every fundie I run into, and asking, "did you know they talk about you like this behind your back?"
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
52. Tell them you'll pray for them and walk away.
I dunno. I've had trouble with this myself. I try to stay away now. I've got my faith. I don't need them making me feel like a second-hand Christian.
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LearnedHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
55. I loved that book
and have read several more of her books. A History of God is especially good.
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Geek_Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
56. Talk to them and Lead by example.
If you involve yourself in your community and share your philosophy with others as well as live by your convictions, they may just see how their negative believe system is hurting themselves. I know so many fundamentalist that are basically miserable people. They say they love Jesus, but it just seems to me they've never been shown how to love Jesus or themselves.
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TK421 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
57. castration n/t
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