Religious (and other) Predator Defense

Before I continue, I wanted to state this up front, as this is very important no matter how much of this post you may wish to read:

“If any religious type people approach or talk to you, and this makes you angry, it is time to do some serious introspection, and find out why you feel threatened! Take some quiet time to determine why you believe what you believe. If you believe in nothing, that is fine too, but know why. For some people, belief in nothing is its own belief system, and as valid as any other belief system. Ignorance of why you believe what you believe creates fear, and this type of fear is groundless.”

Religious Predators deny who they are. Preferring to appear in Sheep’s clothing instead. Pretending concern over your well being, your future and your soul. Never mentioning they are on a recruitment campaign and you are the next most likely candidate.

Some predatory religions take on the guise of Christian religions. The word Christian is used in a very loose context with them. However, there are many, many groups out there who profess to other beliefs that sound as if they could be Christian’s with a few modifications to the verbiage. Others are more obscure, and their beliefs are farther from the middle of the road than many are comfortable with.

Religious predators are not limited to Christianity. They can be an offshoot of any belief system. Buddhism, Taoism, Daoism, Cultism, every major and minor religion has its less than stellar subsets. No set of beliefs is immune to predation by Wolf’s posing in Sheep’s clothing.

What should you do when approached by someone who apparently has more in mind than asking how your day is? The answer is both complex, and simple. Most people’s answers and reactions are personality based, and rarely grounded in a rational thinking process. Let’s change that into something positive.

The first and foremost things to remember is, “Be street smart“. Do not volunteer any information you would not want a complete stranger to know. These people are complete strangers. Treat them with respect, and keep them at arms length.

When the matter of belief or religion comes up, it’s time to, “Man or Woman up”, as the case may be. Whether you prefer complete honesty, or a fabricated tale, the choice is yours. It really doesn’t matter if both of you know you are lying. Basic politeness prevents a stranger from calling another stranger out for a lie.

Telling the truth about your beliefs is plausible. For example, “I believe our purpose on this Earth, is to love one another and get along as best we can.” You do not have to go into more detail, other than to say you are happy where you are at. This is my way of firmly stating I am not interested without being rude.

The worst way to manage a conversation with a Religious Predator is injecting energy into the conversation, by being rude or challenging them. Remain calm, and be firm, they are people too. There is no need to disagree with comments they make which you think are wrong. Disagreement opens the door to more conversation. You want to end the conversation, not enter into a prolonged debate.

If the situation permits, state you have to attend to some task where they would not be welcome – use the bathroom for example. Say you need to attend to some distasteful task (picking up dog droppings for example) and they are welcome to join you. Finally, say you need to end the conversation because you have to get home, go inside your house, meet someone, rescue your meal from the stove.

In any of the above examples, you have not opened a door for a Religious Predator to challenge your belief system, force you into conversation or debate (which you will probably lose), as debate is their strength, or have caused any reason for offense. You are simply saying, ‘I have a life and need to attend to it’.

Anger and arguing are poor choices in most situations. You open yourself with emotion, and emotion is a slippery slope on which to mount a defense. If you can not reasonably speak to a potential Religious Predator standing in front of you, simply say, “I am busy and not interested, Thank you”, as you close the door or walk away.

When I hear of someone speaking in anger or being rude, it tells me the person is unsure of themselves and their beliefs. They are bogged down with emotion. As far as religious or other predators are concerned, angry people have a target on their forehead.

Finally, religious predators will want to leave you with a pamphlet, or perhaps a small book for you to read. Politely say, “No thank you”. Accepting material opens the door to further conversation and visitation. If you are curious about the Group, the Internet is your friend with thousands of sites more than willing to share with you any information you wish to know.

If you come home, and find information left on your doorstep, and you can stand the mess, leave where it was placed. Let it fall to the ground. You need to provide a firm message as to what, “Not interested”, means. If you take pamphlets in to throw away, you are creating an opening for further visitation and conversation.

Religious Predation is not something new, it wasn’t invented this year, and has been around as long as belief and religion have existed. A Religious Predator in your face may be new to you, but they are well polished and have lots of experience in accomplishing their objective. Follow the steps I listed above, or create a new plan on your own, and you will be successful.

In their defense, some people I have had conversation with whom I consider Religious Predators, do not see themselves in the same light. They think they are doing what their beliefs tell them they should be doing. Once again, they are just people, so treat them as you wish to be treated and all will be well.

Religious Predators Are After You

Religious Predators are looking to recruit you!

Having finished another period of having people show up at my door for weekly, “Bible” lessons, I realized there is a lot of information you really need to know. Over the previous decades, I have been visited numerous times by various groups, though they all act basically the same.

Some visits were stop and go, others longer term. They all have the same predatory practices, with hidden secondary motives. I won’t be so dramatic as to suggest your soul is in peril, but your lifestyle, family and friends are, if you are not awake and cautious.

Each time I receive a “visit”, I listen cautiously and carefully to what they tell me. I am not so vain, to think I have a lock on belief and knowledge. Caution is key in these situations though. You are constantly challenged to offer opinion or manipulated into a position of arguing a point where you may have no real knowledge, understanding or grounding.

I have Family and Friends who had solid foundations in their respective beliefs and religion. After some months of interaction with Predatory Religion visitors, they unthinkingly recruit themselves into the, “New and Better Belief System and Religion”. For the first months, they generally said little about their day to day life. They would give glowing reviews on how great the people are, what they were learning, and how much their life has improved. A “new” family was often implied.

Slowly, they grew more distant. They said they were learning the real way to believe and act. They were unknowingly transforming themselves from new recruit, into pliable student, to becoming the new recruiter – incidentally, at the bottom of their new ‘family’ food chain. Conversation with family and friends changed to discourse of how everyone is lost and confused, in danger of losing their soul, and ending up in hell.

Then the hook in their mouth is pulled tight. They are now required to not only attend all group functions, but participate in the solicitation of new members in more than their spare time – almost all their time is spent in recruitment. Their own family slowly becomes a dim memory. One was required to become a, “Street Preacher”, in hopes of recruitment of those truly lost on the streets. This in most rational opinions was dangerous and unwelcome street level evangelism.

Most of them dropped out about a year later and went back to reclaim their old religion and reclaim their lost life and now distant and distrustful distant family. One true believer stayed away for many years, always sacrificing more and more of his personal time, work time, and quality of life to promote and recruit new members, because “Church” peer pressure expected this of him.

He was punched on a few occasions while door to door preaching, but it was all in the name of the “truth”. This doesn’t include the times he was yelled at, sworn at, or otherwise demeaned. When he finally had enough and tried to slow down, he was Shunned and Ignored by his Church Group. This was an emotionally devastating time for him. His support system had been pulled out from under him, leaving him in a void. His “Church” was all he had. He lost his job of course as a Church Group Member was his boss.

He had distanced himself from friends and family for years, and was now ignored by his Church Group. He had no one to turn to. He had no current friends. He did not feel he could contact anyone and ask for help as he felt he burned his bridges with family and friends.

In the end he left his home without notice and quietly moved to a new City, hoping his church group would never locate him. After some months, he was located, after distancing himself from this group’s peer pressure, and barely disguised harassment by those who wanted him back in the fold. He was a valuable resource to them. They wanted him back.

These are some of the traits of Religious Predators who will be approaching you soon – if they have not already. In no particular order:

1. Have a pleasing personality

2. Make you feel special

3. Express a sense of urgency for your salvation

4. Are convinced the world is about to end

5. Propose to have the correct belief system

6. Urge you to share their beliefs and point of view

7. Feign being “offended”, that ‘some’ people they contact act rudely towards them

8. Schedule time to have ‘religious conversation’ with you

9. Share “real”, knowledge with you

10. Bible referenced chapter and verse to support their story

11. Bible chapter and verse re-enforcement of what you are being taught

12. Subtle suggested psychological restraints on your current belief system or religion

13. Claim to be a “Religion”, and not a “Cult”

I think 13 is the correct number to stop at. I hope the number 13 makes you think. These Groups are mainly comprised of Religious Predators. Preying on People who they think of as ‘lost’, or perceive to be lonely or vulnerable. They will try to slowly integrate themselves into your life, drawing you away from your life, slowly turning reforming your beliefs into their beliefs.

Conditioned to Food

This is not something I am happy to write about, but it is an important topic: Bias by Long Term Saturation. Bias by Saturation is in the same category as hate. The unique thing about Bias Saturation is you and I are not even aware that we are being biased against something as a result of external influences. You and I do not know we have this bias that almost reaches levels of irrationality, because of outside influences over our lifetime change our acceptance irrational bias against something.

I was first aware of this when I was joined the military. Up until those weeks of basic training, the particular week of learning about racial bias, or whatever the current phrase is for it, I was not aware I had any racial bias. As I was forced to listen to these lectures, films, and readings on racism, I would have said I was not in the smallest part of me racially biased even though the Instructors said we all were biased. I did no believe them.

Yet, here I was sitting in these classes becoming angry about the material presented. I had to explore why I was angry. The reason I was angry surprised me. I was not angry over the facts, figures, and explanations of racial bias, I was angry that I was being forced to listen, and assimilate it into my being. Up until this moment, I thought I had equal feelings towards everyone. My emotions over this training suggested maybe I did not.

Throughout my life from the time I was old enough to decide who I was, I made a conscious decision to treat everyone equally. I thought I was immune to racism in all its forms that bombarded my life. Most of the people I knew were like me, and when I thought about other peoples around the earth, I thought I felt the same way about them too. I had to accept the possibility that maybe it was easier to be accepting from a distance, and not face to face.

At any rate, I got through it, and understood my shortcomings, and my strengths on bias’. Until recently I never gave it much thought. Until I started reading about Vegetarianism, Green Smoothies, and Raw Diets. For no obvious reason to me, I disliked those words. In fact I disliked them strongly. Vegetables by themselves were okay. I thought I was eating a lot of them as I usually eat fruit every day, and vegetables as often as they were around.

These words troubled me though: Vegetarian, Green Smoothie, Raw Diet. They were trigger words to me, bringing out emotions that did not belong to the words themselves. When I would think about them I could feel a sneer cross my face and an imaginary distaste in my mouth. I really had to think about this and why it was happening.

I have watched those eat anything television shows from around the world. People eating things most of us would not even touch, let alone taste. They did not bother me when I watched them eating those things. After all it is only odd and somewhat disagreeable food to us. Wherever they were filming, people ate those foods daily. They did not find food vendors who made food they couldn’t sell. So what was it about these other words that created such a response in me? I mean really, Vegetarian, Green Smoothie, Raw Food Diet?

I thought about everything I thought I knew about nutrition. Phrases such as: “Beef, its what’s for dinner.” “Milk, it makes a body strong.” “Where’s the beef?”, Pork, the other white meat, so on and so forth, one phrase after another flowed through my thoughts. The food pyramid was composed of a large block for meat, a large block for milk, and a few smaller blocks for fish other things. I was told in school as a kid we ate meat because we could not survive on vegetables alone.

As a kid, I asked about people in Asia who lived on a mostly vegetable diet. I was told, they eat fish and seafood. They were smaller and weaker than we Americans because their diet was so poor. I did not know there were people who only ate vegetables. That is how it has been ever since. Milk, beef, pork, chicken, and repeat. Every month or so, a different commercial about the same foods would be on television. Vegetables must be bad, that is the real message as vegetables are never mentioned. Even a famous fast food place had to back down and remove one of their commercials about someone bringing a vegetable tray to a party. What a message that was! The only people who eat vegetables are odd people, not normal people who eat, beef, pork, and chicken. Occasionally fish if it is fried and between slices of bread.

Now that I am drinking a Green Smoothie almost every day and have a better understanding of what foods I need to eat to be healthy, rather than what foods commercials think I should eat, I appreciate the power of long term biased commercials in the media.

The lonely vegetable. I also have greater appreciation for Vegetarians, and Raw Diets. I doubt I will ever end up eating as one, but I have accepted them into the fold of people like me. I do have anew appreciation for vegetables, now that I have done a little homework on the subject, after setting my bias aside.