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.