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.

Art of Saying Hello

One of the most overwhelming psychological problems facing homeless people is isolation. Think of yourself as homeless for a moment. You have no family that wants you around, no home, no address. You spend today day trying to make it to tomorrow.

Most people do not want to talk to you, they give you some change to make you go away. People fear you, people make you invisible. No one gives a crap if you are around tomorrow or not. Now imagine that is your life, and you are walking down the street, and you say hello to a passing stranger in an attempt to reach out and make a connection, however small. You may as well have said hello to a tree.

If you were alive in 1614, saying hello would not be an issue. You would seldom venture more than a short walk from your home, especially alone. You would be born, grow old, and die with people who live close to you. Once you walked more than a short way from your house, you were a stranger, either someone to leave alone, someone to rob, or worse.

Because you are alive in 2014, quite a bit has changed. You are safer now than in any time in history. You do not have to worry about war and plunder arriving in your neighborhood. You can walk down the street without being robbed. You can drive across town or across country without fear of being raped, robbed, murdered, or captured for slavery. Sure it happens, but let’s be real for a minute, it is not something likely to happen to you. There are easier targets for those people who prey on others.

We now know the bogyman is a fable. Dirty old men are very hard to find. Your neighbor or the person walking towards you is probably not a psychopath concealing a bloody knife they are about to use on you.

Don’t be afraid to say hello to a passing stranger, homeless person, adult or child you do not know. You never know how much one word may mean to another. Saying hello costs nothing, and has the ability to change both your worlds. Unfortunately in extremely rare instances, your saying hello may be the last word you ever say to another human being, or the last word they ever hear.

No longer do you need to be frightened of strangers. All fear does is lead to isolation and loneliness. The greatest love stories, the strongest relationships, and the greatest people you have ever met or read about practice the art of saying hello.

Saying, “Hello” is more than good manners. When you say hello, you acknowledge the other persons existence and worthiness. You let them know they are alive and they are somebody. You may be the only person the other person will see today, and you connected with them in a small insignificant way.

Plugged in and Isolated


Pluggedin
Plugged in and isolated

I see fewer young people who are totally plugged in and alone. Those I do see have Facebook, twitter, and other social media programs on their laptop screens. Their smart phones listing unimportant unread text messages as they listen to music. They Facebook while talking to someone on their phone. And these people look miserable. Thankfully, we are getting smarter about what makes us happy, and too much electronics is not it.

We are both physical and social animals

We are social creatures, but we are also physical creatures. We need to be looked at by the person we are talking to. We need some type of physical contact with the person we are talking too. A touch on the shoulder, a punch on the arm, a handshake when meeting or leaving. Sight and touch during conversation is almost as important as the actual conversation we are having.

One way crafted conversations

One way, loud one way conversations are really annoying. I appreciate the person who is holding a phone conversation through their bluetooth receiver. You can hear them mumble, but it is so quiet, I at least really have no clue what the conversation is about.

Distracting noise makers

On the other hand there are they skypers, the face time crowd, and other electronic conversation makers. They are loud, and annoying. Occasionally, I feel I want to join their conversation which they are freely sharing with the whole room.

Adding to feelings of loneliness and separation

Some of these conversations going on in coffee shops are genuine important exchanges of information. For many, electronic conversations are attempts to thwart feeling lonely. These people should shut off their toys, and talk to the person sitting a table away who is also trying to stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation. They both would find chatting face to face more rewarding and satisfying.

Present in the conversation

Think of how much better it is to actually sit across from someone, speak to them, be able to watch their body language, their facial expressions, and hear the nuance in their voice. Much better than sending out and receiving carefully crafted blurbs of text, or short, cutesy one liners with no real meaning attached to their text messages. Text with no real meaning is not only not being present, it is wasted time and space.

Reversing social behaviors

In my microcosm view of the the world as seen in a coffee shop, our social behavior is again changing. We completed the experiment of being wrapped in electronics, and most of us are now going back to our warmer more physical world of people.

We prefer to sit with the people we talk with. We want to hold a book in our hands. We want to share. We want to return to our roots, and be real people, not actors. We are moving away from the world of the cyborg, sitting alone, surrounded by electronics, never touched, never touching.

Make more friends

A behavior which I picked up on came from a bit of trivia from a behavioral study. Young people have about 20% less friends than their parents did at the same age. I used to see groups of people standing in a circle, texting people who are somewhere else. Standing alone in a crowd texting someone else who is also probably alone in a crowd. Having a few physical friends are more rewarding than one hundred electronic friends.

What about personal electronics

The question now is what should our electronics to do for us? How do we mix living in a world of physical sensations – sight, touch, and smell, what do our electronics need to do to complete the picture. I wish I knew, I would be the next billionaire.