Friendship Evangelism Target
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06-01-2014, 02:59 PM
Friendship Evangelism Target
I'm new. I'm an atheist. I was raised by an atheist and an agnostic. I tried Christianity for a while, but... I'm atheist still and have been since 2000. My neighbor Jess, who I have known for 18 years, found out I'm an atheist. Now, Jess has targeted me for friendship evangelism.

Suddenly Jess is being super friendly to me. She calls me and texts me and wants to be my dear friend. It would be nice if there wasn't an agenda behind it, but there is. She's being friendly to me so I will come with her to church and get saved.

I know all about friendship evangelism because back when I was a Christian I went to a church that had seminars about it all the time. Make a friend, form a relationship, tell them about Jesus... It sounded phony when I was a Christian and supposed to befriend non-believers to save them. It really feels phony now.

If you want to be my friend, just be my friend. Friends accept one another as is and don't try to change them into something they are not.

I've said, "I'm glad you're a Christian, and that works for you. But, I'm not interested in becoming one, too."

This is responded to with a wink and, "Yet!" Followed by more super duper friendly behavior. Look how nice I am. I'm nice because I have Jesus in my life. If you want to be nice like me, come with me to my church and switch off the parts of your brain that think.

Has anyone else dealt with this? I feel lonely and frustrated.

No matter what Jess says, I am, and will remain....

Atheiststill
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06-01-2014, 03:06 PM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
I've been that stubborn friend in the past.

Have you told her that you would be interested in a friendship with no hidden agenda?

You can also show her lectures of Calvinists who preach against friendship evangelism because it's too soft. Maybe she will change then.

“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” ― Richard Pryor
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07-01-2014, 12:00 PM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
(06-01-2014 02:59 PM)atheiststill Wrote:  I'm new. I'm an atheist. I was raised by an atheist and an agnostic. I tried Christianity for a while, but... I'm atheist still and have been since 2000. My neighbor Jess, who I have known for 18 years, found out I'm an atheist. Now, Jess has targeted me for friendship evangelism.

Suddenly Jess is being super friendly to me. She calls me and texts me and wants to be my dear friend. It would be nice if there wasn't an agenda behind it, but there is. She's being friendly to me so I will come with her to church and get saved.

I know all about friendship evangelism because back when I was a Christian I went to a church that had seminars about it all the time. Make a friend, form a relationship, tell them about Jesus... It sounded phony when I was a Christian and supposed to befriend non-believers to save them. It really feels phony now.

If you want to be my friend, just be my friend. Friends accept one another as is and don't try to change them into something they are not.

I've said, "I'm glad you're a Christian, and that works for you. But, I'm not interested in becoming one, too."

This is responded to with a wink and, "Yet!" Followed by more super duper friendly behavior. Look how nice I am. I'm nice because I have Jesus in my life. If you want to be nice like me, come with me to my church and switch off the parts of your brain that think.

Has anyone else dealt with this? I feel lonely and frustrated.

No matter what Jess says, I am, and will remain....

Atheiststill

Tell her simply, I love our friendship, but I will not be disgusing my atheism or religion with you. Don't accuse her of friendship evangelism. If she winks and says "yet", tell her you don't find the humor in that. That you already were Christian, and therefore will not return.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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07-01-2014, 12:17 PM (This post was last modified: 07-01-2014 12:35 PM by Bows and Arrows.)
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
I would be tempted to say something like….

Do you want me to STOP being friends with you just because you are Christian?

she will say no (most likely)

Then STOP trying to be my friend just because I'm an atheist.


I think you have to be firm and direct with her. And when she makes remarks like the 'yet' comment above don't let it slide. Deal with it upfront and in the moment. Its passive aggressiveness and taking advantage of you. Basically, she's saying she really doesn't give a shit about your thoughts.

So you can do nothing and let things continue-- and you remain miserable with this friend. Or you can do something about it…….avoid her, confront her, join her church.

If you choose to confront her- she will either drop the agenda (er…probably just move it to the back burner for a bit) and be a friend, or she will continue with her agenda. Or she will 'get it' and just drop the agenda all together.

the odds don't look too good for her 'getting it' IMO. sorry.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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07-01-2014, 08:54 PM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
I agree with others. You have to be direct, and be direct soon before the friendship develops on the foundation of this end goal instead of a foundation of mutual friendship and trust. Something along the lines of, "I am glad we have been texting/ talking more and are becoming good friends. As we are friends I just want to mention that I am aware of Christians wanting to save people and I am hoping that this is not the goal or point to our friendship, I hope I am accepted for who I am and how I think just like I accept you, too." That's probably how I'd do it (and have).

Good luck!
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07-01-2014, 11:54 PM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
I can't help but wonder if this is an opportunity for a more indirect method.

1. You could mirror her behavior exactly using Atheism as a context for your relationship. Maybe it will simultaneously put her off enough to leave you alone, while also illustrating how patronizing her behavior is. It could turn out to be a fun way to make your point.

2. Since she has already shown that she will persevere regardless of your desire to be "saved" you could be conveniently unavailable whenever she tries to engage in religious conversation or false friendship.

3. Another strategy could be to stop her cold every single time she tries to speak in religious terms. Essentially stop her "sales pitch" whenever it begins with a good old fashioned boundary. "Look, I already told you. I am NOT interested in becoming a Christian. If you can't respect that enough to stop talking to me about it than maybe we shouldn't be friends." Wham. Boundary thrown up.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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08-01-2014, 12:14 AM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
I just recently ended a series of debates with a theist family member. Even though we agreed to stop debating, she still occasionally sends me an email asking me my stance on certain things and inserts the "evidence" she's unveiled for whatever topic it is she's asking me about at the time. I have surmised she is either still trying to "save" me or she is practicing with me so she will be better equipped to save/debate others.

Why not just tell her what turned you to atheism and tell her you have no interest in returning? A real friend would leave it alone and respect your wishes.

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08-01-2014, 01:00 AM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
(08-01-2014 12:14 AM)WillHopp Wrote:  I just recently ended a series of debates with a theist family member. Even though we agreed to stop debating, she still occasionally sends me an email asking me my stance on certain things and inserts the "evidence" she's unveiled for whatever topic it is she's asking me about at the time. I have surmised she is either still trying to "save" me or she is practicing with me so she will be better equipped to save/debate others.

Why not just tell her what turned you to atheism and tell her you have no interest in returning? A real friend would leave it alone and respect your wishes.

Could your friend be exploring and just really wondering?
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08-01-2014, 06:05 AM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
(07-01-2014 11:54 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I can't help but wonder if this is an opportunity for a more indirect method.

1. You could mirror her behavior exactly using Atheism as a context for your relationship. Maybe it will simultaneously put her off enough to leave you alone, while also illustrating how patronizing her behavior is. It could turn out to be a fun way to make your point.

2. Since she has already shown that she will persevere regardless of your desire to be "saved" you could be conveniently unavailable whenever she tries to engage in religious conversation or false friendship.

3. Another strategy could be to stop her cold every single time she tries to speak in religious terms. Essentially stop her "sales pitch" whenever it begins with a good old fashioned boundary. "Look, I already told you. I am NOT interested in becoming a Christian. If you can't respect that enough to stop talking to me about it than maybe we shouldn't be friends." Wham. Boundary thrown up.

I used number 1 with my Aunt. Who loved to point to a beautiful sunset and tell me God painted that picture.

Or talk about the miracle of life and how credible making a baby is. Finally I just tired of it. The next time I saw her, the news was on and it was the disaster in japan that killed some 200,000 people. I turned to her and said, yeah, god did that. I guess he can't always make sunsets and rainbows....need some diversity!

She stopped with the wonder of god comments when I gave her the other side of it. She talked about the miracle of life, I talked about pediatric bone cancer.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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08-01-2014, 09:01 AM
RE: Friendship Evangelism Target
(08-01-2014 01:00 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  Could your friend be exploring and just really wondering?

Nope, but I wish it were true. Smile

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