Why do I dislike evangelism so much? Regular visitors to Atheist Geek News have surely figured out by now that I don’t suffer evangelists well. Especially aggressive evangelists. I have written about some of the mistakes that evangelists (especially Jehovah’s Witnesses) have made when trying to convert me in the past. But it isn’t just the behavior of evangelists that I take issue with. It’s also about the motives that Christian evangelism promotes in those who preach it to others.
Motives are an area that I usually avoid, especially since it’s all too easy to impose negative motives to a group you don’t like or whose actions you don’t like. So before someone says it, I’m not claiming that I can read minds. I admit that I could be 100% wrong. I acknowledge that people are complex individuals who don’t always fully understand their own motives, let alone those of others. So it isn’t fair to simply assert that I know – beyond all doubt – what’s going in the minds of another individual. I’ve had far too many religious people pretend that they know my motives for becoming an atheist, or an ex-Witness, to throw that one at you.
But, as a former Jehovah’s Witness turned atheist, I’ve been on the inside and the outside of Christian evangelism. My world view has been challenged over the years by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals, Baptists, Mormons, and Gideons. Not to mention others on the internet. So while I don’t claim to have magical powers, I do think that I’m well informed on the topic and that my conclusions are reasonable. As we shall see, I also think that the bad behavior so often exhibited by evangelists is very telling.