Did I overreact?

A question from Berkley H

This past weekend I was relaxing on my lawn (NOT really all that visible from the road), mostly dozing off (as one might do on a weekend in nice weather), when I was awakened by an "evangelical Christian" who had decided that I should be preached to on the subject of saving my soul.

Now, I have chased these idiots off in the past with verbal abuse. You would think that they would have gotten the word by now, but apparently this one hadn't.

Being in a reclining position on a chaise, I reached up my hand as if requesting assistance in sitting up. The god-shouter reached for my hand with his fingers spread wide. Instead of grasping his hand in mine, or grasping his wrist, as he apparently expected, I grabbed his middle finger (it was his right hand -- the left was holding "The Good Book" and a bunch of Chick comics) and bent it sharply back. I think I dislocated it. At any rate, it caused him great pain, apparently, because he yelled very loudly. I released his finger and got to my feet, at which point he turned and ran to his car and sped off. He left some of the comix strewn across my lawn.

His noise roused my wife, who had been napping inside. She wanted to know what had happened. I explained, and she berated me for "over-reacting" to his approach.

My question is this: is my wife correct? Did I in fact over-react?

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Anonymous said...

Actually, u under reacted...you should have had him arrested for trespassing

Anonymous said...

Did you get the chick tracts? They're really great reading for an exian. I have a collection of the current ones and am always on the lookout for the outof print ones.

Anonymous said...

it is better to break one finger off than to cast your whole body into church to burn for all eternity........of course the guy who owns the finger may disagree, but im praying for him.

Joe B said...

You sent him back to the church with a great persecution story. For surely the World's violent reaction to "the offense of the cross" proves to him that he's right.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a wet blanket; I can't stand evangelizers either but I don't think there's any good reason to physically hurt another human being except in self defense against bodily harm. Simply being annoyed is not good enough.

Anonymous said...

No, you did not overreact. The evangelical message is insulting and demeaning, and proceeds to humiliating. The message of the jewzoo is "get on your knees, forget your mind and your manhood, and follow me." You are reduced to follower status; you have no right to your own life or your own thoughts; you can't think to begin with.

thackerie, perhaps your experiences in the churches has been unlike mine. I can assure you that fundamentalism is a lot worse than merely "annoying".

Anonymous said...

I think sarcasm/satire is much a much better tool than any sort of physical approach. I would have cut him off and immediately began extolling the virtues of Pastafarianism, speaking like a Pirate, or course. The idea of Pastafarian heaven, eternal Stripper Factories and Beer Volcanoes, might have swung him to our side. ARRRRRRRRRRRR

Anonymous said...

You did rather go overboard... However you reaction is understandable given that he did disturb your rest.
These rude and obnoxious evangelicals do need to be confronted about their unacceptable behaviour.

But breaking his finger wont teach him a lesson. All it will do is reinforce his delusions of persecution and rightiousness.

You can expect a lot of garbage strewn on your lawn, and other nasty acts of christian psudo violence.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no. A "Get the hell off my property" would have sufficed. Instead, you've brought yourself down to their level of accepting "its ok to harm others because, well, I know better than you".

Yah, its frustrating when you have to deal with these guys, and I admit to mental fantasies of just slugging some of these self-righteous hypocrites, but all you've done is opened yourself up to being taken to court or arrested for violence.

It only gives them public sympathy and their message no longer matters and your message no longer matters and it just becomes an issue of one thug assaulting someone.

Anonymous said...

I'd say you over-reacted. You've just committed the crime of battery and this guy is going to think he took one for the team, all for the glory of his god. Plus, you have given him pretty good ammo to use against non-believers and their actions. You didn't prove anything more than you are an asshole who has to resort to violence because you obviously don't seem mature enough to use your words. And he will probably go back and tell all his friends so they can come out and get wounded for Jebus as well. Or you might get a crazy one who goes back home to grab his ''gun of the spirit'' and come back and teach you a lesson. If you aren't to intellectually lazy, you can do like Kazim did here with some Jehovah Witnesses (http://kazimskorner.blogspot.com/2007/05/my-first-jehovahs-witnesses.html)

If you really want to do some damage you gotta dig deep. Physical pain comes and goes, but the emotional scars you can inflict will last them a lifetime. Learn to use your words, man!

Anonymous said...

When did this happen? Did you get a visit from the police?

LOL @ forget you mind and manhood.

Has anyone heard the I.D song by Don Wise? Pehaps when these evangelicals are near your door, put this song on full volume. Altho the singing is proof of incompetent design (!), it is still a good vid.

eris.discordia said...

While I certainly understand your frustration, there are many other, less violent ways to handle such an intrusion.
I would have told him that I normally shoot trespassers but, since he is a Christian, I will let him off with a warning, because it is common knowledge that Christians are brainwashed morons who don't respect the law. I would have explained to him that his criminal act of Trespassing is understandable since Christians are incapable of respecting the rights and privacy of others and are unable to live peacefully among others because of the smug, self-righteous belief that they are superior to everyone else.
Then I would politely ask him to leave at once or I would be forced to have him arrested.

I used to be plagued with Jehova's Witnesses preaching at me at work. One day one of the managers approached me with the whole JW rap. I knew the guy made about $100,000 per year. So I asked him, "Isn't it against the law to talk to me about religion? I remember reading about some guy who sued his company and the guy who was preaching at him for millions of dollars, for religious harassment, or something. And he won!"
I had that guy so scared of me he almost wet himself! Took care of the problem for good, too! All of them shut the hell up when they were around me!

Anonymous said...

Legally you are subject to charges of assault and battery on the evangelical. Your reaching out as if requesting assistance constitutes an invitation for him to assist you. To then intentionally injure him when he reached for your hand precludes a plea of self-defense against the charges.

And you are foolish to publicly admit what you did.

Intentional physical harm to another is justified only in self-defense, to prevent physical harm to yourself or another. That is not my personal belief, it is a matter of law.

I would personally have informed him that he was trespassing, and to leave. You can't have someone arrested for trespass unless he then doesn't leave, but I'm almost certain he would have.

As the protagonist of "Road House" says, always be polite.

I have stopped several such people short with a comment to the effect that I don't believe in supernatural claptrap, or by asking them if they still believed in Santa Claus, too.

Anonymous said...

Go find that guy and apologize.

Apologize to your wife for making her wonder when it'll be her turn to be a victim of your self-righteous anger.

That you have to ask, after deliberation, whether what you did was wrong should trouble you and everyone around you.

Time to grow a little, buddy.

If I were you, I'd ask to have your post deleted. You just confessed to a crime.

Anonymous said...

Dude, not cool. Someone coming up to a person in their yard and interrupting their rest is obnoxious, but so is causing bodily harm. A better course of action would probably have been to tell him to leave your property or you'd call the police for trespassing. Then, to ask him if Jesus would approve of him doing that. Trespassing on other people's property, that is.

SEO said...

It doesn’t take much for the believer to view the non-believer as Satan’s paramour sent to spread doubt, discontent, abortions, evolution inspired mayhem, and hedonism.

There is a time and place for a smack down. I’m a cruel as the next person who occasionally enjoys watching a beaten Christian cry. But to fight for the mainstream legitimacy of Atheism (non-belief), it requires strong, calm rhetoric.

We have words, reason, and the universe on our side. We just have to use them.

Jim Arvo said...

Maybe this is a bit perverse, but I actually enjoy talking to walk-up evangelists. I sometimes invite them in and engage them for hours. These days I have a stash of articles at the ready so I can send them home with something to read. A favorite of mine is "Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story" by Richard Carrier. A generic list of Biblical contradictions, absurdities, and atrocities is a good idea too. It's also fun to have a list of grisly Bible verses to sit down and read with them; in fact, have THEM read the verses to you. Chances are good they have no idea how much ghastly stuff is in the very book they clutch.

But I always try to listen carefully to what they say, and paraphrase their "arguments" back to them to show that I understand (and to check that I actually do). I try to ask them lots of questions, often from the point of view of other religions. They frequently respond with "Oh, are you a Muslim?" or "Are you a Buddhist?" I always answer very directly, saying "No, but I've studied many religions. Haven't you?" (Invariably they have not.)

I welcome their reading material, or reading "assignments" (usually from the Bible). I always tell them that I will read their material and seriously consider what they have to say on ONE condition: That they RETURN THE FAVOR. They must seriously consider what I have to say, and read what I suggest. If they casually dismiss me, I will casually dismiss them. If nothing else, that seems to engage them for a while. I invite them to come back after they have completed my reading assignment. As yet, nobody has taken me up on that.

I can't honestly say whether I've gotten through to any of them, but I'm always hopeful. Sometimes all it takes is the knowledge that there are other points of view, and that it's okay to contemplate them.

One thing I have not tried is to engage them individually (as they usually proselytize in pairs). I think it would actually be easier to deprogram them one-on-one, as they would not have their personal "support group" to assuage their doubts and shortcomings. However, this is actually a bit too aggressive for my taste. I think it's perfectly fair and ethical, however, to match their tactics and rhetoric directly, as they are the ones coming to my door in the first place.

Bill B said...

Jim Arvo,

Great minds think alike. I will invite those door knockers in each and every time. I can't think of a more fun way to kill some time. I had a ball with a couple of those Mormon kids on a fine Saturday morning in June. I invited them in and we chatted until they couldn't take any more of me. With me it's like, "Go ahead make my day." I love door knockers.


Bloviator said...

Hate to continue raining on your parade, but that reaction was out of line. First, you did actually commit battery on that person. As previously stated, the most you should have done was ask him to leave your property. But even that assumes it is your property and not that of a landlord. I'd be prepared to get an attorney if you are not sure if the guy is local and will come back around to sue. This web posting can also be used as admissible evidence in some states. Keep your fingers crossed and hope the guy doesn't realize what he can do if he so chooses.

I once called someone out who wouldn't stop talking to a college roommate of mine (the guy was a Moonie), and I was lucky I did it 30 years ago and not today. Laws in general are much tougher on matters of assault and battery than they used to be.

Aspentroll said...

Maybe he'll just try and pray you away for what you did to him. You should have completed the job and stomped the shit out of him. If he's successful with that, prepare for hell, boy. Just pick up some wieners and buns, Lava Lake is rather nice at this time of the year.

Anonymous said...

You definitely went over the line and committed battery and have hurt us as a group.

To Jim Arvo: I don't have the exact quote, but Dave Barry once said something to the effect that people who knock on your door to tell you about their religion have no interest in hearing about yours.

eel_shepherd said...

Another way to handle the next guy who comes a-(not-)knocking is to say, "I forgive you your trespassing, `cause I'm a Moonie and we always turn the other cheek."

Then moon the guy.

Steven Bently said...

Should you have to go to court on this, (which I doubt you do), tell
them you were just following their good books advice. "If thy right hand offend thee, then cut the damned thing off!"

It would be hard for him to proove you did that to him intentionally without using this post, in which I'm sure he's an avid reader of ex-tian sites.

Don't worry about it, most xtians stay way clear of sites like this one. Most of them don't even own a or can operate a computer, you know...the devils soul snatching workshop.

Anonymous said...

Why i'd have sent the fellow on his way with an african throwing-iron lodged up his jacksie, what what!

RubyHypatia said...

We have no right to cause injury to someone mearly because they are annoying us. Imagine all the broken fingers there would be if we all followed your fine example. Should non-believers be known for physical and verbal aggression? I hope not. I'd like us all to be thought of as kind and respectful. Sorry if I hurt your feelings.

You might consider getting a no tresspassing sign.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a violent man, but I do have a temper...and one of the best times to see that temper in action is to wake me up unnecessarily while I'm sleeping. Some days I get annoyed when I wake up and see my wife ;) so I can't imagine the horror of being awoken by a babbling evangelical. I sympathize.

If I could fault you at all, I'd say you went about it in a sneaky way. Crush his fingers in a handshake, but not when apparently asking to be helped up. Double shame if you are an older man, where it would look like you NEEDED the help to rise.

Having said that, people need to realize there's consequences for their actions. If you are going to walk onto another's property UNSOLICITED you need to realize that there are some people out there who will not welcome you, and who, in fact, may quite VIGOROUSLY ask you to leave.

I realize that what I'm about to say is reactionary and a bit antiquated, but it shouldn't be such a crime to kick some @$$ every now and then.

Jim Arvo said...

To Dave (not the WM): I think Dave Barry is absolutely right. The door-to-door proselytizers definitely are NOT interested in hearing about anybody else's religion. They live to spread THEIR way of thinking only. Hence, it takes some chicanery to get past their insular thinking (if it's possible at all, that is). That's why I make listening to me a prerequisite for listening to them. It takes a brazenly unreasonable person to refuse that deal. Of course, they never *really* listen, as far as I can tell. I think next time I'm going to also insist that they paraphrase what I say to prove that they are listening and comprehending. Naturally, I will happily do the same for them--in fact, that is my habit anyway, so I would be conceding nothing.

Getting back to the original post, I'm afraid I must agree with many of the comments here: inflicting physical pain, if not injury, on the proselytizer is not justified--that is, not as a first warning. If he had failed to leave upon your firm request, or threatened you in any way, then yes. But absent that, absolutely no. Next time have a list of grisly Bible quotes to hand him. I'll wager that it's far more effective, and perfectly safe from a legal perspective.

twincats said...

Although I can’t be bothered with these people personally, I love Jim Arvo’s method and my appreciation and thanks go out to anyone who uses it.

In addition to everything Jim said, it takes the evangelizers off the street for a period of time and keeps them from racking up bigger numbers of new converts!

I also agree with many here that sending these nuisances home with injuries is not the way to go. It leaves you open to prosecution and lawsuits and reinforces the idea that atheists/agnostics/non-xtians are evil and lacking morals.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but yes, you overreacted. There's no call to physically hurt anyone.

BTW, I'm as hardcore an atheist as anyone.

Celera said...

Well, yes, you over-reacted a bit. I think you wouldn't be posting this story here if you didn't really sort of know that already.

I don't think you need to delete your post and get a new identity to avoid the law or anything. I can't imagine a police department with so little to do that they would actually bother pursuing this matter.

I admire Jim Arvo's patience with proseletyzers who come to the door. I usually just ignore them, or else my two German Shepherds scare them off. (The dogs wouldn't hurt a fly, but that's not completely obvious to a stranger. :) I think I long ago gave up the idea that anyone was going to change their thinking because of anything I said to them, but it's a noble effort, anyway.

Anonymous said...

One more vote for humor being the best solution. “Columbo” them, seeming to be a confused helpless person needing the assistance of their keen intellect.
“Gee I’m so glad you’re here because this atheist at the office has me so confused and I really need your expertise. See this atheist guy at the office said I should look at two websites and I did and now I’m just so confused. Can you look this godisimaginary.com site with me and this exchristian.net and help me figure it out? “

Then you take him to your computer and play dumb and click on the “Proving that Bible is Repulsive” video clip on godisimaginary.com and then over to exchristian.net, all the while asking for his superior guidance to help your simple mind. Then accidentally click on your favorite porno site with the 2 cheerleaders, apologize and get back asking for his understanding of more clips on godisimaginary.com . Thank him/her and add whatever else you think my be fun or embarrassing and send them on their way. And say “ Hey but really dude, before you go, bunnyteens.com really does have some pretty hot free stuff if you ever need it , Know what I mean wink wink nudge nudge”
Then send them off.
You will have had a great story to tell your friends and maybe have helped the missionary start thinking.

But by doing violence to a non violent person, you basically became like Moses, you sowed violence under the assumption that someone that doesn’t think like you do must be harmed. (I only recently discovered what a truly repulsive brutal crime boss Moses was by watching the videos on godisimaginary.com and following the suggestion of someone who demanded that I actually read Moses’ story word for word) .
You came off more biblical than thoughtful, making anyone who you dislike worthy of violence. Perhaps you could start your own desert religion. But instead of slaying and raping your neighbors just pimp slap them a bit and break their fingers.

The voice of Humanity said...

I completely understand your reaction, but im sure no christian would.

I'll just say that no matter what we must lead by example.

My uncle once told me that when "God" lifts his spirit from this world we will see the true nature of man and it will be soooo bad blah blah. This sort of thing (when done by an athiest) is fuel for the fire (pun or no?).

I secretly wish you would have broken it clean off lol...be careful.


PS these verification words are getting long aren't they? And why are they so hard to read for me sometimes.....GEEEEZZZZZ

Anonymous said...

hey ex..

be careful out there. I picked up a virus at bunnyteens.com. bam! bam ! went my mcafee pop up bam! bam! pretty girls though

Anonymous said...

yes, you overreacted. I hope none of you who think otherwise live on my street.

Anonymous said...

I ask them to come inside and talk when everyone sits down i start a porn tape

Anonymous said...

Hey Berkley,

I'm a Christian but I get annoyed by door-to-door guys too. I lost my temper once when I was an athiest, and even now I don't like having someone try to convince me that I'm following the wrong 'branch' of Christianity.

I think you went overboard, but I'm biased. I don't like dealing with these guys either, but deep down they're only doing this kinda thing because they really do think they're doing good. Some of them won't take a hint and leave when you tell them to plainly, but it doesn't sound like this was the case here.

Good luck patching things up with this guy if you see him again.

Anonymous said...

You were wrong to hurt the man. You should have simply told him to leave. I think violent responses to mere annoyances show a need for some serious introspection.

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