When I left Christianity at 12 years old, I never looked back. Since I have been witnessed to more times than I can count. It is extremely unlike that I will switch camps at 54 years old. The following is based on the mistakes that people have made while trying to witness to me during that time.
The problem with being witnessed to, is I am seen as a soul to save rather who I am as a person. I am being objectified. It’s a real turn off. Why would I want to be like the person who is making me feel this way? Treat me like the human being that I am not a pet project.
Don’t presume to know what my issues and concerns are. I am an individual. Again don’t objectify me into a generic sinner.
Don’t twist my comments for the sake of manipulating me. I will respect you by taking what you say at face value and ask you to do the same for me.
If you recite a canned speech, my eyes will glaze over. Let me see the human being that you are.
Do not take a position of superiority. I will sense it and be turned off. I find humility much more impressive. After all, it is a spiritual quality.
Don’t try to poke holes in science. I am a trained engineer. If you don’t have a similar background, you can’t win and will just look silly. Telling me that science is wrong will just lose me and frustrate both of us. If your sect doesn’t respect science, I will never respect your sect, so don’t bother.
Citing chapter and verse may sound good to a believer, but it means nothing to me. Since I am not a believer, Bible verses will not touch me. Arguments based on scripture will be circular reasoning. You can’t prove the truth of something by using the very thing you are trying to prove the truth of.
Saying I should believe it because it’s the Truth won’t convince me. You are just another in a long in a long line of people who know the Truth.
Appeal to my reason. Appeal to my experience. Even to my emotions. But if you really want to witness to me, be quiet and let your actions do the talking. Actions speak louder than words. Set a good example. It is more compelling than any argument.
©2016 Stephen L. Martin
Photo: VCU Proselytizing by Gamma Man (labelled for non-commercial reuse)