Christ whisperers…. Christ whisperers…. Just let that phrase sink in a moment…. Christ whisperers. It has a powerful ring to it, doesn’t it? I think so. That is why I am going to start a new training program for those who are struggling to tame the wild evangelicals among us.
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know I regularly run into evangelical Christians promoting their brand of Christianity. I love these people, and I’m fascinated by their faith and beliefs. And I want to return the favor of their fervor by freeing them from the fear-based religion that has ensnared them. But how?
Argument doesn’t work. Science doesn’t work. Reason doesn’t work. And, God knows, satire, sarcasm, and a smile that could melt the Great Wall of China doesn’t work either. What might? Christ whispering.
Fundamentalists of all types—Jewish, Christian, Muslim, humanist—are herd animals. They stay among those who believe as they do, venturing out only to recruit people to the herd. And when they do venture out they are a bit nervous. Suddenly they are bombarded by input that challenges their worldview. That’s why they come on so strong. They are afraid.
For example when someone tells me the earth is only 10,000 years old I have two choices. I can argue with them and insist that the earth is only 5771 years old (that is the Jewish view), or I can pick up a rock and show them something that is far older than 10,000 years. If I choose the former I am condemned to hell. If I hand them the latter they are apt to hurl it at my head. Neither option is helpful. Now there is a third: Christ whispering.
Put the proselytizing Christian at ease by inquiring more deeply into their faith. Don’t ask them why they believe as they do, but what benefit they find in it. How does their faith make them more loving, just, and kind? Ask them what they get from believing as they do. If they have had deeply moving faith experiences, ask them to share those with you. Take the position of a National Geographic reporter seeking to understand the natives of South Religioustan. Speak calmly. Softly. Whisper.
Whispering will draw them closer to you. A natural rapport will develop between you. They will relax, and respond positively to your welcoming tone and body language. Now subtly take out a pocket watch and swing it where it will catch their eye. As their eyes follow the watch back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, they will become a bit drowsy. As they begin to fall into a light trance suggest they read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Help them notice their eyes wanting to close. Invite them to close their eyes, and take a few moments to simply stand or sit comfortably. And when they do…run like hell!
If you would like to offer this training in your community, let me know. There is a small fee, and you will have to bring your own pocket watches.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
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I don't know about using a pocket watch (I might be inclined to swing it), but I like the idea of asking them questions about the benefit of their beliefs. "How does believing the earth is 10,000 years old give you comfort when a loved one is seriously ill or dies?"
Just one technical error: Not all evangelical Christians are fundamentalists. Your essay appears to conflate the two traditions when it moves from referencing evangelical christians in an opening paragraph to a discussion of fundamentalists in the rest of the article.
You pretty much had me on board with the empathy-induced trance until you talked about bringing up Richard Dawkins. A trick like that is strictly for the professional fundamentalist whisperer.
"Fundamentalists of all types—Jewish, Christian, Muslim, humanist—are herd animals. They stay among those who believe as they do, venturing out only to recruit people to the herd. And when they do venture out they are a bit nervous. Suddenly they are bombarded by input that challenges their worldview. That’s why they come on so strong. They are afraid."
I think you are on target with that statement, speaking as one who managed to step away from the conservative evangelical tribe. I also liked Steven Maimes' remarks - very true.
thank you for this great piece, Rami!
I love the sense of Christ whispering, Spirit whispering,Nature whispering. Thank you and good to see you Wednesday. This piece got my ATTENTION.
Thanks for the comments. Anovagrrl is right and I didn't mean to equate the two.
So thats why I read that book. LOL
Training? I would lead ten-hour seminars in this for free if I had the means. Every day.
I tell folks that I am a "Christian Pagan" because I have more universalist leanings than fundamentalist, and I find relative value in most religions, no matter how varied. Everything started somewhere. And I'm betting much of it started in our heads. I also tend to fall more on the passionate side than logical, but I have a feeling we'd get along swimmingly despite that. :)
But in my giving "Christian Pagan" as an identifier, I've noticed some odd reactions. The hard-and-fast fundies go away, leave me alone, and probably pray for me, and the spiritually-alternative folks are genuinely interested and pursue more meaningful conversation from that tidbit on. Guess which seem more productive and intriguing to talk to, then?
But this -- this?! -- "Take the position of a National Geographic reporter seeking to understand the natives of South Religioustan."
This is simply the best advice for a person seeking sincere interaction and enlightenment on any topic, I think. I don't care whether we're talking monotheistic arguments, football teams, or chili recipes.
Pure gold. I love it.
I Just discoveredf you through an interview on Hay House Radio. I love your blogs and would love for you to address Yoga, not the physical aspects that most are familiar with, but the 8 limbs as written by Patajali....
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