Have you ever been bothered by unwanted visitors at your door trying to sell you on their religion?

Probably the most familiar and persistent door-to-door proselytizers are “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” a sect seemingly historically obsessed with “doom and gloom.”

465-6n14jwledeembeddedprod_affiliate4.JPGWitnesses have an apparent fascination some might observe fixation with “The End,” as demonstrated by their repeated efforts to determine its date.

But after a few failed predictions they have conveniently decided that the end date for the world is actually “fluid.”

Witnesses still have an array of nifty handouts though like their preeminent “Watchtower,” which has depicted the eventual disaster that will consume the earth in graphic and horrific detail.

Who will be destroyed?

Well it seems, anyone that disagrees with their dogma.

According to a survey taken by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Jehovah’s Witnesses are the least tolerant and most closed minded religious group in the United States.

Witnesses ranked number one, with more than a 20 point lead over Mormons, as the religious group least likely to tolerate another point of view.

Only 16% of Witnesses responded positively when asked if it was possible that “many religions can lead to eternal life.”

Mormons came in second at 39 percent.

And only 18% of Witnesses could even imagine the possibility of any other way to interpret their teachings, other than the official explanation, as provided by their “Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.”

Mormons allowed for considerably more wiggle room, fully 43% responded that Mormon scriptures might be subject to interpretation.

This means that the most likely religious salesman to appear at your door, is the least likely to be tolerant of whatever religious beliefs you might express contrary to their own.

mormon_missionary21.jpgSo the next time Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormon missionaries knock on your door, maybe you shouldn’t allow them to play too easily upon your sense of tolerance and fairness.

Just tell them you read the Pew survey and that they didn’t come off too well in these categories.

And here are couple of helpful hints about how to handle such unwanted proselytizing.

With Witnesses it’s always good to have a copy of the book “Crisis of Conscience” by Raymond Franz around.

Franz was once a member of the Witnesses’ revered “Governing Body,” which is its highest authority and his book divulges some embarrassing insider secrets about the process for determining dogma within the organization.

Turn down the corners on your favorite pages so that you can quickly find them to read to Witnesses wandering through your neighborhood. This is a virtual lock that they won’t linger long, at least not on your doorstep.

For Mormon missionaries keeping copies of letters nearby from the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic Society for easy reference concerning the “Book of Mormon” is a safe bet.

Tell the LDS lads that you will be happy to hear them out, but only after they can substantiate with objectively verifiable historical evidence that the peoples mentioned within their scriptures actually ever existed.

Needless to say both Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons may label such a response “narrow mindedness” or even call it “religious persecution,” but then you can bring up the Pew survey again.

After all, who came in last on those issues?

Note: The groups that reflected the most tolerance by the largest majorities allowing for another religious point of view are Hindus 89%, Buddhists 86%, Mainline churches 83%, Jews 82%, Catholics 79% and Orthodox Christians 72%.


only 1 comment untill now

  1. benitosuave @ 2008-07-12 02:23

    The question, “Do you believe that many religions can lead to eternal life?” is NOT a good measure of a person’s/religion’s tolerance.

    It is possible to disagree with someone and tolerate them.

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