Social Question

Akua's avatar

How to turn down an invitation to Church from a neighbor?

Asked by Akua (4628 points ) March 31st, 2012

Okay I will just get to the point. One of our new neighbors came to the house this evening to speak to my husband and introduce himself. I was not dressed and was reluctant to step outside or invite him in, but I did reach my hand out and shake his hand (I normally don’t shake peoples hands) so he didn’t think I was being unneighborly. He then asked if I was going to be home on Sunday (tomorrow) because he wanted to stop by and invite me to church and I said “yes, I’ll be home but I don’t attend church”. He totally ignored me and said that he was coming by tomorrow morning with his wife to invite me to church “Anyway”. He said he I “should meet Jesus”. WTF?!?! Why do Christians feel it necessary to shove their religion down other people’s throats? I am not a christian and I do not attend anyones church. I am a Pagan but I didn’t knock on his door and tell him that he should meet Chango so he needs to come to one of my meetings. I just think that it was very rude. What do you think? How should I make my position clear and still not offend him? He is my neighbor and I don’t want to burn any bridges. Also, I should mention that this man was the one that was caught peeping in our window by another neighbor some weeks ago.

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39 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

1. Not all Christians do that, so try not to make blanket statements, thank you.
2. Politely but firmly tell them you do not attend church or believe in organized religion.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

His behavior is rude. If you have any Pagan literature, you might display it prominently tomorrow or even offer it to him to read. That might get the point across.

Akua's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate It was not my intention to make a “Blanket” statement. Sorry if I offended you. I just meant that Christians seem to be the only religion I know that feel the need to spread their word. Muslims and Jew don’t knock on my door telling me I should read the Quran/Torah. Proselytism is what it is called. If I want to learn about Islam or Judaism etc. I have to go to them, they don’t necessarily knock on my door. I have already let him know I don’t attend church. That was in the question. If telling him that would have worked I wouldn’t have bothered asking my fellow fluthers.

Akua's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Now that’s a good idea. I thought he was rude also. I always respect other people’s beliefs.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Next time, say, “Thanks, but no thanks; I already have a place to worship”, then quickly change the subject. And then, if he keeps asking, pretend you don’t hear him and change the topic to something non-religious.

Cruiser's avatar

Just be up front and thank him for the invitation but inform him that your religious needs are well attended to.

Supacase's avatar

Tell him you don’t mix neighbors with religion. Really, assert to him that you won’t discuss this again but hope to enjoy an otherwise neighborly relationship.

Unclepepsi's avatar

Just be honest, polite and upfront.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just say “Thank you for thinking of me but I am not interested.” Period.
Repeat as often as necessary but no more than 3 time. After that you say good bye.

Ela's avatar

Smile, tell him no thanks and say by the way… I swore I saw someone peeping in my windows awhile ago… Have you ever had that happen? Bet he drops the subject : ) Honestly, if it’s true he was, I personally would care less if bridges were a little charred with this particular neighbor.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I would bring up the peeping incident if he’s so insistent. That will encourage him to keep his distance. This guy sounds creepy.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The reason some representatives of religious faiths call upon neighbors or others is to expose them to their beliefs. As @WillWorkForChocolate points out, this isn’t the case for all people of religion. Some members, however, take it on as a personal mission.

In your situation, it may be a case of being too polite in expressing your beliefs and desires. Most of these missionaries just want to know if there is a potential interest in hearing the message of their faith. They feel the need to pursue conversion.

Personally, I am open to listening to their message. Hearing the opinions of others allows the opportunity to educate myself on various religions. It has also provided a better understanding of people of differing opinions.

Another benefit to consider: We just might plant a seed of doubt into those that are tied to a certain faith by our questions and opinions. As someone brought up in a very Christian environment, it took experiencing the views of others to allow me to question this faith and find it faulty.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Akua It didn’t offend me, I simply dislike blanket statements. I get a lot of knocks on my door from Mormons and Jehova’s Witness people, but I just tell them “No thank you,” as soon as they mention who they are. And there’s no need to be snarky about what I said. I did actually read your details. I just meant for you to say the same thing again, when he and his wife show up. Sometimes repetition is necessary when trying to handle situations like that.

ragingloli's avatar

You could channel David Mitchell

Aster's avatar

How rude of him. “No, thank you!” clearly with a direct gaze should stop people like this. If they keep on anyway? They’re nut cases, imo.

flutherother's avatar

Though it was meant in a friendly way it is not a friendly action as it puts you in an awkward position particularly if you don’t subscribe to his religious views. Neighbours have to be tolerant of each other’s ways and learn to live and let live. I would just thank him and say you are not great churchgoers.

Akua's avatar

@EnchantingEla @dappled_leaves HAHAHA I thought about mentioning the peeping incident after he walked away. If he insists I will tell him that tomorrow. @Pied_Pfeffer I have no problem with religion and I have many friends/family/co-workers of many different faiths and we talk about religion and get along great. There have been many times that I have opened my doors to Jehovah Witness’ and when my girlfriend visits I have even been open to going to church with her to keep her company. My issue comes with his rudeness. He was not being polite and he totally ignored what I was saying. In fact he started walking away AS he said I should meet Jesus, so as not to give me a chance to reply and shut me down. When people ask me about my beliefs I tell them but I don’t just assume that my faith would be better for them. I have read the bible, torah/tanak and the quran. I’m not oblivious or ignorant about faith. I have heard it all and I’m not interested in converting. Even if I was interested in the words his behavior would have turned me off. It’s a matter of common respect.

filmfann's avatar

I am a Christian, and I hate pushy Christians. Some embarass me, some just make me angry.
I am sorry the messenger was a dick. Please don’t let that reflect on the message.
I will try to be polite to such people, but I am usually firm with them. Thank you for asking, but I have no interest in doing that now. If I am in a bad mood, I will critique their religion, and tell them their flying saucers dropping souls into volcanos are the stuff of poor science fiction, not Gods message, or perhaps quote scripture and point out the failings of their interpretation. I can be quite cruel.

Akua's avatar

@filmfann you have a healthy attitude about your belief and I thank you for that. I have been told by SOME christians that I’m a heathen and that I’m going to hell if I don’t accept Jesus. When I dispute their own bible and their interpretations they run off and say I’m disrespectful to them. I was trying to hold my tongue with this neighbor because of our close proximity but I may have to hurt his feelings if he continues. I will give him the benefit of the doubt tomorrow and again tell him kindly and firmly I do not attend church. If he doesn’t accept that I may have to get snippy and display my pentacle.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

My answer is: “No thank you. Please understand that for your family and mine to get along well as neighbours, any further initiation of discussion of religious beliefs by anyone in your household with anyone in my household will be viewed as intrusive and disrespectful behaviour.
I hope you will respect my wishes.”

Akua's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence well said. I’m going to memorize that and use it (if you don’t mind). Thanks.

Akua's avatar

@ragingloli HAHAH I just clicked on that link. Your crazy!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Akua I’m glad you find my answer helpful. Feel free to use it as is or in any way that suits you.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I would just thank him for the invitation, but tell him you have your own beliefs. Then change the subject and welcome him to the neighborhood. You won’t be burning any bridges that you don’t want burned. Might as well be polite, but confident in your position. Don’t give him control in the situation and then he won’t have it.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Akua “If he doesn’t accept that I may have to get snippy and display my pentacle.”

Hahahahaha, I love it!

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think someone inviting you to church is rude but you clearly said you were not interested and he obviously felt he had the right to force the issue by saying they would call around and invite you anyway.

I would be very direct if they turn up and say no, you will not be attending their church. I would be quite blunt (not rude) about it too. I don’t feel you have to explain your position either. You don’t have to explain your beliefs to anyone else.

Akua's avatar

Thank you @Bellatrix I concur. I shouldn’t have to explain a thing.

chyna's avatar

I absolutely love @EnchantingEla‘s answer.

TexasDude's avatar

1. Beat him to death with a hardback copy of The God Delusion
2. Take pictures of his corpse and upload them to r/atheism
3. Revel in all the sweet, sweet upvotes you earn

Or

Explain that he is a heretic because he clearly does not accept that God poured himself into the human vessel of Christ so he could thus kill himself and spill his emanent spirit upon the earth. Your neighbor should then realize that true Christians are a nihilistic, suicidal death cult who must accept the death of God and the abyss that follows.

Charles's avatar

Tell him you are open minded and not superstitious and therefore you don’t need to go to church in order for someone to teach you what to think.

I don’t respect others’ ridiculous beliefs.

TexasDude's avatar

@Charles, pro-tip: the asker is a pagan who worships Chang, who is the vodou god of thunder and fire, if I’m not mistaken.

Akua's avatar

Very good @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard. You are not mistaken in who Chango is. He is the equivalent of Zeus to the Greeks.

PurpleClouds's avatar

Don’t generalize that this is the behavior of Christians in general. If you are all grown up you should certainly be able to say that you are not now and will not in the future be interested in visiting his Church with him. It’s just not that hard!

FutureMemory's avatar

I would tell him that I don’t appreciate him peeping in my windows, and that I would prefer him to never talk to me or family again, ever.

Akua's avatar

@PurpleClouds Yes I am very grown up but I don’t always know the right way to say what’s on my mind. When I am approached (in a threatening manner) or feel I have been slighted, I tend to smile and clam up. This is most definately because of my upbringing. Thus for me it IS hard. Here on fluther I am always impressed by how eloquently and logically some of you handle problems and how well you express yourselves. I can express myself well on paper rather than face-to-face. Maybe I will hand him a letter lol. He actually DID come back the next day with his wife but instead they came after church instead of before. So maybe he DID get the point the first time around. @FutureMemory I have to agree with you. I really have no desire to be friends with this man and his wife and I hope that Sunday evening was his last visit. If they come by again (which they said they would and didn’t bother to wait for an invitation) I will have to tell them just what you said. I’m no longer concerned about burning bridges. It was burned the moment he peeped in my bedroom window.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Akua Congratulations on handling the issue with your neighbor.
You wrote: “I am always impressed by how eloquently and logically some of you handle problems and how well you express yourselves. I can express myself well on paper rather than face-to-face.”
You give most of us more credit than we deserve. Remember we, too, are writing our responses to you – not speaking off-the-cuff. No wonder we speak with the eloquence of Michelle Obama or the stage presence of Ronald Regan.
In real life we all talk like this.

Akua's avatar

@LuckyGuy LMAO!!!!!!

chyna's avatar

@LuckyGuy I’m pretty sure I dated that guy.~

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