So I just had a (polite) doorstep discussion with very nice chap from the local Jehovah's Witness community and he had his 7 - 10 year old daughter with him.
Now I don't want to sound cynical but... I did shy away from some of the more graphic aspects of Christianity and was a lot less confrontational than I usually am because the child was there. So I am wondering whether bringing her was a bit of a ploy.
However, I was able to make some quite good points and maybe seeing someone holding their own with her father will go some small way to allowing her to make informed decisions later in life. (Unintentional benefit?)
There were some things I was not expecting from this particular denomination:
* we use all translations of the bible, not just the "actual bible" even though "some passages differ a little"
* the bible predicts various scientific discoveries in scripture, therefore equals god.. (I thought they'd be a little more old school)
I am looking forward to receiving my copy of the watchtower published magazine that explains all this. He even went so far as to claim the content of the Brian Cox TV series "proves the existence of a god"
* when asked how old the world is, 6000 years ish or billions of years, he went for billions, but then said that humans had only been on earth for 6000 or so..
An interesting sidestep.
His initial hook was an interesting one
"Do you think there is any one government that can solve the world's problems?"
He didn't identify himself as being there to advocate religion, and for the first minute or so we discussed what he meant by that, whether he meant a sovereign nation or the UN and kind of ended up agreeing that the UN is in a good position to do it, but only if every one agrees to work together and play fair. Cue "well in the bible"
We wrapped things up with me suggesting that he watch a few of the AETV shows but he said he wouldn't visit websites like that, as "he might start questioning his faith"
His closing was that the reason he was coming out and knocking on doors was that "the end times were coming" and that since world war two Satan has been in control of governments and that society was being destroyed and revelation was due this century.
He made an interesting analogy, if you were on a ship that was sinking, would you just get in a lifeboat and save yourself, or would you tell people?
To which I pointed out that we are actually just in a decline in the empire cycle, and at some point we will start the cycle again as had happened many times before in history. Then explaining that countries and borders change a lot, using Europe in the last 300 years as an example.
Depending on who he brings next month (he said he'd be in this area again then if I would like to discuss the "science" magazine) I may actually invite him in. With some flash cards set up this time.
I'll keep it on the doorstep if he brings several people to preach at me.