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John Safran vs. The Mormons. Trading places is priceless. DVD available here

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(tip to one of my good friends down under whose name I've misplaced)



Hilarious that the old guy tried to physically harm these guys for doing exactly what his church does.

If that doesn't sum up religious hyposcrisy, I don't know what does.


Amazing, the people reacted the same way to atheist evangelists as they do to real Mormon missionaries.

I can't believe this is an atheist thing, but rather a I-don't-like-to-be-bothered by-anyone thing. Unless atheists are much more worried than the average person is about hearing beliefs contrary to their own (dis)beliefs, which I doubt.

It could also be that people are oppressed by their own politeness. Non-polite people might shut the door immediately without saying a word. An hour later they've forgotten about it. Whereas Safran probably stands there and listens for a minute or two until he gives a polite send off and then later gets angry that he was forced to stand there for a whole minute and almost be forced to believe in Mormonism.


White dress-shirt $34.99

Black nametag $7.50

Copy of "Orgin of Species" $22.95

The look on a former Utah missionary's face when they realise that they are finally on the receiving of some nicely sarcastic payback....



I agree with Dende it's a I-don't-want-to-be-bothered thing, and more evidence of the growing intolerance for those who come to our doors uninvited.

disclaimer: i'm lds and an rm.

is it ironic that mormons got offended for having people knock on their doors before midday saturday, or because it was a blatant mock of their religion designed to offend them?

personally, i thought the "al-qaeda" missionaries were funnier.

i'd assumed "deuteronomy 13:11" was just a random chapter, but out of curiosity i looked it up. thats a chapter where it says you're supposed to kill people who suggest you should follow a different god, even if the person suggesting this is your relative. oh and also, the rest of deuteronomy 13 says that if a neighboring town converts to a different god you have to go there and kill everyone and all the livestock and burn the place to the ground. for an atheist he knows his bible well.

Heh. I want a little badge that says "Atheist" under my name. :-)

Dan, it doesn't seem to me that it was mocking their religion, per se... just their evangelical techniques. And not to say that the people who were offended were the same people that go around spreading the Mormon message, but if any were, what right do they have to be offended by receiving the same treatment, regardless of whether or not it was designed to offend them?

I'd be curious to know more about the guy who said "This is inappropriate..." I would hope that he also finds the Mormon door-to-door-edness inappropriate as well.

I have to agree with Norm and Dende, and I can't say I'm not guilty of the same thing. There's this one ultra conservative columnist that writes for our campus paper once a week, and usually, I just do not have the strength to read what he has to say, especially early in the morning... If he came to my door and started telling me this stuff before noon, I'd hit him with a broom, too.

colin, if it's about the technique, then i want to see equal apathy displayed towards home alarm salesmen and mary kay (joke)

missionary work is a HUGE part of our religion (as if any OGM reader didn't know already), so I would disagree there; however, you are right. there is no reason for any of the behavior displayed in the vid. but whom does the vid expose as being intolerant? mormons who get upset for being proselytized in their own like manner? or atheists who are trying to rub that fact in their faces? i think both come out with mud on their face.

"for an atheist he knows his bible well."

Thats how many people become atheist. =)

Hahahaha. I'm an RM, ex mormon and that's some funny shit! I felt so bad for bugging people. Mostly cause I knew it wasn't true.

If that are using the exact same behavior to spread their message, that that behavior is "mocking..."


Christians are more annoying, I guess, but I wouldn't mind athiests, buddhists, muslims, or anyone willing to talk about beliefs coming to my door. Just make sure they listen, make them some coffee, and have fun. It's a good way to talk to people who otherwise might not be so receptive. Tell them why you're an athiest and maybe they'll become one.

Hilarious idea. But ... I'm an atheist, I live in Salt Lake City, and if someone comes to my door, they have about 30 seconds to convince me that they are working for some just political cause (my list is short), before I will say something rude and close the door. Even if I'm sympathetic to the cause, I'll make their visit as short as is politely possible.

Oh, and as someone already pointed out, Utah Valley would have been a better place to do that.

That was awesome.

The old guy was my favorite, a bishop lol


I love this. I myself have a collection of Bibles from all the different prosletyzers who knock on my door. I sometimes invite them in only to frustrate them with the typical Atheist arguments.

And on days when I'm too busy to talk, I just politely ask for "the good book" and put it in my bookshelf. I don't pay the "donation" of course.

It would be cool if we all did the same thing - it fills their quota but at the same time, you get something out of it whether it's a frustrated LDS or free book. Go forth and multiply.


I should say one more thing about it, that I don't think that door-to-door proselytizing is a very effective mode of preaching religion (saying this as one who did this full-time before--apparently Norm's site is crawling with former Mormon missionaries!). People are not receptive to absolute strangers, and even if you do get one in a thousand to listen, there are probably at least a handful in that thousand who are now really ticked off at Mormons.

There are places where people are more open to talking about religion and are open to hearing new ideas. Their own doorstep, e.g. in the middle of college football on Saturday, is not one of them.

It is kind of interesting that the Al-Qaida missionaries got a better response that the athiests did. Maybe 1) Safran wanted to show the most negative responses; 2) people suspected that the Al-Qaida thing was a joke; 3) they had no idea what the Al-Qaida guys were talking about or 4) atheism is in a sense more threatening to some people than international terrorism!

This isn’t ironic, it just goes to prove that no one likes to have ideologies, which conflict with their own, pressed on them. Surprise! It would however be hypocritical if Mormons were received kindly by atheists. But, I bet they get just as many doors slammed in their face.

Mormons go on their little missions around the world and I had the pleasure of working with 2 of them in Cold Lake, Alta. Canada. We worked at a Native Friendship Centre, where we made hot meals for underprivileged children in the community. They also did, Meals on Wheels, and a bunch of other crap for the community. Oh yeah, they also went door to door, for the religion thing, and ended up getting jumped by a gang of Natives because of it. These were clean cut, mild mannered kids 16-17 years old. Not the kind of assholes who deserve that shit.

The problem isn’t religion, or lack of religion. The problem is people. People who are way too important to have their day interrupted for a minute. Who think ringing a bell is rude but slamming a door isn’t. The world is a better place when people can open their mind to ideas. Even Darwin was a bible thumper once.

On the topic of Survival of the Fittest… what survives, survives. I’m sure it also applies to ideas, ideas like religion. In the US something like 90% of the population is religious. Mostly Christians. So it seems to me that “knocking on doors” might just be the opposable thumb of ideologies.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You have the best blog I've ever read.

This clip is utter, bloody genius! Where do I sign up?

I'm also LDS (Mormon) and was a missionary for two years in Brazil. I wouldn't be offended or put out in the least if two atheists knocked on my door, even if they did it every week. I might not have time to talk with them every week, but I'd be cordial, polite, and nice. What do I care if somebody is going around the neighborhood sharing what they believe because they think it's important that people have enough information to choose whether they like it or not? If I weren't a Mormon but as tired of those who are as this guy appears to be I'd put a sign out in the yard that says "No Mormons, Armed Response" or something like that.

I'm not even sure the people in the video who are being approached are even Mormons themselves. The Mormons I know wouldn't be offended by two atheists dressed like Mormon missionaries. They'd probably think it was hilarious and welcome them in for milk and brownies. Fact of the matter is Salt Lake City is a lot less Mormon than a lot of people think so if this was truly random half or more of those people could have easily been people who aren't Mormons and don't know much about Mormons. Or actors, who knows.

I agree Vonmeth

It is common to pressume that an atheist know nothing of any religion. It's more that the person did not find faith the many religion and turn to logic in science.

As an atheist, I believe everyone has their own beliefs in how the universe works; religion and such supply for a group to convey and dispute ideas.

I always invite the nutjobs in. Then I offer them coffee, something that their sect prohibits, then tear their religious text apart. Figuratively, of course. Sadly, I've never yet met a Mormon who has actually read the whole of the Book of Mormon. I highly recommend it. It is a great laugh. Even more amusing than the Bible. If I really don't have time for all that, I just tell them that I have to get back to my chicken sacrifice.

I was a Mormon missionary and I never went door to door. I thought it was the dumbest way to meet people.

If you use your imagination there are a ton of better ways to do it.

My motto was "If I can't make you a Mormon, at least I'd make you laugh."

"..or because it was a blatant mock of their religion designed to offend them?"

Norm, it was a mockery of their jackass behavior, not their religion, as the first ahlf of the clip explains. We non-Mormond don't care what you choose to believe, when or where you choose to believe it. What pisses us off is your cheerful intrusion into other people's lives to attempt to convince us to believe the same thing. keep it to yourself. If I want to learn about mormonism, I'll go to a mormon church. Or look it up on wikipedia.

Exxellent ! thats the way to do it... next time call the police when you get hit !

I usually put on my coat and follow them around the bock making devlish sounds and warning them that i am jesus in the netherworld come back to righten the mistake of the mormons :)


You can get a shirt that says "Friendly Neighboorhood Atheist" from :) Everytime I wear mine someone always comes up to me and says "WOW, I love your shirt!"


You can get a shirt that says "Friendly Neighboorhood Atheist" from :) Everytime I wear mine someone always comes up to me and says "WOW, I love your shirt!"

This is awesome... and I'm Mormon. Friggin' hilarious.

I love this. Love. Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth. This is the best thing I ever found on digg.

Mike Ballard, Athiest, Salt Lake City Utah.

yea, I'm the only Athiest in Utah.

I find it funny that a lot of what gets play on this site deals with liberal ideas of freedoms that are currently being oppressed by the right wing thinking in this country, but when it comes to religion it seems that no respect whatsoever needs to be offered. Both sides of the debate lose credibility when they simply disrespect what the other party is saying. The religious Right are always losing credibility because they act like the people in this clip are acting, but does that mean we should disrespect their viewpoint? Should we wallow in the same crap? Are we hoping through this little clip that it becomes illegal to knock on someone’s door? Are we hoping to ban freedom of speech when it comes to religion? Education and tolerance is how to reach those who are closed minded about their beliefs, not through ‘in your face’ BS like this.


DO MORE, PLEASE! I want to see more!!

Hey, get a list of say 10 followers of each major religion and knock on their doors, see which is the most open minded!

I must love mormons. I have a great chat with them everytime they knock on my door and try to preach my own beliefs to them. Sure its like talking to a brick wall, but hey to them iam a brick wall too.

Sure i find it annoying but i think it is good training for us to be able to tolerate others opinions without getting natzi.

There are a lot of non-mormons in salt lake city. ie my cousin lives there so based on my sampling of 1 it is true! Anyway it is premature to assume all those people are mormons on this clip. Iam sure - like the rest of us - they and are law abiding tax payers. Sure they beliefs are rubbish but hey if it keeps them sane and paying for my healthcare iam all for it. :) Nice vid.

Wow, this guy could easily pull off Tarantino - the script and voice are uncanny.

As a recovered mormon I think this bit is brilliant. Aside from the comedy behind knocking on their doors Saturday morning the reaction of the mormon's in Utah to you preaching atheism vs another religion is the reason I no longer consider myself mormon. Well, the hypocrisy displayed I mean was one of the reason's that started me looking elsewhere. I'm not an atheist but organized religion doesn't hold very much water in my eyes anymore.

From the video I see clearly that you are not rubbing anything in anyone's face's, you use valid information about atheistic beliefs and you were in no way any more rude than a mormon missionary doing his rounds. You were not snide, you commented only on the bible and not the book of mormon, the only thing you used was the same trick they use and that's not taking no for an answer and talking until the door is actually closed. Since you're not really proselytizing I think you're reaction at throwing the hypocrisy back in their face after that is well earned.

Hi all, I find it funny when people champions evangelism by churches, or worse, 1 church in particular with statements like these:

"The world is a better place when people can open their mind to ideas."

I have no problems with such statements if these missionaries are able to open their minds to non-Christian ideas before preaching to non-Christians.

Otherwise, they have to know that they want to close people minds to other ideas except their own.

Religious hegemonism is not the same as freedom of thought.

For Christians who champion monotheistic and exclusivistic thinking, the last thing they want people to do is to open their minds to new ideas.

Just look what happened to Copernicus and Galileo.

Same thing is going on with stem cell research today.

I do agree that any sort of religion or faith-based belief gets a very bad rap on this site, more than I think is reasonable.

I have no problem with atheism, and I'm religious. I expect you to have no problem with religion. Sure you have plenty of examples of the retarded religious right, but cut down on the belief-bashing okay?

The problem, has Mr. Safran so well put it, is not the missionaries coming to our doors to talk about religion, it is them coming to our doors early morning on Saturday. Some of us have hangovers to nurse you know.

Mr. Ballard, you are not the only atheist in SLC.

And what is that going to accomplish? While I don't agree with what Mormons do, I definitely do not agree with atheism. I'm not gonna go and make anyone believe in God, because that's not my job. I'm not some religious nutjob that thinks he has to make everyone believe what he believes. If you really want to believe that there's no God, then so be it, but it's not going to stop God from being God, and it's not going to stop God from being real. If you really want to live in rebellion against God's Word, then that is your decision as an atheist, but don't get surprised when you face God's judgement, as we all will have to, regardless of whether you believe in God or not. I feel sorry for those who choose to not go to Heaven when they die, seeing as how all they have to do is accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I know, I know, there is no concrete truth, and God doesn't exist, so how would you as an atheist face God's judgement, since God doesn't exist? Too bad that's just an excuse for atheists to not have to be held accountable for what they choose to believe. And whether or not any atheist that reads this message agrees, you're still believing in the devil, regardless of if you even believe he exists or not, because believing in nothing is the same as believing in something. You're still putting your faith as an atheist in belief in nothing, which means you believe in something. This could be that you believe in yourself, you believe in nature, so on and so forth, but you're still putting your faith in something. That's not to say that it's right. I'm just saying that the whole "I don't believe in anything" stuff is just a load of crap.

It'll probably take another 10,000 years for humans to figure this out, but you'll never win someone over to your side of an argument by bashing their position. The only place that works is in the movies.

As an athiest, I must say, this movie was amazing. I can't tell you enough how many people I get knocking on my door trying to convert me... In fact there is a lady who frequents a resturaunt near my school who preaches to all the students who come in for lunch. One day my friends decided to actually talk to her. Her arguments fell to pieces. I don't understand why people don't realize how annoying it is to be preached to. I am not bashing religion, I believe it is a great way for people to be part of a community and feel accepted and devote their time to something that can be positive to the community, I just cannot stand people trying to convert me to something, especially if they don't even know very much about what it is.

I am always polite with the people who come to my door, and I take their papers and recycle them later. It is frustrating to me when other people will not show the same consideration for my belief. Oh well.


"yea, I'm the only Athiest in Utah."

I know a few people who may be even more Athy than this, the Athiest guy in all of Utah.

Will--this is an atheist blog. About half of its reason for being is atheism. I'm here because of friendship, in addition to the clips of Jon Stewart hunched over and the Frank Caliendo bits. But since atheism is the rejection of belief in God, I don't know how atheism can 'have no problem with' belief in God, or how belief in God can have no problem with atheism. The two are opposed to one another (Not violently or politically or legally, but logically). That's what we should expect.

Entertaining thread, seriously. If it gets all the Mormons to come out of the woodwork...


Kes, "The world is a better place when people can open their mind to ideas."

That was my statement and I think you’ve got it a little backwards. I was referring to Charles Darwin, who earlier in his life was a Clergyman, and then acknowledging that species might not have been divinely created.

Essentially he had to turn his back on the fundamental teachings of his religion and explore other possibilities. He was a pioneer in the scientific efforts to explain and understand evolution. The world benefits from people with that ability to not shut themselves down intellectually. My only point.

I don’t champion monotheistic and exclusivist (exclusivistic) thinking, but Mormons, and other religious groups do a lot of good in society, and I think that should be acknowledged.

Its fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins and Pat Robertson who turn this debate into some sort or war. It’s ridiculous.

Im an atheist. This is stupid. I hate this, this is childish and worthless. This is an insult to people like Richard Dawkins who use intellect to discuss religion. Completely moronic. What good does this do? It angers relgious people ( i would imagine all of them who have ever been exposed to this ). It also angers people like me who have no religious affiliation but find this form of communcations worthless. What is gained from something like this? Humor? Great, so a large number of already jaded people laugh at the expense of the relgious. I enjoy this website because generally it has clips of well thought out and intellectual material. I LOVED the dawkins series. However, this is just garbarge. I sometimes, especially when traveling abroad, am embaressed to be American, but I also realize the greatness of what this country provides. This is disgusting, people have a right to be religious, I don't understand their beliefs at all, but acting like this is a step towards a anti-relgious war. I don't mean a war not based relgion, but a war based on the clash between the religious and the atheists. I would hop ANY resonable atheist would percieve this as crazy. I look as atheism as a sensible collection of people who look at life in a logical way. I don't at any point see promoting conflict as being sensible. This video does nothing but promotes conflict, humor has its place, but this is a subect that is international controvertial above any other. One could arguably say that religion is the largest world issue of the day, even beyond terrorism because terrorism is based in reigious differences. ( I am in NO way saying muslims are the cause of terrorism, but those who are terrorist are those who do what they do in the name of a difference of beliefs due to extreamism ). Really all I mean to say is that this is an insult to intelligent atheists everywhere.


i'd assumed "deuteronomy 13:11" was just a random chapter, but out of curiosity i looked it up. thats a chapter where it says you're supposed to kill people who suggest you should follow a different god, even if the person suggesting this is your relative. oh and also, the rest of deuteronomy 13 says that if a neighboring town converts to a different god you have to go there and kill everyone and all the livestock and burn the place to the ground. for an atheist he knows his bible well.

Mexican atheist here... I was also suspicious about the 'Deuteronomy 13:11', so I looked it up:

I'm glad catholics and christians don't take their bible too seriously... or don't even read it.

I woul disagree with some who think its more about being irritated by at-home interuptions then mormans.

I would be less irritated if someone bothered me at home to sell something then to preach a religion. The reason being that someone selling something is doing it to make a living, for wages, for food, and entirely out of choice. I'm sure if they had a better job, they'd take it.

With religion, my conversion does not make their life better - or at least it shouldn't without proving the clique-like group mentality of religions. They aren't going door-to-door to feed themselves or their family, and if they decide to not go or to sleep in, nothing happens, no lost pay, no lost job... nothing.

Thats why I think the main point IS that its religion being sold door-to-door not just at-home interuptions.

I'm a little surprised by all of the people on here both atheist and religious who think that criticizing religion is taboo. Why should it be taboo? It's a really big leap from criticizing the claims of religion to persecuting the religious. Really big leap. Think about it, democrats can criticize republicans(and vice versa) without people bemoaning war and intolerance. Why should religion be any different? We need to think critically about the claims people make and dismiss those that are baseless. As far as the video goes it's nothing more than a joke that exposes the ridiculous and unwelcome nature of peddling your beliefs door to door.

One time, a couple of Witnesses came to my door, preaching the glory of Heaven and eternal life. I asked if there would be kids once we've gained eternal life. The guy answered something to the effect that we wouldn't need to have kids anymore. So I asked the obvious question, "You mean God would want us to just have sex for FUN?"

His female partner turned beet red, and he could only answer, "I'll have to get back with you on that..."

Good to see John Safran on here, the guy has done a tonne of excellent work here in australia, try and get a hold of John Safran's Music Jamboree, but I thought i'd pass on some Safran links of interest...

Sunday Night Safran Podcast:

John Safran discusses religion & politics with catholic priest Father Bob...

Speaking in Tounges Episodes:

Kinda the same thing but on TV! in real media :(

He went to Salt Lake city and got a minute of footage? Is that the best he can do? It's fine if people choose to be atheists or whatever, but I'm glad that not everyone is atheist. If there is no greater power, than what does anything mean? Why would anyone bother to be a good person? What would it mean if I killed your family? Nothing.

Many people that post here are missing the point entirely. Why should you respect the Mormons - they don't respect you. They think they have the right to disrupt your day and they DON'T. You should respect religion as much as you respect Dr. Seuss.

Jesse, people choose to be good because they expect others to be good to them. It also feels good to be good. Isn't that better than just being good because you are afraid some bully in the sky will punish you for breaking his arbitrary laws? Don't you just want to be good and act well towards others for the sake of being good itself? I wish there were more atheists in the world, based upon weird justifications just like yours.

I think people from other religions can get offended by statements like these:

"I feel sorry for those who choose to not go to Heaven when they die, seeing as how all they have to do is accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior."

To the Christians here, it's not a 50:50 chance that you are right and the atheists are wrong.

Have Christians considered that they may not go to Heaven because people of other faiths may be correct?

After all, Christianity is a relatively new religion, conmpared to most of the other major religions and it is a religion marked by heresay, indoctrination, witch hunts, hubris and has brought more bloodshed than any other religion on this planet.

Can these Christians ever see their faith as the hugh gamble that it is?

Hi reigny, I've reread your original post and I stand by my original comment here.

You were clearly implying that people should be more open to ideas when missionaries come knocking.

My comment tackles this implicationm head on.

I will also like to reply to this statement on yours in your reply here:

"Mormons, and other religious groups do a lot of good in society, and I think that should be acknowledged."

This is a point that Mormons and other Christian preachers miss.

The Buddhist and Hindu Sangha missionaries had practised doing charitable and missionary works for almost 1000 years before the Christians appeared.

Unlike Christian evangelists or preachers, their efforts were not marred by intolerance, blasphemy and ignorance about local practises and beliefs.

Because these Hindi and Buddhist preachers were open to ideas outside their own faiths, their missionaries were able to have a civlised discourse with people in other countries.

And more often than not, the openess of these missionaries from non Christian religions are able to co-exist with the beliefs of the people it reaches out to.

Regardless of what you might say, all Christian missionaries practise a hegemonic and exclusivist appraoch to preaching their faith because they do not acknowledge the position of other faiths in helping people to seek salvation through their own ways.

To them, salvation is only through Jesus and the Bible.

Hence the so-called good works by Christian missionaries in the other parts of the world is marred by their track record of sowing religious discord and conflict nearly whereby they go.

Karen makes a good point that all non-believers need to make to Christians over and over again.

"...Isn't that better than just being good because you are afraid some bully in the sky will punish you for breaking his arbitrary laws? Don't you just want to be good and act well towards others for the sake of being good itself?"

Her last statement distills the esence of Eastern philosophies and religions.

Man are not sinners. We may do wrong or evil but our natures are morally perfectible.

Thus it is perfectly possible and only right that we do good for good's sake, and not as a means to appease one gods or to score points in your afterlife.

I also have the following to add.

This search for grace in life is also mirrored by other pursuits i.e. science, literature and the arts.

Unfortunately, Christians will never acknowledge that man is morally perfectible.

To them, man is born corrupt or born a sinner who is prone to temptations.

He cannot save himself and only Jesus and the Bible can do so.

Funny how a religion that holds itself as a true faith preach to its followers to have so little faith in themselves.

And such beliefs drives Christian missionaries in their talks to people.

To them, non-believers are ignorant and doomed to damnation because they don't believe that they are powerless sheep who needs the guidance of Christ and the Bible.

And these Christians can wonder why people can be so irritated when they come knocking.

They presuppose that their target audience has utterly no knowledge of the Bible and is an easy mark for conversion because he is doomed to go to hell.

Kez, To you it seems as though the atrocities of religious factions (being thoroughly convinced you are in jeopardy of going to hell and are graciously trying to save you from it) are enough to negate their compassion and charity, and I again disagree.

Christianity is 2 billion people strong, 30 percent of the “good natured” people in the world. And by their faith are encouraged to be generous, giving people. And yeah, there is some dogma, and hypocrisy, and intolerance like there is everywhere.

Whether or not there is a God is arbitrary. You have that many people behaving as if there is one. It’s a world changing force. Buddhism unfortunately is not. I’m only suggesting that discourse is better suited to making religions factions progressive, rather then trying to discredit them, and there by alienating them.

Plus I don’t think Buddhism is going to help with the stem-cells anymore then Christianity.

For what it's worth - I went on a mission for the mormons and if you had come to my door I would have invited you in for milk and cookies. I hope you came across at least a few nice mormons in your travels.

I think it is funny how very little difference there is between a person who is sure there is a god and a person who is sure there is no god. I think Athiests should do this more often. It sucks getting woken up at 8 on a saturday, it sucks worse to get hit with a rake for what you believe.

Reigny, the opposite of what you said is the reality.

We non-believers are the ones who are graciously trying to save Christians from a path of blind faith, religious bigotry and religious conflicts which have characterized the nature of Christianity compared to any other religion.

Therefore, non-believers are well within reason to believe that the Christian faith is not the path to salvation as it seemed to have damned millions in history to violence, brutal deaths and bloodshed due to its religious edits and dogma.

Here’s just one example, since the forming of the Church Council and the editing of religious documents into the Bible in 383 AD, the Christian population (not just a few black sheep) in Europe have systematically prosecuted the Jews by forcing them to convert, banning them from practicing their religion and from owning property. This anti-Semitism trend fuelled Christian Nazi’s eradication of 6 million Jews. Btw, the Nazi movement first grew to power in the Protestant areas in Germany.

If not for Muslim Spain and the Arab Middle East, the Jews would have been eradicated by the ethnic cleansing and religious prosecution under the Christians. Only in 1965, during the Second Vatican Council, the church officially abandoned its ancient doctrines about the collective guilt of the Jewish people and the eternal divine curse upon Jewish blood.

That is why people are turning away from Christianity in increasing numbers in modern times. Most of the 10 million Atheists in US were ex-Christians. And Europe has turned away from Christianity since the end of WW2.

I am quite comfortable using Buddhism as an example to judge Christianity for Buddhism holds itself to higher moral standards than Christianity ever could.

Unlike the infighting, hypocrisy and dissent over dogma that characterise a fragmented Christian faith, Buddhists from every sect is focused on one thing and just one thing to do good for good’s sake and not for personal gain.

Buddhists are not goody two shoes because they fear the supernatural or that they want to score points in the afterlife. Doing good and being good on this Earth is a far more important objective.

That’s why Buddhism has brought far more good, peace and tolerance than Christianity ever did in history as Christianity is the religion responsible for causing the most conflicts, bloodshed and hatred within its believers and with non-believers.

People are turning away from Christianity after knowing it like in Europe, where people are actively reaching out to Buddhism, and not because there are aggressive peddling by Buddhist missionaries.

Unlike Christianity, Buddhism is a great philosophy and way of life that does not need to resort to hype, pop marketing, TV evangelism to sell itself to others.

Unlike Buddhists, Christians are perfectly willing to save non-Christians people ONLY AFTER THEY ARE CONVINCED THAT NON-BELIEVERS ARE DOOMED TO HELL for not being Christians or believing in Christ and the Bible

That is not just a condescending attitude but sheer religious bigotry and blasphemy at its most basic and baseless level.

For 5000 years, the Chinese civilization has lived without Christianity. The premise of Christians that the Chinese who had lived and died during this time for not believing Christians is not just pure hubris but utter religious blasphemy towards another faith.

Unlike Christians, Buddhists believe that doing good is more important than being a Christian while many Christians believed that just by becoming a Christian they will be saved. Christian dogma does not support such a Christian view on salvation that is pure and utter wishful thinking.

reigny’s ignorance in non-Christians beliefs is simple breathtaking when he nevertheless tries to pass judgment on Buddhism without any understanding on the religion.

I remember his first post that people should be open to ideas when missionaries knock. As I pointed out, reigny clearly means people should be open only to Christian ideas. His ignorance in other beliefs backs me up on this.

Buddhism has done and will do a lot more good for stem cell research than Christianity ever will.

In history, Buddhism has helped and improved every part of Asia, with the possible exception of Tibet.

For over 1000 years before Christian missionaries appear in the world, Buddhist monks travel the world bringing knowledge of science, literature and medicine. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism has helped changed the world for the better, instead for the worse.

Buddhism continues to help change the world for the better by ensuring that its millions of followers i.e. 300 million just in China, do good and be good, unlike Christians whose religion has always followed at the heels of military and mercantile efforts.

But unlike Christians, they do not attempt to shout out their good works for everyone now or try to help the needy because they wanted to exploit the opportunity to convert them : > As I said, Buddhists hold themselves to a higher moral code than Christians.

And unlike Christianity, Buddhism is a religion of science in that it preaches self-introspection, questioning and an understanding of the cosmos.

That is why Einstein has said that Buddhism is the religion of the future.

So I will rather that Christians stop preaching to non-Christians because Christianity is by and large a seriously flawed religion from its track record in history.

If any Christians here are offended by the truth and the facts or feel alienated, I’m not sorry.

People like me have to keep holding a mirror to the Christian faith. If not, you Christians will keep repeating the mistakes of your faith over and over again to the detriment of all.

There is no rationale for compromising with religious fundamentalism and bigotry from any religion. They should be condemned and brought to accountability any time they appear, regardless of the religion.

Non-believers all over the world has been alienated by Christian bigotry. So why should they be concerned about alienating Christians by calling them out on it?


While I do hold a measure of respect for buddhism generally as the practice is commonly understood in the West, I was somewhat enlightened, so to speak, by conversations I've had with people raised in buddhist regions. People in the West seem to have connected to a highly idealized concept of buddhism that does not really reflect its current and historical practice in the world.

What I came to understand was that there are no doubt "evangelical" buddhists (for lack of a better word) just like there are evangelical Christians, zealots who adopt selectively extreme forms of belief and are very aggressive pushing those beliefs on others. This may seem contrary to the stated aims of buddhism, but keep in mind that the stated aim of Christianity is for everyone to love his neighbor.

Contrary to the view you seem to have taken, disagreements over doctrine have, over the centuries, fragmented Buddhism into many schools, which historically have been no stranger to ideas like "heresy" in establishing themselves over competitors, sometimes violently, just as happens in western traditions.

As far as buddhism not resorting to hype, marketing and so forth, it should be understood that the public face of the Dalai Lama, that incredibly sweet old man, is a marketing campaign, not so much for buddhism, but for political support to reestablish his theocracy in Tibet. It is a face he learned to project after the Chinese conquest of his country, and without claiming anything so extreme as that the Chinese were right to invade, the feudal system overseen by the Dalai Lamas, including for a few years by the current Lama until his ouster, was really a surprisingly brutal one. This is something the "Free Tibet" crowd usually doesn't know or, at least, talk about. You may want China out of there, but you don't want Tibet going back to what it was in 1950 either.

Finally, there remains the problem that, despite the absence of a god in typical buddhism, they still support their morality through reference to a system of superstition. It's not so heavy and mythological as western faiths, but it's still superstition, with all the problems that entails.

Sorry to be down on something you obviously respect, but there is an element of xenophiliac idealism to Western views of buddhism that just doesn't necessarily bear out in actual practice. Religion is religion, and people are people, and people (ironically) always use religion as a justification for being crappy to one another. Absence of religion wouldn't stop the crappiness, but it would at least remove the justification.

I figure if you're serious about buddhism you won't mind anyway, "seeing things for what they are" being part of the eight-fold path and all.

Hi Gelf, Thanks for the response. But in your attempt to draw similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, you assumptions and premises about Buddhism seems to be a little off. Let’s address them..

1] There is no God or superstitions in Buddhism for Buddhism is humanistic philosophy or a way of life as was taught by the Buddha. These teachings are meant to help people articulate one’s relationship with yourself, with others and with the world at large. Doing going for good’s sake is the way to make such relationships meaningful and harmonious.

That is the essence of Buddhism or fo-xue i.e. Buddhist teachings. And that’s why Buddhism has a historical legacy of peace, tolerance and love that is unrivalled by other religions.

[Side note: On the other hand, having a God in Christianity has not created any such legacy nor have such a God saved his faithful from the orgy of religious excesses, bloodshed and violence that has characterized Christianity.]

Fo-jiao i.e. Buddhist religious sects come from Buddhists who combine their own cultural, traditions, superstitious and religious underpinnings with Buddhism to make Budda’s teaching for relevant for their particular cultural, social and religious contexts. I will address this in my second point.

1] For a Buddhist, the most important thing to is do good and be good for good's own sake. That is the only way you will ever be close to the Buddha in spirit and deeds.

This central message and theme of Buddhism is not fragmented in the way Christianity is split between differing, competing and often antagonistic intepretations.

Different practises occur in Buddhism as Buddhism is a philosophy that seeks to co-exist with local customs, traditions and even religious beliefs, giving birth to different forms of Buddhism such as Mahayana Buddhism in China which was created by fusing Buddha with China's religious pantheon.

The differences that Gelf observes are thus vastly different from those of Christianity as they are signs of religious and philosophical tolerance.

2] Buddhism does not call on its faithful to convert people, especially through missionary work as a method to win people over.

If there are those who want to preach, that is their freedom and they are a very small group and unlike Christians, they do not preach Buddhism in a way that blaspheme local practises and beliefs.

Buddhist evangelists are only some people who are driven by their passion, and NOT by Buddhist religious dogma. They are free to do as they wish, as long as they are not pushy or intrude on other believers or peddle Buddhism door-to-door. < <

3] I have made my distaste for the EX-Dalai Lama in US quite plain at this website with his anti-abortion and homosexuality positions, which are not positions endorsed by Buddhists or the Buddha.

Such positions are simply the EX-Dalai Lama playing up to his US fan base and supporters as he revels in being a media hound in the public’s eye. Point to note, in what ways since his activities in US helped his people back in Tibet? Most Asians can see that Tibet is under a tighter religious lockdown because of his loose tongue and even loose religious beliefs.

That’s harsh speak but I have to speak plainly.

Although many Buddhists in Asia symphatise with his political exile status, they do not see him as the face of Tibetan Buddhism. At the most, the EX-Dalai Lama represents the face of Tibetan political and religious oppression by China.

Unfortunately, he has used this political status to drum up funding, celebrity support and public exposure for his political beliefs, which directly contravenes his status as a chu-jia-ren i.e. a non-worldy monk who should be beyond the grasp of such materialistic displays.

This is something he obviously enjoys, even while Tibetan Buddhism has moved on without him for more than a decade.

And what’s worse, he is inviting Western powers to intrude in Tibet after Asia has only managed to free itself from Western colonialism that has divided and enslaved Asia for hundreds of years.

That to me is the worst possible sin the EX-Dalai Lama could do. And by activities, he does not represent any credible Buddhist for his concern is no longer in doing good for others for good’s sake. It’s merely his sake and his rep in the public eye.

Any way, Gelf, I am pleased to see you take an interest in Buddhism. However, I will urge you to take a look at Taoism and Confucianism for you will gain a better understanding of the spiritual underpinnings behind Eastern humanism.

And by implication, books like Sun Tze and Muraska’s Book of the 5 Rings will become easier to understand.

While Westerns may rely on local and reason, the essence of understanding Eastern thought is by rote and intuition.

Infer more by concluding less. Be open to the new while not discarding the old. Everything will find its proper balance through an adequate concern for both sides.

That is what I have learnt and continue to learn through such teachings.


If there is no greater power, than what does anything mean? Why would anyone bother to be a good person? What would it mean if I killed your family? Nothing.

As yet another Utah atheist, let me just say that I am certainly glad that people like you have the threat of hell and the promise of heaven to keep you from killing my family.

Fortunately, not everyone needs those to be good people.

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!! I am one of those ex-lds people and I hated the door-to-door thing. When I stopped going to church, because I no longer believed, the missionaries started dropping by. By far the best time was when they dropped by on Sunday afternoon. I had had a party the night before, so there were empty beer, wine and liquer bottles everywhere, accompanied by cigarette butts and drug paraphenalia. My roommate, also mormon (who had partied with me, but didn't want the church to know she was partying) was mortified when I invited them in and sat down amidst the mess to have a chat. They didn't stay long and next time they called before trying to drop by. Anyway, thank you for that telling look at mormons own intolerance.


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