Rant: Meeting Mormons

Alright.  The title is misleading.  I didn’t actually have a meeting with Mormons.  At least I wouldn’t define being approached by two Mormons while waiting for the bus in the frigid cold as a “meeting”.  Semantics aside, the encounter – albeit a short one – gave me a few points to ponder, which I will share here.

As I had made clear to these two Mormons, my bus was fast approaching.  In my mind this created a win-lose situation.  On the one hand I had a legitimate excuse to run from this obvious proselytization attempt.  On the other hand, however, I was unable to object to their claims.  More on that shortly, but first.

They opened up by asking me if I believe in God.  I told them plain and simply that, I do not.  The response from the Mormon – I should add here that only one was doing the talking – seemed to contain the tone of one who is caught off-guard by the other side’s response.  In a country that is 84% religious I suppose I cannot feel puzzled by the surprise one might feel when they meet a genuine atheist.  They asked me why I do not believe.  I won’t go into it here as it isn’t relevant to the main purpose of this writing.

I can’t recall exactly how it came up, but, I did mention that there was a time when I was a believer and did pray.  After which the Mormon went into – what I am sure was the standard – spiel.  Telling me that we can speak to God if we pray.  That we (she said “I”) have a soul that God speaks to us through.  She continued, at which point I politely cut her off as my bus was approaching.

Now what would I have said, if the bus schedule had not forced me to leave?  First, I would have pointed out how I had already mentioned that I once prayed, but have since become a non-believer.  Therefore, trying to convince me that prayer allows me to speak to God is a rather weak argument to start with.  (This is why I suspect the spiel was just the standard fare.)  I may have then followed up by saying that even if this Mormon had experienced some sort of conversation with “God”, such anecdotal evidence is not sufficient for me.  Personal experience is relevant unless it can be interdependently verified under objective testing.  Next, I would’ve asked if reliable evidence can be produced to prove the existence of a soul?

I won’t attempt to ponder a potential response on these points.  Lest I unwittingly create straw-man arguments.  If you happen to be a theist who is reading this though, I’d be interested in hearing your responses.  How would this conversation progress?

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