Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

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What to do about the religious nut?

Ignore him
41
65%
Avoid him
3
5%
Confront him and politely ask him to stop
12
19%
Confront him and demand that he stop
2
3%
Other
5
8%
 
Total votes: 63

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Alferd Packer
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Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Alferd Packer » 2012-01-13 12:01pm

One of the many, many trains I ride to work every day is a subway(technically it's not, but it's close enough). On this train ride is about 10-minute gap between stops. Depending on my schedule, I sometimes get caught in the same car with a religious nut.

This religious nut is a older man, maybe late 40s, of indeterminate ethnicity(I seriously cannot figure it out). I'm not 100% sure he speak fluent English. He's usually dressed business-casual, so he's probably not homeless. What this religious nut does preach during the 10 minute ride between stops.

I've heard his spiel often enough to know that he's speaking by rote. He has it timed so that if he begins when the doors close, he will finish a few seconds before the doors open at the next station. That is where I leave that particular train, so I don't know if he repeats the process until the end of the line.

As for the preaching, he does the usual stuff about needing to accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior. It's noteworthy that he doesn't preach hatred towards the usual whipping boys of Christianity. I don't think he has any literature--at least, I haven't noticed any.

He usually takes a standing spot in the center of the car. He speaks loudly enough that you can hear him at either end over the noise of the train, and he utterly ignores everyone and everything around him. If you try to address him, he just keeps going. He won't even look at you. He just stares at a fixed point and just rambles on about Jesus.

In short: there's a religious nut on the subway who takes advantage of a captive audience to preach about his particular brand of religion. He is utterly intractable and doesn't seem to stop his spiel for anything. So, with all that in mind, if you were commuting on this train daily, how would YOU deal with this fellow?
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby TronPaul » 2012-01-13 12:16pm

If I'm lazy and only see him a bit of the time I would bring some headphones and an mp3 player to drown him out. If I saw him every day of my commute (and thus his schedule was regular) I would call or visit a transit authority employee and explain the situation. Most public transit systems have rules about soliciting or bothering other customers. On my line there is sometimes a guy who will sing and ask for money, but I don't mind him as he's a decent singer and I only see him once a month or so.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Lagmonster » 2012-01-13 01:19pm

There are always things you can do if 'being a dick' sounds like fun, but crazy people might do crazy things. That's why they're crazy. Alerting authorities is fine if you think he's disruptive. Ignoring him works just as well; I've tuned out thousands of conversations on public transit. It's just part of life.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby PainRack » 2012-01-13 01:30pm

I vote with crazy.

So, either engage him, or if that's impossible, ignore and accomodate him.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Max » 2012-01-13 01:58pm

If the person appears reasonably sane, I'd have the same reaction I would to someone who, in a public space, puts their cellphone on speaker in order to play their music at maximum level, I'd tell them they need to fucking stop. I'm more than willing to be confrontational with people who, themselves, think it's perfectly reasonable to be inconsiderate and disruptive. I've found that often times they aren't actually (clinically) crazy, and are simply just completely entrenched in their beliefs and continue to give mini-sermons about how everyone needs to be saved because everyone around them are too afraid of confronting them and offending their faith/beliefs. In Boston, I witnessed a family doing this exact same thing. A mother, father and two young children who were maybe 7 and 9. The children were passing out pamphlets and telling everyone how they can save themselves from going to hell. Children. I'm not the type to curse out a child for something that was force fed to them, but adults are completely different and I gave them an earful for the 4 minutes I was waiting for the T. Break the cycle!

Crazy people are different though. My own father was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder which manifests itself by him thinking that he is a prophet for god. He decided last year to leave all his possessions to his family members, and hitchhike from Minnesota to Washington State in order to "save" the people that he met along the way. He literally pulled a Touched By An Angel, sans Della Reese. So I have some experience with the crazy side, and I recognize that you really can't say much to people with psychological issues.

So while I tend to the "curse them out and make them feel like shit" side of things, I do try to gauge the situation as best I can before doing so. Ignoring the situation is actually really difficult for me, even if I attempt to tune them out, because it's just so ridiculous to me when sane people do that. Take it to a park where people can actually get away from you, don't wait until we're trapped on mass transit...

I wish I could tune people like that out...
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Solauren » 2012-01-13 06:09pm

I'd actually consider this harassment, and ask him to stop. Failing that, have you considered getting a blowhorn?

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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Broomstick » 2012-01-13 08:52pm

If he breaks the rules of the transit system contact a conductor/attendant (if your system even has them anymore) and let them handle it. Otherwise, ignore him as best you can. Yes, you're a captive audience, but it's for a limited time and on the scale of really awful things in life this hardly rates a mention. It's as obnoxious as all hell, I find it offensive, but part of living in society is developing a thick skin for some things. He's addressing the public in general, not you personally, so do your own thing in your own seat.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby phred » 2012-01-13 09:25pm

MP3 players are wonderful things... If you cant afford that, I'm sure there's radios or CD players that are even cheaper. You would be amazed at what you can ignore with the right soundtrack.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby LaCroix » 2012-01-14 05:35am

Make yourself your own speech praising Odin and stand right in front of him, preaching back? Bonus points if you dress up in proper garb.

Laugh at him?

Or get an MP3 player and ignore the man. <sane option>
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Ralin » 2012-01-14 02:37pm

Break out my Religious Studies degree and start poking holes in his spiel. Because a Religious Studies degree is not something I get a whole hell of a lot of chances to use and damned if I'm going to miss out on the opportunity.

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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2012-01-14 10:40pm

Ralin wrote:Break out my Religious Studies degree and start poking holes in his spiel. Because a Religious Studies degree is not something I get a whole hell of a lot of chances to use and damned if I'm going to miss out on the opportunity.


Why? Headphones and MP3 player and maybe you won't die of a heart attack at 50 from all the confrontational stress...
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Ralin » 2012-01-14 11:06pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote: Why? Headphones and MP3 player and maybe you won't die of a heart attack at 50 from all the confrontational stress...


Because I think it would be fun. Because I don't like Christianity and I enjoy mocking it. Because I think that backing down and letting people like that rant in a public space is ceding a victory to them on some level. Take you pick.

I mean, realistically it would depend on what sort of mood I was in and how big the guy looked, but the one time I've actually been in that sort of situation I can say that I spoke up and said something, and I do feel kinda proud of that fact. Not that I think less of anyone who decides to just ignore it.

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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby someone_else » 2012-01-16 04:22am

LaCroix wrote:Make yourself your own speech praising Odin and stand right in front of him, preaching back? Bonus points if you dress up in proper garb.
Whohoo! Epic win!

If there were no legal issues in doing so, I'd try pressure point techniques (I'm very eager to try them out at the moment) on him and go lock this (now-unconscious) meat-bag in the toilet.

Given a real-world situation and the risks involved, I'd change the wagon. If really really annoying I'd work up an Angry Atheist (a specific kind of atheist, the ones that barely refrain from engaging such nuts) and watch fireworks.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Hillary » 2012-01-16 04:29am

Can't you just get on a different car? Easiest way if it really annoys you.

someone_else wrote:If there were no legal issues in doing so, I'd try pressure point techniques (I'm very eager to try them out at the moment) on him and go lock this (now-unconscious) meat-bag in the toilet.


Oh, do grow up.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Lagmonster » 2012-01-16 07:36am

someone_else wrote:
LaCroix wrote:Make yourself your own speech praising Odin and stand right in front of him, preaching back? Bonus points if you dress up in proper garb.
Whohoo! Epic win!
If there were no legal issues in doing so, I'd try pressure point techniques (I'm very eager to try them out at the moment) on him and go lock this (now-unconscious) meat-bag in the toilet.

Given a real-world situation and the risks involved, I'd change the wagon. If really really annoying I'd work up an Angry Atheist (a specific kind of atheist, the ones that barely refrain from engaging such nuts) and watch fireworks.

Don't be a dick. You would not "try pressure point techniques" on a man who's doing nothing other than talking out loud in public, for the same reason that you would not "kick the ass" of the paperboy who leave piles of junk mail on your doorstep. Likewise, you gain nothing from yelling at him, because he's going to ignore YOU, and everyone else will realize that you just look like a douchebag.

I understand why young men like you get the urge to say things like this, but you don't have to think with your testes.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Solauren » 2012-01-16 07:47am

Quite frankly, the guys that say shit like that outloud (Preasure Points boy) don't think at all.

Since the second he did that, he's made the guy a Martyr/People simpathetic to the religious rambler, and just put himself up on assault charges (and possibly hate crime charges).

That, and depending on the subjects medical history, Preasure Points can be damn right dangerous to use. It's rare, but unfortunate side-effects do happen.

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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Ryan Thunder » 2012-01-16 08:03am

Where's the 'join him' comedy option? :lol:
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby PeZook » 2012-01-16 08:23am

Do the Odin thing, but turn it up to 11: get a bunch of friends to dress up like all sorts of gods and have them start proselytizing, then arguing loudly with each other over which faith is superior.

Film it. Post it on youtube. Enjoy the glory.

Or yeah, change the car or buy headphones. Depending on how much effort you want to put into it :P
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-01-16 08:46am

It's not often I agree with Ryan Thunder, but yes, joining him would be the funniest, and might even put him off his stride. a few days of that and he might target a different train line.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Ralin » 2012-01-16 09:41am

madd0ct0r wrote:It's not often I agree with Ryan Thunder, but yes, joining him would be the funniest, and might even put him off his stride. a few days of that and he might target a different train line.


So basically do what Stephen Colbert does?

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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Darth Wong » 2012-01-16 10:10pm

Alferd Packer wrote:In short: there's a religious nut on the subway who takes advantage of a captive audience to preach about his particular brand of religion. He is utterly intractable and doesn't seem to stop his spiel for anything. So, with all that in mind, if you were commuting on this train daily, how would YOU deal with this fellow?

There are plenty of things you could do to amuse yourself, like standing behind him making funny faces and gesticulating to the cadence of his speech while a friend captures you on video. But you'll eventually tire of those things, and he will just keep going and going and going. Eventually you'll just have to accept that nothing will make him stop, and remember that he's really just making Christians look bad.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2012-01-16 10:33pm

someone_else wrote:If there were no legal issues in doing so, I'd try pressure point techniques (I'm very eager to try them out at the moment) on him and go lock this (now-unconscious) meat-bag in the toilet..


What happens if he suddenly does a backflip and counters with a Tiger Balm Crane Stance to redirect his chi and give you a Tibetan Yeti Palm Strike?

Like, suddenly, a kung fu showdown breaks out in the middle of the bus or train, and all those guys trying to just stay quiet with their mp3 players start tuning into Everybody's Kung Fu Fighting.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-01-16 11:36pm

Yeah. I mean, if having all this enlightened chi energy could give you supernatural fighting skills, what's to stop him from yelling "PRAISE JESUS DEUS VULT" and flipping out and gaining equally supernatural fighting skills? Turnabout is fair play. ;)


It might be worth trying, once, to make a fool out of him. If you're confident of your physical safety in doing so, and you think it might get rid of a nuisance, and it wouldn't be too much trouble, it's probably worth a try.

But if, as Darth Wong says, this guy is inexhaustible, he wins. I've seen crazies who were both ways, so I don't know.

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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Darth Tedious » 2012-01-18 12:16am

I'd have to also agree with the comedy option (especially if you capture it on camera), followed by ignoring him once it gets old.

DW is spot-on, the guy probably has more endurance of will, even if you try to put him off of his game, you'll most likely tire before he does.
Even so, I would think that you can come out of this a winner, provided you get some decent entertainment value from the dude before you give up and ignore him/move carriages.
If you end up with one or more funny memories/stories, you've benefited.
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Re: Proselytizing to a captive audience on mass transit

Postby Korvan » 2012-01-22 03:24pm

Since he repeats the same speech, you could easily memorize a chunk of it. Then repeat the speech back at him, but with a short delay, a second or two. If this doesn't throw him off his stride then nothing you could say will. If you every tried out one of the voice delay feedback exhibits at a science fair, you'll know just how difficult it is to keep a train of thought going.


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