In the cover story of the March 20 issue, “Nobody Listens at Open Mics,” I quoted story subject Sydney Schumsky about a suicide attempt. Schumsky says this was a misunderstanding and that she had only contemplated suicide.
Going to Hell
Re: “Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27 cover story.
Some things are really true; some things are really not, but this really is: All Atheists are going to Hell, and they don’t believe it.
- David L. Lesser
- via email
No More Apostles
I’m a musician and I play practically every day in Balboa Park. I’ve had many encounters with these people in your article about the atheists and the evangelicals (“Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27 cover story).
One thing I’ve noticed about them is that they all present irrational arguments — nothing rational, nothing objective. They even depart from their own scriptures. Some of them use the Bible, some of them use other writings.
They maintain certain things, and I’ve gone on to research what they’re saying. The guy who talks about being a blood donor — those verses aren’t in the Bible, about being a blood donor. I asked him why he uses all these words, and he agreed that they are all cliches. I asked, “Why don’t you use your own scripture?” and he just said, “Go away.”
Most of them don’t want to talk to me after awhile because I present specifics. I try to be objective. I don’t have my belief systems in view. They don’t want to hear it. They want to preach to you. They want you to swallow it whole without questioning. Especially the guy who screams and yells. I’ve had many confrontations with him, and all he does is scream louder. He won’t answer. He just wants to scream and yell.
He claims to be an apostle, but according to scripture there aren’t going to be any more apostles. Some religious groups say there are, but there are passages that clearly say there aren’t going to be any more of them.
We Don’t Argue
I enjoyed the article you wrote on the numerous religious groups who set up tables and booths down at Balboa Park (“Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27). I haven’t been there in quite some time, and there were just a couple last time I was there.
I, myself, am a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m writing just to make a couple comments about what you said regarding the two elderly Jehovah’s Witnesses. It seems to me that you viewed them negatively. I’m sorry you felt that way.
Most likely, the reason they were “off the main throughway” was so they could have a quiet place away from all the other flashy, loud booths — a place to have conversations with interested ones. We don’t argue with people at other booths or insult them or get into long debates with people who just want to argue. That would be a waste of time and energy. We are looking for people who want to know the truth, people who sincerely want to know what the Bible says about life’s most important questions.
You said, “The two men looked bored.” But you also said earlier in your comments about them that they were “sitting leisurely on folding chairs.” They weren’t bored, they were enjoying a beautiful day in Balboa Park. They were probably relaxed and taking in the peaceful area where they had chosen to set up their literature cart.
You also said the men didn’t acknowledge you. Perhaps they saw you in the distance visiting all the other booths, taking literature and snapping photos. They may have figured out you were a reporter and were not really there to learn about the Bible. Most likely they were waiting for you to ask a question or engage them. But I highly doubt they ignored you completely. We usually smile at all who approach us. Perhaps you didn’t notice.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are known worldwide for their house-to-house ministry. In this day and age people are a lot more busy, or they are not at home when we come to their door. So, when we set up displays in a public area, we are not like the others who shout out or pressure people to come over. For people who may not want to get in a long discussion and just want to grab a tract or book, we let them.
However, if the person asks a question, or their body language or facial expressions seem like they are genuinely interested or have questions, then of course we engage in conversation about our beliefs or help them with their questions.
Our method of evangelizing is anything but “hands-off.” It made me chuckle when I read that. For well over 100 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been very hands-on, teaching people Bible truths worldwide, in over 230 lands and over 600 languages and counting. Not only that, but in areas where people may not know how to read, we teach them. We also provide disaster relief. All this is done entirely by voluntary donations.
I hope you talk with Jehovah’s Witnesses again. The main reason we have been preaching for over 100 years has to do with what Jesus himself said at Matthew 24:14: “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” You can find a lot more information at our website, jw.org.
Thanks for the article!
I’m calling about “The Inside Story of San Diego Opera’s Demise” on page two (News Ticker, March 27). There’s a graph there that’s the hardest thing to read in the world. As an engineer for many, many years, I made a lot of graphs every day. I don’t think this one would have made the grade. It’s all blurred and double-printed and everything.