Missionaries: fight or ignore?

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  • #604348
    Curiosity
    Participant

    Assuming you are knowledgeable enough to whip out a rebuttal for all the classic missionary arguments, would you tell one to go away, or would you sit them down and make them have second thoughts about their own religion? Because by golly, it’s so much fun to tear their arguments apart and make them feel dumb!

    #888806
    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Ignore.

    #888807
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Neither.

    Focus on those who are ignorant about their own yiddishkeit and would fall for their sales pitch.

    #888808
    Kosher Ham
    Member

    Ignore them is my advice unless you’ve studied their NT & know how to use it to poke holes in their theology. Best Jewish apologetic work is a book by Gerald Sigal, from the Jews for Judaism site, entitled “The Jew and the Christian Missionary: A Jewish Response to Missionary Christianity” (Ktav Publishing House, 1981).

    #888809
    YehudahTzvi
    Participant

    Fight. Show them that Yidden are well versed and not soft targets. I am armed with all my arguments and challenges to their faith.

    #888810
    Whiteberry
    Member

    Missionaries are the symptom. Ignorance is the problem. Fight the ignorance and and the missionaries ceases to be a problem.

    #888812
    Curiosity
    Participant

    I find the Aish website has plenty of resources to fight these ignoramus crusaders off. Either way, when I’m confronted by one of these people, all I get is more emunah in the Torah, not less. Even if they say something I have no answer for on the spot.

    Really, you don’t even need to answer their blasphemous misinterpretations of our Torah’s holy psukim. You can just go on the offensive and ask kashas ‘minei ubei’ on their religion, like YehudaTzvi says. Like, how come yashkie isn’t from the Davidic bloodline if the Mashiach must come from it… that one really bothers them 🙂

    #888813
    Whiteberry
    Member

    Missionaries know there are jews who can wipe the floor with them, its why you never see them in front of BMG or any other yeshiva. They also know the vast overwhelming majority of jews are simply ignorant as it relates to judaism and its beliefs, it is why they specifically target them. Use your energy reaching out to an ignorant jew instead of satisfying your desire to “wipe the floor” with a missionary.

    #888814
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    I’m a fighter but sometimes I’m not interested in fighting so I usually start off “please don’t bother me” then if they persist then the kid gloves are off

    #888815
    Curiosity
    Participant

    Whiteberry – What bothers me is that after two millennium of crusades, pogroms, expulsions, libels, genocides, and persecution that left millions of our brethren dead, or worse, they still have the chutzpah to tell us our religion is wrong. I really can’t hold myself back from making them feel dumb. I can’t understand how anyone equipped to show them up could give up the opportunity…

    #888816
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Missionaries know there are jews who can wipe the floor with them, its why you never see them in front of BMG or any other yeshiva.

    actually we had some js for J in front of our yeshiva years back

    #888817
    Whiteberry
    Member

    Curiosity, you know they weren’t “real” xtians 🙂

    Coffe. And they haven’t been back.

    But seriously, who cares what foolishness those people want to believe, let them. It is only a problem when you see them engaged with a jew who through sheer ignorance, will buy every word they are told. And then, focue on and engage the jew.

    #888818
    Think first
    Member

    I’d love to meet one I really would, I feel that I’ll only get stronger from it in my Emunah. I have when talking to Jews who unfortunately have left their beliefs behind for a life of ” do the right thing and be nice to people” so I can’t wait but so far have never met them.

    Plus hours of tapes by rabbi mechanic is waiting to go to use.

    #888819
    Curiosity
    Participant

    Rabbi Mechanic is the man. Heard him speak a couple times in person. Fascinating.

    #888820
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    whiteberry,

    i don’t know, the yeshiva has moved to a more frum neighborhood (we used to be at the edge of south beach, a very busy place)

    think first,

    you’re right, i have a guy at my work that wants to “save” me and instead he makes me think of tirutzim to his answer which makes my emuna stronger

    #888821
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Missionaries know there are jews who can wipe the floor with them, its why you never see them in front of BMG or any other yeshiva.

    Oh, please. When the missionary quotes Isaiah 53, 95 out of 100 yeshiva bochrim won’t have the foggiest idea what the perek contains. Likewise, when they mention the “bris chadasha,” the 97 out of 100 won’t know what sefer/perek it comes from. When they mention how Psalms 22 references Jesus, the average yeshiva bochur would be completely lost.

    In short, the average yeshiva bochur would be totally lost. They wouldn’t wipe the floor with said missionary, because they couldn’t even respond. They don’t know the Nach and, in most cases, have never even learned it. Likewise, when the yeshiva bochur starts quoting gemaras and other sources for proofs, the missionaries will either be just as befuddled or else dismiss the argument out of hand as a rabbinic invention.

    In short, no one could win the argument because there can be no rational argument. In more than 99 out of 100 cases, there is nothing the missionary could say that would cause the yeshiva bochur to accept Christianity. Likewise, in the same 99+ cases out of 100, there is nothing the yeshiva bochur could say that would cause the missionary to abandon his belief in Jesus. Proofs from either side, no matter how convincing, will just be dismissed. Hence, it’s not really an argument, but a war of attrition — who can wear down the other party long enough so that they go away.

    *That’s* why you rarely, if ever, see missionaries hanging around yeshivos and such. Not because the yeshiva bochur can beat them in an argument, but rather because the missionaries know it’s an exercise in futility and that there are much easier people to convince elsewhere.

    The Wolf

    #888822
    oomis
    Participant

    I generally am pleasant but firm, and tell them not only that I am not interested, but that they are wasting their time knocking on ANY door on my block. After two or three similar experiences in my neighborhood, they move on.

    I did have one pair (they ALWAYS come in twos) inform me that they wanted to tell me The Truth. I responded thank you very much, I already HAVE The Truth; my Truth came way before their truth, and a crucial part of It was a Directive from G-d that It would ALWAYS be The Truth and never change, so whatever truth they thought they had, might be good for them, but it was false to me. They had no response to that and left.

    It really is ebst not to get involved in conversations with missionaries. Unless you are Gavriel Aryeh Sanders or the like, you probably do not know enough about their “torah” to be able to refute their words. They know chapter and verse of Yeshayahu et al by heart. Most frum Jews do not, though if we open a sefer we could explain the meaning of the pesukim they misquote. But who wants to waste time doing that with them? I only care about JEWS not believing that tripe. The Goyim can believe what they will.

    I once had a non-Jew argue with me about the meaning of the word “almah” which is their “proof” of the story of Mary and the “virgin” birth of her son. I explained that in Hebrew the word for a virgin is besulah, and that almah merely means a young woman (married or not) of a specific age. The person argued back with me that I was completely wrong, and I politely asked her not to tell me the definition of the words in my own Scripture, especially when she does not even speak the language, which I DO. Our rabbanim explained the meaning, and what THEY said it means, is what it means, and not what she needs it to mean in order to fit her theology. I learned then not to get involved with this type of argument. I don’t need to change their minds.

    #888823
    yichusdik
    Participant

    I’ve worked with Jews for Judaism, and others, against missionaries in person and in online environments. It takes a thorough knowledge of nach, and, in my case, a fairly detailed knowledge of Judaean history circa 150 bce to 150 ce, as well as church history and the history of antisemitism. As well, a working knowledge of the most troublesome texts (for them! all troublesome for us) in their “new” testament. This is sufficient for a trained and knowledgeable counter missionary to occupy the time and efforts of a missionary (the point, so they don’t get their teeth into someone who is unprepared), and sometimes, even to succeed in bringing a lost “messianized” Jew back into the fold. (I haven’t had this zechus, but one of Jews for Judaism’s founders, Julius Ciss, is a friend and you can find out about his journey on the Jews for Judaism website.)

    But what anyone at Jews for Judaism will tell you is that the best defense against missionary activity is Jewish learning, Jewish knowledge, and Jewish identity. THat is why it is so important to be marbitz Torah l’rabim, especially in communities where there is little connection to the larger kehila and its institutions.

    #888824
    2scents
    Participant

    Wolf,

    You are correct, I try explaining that to people but they think that they know better.

    Unless you are really versed in their arguments do not start.

    Harav Avigdor Miller repeated a lot of times, that it’s not hard to debate these people, only that you have to be qualified.

    He took some of their arguments (some of those that you pointed out) and went on to show how fraudulent their arguments were.

    For instance Briss Chadasha does not mean the Torah, it refers to the covenant Hashem made with Avraham. Briss does not mean Testament. (this is noted by the mefarshim on the spot as well).

    He goes on to explain that the early priests were fully aware about the true dikduk in the passukim they intentionally misled their people.

    In Yeshiva we do not regularly discuss their arguments, therefore unless you are “Really” qualified to argue with them, refrain from doing so.

    #888825
    Showjoe
    Member

    what wolf said is the reason u why u should ignore

    #888826
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Wolf is correct, if confronted by “proof” texts the avg. yeshiva bachur would be lost. But it is not the proof texts that snare the ignorant, it is the concepts themselves. I dont remember if I read this on the outreach judaism site or jews for judaism site, many unaffliated and ignorant (of judaism and what it means) jews do not know, for example, that the “golden rule” (aka love thy neighbor) has its origins in the torah. This type of ignorance (along with other factors – often social, is why missionaries are found on all college campuses) is the misisonaies greatest asset and strength.

    As for debating one, unless you are perfectly able to maintain your calm despite going round and round in circles (much missionary “logic” uses circular reasoning), dont start. They will, as a general rule, never lose their cool andonce you do, they will point out that they who are filled with “grace” are able to keep calm while you who are not, can not.

    #888827
    Curiosity
    Participant

    apushatayid – one of the only things that get me to lose my cool is when stupid people make stupid arguments. I just don’t have the patience for stupidity. I guess that’s plenty reason to avoid discussions… As fun as it may be to embarrass them.

    #888828
    apushatayid
    Participant

    When you lose your cool, they win, no matter how foolish their presentation.

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