Denizens of Atheist Nexus, I have failed you. I am ashamed.
I recently bought a country place to get away from it all. By "it all", I mostly mean "people". I want to grow fruits and vegetables, feed the chickens, and raise honey bees. I want to plant trees. I do not want conversations with people who have agendas.
Tuesday I was unloading 2 young hazelnut trees from the pickup truck. I'm moving them from the town yard, not enough room. And squirrels were getting all of the nuts. Damn those cute rodents.
A white sedan drove up the road. Three modestly dressed ladies got out, carrying bibles. One had a bun. The others wore scarves. Now was my chance. Ready to pounce, tell them "I'm an atheist!" "I've read your cursed bible more than you. It's vile". "I voted for Obama! Take that". "I'm a Sodomite. Give me your sons."
So the lady said, "We're here to do our Christian work. Do you have some time?"
I had no fight in me. I just said, "No, I'm busy". And she said "Maybe another time". And I said "Maybe.".
I'm sorry. Can you forgive me?
Another possibility: "I'll listen to you only if you then listen to me set you straight for an equal amount of time." If the agree, quietly intone at the proper moments "One minute." "Two minutes." and so on. (You might also want to correct their English as they go on, or count aloud the number of times they say "like" or "you know.")
For me that would be an interesting experience. It would make my holiday.
Don't worry, it was 3 to 1 anyway.
We've been visited by Baptist, Methodist, Church of Gawd, but the JW were the most persistent. Since they have no compunction coming on my property without invitation and assuming that I need their "holy sure cure" for what ails me, then I have no problem telling them I am an atheist. We haven't been bothered by any of them in years.
One could try conversing with these people as human beings.
Like, "it's awful that your church makes you do this, don't you get a lot of people being nasty to you?" see if one can get a response as a person, not a canned "Jesus told us we would have to suffer for our faith".
From what I've read of ex-religious people, they hated going door-to-door.
It's a bit like being a sheep and having "circling disease", which is a bacterial infection that makes the sheep go around in circles.
Asking them how to prevent further visits might work.
It doesn't happen much here, and when it does I often just don't answer the door.
Booklover, it's nice having a place to retreat to. It needed/needs some work but there is no hurry. The place was abandoned for a year, but not too bad for that. Lots of ground to dig in, room for gardening, and you can see the stars at night.