A Redditor wonders if there’s something wrong with him for being polite to missionaries who knock on his door. I don’t think so. While I do think it’s maybe a bit excessive to refrain from throwing out their pamphlets (mine always go straight in the “circular file”), I don’t think there’s any need to get all high-and-mighty when dealing with such people.
First of all, it’s not like you’re going to convert them to atheism or agnosticism, even if you decide to argue with them. And secondly, it’s not like it’s a big news flash to those folks that lots of the people they talk to don’t believe in what they do — especially fringe groups like the Jebbies and Mormons, who don’t even have the support of their (arguably) fellow Christians.
That doesn’t mean I think it’s a breach of etiquette to tell them to keep their pamphlets, or to argue with them — after all, they opened themselves up to that dialogue by knocking on your door to talk about religion — but neither is it some moral imperative. If you’re more interested in getting them to go away, and taking their pamphlets is the quickest and easiest way to achieve that goal, then go for it.
(cartoon — based on a real sign controversy in England — via the Campaign Against Political Correctness)