They were passing out a single page leaflet entitled "How you can Survive the End of the World." Very catchy. I politely passed the pamphlet back and told them I was an atheist. To my surprise, they left. Normally, this results in an attempt to debate. Perhaps these youngsters had been told to avoid debate and only pass out literature.
I regretted passing back the leaflet, because I decided I wanted to see what oddball angle they were pushing this round. Luckily, I found one down the street.
It turns out that the JWs are presenting a series of conventions throughout the country called "Keep on the Watch." I am not certain if this is a new series or not. I imagine that the economy has reinvirgorated the snake oil trade as desperate and scared people begin to listen to anyone who claims to have answers.
I found a few references to this on other sites, as well, especially to the conventions they had in West Palm Beach.
It includes this lovely quote:
Next time, if I have time, I'll try to invite one of these poor people onto my porch to see how they are taught to defend against an atheist.
"We feel it is imminent," spokesman Richard Ferris said. "We can't really put a date on it, and the scriptures tell us that nobody knows days or hours, but we'll look at the signs as a theme of our convention and keep on the watch."
Jehovah Witnesses believe that while the apocalypse will be terrible for many, it will be the beginning of a better world for the faithful.
"The fighting against nations, we're seeing more earthquakes, you can look at the swine flu, all this, and it just points to the things that shows we are getting very close to what we feel is the end," Ferris said.
Going door-to-door with Bibles and informational packets has become a trademark for the Witnesses', and Ferris said there's a reason recruiting is such a major part of their religion.
"While we don't relish the thought of destruction that's going to take place, that's why we feel so strongly about door-to-door work and warning people," Ferris said. "If you knew a hurricane was coming, and you were the only one and you didn't tell anybody, it would be on your shoulders."