Conversion Factors

People who think they've found the best spiritual path have a right to proselytize, but sometimes it's kinder to refrain.


01/15/2008 10:40:05 AM

Whatever religion you follow, conversion ought not to be a priority for you. Walking your walk with God, as you understand God, is the primary thing, and frankly, most of us don't have that mastered well enough to have energy left over for conversion efforts. Further, if we are to follow the teachings of Christ Jesus, and love others as we have them love us, then we will lovingly support others in *their* faith. That is what we would want for ourselves. That would be doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. If someone wants to be a follower of Christ Jesus, then that person will support his Muslim neighbor in being the best Muslim he can be; will support his Hindu neighbor in being the best Hindu he can be; will support his Jewish neighbor in being the best Jew he can be; will support his Pagan neighbor in being the best Pagan he can be. To do anything less is to NOT follow the teachings of Christ Jesus.


12/06/2003 08:30:18 PM

In the name of Allah the Father, the Most Gracious Son, the Most Merciful Holy Spirit. It is not easy to see the benefits of Christianity because its agape love ideology has permeated the world, just as it is the foundation of peace and prosperity in Western civilization. But this we know: Christianity has given us the hospital, Red Cross, reverend Harvard University, democracy, and modern science just to name a few. Contrast the democracy in America, founded by Bible reading Founding Fathers, to totalitarian societies of non-Christian nations, including China and Russia, which killed over 150 million of their own population in the twentieth century alone. Which direction would you like to go? It's very clear, isn't it?


05/15/2003 12:40:06 AM

Secondly, do you have any idea of how many Holy Korans, Bibles etc. have been printed and distributed through out the world? THOUSANDS OF BILLIONS. So we can safely say that the "word" is out there. That being the case, HOW COME HUMANITY IS SUCH A SOT? It is a clear case of "Do as I say, not as I do". If one compares the actions of Christians, Muslims and Jews to "true Satanism" it is a perfect match. Ever watch a Christian who unfortunately lost a relative through murder at the trial. It is not "turn the other cheek" it is pure and simple REVENGE. And what about our prison system? If your young and handsome, be sure to have a dentist take out your front teeth, and bring your own vasoline. So before we prostlize lets clean up our own act. Or would you prefer to shove it under the rug?


05/15/2003 12:27:20 AM

NO, it is not right to proselytize. All that does is (like a contagious disease) spread the insanity further, whether this be Christian, Judism or Islamic.


04/07/2003 01:22:15 PM

Jesus preached reconciliation and intimacy with God. He taught a new vision of God's kingdom which includes society's "outcasts". He instructed his disciples to preach this Gospel to all nations and to the ends of the earth. This message of God's love for the poor, the outcast, etc., is not supposed to be hoarded as private treasure as if only intended for one nation, or one people. It is not analagous with the "drive to be right", unless of course, you believe it is your message and not God's. I , too, am ordained in a mainline denomination, and have been for 15 years. My denomination does very little missionary work. Yet millions of Christians in various parts of the world are living under persecution, much of it severe, including in India, Indonesia and Sudan. Muslim persecution of non Muslims real and growing. I think its odd that the negative words in some posts are for the present day Christian missionary who comes with no threat of violence but comes with humanitarian aid.


03/29/2003 04:23:16 PM

I really find no reason to proselytize. I am a clergy in a Mainline Protestant Christian church. Within the folks that attend my services is a person of the Hindu faith. They are able to come and find comfort and welcome in the midst of our worship together. They feel no need to change their faith that they grew up with and we find no need to try and change them. We are one as children of God, we are all different and have all experienced God in diverse ways, why can we not exist together in peace without the drive to be "right" all the time. Just my opinion I guess. Peace


03/28/2003 07:01:45 PM

Proselytizing creates bad karma.Live your beliefs and share only when asked.Theologically, you needn't follow any religion to have spiritual salvation.Just look at the Noah story as an example of this. Many need physical proof of God, hence Jesus. It's ironic, noone recognized Jesus after his resurrection until he told them who he was. Proselytzers start "holy wars"and attempt forced conversions. Jesus wasn't a Christian. Only his followers are. I hope Franklin Graham doesn't go to Iraq.I wouldn't wish a bible thumping proselytizer on my worst enemy. PEACE


08/07/2002 11:47:45 PM

If it can be said that Western Christians should not take advantage of the disarray of Orthodox churches in the former Soviet Union in order to convert people with Orthodox roots to Protestantism, presumably this is also true of other faiths. Jews, Buddhists and Muslims were also persecuted and killed for their faiths, their clergy executed, their places of worship desecrated. As they try to rebuild, their efforts are limited by the lack of funds (and in the case of Muslims, by continuing state repression). If Jesus were to come to the former Soviet Union today, would he support the efforts of the Protestant missionaries? When he was on earth last, he reportedly was highly critical of the religious practices of the rich and powerful.


07/31/2002 03:19:58 AM

--- "...I do know that one of the parables of Jesus incudes an admonition to pratice your faith in private..." --- The passage which I think you're referring to is found in Matthew 6. And taken within it's context Jesus is telling "Do not do what the hypocrites do" or "do not sound the trumpets" and make a show or a in attempts to gain attention. It wasn't referring to practicing one's faith in private or that one could not practice it in public. Just don't be obnoxious about do so. One can be obnoxious in almost everything and anything...including sharing one's faith. But wouldn't it be more to address the individuals simple common courtesy and respect for someone else Then there's the other side of the spectrem that any sign a person may show they hold the Christian faith or the mere sharing of one's Christian faith is in the wrong.


07/17/2002 12:00:34 AM

KathyHL: All that you have described about sales pitches is true. Recoginize that you like all of us are HOSTS and PARASITES. We may not want to be but we are. If you wish to stop it, don't answer your phone until after the caller has heard your message directed to telemarketers directing them to take your name of their list. Stay away from the movies and don't contribute in anyway to any firm who violates your privacy. If your gutsy enough, send bill invoices to junk mail and email advertisers charging them $50.00 each for the disposal of their message, and sue for invasion of privacy. After all it is YOUR MAIL BOX, YOUR COMPUTER. Use the mute button frequently! Think about that junk mail. You have to open it to remove any information about yourself, shred it, carry it from your mailbox to your house, carry the shredded material to the dumpster, or burn it, and carry what remains to the trash bin. Your time, and mine is worth money. Collect it.


07/15/2002 09:04:03 PM

Though I am not a Bible scholar and cannot quote chapter and verse I do know that one of the parables of Jesus incudes an admonition to pratice your faith in private. While I do enjoy a good religious discussion, I rapidly change the subject when someone becomes adamant their beliefs are right or that mine are wrong.


07/12/2002 12:05:49 PM

BSD (with the help of Heaven) The anti-American statement made by "The Chicago declaration on Religious Freedom" quoted in the new article "Top Evangelicals" 'Misguided Pluralism Won't Stop Missions'" is simply another case of religious supremecist subterfuge stated in blatantly fascist terminology.


07/11/2002 11:38:30 PM

Tom, As long as you're not hassling people, you can think I'm going to hell if that thought pleases you. But if you truly intended to abstain from talking about Christianity and what the Bible says, you wouldn't have done so in your post. In fact, you probably wouldn't even have responded to my post.


07/11/2002 07:14:45 PM

KathyHL, I like your attitude. I believe most people (in America) have had an opportunity to be saved from hell. As a Christian, I feel pressure from my peers and leaders to constantly spout scriptures. I don’t do it, and I’m told that someone may go to hell because I didn’t quote a Bible verse to them. All of my friends and family know what the Bible says... (that we’re born seperated from God and Jesus is the one Way back). I don’t feel the need to remind them of that every time I see them. My conversation naturally includes my friend Jesus and what He is doing in my life. If I sense their discomfort because of my love for my Savior, I scratch their name off my Christmas card list and say, “We should get together sometime.” I know we’ll never get together and they will go to hell when they die, but I figure that’s their problem.


07/11/2002 12:04:27 AM

I resent sales pitches in general. I don't like telemarketers who call me on the phone, spammers who clog my e-mail, or direct mailers who send me junk snail mail. I hate radio, TV and movie theater commercials. I don't like being "sold to." If I want something, I'll go look for it. The more you try to talk me into it, the less success you'll have. This goes for religion and ideas as well as consumer goods.


07/10/2002 11:55:20 PM

In this world which is getting smaller and smaller, with satellite TV, the internet, and international travel - don't you think that almost everybody can find out about any religion they want to? Unless you live in a place with no electricity and no visitors from other places, you've probably heard about Jesus on several occasions. (OR about Islam, Buddhism, Mormons, or any other religion.) The information is widely available. People who want to learn about a religion will seek it out voluntarily. Those who aren't interested don't appreciate the constant evangelistic sales pitches. I still have yet to be convinced that I'm so evil and terrible that I need to be "saved". I'm not perfect by any means, but nothing I've done is bad enough to deserve the Christian hell.


07/10/2002 10:42:59 PM

Christians have claimed for centuries that the bible is "the word of God". If that is so, then no one should be proselytizing simply because if Christians are physically strong, and morally straight, everyone will see it. Does not the bible say by their deeds (actions) shall you know them. The need for proselytizing comes in when the deeds don't match up and you need (lets use the right word) to use propaganda for your cause.


11/28/2001 09:57:44 PM

NO. People have every opportunity to seek the truth themselves, who are you Fuller Brush preachers? I hate commercials! Always selling something you don't want. Do I have to be talked into a faith. It is similar to a lot of pork in a bill up for the senate-different things come in packages, choosing the right one should be a personal one. Life is a journey and part of the fun is our FREEDOM to choose. One size does not fit all, why is it that Christians, mostly Christians want to push religion on you! knock knock! I asked two Muslins if they would convert to Christianty, they said "No way, Christians are not devoted enough, and don't practice what they preach, and are not sincere, so, no way!"


11/22/2001 04:27:31 PM

First the Protestant missionaries came to Hawai'i as "tentmakers," preaching their version of the Gospel along with imported culture that promises a better life, including "rights" regulated by lawyers who exchange "justice" for money they control. Now wealthy landowners, gun-toting grandchildren of the Protestant missionaries threaten to assassinate cabinet members of the christian Hawai'ian constitutional monarchy in 1893 unless the Queen surrenders sovereignty. Rather than risk the promised bloodshed upon her multi-ethnic government, the saintly Queen Lili'uokalani abdicates under protest, with faith in Jesus Christ whom the Hawai'ians received from America whose atoning death on the Holy Cross at Calvary ends the need for any more spilling of blood. Protestant colonists supplant their own systems over the indigenous and tax Hawai'ians off their land. "Queen Lili'uokalani, you taught us that true leaders preserve the lives of their subjects. Pray for us!"


07/31/2001 11:16:12 AM

I don't know about the Orthodox Chruch in Russia or eastern Europe, but I do know something about it in the U.S. While the local Orthodox Church welcomes youth groups and others to come learn more about THEIR religion, they do not allow their own youth to learn anything open-minded about other religions. Crowning themselves the "one, true church" because they have been around longer than the Protestant Church, they brand all Protestants heretics. And they have a very antagonistic attitude toward Roman Catholics because Catholics recognize the authority of the Pope. Of course, the Orthodox have a Patriarch, which is very similar to the concept of a pope. I actually had an Orthodox priest joke about how he went to the funeral of a Protestant and sat in the back row making fun of the service! The Orthodox should clean up their own act before condemning the behaviors of other Christians.


07/30/2001 07:20:52 PM

Ed Vis-read the first chapter of the book of Genesis. From the beginning man had a relationship with the one and only true God. The Great Commission was to go and spread the Gospel--not hatred, not discrimination and certainly not cruel words about other denominations. Scripture warns us in I Chronicles 16:22"Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." We need to leave those preaching the Gospel to God, and concentrate on becoming the person that Jesus would want us to be. Peace


07/30/2001 06:12:35 PM

Windsinger, Wow, what a pointed message. I however disagree. In many books of the New Testament it tells us to give a sound of warning. To go a preach the gospel to all nations kindreds tongues and peoples. I would hope as someone who knows the scriptures as I think you are knows that Jesus never meant the gospel to be kept to ourselves. Jesus put the gospel on a pedestal. If you share the story of Jesus and His crusifixtion then you are sharing the message He wants shared and it is more then caring it is loving our neighbor. If we truly beleive our religion has the power to save how could you not have the desire to share with others. Not to hurt because that was never Jesus way but to teach as He was the Great Teacher. Sophal


08/24/2000 03:06:03 PM

I was brought up Baptist and I am most grateful. I converted to Catholicism at the age of 22(almost 23). Did anyone come after me to make me convert? No. God gently called me to Him as a Catholic. I was Catholic for 22 years. 21 years as a Roman Catholic and the last as an Eastern Catholic(Byzantine-Ruthenian). I shall soon be an Orthodox Christian in the Russian Tradition. Again, it was the work of Our Lord. I have been aked by many people the proverbial question "Are you saved?" I tell them that I am saved, I am being saved and I hope to be saved. They don't know how to deal with that because they are talking of being saved as a one-time deal. It is not. It takes place every day of your life. I know people who have been turned off to God because of some zealous Christian but I can deal it. When I was Catholic, I was thought of as a "non-Christian" by many Protestants, etc. I wonder what they would think of me I care!:-)


08/10/2000 11:10:26 AM

No culture exists in a vacuum. And not all religions are the same. Aztec religion used human sacrifice on a large scale. I doubt we would tolerate that today. Let's not slide into indifferentism.


07/30/2000 10:42:27 AM

Orthodox Christianity was a belief system that was accepted in Russia over a thousand years ago and was received from the Greeks. This implies that there can be a pre-existing culture that does not generate its own belief system. It seems, to me, that in the fullness of time each culture is being prepared to receive what it can from the Cross on Calvery. Russia has worked with what it was given and given another facet to Greek Orthodoxy without changing the spirit, message or theology. This message is that there is one truth and that it resides in the Church. This is contrary to the spirit of the world, both in the time of the Old Testement and today, that is seeking to reconcile truth with untruth.


07/30/2000 09:25:58 AM

Thanks bokchoy for your kind words. You are 100% right when you wrote:"What Christ and Buddha taught were similar messages but the languages were different. " I have not seen one iota of logic under which a Hindu or a Buddhist or a Jew or a Catholic should be converted into Protestant Christianity.


07/30/2000 09:25:41 AM

ALL RELIGIONS ARE BELIEF SYSTEMS generated according to each country's culture. Hindu scriptures deals with history and cuture of Indians in India. 66 books of the Holy Bible deals with the "trials and tribulations" of the Jews. We will not come across Bible discussing about Chinese civilzation or Hindu civilization. Belief systems are just belief and they may not have any logic behind them. One can ask a question, why God put that forbidden fruit in the graden of Eden to tempt poor Eve to begin with, and then curse her to deliver babies in pain???? One can also ask a question, how we are burdened with Karmic debt, to begin with, when we should not have any karma during the FIRST BIRTH??? We will never ever get answers to those questions fromany one.


07/30/2000 09:24:45 AM

At present there are two great cultures in the world. One is JUDAISM and another is HINDUISM. Almost all religions one can see in the world today are the children of those two mother cultures. Nobody can say Hinduism is better than Judaism. Nobody can say Judaism is better than Hinduism. People belonging to all religions should understand that so that people all over the world can live in peace & harmony. One can worship God as Jesus. Another person has equal right to worship that ONE & ONLY GOD as Krishna or Allah or Jehowah. In Hinduism God has been described as THAT WHICH CAN NOT BE DEFINED. In Upanishds, Hindu God is described in NETI-NETI format ---meaning NOT THIS & NOT THAT...God is not Sun or moon or sky or thunder etc. Since concept of God is so great, man has given 1000 names to God in Hindu scriptures. Those THOUSAND NAMES are called SAHASRANAMA.


07/30/2000 09:24:00 AM

I have written a very long post on the agenda of Southern Baptists to mass conversion of Hindus under the "Hinduism in America" section. Just like the Sun that shines over the penthouses of New York is the same Sun that shines over the killing fields of Cambodia, the paddy fields of India, the barren lands of Ethiopia and the dry deserts of Saudi Arabia, there is ONE AND ONLY GOD that resides in the beautiful Churches in the west, who also resides with in the Jewish synagogues, Hindu temples, Buddha Vihars, Sikh Gurudwaras and Moslem Mosques and in the hearts of every living and non-living beings on earth and universe. There is only one God and as such one's God is not superior to the neighbor's God. Jews believe in One and only God Jehovah.


07/29/2000 11:23:04 PM

There is a difference between evangelization and prosyletizing. In the former the gospel is presented and force is not to be used. It is open and aboveboard. The gospel actually enhances and purifies the culture. Jesus was more then a nice guy by the way. We, all Christians, believe He is God incarnate. That too makes a difference. pax


07/29/2000 11:17:11 PM

Ed Vis: WELL SAID!!! With respect to numbers 1 through 8. At the end of the day, religion is a human construct...Jesus of Nazareth, the Buddha, Moses, Mohammed were each and all compassionate human beings. As such, they were "holy men" who wished to foster changes for peace love in their cultures. One cannot proselytize without intention to uproot and destroy what is already in place.


07/29/2000 11:09:21 PM

I do not believe that much of what Christ actually taught has survived (compassion, love, peace) in the "modern" church and that proselytizing is an unnecessary action. Except, of course, in the mind of the Church, it needs members to survive (be it Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, JW, etc.). When someone travels to a far off land to "spread the gospel" in place of the faith(s) that already exist, it is arrogant and self-serving. What Christ and Buddha taught were similar messages but the languages were different. It is not our "right" to spread the gospel to other nations, but it is the duty of every compassionate human to embrace our wondrous diversity - and to stop accusing one another of being "wrong" and attempting unwelcome conversions. Is it not possible to aid an underprivileged nation, without cramming Christianity down their throat? Christ and the Buddha would, I believe, want us to love and embrace one another and leave all the finger pointing and banner waving behind.


07/26/2000 10:19:33 PM

You cannot go out with the intention of winning another to your faith without the parallel intention of stealing them from their own. The moment you place your faith on a pedestal in such a manner, you show it to be what it is...worthless. Proselytization is rude, self-serving and basically pointless, a way for the proselytiser to feel good about themselves that has NOTHING to do with caring for your brother and sister human.


07/26/2000 09:17:22 PM

To the degree that the message is consistent with the teaching of the Orthodox Church there is little resistance. To the degree that the teaching has been altered then it brings sorrow to those who know what the truth is. It is the Orthodox Christian's love for his neighbor that causes the sadness at seeing the truth distorted and passed off as sufficient. I suppose only God knows the sufficiency of what we have been taught; as we will also once we pass on to eternity. I was thinking that since the Church is typified as the Ark, then these other religions might be typified as other boats floating on the sea of life picking up passangers as they go. Some will weather certain storms and others will weather none. The Ark is an example of a boat that weathered the worst. If more people prayed for Russia's return as a Christian nation then perhaps God will be pleased to make it come about. We must be sure that we are gathering according to God's will otherwise it will be just so much more scattering.


07/25/2000 05:53:09 PM

I'm very grateful to those who "prosletized" me. Although I'd been raised RC, I had no relationship with Christ until a Baptist gave me a book by a Methodist that explained that Christ's mission on the cross was to provide forgiveness for my sin and establish a transforming relationship with Him. Now I'm a Pentecostal. Go figure. I know lots of RC people who grasped the message of the cross within the Catholic church. I know some Pentecostals, Baptists, Methodists, etc. who missed it in their own churches but found a vital relationship with Christ in another church. When others complained to Paul about Apollos "stealing his converts", Paul said he was delighted Apollos was spreading the gospel. Later when doctrinal differences arose he said "I will know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The salvation message of the cross is the cornerstone of Christianity and I really don't understand how other Christians wouldn't delight in the furthering of that message.


07/24/2000 11:51:42 PM

Ed, you will be delighted to know that I oppose slavery too! In fact Christians were instrumental in eliminating it. Sister, I doubt that Jesus was into the left-wings either. I think he would be appalled at pro-abortion christians. He might even whip them out of the church.


07/23/2000 07:25:25 PM

I find it funny that whatever a person happens to practice is what they believe is the right and only way for that religion. Many Christians have tried to convert me in chatrooms; and I'm already Christian. I just don't think the same way. And it makes me sad that some of those who practice other religions won't come near me because they're afraid I'm going to try and convert them.


07/23/2000 02:50:53 PM

I have been very annoyed and disguested by evangelists. Their insistance that "Yours isn't a real religion." "Your moral beliefs aren't moral" And their complete lack of knowledge about thier own religion, let alone any comparative religion. They seemed nonplused about our lack of interest in converting people, but the average Christian doesn't even know Jesus was against public prayer, or other policies the right wings are for that are unbiblical. Why would we want ignorant @$$holes in our religion?


07/23/2000 08:44:30 AM

Dear cestusdei: With all respect to you, I admit the caste system developed as a "DIVISION OF LABOR" is a disgrace.At the same time,there is absolutely no statement in any of the Hindu scriptures ordering to ill-treat lower castes; Where as in the Holy Bible, slavery is an accepted fact. "THE SLAVE IS HIS MONEY" [Exodus 21:21]. St. Paul urged one slave ONESIMUS to return to his master. Columbus a very devout Christian was indeed a missionary who did NOT feel any remorse in taking slaves from America.1: Lev. XXV:44- 55 & Thessalonians 3:22 deal with slavery in the Holy Bible. -It is only 1995 , the Southern Baptist convention apologized to Blacks [ African americans] for 200 years of slavery. The Southern Baptist Convention, which one quoted HOLY BIBLE in defense of 200 years of slavery and helped to shape segregated, definat, Southern Culture, apolgized to African Americans on June 21, 1995.


07/23/2000 12:07:50 AM

Ed, actually the gospel transforms and enhances culture. Orthodoxy is integral to Russian culture. But the Russians were once pagan. Any truth a culture has can be integrated into it's expression of the gospel. The Catholic church has been able to transcend culture and exists in virtually every culture. Some aspects of culture need to be transformed. For example the caste system of India is something that needs to be eliminated. Evangelization done properly and voluntarily can purify culture. However, Russia has already been evangelized, which is the point here.


07/21/2000 11:42:41 PM

To those who bend on conversion of Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Moslems etc into "True Christianity" I have a question, DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS THE REAL TRUTH AS PER WORLD HISTORY? Let us look at the facts. 1. Man was a nomad and he settled down on the banks of rivers of the world. 2. When he settled down he started cultivation. 3. He did not know how to deal with natural powers like THUNDER, RAIN, SUN, MOON, LIGHTENING ETC which effected cultivation. So he worshiped them. 4. As time went on, each of those groups who stayed together near river banks had their own personal CULTURES. 5. HINDUISM & JUDAISM are two of those ancient cultures. 6. Judaism ordinated from Canaanite culture. Jews used to worship many Canaanite gods like BAAL even after Moses returned from the Mountain Top with 10 commandments. 7. In the Rig Veda, one can see Hindus worshiping 33 gods, most of them were natural powers.


07/21/2000 11:41:41 PM

8. Out of many gods, Jews started worshiping ONE & ONLY GOD Jehovah. 9. Similarly OUT OF MANY GODS, Hindus started worshiping ONE AND ONLY GOD *Brahman. Hindu scriptures state that THERE IS ONE AND ONLY GOD BRAHMAN, WHICH EXPRESSES ITSELF IN TRILLION FORMS. That is why Hindus have no problem in worshiping even Jesus Christ, since Hindu scriptures see anything and everything as a SYMBOL OF GOD.10. Believe it or not, all organized religions came from ancient cultures. 11. It is the fear of Jews worshiping many gods that made Jews to go after Jesus Christ, when Jesus's pagan apostles started calling him [in Roman-Greek tradition] God and Son of God. 12. All western religions such as CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM came from Judaism. 13.. All eastern religions like BUDDHISM, SIKHISM, ZOROASTRIANISM and to some extent JAINISM came from Hinduism. That is reason why, I firmly believe that CONVERSION IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH PROPAGATING TRUTH, BUT WITH DELIBERATE DESTRUCTION OF THE EXISTING CULTURES OF THE WORLD.


07/21/2000 11:21:28 PM

When the children of evangelicals become moonies or something like that we see a similiar reaction. Most Russians don't even know what a Southern Baptist is. Yes, some Orthodox are hard to deal with. But as I pointed out, I get tired of fundamentalists asking if I am saved. Assuming that a Catholic probably isn't. I personally don't want to see the Orthodox become Latin rite Catholics. I would like to see an eventual reunion between the churches. Both sister church's would benefit from that.


07/21/2000 01:38:51 PM

In the case of the Orthodox Church in Russia... how can you really coeoperate with these people when they can only see you as a hereitic? I have no problem seeing Orthodox people who love the Lord as Christians, but there own tradition mandates that we are not even members of the body of Christ because we are not Orthodox. My Church has established many missionary works in the former USSR, and dealing with the Orthodox is their biggest obstickle in bringing people to faith in Christ. So from my persepctive, lead, follow or get out of the way! If the Orthodox are preaching the Gospel, then they should rejoice that Christians from other communions are doing the same, not react with hostility and anger when their own spiritually dead members find the reality of Christ and life in the Holy Spirit by joining with a Christian CHurch of another tradition. --Theophilus


07/21/2000 10:47:31 AM

Evangelicalism in mordern terms has become more than a missionary spirit. It has rubbed many the wrong way, and is associated highly with the Baptist. In modern times, it has become there right to promote intolerance toward other religions. There is nothing wrong with sharing your message as a missionary, but all too often they start proselytizing by telling the prospect their current church is of the devil, and he/she needs to be saved, and is nothing but mere emotionalism. My opinion is that Jesus would be sicken by such abuse. Instead of a spirit of friendship and a spirit of teaching, it becomes the spirit of control and the spirit of domination. They even tell you how you are supposed to feel, and not to trust your heart, but to use logic. Such hogwash. And they claim they are Christians?


07/20/2000 10:58:20 PM

Evangelization is a mandate of the gospel. But we should focus on those who are not already Christian. Why not go after those in Muslim countries? That would also give the missionaries a taste of the persecution they have been missing. I for one avoid "sheep-stealing". However, I am a Catholic priest and many times I have been accosted, while wearing a collar, and asked if I "know Jesus". I usually say "I should, He is my boss".


07/20/2000 11:31:37 AM

I don't think a low pressure effort to spread one's faith is inappropriate. But when it becomes high pressure it is uncivil. But the real problem is how we react when someone says they will not believe our way. Anything less than respect for the other person at that point is hypocracy. I remember being told as a child that members of Christian denominations other than my own are going to Hell. When it comes to this point, religion becomes divisive and brings more hate into the world than love. I am Christian, but with all the persecution of Jews over the millenia, it must be very insulting and hurtful when we try to convert them. We need to respect everyone and that is missing these days.


07/20/2000 11:25:50 AM

I appreciate Frederica's calm, sane voice in this often overheated discussion. And I agree with the overall thrust of her essay -- that Western Protestant missionizing of post-Soviet Russia has been, though well-intentioned, carried out with great insensitivity to the state and status of Russian Orthodoxy. However, she does not sufficiently address the evangelism of those vast numbers of folks who are totally irreligious and on whom Russian Orthodoxy has no exclusive claim. Who should evangelize them, and are there not enough of them to keep everybody busy? What's more, the weakened state of Russian Orthodoxy (after 10 years?) does not justify its persecution of non-Orthodox churches and believers, nor its support of laws that restrict religious freedom. Russian Orthodoxy can only benefit from a climate of religious freedom, and it can only be damaged if it seeks to be a state religion. No one wants to see the persecuted (which it truly was) turn into the persecutor.


07/20/2000 10:17:15 AM

Personal "witnessing" and proselyttism is the most annoying thing about Christianity, and I intensely dislike it. The audacity! The arrogance! Telling us that their book, which instructs them to do this to the rest of us, is directly inspired and the true words of their god——all the spirits, ghosts, supernatural stuff, we are supposed to believe! It is the height of rudeness and insults our intelligence beyond any words to describe. I think they like it if you become angry with them, because it is all "foretold", in the book and they love to be martyrs.


07/20/2000 09:59:00 AM

Sure Jesus could handle the job of sharing the gospel message to future generations Himself in some special way, but He didn't. He chose to command His followers to do it when He gave them the great commission..."To go out and preach the WORD.." There is NO plan "B". Deal with it.


07/20/2000 09:51:12 AM

So many of you seem to be very offended and at what? Hearing how Jesus loved you so much that He cancelled your sin debt by dying on a cruel Roman cross for you. Pity... It appears that the Bible was true after all. The Cross is an offense to those who are perishing.


07/20/2000 09:45:25 AM

You know, Jesus was being very insensitive then when He said, I am the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father (God) but by ME. Go figure....


07/20/2000 06:17:05 AM

Finally, let me comment that anyone who spends all that time worrying about an afterlife, is, imo, does not 'have both oars in the water.' They should be concentrating on life here. The reward of a good life is a good live itself. Nobody knows for sure if there's anything after. Sure, some people desperately need that assurance, and if they convert someone, they think it gives them more brownie points into heaven, but that's their problem. When they come to my door, as they sometimes do, I just say "not interested."


07/20/2000 06:10:53 AM

grunger66: They are trying to rape you. Make no mistake. You have every right to tell them you're not interested. But Catholics also proselytize. I am Jewish, and in grade school Catholic teachers would give me all sorts of literature. I'm talking 4th grade. What did I know? The part about "if you died tomorrow, would you know you were going to heaven?" That is the silliest comment of all. In our book store, where, by the way, we also sold moderate and free-thinking Christian books such as C.S Lewis or Matthew Fox, etc., we'd often find tracts stuffed into our books. We'd just take them out and make little bonfires out of them. Again you can see the mentality of these evanglizers by those stupid tracts. Somebody gets hit by a car, and geez! where will he go? heaven or hell? So silly. They are obviously directed towards very uninformed people. Fortunately people like that didn't shop in my store. LOL


07/20/2000 06:00:07 AM

I also see no need to be polite to the evangelizer when they begin quoting passages from the Bible 'out of context' or telling you you're going to hell, if you don't believe their way. That is so 2nd grade. I owned a New Age book store for 12 years, and sometimes, the Christians would come in, and tell us we were all going to hell in a handbag, so to speak. I thought they were funny. Some would get scared when they walked in and saw all the different symbols and books from other religions. We sold Wiccan books also, and I want to make it perfectly clear that Wiccans are not Satanists. But, my did the evangelizers run out of the shop when they saw those books!


07/20/2000 05:56:04 AM

(proselytizing, part 2) He laid into me to say the "sinners prayer" with him -- and I finally did just to get him off my back. It was something I didn't mean and something I regret doing even to this day. Afterward, I felt guilty and that I had betrayed my Catholic beliefs. I felt like I had been spiritually raped. A week or so later, I called him into my office and told him I thought he was out of line and that he had violated me and my boundaries. He tried to get into a debate with me but I refused and asked him to leave. To this day, I feel like he was trying to prey on me, to stalk me spiritually, to take advantage of the fact I was still a relatively new Catholic. The sad thing about this incident is that it shattered my trust in other, non-Catholic Christians -- and that it prompted me to think twice about opening up to anyone about my faith. Luckily, I haven't encountered another incidence of proselytizing since then. B


07/20/2000 05:54:58 AM

(proselytizing, part 1) I'm a Catholic -- and one who's been "in the crosshairs" of someone attempting to proselytize me (Look for my story in another post). Now for that story I promised at the beginning of this message. A long time ago, I worked in a workplace where most of my co-workers were evangelical Christians. In a meeting one day, I happened to mention that I was becoming Catholic (this was just before I was baptized and confirmed). One of my co-workers latched onto this and started paying more attention to me. He started drilling me about the strength of my faith. His volleys included the evangelistic cliches such as asking "If you were to die tomorrow, would you know if you were going to Heaven?" and other queries. His "coup de grace" was one day when we went to lunch and after lunch he started sinking his "lunch hooks" into me. He told me his personal testimony -- and when we got back to my office, he really pressured me about my faith and was being real pushy. (more)


07/20/2000 05:53:54 AM

I see they are. Just checking before making a post. They do not work on some of the other discussion boards and the words run beyond the margins. I don't feel threatened or bored when someone starts proselytizing. I simply feel challenged. I know perfectly well, I will not be converted, and I know why. It is those who know little about their own religion as it relates to other paths that are most vulnerable.


07/20/2000 05:51:58 AM

To me personal evangelism often appears as a big "chess game" where the person in the position of "evangelist" has a goal of winning a "check-mate" by evoking (by whatever means necessary) a "sinners prayer" or other profession of faith out of their intended target. Simply put, evangelism appears a lot now to be more like being a "spiritual pick-up artist" than being a way of truly witnessing God's (or fill in your supreme being's) love to others. I've thought for a long time that evangelism should be done with a sensitivity for a person's existing spiritual and religious beliefs. As a Christian, I think that proselytizing directed at people who are adherents of an established faith tradition is a form of poor stewardship -- a wasteful way to use one's God-given gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Grace. and Peace. B PS --look for my story of being proselytized in another post.


07/20/2000 05:51:04 AM

Are these margins working? Just checking.


07/19/2000 11:06:28 PM

When ever I see, a person witnessing, the only statement I wanted to make is "WILL THE REAL TRUE CHRISTIAN STAND UP!" . You may ask what exactly I meant by that. I constantly hear & seen Protestant ministers belittling Pope and Catholic church as if Catholic church is a cult. Amazingly all of them shout that HOLY BIBLE IS THE INERRANT WORD OF GOD. Still each of them claim that they ALONE have the truth. All of them read one Bible and come with thousand meanings. The fact of the matter is nobody knows WHAT IS THE TRUTH. Nobody can boast that they alone have MONOPOLY OF GOD AND TRUTH. Hindu Rig Veda states: EKAM SAT, VIPRAH BAHUDHA VADANTI. "There is ONE and only God, and people describe it differently." We have to learn to respect each other's belief system. Simple worship of a person may be very crude in the neighbor's eyes; but in the eyes of the God, it may be superior. Nobody has the exclusive right for God or Truth. God and Truth are universal


07/19/2000 11:01:22 PM

I'm an intelligent, seeking individual. I don't need anyone to tell me how I should believe because I know each of us has to find his own way. I love to hear how a particular belief has made a difference in others' lives, but I want to be left to draw my own conclusions. I'm always looking for proof...but when someone tells me their way is the only way, I doubt their objectiveness; there always seems to be an underlying hysteria (as if they're trying to convince themselves). I try to live my life as morally responsible and joyfully as I can and if someone wants to hear my beliefs, I'll gladly share them, but I don't impose my beliefs on anyone else. The fruits of my life are the proof of what I believe, not what I say.


07/19/2000 10:31:34 PM

Proselyting ? It seem to me, that even those against it, are also doing it. When you share, you must first have a certain assurance of what you want to communicate. You must also know that you can learn from others, and be open to listen to them. In a frank dialogue and in searching for Truth, there will be disagreement, and that is OK, when done in respect. Everyone belief to have the truth, and if you think that this does not apply to you, then what are you trying to tell us? I will continue to share my belief with others, and by it, most probably find out, that I am wrong, and so are some of my idea and, I might have to repent (change) my way to a better one. So what is wrong with finding out that I am wrong and that I need to change myself while I do the same to you? And the only one that I cannot change is God, for He is the perfect One. What is bad (good) for all of you (and me too), is that someone will have to proselyte to us, in order that we might better ourselves. :-) That's Life


07/19/2000 10:14:03 PM

I know that convicted believers feel that they possess the proverbial cure for cancer, and of course they feel that this "cure" should be related, but there are times when it's insensitive and uncalled for. Example: When an "unsaved" relative is grieving over a "saved" family member, and their pastor tries to incorporate evangelism into their comforting of the relative. Just let it alone. Sure, we all have the right to speak, and we also have the right to leave or speak against prosteltyzing. But in agreement with another poster here, it is arrogant to believe that you know any truth. Someone said, "Take it up with Jesus." How about we let Jesus convert people directly instead of needing evangelists. Now wouldn't that solve the problem? Jesus can do it without anyone's help, if one buys the Christian line.


07/19/2000 10:12:20 PM

I think living a life of spiritual awareness naturally invites others to do the same. Live your life with love, compassion, and forgiveness. Give thanks for your blessings. Let people know the source of your joy and strength.


07/19/2000 10:10:42 PM

The main thing I can suggest is first, live your life in such a way that I (or anyone else) would have a reason to think that your faith has a positive influence. Secondly, ask permission before you start witnessing. If someone's not interested in listening, they're not going to be worth your time - the more you talk, the less likely they are to actually hear what you're saying or accept your beliefs. Third, keep in mind how you would feel if someone were to come to you and try to convert you away from your faith - and treat those you are preaching to with the same respect you'd want to be treated with. Yes - the Golden Rule applies here. Lastly, realize that you won't be successful in converting. Accept this, and when you see you are not going to be successful, deal with it gracefully. Who knows, the respect you earn by showing respect may open the door for you again later. Being disrespectful will only get the door slammed harder in face.


07/19/2000 09:44:41 PM

It is arrogant to the extreme to believe that your religion is true for everyone and that you have an obligation to spread it to other people. It is also typically American to be so arrogant that you believe that you have the right to impose your beliefs and your ways on everyone else. This is particularly true as the USA is the one remaining superpower. So we have the explosive combination of religious and cultural imperialism, cultural and religious arrogance that typifies the great missionary efforts of our day - most of them directed and financed by the USA's Protestant Christian groups (he Moslem missionary efforts, which are very successful, are much less arrogant and more grassroots). Ironically, as the missionaries fan out to the world, secularism grows and Christianity falters inside the West.


07/19/2000 08:50:19 PM

What gets me about proselytizing is thta most of the time it is being done between Christians. That is, for example, the American missionaries going to Russia and evangelizing among the Russian Orthodox. I think this is very arrogant, like we Americans know better than you do. I remember meeting a man that was going to do mission work in France. I pointed out that France had been Christian for over a 1000 years. I was met with silence. Obviously the Catholic faith was not good enough for him.


07/19/2000 07:54:45 PM

manonamission writes: "Take it up with Jesus, he is the one who sends us. " He shows there how aggressive evangelizers miss the entire point. Those of us who Christians want to evangelize to don't -believe- in Jesus. A lot of us don't believe in Yahweh, either. We're certainly not going to complain to someone we don't even believe exists about the rude behavior of some evangelizers! We'll complain where responsibility belongs: with the people behaving rudely.


07/18/2000 11:16:48 AM

Modern proselytizing is an embarrassment. We should instead live lives of compassion, volunteerism, humor, and explore the mystery of God. When I am harrassed by an evangelical, I like to ask "Who was Jesus' paternal grandfather ?" (Heli or Jacob) or "How long was Jesus in the tomb ?" (Fri eve thru Sun Morn, or 3days, 3 nights). It is a shame so many organizations take advantadge of people's ignorance or disinterest in Christianity, and use this to control them. Such behavior has nothing to do with Christianity.


07/18/2000 07:52:35 AM

Sirach, That depends on the place, and the pamphlet. A Jack Chick tract is legally, a hate crime, and logically, proselythizing. A Family Radio tract in Saudia Arabia would get you arrested. But presumably you weren't exploring these extremes. The thing is, the touchy people do see the name of Jesus as similar to email spam, or telemarketing at dinnertime. The fact that all three are effective is evidenced by their persistence. You don't often see cults spreading the printed word, because they want no evidence for rebuttal. There is power in the name of Jesus, like no other name . Spread the Word.


07/17/2000 06:32:07 PM

Hi Guys, I just skimmed through the posts and Frederica's article. I just want to know what you think. Is it proselytizing in a public place you just leave a pamphlet or booklet telling about the Church? Bad idea? Good idea? Yours in Christ, Sirach


07/17/2000 03:49:55 PM

Evangelize. Use words if you must, said St Francis. But the word proselytize is neither Scriptural, nor is it effective. It's more like a hitchiker flipping off the cars, rather than waiting for a ride; it's simply ineffective. Websters defines prostelythize 2 ways: one as defined here, and common usage defines. The other definition, oddly, equates with any recruitment, no matter how effective. IE, Webster's picks up on the secular confusion, as if any evangelization is offensive.


07/17/2000 03:00:16 PM

this guy is a prime example of the enlightened left and its intolerant biggotry. everyone, evidently, is allowed to say whatever he wants unless he is a christian talking about jesus -- that is an intolerable case of religions oppression -- a dispicable example of the infringement of the revered freedom to not have to hear what we don't want to, the one so immortally enshrined in the bill of rights. in reality, it is this man's assumptions of contempt and intolerance that have consistently led to the mass persecution of christians, from ancient rome to the soviet union and present day china.


07/17/2000 05:01:26 AM

A lot of the East European/Russian peoples most open to Protty Evangelism aren't faithful Orthodox but those disenchanted by the Orthodox Church- in some cases even disgusted by the collaboration of some Orthodox hierarchs with the former Soviet government. Also, for a society needing to develop more democratic social structures & greater free-enterprise economic ones, the Religious Open Market is essential. With all the faults of Protestantism (mainly the excesses of democracy & capitalism), democratic capitalism needed Protestant faith for inspiration & stabilization.


07/15/2000 02:10:23 PM

Having dealt with some of the evangelical sects here, and knowing the mean things said about my religion by some of those people, I can imagine exactly why the Orthodox Church is upset. Yes, the Church is in bad shap, but these people will help out the way a pack of coyotes "helps" an injured deer.


07/15/2000 01:04:42 PM

There were "40,000" bishops, priests and nuns imprisoned and killed, not to mention large numbers of non-orthodox lay persons, who were forced to join state approved churches. The word "pastors" denotes a protestant bias that doesn't apply here.


07/13/2000 07:39:04 PM

The last words of Jesus to the churches. Rev 3:19 " As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be ZEALOUS and REPENT" 3:20 " Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me. 3:21 " To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on his throne. 3:22 " He who has an ear. let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. These are the last instructions to the churches by the Master. The next words are at His second coming. The most important thing we can do as believers after accepting Christ is to lead others to him. It is not so important as WHO leads to christ but that they ARE lead to Christ. As far as those who believe that evangelism is "some of the ugliest religious behaviour in the world". Take it up with Jesus, he is the one who sends us.


07/13/2000 06:14:37 PM

I believe that some of the Evangelical Proselytizing done in Africa is exemplary of some of the ugliest "religious" behaviour in the world. Sometimes, starving children orphaned by diseases and wars are targeted. They are given food and are preached Evangelical Protestantism. Is this ethical? No. Is this Moral? No. It is sickening to see poor, starving children being offered food in one hand and Evangelical Protestantism in the other. Can they really say no? Are their minds well-formed enough to make a rational descision? Or is this just one way to take advantage of the poor and ignorance? Instead why not go proselytize to rich, well-educated University Professors in New York City? At least there you will know that they won't be converting for the bread and medicine.

Glen Ellyn Bob

07/13/2000 04:32:17 PM

I am grateful to Ms. Mathewes-Green for drawing the distinction between proselytism and evangelization. Father Vincent Donovan, a Holy Ghost Father who spent 17 years ministering to the Masai in East Africa. (The Masai are a warrior people that have never been conquered and never felt any need for the material or cultural blandishments of Western European Christianity.) Let me paraphrase Father Donovan's words: Evangelization is not an altar call; it's not calling the other person to come over to where you are. Much less does it mean that you go over to where the other is. No, rather, evangelization happens when the two of you together go to some third place where neither of you has been before. That's risky business. It takes surrender. But it's the grace-filled land where the Spirit plays.


07/13/2000 03:24:15 PM

By all means, "share Christ with love". Do so by your example. Live as a light and you won't have to flap your gums half as much. :) PRACTICE what you PREACH, is what my mother also told me. The practice is the sermon. As Helen Prejean once said, "WE are the only Bibles some people will ever SEE."


07/13/2000 02:25:19 PM

Christians have two responsibilites under Christ: Know Him and Share Him. I agree that proper "witnessing" is not hitting someone over the head with your Bible and telling them they are going to Hell. But I also believe Christians should not sit back on what we know to be true and watch everyone else head down the wrong path, just to be politically correct. If we share Christ with love, then a non-believer with an open heart and a thirst for the truth will find The Light. If not, then we have still done what we are called to do, even if it makes some feel uncomfortable.


07/13/2000 11:08:30 AM

I'm all for a respectful sharing of faith. In one sense, I think all religions should be involved in it daily. It's when we engage the marketplace of ideas that we have education and growth. Hiding in our church buildings and homes and refusing to confront the issues is the most significant contributor to brainwashing. I applaud the Southern Baptists and their missionary activities. It's plain to me, the people who are offended most by the supposed evangelistic "intrusions" are the ones doing the most brainwashing.

Jim Holman

07/13/2000 09:49:47 AM

Evangelism purports to consist of individuals sharing their personal faith with others. In actual practice, it's more like an industry engaged in brainwashing. Evangelism works only inasmuch as the prospective convert knows little about the history and origins of the Bible, church history, theology, and philosophy. Not surprisingly it targets young people. Evangelism doesn't attempt to give people a balanced view of the religion in question. It encourages the prospective convert to question only inasmuch as pre-fabricated answers are available. To be exact, it is nothing more than propaganda. A personal sharing of faith is Ok I suppose. But the current industrial version of evangelism is morally reprehensible, whether in this country or abroad.


07/13/2000 09:38:16 AM

Instead of networking our resources and working together in an intelligent way, Christianity has been having this food-fight since the reformation that is ultimately self-defeating and disruptive of the very goals we presumably all share.


07/12/2000 11:37:11 PM

Khouria Matthewes-Green: Thank you for your thoughtful article. "Kick 'em while theyr'e down" indeed. To me the most offensive thing about Evangelical proselytizing is the assumption that the Evangelicals are the only ones who are "saved" and thus the only Christians. Did Christianity not exist before the 16th century reformation? Perhaps these people, though well-intentioned should take a good, long look at history and theology before buying their plane tickets.