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Proselytizing


GeorgeW
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I am not a fan of proselytizing and realize that this violates a basic precept of PC. However, if one deeply and sincerely has a particular religious conviction, then wouldn't there be a moral imperative to spread it?

 

As an example, if one really thinks that accepting Jesus is a precondition to eternal life, would it be morally acceptable to allow others, without serious attempts at persuasion, to suffer eternal torment?

 

What sayeth PCs?

 

George

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George, to me, proselytizing is usually accompanied by some kind of consequences such as, "If you don't accept what I'm telling you, then God will burn you in hell." Or the consequences could be disfellowshipping or disassociation. Or the consequences could even be be looked down upon, being made to feel inferior. Of course, consequences of ages past were burnings and death at the sword. But it seems to me that proselytizing is usually geared toward "shake-n-bake" conversions with threat of consequences of some sort.

 

On the other hand, sharing our own viewpoints without threat of consequences can be rewarding and uniting. I see nothing wrong with saying, "This is how I see it and this is my conviction." I doubt that any of us live according to beliefs or assumptions that we cognitively know to be wrong. So we do the best we can. But sharing those beliefs and convictions can be very beneficial until/unless lines are crossed where the threats of consequences start.

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I think that's a good point, and one I've thought about myself. I can't say I've come to any definitive and defintie "correct" answer, but here are some of my thoughts.

 

If I really believed, felt I "knew" you were about to be hit by a bus, whether you believed me when I told you and that you'd better move out of the way or not, if it looked like you weren't going to move in time, yeah, I'd probably physically pull or shove you out of the way to save you, even if you objected.

 

I'm sure I'd not just stand there and let it happen, and smugly say, well, too bad, you wouldn't listen, too bad you got smacked, but it was your own fault...I tried to warn you.

 

I know that at times when I've seen someone on a collision course with something of a lessor disaster, at least less likely so final and fatal as getting hit by a bus, and really felt I "knew" that's what was going to happen, I've felt very upset both then and later when it actually did happen, even suffered grief for them, but still I can't imagine standing there smugly saying, well, too bad, you deserved it, I tried to warn you. Well, actually, yeah, I might say something like that, but not smugly, anyway, I hope. If it was really something real bad of course. If I really thought their life was in danger though, well, yead, again, I might attempt forcable action if that was a possible option. Let's call it "an intervention."

 

But while its within the realm of possiblity to intervene in a material sense, force an action or prevent it, it is really not possible to "force" anyone else to believe, or change what they believe. We can't even "force" ourselves to beleive something, or change our belief!

 

Any change in belief has to happen within a person, and can only come through some process of "convincing", whether the source of what convinces us comes from something someone else tells us, or our own observations and reasoning processes. So the only potentially effective means of trying to change another's belief has to be through presenting them sufficient evidence they find acceptable and reasonable.

 

Here we come up against that "faith in what? When we accept as true, on faith, something on nothing more than what some other or others tell us to believe, that faith is in the crediblity of those others, not in whatever the particular item of beliefs is itself.

 

And, here's where I run into the dead end. If you not only cannot present me or anyone else with evidence for why one should accept something as true, but can't even explain to me why YOU accept it as true, beleive as you do, other than someone else told YOU to believe, well, we are done.

 

Proselytizing, then, comes down to really nothing more than one person demanding another accept their word, their opinion, as of having absolute authority, and that's an awful arrogant position. And no one should be expected to submit to that authroity as valid..to do so, to my thinking, is to elevate that person to God status. And before I'd even consider that as even a remore possiblity, i'd have to believe pretty strongly and confidently in that person's inerrant, infallable God status in any and every other way....and if you've ever met anyone of whom you could say you can find no error or inaccuracy in anything they have ever said or done, well, I'd say you are pretty naive. If I know I can't trust even relatively ordinary things that person may say and do as inerrant and infallable, I sure don't think i should be putting something like the eternal destiny of my soul under their control.

 

Proselytizing should be clearly differentiated from evangelizing, although there can be some points of overlap that might be difficult to discern. Even when you read what Jesus and apostles said in the NT, you see processes of convincing, rather than demands of acceptance, belief, on mere "I said so." But even there, ultimately, the final convincing, or conviction, had to come dorectly through God, the workings of the Holy Spirit within and upon any individual. Professions of beleif are easy to get....actual belief is not. People can be easily led to professions of belief, most often through peer pressure, need and desire to feel they belong in, are accepted within, a group. And those profession of belief can feel very real,very much like actual belief, to those so influenced.

 

So now, since I've established we can't change another person's belief by only our say so, but only through a process of presenting evidence toward convincing, we are not going to do anything by telling the proselytizer that I think what you are saying is just a bunch of nonsense. We are not going to be effective in moving that person toward recognizing that what they think they hold as a belief is really noting more than their belief in their profession of belief, through any means but that of presenting evidence toward convincing. And being realistic, none of us are likely to be able to accomplish that one on one with such a proselytizer, whether it is ourself or others they are determined to proselytize. All any of us can do is, from a ground of understand why we are convinced by evidence as we are, that their postion is unsound, is maybe land some subtle chisel blows that chip away at it. Maybe eventually, they will have suffered enough such little chisel blows that they get to thinking and realize for themselves there is no valid support for what they've accepted as a belief.

 

But at the end of it, in my own honest opinion, very very few proselytizers REALLY believe what they are trying to tell others to believe. I think the proselytizer is trying to convince him/her self more than anybody else. I say that out of observation of inconsistency in how they 'live out' that so-called belief. Such as I've mentioned elswhere, those that can profess beleif in tradtions of salvation, heaven, hell, then at a funeral for one unsaved, one that they LOVED, just shake their heads and say too bad, we arned him, then go laugh and talk about ordinary things, back to everyday life...even go sing hymns that suggest EVERYBODY is going to be meeting once again "on the other side" ---never a mention that beloved uncle Charlie and sweet aunt Suzie and even dear old Dad, none of whom had ever "accepted the Lord" aren't going to be there! My God! If anyone REALLY believed that loved one is now suffering the eternal torments of burning in hell, how would that even be remotely possible????

 

If they can get others to accept it, agree to it, their own sense of it being right, true, is given a boost...if many others beleive it, it must be true. Perhaps the most effective thing that lands those chisel blows, that chips away at the proselytizers own faith in what they are saying, is how few, if any, others they try to proselytize are actually moved to accept it. If after a good while, you realize NOBODY is believing this stuff you are trying to tell them, maybe I'd better re-think it a bit myself.

 

It seems to me, if tere is anything we might do that is effective against a proselytizer, it is not to attack, cause them to draw their stone walls around their beliefs even higher, but find ways to present questions that will lead THEM to have to think about what they beleive and why.

 

 

Jenell

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WS said "I doubt that any of us live according to beliefs or assumptions that we cognitively know to be wrong. "

 

You are absolutely correct. Both philosophical arguments and modern studies into Cognition support that. As I've heard it put, it is wise when someone suggests, as seems not uncommon within religious communties, that we take some time to consider if and how we are really living out our beleifs in our lives, the exercise and questions be changed to, what does my life reveal about what I really believe?

 

A belief is nothing more than an opinion held so firmly as to be considered knowledge, truth. But we will ALWAYS act out of what we hold as knowledge, as truth. If we are not acting out of a belief as if we know it to be true knowledge, then that belief is not a beleif at all, but a mere profession of beleif held for social or psychological reasons.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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...if one deeply and sincerely has a particular religious conviction, then wouldn't there be a moral imperative to spread it?

 

As an example, if one really thinks that accepting Jesus is a precondition to eternal life, would it be morally acceptable to allow others, without serious attempts at persuasion, to suffer eternal torment?

 

George

 

No.

 

As other posters have quite eloquently illustrated (Jenell in particular), "religious conviction" is NOT word of G-d, but merely one person's (or group's) musing. Short any substantive proof to the imminent threat of hellfire (like, for example; the actual existence of such a place), one runs the risk of crying wolf.

 

Of course, freedom of speech allows for prosyletizing in controlled settings.

 

That's why we have locks on the doors!

 

NORM

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Should we appreciate the fact that someone stands passively by and allows us to go to what they are convinced is eternal damnation? They could be thinking, you are a big boy or girl and you are responsible for your own fate.

 

George

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Proselytizing, then, comes down to really nothing more than one person demanding another accept their word, their opinion, as of having absolute authority, and that's an awful arrogant position.

 

This is my biggest problem with proselytizing; the arrogance of asserting a subjective truth as objectively true for everyone for all time. But, I also recognize that I come to this feeling based on a personal position of agnosticism and pluralism. Perhaps I would feel differently were I to have strong convictions about the consequences of heresy.

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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As long as Christians are killing, torturing, and creating situations where millions of people starve while food is stored or wasted. I don't think they have the right to preach because they are preying on others to satisfy an emotional or physical need so I feel it boils down to reverence for the Divinity within, the Soul, the life beyond the outer form, which is more into the essence of being. I feel if we find the essence within ourselves we will make contact with the essence or interior of people, plants, animals and things. This experience prohibits the exploitation of people, cities, nations, the planet or universe or the experience ceases to be. I don’t think it is possible for a person to be part of such activities and approach the Divinity within. The experience will alter the tendency towards preaching to dominate others. I feel as we acquire a greater sense of who we really are, we think more deeply about the consequences before we set energy to action. This seems to conclude that there will be different concepts, ideas and levels of a moral order according to one's relationship with the essence in all.

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Just to play the devil's advocate, I wonder how NORM's post is reconciled with Soma's post?

 

NORM says that a person's "religious conviction" is not the word of G-D, but a person's musings. But Soma speaks of the Divinity within and by capitalizing the "D", I think he is ascribing some kind of deification or Deity to what he describes, which goes beyond having a human musing to claiming a Divine...what?...presence? opinion? worldview? authority?

 

As a hypothetical situation, if NORM were to approach me in the vein of proselytizing, he might make it clear that what he shared came from his own musings, and I would certainly respect that as one human being to another. If Soma were to approach me in the vein of proselytizing, and he makes it clear that he does so from the Divinity within, I can't help but to feel some pressure there. After all, Divinity has historically demanded more listening that E.F. Hutton. :) So for me to not listen to or not to agree with Soma is to ignore or disagree with Divinity. That, as my previous post says, often carries the heavy weight of threats of consequences.

 

From my point-of-view, we, as humans, have nothing but human musings, human opinions, no matter how lofty those opinions might be. I have experiences of what I believe to be God, but my experiences of God and my descriptions of those experiences and whatever I have learned from them are still human notions. Yes, I claim to experience God. But I don't claim to be Divinity or to be God. Such notions, imo, are quite reflective of New Age religion, but I just don't find them to be sensible or convincing. I think such claims are too easily misused to bring harm to others but "lording it over" or claiming authority over others. We see this in the apostle Paul and we see it today in people who think that they have "more of God" than others do. I would much rather talk with someone who admits to being human than with someone who claims to be or speak for God. I probably would have been *very* uncomfortable around Jesus. :D

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I really don't have a problem with others believing whatever they want to, as long as it doesn't cross into actual action of offense against others.

 

A problem I, and I think many others, is they often do just that. It is that, not a belief they may hold, that I find objectionable.

Most that could be called a proselytizer seem to actually embrace a right, or responsiblity as they may see it, to do exactly that, impose upon, offend toward, others, with their determination to spread their message.

 

I also do not mind someone simply asking me if they can tell me about their beliefs, and depending on how they ask, and my circumstances at the time, I might even say ok. But at any point i say 'no', to me their persistance that ignores my 'no' is to me different only in degree from say, a man that were to persist in his attentions toward a woman when she says "no." This person is violating my boundaries.

 

While attending college, I had a few encounteres with a certain well-known Christian evangelistic group that target college campuses in particular. "Campus" is even part of their name. The head of the Religious Studies department casually referred to them as the "Trinitarians", because the main and sometimes seemingly only matter of import to them seems to be that you must believe in the Trinity and be "saved" and baptised in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. These people HATED the Religous Studies department, was not at all interested in taking advantage of such perks offerred any religious organization, for free rooms for meeting space and just hanging out, in the Religius Studies building, When I was there, theyre had actually been a restraining order placed in effect against them coming within a considerable distance of the Religious Studies building, because they were wont to hang around it in little groups, waiting to ambush people coming and going at the Religious Studies building. They weren't supposed to "ambush" people on the rest of the campus, either, but they felt they got around that by always stating in their approach the request, "Can I talk to you about the Lord Jesus Christ and your soul's salvation in eternity?" or some such....then ignore that you said no. They'd just keep on. They make JW's look like pussycats!

 

I was "ambushed" a few times when I sat still somewhere for a bit, a favorite kind of target....they'd come sit near you, make a bit of small talk, then ask that question, and launch right in. didn't matter if you said you are already a Christian, they moved right along, to make sure you knew if you really are saved, do you beleive in the Father, the son, the Holy Ghost blah blah. And this no matter how firmly you said no, if you said you didn't have time, they'd say but time now is nothing in eternity, or if you told them you were budy with something important, they'd say, nothing can be more important than your soul in eternitty......and yes, I reached the breaking point a time or two..........SCREAM! GET OUT OF MY FACE! I JUST TOLD YOU I AM PREPARING FOR SEMESTER EXAM IN 30 MINUTES!!!!!!!!!

i am absolutely serious, they are that bad. I almost filed a formal complaint with the U a few times, I think quite a few other people actually did. But it didn't seem to slow them down. They just got pushier, and sometimes, sneakier...such as, if you really needed to sit and study uninterupted, choose an area in eyesight of a campus security gaurd! Never some out of the way quiet corner, where they could make their ambush, and then a clean get away before you could call down security.

 

To me, this is abusive violation, offense, toward others. i still really don't care what they believe, about the Trinity or anything else. I do care that they ambush people that don't express interest, and won't take no for an answer

 

Jenell

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As some of you may know, I have posed a similar question before and have thought about it quite a bit.

 

Proselytizing has very negative connotations. It brings up images "fire and brimstone" preaching and Christians who condemn homosexuals to hell; it brings up my neighbor saying that her friends daughter "deserves" MS because she did drugs. No, speaking for myself I cannot, ever, think proselytizing is okay.

 

Having said that, however, I think if someone is truly convinced of his/her beliefs, that is okay to share those beliefs by prefacing them with "I believe...", or, "This is what I think..." much like we do here on the forum. I think its okay to write about said beliefs - which, I think is covered under free speech in the US at least.

 

One last thought - not only do I think sharing one's beliefs is okay, I think its sort of a given, otherwise we struggle through it alone.

 

And, because I'm tired, that probably makes sense to no one but me! :P

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On a lighter, and perhaps more amusing note, I did just recall an experience being approached by proselytizers in a public place that still give me a chuckle everytime i think about it.

 

I was in a busy mall, during holiday shopping season, really enjoying myself, doing more "people watching" than shopping, was i I guess you call one of those cheerfully sassy kind of moods. I'd sat down on a bench to rest my feet a bit, when two fresh-faced kids, i think teens, maybe very young adults, come up, bibles in hand, asking me if they can talk to me about the Lord...this has been a few years ago, weren't so many muslims and other faiths around, you could pretty much count on anyone you asked to know by the Lord, you mean Jesus, Christianity.

 

And i thought, well, I was going to sit here a bit anyway, why, "sure, I'll talk to you about the Lord" I said, patting the bench to either side of me to invite them to sit right down and let's have at. Now my thought was, I hadn't confronted a JW or anything like that in quite a long time, and having done a good bit of deeper bible study since then, let's just see how I can duel with a good sharp sword. Yeah, I know, kind of mean and irreverant of me.

 

Those two kids started just falling all over themselves in excitement, holding up their open hands toward me, frantically telling me, "wait right here! Wait right here! we'll be right back! we'll go get our leader!" Then one had a flash of brilliance and told the other, 'No, you go get him, i'll stay here with her!" It was really quite startling, and to say hilarious would be an understatement. So the one that stayed with me to gaurd me, make sure i didn't get away before the other one got back with their leader, who is standing there virtually dancing in excitement, nervously repeating, wait right here, they'll be right back, wait right here, ok", again holding his hands toward me to make sure I knew he really wanted me to stay right there. so i lightly take hold of one of his hands, tug toward the bench beside me and say, "hey, fine, sit down here and lets talk about the Lord, just you and me, until they get back."

 

Poor kid was totally dumbfounded...still falling all over himself, now blushing red, protesting, "but no, i can't do that, no, that's not how we have to do it, we have to wait for our Leader, I'm not trained yet, he's the one that can tell you everything..." on and on like that. and I tellhim again, "yes, we can talk about the Lord, come on, sit down, let's talk about the Lord, tell me what you do know, and maybe I can help you understand some of it, too....you know, just two believers sitting here talking about the Lord thing, I love talking to another believer about the lord...."

 

well, the poor kid yanked his hand back out of mine, and with one final emphatic motion with those open palms, and telling me again, stay there, stay there, he'd go find them (I giess the other kid and the Leader) and they'd all be right back." And off he dashed down the mall aisle, vanishing into the crowds.

 

Having rested my feet enough, still chuckling, I got up and sauntered off into Macy's to continue my shopping. i have no idea if any of them ever made it back to that bench or not.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Btw, i do want to add, about that little incident above..I really had no idea it was going to go as it did, i really had thought to sit down, listen to their spiels, let them show the snippets of bible text, then ask things like, does it mean that if you read it in context, or explain how you get that from this, or what do you think of this other text that relates to that, really sensible questions and discussion on what they presented...that 'we gotta get our leader' thing, and trying to make sure I stayed put until they could get their leader over there to tell me everything, was totally unexpected! i really didn't anticipate the thing turning into a circus!

 

Jenell

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Instead of the perspective of the ‘proselytee,’ or that of a third party, what about the perspective of the sincerely convinced believer? Does she have a moral imperative to attempt to save another's soul?

 

Should someone who is seriously convinced that heretical believe will result in eternal damnation stand idly by?

 

George

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I am not a fan of proselytizing and realize that this violates a basic precept of PC. However, if one deeply and sincerely has a particular religious conviction, then wouldn't there be a moral imperative to spread it?

 

As an example, if one really thinks that accepting Jesus is a precondition to eternal life, would it be morally acceptable to allow others, without serious attempts at persuasion, to suffer eternal torment?

What sayeth PCs?

George

 

I think that IF one deeply and sincerely has a particular religious conviction and its propagation is supported by moral teachings of their society or local group, that one would indeed feel some moral imperative to spread it. It also seems to me, understanding that through our own personal and past experience makes it easier to have compassion and patience for such a one we may feel is going too far in that regard or may possibly be just stuck at such a place in their journey to Truth.

 

Joseph

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It also seems to me, understanding that through our own personal and past experience makes it easier to have compassion and patience for such a one we may feel is going too far in that regard or may possibly be just stuck at such a place in their journey to Truth.

 

Yes, I think "compassion and patience" is the lesson I draw when looking at this question from their perspective. I admit that this is difficult as patience is not my greatest virtue. (I often pray the 'patience prayer:' God give me patience and give it to me now.)

 

George

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if one deeply and sincerely has a particular religious conviction, then wouldn't there be a moral imperative to spread it?

 

 

If one truly believed that then YES! It would no different than trying to stop a kid from being a drug abuser. A good example is the relationship of my wife and father. Dad is mostly atheist and at one time my wife was deeply concerned about his eternal resting place. There was no arrogance no desire to force someone to think the way I do... I was pure concern about a loved one. I would also add that I think this is the prevailing attitude of most conservatives. They are not evil... just have a different world view.

 

For those of us who walk the PC road it then become a matter of inviting a friend to something that we feel they might find meaningful or beneficial the same way we might invite a friend to yoga or a book club.

 

steve

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They are not evil... just have a different world view.

 

This is an important point and probably worthy of another thread.

 

The family situation you describe is a good example of a sincere person expressing their true concern for someone else in a proselytizing fashion.

 

George

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I think the matter of sincerity of belief is a very good point to consider in this matter.

 

I admit that a great deal of my own problems with the matter of proselytizing, and I think it's pretty clearly evident in my posts to this thread thus far, IS that of insincerity. What has seemed to me so much clearly evident hypocrisy, insincerity in those professions of belief. Just too much inconsistency and inconguity between those professed belefs, and what is evident in those peoples lives, actions, even other expressed beliefs.

 

It has seemed to me there has to be a lot of self-played mind games going on, such as what are called "ego-defenses", as well as cognitive dissociations between conflicting beliefs being held simultaneously, in attempts to avoid recognizing their own cognitive dissonance and its source. It has been pretty well established that this very thing is a common and major sources of tension, anxiety, psychic discord, that is commonly manifested as anxiety disorder, depression, and hostility and anger-management issues. And I honestly think I see a lot of those very things in at least those I've personally known that were much into this proselytizing mindset.

 

Neither can I escape another troublesome observation from my life experiences within a community and even family, of what seems to me a signficant correlation between such mindset, fanatical religious belief, the compelling drive to press those beliefs onto others, and mental illness. This was something that had troubled me long before I had occasion to attend college, study psychology, where I learned my personal observations in this are supported within studies of abnormal psychology and mental illness.

 

While in the research and clinical application in psychology as a field largely attempts avoide the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? The mental illness or the involvment in fanatical religiousity, which is as it must be to remain objective and unbiased, I am less bound by that limitation in evaluating my own personal experiences with and observations of people I've lived close to, affected by a complex of both. Whether the chicken or the egg came first, the mental disorder or the religious fanaticism, there is no doubt in my mind, from those expereinces, that once underway, it becomes a continous process of one perpetuating and reproducing the other in an endless cycle. I watched my own mother disintegrate into dysfunction and madness over the part of her lifetime I was able to observe, from my birth until her death, through just such a cycle of the interplay of mental illness, psychological dysfunction, and religious fanaticism.

 

While psychology attempts to avoid the question, which came first, there is none the less a great deal of empiracle support of such therapy approaches in many forms of mental and emotional disorder for the effectiveness of such as cogntive-behavioral based therapy. Change the thinking, change the mental state, and state of patient function and well-being. This has proven effective whether it is suspected the chicken or the egg may have come first, or whether either may be the primary source of dysfunction to begin with.

 

So many of my mother's, and others similar I've observed, psychological, cognitive, emotional, and practical dysfunctions were inextricably bound up with her religious beliefs. I also found, through those experiences and observations, pandering to, humoring, those dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors did nothing to help her or any of the problems in her life and relationships. Quite the oppostive, they were often clearly enabling, even contributing to the momentum of the ever downward spiral in her mental and emotional state. That does not mean we should be unkind about it, or become shaming about it, but a calm refusal to go along with it. to avoid pretense of accepting as valid what is clearly dysfunctional, only feeds the problems.

 

In the matter of sincerity in such beliefs, I hate to invoke such a negative sterotype, but see no other way than to do so, but when we consider upon the matter of anyone's sincereity in such beliefs, there must come to mind the commonly cartooned character, totally gone off into madness, standing in shabby street person clothes, carrying signs to the effect of and crying out, "Repent! for the Day of Judgement is at Hand!" I am going to state this, knowing its going out on a limb, but in my own personal experience and observation, I have never met a person that was truly sincere in their belief of such religious thought as to be determinedly proselytic toward others that wasn't also truly gone off into madness, serious and real mental and emotional dysfunction. Not one.

 

So for me, I can find no ground on which to stand to even consider that someone can be both sincere in such beliefs, and mentally/psychologically sound at the same time. So I can only meet such a person with one option...either they are not sincere and sane and my approach should be to present them with sound reason, or the are sincere and not sane and my approach should be sound reason, but also always with compassion in either case. And to humor them in it, enable them in it, is not compassion.

 

I do want to stress these thoughts are about irrational beliefs, things there is no evidence of support, that rest on nothing more than human ideas about something, such as about heaven and hell and damnation avoidable only by some religious beleif, ritual, or practice, and not such matters as for which can be presented reasonable argument and support for belief.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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I feel people want to be shown and not told. I feel many have abused the privelage of proselytizing to the point where they are imposing their ideas on another to save themselves. They don't think about the harm they are doing to the other. If we are to be shown heaven, which I feel is in the moment, the experience speaks for itself. To show someone something both parties must cooperate. It seems in proselytizing the goal is to move someone, manipulate someone to a belief because they feel that proselytizing is a part of the belief. For example, they believe in heaven, but have no experience of heaven so to move someone they use techniques such as fear or another technique. To show someone heaven the person must first experience it then give the techniques to reproduce that experience in another. We might say love and compassion will create an experience of heaven in your being. One is free to try or not, the experience will either come or the person realizes there must be a different way. In the love and compassion they might even find a different way or they might find that studying philosophy is more suitable to their personality. The showing seems to demonstrate a care or concern about the person involved. They are not doing it to save themselves from hell or to get a ticket to heaven. Since we are human beings I feel just being is better than doing. The doing seems to get usl on the wrong track. Proselytizing is doing to another for ourselves. Showing is being in the experience and showing others that experience of being.

 

One believes that talking about hell is a good thing to manipulate a person to desire heaven. The New Age thought would be when you love hell you will experience the being in heaven.

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I will share something of my mothers last few years that I think are very relevant here....I had been, in her later years, the only family member to try to stay close to her, keep close watch on her, the last decade of her life, and she spent her last two years here with me, in my care.

As her overall mental state deteriorated, the religiosity was clearly increasig as well. She was a very tormented, miserable person, cried a lot, went into absolute rages toward me and a couple other close family members, regularly, but when around others, she would at times go into a bright and smiling mode, face glowing as she spoke of her wonderful Lord and what peace He brought her, of having no worries or concerns or sadnesses...all the while, her hands busy twisting and tying things into knots, or incessantly wrining her hands if she had nothing to tie. As soon as visitors were gone, again she lasped back nto her misery. I actually had to taken videos of her daily life here to present othhers, for them to believe the difference I told them of.

 

Those knots! Those horrible knots! I cannot convey the horror of those knots I felt, the misery they represented. She obsessively twisted and tied everything into knots...all her clothes and linens, tie every item twisted and tied into knots tied into knots to other items twisted and tied into knots so that the end result was all these big wads of knotted clothes and stockings and linens all over the place. She tied my linens and curtains and any of my clothes she could get to into her knots, too. Anything, everything, that she could find, tied into those wads of knots.

 

All while professing the wonderful and complete peace her faith in her religious beliefs brought her. Those wads of knots came to stand for, for me, her true internal state. My mother, bless her poor tormented mind, suffered a great deal, bore a heavy burden, to teach me what she did through that difficult time. It would be for me to dishonor her in that, to not have learned, to have brought from that, the lessons there to be learned, the understandings to be comprehended. to others, to the outside world, she presented her facade of peace and joy in her religious beleifs and faith....to me, she revealed the truth.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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I am going to state this, knowing its going out on a limb, but in my own personal experience and observation, I have never met a person that was truly sincere in their belief of such religious thought as to be determinedly proselytic toward others that wasn't also truly gone off into madness, serious and real mental and emotional dysfunction. Not one.

 

Jenell

 

Pleased to meet you Jenell . I guess i be one of those you described. At least in my past but not now except possibly perhaps i am still in my madness and dysfunction.. :)

 

 

Joseph

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I feel people want to be shown and not told.

 

I think it is much more than a matter of "want" I think it is a matter of "need." It is also a matter of soundness and wisdom, eve self-defense. I think that while we might accept on just being told, things of little or no real signficance and consequence, that we cannot, nor should we, accept on that basic anything of real signficance and consequence. And that is as it should be. Othereise, we are greatly at the mercy of any and every evil or misguided human whim. Certainly nothing that affect our very survival, well-being. And what can be of greater signficance and consequence than something like our "soul", our eternal destiny? Is it really even possible to accept something of great consequence as this on basis of being merely "told", without being shown evidence to support it?

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