Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Is Evangelism Not?

conversion, religion, christian, god, christianity, atheism, atheist, pagan, evangelism, evangelist, witness, proselytizing, bible
9 marks (I don't get the reference) explains what evangelism is- by defining what evangelism is not. (Go ahead, explain to an alien what a cupcake is by telling the alien what it is not. I'm sure the alien will get a really clear picture of cupcakes from that.)

The Impossibility of Imposition. Many people equate evangelism with imposition - someone imposing their religious views on another person as a ploy for power or control. But this idea is mistaken. keep going . . .

To equate evangelism with imposition implies that Christianity is only subjectively true - true and binding for me, but not for others. so it's totally okay for me to beat you over the head with The Origin of the Species? i can't even deal with this "objectively true" nonsense. clearly not, or we'd all be christians . . . oh, wait, these are the same people that don't accept evolution . . . and now i'm reduced to cogito ergo sum. Christianity is not man's subjective opinion. no, it's your subjective opinion. It is God's objective truth, regardless of our subjective opinions. oh, dear.

To equate evangelism with imposition implies that Christians are able to convert people themselves, which is entirely false. this is a "planting the seeds" argument. essentially, evangelists excuse their overwhelming failure to convert most people they try to convert by saying that only god can convert people, christians are only responsible for introducing people to the idea. as if anyone in the US has not heard of jesus. (I think I'm going to say to the next evangelist I meet "Jesus? Never heard of him." just to see what they do.) In fact, of all the religions in the world, Christianity is the one least amenable to such imposition because of its theology of conversion. uh, yeah.

Humanity is so entrenched in sin worthless! you're all worthless without god! that unless God's Spirit does the converting work Himself, none of us would ever repent and believe. it's not my fault these stupid heathens won't believe!

Therefore, Christianity is actually unique among world religions for the impossibility of imposing its belief structure on others. has he studied any other religions? buddhism, maybe? any pagan sect? Only God convinces people to repent and believe. well, cool, then, just leave us all alone then. we've all heard of your god, apparently he hasn't gotten around to converting us, so go get a hobby.


  1. Interesting isn't it? He's basically declared that the entire world isn't Christian because God doesn't want it to be.

    Calvinist much?

  2. Short-time lurker, first-time commenter! (Found you through Leigh).

    "Therefore, Christianity is actually unique among world religions for the impossibility of imposing its belief structure on others"

    I believe Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden presented the correct response to this in Fight Club:

    "You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

    Thousands of religions on this rock, most of them proclaiming themselves the singular enlightened truth, and this guy has the arrogance to declare that *only his* religion has a god? That goes beyond not believing in other gods, that's a flat-out denial that these are even *belief systems*. I'd not be surprised to learn that he also drives in both lanes of a two-lane highway, because he's 'unique' and believes that no other cars are actually on the road.

  3. PF do you not understand how imposing those non-proselytizing religions are? I have to fight off Wiccans, Buddhists, practicing Jews, Hindus, Shintoists, Parseeists, and Taoists all the bloody time. They are constantly trying to change laws to their religion and what not. A group of them just tried to pass a law in Oklahoma that would make stem cell research illegal in Oklahoma.

    No wait that was the Evangelical Christians, nevermind.

  4. Welcome, Comhradh! Notice how nobody's that willfully ignorant about things that could kill you, like other cars on the highway, or setting yourself on fire?

    EC: calvinism is the only logical conclusion to believing that god is both omnipotent and omniscient. you can't know everything and not know what i'm going to do next. and if god's not going to do something about it, then it's basically preordained.

  5. Oh I totally agree with you PF. Calvinism is the only sane stance for believing in an "omni" god. Free will is an illusion. Thus God makes people to torture forever as that is pleasing to him. So God is one sick fucked up thing that does not deserve worship.

  6. 9 Marks here has given a wonderful argument for him leaving us alone. I've yet to feel "God's Spirit" moving in me and making me want to convert to crazy Christianity. So I guess that means that God doesn't love me. Oh well. I'll have to suffer through.

  7. Yeah, those stupid Shintoists, always interrupting my dinner. And the Wiccans- you can't go out in public without Wiccans trying to make you take their tracts!

  8. First off, I'd like to say that everything he claims people are implying are not mere implications.

    Second, isn't there a clear contradiction between "unless God's Spirit does the converting work Himself, none of us would ever repent and believe" and evangelism? The planting the seed argument can not reconcile those two disparate ideas, for if only their god can convert, then planting the seed is meaningless. The only way I can see to reconcile the two is if they say their evangelizing is actually the work of their god, that they are a tool, a means by which their god acts. Now that might be sold as being humble, but in actuality it's quite arrogant, isn't it? Who the fuck are they that to be picked by the supreme being of the universe, huh? Little narcissists.

    Third, their perversion of the Golden Rule is all about imposition on others for it strips the human empathy away. Look closely at the words, do unto others as YOU would have done onto YOU. So as a Christian, you would think that if you weren't a Christian you'd hope someone would evangelize you, therefore, they see it as a good thing and not imposing. If they ever took the time to understand nonChristians and see what THEY would want done unto THEM, then they'd see evangelism as a huge imposition. In short, it's Christianity itself which makes it impossible for Christians to see they're imposing on others.

  9. I'd much rather believe in oblivion at the end thanin the ravings of John Calvin. Besides, if we're not among the "elect" doesn't that mean we'd be justified in doing whatever the hell we want anyway?

  10. well, i'm screwed anyway . . . back to business as usual in atheismland.

  11. so how do they explain the Inquisition and all the other attempts at forceable conversion? Merro's and mirino's in Spain? all the other people forced to convert? or the fact that he is sitting there still working to convert everyone?


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