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Evangelism - moonspinner
moonspinner
moonspinner
Evangelism
Have you ever wanted to convert somebody so badly? I mean, you want to plump down next to the person with a prayer book and say, “You won’t be saying half the stuff you did if you were really a skeptic. Face it: you’re practically a Christian, so make it official?”

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gizzi1213 From: gizzi1213 Date: July 23rd, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, since you asked...no. But, to each her own!
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 23rd, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol! A few weeks ago, I'd have said the same. :)
gizzi1213 From: gizzi1213 Date: July 23rd, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually had a middle sentence in my original reply, but deleted it thinking it might be taken the wrong way. That sentence was "Honestly, I tend to run screaming in horror from people with prayer books, of any faith or creed."

If I had to describe my "faith" I would say I believe in the concept of a "higher power," call it what you will, but I think "religion" is a manmade concept and as such, extremely flawed. So, while I believe in a "high power" I don't believe in religion.

I do, however, believe it's an extremely personal choice and one that is due common courtesy and respect, whatever the faith is someone professes to believe in.

GAH! This is to much deep thinking on a vacation day! ;-)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 23rd, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
While I may not literally run... or scream... I did pick up a habit of quickly ducking behind the door when I saw Witnesses on the street. Which made living with my old roommate somewhat paradoxical! Lol! And knowing how averse I am to being on the receiving end... I have no clue how to even begin to be on the giving end. *sighs* But I've never felt this impulse before and I dunno... My "safe" reaction is to let it go away but on the other hand... Am I feeling this way for a purpose?

Sorry! Didn't mean to flood your hols with deep thoughts! LOL!
vanimy From: vanimy Date: July 23rd, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't speak about my beliefs outside, to me it's very personal and I respect everyone's wish to believe or not.

But I tend to probe my siblings about it lately... Mainly because I find it sad not to believe in anything and I want my siblings to go where I hope we'll go afterwards, know what I mean?

That and I actually like discussion about metaphysics. My father and I used to have tons of discussions like this and speculating about what await us on the other side. So I guess I miss talking about that. And being the scientist I am, I like to look for signs in science that prove God's existence. The more I read about this, the more I see.

I think I got distracted. :P

Summary : Yep, I kinda get the feeling. :P
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 23rd, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also think faith - or lack of - is about as personal as you can get for a lot of people. And it's why I can both empathize and be irritated by people who want to share their faith so badly, they don't realize when they're entering the other guy's personal space.

I think (and I'm only saying this because you shared first) that I'd be a sadder person if I didn't ever believe in anything. It's something I've always had - longer than I even remember - and I'm not sure I could have got through certain things life threw at me if I didn't have this confidence in a higher purpose.

I used to love reading books about metaphysics, especially the writings on theology and philosophy of the early Church Fathers.
sunnyskywalker From: sunnyskywalker Date: July 24th, 2009 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, it's funny - I've had the opposite experience of wanting to deconvert someone. She says she's Christian, but hasn't been to church in years, doesn't know the Bible apart from the broad outlines of the popular stories like Noah's Ark and such, doesn't actually accept many of the important points of most major sects, doesn't include God or Jesus as a factor in... well, anything, really, and generally conducts herself like a materialist and secular humanist. The contradiction between that and her stated beliefs makes me want to go (to paraphrase you), "Face it: you're a deist at best, so make it official!"
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 24th, 2009 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's a bummer. It's particularly irking when someone like that does become a deist or atheist, and then talks authoritatively about how they left Christianity and all its atrocities when they were actually never really *in* it!
sunnyskywalker From: sunnyskywalker Date: July 28th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes. In this case, I'm betting on deconversion not happening anyway, but those cases irk me too. I mean... going through the kind of deconversion where you realize you never really believed that stuff and now you can stop pretending is liberating and all, but it seems disrespectful to talk about it like some huge ordeal you got through when there are other people who did go through an agonizing deconversion process after starting out in place that really was miserable for them.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 28th, 2009 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
It's actually said that people who remain in the Church without really being in the Church (or another faith, I'm just using mine here) actually do more harm to it than people on the outside who attack it. You are neither hot nor cold so I shall spit you out. It's not only disrespectful to the other converters as you described, but also to the people in the Church who don't want "Christian" to just be a word they fill out in survey forms.

sunnyskywalker From: sunnyskywalker Date: July 30th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I can see that. I mean... I guess I can also see how (for instance) a person coming out of a bad experience might need to go through the stereotypical "rebellious and angry pseudo-atheist" phase, or for someone who just hasn't given it much thought to call themselves a deist or atheist for whatever reason, instead of the "I don't believe in supernatural deity-like anythings, and here are all the positive things I center my life around instead" approach. But it makes it harder for a lot of the others in the process, especially when trying to explain to people that no, not everyone in Group X is really secretly Y at heart deep down. (Hm, this example is perhaps over-complicated, given that unlike many religions, atheism doesn't actually have any required beliefs other than that one, and so you can be all kinds of completely different atheist. But I think you can see what I mean?)
sunlit_music From: sunlit_music Date: July 25th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I might get what you mean. I'm an agnostic now, but I used to be Christian. Back when I was a Christian, I used to feel a bit like this and want to convert people badly.

If you follow a religion, that's OK. If not, that's fine too. I reckon people should try to respect each other's religious or philosophical beliefs, and to treat each other humanely.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 25th, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been a Christian forever and I can't remember ever feeling this way before. Weird.

Tolerance pretty much fits under the big umbrella of the Major Commandment of "love your neighbour as yourself" with special emphasis on how only loving family, people you like, etc doesn't get you bonus points. ;) Right now I'm wondering if that love isn't asking me to stick my neck out a little even though I'm envisioning a best-case scenario of being laughed out of cyberspace.
sunlit_music From: sunlit_music Date: July 27th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
interesting how you only started feeling this way recently. :)

Yeah - it's much harder to love and show tolerance towards people you don't like.

What do you mean by 'stick your neck out a little'? :)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 27th, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know *shrugs* risk losing my friend by pushing the envelope, risk being avoided at best, mocked at worst, generally being seen as "uncool".
hollywood_r_bin From: hollywood_r_bin Date: October 28th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting discussion you got going here. It's very true what you say about faith (or lack thereof) being something that is extremely personal, and that sometimes people who want to convert others is really tresspassing on the other person's personal space.

I've seen that happen too often i think.

I'm from Thailand, so here the main religion is Buddhism so it's rather different. There's no single creator but rather a system in how it all works and balances out. Personally i think Buddhism is a great philosophy, but as an established religion, and how it plays out in Thailand... Well, i don't think it's how Buddhism is intended to be. Buddhism coming to Thailand, it gets mixed a bit with hinduism but also in the animism that had already existed within the culture and some stuff i think are more animism than it is buddhism, such as for example, Thais are very big on icons, they have all sorts of huge ones on gold chains around their necks but it's actually against Buddhism to be worshipping icons.

That's just one examples... there's also holy trees and such too. To be honest, that stuff, it doesn't bother me that much, but still, I wouldn't say I'm someone who goes through the motions and doesn't believe it and then get away from it and say I'm an atheist and go on about the hypocracies. Rather, I think its cause of my family, my grandmother is religious but in a really pushy and supersticious(sp) way and she just pushes everyone on the issue and just make everything about religion, and at some point mum became a christian just to get back at her and somehow dragged me into it (I was like 9yrs old).

By the time I was 11, I came to the conclusion that I don't have faith in any of it, don't believe in any of it and that I might actually be better off that way than to be caught up in the mess. Once i realised not having a religion was an option (I did say I was a kid at the time) I went with that. I remember feeling very... free at the time. I've been without a religion since... and to be honest, not having a religion still feels very freeing for me, even now.

I think it's great, that for certain people, religion is an inspiration, something they can hold onto in tough times and something that makes them aspire to be a better person. I can respect that so long as they don't try to push their faith onto me.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Hope you don't mind me sharing.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: October 30th, 2009 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)
ersonally i think Buddhism is a great philosophy, but as an established religion, and how it plays out in Thailand... Well, i don't think it's how Buddhism is intended to be.

That's a common problem with a lot of the wide-spread faiths. I think it comes from a well-intentioned attempt to blend the creed of the faith with the culture and practises of the envangelized people. Sometimes it's for the best, but a lot of times, the philosophies of the original creed get lost in translation.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Hope you don't mind me sharing.

Not at all, dear. ::hugs::
hollywood_r_bin From: hollywood_r_bin Date: October 30th, 2009 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh definitely. Any religion blends into the local cultures and such, and like i said, it doesn't bother me much it's just I don't go for it.
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