Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Proselytizing.

In the last few sermons, the pastor at my church spoke on this subject (particularly concerning the Pharisees) and I've thought about it myself.

Christians are currently, in the secular eye, most known for their proselytizing. Most likely because their version of it usually entails telling people about extremely severe (read: fiery, painful, eternally damning) consequences for not attending that particular service, or giving money to this particular church. But the truth is.........everyone proselytizes! I guess, it's only considered proselytizing when Christians do it.

Just earlier today, a simple walk to the bank and barber shop alone introduced me to huge ads for things from allergy pills to "Watchmen" to technical colleges to whatever is Mercedes' or Hyundai's new attempt at an environmentally friendly vehicle is. At said barber shop, whilst having the black wool shaved off my scalp, about 5 different companies with probably 5 different unsaid agendas assaulted me with requests to buy their product or donate money in the matter of a 6-minute break in between viewings of "The View". I could probably fill up enough pages to make a book with the amount of envelopes I get in the mail asking me to donate to the Dalai Lama, or the Wildlife this-and-that, or this political magazine, or this movement.

Now, surely, I don't mean to inspire distrust or say that all of these people are just out to take your money. In my ideal self, I'd faithfully give money and time to all of the justified movements and organizations in the world, but I'd probably have to tap into Dunkin' Donuts' earnings through a weekly night shift at one of their locations in order to afford this. All beside the point, though.

All kinds of organizations, movements, franchises, companies and conglomerates try to push themselves on the public everyday. I wouldn't say that they shouldn't do this; some products are good for society (medicine, health insurance, books, iPod) and should be made known that they are available in stores. But there's a difference between making yourself known and shoving yourself down the public's throat. Which brings me back to the Christians.

I wouldn't dispute the perceptions that some sorts of Christians are known for forcing their views on you. I'm mainly talking about the Jehovah's Witnesses (you want a true dream vacation land with rich green trees and flowing meadows and white people that respect you even if you're Mexican? Take this pamphlet and save yourself! Then tell others to follow you.) and the Mormons (you are to JOIN GOD'S ARMY. You are to REPENT. You are to dress like a used car salesman and hit the streets for recruitment into the Holy Military! I want 30,000 new members by the end of this month. Huuuahhhh!!!). But a stronger, intelligent and more discerning mind would not let these people destroy the validity of the Word itself.

I'm not trying to convert or force anyone here into my "brand" of Christianity (although I may be indirectly proselytizing by criticizing other Christian groups), but I do think that people should take the time out to examine the principles and imagery and ways of Christianity before judging it, and not just resolving yourself to silly stereotypes ("they're just feeding you lies!", "they're trying to take your money!", "The preacher probably has a couple of little boys in his office closet somewhere...."). Furthermore, a quick note of what and what's not a good church or movement or whatever is that: a bad organization would expect you to completely throw your own life away to completely join whatever they're trying to affirm, while a good organization will take pride in who you are as an individual and show you how to make your own life better.

3 comments:

  1. I completely agree with you. I always feel Christianity gets unfairly attacked even when Christians even OPEN their mouths with the word "God". It's like secular advertising is okay, but even lil religious talk is not. And I also hate when people blame Christians for everything. Like how Bush was so bad mainly because he's Christian (i heard that many times). Which is just bullshit. He did mess up but times were really, really hard for him. As if Obama is doing a good job anyway! Coming back, Christianity is a religion that teaches a peaceful, happy way of life. I don't understand why people are so hostile towards it. The Biblical explanation would be that all men are evil. I definitely agree.

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  2. good post ... proselytizing -- it is interesting to think about what other context we use that word, isn't it?

    by the way, have you seen watchmen? what did you think?

    you usually do a movie review ... interested to hear your thoughts

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  3. Agreeing that all men are evil is the very problem atheists and other freethinkers have with religion, Christianity specifically. From this basis all manner of evil is permitted against one's fellow men. Trust is the true path to world peace, trust and faith in one's fellow men that we are born good, seek goodness, and desire peace, we just lack the simple psychological tools to deal with our issues, and the reason we lack these tools is indoctrination into archaic, tyrannical, religious doctrines, doctrines that teach that reason is insufficient to teach morals, that only by submission to one's leaders, whoever they may be, can peace be attained, but this only benefits the leaders. Religion is merely a tool of tyranny, and because it is used to manipulate you, it simply cannot be your deepest understanding of the world and yourself.

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