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pancreasman
04-24-2015, 07:21 PM
Subtitled: 'And why I don't like it.'

In my twenties I was teaching in a remote country town where I met my wife (who was a Christian). She wasn't a 'beat you over the head' kind of Christian. You knew it was her faith and she answered your questions. I was really into CS Lewis, and began over sometime to accept more and more of Christianity. I had a conversion experience on my own, and since it's intensely personal, I won't bore you with the details. Some time later we were married and both looked for ways to 'serve the Lord' more directly. I accepted a job in a Christian school in Melbourne. (Yes I know, I was never REALLY a Christian because I'm not one now.)

That didn't last long. The school was involved in a bitter internal dispute over some philosophy as to the extent Creation could be another revelation of God. Great fun. Committed Christians were tearing each other down left and right and conspiring in cadres to oust everybody else.

I resigned and we came back to teach in state schools.

We attended a local Baptist church and were very active within it. A lovely lady (since passed) was an elder and wanted very much to do the best she could for God. She used a program called 'Evangelism Explosion' and we all learnt how to 'win' souls, memorising our verses and arguments. We'd go to local families and run through our spiel and harangue people in their own homes. I remember with shame the perplexed look on most people's faces as we interrupted their precious night family time.

Over time, I got more into the 'charismatic' side of things. We joined an Assembly of God church and I rose to be a worship leader. I can vividly remember how one elder told he just KNEW I was leading by the Spirit because he got goosebumps whenever I lead the music. It was here I learned how easy it was to manipulate the feelings of the congregation. In fact, we were encouraged to do so. I was good at it. We always had an alter appeal and I watched hundreds of people whipped up into an easy emotionalism come forward. It was also here that I learned that many of the programs of the church were fraudulent. They CLAIMED to be doing one thing but were all fundamentally aimed at evangelism. People were considered 'targets' and 'scalps'. It had as much integrity as selling insurance or used cars.

I have seen this pattern repeated over and over again in various churches and organisations. Ministry X seems a good and charitable thing to do, but remember our REAL aim (which we won't tell the suckers) is to 'win' them for Jesus so I can get a merit badge in heaven.

I read and thought (yes, and prayed) more and more growing more and more dissatisfied with the dishonesty and hard sell of organised Christianity. So after much anguish I left. I no longer consider myself a Christian and none of you consider me one either.

I despise evangelism. To me it is a sign of dishonesty and manipulation. It's almost always simple minded. It demeans the Other, because it so hardly ever listens to the life experience the other person has.

The Jews (who serve the same God) have an entirely different approach. When you say to them you're considering becoming a Jew they usually respond 'Why on earth would you want to do that?' Catholics aren't bad either. They simply can't believe you'd like to be a member of their flawed club. I'm attracted to both because of that.

It would be a cheap throwaway line to say I left Christianity because of the bad behaviour of a few people. I didn't. I have deep theological and philosophical objections to much of Christian belief and practice. But I will admit to feeling vindicated on a regular basis.

Juvenal
04-24-2015, 07:52 PM
5959

pancreasman
04-24-2015, 07:53 PM
5959

I am ... unclear ... on the meaning of this.

Chrawnus
04-24-2015, 08:18 PM
I am ... unclear ... on the meaning of this.

dark side? cookies?

Scrawly
04-24-2015, 08:27 PM
Subtitled: 'And why I don't like it.'

In my twenties I was teaching in a remote country town where I met my wife (who was a Christian). She wasn't a 'beat you over the head' kind of Christian. You knew it was her faith and she answered your questions. I was really into CS Lewis, and began over sometime to accept more and more of Christianity. I had a conversion experience on my own, and since it's intensely personal, I won't bore you with the details. Some time later we were married and both looked for ways to 'serve the Lord' more directly. I accepted a job in a Christian school in Melbourne. (Yes I know, I was never REALLY a Christian because I'm not one now.)

That didn't last long. The school was involved in a bitter internal dispute over some philosophy as to the extent Creation could be another revelation of God. Great fun. Committed Christians were tearing each other down left and right and conspiring in cadres to oust everybody else.

I resigned and we came back to teach in state schools.

We attended a local Baptist church and were very active within it. A lovely lady (since passed) was an elder and wanted very much to do the best she could for God. She used a program called 'Evangelism Explosion' and we all learnt how to 'win' souls, memorising our verses and arguments. We'd go to local families and run through our spiel and harangue people in their own homes. I remember with shame the perplexed look on most people's faces as we interrupted their precious night family time.

Over time, I got more into the 'charismatic' side of things. We joined an Assembly of God church and I rose to be a worship leader. I can vividly remember how one elder told he just KNEW I was leading by the Spirit because he got goosebumps whenever I lead the music. It was here I learned how easy it was to manipulate the feelings of the congregation. In fact, we were encouraged to do so. I was good at it. We always had an alter appeal and I watched hundreds of people whipped up into an easy emotionalism come forward. It was also here that I learned that many of the programs of the church were fraudulent. They CLAIMED to be doing one thing but were all fundamentally aimed at evangelism. People were considered 'targets' and 'scalps'. It had as much integrity as selling insurance or used cars.

I have seen this pattern repeated over and over again in various churches and organisations. Ministry X seems a good and charitable thing to do, but remember our REAL aim (which we won't tell the suckers) is to 'win' them for Jesus so I can get a merit badge in heaven.

I read and thought (yes, and prayed) more and more growing more and more dissatisfied with the dishonesty and hard sell of organised Christianity. So after much anguish I left. I no longer consider myself a Christian and none of you consider me one either.

I despise evangelism. To me it is a sign of dishonesty and manipulation. It's almost always simple minded. It demeans the Other, because it so hardly ever listens to the life experience the other person has.

The Jews (who serve the same God) have an entirely different approach. When you say to them you're considering becoming a Jew they usually respond 'Why on earth would you want to do that?' Catholics aren't bad either. They simply can't believe you'd like to be a member of their flawed club. I'm attracted to both because of that.

It would be a cheap throwaway line to say I left Christianity because of the bad behaviour of a few people. I didn't. I have deep theological and philosophical objections to much of Christian belief and practice. But I will admit to feeling vindicated on a regular basis.

Cool story bro.

Juvenal
04-24-2015, 08:39 PM
Cool story bro.

You're my favorite kind of Christian.

Scrawly
04-24-2015, 08:42 PM
You're my favorite kind of Christian.

Uh-oh.

Spartacus
04-24-2015, 09:01 PM
Subtitled: 'And why I don't like it.'

In my twenties I was teaching in a remote country town where I met my wife (who was a Christian). She wasn't a 'beat you over the head' kind of Christian. You knew it was her faith and she answered your questions. I was really into CS Lewis, and began over sometime to accept more and more of Christianity. I had a conversion experience on my own, and since it's intensely personal, I won't bore you with the details. Some time later we were married and both looked for ways to 'serve the Lord' more directly. I accepted a job in a Christian school in Melbourne. (Yes I know, I was never REALLY a Christian because I'm not one now.)

That didn't last long. The school was involved in a bitter internal dispute over some philosophy as to the extent Creation could be another revelation of God. Great fun. Committed Christians were tearing each other down left and right and conspiring in cadres to oust everybody else.

I resigned and we came back to teach in state schools.

We attended a local Baptist church and were very active within it. A lovely lady (since passed) was an elder and wanted very much to do the best she could for God. She used a program called 'Evangelism Explosion' and we all learnt how to 'win' souls, memorising our verses and arguments. We'd go to local families and run through our spiel and harangue people in their own homes. I remember with shame the perplexed look on most people's faces as we interrupted their precious night family time.

Over time, I got more into the 'charismatic' side of things. We joined an Assembly of God church and I rose to be a worship leader. I can vividly remember how one elder told he just KNEW I was leading by the Spirit because he got goosebumps whenever I lead the music. It was here I learned how easy it was to manipulate the feelings of the congregation. In fact, we were encouraged to do so. I was good at it. We always had an alter appeal and I watched hundreds of people whipped up into an easy emotionalism come forward. It was also here that I learned that many of the programs of the church were fraudulent. They CLAIMED to be doing one thing but were all fundamentally aimed at evangelism. People were considered 'targets' and 'scalps'. It had as much integrity as selling insurance or used cars.

I have seen this pattern repeated over and over again in various churches and organisations. Ministry X seems a good and charitable thing to do, but remember our REAL aim (which we won't tell the suckers) is to 'win' them for Jesus so I can get a merit badge in heaven.

I read and thought (yes, and prayed) more and more growing more and more dissatisfied with the dishonesty and hard sell of organised Christianity. So after much anguish I left. I no longer consider myself a Christian and none of you consider me one either.

I despise evangelism. To me it is a sign of dishonesty and manipulation. It's almost always simple minded. It demeans the Other, because it so hardly ever listens to the life experience the other person has.

The Jews (who serve the same God) have an entirely different approach. When you say to them you're considering becoming a Jew they usually respond 'Why on earth would you want to do that?' Catholics aren't bad either. They simply can't believe you'd like to be a member of their flawed club. I'm attracted to both because of that.

It would be a cheap throwaway line to say I left Christianity because of the bad behaviour of a few people. I didn't. I have deep theological and philosophical objections to much of Christian belief and practice. But I will admit to feeling vindicated on a regular basis.

We papists have this long process called RCIA for anyone who wants to join our flawed club. It's full of the most wishy-washy, watered-down catechism we can manage to scare away anyone who isn't really serious. :smug:

What you call evangelism is what I think of as proselytizing, but that's semantics. I know that a lot of evangelical charities try to offer the gospel message to all the people they serve, while Catholic charities, as you say, tend to be more surprised when someone expresses an interest in Catholicism. Catholic apologetics (that is, trying to fight off the proselytizers) is a bigger thing than Catholic evangelism, but, oddly enough, a lot of evangelicals are find themselves convinced that Catholicism is right after all. These evangelical converts have brought a lot to the Church, though I do wonder from time to time exactly how much of the evangelical mindset and experience can really find a home in Catholicism. For example, trying to qualify who is Christian or not based on whether they've had the sort of intensely personal conversion experience you alluded to, well, I think that might very well exclude me from Christianity. If I ever had an experience like that, it doesn't stick out in my memory, and that seems like the sort of thing that ought to stick out.

All that aside, thank you for sharing your story.

Also, come to the dark side. We have death cookies (http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0074/0074_01.asp).

MaxVel
04-24-2015, 10:26 PM
If I'm reading you right, your issue is with insincerity, dishonesty and deception-by-omission in evangelism, rather than with the idea of evangelism per se?

I think Jesus wouldn't be too impressed with the kinds of sharp practices you encountered. I've always understood the 'Great Commission' to be about helping people to know Jesus as I know Him, and to choose to consciously and actively follow Him in their lives, for all their lives. That's not the kind of hing that happens if you take 'shortcuts' and rush people into a 'commitment'.

Starlight
04-24-2015, 11:07 PM
Ministry X seems a good and charitable thing to do, but remember our REAL aim (which we won't tell the suckers) is to 'win' them for Jesus so I can get a merit badge in heaven.Reminds me of a conversation with my increasingly-more-conservative Christian parents a year or so ago. They'd had a speaker at their church who had started an organisation working with poor people who were in debt, helping them sort out their finances. "That's the sort of Christianity you'd approve-of right?" they said to me, and indeed it was, as they made what the guy was doing sound like a really great idea that was truly making a meaningful impact to people's lives.

My response was along the lines of "that sounds wonderful, could it be scaled-up to happen throughout the country? You could probably get government funding for that sort of thing" but I suspected that this all sounded too-good to be true, because call me a skeptic, but over the years I've been sufficiently disillusioned about Christians and them helping people. Sure enough, at Christmas I overheard my parents telling the same story to their religious relatives and they included a lot more bits to the story than what they'd told me, and sure enough, the motivations of the guy doing this were primarily about evangelism. Helping poor people out of debt was apparently a useful tool for winning souls for Christ.

MaxVel
04-24-2015, 11:57 PM
Reminds me of a conversation with my increasingly-more-conservative Christian parents a year or so ago. They'd had a speaker at their church who had started an organisation working with poor people who were in debt, helping them sort out their finances. "That's the sort of Christianity you'd approve-of right?" they said to me, and indeed it was, as they made what the guy was doing sound like a really great idea that was truly making a meaningful impact to people's lives.

My response was along the lines of "that sounds wonderful, could it be scaled-up to happen throughout the country? You could probably get government funding for that sort of thing" but I suspected that this all sounded too-good to be true, because call me a skeptic, but over the years I've been sufficiently disillusioned about Christians and them helping people. Sure enough, at Christmas I overheard my parents telling the same story to their religious relatives and they included a lot more bits to the story than what they'd told me, and sure enough, the motivations of the guy doing this were primarily about evangelism. Helping poor people out of debt was apparently a useful tool for winning souls for Christ.

It's apparently a lose-lose for Christians, then.

If they do something that actually helps people in their everyday lives, then they're being deceptive because they have 'other motives'.

If they don't do anything very practical, just try to tell people about Jesus, then they're just offering 'pie in the sky when you die'.

Isn't it at all possible that at least some Christians both want to help people in their present lives, and (hopefully) help them know Jesus, who, Christians believe, is wonderful, loving, and our only way to fully full life?


Meanwhile, atheists apparently get a free pass, and can live as selfishly as they like. Or not. I'm beginning to suspect that there's a reason your parents are increasingly conservative....

Abigail
04-25-2015, 02:09 AM
It's apparently a lose-lose for Christians, then.

If they do something that actually helps people in their everyday lives, then they're being deceptive because they have 'other motives'.

If they don't do anything very practical, just try to tell people about Jesus, then they're just offering 'pie in the sky when you die'.

Isn't it at all possible that at least some Christians both want to help people in their present lives, and (hopefully) help them know Jesus, who, Christians believe, is wonderful, loving, and our only way to fully full life?


Meanwhile, atheists apparently get a free pass, and can live as selfishly as they like. Or not. I'm beginning to suspect that there's a reason your parents are increasingly conservative....

Agreed. God created us as physical beings (we are now and will be after the final resurrection) so it would be very odd if Christians did not interact with others in a physical way, and since the Great Commission was to preach the gospel I don't know why someone would be surprised at Christians looking for opportunity to preach the gospel. As Christians we care about others because we are trying to emulate Jesus who in turn teaches us how to love others. Would Jesus want to help people to take control of their finances? I think so? I remember last year when the ebola crisis came to the medias attention there was tempered outrage that Christian missionaries were already there helping. No one ever denied that Christians have a message and just because atheists have rejected that message doesn't mean than others should not have the chance of hearing it. Anti-Christians always accuse Christians of trying to control people and their behaviour, but look closely and see just who the control freaks are!!

pancreasman
04-25-2015, 03:06 AM
Agreed. God created us as physical beings (we are now and will be after the final resurrection) so it would be very odd if Christians did not interact with others in a physical way, and since the Great Commission was to preach the gospel I don't know why someone would be surprised at Christians looking for opportunity to preach the gospel. As Christians we care about others because we are trying to emulate Jesus who in turn teaches us how to love others. Would Jesus want to help people to take control of their finances? I think so? I remember last year when the ebola crisis came to the medias attention there was tempered outrage that Christian missionaries were already there helping. No one ever denied that Christians have a message and just because atheists have rejected that message doesn't mean than others should not have the chance of hearing it. Anti-Christians always accuse Christians of trying to control people and their behaviour, but look closely and see just who the control freaks are!!

Actually, I don't consider myself an atheist and whether I am or not has no relevance to my experience. People who think enough of their faith to come to a site like this, are obviously more actively involved and I'd wager more likely to act with integrity.

In the general population of people claiming to be Christians, my experience is as I have written. I'm well aware that some Christians are able to act with integrity and depth with regards to evangelism. This is NOT a thread I'd like to see resolve along familiar lines of us vs them.

firstfloor
04-25-2015, 05:01 AM
Jesus who in turn teaches us how to love others ..... just because atheists have rejected that message ...Not true. The message that everyone benefits if they love one another is not in the least problematic for atheists. It is not exclusively a Christian message.

firstfloor
04-25-2015, 05:32 AM
I've always understood the 'Great Commission' to be about helping people to know Jesus as I know Him, and to choose to consciously and actively follow Him in their lives, for all their lives.In other words you know what’s best – you deflect it of course, to Jesus, but because you know what Jesus wants and you agree with him or he agrees with you, you really do know what’s best. The problem is that you are forbidden to consider whether Jesus could be wrong. That is the great weakness of your position.

Paprika
04-25-2015, 06:23 AM
Many Christians have a warped conception of the gospel (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?6016-Is-the-gospel-itself-supposed-to-be-quot-offensive-quot&p=172074&viewfull=1#post172074) which naturally affects their evangelism.


It was also here that I learned that many of the programs of the church were fraudulent. They CLAIMED to be doing one thing but were all fundamentally aimed at evangelism. People were considered 'targets' and 'scalps'. It had as much integrity as selling insurance or used cars.


Sure enough, at Christmas I overheard my parents telling the same story to their religious relatives and they included a lot more bits to the story than what they'd told me, and sure enough, the motivations of the guy doing this were primarily about evangelism. Helping poor people out of debt was apparently a useful tool for winning souls for Christ.
My guess would be that Western conceptualisations of a religious/public space distinction (the generalisation of church-state separation) leads to an implicit axiom that any Christian action in the public space must be geared towards evangelism; the people who hold this axiom thus will organise programmes to help the community but with the help as a means to 'evangelism' rather than an end. It is all too easy to justify such 'evangelism' in terms of the good of those preached at when the real motivation is self-exaltation.


This is NOT a thread I'd like to see resolve along familiar lines of us vs them.
:eh:
Apologetics 301 is a dangerous place for such threads.

Spartacus
04-25-2015, 07:11 AM
A paradox: Catholic charitable organizations, as opposed to evangelical ones, don't tie their help to proselytization efforts, but, if I bring that up, am I proselytizing?

Juvenal
04-25-2015, 07:26 AM
It's apparently a lose-lose for Christians, then.

If they do something that actually helps people in their everyday lives, then they're being deceptive because they have 'other motives'.

If they don't do anything very practical, just try to tell people about Jesus, then they're just offering 'pie in the sky when you die'.

Isn't it at all possible that at least some Christians both want to help people in their present lives, and (hopefully) help them know Jesus, who, Christians believe, is wonderful, loving, and our only way to fully full life?

"Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." — Francis of Assissi?

I'm not sure about the author (http://bit.ly/1QsKAhR). I am sure words are not necessary. If Christianity works for you, providing you with a "fully full" life, it'll be obvious to people around you.


Meanwhile, atheists apparently get a free pass, and can live as selfishly as they like. Or not.

True enough, except for the "atheists" part.

I've seen the Civics forum here at TWeb. It's filled with Christians preaching the gospel of cheaper burgers at the expense of the counter help, and non-Christians arguing otherwise. For the most part, that is ... Sam excepted, of course ... not that that shelters him from flak from his fellow adherents.

In ten years on TWeb, the only person I've ever seen in Civics who had personally started and run a homeless shelter was Christina. Yeah, she's an atheist.

Some folks want to think running a soup kitchen or volunteering at the VA are virtues exclusive to their faith, going so far as to exclude non-adherents from their charitable ministries. That's a worst case, but it does happen. There are other reasons given, but the end result is the same.

In the US, more often, you're just made to feel unwelcome if you show up to help. There are notable exceptions, like Habitat for Humanity, but for the most part, we're restricted to financial contributions to faceless bureaucracies like the United Way. Arguably more efficient than religious charities — Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army are notable exceptions — but not especially satisfying on a personal level.

As ever, Jesse

Juvenal
04-25-2015, 07:29 AM
A paradox: Catholic charitable organizations, as opposed to evangelical ones, don't tie their help to proselytization efforts, but, if I bring that up, am I proselytizing?

There's a way around that. And, we still have cookies.

Spartacus
04-25-2015, 08:14 AM
There's a way around that. And, we still have cookies.

Now, see, you proselytized right there :glare:

shunyadragon
04-25-2015, 11:42 AM
A paradox: Catholic charitable organizations, as opposed to evangelical ones, don't tie their help to proselytization efforts, but, if I bring that up, am I proselytizing?

This is a paradox within a paradox, because historically the way the Roman Church grew is through establishing their missions with charitable services, which is simply another way or proselytizing. Careful how one defines proselytizing, because in and of itself it is not bad, but the methods can surely be bad, and at times the the Roman Church has used bad methods of proselytizing.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 11:56 AM
It's apparently a lose-lose for Christians, then.

If they do something that actually helps people in their everyday lives, then they're being deceptive because they have 'other motives'.

If they don't do anything very practical, just try to tell people about Jesus, then they're just offering 'pie in the sky when you die'.

Isn't it at all possible that at least some Christians both want to help people in their present lives, and (hopefully) help them know Jesus, who, Christians believe, is wonderful, loving, and our only way to fully full life?

In my early years, I was what I guess you could call a hard core evangelistic Christian. Then, about 1975-ish, I was working in a medical clinic in Haiti, and saw a sign over the blackboard in the school room at our orphanage that said "a hungry stomach has no ears". (That may be attributed to somebody famous, I don't know, but it really had an impact on me) It was WHY we were feeding the orphans and teaching them in school and loving them and tending to their physical needs. Nobody pretended that our ultimate goal was not to win them to Jesus, but we fully understood that Jesus met people at the point of their need. It changed things.

Since then, I have been involved in lots of ministry things, and I fully admit that the ultimate goal is evangelism, but in God's time. Ministering to needs first, sharing the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, leaving the results to God. It has always worked really well that way.

I'm amazed, from time to time, how people jump to the conclusion that because I'm a conservative Christian -- well, it's like one of the posters here said... pretty much accusing me of an over-evangelistic zeal and not caring about the needs of people, feeding the hungry, etc. I'll admit that often, conservative Christians seem isolated from "the social gospel", and may even tend to criticize it. But I can assure you that a lot of us see these things as inseparable.

I am involved in ministry to the poor in a whole bunch of ways. Is my ultimate goal "evangelism". Unashamedly, I admit, yes, it is. For, what kind of Christian would I be to tend to the immediate but temporal needs of people in this life, and neglect their eternal destiny?

I have always been taught "tell them about Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, leaving the results to God".

shunyadragon
04-25-2015, 12:05 PM
Subtitled: 'And why I don't like it.'

In my twenties I was teaching in a remote country town where I met my wife (who was a Christian). She wasn't a 'beat you over the head' kind of Christian. You knew it was her faith and she answered your questions. I was really into CS Lewis, and began over sometime to accept more and more of Christianity. I had a conversion experience on my own, and since it's intensely personal, I won't bore you with the details. Some time later we were married and both looked for ways to 'serve the Lord' more directly. I accepted a job in a Christian school in Melbourne. (Yes I know, I was never REALLY a Christian because I'm not one now.)

That didn't last long. The school was involved in a bitter internal dispute over some philosophy as to the extent Creation could be another revelation of God. Great fun. Committed Christians were tearing each other down left and right and conspiring in cadres to oust everybody else.

I resigned and we came back to teach in state schools.

We attended a local Baptist church and were very active within it. A lovely lady (since passed) was an elder and wanted very much to do the best she could for God. She used a program called 'Evangelism Explosion' and we all learnt how to 'win' souls, memorising our verses and arguments. We'd go to local families and run through our spiel and harangue people in their own homes. I remember with shame the perplexed look on most people's faces as we interrupted their precious night family time.

Over time, I got more into the 'charismatic' side of things. We joined an Assembly of God church and I rose to be a worship leader. I can vividly remember how one elder told he just KNEW I was leading by the Spirit because he got goosebumps whenever I lead the music. It was here I learned how easy it was to manipulate the feelings of the congregation. In fact, we were encouraged to do so. I was good at it. We always had an alter appeal and I watched hundreds of people whipped up into an easy emotionalism come forward. It was also here that I learned that many of the programs of the church were fraudulent. They CLAIMED to be doing one thing but were all fundamentally aimed at evangelism. People were considered 'targets' and 'scalps'. It had as much integrity as selling insurance or used cars.

I have seen this pattern repeated over and over again in various churches and organisations. Ministry X seems a good and charitable thing to do, but remember our REAL aim (which we won't tell the suckers) is to 'win' them for Jesus so I can get a merit badge in heaven.

I read and thought (yes, and prayed) more and more growing more and more dissatisfied with the dishonesty and hard sell of organised Christianity. So after much anguish I left. I no longer consider myself a Christian and none of you consider me one either.

I despise evangelism. To me it is a sign of dishonesty and manipulation. It's almost always simple minded. It demeans the Other, because it so hardly ever listens to the life experience the other person has.

The Jews (who serve the same God) have an entirely different approach. When you say to them you're considering becoming a Jew they usually respond 'Why on earth would you want to do that?' Catholics aren't bad either. They simply can't believe you'd like to be a member of their flawed club. I'm attracted to both because of that.

It would be a cheap throwaway line to say I left Christianity because of the bad behaviour of a few people. I didn't. I have deep theological and philosophical objections to much of Christian belief and practice. But I will admit to feeling vindicated on a regular basis.

This is of course a common tragedy that can be manifest in different religions and faiths over the eons, and there are of course worse, but I believe that the search for one's faith must go deeper then the human frailty or their methods of proselytizing on the surface. Example, just because you see favor in the methods you experience among the Jews does not translate to the fundamental soundness of their spiritual message for humanity. I personally believe that the Jews do not propose a message of salvation nor guidance for ALL of humanity. Just because the methods of proselytizing you witnessed of the evangelicals, does not in and of itself, does not determine the truthfulness of the religious message they share. Though the witness of how those that believe differently in general does reflect on how the guidance from scripture may be translated to personal acts in one's life.

I chose a more deeper and broader search into the theology and philosophy of the nature of humanity being human in the diversity and universal of our history and the nature of our physical existence through science, because here lies the real objective witness of whatever underlies the Source of everything which is possibly natural or Divine. Claims of Truth from the perspective of fallible humans could hardly come up with one belief that is the one Truth above all others.

The search for the universal and truth is more illusive then most claim. It is likely if the shoes feel comfortable and fit, they are not the universal shoes for the hard climb to the middle mountain.

whag
04-25-2015, 12:07 PM
In my early years, I was what I guess you could call a hard core evangelistic Christian. Then, about 1975-ish, I was working in a medical clinic in Haiti, and saw a sign over the blackboard in the school room at our orphanage that said "a hungry stomach has no ears". (That may be attributed to somebody famous, I don't know, but it really had an impact on me) It was WHY we were feeding the orphans and teaching them in school and loving them and tending to their physical needs. Nobody pretended that our ultimate goal was not to win them to Jesus, but we fully understood that Jesus met people at the point of their need. It changed things.

Since then, I have been involved in lots of ministry things, and I fully admit that the ultimate goal is evangelism, but in God's time. Ministering to needs first, sharing the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, leaving the results to God. It has always worked really well that way.

I'm amazed, from time to time, how people jump to the conclusion that because I'm a conservative Christian -- well, it's like one of the posters here said... pretty much accusing me of an over-evangelistic zeal and not caring about the needs of people, feeding the hungry, etc. I'll admit that often, conservative Christians seem isolated from "the social gospel", and may even tend to criticize it. But I can assure you that a lot of us see these things as inseparable.

I am involved in ministry to the poor in a whole bunch of ways. Is my ultimate goal "evangelism". Unashamedly, I admit, yes, it is. For, what kind of Christian would I be to tend to the immediate but temporal needs of people in this life, and neglect their eternal destiny?

I have always been taught "tell them about Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, leaving the results to God".

The problem is the obligatory aspect of the gospel that is easily misunderstood. If you merely let your good works be the goal and barely mention the tropes of Christianity at all, is that ultimately a help or a hindrance to the kingdom? I'd wager that this approach is more demonstrative of faith then one with an explicit pedagogical end goal, which casts suspicion on your motive just like any explicit proselytic goal by ANY religion, from Scientology to Mormonism, casts suspicion. It would seem God would be more honoring of the subtle approach.

Catholicity
04-25-2015, 12:10 PM
Subtitled: 'And why I don't like it.'

In my twenties I was teaching in a remote country town where I met my wife (who was a Christian). She wasn't a 'beat you over the head' kind of Christian. You knew it was her faith and she answered your questions. I was really into CS Lewis, and began over sometime to accept more and more of Christianity. I had a conversion experience on my own, and since it's intensely personal, I won't bore you with the details. Some time later we were married and both looked for ways to 'serve the Lord' more directly. I accepted a job in a Christian school in Melbourne. (Yes I know, I was never REALLY a Christian because I'm not one now.)

That didn't last long. The school was involved in a bitter internal dispute over some philosophy as to the extent Creation could be another revelation of God. Great fun. Committed Christians were tearing each other down left and right and conspiring in cadres to oust everybody else.

I resigned and we came back to teach in state schools.

We attended a local Baptist church and were very active within it. A lovely lady (since passed) was an elder and wanted very much to do the best she could for God. She used a program called 'Evangelism Explosion' and we all learnt how to 'win' souls, memorising our verses and arguments. We'd go to local families and run through our spiel and harangue people in their own homes. I remember with shame the perplexed look on most people's faces as we interrupted their precious night family time.

Over time, I got more into the 'charismatic' side of things. We joined an Assembly of God church and I rose to be a worship leader. I can vividly remember how one elder told he just KNEW I was leading by the Spirit because he got goosebumps whenever I lead the music. It was here I learned how easy it was to manipulate the feelings of the congregation. In fact, we were encouraged to do so. I was good at it. We always had an alter appeal and I watched hundreds of people whipped up into an easy emotionalism come forward. It was also here that I learned that many of the programs of the church were fraudulent. They CLAIMED to be doing one thing but were all fundamentally aimed at evangelism. People were considered 'targets' and 'scalps'. It had as much integrity as selling insurance or used cars.

I have seen this pattern repeated over and over again in various churches and organisations. Ministry X seems a good and charitable thing to do, but remember our REAL aim (which we won't tell the suckers) is to 'win' them for Jesus so I can get a merit badge in heaven.

I read and thought (yes, and prayed) more and more growing more and more dissatisfied with the dishonesty and hard sell of organised Christianity. So after much anguish I left. I no longer consider myself a Christian and none of you consider me one either.

I despise evangelism. To me it is a sign of dishonesty and manipulation. It's almost always simple minded. It demeans the Other, because it so hardly ever listens to the life experience the other person has.

The Jews (who serve the same God) have an entirely different approach. When you say to them you're considering becoming a Jew they usually respond 'Why on earth would you want to do that?' Catholics aren't bad either. They simply can't believe you'd like to be a member of their flawed club. I'm attracted to both because of that.

It would be a cheap throwaway line to say I left Christianity because of the bad behaviour of a few people. I didn't. I have deep theological and philosophical objections to much of Christian belief and practice. But I will admit to feeling vindicated on a regular basis.

The kind of Christianity you left is the kind I personally ran away from..... Really far away from. I wrote about some of my experience in a private journal. I left that part of the church and I won't go back. I did become Catholic but for personal reasons I am not there either. I am a Christian but far from evangelical.I think it was uld be appropriate t point out that I would rather missionize by " being and acting" like Jesus to someone else rather than just telling them. Simple words are meaningless to most people. My desire to win people for Jesus isn't really there either but I would rather talk to those who want to listen and do nice things for those who need it.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 12:16 PM
Probably one of the most interesting "evangelistic efforts" we were involved in didn't even start out as an evangelist effort at all.

Our Church was on a main highway, and I noticed that, on the Holidays, there was nearly bumper to bumper high speed traffic, people traveling from Houston to Waco. I remembered when I was a kid that local CB clubs ("REACT"?) would set up rest stops on the side of the road and offer free coffee.

I proposed that to our Church. We bought a 10x20 awning, and set it up out in front of the Church, with signs 1 and 2 miles down the road announcing "FREE COFFEE". We would sit out there and "fellowship" until somebody would pull over for a cup of coffee, or just to stretch their legs in a safe environment. We figured "if it works, fine, if not, no big loss".

It worked. We were amazed at how many people stopped. Then we were REALLY amazed at how much "ministry" took place. And evangelism. Not on purpose, but it took place.

One young man had stopped, and in the process of talking to him, he revealed that he didn't have a driver's license - he had stolen the family car and was running away from home. We talked with him, and prayed with him, and I asked him what HE thought his biggest problem was. He broke into tears, and blurted out "I think I need Jesus". That certainly was NOT the purpose of "Coffee Tent".

Our Church had been fairly small, but was growing, mostly from unchurched people coming to know Jesus, or at least, coming to investigate. One day, an older couple visited our Church, and after the Service, they came and told me they wanted to "join up". I had never seen them before, but they told me they had driven by on holidays and had seen our people out there serving coffee to travelers, and they said, "that's the kind of Church we want to join". They were workers. I mean - anything we needed done, any projects we had going on, they were there, supporting 100% That was not the purpose of "Coffee Tent".

In the 5 years we did this, over two dozen people prayed with us at our Coffee Tent (yeah, I'm a horrible Christian because I mentioned numbers :smile:) to receive Jesus as Savior. We didn't push them - that wasn't even our intent. That was not the purpose of "Coffee Tent".

One Sunday Morning, one of our deacons approached me just before I was to get up to preach. He handed me an envelope and said that a lady had just dropped this off, and asked me to read it to the congregation. In the letter, which I read to the Church, she explained that she and her husband had stopped by our Coffee Tent at 3 AM on the way to Temple Hospital in Waco. Her husband's father was dying, and they wanted to get there in time to be with him. We had had prayer with them, and had asked God to allow the man to say goodbye to his Dad. They made it to the hospital, the man entered the room, he and his Dad held hands, and his Dad said, "I love you, son, but I'm going to Glory". And he died. In the envelope was a check made out to our Church for $5,000 for "ministry". That was not the purpose of "Coffee Tent".

To me, the Great Commission is more "AS you go, make disciples", and not so much "Go out there and hunt people down". Some of our best "evangelistic efforts" were never intended to be "evangelistic efforts". God is so good that way.

shunyadragon
04-25-2015, 12:16 PM
The kind of Christianity you left is the kind I personally ran away from..... Really far away from. I wrote about some of my experience in a private journal. I left that part of the church and I won't go back. I did become Catholic but for personal reasons I am not there either. I am a Christian but far from evangelical.

Careful words like 'religion,' proselytizing,' and 'evangelical' are not always bad, but like other words they can be used as stones as scapegoats to throw at people who believe differently, or as generalizing terms for the behavior or even other beliefs that offend us.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 12:22 PM
The problem is the obligatory aspect of the gospel that is easily misunderstood. If you merely let your good works be the goal and barely mention the tropes of Christianity at all, is that ultimately a help or a hindrance to the kingdom? I'd wager that this approach is more demonstrative of faith then one with an explicit pedagogical end goal, which casts suspicion on your motive just like any explicit proselytic goal by ANY religion, from Scientology to Mormonism, casts suspicion. It would seem God would be more honoring of the subtle approach.

Yeah, note that I was writing my "Coffee Tent" post before I saw this one. I don't think we could have been any more subtle - we were just handing out free coffee, not expecting anything other than maybe helping people stay awake to arrive safely at their destination. :shrug:

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 01:46 PM
Since this thread was started as a thinly veiled attack on ME (I'm kidding, Pman - kinda) I'll add something else.

I think the REAL problem is that, in my own humble but accurate opinion, the MAIN element that is missing in "bad evangelism" is the Holy Spirit.

When the Holy Spirit is truly at work, it doesn't matter if the evangelistic effort is "subtle" or, as Paul preferred - BOLD. Even "bad evangelism" works when the Holy Spirit is involved.

Case in point -

In the early 70's, I was training some of our young people at our Church in evangelism the way I learned it. Cathy was a young lady who had a heart for Jesus. We "practiced" "door to door evangelism", and I taught her how to knock on the door, introduce us, get us invited in, introduce the "Four Spiritual Laws" booklet, and lead the "prospect" through the book to the point where you ask them if they would like to pray.

We practiced it over and over.

Then we "hit the door". It went south. Cathy was nervous. When the woman answered the door, Cathy didn't introduce us, didn't get us invited into the house --- she just buried her nose in the booklet and read, monotone, through the entire booklet, us on the porch outside, the woman standing inside on the other side of the closed screen door.

I was embarrassed. I kept waiting for Cathy to stop reading long enough for me to "save the day". Cathy never stopped. Even when she got to the question - "would you like to pray to ask Jesus into your heart", it was a nervous monotone delivery.

But then, to my utter surprise, the woman on the other side of the door began sobbing, and said, "yes, I would". She opened the door and invited us in, we talked for a few minutes, and she prayed to receive Jesus as Lord.

This was yet another lesson for me. It's not the booklet or pamphlet or "program" - it was obviously the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jedidiah
04-25-2015, 02:07 PM
This is NOT a thread I'd like to see resolve along familiar lines of us vs them.

So to avoid this you post . . . v


Subtitled: 'And why I don't like it.'

[snip]

I despise evangelism. To me it is a sign of dishonesty and manipulation. It's almost always simple minded. It demeans the Other, because it so hardly ever listens to the life experience the other person has.

Jedidiah
04-25-2015, 02:10 PM
Not true. The message that everyone benefits if they love one another is not in the least problematic for atheists. It is not exclusively a Christian message.

Abigail wrote. "Jesus who in turn teaches us how to love others...." You obviously have failed to learn the "how" since you never fail to not show love in your posts. This aside from your dishonesty.

pancreasman
04-25-2015, 02:27 PM
So to avoid this you post . . . v

As CP and others have correctly pointed out, there is bad evangelism and good evangelism. My experience was more of the 'bad' type. However, in my life there have been a few times when I have been deeply impressed by the good character and depth of some Christians. These people have made Christianity attractive without telling me I'm a sinner and that I need Jesus. Through their actions they have been more effective evangelisers than any 'soul winners'.

And CP, this thread is not an 'attack' on you, but rather my attempt to show why I find evangelism problematic. There have been some good contributions from Christian and non-Christian alike.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 02:31 PM
As CP and others have correctly pointed out, there is bad evangelism and good evangelism. My experience was more of the 'bad' type. However, in my life there have been a few times when I have been deeply impressed by the good character and depth of some Christians. These people have made Christianity attractive without telling me I'm a sinner and that I need Jesus. Through their actions they have been more effective evangelisers than any 'soul winners'.

Yet, interestingly enough, these "good character and depth" Christians don't seem to have brought you back to the faith. :smile:


And CP, this thread is not an 'attack' on you, but rather my attempt to show why I find evangelism problematic. There have been some good contributions from Christian and non-Christian alike.

And my thread was not an 'attack' on Sam. :smug:

pancreasman
04-25-2015, 02:45 PM
Yet, interestingly enough, these "good character and depth" Christians don't seem to have brought you back to the faith. :smile:



And my thread was not an 'attack' on Sam. :smug:

They brought me closer than the bossy types. I can't be a Christian because of what I do and don't believe, but some people confirm for me at least that being a Christian with integrity and depth is possible. Mind you so is not being a Christian.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 02:47 PM
They brought me closer than the bossy types. I can't be a Christian because of what I do and don't believe, but some people confirm for me at least that being a Christian with integrity and depth is possible.

That would be the "them", as opposed to the "us", as in me, eh? :smile: (I'm kidding, Pman - for reasons unbeknownst to me, I really like you. :shrug:)


Mind you so is not being a Christian.

That must be Aussie - can you parse it for me?

pancreasman
04-25-2015, 02:54 PM
That would be the "them", as opposed to the "us", as in me, eh? :smile: (I'm kidding, Pman - for reasons unbeknownst to me, I really like you. :shrug:)



That must be Aussie - can you parse it for me?

What I mean is that although some Christians are attractive exemplars of their faith, I find them to be no more numerous than exemplary Buddhists, atheists, Hindus, and so on. I think it has more to do with spiritual development (see my other thread about this) than it does to the actual content of any particular faith.

I hope you notice that all of this is framed in terms of my personal experience and opinion and I'm not asserting any universal truths here.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 02:59 PM
What I mean is that although some Christians are attractive exemplars of their faith, I find them to be no more numerous than exemplary Buddhists, atheists, Hindus, and so on. I think it has more to do with spiritual development (see my other thread about this) than it does to the actual content of any particular faith.

I hope you notice that all of this is framed in terms of my personal experience and opinion and I'm not asserting any universal truths here.

Gotcha. Thanks.

Darth Executor
04-25-2015, 03:06 PM
Reminds me of a conversation with my increasingly-more-conservative Christian parents a year or so ago. They'd had a speaker at their church who had started an organisation working with poor people who were in debt, helping them sort out their finances. "That's the sort of Christianity you'd approve-of right?" they said to me, and indeed it was, as they made what the guy was doing sound like a really great idea that was truly making a meaningful impact to people's lives.

My response was along the lines of "that sounds wonderful, could it be scaled-up to happen throughout the country? You could probably get government funding for that sort of thing" but I suspected that this all sounded too-good to be true, because call me a skeptic, but over the years I've been sufficiently disillusioned about Christians and them helping people. Sure enough, at Christmas I overheard my parents telling the same story to their religious relatives and they included a lot more bits to the story than what they'd told me, and sure enough, the motivations of the guy doing this were primarily about evangelism. Helping poor people out of debt was apparently a useful tool for winning souls for Christ.

Note how Starlight's Christian parents seek moral approval from their godless dirtbag son, as if Starlight's morality is anything more than degenerate abomination. They should be on their knees begging the rest of us forgiveness for hoisting this jackass on us.

Moderators have decided to restore the comment.

Catholicity
04-25-2015, 03:14 PM
Mind you Cp the only one who will actually bring anyone back is God. Pman needs to do the searching of which I believe he is and God needs to make the calling you know the one you just can't ignore. BTW Pman I read Nick's post in deeper waters on how he feels about the idea of Christianity as a relationship. Read it. Its compelling and spoke very loudly to me about something that weighed heavily on me as a teenager.

whag
04-25-2015, 03:40 PM
Yeah, note that I was writing my "Coffee Tent" post before I saw this one. I don't think we could have been any more subtle - we were just handing out free coffee, not expecting anything other than maybe helping people stay awake to arrive safely at their destination. :shrug:

Excellent. Expressing works with subtlety without hiding your religious identity seems like the best approach in making an impact.

Yttrium
04-25-2015, 03:47 PM
The only ones who have contacted me in an evangelical manner in the past couple decades have been Mormons. They knock on my door, and they always show up in pairs and in their spiffy outfits, and I politely decline to talk with them about their religion. A Jehovah's Witness called me on the phone, and we had a running conversation once a week for more than a month, but she didn't actually seem to be trying to draw me in. We just talked about various topics in Christianity, not noticeably related to her offshoot of it, and she eventually stopped calling.

My grandparents (RIP) were convinced that Jesus would return in their lifetimes, and they were concerned that not nearly enough people had been "saved". I can sympathize with that point of view, although you'd think people would notice that every generation for the past couple thousand years has included many people who believed that Jesus will return in their lifetimes, and it hasn't happened yet. There are many Christians who honestly want to rescue people from imminent doom, and that leads a good portion of them to evangelize. So if I encounter evangelical types, I give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they're just trying to help me (rather than earning brownie points in their church). I'll smile and politely send them on their way, possibly thanking them for their concern if appropriate.

shunyadragon
04-25-2015, 04:06 PM
Abigail wrote. "Jesus who in turn teaches us how to love others...." You obviously have failed to learn the "how" since you never fail to not show love in your posts. This aside from your dishonesty.

Actually I find this more a problem with your postings then firstfloor.

pancreasman
04-25-2015, 04:22 PM
Now, now, if you can, keep it exploratory rather than accusatory.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 05:23 PM
The only ones who have contacted me in an evangelical manner in the past couple decades have been Mormons. They knock on my door, and they always show up in pairs and in their spiffy outfits, and I politely decline to talk with them about their religion.

Send them to my house. I LOVE talking to Mormons! :hug:

pancreasman
04-25-2015, 05:31 PM
Send them to my house. I LOVE talking to Mormons! :hug:

Mormons and JW's are very low on my list of effective evangelisers. They rely on rote learning and are unprepared for a knowledgeable response. It's easy to throw them for a loop.

I maintain effective evangelism has to be rooted in a mature spirituality with a genuine (and I mean genuine) interest in and compassion for the other person's experience.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 05:33 PM
Mormons and JW's are very low on my list of effective evangelisers. They rely on rote learning and are unprepared for a knowledgeable response. It's easy to throw them for a loop.

I maintain effective evangelism has to be rooted in a mature spirituality with a genuine (and I mean genuine) interest in and compassion for the other person's experience.

Yeah, this is probably a whole 'nuther thread, but the Mormons I have encountered have, as you implied (or I inferred from what you said :smile:), been prepared with a "script", and when you get them off that script, they're totally lost.

Yttrium
04-25-2015, 05:45 PM
Yeah, this is probably a whole 'nuther thread, but the Mormons I have encountered have, as you implied (or I inferred from what you said :smile:), been prepared with a "script", and when you get them off that script, they're totally lost.

True, the ones who visited me were always young and idealistic.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 05:57 PM
True, the ones who visited me were always young and idealistic.

They are required to serve a 2 year "mission", usually right out of high school, and part of that is the door to door canvassing with their prepared script. I don't remember it exactly, but it basically starts with "do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God", then "Do you believe that God spoke through prophets of old", then "do you believe God can speak through prophets today", finally getting to "do you believe that Joseph Smith could be that prophet".

They are not really prepared to answer any of your questions, hoping you stay on script with them. When you get them off script, they ask if they can come back later with somebody else. Mind you, these young men are called "elders", which I always thought ironic.

Bill the Cat
04-25-2015, 06:00 PM
Send them to my house. I LOVE talking to Mormons! :hug:

Me too. As long as they aren't named seven-anything :yes:

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 06:01 PM
:haha:

Me too. As long as they aren't named seven-anything :yes:
:rofl:

Bill the Cat
04-25-2015, 06:01 PM
Actually I find this more a problem with your postings then firstfloor.

You mean THAN firstfloor?

Bill the Cat
04-25-2015, 06:03 PM
Note how Starlight's Christian parents seek moral approval from their godless dirtbag son, as if Starlight's morality is anything more than degenerate abomination. They should be on their knees begging the rest of us forgiveness for hoisting this jackass on us.

Dang dude. That's a bit much, even for this forum...

Yttrium
04-25-2015, 06:06 PM
They are required to serve a 2 year "mission", usually right out of high school, and part of that is the door to door canvassing with their prepared script. I don't remember it exactly, but it basically starts with "do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God", then "Do you believe that God spoke through prophets of old", then "do you believe God can speak through prophets today", finally getting to "do you believe that Joseph Smith could be that prophet".

They are not really prepared to answer any of your questions, hoping you stay on script with them. When you get them off script, they ask if they can come back later with somebody else. Mind you, these young men are called "elders", which I always thought ironic.

Interesting. I've noticed that they have a pretty big overseas missionary program too. Driving through northern Utah, there's always a big sign welcoming members back.

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 06:10 PM
Interesting. I've noticed that they have a pretty big overseas missionary program too. Driving through northern Utah, there's always a big sign welcoming members back.

Yes, that's the "mission" that these young "elders" go on - it could be here in the States, or any foreign country. Some of the Mormons we used to talk to in the Mormon Forum had served in Japan, South Korea, and other places. The sign welcoming members back applies to all of these "elders" coming back from wherever.

Jedidiah
04-25-2015, 06:42 PM
What I mean is that although some Christians are attractive exemplars of their faith, I find them to be no more numerous than exemplary Buddhists, atheists, Hindus, and so on. I think it has more to do with spiritual development (see my other thread about this) than it does to the actual content of any particular faith.For better or for worse Christians are still just human beings with all that entails.

Jedidiah
04-25-2015, 06:43 PM
Actually I find this more a problem with your postings then firstfloor.

Sorry you see things that way.

Bill the Cat
04-25-2015, 06:46 PM
For better or for worse Christians are still just human beings with all that entails.

:yes: T'is why Paul said Imitate me as I imitate Christ.

pancreasman
04-25-2015, 06:59 PM
For better or for worse Christians are still just human beings with all that entails.

Fine. Except ... Christians claim a special relationship with the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. There ought to be ivied che of that.

shunyadragon
04-25-2015, 07:27 PM
You mean THAN firstfloor?
. . . more a problem THAN the postings of firstfloor

Juvenal
04-25-2015, 07:59 PM
Fine. Except ... Christians claim a special relationship with the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. There ought to be ivied che of that.

"ivied che"

Does that have anything to do with cookies?

Cow Poke
04-25-2015, 08:00 PM
"ivied che"

Does that have anything to do with cookies?

yes indeedie

5992

One Bad Pig
04-25-2015, 08:52 PM
If I'm reading you right, your issue is with insincerity, dishonesty and deception-by-omission in evangelism, rather than with the idea of evangelism per se?

I think Jesus wouldn't be too impressed with the kinds of sharp practices you encountered. I've always understood the 'Great Commission' to be about helping people to know Jesus as I know Him, and to choose to consciously and actively follow Him in their lives, for all their lives. That's not the kind of hing that happens if you take 'shortcuts' and rush people into a 'commitment'.
That's one major difference between the Protestant and Catholic/Orthodox approach. Protestants tend to go for the quick conversion and admittance, then work towards understanding (I've experienced one exception to this, which involved a Hindu convert to Christianity in college). Catholic/Orthodox churches make sure the person has sufficient understanding, only then allowing admittance. Protestants tend to take the same tack in ecumenism, which is why many Orthodox take a dim view of the ecumenical movement (strangely, Catholics tend to be very Protestant-like in this area).

Chrawnus
04-25-2015, 08:58 PM
That's one major difference between the Protestant and Catholic/Orthodox approach. Protestants tend to go for the quick conversion and admittance, then work towards understanding (I've experienced one exception to this, which involved a Hindu convert to Christianity in college). Catholic/Orthodox churches make sure the person has sufficient understanding, only then allowing admittance. Protestants tend to take the same tack in ecumenism, which is why many Orthodox take a dim view of the ecumenical movement (strangely, Catholics tend to be very Protestant-like in this area).

As far as I'm aware most* confessional Lutheran denominations (which are the only genuine Lutherans IMO :tongue:) require you to get catechised before you're allowed to receive communion in their churches. :shrug:







*There could be exceptions, but I'm not aware of any.

Tassman
04-25-2015, 09:47 PM
Abigail wrote. "Jesus who in turn teaches us how to love others...." You obviously have failed to learn the "how" since you never fail to not show love in your posts.

But of course you mean this in the most loving possible way.


This aside from your dishonesty.

...and this. :lmbo:

Paprika
04-26-2015, 01:01 AM
Dang dude. That's a bit much, even for this forum...
Par for the course given Starlight's claims that many Christians are evil.

firstfloor
04-26-2015, 02:04 AM
:yes: T'is why Paul said Imitate me as I imitate Christ.Paul was a crafty one to be sure. (firstfloor is still reading Robert Eisenman)

shunyadragon
04-26-2015, 03:43 AM
Paul was a crafty one to be sure. (firstfloor is still reading Robert Eisenman)

Nothing wrong with Robert Eisenman. He is a well respected Biblical scholar. I still read his works.

firstfloor
04-26-2015, 05:19 AM
Nothing wrong with Robert Eisenman. He is a well respected Biblical scholar. I still read his works.I know. But it is difficult, turn-twisty reading.

Which brings me, somehow, to an idea about masters and pupils, and evangelists:

The source of knowledge about the universe is the universe itself. As more and more knowledge is extracted human beings have had to specialise in order that progress can continue. Without specialisation we would reach a point when the pupil would consume his entire life simply to copy his master’s knowledge. So progress, which entails a constant revision of ideas, requires the ability to condense experience and pass it on efficiently to future generations by the recruitment of more and more experts in ever more refined areas of knowledge.

Now, contrast this process with evangelism. Evangelism is the anti-progressive conservation of magical or sacred knowledge. While it is aimed at giving people a special perspective on the world it is simultaneously a contamination in the endeavour by education to overcome the undesirable aspects of our nature and habits. It looks backwards to a fictional idyllic existence and forwards to an equally fictional cataclysm. THIS WILL NOT DO.

MaxVel
04-26-2015, 05:26 AM
I know. But it is difficult, turn-twisty reading.

Which brings me, somehow, to an idea about masters and pupils, and evangelists:

The source of knowledge about the universe is the universe itself. As more and more knowledge is extracted human beings have had to specialise in order that progress can continue. Without specialisation we would reach a point when the pupil would consume his entire life simply to copy his master’s knowledge. So progress, which entails a constant revision of ideas, requires the ability to condense experience and pass it on efficiently to future generations by the recruitment of more and more experts in ever more refined areas of knowledge.

Now, contrast this process with evangelism. Evangelism is the anti-progressive conservation of magical or sacred knowledge. While it is aimed at giving people a special perspective on the world it is simultaneously a contamination in the endeavour by education to overcome the undesirable aspects of our nature and habits. It looks backwards to a fictional idyllic existence and forwards to an equally fictional cataclysm. THIS WILL NOT DO.


You make very little sense. Your first paragraph praises the passing on of knowledge. Your second paragraph condemns it.

You've got a massively begged question. You're not comparing apples with apples.


In short, while on first glance your post appears eminently sensible, it's full of so much bad logic that it's worthless. THIS WILL NOT DO.

MaxVel
04-26-2015, 05:45 AM
Now, now, if you can, keep it exploratory rather than accusatory.

I accuse you of exploring! Fie upon you, explorer!


I'd also like to talk about something I observed growing up. On some evenings, while people were ding their late shopping, a small group of guys would hang out on one busy corner. One would produce a Bible and proceed to harangue the world in general (passers-by, anyone who happened to be in earshot) in a loud voice, with passages from the Bible and comments like 'You are a sinner, and God will judge you. Repent and come to Jesus.' The others would kind of loiter around, perhaps hoping to talk to anyone interested. i never saw anyone who was interested. The manner, tone and content of the 'presentation' was judgmental and negative.

However, they were evangelising, right? And lives were changed, surprisingly enough....






... the people that used to pass that corner regularly found other ways to go to their destinations, or walked on the far side of the street.


Perhaps that's the kind of evangelisation you dislike, Pancreasman. I know I never liked it, even more so when I became a Christian (through no fault of theirs).


Thing is, people are people, with all their faults and flaws. It's not easy to form real relationships with others and share the goodness you've found. It's much easier (practically and psychologically) to just talk at someone, or use a system or method that 'works' - and then you can tell yourself that you've done your duty. This s not an excuse,but it is a explanation as to why Christians too often fail in this area.

Somewhere I think you mentioned being disappointed with how little different Christians seem to be from ordinary people. I think Jesus probably feels the same way. But I do know that being a Christian has made a huge difference in my own life, and really changed me as a person, for the better, in so many ways. I think the problem is that we change at the speed that, and to the extent that, we allow God to work in us. So some may hardly change at all, and some may change, but slowly.

GK Chesterton said:
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

Juvenal
04-26-2015, 09:39 AM
Par for the course given Starlight's claims that many Christians are evil.

Wait ... you're saying Darthie acting evil is on par with Starlight saying some Christians are evil? That's seriously twisted.

I approve.

Paprika
04-26-2015, 10:16 AM
Wait ... you're saying Darthie acting evil is on par with Starlight saying some Christians are evil? That's seriously twisted.

I approve.
:ahem:
I'm saying Darth's attacks are on par with Starlight's.

Adrift
04-26-2015, 10:24 AM
That's one major difference between the Protestant and Catholic/Orthodox approach. Protestants tend to go for the quick conversion and admittance, then work towards understanding (I've experienced one exception to this, which involved a Hindu convert to Christianity in college). Catholic/Orthodox churches make sure the person has sufficient understanding, only then allowing admittance. Protestants tend to take the same tack in ecumenism, which is why many Orthodox take a dim view of the ecumenical movement (strangely, Catholics tend to be very Protestant-like in this area).

This method of conversion in the Catholic and Orthodox church may count towards why those denominations are shrinking, and why Islam (in the Northern hemisphere) and Protestantism (in the Southern hemisphere) are filling in the gap.

firstfloor
04-26-2015, 11:15 AM
You make very little sense.Ah! Some improvement then.

Another very serious problem for evangelists is that they are either acting out of fear of being punished for leaving lost souls behind or they are exploiting other people’s fear of damnation. To put it crudely they are either cowards or charlatans.

Adrift
04-26-2015, 11:20 AM
Ah! Some improvement then.

Another very serious problem for evangelists is that they are either acting out of fear of being punished for leaving lost souls behind or they are exploiting other people’s fear of damnation. To put it crudely they are either cowards or charlatans.

Can you name the exact congregation you have in mind so that I know to avoid them? In the 25 years I've been an orthodox Christian, I've never ever seen any evangelists evangelize out of fear or punishment. Ever. That idea is so alien and non-representational of the reality that I've witnessed personally, that I can't help but think you're assuming this based on some sort of odd media-driven stereotype of some sort.

Chrawnus
04-26-2015, 11:32 AM
Can you name the exact congregation you have in mind so that I know to avoid them? In the 25 years I've been an orthodox Christian, I've never ever seen any evangelists evangelize out of fear or punishment. Ever. That idea is so alien and non-representational of the reality that I've witnessed personally, that I can't help but think you're assuming this based on some sort of odd media-driven stereotype of some sort.

Don't feed the :troll:.

firstfloor
04-26-2015, 12:12 PM
Can you name the exact congregation you have in mind so that I know to avoid them? In the 25 years I've been an orthodox Christian, I've never ever seen any evangelists evangelize out of fear or punishment. Ever. That idea is so alien and non-representational of the reality that I've witnessed personally, that I can't help but think you're assuming this based on some sort of odd media-driven stereotype of some sort.It has nothing to do with congregations. The offer contained in the Christian message is much more serious than, say, the offer of a cheese that you might enjoy. What do you think happens to a person if he is shown the ‘way’ and then withholds his love, devotion and obedience?

Nearly May, snow?!!? Altitude all of 95m!

firstfloor
04-26-2015, 12:30 PM
Don't feed the :troll:.“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Cow Poke
04-26-2015, 03:26 PM
Another very serious problem for evangelists is that they are either acting out of fear of being punished for leaving lost souls behind

Wow, in over 40 years of evangelism, I have never encountered THAT "logic" before. :huh: That's just dumb.


or they are exploiting other people’s fear of damnation.

I have never EVER had to exploit somebody's fears of damnation or anything else - I have offered the love and peace of Christ.


To put it crudely they are either cowards or charlatans.

Well, that's not only crudely put, but is a steaming pile of horsie poo. :shrug:

Cow Poke
04-26-2015, 03:29 PM
It has nothing to do with congregations. The offer contained in the Christian message is much more serious than, say, the offer of a cheese that you might enjoy. What do you think happens to a person if he is shown the ‘way’ and then withholds his love, devotion and obedience?

We put them on our prayer list.

shunyadragon
04-26-2015, 03:42 PM
You make very little sense. Your first paragraph praises the passing on of knowledge. Your second paragraph condemns it.

You've got a massively begged question. You're not comparing apples with apples.


In short, while on first glance your post appears eminently sensible, it's full of so much bad logic that it's worthless. THIS WILL NOT DO.

I understand him very well even, though I may not totally agree with him. It depends on what knowledge is being passed on and how. He believes the passing on the knowledge of science in the manner it does. He does not approve of how knowledge is sometimes passed on in Christianity, particularly evangelism which depends heavily depends heavily on an emotional connection to the knowledge.

pancreasman
04-26-2015, 04:11 PM
First Floor, at this point you are generating more heat than light in this thread (and I think you're doing it provocatively). As OP I'm going to ask you not to post anymore.

Darth Executor
04-26-2015, 06:24 PM
firstfloor is my favorite tweb atheist

firstfloor
04-27-2015, 05:22 AM
First Floor, at this point you are generating more heat than light in this thread (and I think you're doing it provocatively). As OP I'm going to ask you not to post anymore.Done. I will impersonate a church mouse.

One Bad Pig
04-27-2015, 06:11 AM
As far as I'm aware most* confessional Lutheran denominations (which are the only genuine Lutherans IMO :tongue:) require you to get catechised before you're allowed to receive communion in their churches. :shrug:
Lutherans are unusual among Protestants in that they practice closed communion.

Chrawnus
04-27-2015, 06:15 AM
Lutherans are unusual among Protestants in that they practice closed communion.

Lutherans are the original Protestants. :tongue:


But only confessional Lutherans practice closed communion. The ELCA for example practice open communion. :shrug:

One Bad Pig
04-27-2015, 06:43 AM
This method of conversion in the Catholic and Orthodox church may count towards why those denominations are shrinking, and why Islam (in the Northern hemisphere) and Protestantism (in the Southern hemisphere) are filling in the gap.
:huh: Islam is growing mostly through a high birth rate and immigration, and the NoI's identity with black empowerment doesn't hurt either. South America is something like 90% Christian, and AFAIK that is mostly Roman Catholic. In that situation, the odds are extremely good that the small minority is going to have a better growth rate and a smaller percentage of nominal believers, and so conversion is almost inevitably going to be in the direction of the minority. I would like to see where you're getting your data. Eastern Orthodoxy is growing in Africa, and is growing in Guatemala (the only SA country for which I have much knowledge of Orthodoxy) so fast they're having a difficult time accommodating it; the Hatian mission desperately needs more priests. Part of the problem with Orthodoxy's expansion in this hemisphere is that it was established to mostly serve immigrant communities in their native language, and those communities tend to want to maintain that language in worship as part of their culture - which makes proselytizing rather difficult and makes it more likely that children will grow up and leave because they don't understand what's going on.

Juvenal
04-27-2015, 06:43 AM
Lutherans are unusual among Protestants in that they practice closed communion.


Lutherans are the original Protestants. :tongue: But only confessional Lutherans practice closed communion.

When my nephews were tiny, they'd ask why I didn't take communion when visiting my brother's church. I told them, "I'm not a Lutheran."

:blush:

It didn't exactly fool them, but it wasn't really intended to do so. They knew I simply sat quietly without bowing my head when grace was said, because they peeked, the rapscallions! Still, it did make another point I could stress when they were older, that differences in our religious beliefs could be respected.

One Bad Pig
04-27-2015, 06:44 AM
Lutherans are the original Protestants. :tongue:
No, they were the original Evangelicals. :tongue:


But only confessional Lutherans practice closed communion. The ELCA for example practice open communion. :shrug:

But those aren't Real LutheransTM. :wink:

Chrawnus
04-27-2015, 06:56 AM
No, they were the original Evangelicals. :tongue:

Semantics. :tongue:



But those aren't Real LutheransTM. :wink:

True. :yes:

rogue06
04-27-2015, 06:58 AM
When my nephews were tiny, they'd ask why I didn't take communion when visiting my brother's church. I told them, "I'm not a Lutheran."

:blush:

It didn't exactly fool them, but it wasn't really intended to do so. They knew I simply sat quietly without bowing my head when grace was said, because they peeked, the rapscallions! Still, it did make another point I could stress when they were older, that differences in our religious beliefs could be respected.
And do you now to bribe them with cookies? :hrm:

MaxVel
04-27-2015, 07:01 AM
I understand him very well even, though I may not totally agree with him. It depends on what knowledge is being passed on and how. He believes the passing on the knowledge of science in the manner it does. He does not approve of how knowledge is sometimes passed on in Christianity, particularly evangelism which depends heavily depends heavily on an emotional connection to the knowledge.

Uh. Yeah. Thank you, Captain Obvious. :thumb:

MaxVel
04-27-2015, 07:04 AM
firstfloor is my favorite tweb atheist

Because he's the only TWeb atheist who is as provocative as you are? :eek:

Adrift
04-27-2015, 07:07 AM
:huh: Islam is growing mostly through a high birth rate and immigration, and the NoI's identity with black empowerment doesn't hurt either. South America is something like 90% Christian, and AFAIK that is mostly Roman Catholic. In that situation, the odds are extremely good that the small minority is going to have a better growth rate and a smaller percentage of nominal believers, and so conversion is almost inevitably going to be in the direction of the minority. I would like to see where you're getting your data.

Sure. Its mostly coming from my reading of Philip Jenkins on the subject (specifically The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity). I thought this was more or less common knowledge.

thewriteranon
04-27-2015, 07:40 AM
Lutherans are the original Protestants. :tongue:


But only confessional Lutherans practice closed communion. The ELCA for example practice open communion. :shrug:

I was confirmed in a WELS church and even attended a Missouri Synod church for a year during my catechism and I still can't receive communion in a Missouri Synod church! :rant:

Abigail
04-28-2015, 06:09 AM
Not true. The message that everyone benefits if they love one another is not in the least problematic for atheists. It is not exclusively a Christian message. Nice try at distorting my words with your spin. The message is forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ the rest is just the bounty that goes along with that.

One Bad Pig
04-28-2015, 06:49 AM
Sure. Its mostly coming from my reading of Philip Jenkins on the subject (specifically The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity). I thought this was more or less common knowledge.

:shrug: Philip Jenkins is not high on my list of respected scholars. I've read his book on Eastern Christianity (the title escapes me at the moment).

Tassman
04-28-2015, 10:08 PM
And do you now to bribe them with cookies? :hrm:

Any self-respecting child will go with whichever side offers the best cookies.

firstfloor
04-29-2015, 02:04 PM
Nice try at distorting my words with your spin. The message is forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ the rest is just the bounty that goes along with that.Then just to be clear, atheists don’t reject the message, they reject the magic.