General Question

allengreen's avatar

Why do Christians feel the need to make everyone in world beleive what they believe?

Asked by allengreen (1618points) September 3rd, 2008

Why can they not just live and let live? How come we cannot be free from religion?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

50 Answers

augustlan's avatar

From their perspective, it is their duty to spread the word and save your soul. It is up to you to tell them you are not interested, thankyouverymuch.

damien's avatar

They reckon they’re ‘saving’ you if they convert you.

allengreen's avatar

I thought it was their duty to be perfect even and god is perfect. Why should the onus be on me to constantly have to put these nut cases in their place?

Is there some kind of cosmic Do Not Call List I can subscribe to?

allengreen's avatar

I don’t want to be saved, I want another cheese-burger.

damien's avatar

Try to counter-convert them.

mdy's avatar

Because that’s the command that Jesus gave Christians in Matthew 28:19 to 20:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

bodyhead's avatar

Some times those that try to convert are trying to save you from eternal damnation. I find that the harder someone tries to convert me, the more they end up looking like a fruitcake.

It’s our job as prospective converts to remain rational and only use facts in our battle of null-conversion. Don’t use generalities and stereotypes even if they are trying to conform to them. The bible itself has plenty of ammunition in it. Different sects of people choose to believe that different parts of the bible mean different things.

Few people will actually quote the bible back to you if you pull a dozen or so quotes out to back up your points. Throw out a few about making your enemies into slaves or beating your children. If they try to give you any of that, “but that’s the old testament” nonsense then pull a few from the new testament.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

They get points on a giant tally board if you convert. Actually, not all Christians proselytize. Catholics that I know don’t. Neither do Lutherans or Presbyterians. It’s my belief that it is mostly the Evangelical Christians (or, as I like to call them, the Big Box Christians) that believe in the tally board.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

To be fair, this isn’t a Christian problem, it’s a religious problem. And like many things man made, religion is plagued with power struggles and “My dick is bigger than your dick” contests. When it comes down to it, people just aren’t satisfied with the promise of paradise in the next life; they have to have the satisfaction of being right in the one they are currently living. And the easiest way to validate your beliefs is to know that other people are in line with you. And if they aren’t? Well, you attack and/or shun them. It’s a lot like high school, really.

bodyhead's avatar

MrMelted, I couldn’t agree more. It’s just because there are so many Christians, it seems like they are the ones that are trying to convert you more often then not (here in the states anyway).

marissa's avatar

I answered a question similar to this in the past. Here is my answer from that question:

“I am going to try and answer this question as respectfully as possible, meaning being respectful of both ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’.

First, there are several biblical references that address spreading the word of God. (I can’t quote them or site them, perhaps someone with more biblical knowledge than me can) It is considered part of one’s obligation/responsibility as a Christian. I understand and respect that some people find it very annoying, too say the least, but most that do it, are doing so, because they truly believe that they are helping others by telling them about God.

Now, even among different ‘Christian’ religions, you will find people trying to ‘convert’ other Christians to their particular branch of Christianity. It has happened to me personally with great effort, so I do have some experience with the irritation one can feel when repeatedly being told what they should believe, HOWEVER, I stop myself from reacting in a hostile or insulting way, because (at least in my case) I know that the people trying to ‘convert’ me are doing so because of their deep love of me.

As hard as it maybe to believe, I think a lot of what you’re talking about comes from a place of love, but that has gotten lost in the translation. A person’s love of God, love for others can make some people feel desparate to share their beliefs with others and by doing so ‘save’ others. Please try to think of it this way, if you knew that a person or persons were walking into an area that was about to be wiped out by a massive tidal wave (or fill in any scenario that you can relate to, where people were about to put themselves in immediate danger and certain death) and those people had no idea what they were doing, to what extreme would you go to, to make them listen to you and walk in the other direction to safety, away from the tidal wave, especially, if some of those people were people you cared about?

Now, the above scenario may sound ridiculous to you, however, to people that truly believe that those that don’t believe in God, those that aren’t baptised in the ‘right’ religion, those that don’t follow the word of God and the bible teachings, that those people will spend an eternity in the fires of hell, to people that believe that will happen to others, they feel as desparate to spread the word of God and ‘convert’ others, as you or others would feel in the above situation with a tidal wave.”

Spargett's avatar

Its usually a morally condescending thing. Makes themselves feel better.

The same feeling you get when you give a bum a dollar.

cyndyh's avatar

Actually, marissa, those people don’t love me. They don’t even know me. It’s a deep arrogance on their part. I’ve heard about their god. They can’t possibly think they’re telling me anything I haven’t heard. They need to move on.

Way back when I was a Christian, I didn’t do that to people. As Sueanne points out: not all Christians do. The ones who don’t proselytize I usually get along with. The ones who do proselytize open the door to discussing religion with me and are going to hear what I think of their religion whether they find it rude or not. I’ll not be lectured to about their fictions. To expect me to isn’t respectful to me.

If someone comes and tells me a tidal wave is going to wipe out me and my house and the whole neighbor etc. and that I need to leave my house right now or die and there’s no reason to believe a tidal is actually coming anywhere near that location then I think they’re either crazy or trying to steal my stuff.

VoodooLogic's avatar

Cause they’re think it’s whats right. Like my roommate who harps on me to quit smoking. In the end of his blabitty blah blah, I want to smoke even more.

Allie's avatar

It depends on the individual also. Not every Christian will try to convert you.
I don’t like how it’s a tendency to make generalizations about people who have one thing in common. (This goes for everything, not just religion. Like when women get mad at one guy and then say “All men are dogs.” That kind of stuff bothers me.)

marissa's avatar

@cyndyh, in my tidal wave example, I realize that their may be no proof of a tidal wave, but the person telling you there is, really believes there is.
@Allie, I agree with you completely about generalizations.

bodyhead's avatar

And then someone will go on TV in a nice suit with a rolex and tell me tidal waves are coming all over the nation and please send my stuff to him for safekeeping.

marissa's avatar

@bodyhead Yep! Hey, if you need a place to store your stuff for safekeeping….

cyndyh's avatar

@marissa: I didn’t say anything about proof. I said there’s no reason to believe it. If that’s the case the person still needs to get off of my porch. If someone really believes something and I’m not convinced all of them do it doesn’t mean I should spend my time listening to their blather.

marinelife's avatar

Not all do. Yet another allengreen erroneous generalization.

allengreen's avatar

@Marina—are you always a prick? Or is that one of the qualities that I bring out in you?

marissa's avatar

@cyndyh “If someone really believes something…doesn’t mean I should spend my time listening to their blather.” I agree with you, I’m just saying that they might think you should spend your time “listening to their blather.” Personally, I think your time is better spent on Fluther…LOL

cyndyh's avatar

…fluther and many many other things are more worthy of my time. Yep. :^>

TheHaight's avatar

I am Catholic and I don’t feel the need to make others believe what I believe. This is such a huge generalization- and I think you’re asking all these questions to get a rise out of people…

aidje's avatar

Okay, this one actually is loaded. Your question is based on a false assumption, a broad generalization that simply doesn’t hold true. I’m a Christian. I, and most of my friends, aren’t actively evangelical in the sense that you describe. We just live our lives, and if someone asks us something about our faith, we tell them. But we don’t pester anyone.

I also hold the belief that a person cannot be persuaded to faith, meaning that it’s worthless for me to argue with someone and try to prove anything to them. That’s just not how it works.

susanc's avatar

@allengreen, we all know who the prick is.

allengreen's avatar

True susan, we do. You do not fail.

thegodfather's avatar

In all honesty, I feel that I have experienced a close relationship to Jesus Christ that has made my daily life happier and more fulfilling than anything else I have experienced. I really mean this, not in any abstract sense, but in a very real and personal sense. I don’t want to try to convert people out of duty to save their souls, or to be right, or for any other reason, other than a desire that others can experience the love of Christ too. So my conversations with others leave out doctrine or theology or belief as much as possible and I try to center everything that is shared on discussing anecdotes from my own life and perhaps the lives of others close to me that demonstrate the gift of love given by Christ. When a person has very real questions about reality and life, then it may be appropriate to discuss doctrine, but if we miss this fundamental fact about the love of God, then I don’t see much of a point to discussing doctrine or trying to convert anyone.

cheebdragon's avatar

I just tell them I worship Satan and they leave me alone, the LDS and Mormon people have learned to avoid my house at all cost.

I have noticed that there are a lot of Democrats who try and convert people who are republican or people that are “unsure”/“undecided”...........
To me, this is much more annoying…
At least the church nuts go away quickly.

bodyhead's avatar

I have a close and personal relationship with a potato. I’ve convinced myself that I love this potato and it makes my daily life happier. I want others to love this potato so they can experience what I experience. Does anyone have any suggestions that I can use to convert people to my new potato-based faith?

What works for some, doesn’t work for all.

marissa's avatar

@bodyhead, please tell me more about this potato, when did you find this potato? how has it changed your life? taking notes for psychology paper titled “Potatos and the People Who Love Them” Seriously, I completely get your point and think it is a valid one. BTW can your potato save us from my tidal wave ;0P

marinelife's avatar

@bodyhead I bet it was the eyes, right? When you looked into its eyes, you saw how much compassion and love it had for you.

Allie's avatar

You’re the one my potato was cheating with?! It was you? </3

bodyhead's avatar

You guys are silly.

I’m just making the point that I would sound like a lunatic if I was trying to convince someone of another faith to believe in my faith. Of course, that’s assuming that I share with them the glory that is to bask in the brilliance of the divine potato.

I sound crazy right? It helps to take a look at yourself from the outside sometimes.

Allie's avatar

We know. Just having fun.

marissa's avatar

@bodyhead, I don’t think you’re crazy at all, I think you make a great point. It helps people to understand that just because something makes sense to them, for example their religion, it might not make sense to other people, for example your potato.
although I could get excited about a religion involving potatos, as long as it involved eating potatos…yummy! Did I mention that I’m Irish

augustlan's avatar

@cheeb: The video was “unavailable”. :(

aidje's avatar

@augustlan
That’s been happening to me all the time lately. It seems like YouTube is really cracking down on the… well… nothing in particular, really. They’re just going nuts with the deletions.

cheebdragon's avatar

I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened…...that’s a real bummer, it’s a interesting video.

thegodfather's avatar

It used to be that you could offer personal insight, opinion, and advice on Fluther without being mocked for it, but I guess all of the Digg users out there have migrated over.

The potato example above is a fallacy of analogy, if anyone really does take such an example seriously.

cyndyh's avatar

@thegodfather: The analogy only breaks down because potatoes are real. :^>

I think it would help you to look at things from the outside, too.

marissa's avatar

@thegodfather, I’m sorry if something I posted here offended you. I was just trying to inject a bit of humor with my pokes at the potato, just so you know I believe very much as you do, I can relate to your initial post. I am a Christian and I have no doubt of the existance of God, I will discuss my beliefs with anyone who wants to talk about it, but like you I don’t try to ‘convert’ anyone. With that being said, I find value in bodyhead’s potato comment, because as ridiculous (no offense bodyhead) as it may sound, it gives me insight into how some others who don’t believe in God (or at least in my particular vision of God) may view my beliefs, however, that doesn’t mean that they do view them that way. I try very hard to see where the other side of a topic/situation comes from on any given topic, whether I personally agree with the other side or not. If you read my initial post, you will see that I have made an arguement for why some (not all) of the people that do try to convert others may try to do so. I can see both sides of this (at least I think I can).

bodyhead's avatar

marissa, thank you for seeing my point. I like our exchanges and I appreciate you taking my non-belief lightly.

dogfather, I’m not trying to offend you. I’m not trying to mock you. I’m just trying to get everyone to look at how things seem from the outside. I was raised Catholic. You busted me on being a non-believer and a digg user but that doesn’t mean that I’m a crazy violent hooligan who doesn’t care who I hurt. I have morals just like you.

We’re just having a discussion. You can’t cry foul every time someone makes a good point because it makes you seem close-minded. Even though I realize you take this far more personally then you should because of your wonderful relationship with your lord, not everyone will see it that way.

You cannot be strong in the face of adversity if there is no adversity. If you always talk and think about God and never consider how any other viewpoints might be valid, then maybe you aren’t using all of the tools that God crammed in your head.

Just for the record, I see my example as clear and valid. I have a TON of friends who want me to bask in the love and radiance of their God. That doesn’t offend me. Why should my silly analogy (which just points out the ridiculousness of explaining God to someone who had never considered the concept) offend them?

Just for the record, my example is false and it is an analogy but I hardly think it’s a fallacy of analogy. You just put it that way to sound smart. Admit it! (again here I’m kidding – I thought I should point it out this time)

Seriously though, I wasn’t trying to mock you. We all have our beliefs and that’s cool. You don’t have to feel uptight. We’re all friends here. Speak your mind. If everyone had the same viewpoint it would be unbearably boring.

thegodfather's avatar

@bodyhead, et al.—

Thanks for the explanations of your intentions. See, it improves the discussion to know not only what people are thinking, but where they’re coming from. My comment about Digg users migrating over was a tad unfair… I have noticed in other threads on Fluther how the quality of discussions here have begun to drop significantly, just like they have on Digg. A lot of rancor and spite, you know? And I did take opportunity to vent.

Honestly, I have an opinion about logical fallacies. I, by no means, am perfect at following logical reasoning in all of my statements. In fact, I think it is impossible to be perfectly reasonable in one’s thinking, which is why, like you’ve pointed out, it’s so important to get perspectives from various viewpoints. So my throwing out names for fallacious reasoning is not actually trying to sound smart. I would say it’s more an exercise of sticking to sound reasoning, giving reminders to others to check their reasoning against known fallacies, and to spread the word, in a way, for learning the tools of the trade philosophers use to solidify their arguments. As this question, I believe, is primarily philosophical in nature, it’s good for us to try to maintain good reasoning, which is something absent on Digg at the moment (in my opinion).

Regarding the question at hand and your added comments about non-belief and conversion, etc., you do raise an important fact about the dynamic between believers and non-believers. You said, the difference is that the potato is real. Well, you have established that this is factually true: the potato is real. But an whole other line of reasoning would have to be established that somehow Jesus is not real. I see where you’re coming from, and in an absolute sense—meaning that what I’ve discussed about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ applies to all who have ever claimed to be Christian or those that we might term “believers” as opposed to those that subscribe to “non-belief”—in an absolute, general sense, I think your reasoning applies well. I must prove that God exists to say that another is morally bound to establish a relationship with him, or to scientifically assert that I do, in fact, have a relationship with him. Without such proof, I could be making it up.

But my point isn’t about philosophically proving that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, I don’t know that I can prove that, just as much as I don’t know that I can prove to an outsider that I do, in fact, love my wife. I’m simply describing that to someone who truly believes that they have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and that a major source of happiness in his/her life is such a relationship, this is a reason to desire that others embrace their belief. I don’t see how one who claims to love Jesus and to feel his love in return desiring to spread the word and for others to accept their lifestyle and belief is morally wrong. Now, to assert that others are morally bound to accept their beliefs would require much more proof and reasoning, which I don’t believe is attainable with religion in general. On the grounds that I’ve had personal experience with the Christian religion, and that it has blessed my life, I wish that happiness for others, but I do not wish to force it upon anyone or to convince them one way or another. I’m merely sharing where such gestures would be accepted or wanted.

Long response. My apologies. I hope it solidifies this perspective, and I think it’s very healthy and important to continue discussion on these topics. I admit that reducing thousands of years of philosophical debate into a couple of paragraphs is audacious, so I don’t expect this to have much more value than any other anecdote floating around cyberspace, but thanks for your time and thoughts.

bodyhead's avatar

@thegodfather, Wow fantastic response.

I just want make a couple of points here.

1. A lot of the digg comments lean towards spite for the sake of spite itself. You are probably more right then not to make a generalization about the people who take the time to make a comment in terrible taste just for shock value. (really you couldn’t be more right about digg being an asshole’s paradise)

2. I never said the potato was real, however I do believe that potatoes are real.

3. Some people say that faith is the ability to maintain a loving relationship with their God despite all evidence to the contrary. There is no way I would be able to discount hard physical repeatable evidence. Someone else has to teach you about God and there’s no way to know if their lessons are just like the ones you use to get about the Easter Bunny.

In the documentary Jesus Camp they talk about preaching to the young because it’s important to grab hold of that young mind and impart the knowledge of Jesus in it. If you showed that same footage to someone who had never heard of Jesus, they would probably ask why the children are being brainwashed.

I’m such a staunch environmentalist that I don’t even think it matters how the chemicals react in someones head to make them think they ‘love’ or ‘hate’ someone. I believe love and hate is shown through observable action. An unrecordable feeling is important to no one except you. Your actions define you as a person.

I believe that the burden of proof is on that of the religious person and not on the septic.
My favorite famous analogy is Russell’s Teapot

I really see no difference between God, Russell’s Teapot, and leprechauns. If only four people believed in God, would it make God any less real? At that point, more people would actually believe in leprechauns.

A lot of people strike out at me because I come off badly. If you assume that the new guy is a good person, you will get burned most of the time. No offense taken.

allengreen's avatar

I WISH TO NOMINATE BODYHEAD FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

XrayGirl's avatar

hi allengreen: didn’t read past the question, (yet) ,but as a Christian, I will tell you that Jesus told us to go out into the world and share the Good News of Jesus. He didn’t tell us to : convert, convince, force, shove down throat, etc. just to share, ....now I KNOW MANY who call themselves Christians… ( who attend my church) that are forceful and that…“just ain’t riiight” and I disagree with that “style” of sharing the Word of God. peace, bro. :)

allengreen's avatar

I have and should again, differentiate between real Christians, and the new, political, war mongering type of, I call them “Christianist”, Andrew Sullivan made common use of the term, though I have been scoulded here for using it.

I don’t often enough communicate that I adore those humble, helping the poor, kind of Christian—these are not the object of my ire. The Dobson, Fawell, Robertson, types are the target of most of my ranting on this thread. And thank you for helping me see that….

deaddolly's avatar

Ppl want you to believe what they do to validate them. everyone thinks their’s is the best and everyone else goes to hell.
Having been raised Catholic, I brought my daughter up Catholic, but let her choose her own way when she was old enough. Luckily she choose atheism, which after years of trying to fit into the Catholic ideals and then seeing all the abusive priests and going thru some rough times, I totally agree with.
I consider myself agnostic. Not sure if there is a God or Devil. There is good and evil, but that’s totally man-made. I lean toward the darker side of things..but that does not make me evil.
I once worked for a born again Christian who read the bible to me when I was upset. I can’t tell you how much that pissed me off.
Keep your religious views to yourself if you don’t want to be challenged and if you’re not asked: don’t tell.

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