Don’t Come A-Knockin’

Evangelism sometimes gets a bad reputation for having the appearence of “forcing” a religious belief on an otherwise religious or theologically satisfied person.  I suspect most people like where they are in respect to their religious beliefs and generally wish to stay there.  Evangelism can be seen as offensive, since it assumes the evangelist thinks the evangelee is wrong in their beliefs about religion; and rightly so, otherwise why evangelize.  There are some, for the reasons mentioned above, conclude people should not evangelize, that it might even be immoral or rude.  But what should we make of the idea that people should not evangelize since it is an attempt to impose religious beliefs onto others?

There are a few ways to consider evangelism.  First, the idea that anyone can force an idea or religious belief on you is a bit misunderstood.  In fact, no one can make you or I believe anything we do not wish to believe.  I do not see how it is possible to force a religious belief on anyone.  So that is really not the issue.  Do you really think someone could really force their religion on you?

Here is something you may not have considered.  If you are someone who believes people should not evangelize because it is an attempt to impose their religious views upon you, and you voice that conviction, you are guilty of your own complaint.  Evangelism for some religious systems is part of their fabric. 

Christians for example, have been commanded by Jesus to evangelize in “the great commission”, it’s part of the whole.  Being commanded to evangelize, Christians have an obligation to do so (whether they do it or not is irrelevant to their duty).  When you attempt to silence evangelists, you are in a sense imposing your religious view of evangelism upon the evangelist.  You are in effect saying, “give up your view on evangelism (that you should) and adopt my view on evangelism (that you should not)”.  Whether you would agree or not, evangelism is a religious view.  Any attempt to silence evangelism is an imposition of an opposite religious view.  Opposing evangelism because it is an attempt to impose a religious view is self-defeating.

Lastly try to understand,  it is done as a matter of concern.  Whether you are sympathetic to the message or not, the evangelist believes you are on the wrong path.  Given that the message is a theological one, being on the wrong path has eternal consequences if the evangelists message is true.  In this sense, it would be entirely unloving to not attempt to warn you of your wrong direction.  Doctors do this all the time.  They repeatedly warn people of unhealthy lifestyles and the consequences of continuing their unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.  In the same way Christian evangelists are warning of the perils of “unhealthy theology”.  Realize that even if you feel it is a bother, they are not out to bother you, simmer down.

Comments

  1. “Opposing evangelism because it is an attempt to impose a religious view is self-defeating.”

    Excellent point! Most people don’t have a problem forcing that “religious” view on others.

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