Thursday, June 22, 2006

Evangelism, Evangelism, Evangelism

Evangelism isn't necessarily an Christian phenomenon. Everybody, at some level is out to evangelize.

Gnostics evangelize. Here, they distinguishe between evangelism and proslytization

Evangelism: sharing the Good News of the Gnosis revealed through Jesus the Christ with people so that they may have the opportunity to know what I know.

Proselytization: intruding into a person's psycho-spiritual world space with the intention to deconstruct and change the person's way of thinking and perceiving...
I guess his idea is that you should offer your ideas and give others the opportunity to accept or reject. Though, he admits that his desire is that people would accept, of course.

Atheists evangelise. They would like to spread their belief in an effort to make the world a better place.
Since atheism is a positive worldview, there would seem to be a reason we should bring it to others. ... Since our goal as atheists should be to increase human happiness, we should spread this message as widely as possible and work to persuade people to join us.
They also debate over how to evangelize without offending people or being perceived as intrusive. They suggest "coming out" to your friends and family as a non-believer, and perhaps writing editorials as an effective form of evangelism.

Even moral relativists evangelize. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but at the root of their belief is the idea that they are right. They believe you should not be telling others what you believe to be true. Certainly not that you have the "only truth". (they do)

This approach is very popular with post-modernists, that breed of radical skeptics whose ideas command unwarranted respect in the university today. Their rallying cry, "There is no truth," is often followed by an appeal for tolerance.

For all their confident bluster, the relativists' appeal actually asserts two truths, one rational and one moral. The first is the "truth" that there is no truth. The second is the moral truth that one ought to tolerate other people's viewpoints. Their stand, contradictory on at least two counts, serves as a warning that the modern notion of tolerance is seriously misguided.

Everybody has some belief. Everybody believes their beliefs are true. Everyone wants others to believe their truth. (Even if their truth is camoflauged as "everyone has their own truth") The question is, what is the appropriate measure to be taken to get someone else to believe your truth. A lot depends on the consequence of believing that truth.

Take some time to look at your motive for evangelizing. Are you trying to prove your superiority? Are you trying to earn notches on your spiritual belt? Are you trying to influence the world to change so you can feel better? Are you motivated by compassion for other people? Are you motivated by the 'fear of the Lord'? What is the correct motivation? Out of that, what should the correct method of evangelism be?

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