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All's fair in love and proselytizing

siti

Well-Known Member
OK - so you have a strong religious faith that you wholeheartedly believe would benefit everyone to know about...like Peter and John in the Book of Acts you simply "cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard" (Acts of the Apostles 4:20). You sincerely believe that "necessity is laid upon me" and "woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16,17)...

So you have a life-enhancing message that you feel obligated to share. Only one problem - most people don't want to hear it. But surely that's because they don't know how precious a gift you have to share with them. So how to get a "foot in the door" as it were? Well if you have been taught to evangelize, you probably know that "finding common ground" is a key to opening up a conversation. But what if there isn't any? Is it OK to pretend?

Maybe Paul thought so - he did, after all, say that he was "made all things to all men" in order that he might "save some". (He never actually said he was "a Greek to the Greeks" as far as I know but that's the idea). (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).

Anyway, the question is - if common ground (in terms of beliefs) is not there, is it OK either to pretend it is or even to invent common ground - "become a Greek to the Greeks" as it were - in order to achieve the overriding goal of "saving" (at least some of) your audience?

E.g. when a JW is confronted with the question "are you saved?" by an evangelical Christian, should they just say "yes" when they know very well that what the evangelical means by "saved" is very different from what they believe. When a Baha'i is confronted with a question about whether they believe in Jesus as the Son of God, is it OK to just say "yes" when they know very well that what the questioner means by "Son of God" is very different from their own interpretation of that phrase...I suppose there are very many examples...

There's an old saying "all's fair in love and sales" (its also the title of a fairly recent book about successful selling) - but finding common ground is very definitely a tried and tested sales technique. Is that what it is when it is done in a religious discussion? Is the motivation for presenting "less than completely candid" information about one's religious beliefs the good of the hearer - or sales? Is it to "snatch a log from the fire" and "gain a brother" - as it were - or is it just to count another convert? And, either way, is it honest? Is it acceptable to be dishonest in presenting our religious beliefs? Is it "love" or merely another proselytizing technique?
 

The Anointed

Well-Known Member
OK - so you have a strong religious faith that you wholeheartedly believe would benefit everyone to know about...like Peter and John in the Book of Acts you simply "cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard" (Acts of the Apostles 4:20). You sincerely believe that "necessity is laid upon me" and "woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16,17)...

So you have a life-enhancing message that you feel obligated to share. Only one problem - most people don't want to hear it. But surely that's because they don't know how precious a gift you have to share with them. So how to get a "foot in the door" as it were? Well if you have been taught to evangelize, you probably know that "finding common ground" is a key to opening up a conversation. But what if there isn't any? Is it OK to pretend?

Maybe Paul thought so - he did, after all, say that he was "made all things to all men" in order that he might "save some". (He never actually said he was "a Greek to the Greeks" as far as I know but that's the idea). (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).


Anyway, the question is - if common ground (in terms of beliefs) is not there, is it OK either to pretend it is or even to invent common ground - "become a Greek to the Greeks" as it were - in order to achieve the overriding goal of "saving" (at least some of) your audience?

E.g. when a JW is confronted with the question "are you saved?" by an evangelical Christian, should they just say "yes" when they know very well that what the evangelical means by "saved" is very different from what they believe. When a Baha'i is confronted with a question about whether they believe in Jesus as the Son of God, is it OK to just say "yes" when they know very well that what the questioner means by "Son of God" is very different from their own interpretation of that phrase...I suppose there are very many examples...

There's an old saying "all's fair in love and sales" (its also the title of a fairly recent book about successful selling) - but finding common ground is very definitely a tried and tested sales technique. Is that what it is when it is done in a religious discussion? Is the motivation for presenting "less than completely candid" information about one's religious beliefs the good of the hearer - or sales? Is it to "snatch a log from the fire" and "gain a brother" - as it were - or is it just to count another convert? And, either way, is it honest? Is it acceptable to be dishonest in presenting our religious beliefs? Is it "love" or merely another proselytizing technique?

And what is the agenda of the atheists who haunt the religion forums of the world, who speak so enthusiastically on behalf of their cause, which is to win a believer over to the godless and hopeless belief that they espouse.
 

LuisDantas

Aura of atheification
Premium Member
And what is the agenda of the atheists who haunt the religion forums of the world, who speak so enthusiastically on behalf of their cause, which is to win a believer over to the godless and hopeless belief that they espouse.
Interesting. You are both answering your own question and warping it beyond recognition.

The true answers are pretty much what they seem to be. There is no hidden conspiracy, no "atheist agenda".
 

siti

Well-Known Member
And what is the agenda of the atheists who haunt the religion forums of the world, who speak so enthusiastically on behalf of their cause, which is to win a believer over to the godless and hopeless belief that they espouse.
But do they falsely pretend to believe something in order to influence the unwary believer? If anyone does that, then the question certainly applies to them too.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
Interesting. You are both answering your own question and warping it beyond recognition.

The true answers are pretty much what they seem to be. There is no hidden conspiracy, no "atheist agenda".
What!? Next you will be telling us that there is no homosexual agenda. Martha, hide the kids! And that sheep does not look very safe either!
 

The Anointed

Well-Known Member
Interesting. You are both answering your own question and warping it beyond recognition.

The true answers are pretty much what they seem to be. There is no hidden conspiracy, no "atheist agenda".

Then pray tell, why do the Atheists who claim they belong to no religion, haunt the religious forums of the world? You wont find too many religious Godfearing people haunting the atheist forums and be forced to listen to their God being vilified in language that would not be accepted in a whore house, knowing that their atheist moderators will never ban them for their obscene attacks against another's belief.
 

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
Then pray tell, why do the Atheists who claim they belong to no religion, haunt the religious forums of the world? You wont find too many religious Godfearing people haunting the atheist forums and be forced to listen to their God being vilified in language that would not be accepted in a whore house, knowing that their atheist moderators will never ban them for their obscene attacks against another's belief.
Because we live in a world where the religious try to inflict their beliefs up on others.

Atheists do not try to inflict their lack of belief up in others so Christians are not threatened by them.
 

siti

Well-Known Member
Then pray tell, why do the Atheists who claim they belong to no religion, haunt the religious forums of the world?
Er...dunno...is it the same reason why believers hijack threads about dishonesty in religious discourse and turn them into yet another one of the endless procession of "damn those pesky atheists..." diatribes? For the record, I am not an atheist and my OP was a question for discussion, not an accusation.
 

Shadow Wolf

Certified People sTabber & Business Owner
LaVey put it best when he said to keep your opinions to yourself unless someone asks for them.
Anyway, the question is - if common ground (in terms of beliefs) is not there, is it OK either to pretend it is or even to invent common ground - "become a Greek to the Greeks" as it were - in order to achieve the overriding goal of "saving" (at least some of) your audience?
Is deception ok when "thou shalt not bear false witness" is policy?
 

loverofhumanity

We are all the leaves of one tree
Premium Member
OK - so you have a strong religious faith that you wholeheartedly believe would benefit everyone to know about...like Peter and John in the Book of Acts you simply "cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard" (Acts of the Apostles 4:20). You sincerely believe that "necessity is laid upon me" and "woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16,17)...

So you have a life-enhancing message that you feel obligated to share. Only one problem - most people don't want to hear it. But surely that's because they don't know how precious a gift you have to share with them. So how to get a "foot in the door" as it were? Well if you have been taught to evangelize, you probably know that "finding common ground" is a key to opening up a conversation. But what if there isn't any? Is it OK to pretend?

Maybe Paul thought so - he did, after all, say that he was "made all things to all men" in order that he might "save some". (He never actually said he was "a Greek to the Greeks" as far as I know but that's the idea). (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).

Anyway, the question is - if common ground (in terms of beliefs) is not there, is it OK either to pretend it is or even to invent common ground - "become a Greek to the Greeks" as it were - in order to achieve the overriding goal of "saving" (at least some of) your audience?

E.g. when a JW is confronted with the question "are you saved?" by an evangelical Christian, should they just say "yes" when they know very well that what the evangelical means by "saved" is very different from what they believe. When a Baha'i is confronted with a question about whether they believe in Jesus as the Son of God, is it OK to just say "yes" when they know very well that what the questioner means by "Son of God" is very different from their own interpretation of that phrase...I suppose there are very many examples...

There's an old saying "all's fair in love and sales" (its also the title of a fairly recent book about successful selling) - but finding common ground is very definitely a tried and tested sales technique. Is that what it is when it is done in a religious discussion? Is the motivation for presenting "less than completely candid" information about one's religious beliefs the good of the hearer - or sales? Is it to "snatch a log from the fire" and "gain a brother" - as it were - or is it just to count another convert? And, either way, is it honest? Is it acceptable to be dishonest in presenting our religious beliefs? Is it "love" or merely another proselytizing technique?

I think sharing is a basic human need and so we just come together and do that. I don’t think seriously anyone comes here to convert because people are so set in their views.

I think the most valuable thing about this forum is that of expanding of one’s own knowledge, learning different perspectives and exploring topics more deeply.
 

Vinayaka

devotee
Premium Member
I think sharing is a basic human need and so we just come together and do that. I don’t think seriously anyone comes here to convert because people are so set in their views.

I think the most valuable thing about this forum is that of expanding of one’s own knowledge, learning different perspectives and exploring topics more deeply.
It might be a 'basic human need' for you, but it most certainly isn't for others. The proof of that is that tons of people don't share their religious views. People may not come with the direct intent of converting full out, but they certainly come with the intent of starting a process, or to use a metaphor, tossing out a line. They think that 'maybe, just maybe, somebody will read this, and be helped'.

But the OP, as I understand it, is more about deception, and in particular, what's called Metooism. (I learned that term here from a Baha'i) where folks agree lot, just to get started. It's a bit like introducing yourself by saying, "hey we have the same shirt," implying there are other similarities.

As for learning different perspectives, I agree with that. People can read here, and learn. Certainly it's less boring than picking up some scripture of another faith, and trying to dig your way through it. For one, the language is modern, and the people are real.
 

LuisDantas

Aura of atheification
Premium Member
Then pray tell, why do the Atheists who claim they belong to no religion, haunt the religious forums of the world?

Mostly legitimate self-defense, I would assume. I have seen such a need from up close, and that need is dire.

Also, "to haunt" is an interesting choice of verb here.


You wont find too many religious Godfearing people haunting the atheist forums and be forced to listen to their God being vilified in language that would not be accepted in a whore house,

Actually, you will. It is an interesting thing to witness, too, let me tell you that. Some theists just don't understand the proper role of god-beliefs and keep coming back to humiliate themselves for no constructive purpose.


knowing that their atheist moderators will never ban them for their obscene attacks against another's belief.

You have no idea of how mistaken you are.
 

loverofhumanity

We are all the leaves of one tree
Premium Member
It might be a 'basic human need' for you, but it most certainly isn't for others. The proof of that is that tons of people don't share their religious views. People may not come with the direct intent of converting full out, but they certainly come with the intent of starting a process, or to use a metaphor, tossing out a line. They think that 'maybe, just maybe, somebody will read this, and be helped'.

But the OP, as I understand it, is more about deception, and in particular, what's called Metooism. (I learned that term here from a Baha'i) where folks agree lot, just to get started. It's a bit like introducing yourself by saying, "hey we have the same shirt," implying there are other similarities.

As for learning different perspectives, I agree with that. People can read here, and learn. Certainly it's less boring than picking up some scripture of another faith, and trying to dig your way through it. For one, the language is modern, and the people are real.

Well I’ve learned that your branch of Hinduism doesn’t believe in Avatars or Prophets and that I must respect that you believe in reincarnation and not try and push my views onto you. We can respectfully agree to have a differing point of view and diversity of views is perfectly fine.

I stand to be corrected on many a matter and hopefully I’ll try and be humble and learn.
 

Vinayaka

devotee
Premium Member
Well I’ve learned that your branch of Hinduism doesn’t believe in Avatars or Prophets and that I must respect that you believe in reincarnation and not try and push my views onto you. We can respectfully agree to have a differing point of view and diversity is of views is perfectly fine.

I stand to be corrected on many a matter and hopefully I’ll try and be humble and learn.

Yes, but what else have you learned? That took about 1000 posts. Have you learned that what the OP is saying is how many folks perceive the actions of people of your faith?
 

sooda

Veteran Member
Then pray tell, why do the Atheists who claim they belong to no religion, haunt the religious forums of the world? You wont find too many religious Godfearing people haunting the atheist forums and be forced to listen to their God being vilified in language that would not be accepted in a whore house, knowing that their atheist moderators will never ban them for their obscene attacks against another's belief.

Vilified? Are you kidding?
 

dybmh

דניאל יוסף בן מאיר הירש
Is it acceptable to be dishonest in presenting our religious beliefs?

Being dishonest is very stressful and takes its toll on most normal people.

Because of this dishonesty is a short sided tactic. Eventually the truth will leak out, the deception will be noticed. When that happens, there is very little upside when it comes to religious recruitment.
 

Vinayaka

devotee
Premium Member
Going back to the OP, I'd like to point out a few other forms of deception.
1) friendship evangelism, pretending to be a friend, with full intent of not continuing the friendship after conversion, or once the attempt is uncovered
2) faking miracles, or prayers being answered only by specific prayers to your God, but not the victim's God
3) flirt to convert
4) food evangelism ... giving food, looking for converts
5) jobs ... promising up jobs or money
6) building houses of worship right beside existing houses of worship of other faiths

An example story of deception is 'Samaritan's Purse' and their shoebox thing. That deception happens here in the west to the donators, and to the victims in poor countries. The kids over here are misled into thinking it's charity and charity alone. There is no mention of it being a Christian organisation looking for converts. There is never any mention that the boxes are all opened and a bible tract or message is placed on top, AFTER the donation, but before it's handed out. That part is hidden. So it's a way of distributing literature, at little cost.
 

loverofhumanity

We are all the leaves of one tree
Premium Member
Yes, but what else have you learned? That took about 1000 posts. Have you learned that what the OP is saying is how many folks perceive the actions of people of your faith?

I think each case should be judged on its own merits because it would be unfair to paint everyone with the same brush as people do with Muslims. It’s also possible genuineness and sincerity can be misunderstood as being deceptive I don’t know but before I became a Baha’i I mistrusted Baha’is too but when I finally understood what they were trying to tell me I realise now how wrong I was and that they in fact gave me a gift greater than life and asked for nothing in return.

It took me years before I understood the true motive of Baha’is and when I did find out I realised it wasn’t what I at first suspected. It was very sincere but I had been so used to being deceived that I lost all belief that sincerity and genuineness existed on the planet anymore and was always suspicious of them. Buto of course we have faults and shortcomings and nobody is denying that.
 
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