Tuesday, October 16, 2007

All Roads Lead to Rome

"Religion is like a pair of shoes.....Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes."
--George Carlin

Christianity is unique among the world's major religions in that many of its denominations place a strong emphasis on evangelism. That is, actively trying to "sell" their religion to non-believers and those of other religions, attempting to get them to convert and believe likewise. The more conservative the denomination, the stronger the focus is on evangelism. It is particularly strong among Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, both of which are considered by some to be offshoot derivatives of Christianity and not part of mainstream Christendom.

Other major religions do not actively seek to gain converts, for the most part. Converts are accepted and welcomed, but it is always the convert who seeks out knowledge and initiates the process of conversion. The attitude is "We're here, this is what we believe, ask questions, then decide for yourself". However, you'll never see a Jew or a Buddhist, going from door to door aggressively trying to sell their religion to others. They are apparently content to allow others to determine their own religious paths, if any.

In the Bible Jesus said, "'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."

In other words, Jesus is waiting for people to come to him; he doesn't say, "Behold, I come to the door and break it down and come in". One doesn't need to "sell" Christianity, Christ's words are there for anyone to study and should stand on their own merits -- that's the "knock" part. Whether or not to "open the door" (study and/or convert) should be initiated by the would-be convert.

For myself, the only religion I need is expressed in the Golden Rule; to treat others as we would wish to be treated. I find it highly relevant that this sentiment is expressed in nearly every religion and ethical system on the planet. So, I think it matters little which religious tradition one chooses to practice, if any, as the essential ethics are universal. All roads lead to Rome and all that, you know.



Cyn said...

having a psychological bias..i think all this overzealous converting is more about convincing themselves than bringing new sheep into the fold. but then i'm an atheist, so what do i know? heh...
what i do know of human history it is a series of pendulum swings from one way of thinking to its opposite. so i forsee a day when its the fundies who'll be on the defensive not the atheists. the sooner the better i say.

Patty said...

I'm with you, I think each persons belief should be personal. I have my own way of thinking, I don't want some other person stuffing their belief's down my throat.