[personal profile] wingedbeast
This past Easter, Ed Stetzer wrote an opinion piece for CNN. The basic premise of this opinion piece was an explanation, to non-Christians, of what motivates Christians to proselytize. He's not alone in this effort or the mistaken idea upon which its based. But, to be clear, we know why you do this.

Stetzer's piece mentions the Great Commission. Others mention the desire to save souls, to help us evade Hell, etc. And, we get that part.

We also get the other parts. We get the message delivered, in so many ways, that you should be in a panic over this. In the very first tip in this series, I mentioned the notion that someone could be hit by a bus and, as a result, be unsaved if you didn't explain Christianity to them. There's also a "letter from Hell" both in text and on YouTube.

Then we add on the myriad of ways that some Christian cultures have of putting your legitimate membership in Christianity in question. Are you pulling your weight? Will others think you're not pulling your weight? Will they think you're merely lukewarm?

On the other end of that question is the certainty that this is a part of you living up to your end and being a superior Christian, or just plain superior to the non-Christians. (Remember how I said, earlier, that someone can have both an inferiority complex and a superiority complex at the same time?)

When it comes down to it, on the non-Christian side in societies where Christianity is still the majority, we are well aware of you and what you say about us and the ways you have of motivating each other to proselytize to us. There's no new information you can give us in explaining your motivations.

If we view you in a negative light, we'll see lie while saying nothing new. If we don't suspect you of lying to us, it will be a suspicion of lying to yourself about the absence of the fear or egotism involved. If we view you in a positive light, we see the same. Only, when in a positive light, we're can be more ready to see some tragedy to the way you go about things.

In either case, the main reason is that your motivations for your actions do not change those actions. In social justice circles, there's an important phrase. "Intent isn't magic." It means that your lack of intent to cause offense does not eliminate the offense caused. The offense is caused by any number of factors, some of which I've addressed in past tips.

When you find yourself in a place of explaining your motivation as means of defending your actions, this is a point where you should pause. Does the motivation behind your action change what you have done?

Like several tips prior, this tip is, in part, about you being ready to change how you go about trying to convince others. This is one defense for how you do things, right now, that doesn't actually defend it.

Date: 2017-04-23 05:50 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
The usual metaphor for "intent isn't magic" is this: If we're in a crowded room and you step on my foot, it doesn't matter whether you meant to do it or not, my toes still hurt! And if you then do any variety of nonpology, or pretend that it's actually in my best interest for you to have stepped on my toes, you've just blown any credibility you might have had over the lack of intention in the first place.

Date: 2017-04-29 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
i've been consciously atheist since i was a little kid of six or seven, back when i first understood that other people's ideas of reality were not the same as mine. i never believed in god, not for a second. (and oh i did try.) but my personal views don't make much difference: i still live(d) in a Christian culture. i was raised up to be Christian. i am very very familiar with the basic ideas of Christianity. and people STILL come at me like if they just explain real carefully about Jesus and Hell, i'm going to slap my forehead, renounce my own experiences, and join them in church every Sunday. folks, this is not how you do it.
in the US, not being Christian is not ignorance; it's disagreement.

(bluecarrot!)

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