[personal profile] wingedbeast
This example didn't happen to me, but someone else. In the comments section of an article about the ways nonChristians view Christians, one atheist mentioned the story of someone who tried to befriend them and invite them to church. At the time of the story, the nonChristian was a Buddhist and the invitation to church got the reply of an invitation to Buddhist activities. The nonChristian made clear that they weren't interested in converting, but would be interested in mutual learning. The Christian then cut off all contact.

Here is part of one of the responses.

I get why she cut off contact if she had been witnessing and there was no evidence of interest. It isn’t that anyone is a project – I know how bad life is without the Lord as I was there once. I also know some are so won over by false gods that they are not open to the true and living God – it’s not any different than what I feel for the Lord. As far as being friends – Proverbs tells a Christian that Iron Sharpens iron – so if you are not a Christian – how are you going to affect a Christian? Odds are not in a godly manner and as such they need to befriend those that believe the same way.

Among evangelists and apologists, there can be a tendency to treat nonbelievers as made of bad parts. The professed love and concern for the person is about taking the bits and pieces of the person that makes this person a different person from yourself (or a different person from that which you would recognize as a member of your faith) and replacing them. The result is to remove the person in front of you and replace them with someone you do love.

They disagree with you on abortion? That's not a position that needs to be respected and understood on its own terms, even if disagreed with, in order to form a response. No, inform them that that is the wrong position and they'll better understand their own current position once they convert and drop their position for your own.

They disagree with you on certain biblical interpretations? The same. They have an interest in something that you consider to be a distraction from the truth of your faith? The same. They disagree with you on economics or politics? The same.

Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced the Borg into Star Trek canon. For those unaware, the goal of the Borg, the thing that made them frightening, wasn't that they could kill you. It was that they could take you and make you one of them. Subtract some biological components. Add cybernetic components. Subtract doubt and independent thought, add the comfort of millions upon millions of voices all thinking the same thing.

The only thing to make it worse is that, in several cases throughout the franchise, individual Borg would argue that this is actually for your own good. Making you a disposable drone that, functionally, contains no you is done out of concern for what's best for... you?

The Borg, individually, can be emotional beings. In a way, the entire Borg Collective runs on an emotional need for the comfort of people and like minds... or peer pressure. In a way, they can be said to care for those they assimilate and turn into drones. It's more accurate to say that they care for the drones those people are after they're assimilated.

In the same sense, it can feel like you don't care, one whit, about others, but rather care for the person they could be if only they replaced all of themselves with someone more like yourself. For all that you say "I love you" or try to achieve words to that affect, loving a person means loving that person. Not the person that they will be once they've dropped all the things you don't like and replaced them with the things you do.

So, my advice is... not to say it. It's entirely too easy to believe you've achieved that and then... not. In fact, that was the tip two tips back. If you want to love the person you're talking to, take an interest in that person. Learn about that person. Then, once you can relate to that person, then you might consider the question of whether you're able to love that person or the person they would be if only they'd convert.

But, saying you love us then acting like the us that you love are the ones that would be here if only we weren't here in their stead... that's not loving. At best, it's you sacrificing whatever credibility you might be lucky enough to have.

Date: 2016-08-01 01:17 pm (UTC)
dragoness_e: Raven strolling (Raven strolling)
From: [personal profile] dragoness_e
That's downright creepy, when you express it that way.

[deleted a bunch of pointless rambling about my history with religion and theology]

I was raised in a tradition that wasn't into high-pressure evangelism, so the mindset, and the existential terror, is alien to me. Personally, I'm of the opinion that God will reach and teach whoever needs it, without me needing to be an ignorant jerk about it to other people. Love your neighbor means getting to know them and helping them, not browbeating them until they come around to your viewpoint or leave. Shunning your neighbor because they're not like you isn't loving them.



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