When is it appropriate to share your religious faith with others?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Dondi, May 2, 2008.

  1. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    I hope you see the vast difference between the pacifistic approach of those early Christian in spreading the gospel and the aggressive travesty these suicide bombers are being forced upon the innocent bystanders. The Christians didn't drag people with them in the lion's den.

    We may all have the answer (golden rule). I'm looking for those who don't have any answers, and providing one. The physician seek those that are sick, not well. If one already has a faith system and is satisfied, then I bid them good day. And yes, I do spend time getting to know them and their spiritual background before deciding to present the gospel. But I'm not pushy. If they don't wish to hear it, any kind of forced persuasion from me would be counterproductive.
     
  2. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Thank you for being understanding, Paladin.

    As I've told wil, I'm not pushy. I respect those who are already established.

    As far as any persecution complex, I don't feel rejected if someone slams the door in my face. That isn't suffering for Christ. A good example of that is these Chinese pastors getting tortured because they are conducting worship services in their house churches. Civil disobedience is hard in some countries when all you are doing is following your faith.
     
  3. Rev Pete (ULC)

    Rev Pete (ULC) New Member

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    Hello everyone.
    I am new today.
    I guess, to answer the question, I would like people to recognise that this what I like to do and recognise for others it maybe different.
    I like to talk about faith a lot but the rule of thumb for me is check that I am listening to the wisdom of another and not just presumming that I am the only one with something to say. I have found on my journey that what ever I believe, there will always be real challenges to it and in recognising that it has helped me grow. I am glad to talk to anyone because that is how I believe we grow.
     
  4. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    I believe, I am gonna get on with Rev Pete.... Welcome to the boards :)
     
  5. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    Maybe you have the wrong approach Paladin.

    It seems to me that respected boundaries are more often crossed within the family. For example, do or do not children have a will to believe as they deem fit above and beyond what their parents wish them to believe? It often presents a challenge to both the parent and the child. Or between the roles of the husband and wife, male and female. It further becomes a problem in the religions of medicine, education, and state law. For example when someone allegedly needs help then others might point the finger and say 'you need help' and that the person needs to see a 'professional'. What exactly is a 'professional'? Would that be a person more knowledgeable in the arts involving the flesh, chemicals, psychiatric re-programming, or NLP? Or would that be the pastor or the priest? Would that be a 12-step program per the will of the individual, or would it be a state institution shoved against the will of the individual? That is where I see boundaries being crossed. Some not only share their advice like, 'You need laid'... but then feel the need to do something about it.

    As a child, if someone comes to me with any beliefs whatsoever and insists that I must hear them... that person would be called a parent, a teacher, a doctor, a friend, or a neighbor. Some did more and insisted they had to prick my finger, give me shots, and make me turn my head and cough... is there a boundary to this 'professional' treatment? What if I don't want their 'professional' treatment? So it is not just the neighbor at the door, it is the family, the school, the church, and the capitol building down the road... each wanting to do something for me that I am not so sure I really want them to be doing for me.

    For that reason if someone comes to my door and says, 'Hear me'... I'm going to listen... why? Because I'd much rather encourage that stranger to approach me with words than to approach me with terrorism, the state law, or some other method of mandatory coercion or 'professional' service. I'd much rather that individual find open doors willing to talk with them about their beliefs. For example if Ted Kazinski or Bin Laden showed up at my door then I would be absolutely ecstatic. What an opportunity. The door is open and I insist that they stay for dinner. Now I'm the one doing some insisting... come to my house and you can educate me all you wish about any belief or topic, but then I'll have words in exchange and the exchange will have an effect.

    If I do get annoyed by the entrenched beliefs of a persistent neighbor then I'd do my best to reveal to them why, which can help develop what some here have called a cognitive dissonance. That alone could send them running. There are other methods though... most importantly: to give to them. The more that is given to the person who knocks on the door, the more they become disturbed because their purpose of knocking on the door in the first place was not to receive, but to give. So then have the dish already prepared and give to the person who comes to the door. I had a JW come to my door so I thanked him and I invited him in, and I offered him food, and I conversed a bit, but it wasn't a minute later the guy was making up reasons to leave. Y'all come back now.
     
  6. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    No Cyberpi, I think my approach works just fine. I used to stop and listen to these people out of politeness but as I get older I don't suffer fools as easily as I used to.
    I cannot put these people into the role of teacher, parent, sage, crone or any other person who I would put on a pedestal. They are just as lost as anyone else and maybe more so because they feel the need to impinge on the sovereignty of another person to validate their position.
     
  7. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    I am currently devising a new bell system for my door.

    There is a small sign informing people that they should ring bell according to their wants- ie, if unannounced caller, ring once (then I'll know it's safe to ignore you) deliveries or postman, ring twice...

    I direct religious missionaries to ring three times, and on the third ring my new bell will deliver approximately 20 volts of electricity.

    Unfortunately the prototype has caught unawares my brother, and his pal, who insisted on three rings, despite the sign.

    I have also been experimenting with a "bucket attached to string device" I have named... the golden shower... (the clue's in the name...)

    Unfortunately, I have just caught unawares the local community support officer, who is determined to charge me with assault. I am hoping the recently installed commode in the bedroom will help my case somewhat, but am doubtful...
     
  8. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    What if they knock? I never use doorbells..
     
  9. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    I'm coming to your door next. Hold the collard greens. :p
     
  10. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    The door is open but I think I am more likely to get through Southern Maryland sooner. We drove through western Maryland a few weeks ago and saw many shades of green... nice time of the year there.

    It sounds as though if someone knocks on your door then there could be a sacrifice to the god "imrightnyourfool".

    I don't think whether I seek or accept the audience with someone that I am suffering, placing on a pedestal, degrading the sovereignty of, or having my sovereignty being impinged on. It is fine with me to be considered a fool for not thinking it.
     
  11. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    It's not a matter of being right, it's a matter of being pestered by someone who is clearly overstepping a boundary. If you seek an audience with me and you are politely told no and then continue you will find the consequences will be swift and decisive. The last person who came to my door and was told "no" and continued anyway was then told they could leave under their own power or I would help them.
     
  12. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    Hope the young lad thinks twice before asking to marry your daughter. I've never needed or wanted to resort to threats of violence but if that is how you handle people that is your business.
     
  13. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Me neither but I also do not appreciate people who trespass on my property and then won't leave when I ask them to. I am polite and friendly, and I'll give time if I have it to discuss religion, but if I don't have time and I express that, they should leave. It is my house, my yard. It is not appropriate for others to insist on remaining there if I ask them to go, for whatever reason that may be.

    I really haven't noticed much difference among door to door salesmen of all things, from security systems to religion. They all have been polite but motivated by getting what they want, a little reluctant to believe "no thanks." I was really amused the other night when a salesman of house-siding tried to convince my husband, who is a general contractor, to let them put new siding on our house. I guess the guy was just desperate that night...

    But it is a good analogy for the folks who insist on going on and on about the correctness of their religion when I tell them flat-out I am already happy with my own religion.

    I think what is telling is how most door knockers would feel if they were approached on a regular basis by unannounced Buddhists or Wiccans explaining how they were led astray, and are doomed, and need such-and-such group to help them out. Most of them would probably be fairly offended, especially if they expressed that they had Jesus and then the Buddhist or Wiccan said that it wasn't enough, or they were deceived, or somesuch.

    I think there is something to the issue, too, that it gives many people an excuse to feel like a martyr- rejected "because of Christ." No one I know who rejects door knockers do so because of Jesus. They do so because you went on their private property and won't get off their porch. Now, some people are nice and friendly and don't mind this. Others prefer their privacy. But it isn't about Jesus. All the people I know who don't like door knockers also don't like telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen. Whether Jesus, new siding, or donations for charity, they feel their privacy is violated by intrusion. None of those people that I know who are vehemently against Christian door-knockers are against conversing with me about Jesus for a while. Why? Because they know me and I'm not invading their private property.
     
  14. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Nope, no threats needed, just an explanation of naturally falling consequences.

    Works for me:D
     
  15. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    Well, the most persistent solicitor to cross our path has been the IRS, followed by the telemarketers for police or fireman funds. We often say, "Thank you but no interest" to the solicitors of HVAC, vinyl windows, home alarms, carpet cleaning, etc... the religions are so docile in our area they just hand out flyers and maybe ask a question or two. Those have mostly been JW or LDS. Children with their parents often come around for girl scouts, boy scouts, soccer, whatever... we always do those.

    What I see here though is quite simply a selfish response against the act of solicitation. There is a mission up in Seattle that goes around door to door outright begging for funds. In a sense I would say they are beneath the solicitors because they have nothing to sell, and beneath the religions because they have no beliefs to offer. They are beggars knocking on doors; however, I discovered that it is a step up for most of the individuals doing it and an opportunity for whoever answers. I'm just wondering though if someone were so selfish as to be rude to someone who is not offering them ideas or beliefs deemed worthy of their consideration, then what might be the reaction to these beggars who appear to offer absolutely nothing?
     
  16. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    So you would have us all be nothing but doormats for people who ignore the request to pass us by? Surely that sort of milquetoast attitude might work for some but not for me. Those that truly need help will always find me willing, those that are nothing but emotional vampires, control freaks who try to re-frame a situation so that the victim becomes the one who is in the wrong deserve the fate that they get.
    I've spent too many years dealing with people who are very good at manipulation, re-framing, Freudian projection, and I simply will not tolerate that kind of behavior on my front doorstep or on the street for that matter.
    I have had many come up to me asking for money, and I give it gladly, for there was a time I was close to that myself.
    But dealing with people who think it great sport to wheedle their way into a control position and then if confronted with their behavior have a neat little way of turning things around so that I'm the bad guy.
    Pure Narcissistic bull, and I'm not fooled by it.
     
  17. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    ...........or Zeyphodites preaching of the Holy KwanzeyTurtles of the 9th to 11th dimensions.... yes you gave me the idea for making a YouTube spoof.....muhahahahahaha :D

    Tao
     
  18. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Not sure who this is directed to. I'm not rude. But at the same time, I do not exist for the purpose of having salesmen of various sorts to persistently try to sell me stuff. I'll listen to what their initial business is, say no thank you and have a nice day, and then I expect them to return my polite response with politely leaving. If there is any rudeness, surely it is the person who insists on remaining on my front porch, being pushy about their beliefs or product, and ignoring my response. I don't know about you, but I would consider ignoring what someone just said rude. I would also consider over-staying my welcome rude.

    It isn't rude to say no to someone. I'm not a doormat for other people- I'm nice, but I have boundaries, and that's a healthy thing.

    As for beggars, I will help any individual that God sends my way in need of help. I'm not against charity in the least. Totally different issue. By the way, all the charities who have come by have been very polite and nice- they just leave a flyer about what their needs are and when they'll be by to pick up donations, and we can leave them on the porch. The only ones that are really annoyingly persistent are the police and fire funds, but they only call.
     
  19. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Paladin,

    You mentioned boundaries. I think you have hit the nail on the head, because boundaries are the key issue. Proselytizers think they have the right to violate our private space. They do this because they think they have the right to drag us off to Heaven against our will. I have two reactions.

    (1) This is based on the assumption that the Christian interpretation of what happens in the afterlife is correct. (I see no need to make this assumption.)

    (2) If they are wrong (and I think they are), they will be temporarily spending some time in the very Hell they are warning us about.

    Aggressive proselytizers will temporarily go to Hell for what they do? I think so. Will they be protected for what they do in Jesus' name, no matter what? I do not think so.

    You asked about the similarities to Freudian projection and reaction formation. I am not up on the latest theories in Freudian psychoanalysis. (I think Freud make a lot of mistakes in his theories.) However, the idea of projection is similar to a phenomenon that effects codependent proselytizers. Codependent proselytizers (indeed, all codependent people) have an image of what they want us to be. When they find out we do not fit the fantasy image of what they want us to be, this triggers unfulfilled, subconscious needs within them. At this point, they are dealing more with their own emotional needs than with the person who is standing in front of them. Codependency is described as having emotions that are out of control. I feel that an aggressive proselytizer can be best described as a person whose emotions are out of control.

    Reaction formation? Again, let me use the analogy of men who hit on women. When a codependent man hits on a woman (emotionally stable men do not hit on women), he is trying to trick the woman into a romantic relationship. His trickery is his improperly-formed reaction to the situation. The sad thing is, if he would stop talking, and listen to what she is saying, he might have a chance of achieving his goal. Women are not tricked into romances, they agree to them. The decision to enter into a romance must be mutual, not forced by one of the two people.

    Codependent proselytizers, in a similar way, are "hitting" on non-Christians. If they would stop talking, and start listening, they would be much more successful.

    There is a theory that all proselytizers are needy. I believe that if proselytizers stopped being needy, they would stop being proselytizers.
     
  20. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    The IRS (government) has been the only solicitor who I have come across who would ignore a request to pass us by and will not take 'no' for an answer. Perhaps since I grew up in Seattle which is outside of the bible belt and it has had a little bit more of an atmosphere of promoting individuality, that I have quite simply not witnessed this proselytizer who will not take 'no' for an answer and move on. Should I encounter one then I will be utilizing other methods than threatening him with violence to contend with him and get him off of my door step.

    If it is just discourse then I encourage it. I recognize that when a person says something it reflects them... not me. My own words and actions speak for themselves. So if an anti-abortionist calls me a 'baby killer' on my front porch or a pro-choicer calls me a 'sexist' on my front porch then I'm going to politely recognize that the person has some issues and then try to contend with them. Whether or not I'm a 'baby killer' or a 'sexist' is worthy of consideration, but I'm personally not going to resort to threats of violence to censor my ears.

    You mention a position of control... that is a different dimension. You are no longer talking about a stranger trying to generically promote their belief. I'm guessing you are talking about someone in a position of power who could screw with you should you not say the things they want to hear. For example I could sort of be tagged as a 'baby killer' or a 'sexist' and then there may be some form of coercion down the road as a result of it. As far as I know that coercion would be a criminal activity, but the discourse on the porch or in the street is not.
     

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