or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Proselytizing ...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Proselytizing ... - Page 3

post #41 of 62
BB Thanks for the terms. I get now what you're saying about "yichi" now. So does those who follow Chabad proseltyse to other Jews about their movement or do they directly try just to pass on knowledge of the Torah? Are there many controversal chassidem (s) in Judaism? (Hope I'm getting the terms right).
post #42 of 62
Originally posted by 3boys4us
So does those who follow Chabad proseltyse to other Jews about their movement or do they directly try just to pass on knowledge of the Torah?
What they mostly do is two things: try to get jews on the street interested in doing mitzvos, so you might see them with a table set up outside in a major city asking male passerbys if they are jewish and if they are interested in putting onTefillin . Some people find things like this pushy and rude. The second thing they do is set up classes, which I don't see people having a problem with.
Whether they "prostylitize to their movement" or not depends on the person, what they are trying to do. As a group that was never their goal, the goal of the Rebbe was simply to "get the word out" so to speak, about the torah to all jews.

Are there many controversal chassidem (s) in Judaism?
I am not sure what you mean, but as I understand the question, not really.
Different groups sometimes have conflicting ideas of which torah concepts should be stressed the most. For the most part, though, this is an acedemic argument, except in certain cases not causing any animosity between the groups or their leaders.

Just as a side note (im) at the end of a (masculine*) hebrew word is like (s) it makes the word plural. Chasid is singular and Chasidim is plural (chasids)

*feminine would be (ote) or (ose), so female chasida would be chasidose or chasidote

post #43 of 62
As I read the responses and thoughts to this discussion I found myself going through a range of emotions. I thank BB for taking out the time to define terms. It certainly makes it difficult to appreciate the opinion of another when you are unsure as to what they are speaking/writing of. It seems to me that no matter what one's religious/spiritual stance we are always called to help those in need. It should be a way of life. And sometimes our lives lead us to set up homes in places far from where we were born or not that far at all. No matter where you are led, the light within you should be your testimony. It is our daily actions that testify to who we are and what we believe. And often times this will be the door that opens up conversations about spiritual things by our neighbor. No one person has the right to shove upon another their beliefs or to judge another their beliefs no matter how out there they may seem. The least among us is truly the greatest. And we should always start in sharing our heart with those in our home. Blessings to all of you, mtn.mama

One small afterthought-I would hope that I wouldn't need to go into my history of being a "missionary" to others I have come across throughout this world for my thoughts to qualify in this discussion. Also, along the lines of related movies, has anyone else had the opportunity to watch "At Play In The Fields Of The Lord"? Worth watching in my humble opinion.
post #44 of 62
I think I am the dark and dangerous one...at least, I am pretty sure Franklin Graham thinks so.

Want to say thanks to Dierdre for making some points I'd have had to make--oh, heck, why not reiterate for good measure?
Islam is a religion. Embraced by people of many cultures. That was kind of my point before. Which brings me to a point on which perhaps NM and Moondancer and I can come together, sort of. I also have to say, after living with an indigenous culture of N. Africa which has been dismembered but not quite killed by Arab Muslims (Arab conquest way back when), I can appreciate first the uniqueness and importance of these various cultures worldwide, and second that no one's hands are clean.

You know how it feels when people come at you from every angle "bashing" missionary work? And you feel passionate about it in the opposite way? And, even though their examples are concrete, based in fact, even personal experience, you want to scream NO! NO! THAT'S NOT REALLY HOW IT IS!!!?

OK. Well, that's how it feels when people talk about Muslims stoning women, or--well, you can probabyl call to mind some examples. I know these are things that have happened, but they are not representative of MY Islam.

Which brings us back, I think, to the beginning of this thread, and the fact that religion, faith if you will, is by definition not based in fact. Not measurable, or provable (yet ). But we work hard to wrap our brains around it, and when we do, it encompasses us, and gives us energy, and makes us more than we were without it (at least we like to believe so...). So, bring someone to my doorstep, telling me that I have invested my passion and faith in nonsense, and you'd better expect a serious adverse reaction. Especially when I "know" his/her system of belief is one that doesn't work for me--i.e., which if I were of another temperament, I might call "nonsense."

Question is, there are people whose faith requires this kind of exchange. How do we (all on both sides of the conversation) do it well?
post #45 of 62
Great post UmmNuh.

Quote: "You know how it feels when people come at you from every angle "bashing" missionary work? And you feel passionate about it in the opposite way? And, even though their examples are concrete, based in fact, even personal experience, you want to scream NO! NO! THAT'S NOT REALLY HOW IT IS!!!?"

This is so important for everyone to keep in mind.

Quote: " Question is, there are people whose faith requires this kind of exchange. How do we (all on both sides of the conversation) do it well?"

Exactly. For some faiths, missionary activity is an essential. To condemn sharing of certain faiths is to turn one's nose up at one of the most fundamental tenets of those religions.

In my opinion the best way to do it respectfully is to live your life according to your principles, and then, through relationships based on trust and mutual respect, to talk openly about the ways in which your beliefs impact your life. If your friend/acquatintance wants to know more, the conversation will naturally flow.

As far as more technical "missionary" activity, meaning going into a foreign culture in ones home country or overseas, the best approach imo is always to address people's immediate needs on their terms without prerequisites but to freely share that you are doing so out of a conviction from God. Then if they are interested in getting to know this God who cares about them on such a personal level, they may want to engage in converstaion with you.

Wherever one goes as a missionary, there will be some hearts which will be receptive to her message. Many others will not; that does not mean that she should keep her beliefs to herself.

Yesterday in church our current pastor read a letter from our former pastor, an Indian man who, with his Sri Lankan wife, has
just gone to Sri Lanka to start a mission. They are teaching women, who were widowed by the civil war, to be self-sufficient. And they are starting a school for these women's children. In his letter he shared that their cab driver, an atheist, was totally surprised and interested when they explained what they were doing. He showed up at their service the next Sunday and asked to know more about Christianity.
Is there really anything wrong with this?
post #46 of 62
Originally posted by Chanley
The true arrogance and self righteousness, lies within believing that YOUR way is the only way to Godliness and others are missing the boat to eternal happiness. That is a fundamental part of Christianity, and the only tenet of it with which I find I am unable to digest. I can see the beauty in all of it and truly appreciate all of it.

I just wanted to quickly point out that Christianity is NOT the only religion that believes they have the "truth" and the ONLY way to Godliness.

True, it is part of Christian thinking, but really Chanley, tell me what does that matter to you or anyone else that doesn't have Christian faith? Are people not supposed to have belief that they have found absolute truth in life? Isn't that supposed to be a wonderful thing? Whether it is the same as someone else's absolute truth or not, it can still be the only right and pure truth for a person and they can stilll claim it to be with all definitiveness, in a peaceable way that does NO harm to others.

I just don't think it is wrong, arrogant or self-righteous even in the slightest amount to be able to say that one's own religion is the one way to truth - it's more important HOW you treat and respect people of other faiths than if you believe they may have the truth too.
post #47 of 62

I think I was not clear. I believe that all folks who have faith in whatever it is they have faith in, sincerely believe that to be the truth.

The problem, in my opinion, lies within the preaching to others that they are going to suffer because they don't believe the same thing. It is within the non-acceptance of others spiritual values. Please dont tell me that it does not happen. I live in the rural South, known to some as the Bible Belt.

Every Halloween, I get some idiot yelling somewhere that I am sinning because I am taking children out trick or treating. My dh who is from the NorthEast could not believe his ears. He grew up devout Catholic and never ever heard such and went trick or treating EVERY year. This is just one example. I truly have to hide my beliefs here so that I can survive and I assure you, they are not far fetched at all.

Protestantism is very deep here and my doula was Catholic and had a really hard time with her practice because some women would not want a Catholic attending thier birth. So the religious discrimination is something that is very much a part of my life. I get it all of the time. I feel it is really sad when people are ignorant of others beliefs and feel they need to save them from themselves. That is what I have issue with.

Now please do not think I am anti-Christian, I am just using this as an example because that is the most prevalent one in my life. I rarely meet others who are not Christian. Even my Jewish OB/GYN attends a Christian church here because if a business owner does not, it is detrimental to thier livlihood.

I hope I have answered your question.

Oh and for the record, I dont really believe in absolute truths so, Booby, I agree with you that yours is THE truth for you. I am elated when I meet others who have a belief system that works for thier world view. They tend to be more spiritual people, in my experience and it is easier to find things in common with them than folks who have not done the soul searching and spiritual work.
post #48 of 62
I believe that it's better to simply live you life well and if you have something to share people will be attracted by your life and actions.
Here here!
BTW -- my husband answered the door last weekend (mind you, we had just put the kids to sleep, and our three large, loud dogs were going nuts, jumping around, barking, then the baby woke up....: ) and a man was standing there with a tag on his shirt that said "Jesus". My DH politely (well, as politely as possible, considering how obnoxious the situation was) told the guy we weren't interested. After he closed the door, we fell on the floor laughing, talking about how, when the guy came again, we would fall down at his feet saying, "Jesus! Jesus! You came back! Geez, you don't look anything like we imagined you..." and so on and so forth. A little off topic, I know:
Anyhow, I feel that door-to-door ANYTHING is just plain rude and obnoxious. I am one of the "Other Ones", so, sorry, the rules just don't apply
post #49 of 62
I just don't think it is wrong, arrogant or self-righteous even in the slightest amount to be able to say that one's own religion is the one way to truth - it's more important HOW you treat and respect people of other faiths than if you believe they may have the truth too.
That's the problem with proseltysing - the assumption that YOUR way is better. There is no respect of other religions when one proseltyses.
post #50 of 62
I disagree 3boys. For example, I have friends of other faiths and some of no particular faith. I can respect thier faith and still believe that mine is the truth. Try to think outside the box a little. Just because I may believe that Jesus is the only way to Godliness doesn't mean I cannot still be polite, caring and lovingly respectful to people that are different than me (without accepting thier faith as truth). I think you may be confusing "respect" with "acceptance".

There can be respect without acceptance of another truth.

I'm not one of those Christians that would get in anyone's face and say to them that are going to suffer eternally without accepting Christ, I prefer to have peaceful relationships with people. I can tell my friends that Jesus loves them but I'd never tell 'em "I'm right, you're wrong". And yet in my mind I can still hold to the only truth that Jesus is the way. And I still see nothing wrong with that, if my behavior towards others is correct, what does it matter about what truths we accept or not?
post #51 of 62
Thread Starter 
If someone did this earlier in the thread and I missed it, accept heartfelt apologies:

With thanks to Webster's Ninth:
proselytize vb 1: to induce someone to convert to one's faith; 2: to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause; ~ vt : to recruit or convert esp. to a new faith, institution, or cause

This thread has been a fascinating learning experience for me.

Pray, go on.

- Amy
post #52 of 62
With all due respect to Webster, our Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary:

proselyte: n. One who has been brought over to any opinion, belief, sect, or party, esp. from one religious belief to another. v.t. to proselytize.

proselytize: v. v.i. To make proselytes. v.t. to make a convert of.

For those of us who are into semantics (and natural childbirth):

induce: v. 1. To cause to act, speak, etc., by convincing or other influence; persuade. 2. To bring on; cause. 3. To reach, as a conclusion, by inductive reasoning.

Here I was feeling all kinds of negative reactions to the word "induce", when in reality, it gives the hearer of the proselytized message the chance to reason through, be convinced or persuaded (doesn't say how). It really seems to put the ball in the court of the hearer.

There are many people in the world who state they could never be __________religion, because of "look at what those people did." Even Communism according to the Soviets was a far cry from Karl Marx's ideas, which a whole generation of Americans never *got*.

I am in the category of a member of a _heavily_ proselytizing church (Mormon). I really can understand that someone would not be interested in hearing a message. I also can understand that the bearers of the message may be frustrated, tired, hungry, cold, and yet continue in the conviction of their beliefs. I'm sure in a large part because of my beliefs, I do not believe it to be presumptuous to go abroad. At least with our missionary message, it is _always_ (once they "get in the door") couched in the terms of "read this, pray about this, and determine whether this is for you."

I agree a lot with what boobybooby
love that name) is saying. I really really believe that we can respect and even be fascinated by what we learn about others' beliefs, while at the same time believing what we are compelled (by Spirit, by exposure to what we perceive as truth, etc.) to believe.
post #53 of 62
Thread Starter 
Yes, Bekka, we can learn a lot.

I guess my perspective is different than for most of you all, because I'm in a group that is specifically a target for conversion/proselytization (sp?) as a matter of theology.

If that was worded horribly ... which it was ... I'll state it plain:

Converting Jews is a matter of theological necessity for certain specific religious groups. It is a necessary precursor, in that belief mindset, to the [coming of the messiah/end of times/fulfillment of prophecies/fillinblankhere].

Because of this fact, I do not feel that I am being educated, when I am approached. And I am approached. Often.

When in a generous mood, I feel that I am being used, specifically for someone else's "salvation." When not so generously inclined, I feel under attack.

Those in other religions also targeted feel the same way, so it seems.

Those in the same religion but different denominations (and I wish some Christian mamas could explain the differences in the denominations, but that's a whole 'nother thread or ten) are being educated, maybe about their religious "options."

Just thinking virtually-out-loud.

- Amy

edited to note that this post sounds very confrontational, and I'm sure some will feel it is anti-Christian. It is not anti anyone, please believe me. It is a statement of the theology as I understand it, and if I am wrong, please correct me. I'm looking to learn here ...
post #54 of 62

Thought this article was interesting

I was reading this thread the other day and today when I read this article all of you in this thread came to mind. Thought it was interesting and so might some of you. Its a long one though...


post #55 of 62
I am a Christian mama. That is to say I try to live my life according to the teachings of Christ and do believe that He is the Messiah. And I will also say that I vehemently oppose those lovely Christian denominations. All about man trying to quantify something that can't be boxed in. Their own interpretations as to how God must be "practiced". Can you sense my frustration? Probably OT.

I am sorry for those who have had such negative experiences. It is not fair to corner another and push upon them their religious beliefs. I don't subscribe to that train of thought. I have had positive conversations with others here and outside of my "home" about Christ. And it was always mutual bc I got to know the person first. I never saw another as a tool to fulfill the prophecies concerning the end of the times. Christ never chased people down the street and started pointing fingers. People came to him, they saw the light in him and were drawn. Our life is to be the light and witness. It is never ending. I suppose when one among us reaches a level of perfection we may have earned the right to judge the salvation of another.

Interesting article. I have known people like that so I can believe it.
post #56 of 62
I have been wondering why the very idea of proselytizing seems so strange to me....I was raised a post Vatican-II Catholic and frankly, I can't remember once ever being told that I needed to try to convert anyone, or even that anyone who hadn't accepted Jesus wasn't going to heaven. I think I understand a little better after reading this piece in the NY Times this past Sunday:

Catholics, Jews and the Work of Reconciliation


The piece discusses how last month a group of Rabbis and American Catholic Bishops issued a document entitled ""Reflections on Covenant and Mission," in which the RC Bishops disavowed attempts to convert Jews to Christianity.

For those without NY Times access here are a few snippets:

"The Catholic Church has come to recognize," the committee said, "that its mission of preparing for the coming of the kingdom of God is one that is shared with the Jewish people." The decision flows from the recognition that the Jewish people, too, "abide in covenant with God."

"Put another way, your road to salvation is as as good as mine."

The piece explains that in general, since Vatican II the US Catholic Church hasn't tried to convert Jews as at Vatican II the Church "formally rejected the belief that the Jewish people were responsible for the death of Jesus and
affirmed the closeness of the two religions."

There were some who were quite upset by the bishops statements.

Jim Sibley, the coordinator of Jewish Ministries for the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's second-largest Christian religious organization, after the Catholic Church, said that to deny Jews access to evangelization was theological discrimination. "There can be no more extreme form of anti-Semitism," he said on one of the denomination's Web sites, bpnews.net.

He compared trying to ask to Christians, even one group of them, to stop evangelizing was like asking Jews to eat "ham and cheese sandwiches".

Anyway, I won't go on as I don't want to get dinged for copyright issues but if anyone doesn't want to sign in to the NY Times but wants this article I can email it to you. Just PM me.
post #57 of 62
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the link, Dierdre. Though I can't remember where, but I just read somewhere ... just last week ... that some of the signatories to that agreement from the Catholic Church have backpedaled on it.

But hey, nice to know that it exists anyway, that some are making serious efforts at understanding ...

It's so fascinating to me, Mr. Sibley insisting that it's antisemitic to not try to convert Jews. In other words, "We love you so much that we don't want you to exist anymore."


- Amy
post #58 of 62
You are right Amy. Within several days of the documents release a scripture scholar wrote into EWTN's website (Eternal Word Television Network- a conservative Catholic TV station) "calling the document an embarrassment that lacks teaching authority, and even near-apostasy."

This caused a "flap" that made it to the Donahue show. And within days the head of Jewish relations for the Bishops conference said the "document did not reflect a formal position by the bishops but was intended to use for reflection."

There still remains a contradiction between the Church's teaching that Jesus is the only mediator between the people and God and the affirmation of the covenant between Jews and God.

However, as James Carroll, a former priest who wrote "Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews" wrote that this is how theological change takes place and that:

"What is most significant about the conversion document, he said, "is that it is yet another step away from "triumphalist claims to Jesus as the only way to God."

I thought it was a step in the right direction. Thank God.

I agree that what Mr. Sibley said was very strange indeed.
post #59 of 62


Wow! I must say reading all this thread was like watching a football game,,cheering, groaning, booing, clapping,,,oh the ups and downs!!

I am not sure why people willing to step out of their bubble of safety and share love as well as needed tangible things ( food, medicine, shelter) and doing it while saying "The God I worship loves you so much!" is so distasteful to those of you in your tidy suburban ecosystems and your piles of judgements!

I know that the missionaries I have supported, those I have visited with,and those of us who do work here in our community (I am a volunteer doula with single teen mothers,and our church has a huge outreach with the Migrant population here in our area,,food, clothes,,so on..) feel like we are just using our lives to show people the love God has for them..we aren't offering them these things only if they buy into our beliefs! But we have a faith that makes us want to share that love with others who may not know it. "Please let them see Jesus in me!"

Something about the word "Christian" or the word "Jesus" just puts some people into defense mode,,but the truth is that it really has nothing to do with God,,it has to do with the bad example and witness laid out by some men in the name of God! Two different issues there..it is a slightly human tendency to punish God for what man has done,,but what is the benefit of that?
post #60 of 62
I am not sure why people willing to step out of their bubble of safety and share love as well as needed tangible things ( food, medicine, shelter) and doing it while saying "The God I worship loves you so much!" is so distasteful to those of you in your tidy suburban ecosystems and your piles of judgements!
It's not their willingness to help others that's the problem. It's not their sharing that it's their belief in x particular religion that's the problem. It's the yours isn't valid so you must join mine that's the problem. Can none of you see how insulting that is?

If you want to help people, help them. IF you truly respected them as people you'd allow them their own beliefs.

To paraphrase Amy, it's the we love you so much we don't want you (as a distinct group) to exist any more. Or rather our God loves you so much ...... That's NOT love.

I wonder when that college seminar covers that sticky 8th commandment: Thou shalt NOT bear false witness. Teaching the students to call themselves muslim is teaching them to LIE.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Spirituality
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Proselytizing ...