More on bad Christianity

I think I need to be a little clearer about why I posted the link to that story yesterday, and why I think it’s important.

I primarily posted it for the benefit of my Christian readers (which, as it turns out, is somewhat ironic as the only responses I’ve had – in my comments and privately – have been from non-Christians; very thoughtful and interesting they were, too), as a sort of followup to my earlier posts on evangelism and why I don’t like it. I think this story encapsulates, in a way that I couldn’t, the issue I have with evangelism and salvation-centric theology. Michael Spencer calls it Wretched Urgency – the idea that Christianity is all about converting people, witnessing, evangelising; that unless we get out there and tell the world about Jesus everyone is going to burn in hell, so that should be our number one priority in life. And that story encapsulates exactly why I feel that such wretched urgency is misguided and missing the point.

3 Responses to “More on bad Christianity”

  1. Trav says:

    Never been a fan of evangelism, myself. I find a subconscious need to rebel
    against anything I think is being pushed onto me. If your religion is really
    making a difference in your life, making you more happy or content (maybe even,
    a better person); then other people will see this in you and want to know how
    you do it. That, is the best time to tell them about your faith. You’re not
    forcing it on them or preaching to them, you’re just answering their questions.
    Be patient and lead by example. Just my 2p worth 🙂

  2. richard mcintosh says:

    As a ‘christian’ reader I did have a look at that persons post but it was very long. (hypocritical I know!) and have had a very busy week. But i must agree that evangelism (evangel=gospel in greek) is not about trying to desperately save people from hell.

    Perhaps it may actualy send them there. Only those who reject the gospel can be eternaly lost!

    I know that you don’t like the term wittness. But i think that is exactly what christian ‘evangelism’ should be about. A wittness tells it like it is, the ball is then in the court of the other person. I wonder whether it is arguable that Martin luther kings non-volilent protest was the one of the best forms of evangelisms. Actully demonstraighting what the gospel means in a way that highly emotive and manipulative brainswashing stratigies cannot.

    I know I am rambling, but i also think that many forms of ‘christian’ (or more properly fundamentalist) evangelism does much more to convice the ‘evangelist’ than the than the evangelised. It is a sort of take stoke mechanism.

    I think that Rowan Williams suggestion of presenting Christ not as God’s answer but Rather Jesus is God’s question to humanity has a lot going for it.

  3. Adrian says:

    Judaism never had a concept of evangelism. I was always taught that Judaism says ‘Be a Guiding light unto the nation’. i.e. by doing the right thing you set a good example, and that’s all that should be needed. Granted that’s not always the reality (or seldom is) but conceptually I agree with it.

    I’ve never felt at ease with evangelism. Especially the teacher I had when I was 7 that told our class (mixed religion class of very impressionable young people) that if we didn’t believe in Jesus bad things would happen to us. Nor my teacher when I was 12 who told us the same thing, but in a far more masked fashion. Nor the excitable student types at university who kept coming around and telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t convert.

    I much prefer people who belief is strong enough not to require them to do the hard sell. Especially not to young impressionable kids in a non religious school, who don’t really understand.

    I always believe those that are truly religious arrived at their spirituality via personal journey and not via indoctrination.