Conversion

South Africa
June 1, 2008 6:02am CST
I was at an event last Wednesday and I was in a group with this one guy and we were talking. Things were going well, we were getting along quite well and then he brought up the topic of Jesus. I told him that I'm not really religious and so started saying things like if I don't have a relationship with God then I'm going to go to Hell. His intentions were obviously good and he was obviously trying to save my soul (or something to that effect) but I just find that sort of conversation annoying and avoidable. What are your thoughts?
1 person likes this
18 responses
• Australia
1 Jun 08
I have to confess that I've been guilty of using this approach. But looking back I agree that it's the wrong approach. I remember how I got 'converted'... I was living with a Christian family and it wasn't through them preaching at me, telling me I had to be saved etc. Never once did they say that to me. It was their love, support and acceptance of me that made me curious about their faith.
• South Africa
1 Jun 08
That is how it should be. It is a perfect demonstration of the old story that actions speak louder than words. If you see someone that you admire you are likely to want to learn their life lessons including their faith if they have any. Randomly telling someone you just met that they need to be saved doesn't help anyone and I don't think that it converts anyone either.
• Australia
1 Jun 08
Oh, I think a very small percentage of people may get converted that way. But it has to be just what they need to hear at the time. In general most people are offended by it... even if they realise that the person saying it means well.
@LaHire (164)
• India
1 Jun 08
but the point is!! is it right!! i mean.... i walk out of a institute... and im offered pamplets on how to get converted into Christianity!! plus more imp. its only with Christianity side mostly!! i have never seen a hindu preaching his religion untill someone asks him !!
@repzkoopz (1895)
• Philippines
1 Jun 08
religion is definitely one of the most sensitive topics to discuss. every person has different views with it, and its not a surprise that a lot of wars were religion-related. sometimes, it can become annoying specially if the person trying to persuade you makes a bad approach and keeps going even when its already obvious that you're not interested. it sure is avoidable but it should start with you since you're the listener.
1 person likes this
• South Africa
1 Jun 08
What do you mean when you say it should start with me? Are you saying that if religion comes up as a topic it should be started be the one that is going to listen about it or do you mean that I need to explicitly say that I would rather not talk about religion?
@repzkoopz (1895)
• Philippines
2 Jun 08
naaahh.. what i mean is that if you don't feel comfortable with a particular topic, not just with religion, but any topic, you'll just have to tell the speaker that you don't want to talk about it or you're not comfy talking about it. c',)
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
Ah, now I get what you mean. Actually, that is actually what ended up happening sort of. He spoke and spoke and spoke and then I just said, "Right... now lets change the topic onto something else..." It worked as a short term thing but he still wanted me to think about it. Oh well, not as if I'm ever going to see the guy again.
@marchgale (260)
• United States
1 Jun 08
Jesus is my savior. Problem is I don't go to church.So when I tell these folks I am saved but do not wish to attend they're church,they won't shut up about me not being in church. It's like this with them.You have to accept Jesus, if you've done that you have to go to church, if you go to church there will still be something wrong with you. Even though I am a Christian,I won't push others,and I won't be pushed.
1 person likes this
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
So the people going around doing the conversions are never satisfied? I didn't know that, having never actually gone along with them and getting converted to following some funny invisible force (or forces depending on which religion we are talking about). But people do tend to be like that, always wanting to make others follow ideals, even if they are preaching about ideals that they neglect to follow themselves.
• United States
3 Jun 08
I think you got it right.And nobody want's to put up with it whether they are a believer or non believer.
1 Jun 08
Teach, don't preach! As jewel said above, conversion works best (and generally only works) when you use actions instead of words. A person cannot be forced onto a path, they should not be scared into following a path. They can only be shown a path, and how the people that walk that path act... either curiosity will move them into learning more or they'll ignore the path and continue on their own... or perhaps one day those paths will merge into one. Perhaps this is why we're such a curious little species, so that we can seek out the right path for ourselves and not have someone else force us onto one at knife point. I don't understand people who really seem to think saying "You'll go to Hell!" can possibly work as a conversion tool... especially on those who don't even accept the concept of Hell. It mostly just screams "idiot" at me.
• South Africa
1 Jun 08
I live the way that I think is right. I don't have some relationship with a god but I think that I am overall a good person. When I die, if I am wrong about the existance of God and it gets to my judgement, either I'll get into heaven for living the right way on my own even though I made one mistake about worship or I will be sent to Hell where I can hang out with almost everyone that was ever alive. So what reason is there for me to be converted anyway?
1 Jun 08
Hah, that all depends on the person doing the converting and what they believe your 'punishment' will be. And for some of them, I really think it just makes them feel good about themselves, that they're so good for trying to force someone to follow a different path. Oh, the Christian view of Hell is not compatible with your view of it. There is no freedom in Hell. You do not just 'hang out' you are punished, for eternity. It's a stupid vision and I don't know why people still believe in it... it's a bloody human construct! But if it does exist I really don't wanna be going there!
• South Africa
1 Jun 08
Lets think this Hell thing through. Please correct me if I'm wrong, I don't have a strong Christian background to draw information from, only the ideas that I've gotten over the years from various people of questionable intellegence. So Hell is ruled by Lucifer and he is going to torture you for all eternity. Why? What possible motivation could he have? He was kicked out of heaven by God, right? Why would he punish the people that have not accepted God in the same way that he has been rejected by God? I just don't understand how that is supposed to make sense.
@Springlady (4011)
• United States
2 Jun 08
Hi Pirate, I'm glad your friend talked to you about Jesus. The most important and loving thing anyone can do is to point someone to Jesus Christ. We all need Him and without Him, there is no hope. Yes, the only way to eternal life is thru Jesus Christ. Jesus paid for your sins by dying on the cross. You need to repent (turn away) of your sins and ask Jesus to come into your life. He will! Once you do that, then you become a new person! You are saved! You are adopted into the famliy of God! You are a child of the living God! I pray you will ask Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior! It will be the most important and the happiest decision you will ever make! God bless!
• South Africa
8 Jun 08
Thanks Henjin. You know, you just can't argue with some people because no matter what you say they are still so set in their regid and unjustified beliefs (you can't prove religion, you just have to trust it) that the argument never gains substance. Springlady, if you want to argue with me, come up with something substancial to say to argue your point. Stating that what is said in a book which was written by human and copied by hand for thousands of years, edited multiple times and just generally abused is the direct word of God doesn't hold any substance to me unless you can find a good way to prove it.
• United States
7 Jun 08
Yes, the " believe in Jesus or else" conversation is annoying , especially when you tell the person no I am not into Jesus.It is like your answer triggers something in the other person and they go into survival mode. It is sad that they think they need to do it.
• South Africa
7 Jun 08
My personal opinion is that they are insecure in their faith. That is why they need to talk loudly and continuously about Jesus or God or Hell or something to that variety. They are actually doing it more for themselves than for the person that they are "trying to save". Do you agree with my hypothesis or do you have a better explanation?
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 08
I got that feeling too.It is like they Need everyone to agrree with their choice so they know they are right. But for most, it is their duty to try to "save" you.They really think that as soon as they show you the "way" you will become a member of their church.I just fell sorry for them. They Have to sell their religion like vacuums door to door.
• Romania
8 Jun 08
Personally I believe that they misunderstood the bible, and now they believe that they are the only keepers of the faith, this is a sign of people turning to fanatism.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jun 08
Religion can not be forced upon people. Coming at someone with threatening comments like "you will go to Hell", just wont work. I am at a crossroads about religion right now. I was raised in a Non Denominational church but I am questioning now why it is I believe what I do.
• South Africa
1 Jun 08
I was taught about God when I was growing up. Religion was never heavily pushed in my house though and we never went to church so most of the teaching about it actually came from my primary school. I'll never forget the day that my best friend, 8 years old at the time, tried to explain the big bang theory to the teacher trying to teach us the bible's story about how God created the earth. Anyway, I grew out of believing in God in the same way that I grew out of believing in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. They are all great stories for children but after a certain point it starts to seem a bit fishy.
@Henjin (81)
• South Africa
7 Jun 08
Lol!I remember that teacher, the discussion went something like this: (Me explaining the big bang theory) Teacher: Does it say that in the bible? Me: No... Teacher: Then it didn't happen!
• United States
7 Jun 08
Hen.... For me it was the other way around. The teacher was telling the class about the Big Bang Theory and I was sitting there wondering how does that fit in with the Bible. And I guess Im still asking myself that same question.
• Philippines
2 Jun 08
it's really annoying. those words misrepresent a God of love. if i'd be a christian sharing the gospel, i'd would tell the Good news, rather than the bad news. i'd share that Jesus didn't say to any most sinful man in His time, "believe in Me, if not, then go to hell".. No! He didn't say those words! But He said the Good News which is, "Your sins are forgiven, sin no more... you're freeman! go, go, go!"
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
Yes, I see the brilliant irony of the situation. In trying to convert people to follow their leader (or savior if you prefer), people are actually not following him themselves. It has come up already in this discussion that the best way to convert someone is to set a good example of being a good person and then others will want to learn how to be more like you. I think that that is what Jesus was doing, helping everyone and talking about God to those that asked him.
• Philippines
3 Jun 08
yeh, you're right.
@Henjin (81)
• South Africa
7 Jun 08
I love it when people try and convert me, half way through the conversation, I start trying to convert them to either Pastafarianism, satanism or devil worship. They then get so offended that they rarely bring up religion in a conversation again Although I might want to add that if you try this method of anti-conversion you might lose friends.(There: now I've added an obvious warning, so the americans can't sue me)
• South Africa
7 Jun 08
Wait, trying to tell a devout Christian that they should go for Devil Worship might make you... lose friends? How? :P I think that Pastafarianism is a good one for this because it is so rediculous sounding (as all good parody religions are) but it is actually very similar to the religion that they are trying to convert you to.
@TravisE (454)
• United States
2 Jun 08
Gandhi had an interesting take on this. He said that whenever someone asked you you're religion they're always looking to start a fight. So, when asked, he would say, "I'm a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist." The asker would get confused and say, "What does that mean"? Then a real conversation, and not a fight, could start.
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
It seems that Gandhi had quite a lot of good advice about life which can be applied to present day life. Perhaps we should start a religion around him. Then in 2000 odd years out descendants can complain on the Internet of the future that those damn Gandhians have lost what their faith was supposed to be about and are just trying to convert people. I'm sorry, that whole thing just came to me and I thought that I would share it. The way that the entire conflict is dissipated and a constructive conversation is started is genius.
• India
2 Jun 08
Many people does many things-either for ones own benefit or for others benefit. I understand from your discussion that that person was indeed sincere or else you wouldn't had written - His intentions were obviously good.. well, its up to you to accept it or reject it. The choice is all yours. And I am sure that that person would not stop his " topic of Jesus "
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
Yes, his intentions were good but that does not make the conversion situation acceptable. I'm not interested and so I reject it. It is not as if this is an entirely new message, that I should follow Jesus or burn, and so even if he just wants me to think about it it seems overly arrogant. How does he know that his views are right and mine are not?
• Philippines
2 Jun 08
I think the same way as you do.An incident like that happened to me too.May I ask if that guy is a Chinese born again Christian?Because I had a bad experience with people from that group.Ok.This is what happened.I met this guy and his brother and they are born again Christians and I'm a Catholic.Then they went saying that my way of worship is wrong.And they were like encouraging me to worship the Lord the way they do.The hell?This is the Catholics' belief,practice,and tradition.The hell do they care about this.Can't they at least respect that there are many different religions out there and can't they respect the way we worship and stuff?I find it so annoying.
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
No, it was an Afrikaans guy all the way from Pretoria. I didn't know that there was a big problem with born again Christian Chinese people trying to convert others. I thought that it was a problem with born again Christians of all racial groupings.
@Tetchie (2933)
• Australia
2 Jun 08
It's so ironic how 'converters' think that what they do is going to bring people into their religion, but what it achieves is the opposite. I am amazed how they don't see the damage they are doing. One of my big disappointments is that discussions on the book (the bible) from an intellectual standpoint can be fantastic, until it becomes personal. Belief spoils the discussions because there is that age old argument of who is right and who is wrong - so destructive that one.
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
I've always thought that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally. The stories contained in the Bible are like fairy tales, they are nice little stories that teach moral values to people. Fairy tales are aimed more at children and the Bible is just like the adult version. I think that there would be much less problems if people followed the lessons that they want other people to learn and just let the other people use their own lessons (since most of the time they do have them).
• United States
2 Jun 08
May I ask what kind of event you were at?
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
A sporting event. To be more specific, the JKA karate dan grading. We were just talking idly because we were in the same group and at that specific moment we were waiting for all the other groups to finish.
@Hatley (157433)
• Garden Grove, California
2 Jun 08
I think people should respect each others religions and not be out proslytiting at all. I have to be preached at and never preach at anyone else. Respect my religion and I will respect yours. Preach at me and I walk off.
• South Africa
2 Jun 08
Yes, I agree with you. There is a time and place for preaching and it is not when you are faced with someone that does not want to be preached to. Preaching can be left to places like churches where members would come in to listen to whatever story about whatever deity/prophet/random do-gooder. If they have the right to go around preching about Jesus, why shouldn't I go around preching the Noodly Goodness of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
@Ravenladyj (22992)
• United States
1 Jun 08
Yea I find that sort of thing annoying as well....As soon as I say that I'm whatever or I feel whatever (depending on the topic at hand) then it conversation starter should have the brains to let it go..OR if he/she wants to ask questions so I can clarify my position thats fine but DO NOT start preaching to me..I find that absolutely DISRESPECTFUL and NARROWMINDED as well as straight up annoying
• South Africa
1 Jun 08
Chances are that if you already have your own beliefs then whatever they say won't actually convert you. So they are going on about their religion, wasting their time and yours. They do seem to think that all religions except their own is inferior which is just arrogant. Personally, I do not believe that I need a relationship with a deity. Does everyone really need the same things?
@raclie (1734)
• Singapore
1 Jun 08
oh my gosh!!! finally someone like me!!! i will just sound really bored and will just keep saying "uh huh....""yup..""i agree" but when they say...do you want me to pray for your salvation? i will be...no thanks... sometimes, there will be some people knocking on the door of my high rise flat... and they will be like... do you want to make jesus to be your lord and saviour? my dad will then be like... what church are you in? let me see your identification... he fears they may be cults... which is illegal in singapore... and so he does not allow them to "spread the message" what makes you think that the church is not just another big cult organisation anyway?!?!?!
• South Africa
1 Jun 08
It is slightly different when people come knocking at your door because then at least you can just close the door at them. Still anoying but a bit easier to solve. What is the difference between most organised religion and cults? The answer as far as I can tell is size.
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
7 Jun 08
I think there is a time and place for everything. There is a time to speak and a time to keep quiet. Only God knows when someone is at a receptive place to hear about him. I talk to him like I do anyone else. And I'll talk about him to people like I would my husband, children and others in my life. He is my friend. It may be nothing more than something like 'Yeah, I asked the Lord about that very thing yesterday' and then continue on with the conversation. He is part of my everywaking minute. I don't fall down and roll in the floor saying 'Oh Lord thou faithful master, helpeth me to overcometh bla bla bla' I just say, 'Lord, help me not to get mad so fast' 'Lord, help me to understand my kid' I talk to him all day long. And if you and I were standing around talking for any length of time, chances are his name would come up. But not in the way your friend did it. I'm sure he meant well though.