Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I have a problem with Evangelists.

A certain blogger who will remain anonymous has posted a video of a Muslim who "found Jesus Christ."

I'm getting a little tired of evangelists who think they need to convert the entire world to a rigid, narrow dogma.

Muslims have a right to be Muslim. Jews have a right to be Jews. Buddhists have a right to be Buddhists. Atheists have a right to be atheists. None of them have to "find" anyone, let alone Jesus.

To my way of thinking, evangelism, the idea that everyone must convert to a certain religion lest they face eternal punishment, is one of the most insidious and nasty forms of bigotry, and it leads to some really bad policy decisions. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the Iranian Revolution, the anti-Jewish pogroms in Europe, the current terrorist campaign to establish a fundamentalist Islamic caliphate throughout Europe and Asia, all of these can be traced to an unshakable belief in religious superiority.

A healthy religious viewpoint can include the conviction that the believer possesses the one true way to salvation. However, a healthy religious viewpoint must reconcile this conviction with an understanding that unbelievers have a right not to believe. Evangelism and proselytizing insult and denigrate those who believe differently.

The bottom line is this. Religious freedom also means freedom from religion.

Post edited to flesh out the arguments and make its tone more diplomatic.