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Old 05-13-2007, 08:32 AM   #31
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Originally posted by butter7


Now I got you point. Sorry, it seems that I'm the one that confused all the time...

I didn't thought people would really look at the useage of anti-virus software, becaue by the time I was only wanted to do the comparison of the people who knocking your door and persist you to accept their religion to the sales man that stand at the same place try to get you to buy their products. And, might because I'm on a computer, so I wrote anti-virus software.

I only used the selling as a form, not really the usage of anti-virus software and religion.

plus, as for trojan, it's very different from virus. I have never got a virus for about 3 years or even longer, but instead I got trojans.

Trojan can do most of things that virus can do, plus, some of trojans are designed to control your computer. And the second one, which usually don't want to be noticed. To name one of the most famous one: Hui Ge Zi, or, the grey dove. Norton (corporate version)still couldn't handle it.
OK, now we got each other's point.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:51 AM   #32
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega


Maybe you could elaborate a bit on the advantages of missionising people and I would get a better understanding.

I'm sorry if that hurt you. But do you know, on the other hand, how it might hurt people if someone knocked at their door, tried to sell them some religion and then said things like the "lakes of fire", "you won't be saved" or whatever.

Hmmm, I've never really thought of these tactics as "missionizing". What you're describing is more like aggressive evangelizing. Being a "missionary" generally involves setting up some "mission" that draws people in by leading through example. I may be wrong, but I think Sean's mission involves a school? So you go to a place that is in need of a school, a hospital, a youth center, etc. and set one up there. If people WANT to, they are welcome to come to learn about the faith on which the mission was founded. Now some will argue that the mission is like coercion because the people have no choice but to become believers otherwise they can't go to school, get medical treatment, use the facilities, etc., but that's really a debate for another thread.

ANY Christian who has the gall to approach someone else and say "you won't be saved" needs a major attitude adjustment. That's blasphemous, the "unforgivable sin".
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:00 AM   #33
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Well, if that's how missionising (missionisating?) is understood as here, that's something different. That's right, and I'm fine with that.

I understand that it's not like in former centuries where they tried to convert every culture they could stumble upon.
Such practices, or threatening people with all bad they could come up with, is something I highly objectify.

But it's also something nostalgic with me to sometimes regret that our Western "civilisation" and churches didn't care at all about great cultures in other parts of the world, but wanted to make them all theirs.

So I'm not at all against the work maycocksean, or anyone else, is doing. Sorry to have come across as such.
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:46 AM   #34
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Originally posted by Liesje

So you go to a place that is in need of a school, a hospital, a youth center, etc. and set one up there. If people WANT to, they are welcome to come to learn about the faith on which the mission was founded. Now some will argue that the mission is like coercion because the people have no choice but to become believers otherwise they can't go to school, get medical treatment, use the facilities, etc., but that's really a debate for another thread.
The latter is what's always bothered me. When you come with a Bible in one hand and a plate of food in the other I don't really think that objectively speaking you can say that the person accepting the plate of food WANTS to learn about the faith the mission was founded on. Something about it has always rubbed me the wrong way. You don't see people establishing missions in the middle of Malibu or Beverly Hills - how successful would they be there where the local populace doesn't need anything tangible from the missionaries?
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Old 05-13-2007, 12:40 PM   #35
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You don't see people establishing missions in the middle of Malibu or Beverly Hills - how successful would they be there where the local populace doesn't need anything tangible from the missionaries?
That's where Scientology comes in.
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Old 05-13-2007, 12:50 PM   #36
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Someone has to fill the gap.
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:48 PM   #37
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Vincent, you might want to check Sean's old 'Ask the...' thread where he (and sula) both talk a little about their experiences with missionary life. (The 'Ask the...' threads, in case you're unfamiliar with them, are a kind of FYM tradition where people who wish to share some unique aspect of who they are, and answer questions from other FYMers about it, can do so.) If you have additional questions not answered there, that might be a good thread to bump, although I don't personally have any objections if you do it here--that's up to Amy really.
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Originally posted by maycocksean
These kinds of broad mischaracterizations are wrong when Christians make them about atheists. They are just as wrong when atheists make them about believers.
I do agree with you completely...but, to be fair, where missionaries and evangelizing/proselytizing are concerned, it might be helpful to keep in mind that a lot of folks, particularly those from outside the US, may not be as readily familiar and conversant with all the different forms that sort of work can take as you are; it's a much more widespread and varied phenomenon here than it is in much of the rest of the world, I think. When many people hear 'missionary' what comes first (and perhaps only) to mind is the long history of the type that arrives simultaneously with, or shortly after, the Men With Guns; or perhaps the kind of thing anitram mentions, where access to highly desired aid not otherwise available is effectively made contingent on acceptance of religious instruction (again, I realize this is not 'normative', but it does occur; I've personally seen it happen in northeastern India, and not just among Christians either--in politically tumultuous regions like that, missionary work can easily get tangled up in separatism and other local resistance movements, leading to more aggressive tactics driven as much by a desire to 'get more people on our side' politically as anything else).

And as far as 'proselytizing', again, many people's only encounters with that may have taken the form of aggressive hawkers who buttonholed them in public, door-to-door spokespersons who WON'T readily or graciously leave if they indicate disinterest, or perhaps the kind of thing I experienced many times growing up--folks whose main interest appears to be gleefully telling you you're going to burn in hell (because you're a 'Christ-killer', because you're gay, or more rarely simply because you're not Christian)...with or without an accompanying offer to 'help'. Particularly if you're not familiar with the fact that there ARE other, gentler forms of 'witnessing' to people out there, it doesn't take too many encounters of that type to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

Again, not trying to dictate any sweeping 'The Way It Is' here, or suggest that anyone else (e.g., you) is somehow obligated to answer for people who do any of the above--just trying to get at some reasons why so many might have hair-trigger negative associations with concepts like 'missionary' and 'evangelizing'.
Quote:
Originally posted by butter7
I understand that it is not accurate to use small samples and apply the result to big groups. However, there is a question: Why it's always THEM?

I make good friend with some buddhists, especially with a Zen teacher. Never got any problem with my hindu classmates, either. None of them have persisted me to believe in to their religion.
As a generalization, I think a big part of the answer is that most other major world religions don't put anywhere near as much emphasis on seeking converts through missionary work and proselytizing as Christianity (and Islam, too) do. It would be untrue to say people of other religions NEVER do it--if nothing else, historically, there certainly have been instances of forcible conversion to Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism 'by the sword', just not nearly as many. And the flip side of the 'missionary' aspect of Christianity and Islam is that charitable/aid organizations do tend to be disproportionately led and staffed by people of those religions--say what you will about their 'ulterior motives' in some cases. The 'mission' to grow through conversion and 'sharing the faith', not just through reproduction, is simply much more important in Christianity and Islam than in other faiths. Of course the central importance of the concept of 'Hell' unique to those religions has an affect, too--again, that's a generalization, as there isn't any one precise universal Christian or Muslim doctrine about the afterlife, but in the big picture it does add a further sense of urgency to the business of seeking converts. Whereas in Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc., notions of the afterlife (generally more clearly defined in the former two) are much less pervasively linked to any need for 'salvation' (through Jesus in the case of Christianity, through faith in Allah in and of itself in the case of Islam); in those religions, the acts of the individual tend to be seen as much more important.
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Old 05-13-2007, 05:33 PM   #38
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Oh, thank you yolland. I only was aware of the thread Axver started about being an "albino".

And you are right. As I stated before in another thread it is kind of confusing how many different denominations you have in the US (speaking of Christian denominations, Mormons, and a new one for me, the 7th Adventists).
This missionary work maycocksean is doing is very different from what is known as missionisation heren in Germany. I'm sure people here do the same work, but as religion is playing a very minor role in our life most people here are not really that familiar with the religous life in the US, and especially with all the aspects it has.
So for me missionary work really is the thing I've learnt it is, going out preaching the Bible and basically getting as many people as possible.
I'm sorry, but that's as it is. Hence me putting my foot in it.

So I'll try to read the "Ask the..." thread, and if I've got questions, thanks for letting me bump. Let's see.
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Old 05-13-2007, 05:47 PM   #39
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Interestingly enough, the top story on Yahoo at the moment has to do with this subject. "Christians and atheists start a calmer dialogue"

Some of the things that stuck out to me...

Quote:
Henderson has gone on to pair with another atheist, Matt Casper, for further church visits across the US, and they've written "Jim and Casper Go to Church." Both books offer insightful, revealing, sometimes humorous critiques of what a variety of Christian services, in churches of different sizes and denominations, look like to the uninitiated.

Henderson also conducts interviews with men and women who are non*believers as an event at church and pastor conferences. Many Evangelicals "are obsessed with conversion," he says, and always speak of non-Christians as "lost." The interviews show Christians immersed in their own culture and how that sounds to the people they approach.

At the Salem conference, Mr. Bleiweiss recalled a co-worker who "worked Jesus into every conversation we had."

Henderson's experiences have led him, with his "Off The Map" venture, into "something larger than evangelism," what he calls "otherliness." Otherliness – "the spirituality of serving others" – involves "drawing people into the idea of paying real attention to each other, of listening." He wants to teach individuals and groups of all kinds how to do a much better job of listening to those they interact with.

For his part, Mehta is still open to "any compelling evidence of the existence of God." He describes positive elements in some churches, such as top-notch speakers and impressive community outreach. "The more work churches do for everyone, the more respect they'll get from outsiders," he writes.

Yet churchgoers are missing the mark, he says, when they think non*religious people lack a basis for ethical values, look down on non-Christians, or fail to speak out against religious leaders who make outrageous public statements.

What would convince him? A miracle.
During church services, they often fail to explain traditions or rituals, which leaves visitors confused. "Why is the structure of the service always the same?" Mehta wonders.

Zeroing in on "what it would take to convert me," he says a church would need to appeal to his sense of reason, challenge him to think more deeply, and allow for asking questions. "I wasn't confronted with a new line of thinking that challenged my commitment to scientific empiricism," he writes. Also, he'd want a church where "men and women lead on an equal basis."

Most important, he states, what would convince him would be "a miracle – an undeniable miracle that has no natural explanation."

While on their tour of the most prominent megachurches and stylistically innovative churches, Mr. Casper asked Henderson, "Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?"

The 30-something father of two is generally unimpressed with the multi*media "killer" church services they attend. Articulate in explaining his reactions in detail, he, like Mehta, also finds in the predictable format of services that "certainty is boring, certainty is closed off."

When a healing is mentioned in one Pentecostal service, though, he reacts strongly. If that man can heal, he says, "why is he ... hanging out in this building?... Get out there, then! There are people who need your help."

Saying that he loves the teachings of Jesus, along with those of other important teachers, Casper concludes: "The question that just came up for me again and again ... is, What does the way Christianity is practiced today have to do with the ... words and deeds" of Jesus?

For Henderson, Wyman, and Mehta, the value of talking and listening to those with differing worldviews has become crystal clear.
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Old 05-13-2007, 06:42 PM   #40
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega


Maybe you could elaborate a bit on the advantages of missionising people and I would get a better understanding.

I'm sorry if that hurt you. But do you know, on the other hand, how it might hurt people if someone knocked at their door, tried to sell them some religion and then said things like the "lakes of fire", "you won't be saved" or whatever.

I know, there are many who don't use this as an argument.

I didn't know that my personal perceptions are so hurtful.

So, please educate me on missionisation.

Rethinking, the word "hate" might be a bit harsh sounding.
It's not as if I hated the people doing that, and having done a job as a sales man myself I think a whole lot different from door knockers than many do I know.
I don't know the exact word or phrase to describe it.

I just feel a bit uncomfortable, uneasy, awkward, I don't know, about people trying to sell me their religion.

Of course, even religion has to make aware of itself. And I try to blind out the history of churches and the way they missionised in former times.
But I also think they have to accept that faith is a bit more than buying some product, or like I "sold", doing a Child Sponsorship.
Faith goes so much deeper, and when people have found their faith, or came to the conclusion that they do not believe, it should be fine.

I really didn't want to hurt anyone, and am sorry that I probably came across a bit harsh used, and I hope that you don't bear grudges on me.

I always liked your posts, and think that you are, like yolland, one of the most eloquent posters who always seems to keep the overall picture right and give very objective statements. So I would be happy if we could get along well in future as well.
Vincent, thanks for elaborating. I understand better where you are coming from now. . .I only said that because I wanted to challenge the broad statement that you made about "hating all missionaries." I knew there was high mutual regard between us, so I knew you couldn't mean "all" missionaries.

The type of missionizing that you're talking about, I am also wholeheartedly against so we agree there.

I'll elaborate more later, but I'm in a short break between teaching and don't have time now. Just wanted to let you know that we're cool and I understand now what you meant!
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Old 05-13-2007, 06:46 PM   #41
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Thank you. I have just read through the other thread, and can say my questions have been answered.
It was very clarifying what you are really doing, and I have to say that I think that's a great work.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:00 PM   #42
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Originally posted by yolland


As a generalization, I think a big part of the answer is that most other major world religions don't put anywhere near as much emphasis on seeking converts through missionary work and proselytizing as Christianity (and Islam, too) do. It would be untrue to say people of other religions NEVER do it--if nothing else, historically, there certainly have been instances of forcible conversion to Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism 'by the sword', just not nearly as many. And the flip side of the 'missionary' aspect of Christianity and Islam is that charitable/aid organizations do tend to be disproportionately led and staffed by people of those religions--say what you will about their 'ulterior motives' in some cases. The 'mission' to grow through conversion and 'sharing the faith', not just through reproduction, is simply much more important in Christianity and Islam than in other faiths. Of course the central importance of the concept of 'Hell' unique to those religions has an affect, too--again, that's a generalization, as there isn't any one precise universal Christian or Muslim doctrine about the afterlife, but in the big picture it does add a further sense of urgency to the business of seeking converts. Whereas in Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc., notions of the afterlife (generally more clearly defined in the former two) are much less pervasively linked to any need for 'salvation' (through Jesus in the case of Christianity, through faith in Allah in and of itself in the case of Islam); in those religions, the acts of the individual tend to be seen as much more important.
Thanks for your reply, yolland. I think your explaination is very clear, reasonable and comprehensive.

Trapped in faith, crying for salvation, scaried of afterlife...Poor people. Guess I need to have some sympathy for them.

*Sigh*
Never be able to understand how could people enjoy this....

PS..

I bumped the Ask the Missionary on a Pacific Island thread, and left a question for maycocksean, something about S. Korea.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:47 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
Interestingly enough, the top story on Yahoo at the moment has to do with this subject. "Christians and atheists start a calmer dialogue"

Some of the things that stuck out to me...

I think it made some good points.... not sure I remebered it correctly, but God cannot be tested, according to bible, does it?
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:49 AM   #44
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^ Yes, the Bible repeatedly says not to "test" (or "tempt") God, by which it basically means: don't demand that God intervene to save you from some bad situation as a condition of your continuing to believe. So, as a very simple example, with reference to missionary work, one thing this might mean is: don't pray to God to provide food for starving nonbelievers so that they'll believe what you believe; instead, provide them with food yourself, then teach them about God while you're doing it. From a missionary's point of view this isn't "tricking" them; rather it's simultaneously fulfilling the duty to serve others (which is a duty in many religions, of course) and the duty to share your faith with them (more specific to Christianity and Islam--although I have seen a few Buddhist service organizations that also offered religious instruction, and encouraged people using their services to attend those classes).
Quote:
Trapped in faith, crying for salvation, scaried of afterlife...Poor people. Guess I need to have some sympathy for them.
Eh...well, sympathy is a good thing to show towards almost anyone, but I wouldn't necessarily feel sorry for anyone (or any adult, at least) on account of what their personal religious beliefs are, since ultimately they've chosen to hold those beliefs; I have yet to meet a religious adult who wasn't familiar with doubt, and well aware of the option of nonbelief. And of course not all people who evangelize or do missionary work are strongly preoccupied with the afterlife or the need for salvation--many are, but others are more driven by a sense that faith can transform lives in wonderful ways, and they would like to make that sort of transformation available to others. Also keep in mind that the majority of Christians and Muslims are not involved in the type of missionary or evangelizing work that we've been discussing here.

The concern for the afterlife in general (as opposed to the concept of Hell specifically) isn't unique to Christianity and Islam, though--for example, in both Hinduism and Buddhism a key motivation for practicing the religion is the desire to achieve 'liberation' from the cycle of death and rebirth. Again the major difference is that in those religions, "liberation" is largely seen as being up to the individual--the idea that "salvation" could come from outside, while not wholly foreign to those religions, just isn't nearly as strong in them.
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:43 AM   #45
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^ Yes, the Bible repeatedly says not to "test" (or "tempt") God, by which it basically means: don't demand that God intervene to save you from some bad situation as a condition of your continuing to believe. So, as a very simple example, with reference to missionary work, one thing this might mean is: don't pray to God to provide food for starving nonbelievers so that they'll believe what you believe; instead, provide them with food yourself, then teach them about God while you're doing it. From a missionary's point of view this isn't "tricking" them; rather it's simultaneously fulfilling the duty to serve others (which is a duty in many religions, of course) and the duty to share your faith with them (more specific to Christianity and Islam--although I have seen a few Buddhist service organizations that also offered religious instruction, and encouraged people using their services to attend those classes).

Eh...well, sympathy is a good thing to show towards almost anyone, but I wouldn't necessarily feel sorry for anyone (or any adult, at least) on account of what their personal religious beliefs are, since ultimately they've chosen to hold those beliefs; I have yet to meet a religious adult who wasn't familiar with doubt, and well aware of the option of nonbelief. And of course not all people who evangelize or do missionary work are strongly preoccupied with the afterlife or the need for salvation--many are, but others are more driven by a sense that faith can transform lives in wonderful ways, and they would like to make that sort of transformation available to others. Also keep in mind that the majority of Christians and Muslims are not involved in the type of missionary or evangelizing work that we've been discussing here.

The concern for the afterlife in general (as opposed to the concept of Hell specifically) isn't unique to Christianity and Islam, though--for example, in both Hinduism and Buddhism a key motivation for practicing the religion is the desire to achieve 'liberation' from the cycle of death and rebirth. Again the major difference is that in those religions, "liberation" is largely seen as being up to the individual--the idea that "salvation" could come from outside, while not wholly foreign to those religions, just isn't nearly as strong in them.
I understood what you said, yolland. If these people didn't feel comfortable with their religion, then they won't keep their faith. And not all Christians and Muslims are crazy about tansform you to be a believer. As adults, I think they should do what they think is good for themselves, and be socially responsible. The bottom line is they shouldn't put their hand in to my plate.

Your statement about buddhism mainly represented the Theravada practice. And they might gather groups to "help" unbelievers and convert them to the religion. So the missionary worker could get a "level up" after they die. Because they worried about afterlife, and try to "liberate" themself from the death-reborn cycle. But you can never be a Buddha.

However, for Mahayana, everyone can be a Buddha (animals and plants are the same as human). So they basically don't do missionary work, since Buddha is in everyone, only a matter if you could "see" it or not.

The purpose of being a buddha is to save others rather than self. Buddha go to hell before anyone else go; and Buddha wouldn't liberate oneself until the hell was empty. Believer or non-believer both can receive the same help from a Buddha (to get out of hell).

Pretty tough job, I must say.

One thing I don't understand is, why, the one who has the power seat back doing nothing, left the vulnerable to struggle and still claim that he loves them?

Whenever I asked this question, I always got answers like: Oh, God knows everything, he has his reason. Or God moves in mysterious ways. (Only if he can belly dance! Hehe...) No doubt that both answer seems extremely...ur....unreasonable, non-logical to me. And from the answers, I could easily make a conclusion that God does not exist. Because if he does, then these believers could have talked to him, and they could have got the answer directly from him already.

It is a weird feeling when you felt some thing like that towards a religion, and see other people crazy about it at the same time. Pretty much like when I saw teenage boys crazy about Britney Spare's concert performance. All I could do is to make this face -->
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