The hypocrisy of fighting proselytization

28 08 2008

There are those who think it a sin to try to convince others of one’s own religious beliefs.

I take that back. There are those who think that tying to convince others of one’s own religious beliefs is a sin, so long as those religious beliefs are Christian. These same people make no mention of other religious groups, so I must conclude that they are concerned only with Christians. In Iran, such people are prominent, being the highest political leaders in the nation. There, it is a crime punishable by death either to convert to Christianity or to attempt to convert another to it. I’m not going to waste time writing about Iran, here. I don’t speak Persian, and if I did, this blog would never get inside the country anyway. No, I am talking about a particularly open-minded class of American who believes that it is a Christian’s foremost duty to keep his religious beliefs to himself. We can talk football. We can discuss politics. We can even have a chat about the Eightfold Path. If we mention the name of Jesus in any other context than that of an expletive, then we’ve crossed the line into that deep and dangerous gray area of, and I quote, “shoving your religion down my throat.”

Ah, yes…America is built on the free exchange of ideas. We hold firmly to the value of free speech. In fact, we extend it so far as to say that the freedom of speech inherent in painting oneself green and running naked on the White House lawn is a sacred rite. Well, maybe not completely naked. However, any effort to share Christian values is not seen as free speech, but as an attempt to stifle others. I have been told not to share my faith, or that if I do that I am only reacting out of insecurity about my beliefs. The irony in this is that in telling me this, these same people have attempted to share their own beliefs with me, as an effort to actually change my behavior! (Gasp! Oh, the horror!) Oh, wait…I forgot, it’s okay for them to try to get me to change my views and actions, but the reverse is a form of oppression.

Let’s face it, folks: telling people that it’s wrong to share their views in an attempt to convince others is a self-contradictory lie. Yes, it’s even self-contradictory if they are Christians who share their beliefs. I know it’s convenient to have a double-standard, though.

Then there’s this notion that I’m full of myself if I think I have the truth and you don’t. Hmm…someone didn’t think that one through too carefully. Oh, wait, I forgot, I’m full of myself if I’m a Christian and I think I have the truth and you don’t. I knew I was missing something. Yes, because it would be silly to assume that I’d be trying to convince you of something that I did not believe in.

No, no, you have the truth. I’m wrong. I’m only trying to convince you otherwise.

You’re right. You have the truth. I have the truth. They both completely contradict each other, but neither of us are wrong! The laws of reason and logic just twisted themselves into a Gordian knot to accommodate you, and I am an ass!

(Deep breath) The person who tells me that I can not insist on having the truth that someone else does not, must, himself not believe that he has the truth that I do not, or he would be contradicting himself. I must therefore assume that he knows that he is wrong, and that he is attempting to convince me of something that even he does not believe, in which case I will not believe him. Therefore, I might logically continue to believe that I am right. I can not be proven wrong simply because I am wrong to believe that I am right. It’s a baseless argument.

I believe that the odds are that any given person reading this post is more likely on their way to Hell than Heaven.

Oops…I just did it. I shoved my religion down your throat.

Comments? Oh, well, if you agree with me, then there is nothing to say. If you disagree with me, then your only point would be that it is wrong to attempt to share your views with others, so I will spare you the temptation of betraying your own beliefs by posting a comment.