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 Post subject: Pagan Evangelism?
PostPosted: 13 Dec 2007, 12:47 
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Grand High Lord Admiral of Hell
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Location: Buffalo, NY
From Pagan Godspell:

It's a fantastic quandary, the responsibilities of being Pagan in the world - one that I think has already evoked some really grokkin' examination by the community, and requires a constant reevaluation of whether and how we already do this work - the work of Pagan evangelization.

I think it's critical to point out that, as noted by the above definitions, evangelism (spreading Good News), and proselytizing (the act of persuading and converting another to one's religion or point of view) are not the same thing, though we (and other folks) certainly associate them with one another. Proselytization requires the belief that your own system of theology or worldview is superior to all others, and therefore it becomes crucial to the believer that all people adhere to it (whether out of some misguided sense of "compassion" [to "save" others] or out of deep-seeded insecurity). Therein lies the arrogance, harrassment, self-righteousness, and violence that we who have been on the receiving boot-end of proselytization have come to associate with it. So my answer to the question "should Pagans proselytize?" would have to be: No, of course not. As polytheists and navigators of the anarchic spiritual sea, I should think we"d appreciate the wild diversity of religious thought and expression and celebrate that so many beautiful and ugly ideas can be born out of the human experience of relationship (with gods, the Earth, ideas, animals, spirits, other humans...).

But evangelism - ah, now there is a horse of a different color (a lovely chartreuse I think). Evangelism is zeal. Passion. To possess the wonderful infused light/darkness of Knowing the soul’s home and then embodying that in the world, through words, art, dance, prayer, the Good Work...just being. To be moved by one's religiosity to help others, spread joy, give sanctuary, feed strangers. And to have the courage and skill to articulate these deep places when asked about them. I never proselytize, but I aspire to be evangelical. When Christian foot-soldiers come to my door or accost me on the street hoping to persuade me to give up my life of hell-bent idolatry, I used to try to explain to them the fundamental rudeness of proselytization. Now, I just evangelize. I tell them exactly why I love the way I love, why the gods I speak to are as close and dear to me as petunias or my own hands. Less Thunderdome, more Good News. I don't have the flashy showmanship of a good tent revival preacher yet, but I dig on the opportunity to practice. As long as it's coming out of a place of authenticity, it can really rock and roll.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 13 Dec 2007, 12:50 
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Grand High Lord Admiral of Hell
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Location: Buffalo, NY
What do you guys think? -Should- religious folks of any persuasion be so effusive as a means to sway others?

Personally, I'm more of the idea that I'll answer honestly and explain as best I can -when asked-, but I'm not going out of my way to 'show' others ...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 13 Dec 2007, 17:50 
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Neighbor of the Beast

Joined: 03 Nov 2007, 09:17
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Though I agree that Proselytizing and Evangelism are not exactly the same, I disagree that Evangelism is just being effusive about ones faith.

For ease of cut/paste I will use the Yahoo Dictionary site, which takes definitions from the American Heritage dictionary:

Evangelism (n):
1. Zealous preaching and dissemination of the gospel, as through missionary work.
2. Militant zeal for a cause.

also see
Zeal (n)
Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance.

Proselytize (v, intransitive):
1. To induce someone to convert to one's own religious faith.
2. To induce someone to join one's own political party or to espouse one's doctrine.

or

(v transitive)
To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another.

As to my belief:

A person should be willing to speak of their beliefs to those that wish to discuss them. An unwillingness to do so, seems to me, to smack of doubt as to their veracity.

At the same time, openness and living ones life according to a belief is neither Evangelism, nor proselytizing, and I believe that it should not ever NEED be concealed. If one wants to learn, let them ask.

This is not to say that I think a person should put their beliefs in my face. Being a good neighbor means respecting the neighbors, all of them. I will not respect a person if they have a raucous party that wakes my up after a long day's work, or if they knock on my door and pester me with Tracts, or sacrifice a goat in such a way as to disturb my siesta!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 14 Dec 2007, 06:49 
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Postess
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Joined: 27 Sep 2007, 03:48
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I'm uncomfortable with both evangelism & proselytizing. They both just seem so "in your face". I don't like when someone does it to me & I wouldn't do it to someone. If someone asked me about my faith I might discuss it but otherwise... :nono:





He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 14 Dec 2007, 09:34 
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Grand Poobah
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Which is why there are so many more of us out there than people think.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 15 Dec 2007, 08:03 
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Postess
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Joined: 27 Sep 2007, 03:48
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Location: The thousand acre wood
This really doesn't have too much to do with the thread but it popped into my head:
I used to have a black t-shirt with a big silver pentagram on it. One day I was sitting @ a bus stop & a guy came up to me & said "I'm from Texas too". Took me a couple minutes to figure out he was referring to my t-shirt. :lol: Funny thing is I am originally from Texas.




A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 17 Dec 2007, 00:00 
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Grand Poobah
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Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
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Location: Buffalo, NY
I just get the feeling you missed out on being mistaken for being a member of a secret cabal...

you should have answered, 'yes, the bunny likes carrots.'


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