Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Don't Know Any Christians

We had a good conversation in the college class last night about the article I have attached here.

Here's the Article

The premise is that in North America, 20% of non-Christians don't even know a Christian. Take out Atheists and Agnostics and that 20% becomes 60%. In other words, most Atheists and Agnostics know Christians and thus they bring the average way down. This is an astonishing statistic.

One of the reasons provided in the article is immigration. The US is one of the top countries for Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim immigrants. It is also the leading country for Christian immigrants. Immigrant populations (and native populations) tend to stick to themselves and thus don't get to know people of other nationality, let alone religion.

Another reason given, and the one I think is most relevant, is that there is a perception, albeit a much deserved perception, that Christians do not befriend people of another religion other than to try to convert them. Unfortunately this is all too true. I have friends in other religions and it is tempting to discuss religion and try to "win" the discussion instead of just trying to learn and relate.

Please understand, I am not preaching a "new tolerance" doctrine or making any statement about this religion is wrong or that one is right. This is, realistically, separate from religion itself. This is just being a good citizen and being interested in your neighbor. This is learning about the parts that make America great. If you happen to convert some souls in the process, congratulations (it wasn't you anyway, it was God).

My advice to my Christian friends lies in an analogy. I love eating food cooked in a crock pot. I don't particularly love microwave food. Think of friendships, relationships, religious experiences and ESPECIALLY a conversion process in the same way. Quit trying to microwave your relationships. If, and it is a big IF, you are going to convert someone that is another religion to your own, you have to first be their friend and build a relationship. Even then, if you go into the relationship with the stated purpose of conversion, you will never have the meaningful, lasting relationship that is just plain good for the soul. Try instead to put the relationship in the crockpot and let it simmer. Learn about each other, discuss similarities as well as differences. Be the melting pot. Let God work on the conversion if it is meant to be.

Be nice to others and seek out ways to learn about all the vast and rich cultures in our world.

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