Kim O'Hara wrote:Coyote wrote:With regard to proselytism - Maybe we should debate them, talk to them. You never know, you might convince them that what they are doing is unwholesome and generally just annoys people.
The trouble is that if your belief is the ONE TRUE FAITH and you know that unbelievers will be tormented in hell (or some equivalent of it) for eons, then the very best thing you can ever do for an unbeliever is convert them to your ONE TRUE FAITH. Asking them nicely is best, but bribing them and blackmailing them is still ultimately good, and so is standing over them with a cudgel whacking them until they say they believe.
And that is true whether your ONE TRUE FAITH is Christianity, Omnianism or Pastafarianism.
That is, any believer in the ONE TRUE FAITH who doesn't proselytise is being untrue to the faith, weak and half-hearted.
Logically, proselytism is not the error - the belief is.
I agree that the beliefs that lie behind the proselytism are ultimately the problem, which is what leads religions to try and spread their faith in the first place. But active proselytising requires a drive that would seem to me to be quite course and ego-driven. It simply isn't the case that all theists are ready to lie, blackmail and use violence to gain converts. It isn't just about hell, but about Christ. Ever read anything like "the fulfillment of all desire"? Depending on the sect of course proselytising can be more about sharing a way of life they believe is the most rewarding. Not only can there can be meaningful dialogue, but it can be used as an opportunity to practice metta and strengthen one's understanding of the dhamma.