Religious Proselytizing

Evangelical Ex-Mormon proselytizing.
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Christians have been "spreading the good word" since its very beginnings, 2000 years ago. Jesus himself encouraged it, teaching that those who believed and were baptized would be saved, while those who did not would be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)

In the West—where Christianity remains the predominant religion—people commonly expect other religions to behave similarly to Christianity. As such, they are taken aback when they encounter a religion that does not proselytize. Sometimes they come to the conclusion that such a religion either isn't serious or isn't safe, for they can imagine no other reason why one would not want to share their religion.

The short answer is that there simply is no purpose for proselytizing in many religions because these religions operate considerably differently than Christianity.

No Theological Purpose

In most cultures, everyone, or nearly everyone, has the same afterlife. It's generally a fairly neutral affair, neither blissful nor punishing. Some cultures have special rewards or punishments for a specific few: the truly horrible might be tormented, or warriors might gain access to a more rewarding afterlife, for example, but the vast majority of humanity faces a single fate.

Even when there are multiple afterlife options, none of them are generally religion-specific. Most often it is recognized that everyone is judged the same, regardless of faith. Alternatively, one might recognize non-believers to be judged by their own gods, rather than the gods of the believer.

Diversity and Self-Investigation

Moreover, they often recognize that spiritual revelation does not come only to believers, but that people of many faiths can, in fact, have meaningful religious experiences. The sharing of such experiences might even be beneficial between people of multiple faiths. As such, each person is encouraged to follow his or her own path, rather than feeling forced into a single one. From this perspective, proselytizing is not only unhelpful but most likely limiting and harmful.

Willing to Teach

Just because members of certain religions do not actively seek out new converts does not mean they will not teach those who seek out such knowledge. There is a large difference between providing requested information and urging people to take an interest in said information in the first place.

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Your Citation
Beyer, Catherine. "Religious Proselytizing." Learn Religions, Sep. 27, 2021, Beyer, Catherine. (2021, September 27). Religious Proselytizing. Retrieved from Beyer, Catherine. "Religious Proselytizing." Learn Religions. (accessed June 10, 2023).