TEXAS FAITH :: TEEN WISDOM ON SELLING RELIGIONMy teen blurts out, “Dad, if my pastor were to tell the truth that all religions are good, then he stands to lose his congregants to other liars." Indeed, religion has become a sleazy product to a "few" ministers, who sell their religion to the gullible by denigrating other religions.
How do you know they are sleaze balls? Here are a few pointers; i) they make you believe all others are your enemies ii) they frighten you with the end of the world scenarios if others grow in numbers iii) they make you feel good by making someone else bad, iv) all other religions, races and ethnicities are inferior, and v) they have nothing good to say about other religions because they really don't believe in the goodness of their own.
These few Pastors, Imams, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans and other religious ministers are in business to entertain the congregants and cash in on their vulnerabilities.These men and women are a tiny percent of every group.
What can you do? Ask the clergy to talk about peace and building bridges. If they quote falsities, they need to present at least three different sources.
Texas Faith: Is it time for religions to double-down on evangelism?
By Bill McKenzie/ Editorial columnist | firstname.lastname@example.org | 16:16 pm 3:26:2013
In a Time Magazine essay this week, Meacham raised the question of whether it’s time for Christian leaders to double-down on their faiths. Meacham sees some more aggressively promoting the Gospel message instead of watering it down.
Time included his essay in its annual issue of 10 ideas that are changing how we live. And you can read his thoughts at this link:
Now, Meacham, an Episcopalian who helped start The Washington Post’s On Faith blog, is writing here largely about Christians, who are seeing a growing share of their market lose out to the religiously-unaffiliated. But his question can certainly be applied to other religions as well. And that is whether it’s best to “double-down” on evangelism.
What is your view of doubling-down on evangelism? If you agree that it’s time to do that, please explain why. If not, why not? Can your faith tradition really sit by idly and expect its followers to grow?
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, and Speaker on interfaith matters, diversity and pluralism
The faith in a higher power brings relative stability, and allows us to cruise through the ups and downs of life. Indeed, religion is a peace-anchor to most people as it offers them a sense of grounding.
Doubling-down on evangelism creates opportunities for the tyrants and the greedy. A pastor I know of told his congregation, “I need one hundred people to sign up this morning to be on my special team, and each one will commit to bring a new person a week to Jesus.” He was counting on 400 new guests a month for a total of 3,600 in three quarters.
His call was followed by a film, showing a few individuals who struggled to donate $1,000 once, but now God has blessed them to generously donate in millions. Was the pastor preying on the vulnerabilities of the congregants to support his life style? God only knows the truth.
Doubling-down on religion has the unstated, but expected consequence of having a larger following, usually gained through denigrating other traditions. Religious Politics is indeed a product of greed, by pumping fear and insecurity into the gullible.
When Muslims outnumbered Christians in 10th century Syria, Christians legitimately feared that they were losing to Islam through conversions. However, to keep the Christians within the fold, a pastor resorted to declaring that the “Quran was a false book written by a false prophet.” Those words continue to reverberate in through Christian corridors even today. Muslim evangelicals are no angels either; they do the same, denying legitimacy to parts of the Bible.
As a pluralist, I believe that doubling-down on evangelism will harm the teachings of Jesus. It knocks out the do unto others teaching. Instead of restoring peace to the individual, it will aggravate one’s sense of goodness by disparaging other religions. And many congregants are sick of this. They move on towards places of worship that don’t denigrate others. You can see that in the increasing number of nones.
If our goal is to create the kingdom of heaven where no one fears the other, then we need to focus on the essence of religion. It means assuring the people that all religions will bring peace, and any choice would be a good choice. My daughter could not resist the irony, and blurted out, “Dad, if my pastor were to tell the truth that all religions are good, then he stands to lose his congregants to other liars.”
To see all the 15 responses, please visit: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/03/texas-faith-is-it-time-for-religions-to-double-down-on-evangelism.html/
....Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel,India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive Americaand offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest onSean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly atHuffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal sitewww.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.