I could never understand the proselytizing impulse. After all, if one had the truth, wasn’t that the end of it? To be sure, there are some kind souls who would like to share heir good fortune, but that does nothing to explain the vitriolic view of infidels in general held by believers. Why this unreasonable insistence that people believe something, anything? Surely, if you believe yourself to have The Truth, all who failed to acknowledge that would be equal, whether they believed in a competing system or not. Finally, I think I have the answer. It came to me in a flash, like St. Paul. Lucky I wasn’t riding a horse.
If you’re pushing an agenda, you can’t count on anyone coming to your assistance on the basis of reason. Too unpredictable. You need blind faith for something like that. Similarly, it’s harder to predict the actions of another group if they’re being rational.
Reason is so fickle. Change one little fact and everything falls apart; worse, it’s impossible to know and take into account all possible factors. This is especially a problem when dealing with adversaries, who almost certainly have privy to facts which you do not. Ah, but true believers, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. You know straight up what they think, how they will react, and what their motivation will be. As for your own cohort, you can be sure of their support without lengthy and tedious rational explanation. All goes smoothly!
Now the only issue is to get rid of all those pesky infidels. You can’t count on them for anything.
I read a theory that proselytizing entered Christianity through a slight mistranslation of evangelise.
Allegedly the original call was for believers to live the message (i.e. demonstrate by living a happy and productive life that belief brought benefits), which through translation from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to &c. became spread the message (i.e. stand on corners telling people that belief has benefits).
Could be. I had a more general population in mind, all those who hold any dogma to be true. It includes Christians, but also Muslims, Maoists, and ideologues of all types.
I intended it as more of an interesting aside than a theory of all militancy.
However, as we draw our examples of power from our history and surroundings, current European ideologues will come from a culture that is filled with the methods of Christian theology as well as the message, so might well start with an unconscious belief that belief requires telling other people about it. I am not a historian so am not sure how the spread of ideas/missionaries/crusades would match with similar beliefs in non-Christian areas.
Insecurity. If we don’t believe their silly ideas it makes them worry that their ideas are in fact silly. So they come out harder as though their lives depend on it, and in a way their lives do depend on it, but not in the way they think. Imagine acknowledging that your whole life, your whole culture and society, is based on a delusion? There aren’t many people who have ever existed who have been that grown up and brave enough.
I have no illusion that it’s easy. For me, I just didn
T buy it, no corage required. Just lucky ; or not?
I have thought long and hard on this question and I finally reached the same conclusion as Mike Howe…. it seems to be why they get so irate when you question their basic premises.
Well you know, Jesus was a heretic in his day.
Oh, yeah! Look where it got him. Sent from my NOOK
There is something slightly amusing about the accidental fusion of your comment with the auto-signature.
I am now imagining a world where exclusion from alcoves is viewed as a severe punishment; shunning for a cave dwelling society maybe.
I’ve always been such a bad believer,
never feeling the need to ram anything down anybody’s throat. And, when I think of how much I’ve learned from everybody – good people of every spiritual stripe AND of none – how can I get arrogant and say all wisdom, all knowledge, ends with me?