I am VERY uncomfortable with **proselytizing. Here are a few reasons why.
I do NOT believe that Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, or any other prophet is the sole means by which enlightenment or Ascension into heaven can be obtained. I believe that faith is a pattern of belief and behavior which guides us into being a more complete, inspired (and inspirational) soul. A monotheistic faith, one which believes in one GOD, rather than many, is the root of the world’s major religions.
I believe that God’s word has been seen in all the world’s major prophets, and that no one path to perfection and heavenly residence exists. Monotheism is characteristic of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith as well. Is that God the same “GOD” for all these Abrahamic religions? I believe so.
The teachings of any faith has strong tenets in behavior and belief as coexisting in a complete, enlightened human being. The conception of this God varies, and yet, somehow in essence remains the same. The definitions of good and evil are portrayed as opposite sides of a coin, so to speak, and that goodness is the ultimate goal of one whose faith in God is absolute.
I do NOT believe in any kind of preordination or predestination. I believe, along with William Ernest Henley, that I am the Captain of my Soul. God has placed us here to do the best we can do, be the best we can be. As with an alcoholic and A.A., you can not force someone into Faith or Belief in God, or in a specific religion’s path to that place. For many, hitting rock bottom (with booze, or a need to believe in something greater than oneself…) is the impetus to seek out religion. For some, their church’s mandate that you believe a certain way, behave in a specified pattern, donate (tithe) at a certain level or proselytize to others is a relief – you are told how to believe, and what to believe IN, and by accepting that, making decisions, seeking out your own path or beliefs is taken care of for you. That is NOT my path.
I believe that churches that condemn people to hell for not believing in Christ are divisive and short-sighted. The only way humankind is going to negotiate the morass of horrors perpetuated by wars that are deemed “religious wars” is to step back, open our hearts and minds to the beauties of each faith, and refuse to proselytize based on one belief system.
None of us truly knows what comes after death. What matters most is not to win the most converts to Christianity (or Islam or Buddhism or Wiccan) but that we live our lives with righteous intent. With love for all, with understanding and acceptance of innate differences and belief that the goodness of humankind will overcome evilness. I believe that compassion, encouragement, loving understanding and open-mindedness will win more hearts than any one religion’s insistence on compliance with a church’s belief systems. I am a work in progress, a soul whose essence is being formed not only by outer standards, but by my inner searchings. Closing my mind to the awe in the world, of the different faiths and to the glories of God’s wonders and creations, in whatever form they take, is too narrow an outlook for me. I don’t want to be told what to believe, how to believe, or how to behave to demonstrate my belief.
To me, my belief in God encompasses all the glories of faith, and all the beauties of each religion. I try not to get drawn into arguments about religion, because I want to honor everyone else’s right to believe in a way that is comfortable and inspiring to them. I just wish that the religious right, the born-agains and the rigid believers of all religions would let me be, let everyone be, the person that they are called to be!
**Definition of PROSELYTIZE