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  1. #1
    Registered User

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Santa Barbara, CA
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    the Plural Working Thesis on Proselytizing

    There's no debate ambition here, but let me enlighten you on the Plural Working Thesis on Proselytizing.

    Unwelcome haranguing is a demonstrably counterproductive way to win converts, whether you're selling hamburgers or religion. If you can find a proselytizer without his or her Bible face on, ask them if they've ever won a soul by approaching someone cold. I can assure you that their success rate over the ages across the practice is approaching zero. A monumental waste of time. Or is it?

    Proselytizing is externally worthless, which is what makes it internally invaluable. If a Pastor wants to eat, he needs a committed flock, firmly marinated in the belief that 'we' are saved and 'they' are unsaved and hostile. Persecutors and willful deniers, as it were.

    Now 'unsaved' is an intangible notion, but hostile is easily understood. The Pastor quotes the Great Commission to the flock, and charges them with going forth and facing down the unbelievers to save their souls. Thus charged with mercy, these folks sally forth carefully equipped with counterproductive engagement tools and are gruffly rebuffed. They drag their defeated selves back to the church and are met with warmth and acceptance (and renewed titheing expectations) by their welcoming, enlightened 'us'. Their congregation led by their glorious Pastor.

    If you're feelin inclined to break the results, be nicer. Be entirely unlike the hostile persecuting uncouth unbeliever that is critical to belief and yet a crucial cog to enveloping a believer in blind faith.

    If you have a moment, tell 'em Plurals Working Theory. That will sow seeds of discontent

    Just a note for those, christian or not, who cringe at the artificially clumsy approach taken by the marginally faithful.
    To begin to think is to begin to be undermined.
    Albert Camus, An Absurd Reasoning

    Who knows most, doubts most.
    Robert Browning

  2. #2
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Grinnell, IA
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    Re: the Plural Working Thesis on Proselytizing

    I suspect that you may be right. Religion and tribalism do go quite well together and some of the more radical branches (JW's, Mormons) are ones who do use the door-to-door techniques, to very little avail, if I'm not mistaken. Now, I'm not sure if that's a designed feature built by the leaders or if it represents simply a strategy that's happened to work and keep groups together where other similar groups failed. I suspect that, given human propensity toward religion, and the vast history of cults and religions that have grown and diminished in the past, that it may just be a beneficial attribute for particularly heterodox groups.
    Formerly Neverending (for all you old-timers)



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