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Christian evangelism is what happens when Christians do evangelism — that is, when Christians attempt to tell others about their religion, with the goal of converting those people to the "good news" of their God and faith.[note 1]
Individual Christians who view this as an important part of their faith, may often not understand how to respect boundaries, and believe that schools, government, and the workplace are all appropriate settings to teach about their religion. While there is no set method for evangelism, people's attempts to share their "joy" can range from simply inviting people to their church and letting the listener decide on their own, to filling the convert with guilt or fear, to outright threats of loss of life or limb, in a "convert by the sword" method historically used on New World and African peoples.
Jesus said to his disciples, just before his death, to go out into the masses, two-by-two, to bring the good word of the Kingdom of Heaven; he also said that if someone doesn't want to listen, do not waste your time in their home.[note 2] Sadly, not all Christian evangelicals remember that last part.
Techniques for the lay person to evangelize are similar for the Christian religion as for a favorite sports-team or for a favorite TV show. Talk about it, all the time, to anyone willing to listen (or as Kirk Cameron describes it, "learn to circumvent, or go around, a person's intellect"). Highlight the good stuff: "Jesus loves you", "When you are sad, God's love will help you", and "God grants your
wishes prayers", and skip over the less happy stuff: "God killed not only all evil humans, but all living things everywhere, when he was pissy", What will happen to you in the afterlife if you don't accept Jesus' love, or "God told his worshiper to kill his own child, then at the very last second, said 'Oh, just kidding, dude!'" (This is like reminding people how cool it is for vampires to sparkle, but glossing over things like quality of writing.) In the modern world, more often than not, evangelism consists of a post on Facebook saying "God is great." By and large, most Christians who feel a need to evangelize are not overly intrusive or rude.
However, some evangelists have an arrogant approach summed up as: "Christianity, as understood by my personal denomination, is the only right and true path for any human; eternal hell awaits all sinners who do not follow my view." Out of this position of superiority often comes an emphasis on spiritual salvation rather than actually helping others.[note 3] These people have no problem pushing their views on school children, attaching a "salvation before food" condition at a community food bank, or either spending a significant amount of money to run a radio station almost no one except other converts (and maybe the occasional
heathen skeptic looking for lulz) listens to[note 4] or printing pamphlets, Bibles, compact discs with sermons, and other religious paraphernalia that quite likely will end up as litter or in the recycling bin instead of in, for example, food for people in poverty. They have no problem driving through populous areas with trucks carrying images of dismembered fetuses saying "God hates abortion." Nor, apparently, do they have any problem picketing the funerals of sinners in order to convey their godly message or for that matter to spend long periods of time preaching loudly in public places and/or public transportation systems, often taking advantage of them looking hulking and threatening and/or that you can't get off the train, without someone giving a damn and/or them caring about the people who tell them to shut up or even troll them, and especially that they often look like robots at best and insane people at worst repeating again and again the same.
Likewise, it's also particularly common to proselytize with threats such as these being the End Times, using as proof current events as wars or natural disasters, claiming how all those who do not convert will go to Hell for all eternity unless of course you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, who was given by God in sacrifice as a show of his love for us so we could be saved, mixing in John's ramblings in Book of Revelation about the Mark of the Beast and the one world government, others about them having been former Catholics/Atheists/whatever until they discovered the true Jesus™, and them not being religious. All of this of course mixed with other Biblical verses too, songs with lyrics designed to be repetitive and get stuck in the head, and rather pathetic performances.
These approaches to proselytization are considered, however, to be a tactic designed much more about both reinforcing the proselytizer's beliefs and the membership to his/her group than converting others, given that most people who are presented such kind of message will either react poorly — getting annoyed, even angry — or will simply ignore it and the people sent in such missions will feel that only people who share their beliefs understand them, strengthening their belong-ship and giving reasons not to leave.
Evangelists may assume that:
- The potential
victim recruitconvert has a life - some sort of vague individual personal existence.
- The potential
victim recruitconvert has a soul - an even vaguer concept, but one that sounds grandiose. (Generally only one soul per person, though.)
- The potential
victim recruitconvert has a potential afterlife. More and more abstruse... (Optional for consumer-goods marketing evangelism.)
- The potential
victim recruitconvert has individual responsibility for the whole life/soul/afterlife complex.
Looking for offensive insults and disrespectfulosity? - you found it.
|—Miguel de la Torre|
In the United States, Christian evangelicals are closely identified as faithful supporters of the failed presidency of Donald Trump. According to polls, white evangelical voters voted 81% for Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Evangelicals have fallen for all of the conspiracy theories promoted by right wing politicians and media personalities, and they have spread QAnon bullshit. In the fallout of the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot, some evangelicals are bemoaning this deal with the devil and lamenting that when people are asked what an evangelical is, the answer is likely to be: "Oh, those are those people who are really super supportive of the president no matter what he does." A 2021 survey by the conservative American Enterprise Institute showed that 60 percent of respondents dispute the results of the election and that 27 percent of white evangelicals believe in the widely debunked Qanon conspiracy theory.
Evangelical Trumpism is supported by many so-called Christian televangelist organizations. On January 6, 2021, The Victory Channel, an American television station owned by televangelist Kenneth Copeland, broadcast an episode of a show called "Flashpoint" that featured a wide array of right wing kooks, nut jobs and liars all promoting the conspiracy theory that the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot was infiltrated by paid Antifa supporters dressed in MAGA gear. The program included statements advocating the conspiracy theory from a policeman's lineup of right wing douchebags, including Mike Lindell, Michele Bachmann, and Franklin Graham.
- List of scandals involving evangelical Christians
- Their Other "Dirty" Linen: Evangelism's Quest to Conquer the World - long article about harmful and morally questionable methods of Missionaries in India.
- Dirty Secrets of Christian Evangelism - Christian missionary work in Third World countries.
- How I Walked Away - about a young American who first believed the evangelists at Campus crusades but later saw through it all.
- Many Christian religious groups and sects teach that evangelism is a requirement of the religion, based in no small part on the way the New Testament suggests Jesus brought his views to the masses.
- Compare Mark 6:7-12:
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits [...] And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
- And arguably too because the former is less tiresome than the latter.
- Of course, asking for money and/or sponsors to keep it running, as those electricity bills and other mandatory costs do not pay themselves even if all your crew is of volunteers who receive no salary at all.
- Jeff Mills, Kirk Cameron ridicules Stephen Hawking for not believing in an afterlife. Archived from nerve.com, 7 July 2013.
- Person Asks Why People Don’t Like Their ‘Word Of God’, Gets To Learn They’re Being Brainwashed. Bored Panda, 26 April, 2023.
- The death of Christianity in the U.S. baptistnews.com, 13 November 2017.
- Frank Newport, Religious Group Voting and the 2020 Election. gallup.com, 13 November 2020.
- How QAnon Conspiracy Is Spreading In Christian Communities Across The U.S. NPR, 21 August 2020.
- Rachel Martin, 'How Did We Get Here?' A Call For An Evangelical Reckoning On Trump. NPR, 13 January 2021.
- Daniel A. Cox, After the ballots are counted: Conspiracies, political violence, and American exceptionalism. American Survey Center, 11 February 2021.
- Dalia Mortada, Rachel Martin, and Bo Hamby, Disinformation Fuels A White Evangelical Movement. It Led 1 Virginia Pastor To Quit. NPR, 21 February 2021.
- Tom Gjelten, A 'Scary' Survey Finding: 4 In 10 Republicans Say Political Violence May Be Necessary. NPR, 11 February 2021.
- Peter Montgomery, Religious-Right Leaders and Media Foster White Evangelicals’ Adherence to Conspiracy Theories. Right Wing Watch, 11 February 2021.