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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.
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. 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: "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" 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. These people have no problem pushing their views on school children, or attaching a "salvation before food" condition at a community food bank. 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.
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.
- 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 Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent."
- Kirk Cameron ridiculed Stephen Hawking for not believing in an afterlife. The quote is given in a reply to the article: