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4 Bumps

What happens if a ministry tries, but fails, to convert?

This is sort of cheeky, but I think there's an interesting point in it.

This was posted in another group:

The Poor Salesman Dilemma:

A just god will not condemn a man who has never heard of him.
The logical conclusion is that if you find the man who has never heard of god and try to convince him and fail- you are condemning him to hell based on your inability to sell the concept. Evangelicals and missionaries are doing the work of the devil.

Answer Question
 
jsbenkert

Asked by jsbenkert at 9:59 AM on Apr. 4, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (30)
  • Interresting, if twisted logic
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 10:02 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • But how is it twisted?  If a missionary goes to a place where the natives have never heard of the Abrahamic god and tries to convert someone but fails to convert, the native has now been given the choice to believe or not believe.  When these questions have come up before, we've been told that God will not judge them harshly, because it's not their fault for not having been exposed to the religion.  It is when they are given the choice, but still don't believe that they are sent to hell.  If we use the example in the post, and a missionary tries, but fails, to convince the native to believe in god, that would mean that the native would now be destined to hell, right?  He's now heard the "Word", but doesn't believe it. That's the formula that we've been given:  Hear the word, choose God and go to heaven, "reject" God and go to hell.

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 10:12 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • Interesting position. But too much based on the notion that ignorance is bliss. And it may be, but knowledge is power.
    Now, I do understand to a certain extent. In Judaism we do have a concept called "tinok shenishba"- meaning "captured baby"- that refers to the cases of Jewish babies raised outside Judaism, mostly to protect them in times of persecution. We consider their transgressions involuntary. Maimonides used a similar concept to refer to the many Jews, that although raised as Jews, they're not raised with the practice and appreciation of Judaism, as it happens today. Even though education would make them accountable, it is believed we should invite them to learn and live a life of Torah. But there are ways to do it properly.
    Me, for example, I invite my family to various gatherings, to Shabath dinners, lunch in Sukkot, etc. SHOW them, not preach to them what it's about.

    Continued...
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 10:35 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • If they have questions, we answer to the best of our knowledge.
    But if I see them committing a specific transgression that I know is a result of their lack of knowledge and appreciation, I keep it to myself. Because I know the knowledge won't prevent them from doing it and they will now be accountable for it. If I knew that by knowing it's a transgression they would stop, by all means. But because I know they won't, I don't share that information.
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 10:38 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • I can appreciate that perspective, Sharon.

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 10:40 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • The premise is flawed; therefore, the conclusion is invalid. What the Scripture says is this: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20 In other words, there is enough evidence of a Creator in the creation to hold every person accountable.
    NannyB.

    Answer by NannyB. at 10:54 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • So, someone who lives in an isolated area, has never been exposed to Christianity, and has not been struck by a need to worship anything, whether because he is at such peace or because his life consists of merely trying to survive . . . that somehow he is just supposed to know and to worship the god of the Bible, all on his own?  Babies, then, are condemned, too, because they cannot have this concept until it is taught to them?  That would be a vengeful and egotistical god, indeed, if he were to just expect everyone to know about and believe in him all on their own.  But, if that were the case, then why have missionaries at all?  Why bother sending people out to the ends of the earth searching for souls to convert?  Why not just leave the people alone to wallow in their own inexcusable ignorance?

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 11:03 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • "So, someone who lives in an isolated area, has never been exposed to Christianity, and has not been struck by a need to worship anything, whether because he is at such peace or because his life consists of merely trying to survive . . . that somehow he is just supposed to know and to worship the god of the Bible, all on his own? "

    Well, in all fairness that's how Abraham did it.
    But, of course, we live in a different time now and Abraham was obviously unique, so I agree that expecting people to reach that conclusion without having the concept at all is far-fetched. Especially when they're raised in a society that's teaching them a different set of beliefs.
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 11:11 AM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • what ive always found asinine about the verses in Romans (even as a Christian) that basically say "all know God if they will just look" is that the ppl who use those verses often take it to mean a very specific religion (and sometimes denomination's) views of what God is. many cultures have their own version of God, so is that belief in God okay? ohhhhh i seriously doubt it! it has to be the Christian God and im pretty sure for many denominations it has to be the Baptist version, Mormon version, or Catholic version of the Christian God's wants and needs.
    okmanders

    Answer by okmanders at 2:59 PM on Apr. 4, 2013

  • " Why not just leave the people alone to wallow in their own inexcusable ignorance?" I think it takes a person with a heart for God to want to be a missionary. They leave their comfortable lives to go to third world countries to work and provide aid like fresh water, medicine, food, school supplies, and to show Christ's love. Preaching the Gospel isn't about racking up a number it's about serving others, therefore serving Christ. If one truly loves, people will see that. I think the Biblical way to reach people is to be obedient to Christ and He through the Holy Spirit uses our work and obedience to reach others. So it's not really Biblical to start with the premise that it is missionaries or preachers that save people or convince people. We can point the way but the rest is between that person and God.

    I do agree though, that God will only hold us accountable for what we are capable of knowing.
    HHx5

    Answer by HHx5 at 3:17 PM on Apr. 4, 2013

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