I am one who shares my beliefs only when asked. I am not a religious person, and belong to no organized religious group. I call myself a pantheist, but I’m not even strict about that. I have been called a heathen, a devil worshiper, a witch and much worse by Christians who refuse to try to understand anything other than their own beliefs. They claim to be witnessing, but they are really proseletyzing, which makes many people angry and turns them off to religion as a whole.
Most of the Christians I know do not fit into this group, but the ones who do are giving Christianity a bad name. Instead of bringing people to their faith, they are causing them to run away.
What is Proseletyzing?
Merriam-Webster gives us this definition of “proseletyze:”
- to induce someone to convert to one’s faith
It defines “witness” as:
- give or serve as evidence of, testify to.
You can see that these two words have vastly different meanings, and that is where the problem comes in. Most fervently religious people do not witness, they proseletyze and sometimes they bully.
The Proseletyzing Bully
I have no problem with someone telling me how their religion has made their life better, but the name calling and bullying is wrong and actually sinful. According to the Bible, we all have free will, so should that not include the right to decide how we believe? Is it truly right for someone to berate you, call you names and tell you that you are going straight to hell for not believing as they do? I don’t believe in heaven or hell, so it just makes me angry when Christians attempt to intimidate me that way.
Pagan -vs- Heathen
Heathen is defined as:
- a person who does not belong to a widely held religion (esp. one who is not a Christian, Jew or Muslim) as regarded by those who do.
Pagan is defined as:
- a person holding religious beliefs other than those of main world religions.
The most important words in these definitions is “as regarded by those who do.” That is judgment, and the Bible preaches against judgment in several places, so why do Christians feel so justified to judge those of other faiths or beliefs?
Judgment and Proseletyzing
I find that when people pass judgment on me while proseletyzing, it turns me further away from Christianity than ever. I haven’t “lost” Jesus. I know exactly where to find him. I just choose not to worship him, which is my right as an American citizen and a human being. According to what the Bible teaches, not only do Christians have no right to judge me, but they have no right to try to convert me based on that judgment.
Live and Let Live
Why can’t Christians just leave the rest of us to believe as we want? I was a Christian for most of my life, and it didn’t work for me. I’ve tried it your way, but you have not tried it my way, so until you have walked a mile in my shoes, just leave me alone. I’m not hurting anyone. I’m a very good person. I help people. I give to the poor. I don’t kill, steal, or covet people’s spouses or possessions. I try to live by the Golden Rule and not judge people, but nobody is perfect.
Please, read the bible verses I have linked here. If you truly want to live like your good book says, you will stop the proseletyzing and bullying and simply let your life be your witness and testimony.