Should Christians Push Others To Accept God And Their Beliefs?
By Mike Edwards
It is often implied Jesus’ mission was to get others to confess certain beliefs to avoid hell and enter heaven. But Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but a life worth living here on earth. See here. When Jesus interacted with a woman caught in adultery, He first stopped the crowd’s stoning attempts. Then, Jesus simply told the woman “go now, and leave your life of sin” (John 8). Good advice! Jesus didn’t advise her what to believe in case He never saw her again.
Jesus stressed loving God and neighbors the most important commandments (Mt 22:37–40).
My children love me best by loving others to the fullest. A perfect, loving God surely desires the same of their creations. Loving God is loving others to the fullest. How do we love others? Who doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships — treat others as you wish to be treated? Turns out God only desires for us what we deep down desire from ourselves. A loving parent or God openly discusses beliefs to seek what leads to an individual’s own good and the world’s good.
Does God eventually require allegiance?
I don’t see how a God who creates freedom requires obedience. Evil in the world clearly reveals God doesn’t force compliance, or there wouldn’t be so much horrific evil in this world. God obviously understands what we humans know — freedom is necessary for authenticity. Not even God can force true love. Is there a day of reckoning for rejecting God here on earth? It is suspect God stops forgiving before or after death. One’s faith often depends what land or family born into. It is suspect God is a God of chance. Careful! Character developed here on earth may carry over.
Did the main writer of the NT demand certain beliefs?
The Apostle Paul certainly sought to convince others about Jesus. I would too if I had a vision of Jesus after he died (Acts 9), and knew eyewitnesses that had seen Jesus alive after dying on the Cross. Two thousand years later, we may have different discussions. Paul debated his beliefs with others who seemed open, though he didn’t force traditions that may have been important to him (Rm 14). In marriage Paul didn’t advise a believer to impose their beliefs on an unbeliever but let them go (I Cor. 7:15). Believers shouldn’t insist non-believers share their beliefs.
How do we share with others about God and our relationship?
Those who feel loved, encouraged, and inspired in their relationship with God naturally want others to experience such a relationship. I enjoy discussing what a loving God may truly be like as much as one may want to discuss a great book they read. I am not suggesting such conversations be forced or that conversations have any hidden agenda to convert one to your beliefs. If you believe God desires to influence all for good, you will trust God to make such discussions natural.
One doesn’t have to be perfect to talk about God, but it is reasonable to expect those who talk about God to act godly. I admit God conversations seldom happen in my life. Often others rightly smell hidden agendas to proselytize because of their past experiences. Such conversations are seldom successful if forced. It is up to God rather than us to inspire others to seek ways to be a more loving, caring person. One has to hope the life we live is enough for others to consider discussions about God when they have such an interest or need.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org