Do You Believe in Trying to Convert People of Other Faiths?
Sunday, August 1, 2004; Page C11
Yes. As a Christian, I am commanded in the "Great Commission" to go forth and make disciples of others. Jesus says that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that we can meet God only through Him. This doesn't mean that I wouldn't be sensitive to someone of another faith. But I will take any chance to "witness" about my relationship with Christ to someone who is interested. As a Christian, I believe that God's Holy Spirit opens the door for any such "encounter."
-- Dave Milam,Circleville, Ohio
No. I support sharing information about one's faith when asked, but I disagree with trying to convert others. I think the world would be a much better place in which to live if we all were more accepting of other's beliefs. Imagine a world where we celebrate our diversity instead of trying to eliminate others who have differing views.
-- Charles Miller,Washington
If, as a Christian, I believe that the only way to heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ, why would I not want to see others converted? Compassion for others, and ultimately their eternal destinies, mandates that I share this life-giving faith that can make one right with God.
-- Brad Jenkins, Harrisonburg, Va.
I do not believe in trying to force my beliefs on any other person. I've come to believe that each person's faith is just that, very personal. I also believe that God has infinite ways to reach out to and converse with all of us. Who am I to say that I have the definitive answers to the mysteries and wonders of life? I'm more inclined to try to learn more about another's faith than to denigrate it or express the notion that my faith is the only truth.
-- Jeffrey Young,Washington
Allah says in the Quran: "Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious; for thy Lord knoweth best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance."
As Muslims, we believe that we must obey this command. So the answer to your question is no. We do not try to convert, we simply invite and/or argue with others in the best possible way. It is Allah who guides (converts).
-- Paul Rockwood,Centreville
The way you phrase the question will determine the kind of responses you get. "Converting others to your faith" sounds intrusive and arrogant. But when you insert real faces and situations, it changes.
The more pertinent question is, how can religious people hold back from sharing the truths that have helped so many people?
Picture the insecure teen, spending money she can't afford on status-brand clothing that she hopes will bring social acceptance. Should she be told about how "man looks upon the outward appearance, but God sees the hearts"? Should she be told about the love of Christ, given freely and without measure?
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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