Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Evangelizing or Proselytizing

Coonsey's World has a post up today which highlights a very controversial situation in the U.S. military. What do you think about this? Please leave us your opinion.


  1. Of all places to 'share faith' Afghanistan, in the clutches of the other fundamentalist faith, is at best quixotically ironic.

    Wars of religion, wars of faith. The world history books are filled with such nonsense and the blood spilled by those who see their god as better, is knee-deep.

  2. Obviously, this is not the job of our military. This irrevokably crosses the line that separates church and state. I have been reading about this, first in the Guardian last week when I was in London.
    If anything, in the long run, it is actions like these that undermine the effective role of our presence.
    Since when does our military represent any religion?
    This represents a dangerous influence within the armed forces and must be dealt with firmly.

    Yes, I'm back...but I am about to go away again for perhaps 10 days to work in Libourne. The call of the grapes, early this year because of the beautiful spring.
    I have a crew of 8 workers and 22 hectares of vines to clean and trim!

  3. Every person has the right to try to convince others to believe what he does, whether it's Christianity, Islam, Judaism, atheism, or gun control.

    But an agent of the US government has an obligation to separate his private role from his public one, and these soldiers obviously aren't doing that.

    They're bound to see limited success, while further undermining the military objective in Afghanistan and our image in the world. This doesn't do much to change my opinion of religion...

  4. Oh boy, that's a great idea!

    Sometimes I think we actually come up with inventive new ways to make sure people hate us.

    The military shouldn't be touching religion with a 10 foot pole.

  5. Bob, If you're reading, would you share with us your opinion of this?

  6. MikeB,

    First I think that the video spent a lot of time showing normal christian activities and tried to portray them as proselytizing.

    The segment on the church service did not include a single word about the military seeking converts outside of the military or non-Iraqi people. The IMPRESSION it tried to give was the chaplain was telling the troops to go out and convert Iraqis...but nothing in the video gave that evidence.

    The bibles are a problem; depending on how they are passed out in my opinion. The line between evangelizing and proselytizing is a fine line.
    1 : to induce someone to convert to one's faith 2 : to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause transitive verb : to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause

    1 : to preach the gospel to 2 : to convert to Christianity intransitive verb : to preach the gospel
    If the troops are actively seeking out Iraqi citizens and seeking to convert them, then they are not in compliance with General Order#1. Discipline should be taken.

    If the troops are actively living their faith and letting people inquire about that faith, then they aren't disobeying the regulations.

    The video didn't report on how the Bibles were being distributed so that question is still open.

    I didn't see anything in the video about how the troops were not following the Constitution. Anyone want to point out that section to me?

    I'm not sure how the impression came to be these people weren't separating out their private and professional lives. Anyone want to address how that conclusion was reached?

    I did notice that the Brian guy assumed that learning about a different culture should be only a one way street. Something about the troops not using the Bible to learn the languages. Shouldn't it be a two way street?

    Summary, is it a fine line to walk between the two, Yes.

    Can it be done, Yes.

    Should it be done, YES. Because the freedom to worship as we choose is a cherished right. And part of that freedom is to seek converts to your belief system. Does anyone think that atheist aren't talking about their beliefs? Why should it be any different ?

    The more important issue is the rules they are working under.

    If the rules are legal and moral, then the troops need to follow the orders.

    If the rules aren't legal, then the rules need to be changed.

    If the rules are legal but aren't moral, the troops need to make a tough decision. To risk discipline by disobeying them, to follow orders against their principles, or to get out of the military.

  7. "Wars of religion, wars of faith. The world history books are filled with such nonsense and the blood spilled by those who see their god as better, is knee-deep."

    Secular tyrants and tyrants advocating atheist ideologies (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin or Saddam Hussein) have killed far more people in the last 100 years than religous zealots have killed in the pst 2,000 years.

    Atheists appear to be far more dangerous than theists.

  8. Bob, Please don't take offense, but I thought your comment was extremely defensive. Weren't your questions mainly answered in the story itself?

    Anonymous said something I'd never heard. What about all the death and destruction on the part of godless leaders?

  9. MikeB,

    NO, my questions weren't answered in the video.

    Show me where in the video it described how the Bibles were distributed, point out the time reference.

    Show me where in the video it describes how the troops were sharing their faith with Iraqis, point out the time reference.

    And on and on.

    My comments weren't defensive, my comments were pointing out the flaws in that video. Flaws you seem to accept without question.

    Noticed that you didn't bother to address the legal aspect of the orders, why is that?

    If you think my questions were answered in the video, go back and watch it again.

    List every one of my questions and provide a time reference for where it was answered. Part of the issue Mike is people read into things what they want to get out of it.
    Try being objective about it, try listing my questions and watching that video to see where the implications are made and not addressed.

    As for as what Anon said, (s)he is right. In the 19th & 20th century secular leaders have killed millions of people but you seldom here atheism condemned for it. Isn't it a double standard then?

  10. Sorry Bob. Maybe someone else would like to take you up on that challenge; I'm not that interested. If you don't see the problem with shipping Bibles in those languages out to the troops for distribution to the locals, then I won't waste any more time to convince you. If we were talking about Bibles in English or Spanish for our own guys, and they got together and held hands and prayed together, I'm all for it. But this is something else. Can we get a simple and clear answer from you? Is it OK, yes or no?

  11. MikeB,

    I fully answered your questions in comments.

    What is hard to understand about the government doesn't have a right to interfere with the free exercise of one's religion off duty?

    Are you saying that the Bible shouldn't be translated in the local language? Why?

    That video showed absolutely no evidence that the troops were proselytizing. NOT a SHRED. Ir was all implication and innuendo.

    Is it moral for the government to require an atheist to act as if (s)he believed in God?

    Nope, and conversely it is not moral for the government to require a Christian not to follow the tenets of their faith, including sharing the Word of God- the Bible.

    The MILITARY can impose reasonable restrictions (you should favor that) on WHEN that can be done and how...but not ban it completely.

    Matthew 28:16-2016 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”