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Saw this on QUORA: How do you deal with Christians proselytizing to you?

Here is my reply.

“Preach Christ constantly. Use words if you must.”—St. Francis. I found this quote in David Mamet’s book BAMBI VS. GODZILLA which is about writing, directing and producing motion pictures.

When I published this quote on the web it led to a fury of outrage from people who call themselves Christians. I thought to myself, “Wow, Mamet the screenwriter, director, producer understands what these believers reject, “Use words if you must.”

I had made the decision to use words as sparingly as possible in 1970 when I first understood the message of Jesus of Nazareth. That message is pretty much ignored no matter how much the messenger is praised.

Something incredible happened with Jesus. He returned to life after suffering the most hideous possible death. The prelude to that death was a trial by the Sanhedrin that tore the fine fabric of Jewish law to shreds.

THE GOSPEL writers asks us to live lives rooted in faith. They also ask us to speak to others about this faith only when we are asked.

I have a full sized authorized replica of THE TURIN SHROUD. I have it because it rightly is called THE FIFTH GOSPEL. It preaches Christ without words. It does so more eloquently than the other four gospels as one. On it is written everything from the moment the first drop of bloodsweat fell (hematidrosis) to the moment just before the eyes opened in the resurrection.

I am not here to debate its authenticity. That is wasted argument. Though I am certain many will write, “The shroud is a fake.” People get hysterical when it comes both to belief and disbelief. That’s a given.

Most folks I have met who call themselves Christians who proselytize me are clueless. They know what their Sunday School teacher, Bible College Professor and/or University scholar have taught them but they don’t know what Jesus taught and, frankly, from my experience don’t believe it.

They are not alone in this. Karl Marx wrote that we cannot have a socialist state because then the state becomes the capitalist. Uniformed socialists are determined in their ignorance of Marx to create socialist states.

Jesus taught we have but one teacher and but one father, God.

John, in his first letter, writes, “You have no need that any man should teach you for the spirit of Christ with which you were anointed is your teacher.”

We get three Baptisms: water, air (spirit) and fire. The baptism of water we receive in the womb. The baptism of spirit (air) we receive with the first breath we take coming into this world. The baptism of fire we receive from the experiences we meet in this life. A great number of people deny this but this is the experience of all of us whether we accept or deny it.

The people who most commonly come to our doors are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christians. A friend said his children were constantly meeting them at the door of their home. They spent a lot of time talking. They did not listen. He said, “Give me their literature.” After reading it he told his children, “This is a patriarchy. The next time they come say to them, “My father will not allow me to speak to you.” This his children and wife did. Hearing that they left. One day they got him. He said, “My father will not allow me to speak to you.” They left. That was Robert Jacobs, husband of writer Jane Jacobs who stated, “I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are… University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”

Now as I presume many of you reading this are illiterate when it comes to what Jesus taught, her words are close to the mark.

Now there’s another interesting term. “Close to the mark.”

The word “sin” is an archery term which means simply “to miss the mark.” All of the emotional weight the word carries when used by people who don’t understand it does not belong with it.

How do I deal with Christians proselytizing me? The same way I am dealing with the anti-proselytizing in this question. By taking the time to show both are wrong. How? First by letting them have their say. Second by saying your say.

For example we hear, “Do you believe the world is getting worse?” Well, the extinction levels on this world show clearly that it is getting worse. That said, Scripture tells us that in the end times the world we live in is going to be a pretty bad place to live in. The answer is that the world right now is exactly as THE BIBLE tells us it will be. So the world is just fine, thank you, from the Biblical perspective.

Now here’s a little something from Luke 18:8, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” When I first read that decades ago it was much stronger, It was, “When I return do you think I will find so much as one person believing?” My answer was as it is now, “If in my time, me.”

For this reason I know it is not in my time.

Particle Physicist and painter Dame Isabel Piczek stated that the Turin Shroud depicts an Even Horizon, a moment just like the original BIG BANG during which all was created but a moment in which EVERYTHING was created again, literally BORN AGAIN.

Now read this from Norman Bethune, who served as a medical missionary to Chairman Mao, “The function of the artist is to disturb. His duty is to arouse the sleeper, to shake the complacent pillars of the world. He reminds the world of its dark ancestry, and shows the world its present and points the way to its new birth. He is at once the product and preceptor of
his times.”-Norman Bethune.

That new birth is the message not only of Bethune but also of Jesus.

Jesus tells us to loan to those who can’t pay us back adding that if we do that God will pay us back. Show me the Christian who does that.

A high ranking Tibetan Lama said to me, “You are a Crazy-Wisdom-Yogin.” I replied, “I hear crazy often enough. What does the rest of that mean?” He said, “It’s the highest compliment, I, as a Buddhist, can pay. It means you are living absolutely the life you are teaching. If you quote me put a flame after my name to indicate my rank.”

I found long ago the best argument against people who proselytize be they Christians or Moslems or Marxists or whatever is the literature of the group they belong to.

And there we have it: the group they belong to. Invited to join America’s prestigious GROUP THEATER at the start of her career as an actress (her family had money) Katharine Hepburn replied, “I want no part of the group dynamic which, by nature is second rate. I will be a star.”

Preach Christ constantly. Use words if you must.—Reg Hartt

Jesus is not the only voice teaching us to stay out of school. Here are just a few of the many others:

“Most teachers say you should go to school to get your degree to have something to fall back on. Aside from being a huge lie, that also creates a very high level of mediocrity, because nobody who really believes that is going to take the leap of faith required to be a serious artist. Stay out of school.”–Ellis Marsalis to his sons Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton.

“The American educational process prepares those with second-rate intellects to thrive in a bureaucratic environment. Obedience, rote memorization, and neatness are enshrined as intellectual achievements…Like the belief of the terminally ill in medicine the belief of the legitimately frightened in the educational process is a comforting lie.”—David Mamet, TRUE AND FALSE.

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very great mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.”—Albert Einstein.

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.”—Bertrand Russell.

“School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,”–Ivan Illich.

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