February 16, 2006

Christians too vocal at Warwick?

Are Christians at Warwick too pushy with their beliefs?

I can't help but thinking maybe after entering numerous lectures this year to see the desks littered with fliers proclaiming I need Jesus in my life. I couldn't help thinking one morning, "Really do I? Could it be… or do I just need to go to bed earlier as Im shattered still".

I mean really, by what amount do such posters sway your own beliefs? I would argue nothing. Nothing whatsoever. Zippo.

Hell, I might mock up some posters advocating atheism and plaster them everywhere people would care to look. See if I can't convert some of you guys over to some freethinking… :P

"Dont bother believing in Jesus, does it make any difference? Of course NOT"

Edit : Post some of your 'athiest poster' examples. Make me smile… :P

Edit : When I say Christians I obviously dont mean the whole Christian student population – but when I see religious messages I can't help (rightly or wrongly) assuming that they are broadly representative of the religion as a whole – else surely your own members would object to them?


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  1. Good luck with your poster campaign. I once put up a poster for the Satan society. It was torn down within about 20 minutes.

    16 Feb 2006, 15:30

  2. I wouldn't say the issue is that Christians are pushy, but rather that those who choose to embark upon a leaflet campaign are utterly and hopelessly misguided. It's equally irritating to be accosted by a microphone wielding zealot while walking through the city centre at home, and neither method is remotely convincing for me. I'd support the idea of publishing atheistic (is that a word?) posters around the Uni, but I have no idea what the backlash would be. The same people who are quite happy to preach that their religion loves peace and harmony, and you'll be all the more content for joining, sometimes seem quite intolerant when someone disagrees with their way of thinking. Funny that.

    16 Feb 2006, 15:42

  3. Interesting theory, but I can't help but feel there's some flaw in the logic of fighting an irritating poster campaign with a poster campaign. Particularly when the whole point is that poster campaigns are ineffective …

    I agree that Christians seem rather pushy, particularly because I can't recall seeing any other religions trying anything similar. I guess they're in tha majority, but even so it seems rather disproportionate.

    16 Feb 2006, 15:56

  4. Visiting Atheist

    Standing in the middle of the street with a microphone telling people that there is no God would probably end in arrest on a public order offense!

    Intolerance is a funny thing. Who's being intolerant? The person who is intolerant or the person who points it out to them?

    16 Feb 2006, 15:59

  5. Leigh Robinson

    I agree that Christians seem rather pushy, particularly because I can't recall seeing any other religions trying anything similar. I guess they're in tha majority, but even so it seems rather disproportionate.

    Yep. Exactly what I was getting at.

    What gets me is why they feel the need to do it AT ALL - we all know the religion, if we are not "in" by now I would think it would take a lot more than a slightly clever phrase on a monday morning to hook me…

    16 Feb 2006, 16:06

  6. What gets me is that without any consideration you make this huge general statement. Of all the Christians at Warwick surely not all are part of the Christian Union. Of all those in CU, surely not all go around campus spreading flyers hoping to convert people.

    The reason why you don't see flyers from other religious groups is because evangelism is an integral part of christianity [as Will sitting next to me tells me it's a missionary religion]. As far as I know, other religions either don't bother or have other ways of converting people.

    In the end, I wonder what the point of your entry is. The posters obviously made you think and caused a reaction as such. As far as I understand they are spread to make people aware of certain events and talks concerning difficult religious questions, quite possibly even your "(...) believing in Jesus, does it make any difference?

    16 Feb 2006, 16:21

  7. Are these posters just advertising Christianity, or advertising Christian events?

    The former seems somewhat pointless to me, but the latter a good idea. There are Christian events at which debate and discussion is encouraged, and are interesting to me, even though I'm not a Christian.

    Advertising and raising awareness of these would increase the diversity of opinion found there.

    16 Feb 2006, 16:25

  8. Lia

    As you requested atheist poster examples…

    "If God exists, that's His problem.

    16 Feb 2006, 16:30

  9. Leigh Robinson

    What gets me is that without any consideration you make this huge general statement. Of all the Christians at Warwick surely not all are part of the Christian Union. Of all those in CU, surely not all go around campus spreading flyers hoping to convert people.

    I never asserted this was the case. Perhaps I should modify my observation (because thats all it is) to state that "Essential" maybe are too vocal.

    There are Christian events at which debate and discussion is encouraged, and are interesting to me, even though I'm not a Christian.

    Of course – however the ones I am commenting on were simply abstract "thought provoking" nonsense. I would never suggest that advertisment of an event could ever be too vocal (within reason!).

    I guess the main point is that I noticed a lot of this style of poster and deem it pointless. I wouldn't say offensive, rather a waste of a good piece of tree…

    16 Feb 2006, 16:33

  10. I think Thorwald has a point to make in so far as evangelist influences within the CU have a role to play in the use of posters and flyers compared to other religeous groups on campus. To be honest you say that the posters have little influence on you but im sure they are successful in persuading others to the right cause.

    16 Feb 2006, 18:15

  11. Visiting Atheist

    "The reason why you don't see flyers from other religious groups is because evangelism is an integral part of christianity [as Will sitting next to me tells me it's a missionary religion]. As far as I know, other religions either don't bother or have other ways of converting people."

    Interesting that evangelism is seen as integral to the Christian religion. I didn't know that. Well, that explains all those one way missionary trips to the 'dark continent', then.

    The thing that gets me about Evangelism is 'Why?'. I like being an atheist. You like being a Christian. I won't tell you you're wrong, if you don't tell me I'm wrong. Oh, you're going to, anyway? So I'm being offensive if I ask you to leave me alone? Look, I'm grown up and can run my own life and I don't need any backseat drivers, okay? Why are your colleagues forming a queue behind you?

    17 Feb 2006, 11:34

  12. You make me laugh, but unfortunately it's a bit more complicated than that.

    Evangelism has worked for Christianity in the past, see Paul's letters in the Bible if you consider them as historical evidence. If you don't, then I hope you realize it still raises awareness, and as it has worked for some people, it can be considered successful and as such there's no reason to stop doing evangelism.

    I don't see how you're being offensive if you're asking to be left alone, and I can completely understand if someone you have never met or heard of tells you you're living your life wrongly. As such, indeed evangelism is a difficult process and not every Christian will do it or will enjoy doing it. Its problem is the similarity with door-to-door salesmen or telemarketing: people contact you and convince you you've been missing out on something, that you're clearly not part of this world without their product, whereas you're perfectly happy with what you've got. They want you to take action, to give something to improve your life, whereas you're pretty sure you don't need it. Evangelism as such could only work if the person addressed is indeed feeling miserable. Whether it's decent to make someone like that feel even more miserable by saying they live their life wrongly is another issue.

    As you say you're perfectly happy who you are, being an atheist. The general Christian idea as I understand it would be that you would be happier if you knew God loves you. The two Christian [evangelist] campaigns on campus I'm most aware of are the one that advertises this unconditional love, and the one that questions existence of God. If the message you get from these campaigns is that someone feels the need to tell you you're wrong in the way you live your life, then I guess the campaign could use some tweaking.

    17 Feb 2006, 16:17

  13. Ive read most of this. I would just like to say that although i consider myself to be a Christian id say im a moderate one rather than extreme (the extreme Christians would prob say its because im uncommited or something but i disagree). However, i hope people will respect my beliefs and am respectful of theirs, Christian, Muslim, Atheist – whatever. I do not think trying to convert people is effective or helpful. But i think sharing thoughts and learning and respecting each others thoughts is.

    17 Feb 2006, 17:21

  14. Well, I would say that your blog has made the poster campaign more successful! LOL. I'm now curious as to what the posters were actually about. If you have any details please let me know. On the question of evangelism; I know people personally who have become Christians as a result of being met by Christians out evanglising. I think it's made a very real difference to them and their lives. Anyone has the option of politely saying 'no thank you'. Something I used to say myself…before becoming a Christian.

    17 Feb 2006, 17:59

  15. forget the christian union, it is the "Go Green" people that are starting to get on my nerves. It ends today though right? Did anyone else see the group of "go green" activists get thrown out of Cafe Lib by security? One guy took a picture and the security man demanded he erase it from his camera. hehe was fun to watch i must admit. I am all for saving the planet through recycling etc. In fact just last week in a bid to save water i tried to convince my girlfriend to share a bath with her best friend. No such luck :(

    17 Feb 2006, 18:31

  16. Christopher Rossdale

    Care about social justice?
    Committed to fairness?
    Believe in love and equality?
    Respect the beautiful depths of humanity?

    Well that's not enough, unless you've got God!!

    Sorry, i do believe in God, but that's how those posters make me feel, and more often than not it turns me away from an aspect of the christian union that really doesn't seem able to see the bigger picture, i.e. that the bible is quite clearly letting us know that so long as you're a half decent person, that's fine

    17 Feb 2006, 18:44

  17. I like youre post, you articulated some thoughts i had better than i could.

    17 Feb 2006, 19:40

  18. Oh please, Christians do not distribute any more leaflets proportionally than any other religious society, indeed any other society in general on campus. Why refer to Christianity specifically rather than religion in general? You could have made a far better argument by pointing out that Christians have their own building on campus – the Chaplaincy, whereas muslims only have a prayer room. You could have even argued that the free distribution of hot drinks and biscuits after Top B is a subtle form of conversion – except its not of course – some people actually gain happiness and contentment through altruism. In fact why don't you make a stance against advertising in general – wouldn't our visual space be far more peaceful if we weren't blighted constantly by information overloads: billboards, neon signs, Internet pop ups, newspaper ads, posters, door to door salesmen (to expand on Thorwald Stein's comment)... day in day out ad nauseum. If you did open your eyes to the bigger picture, you would also see that the 'spiritual' messages of religions – (read support, direction, certainty and security of religions) are of far greater moral worth than the throw away, emphemeral materialism of commercial advertising. Why single out Christianity? I don't think the fact that religion provides an ethical and moral code that many find easier to subscribe to en masse because that way they would gain support from others that would not be present if they simply followed their own inarticulated potentially morally relativist and therefore morally reduced code, is a point that should be belittled. Nor do I seriously think you just want to promote atheism – otherwise you would not be suggesting printing 'Don't bother believing in Jesus, does it make any difference?' on your flyers. That would give the impression you were targeting Christianity specifically. Atheism means 'not beleiving in God' – most religions believe in a God (and most have just as much objectionable blood on their hands and historical baggage as Christianity) Why don't you therefore state 'don't believe in God, does it make any difference?' If you simply intend to rebel against religious conformity, making the same worn out 'stance' that countless 'freethinking' students have already made before you then why not join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti monster (see Warwick Boar online – which btw doesn't contain commercial adverts, just in case anyone hadn't noticed in among all the criticism levied at the newspaper) – it would be a far more colourful and original alternative.

    Lee Harrington – if you were seriously all for going green and recycling you wouldn't ridicule People and Planet for trying to point out that the Library Cafe causes fundemental amounts of uncessary waste by using plastic disposable knives and forks and serving food on plastic dishes. But of course you're not, are you.

    17 Feb 2006, 20:06

  19. Not a great deal to add to that, really, other than to say that the Christian Union posters and fliers all advertise some event or other that's going on. If you picked one up and read it, you'd see that. 'Essential', for example, is not a body of people but a week of talks and events that the Christian Union put on giving people a chance to learn a bit about Christianity. Leigh, you suggest that everyone already knows all about Christianity, but Chris Rossdale ably disproves that, saying that
    "the bible is quite clearly letting us know that so long as you're a half decent person, that's fine"
    which is one of the most inaccurate things you could ever say about Christianity.

    Evangelism isn't something Christians do to annoy you. Look at it from their (our) perspective – if our message is true, which we believe it is, then some day soon everyone's going to wind up before God in judgement, and for people who've ignored God all their lives, everything's going to go belly up. Hell, they call it… The purpose of evangelism is to tell people the good news, that through Jesus God has given us a way of returning to him. We can be forgiven for what we've done wrong, and have a 'right' relationship with him again, like we were meant to. That way, not only is Hell avoided, but we go to Heaven! Now if that's true, it's undeniably good news.
    That's why Christians try and share it – we just want you to have enough information to make an informed decision. It's your choice, though. No Christian will force you into it, but it is a decision that everyone needs to make. As a Christian, I believe I know the way to eternal life and a right relationship with God. Now if I'm right, and I didn't try to tell other people, surely I'd just be a hugely selfish person? If I'm right, don't I have a duty to share it?

    That's the mentality behind all of it. Evangelism isn't designed to wind you up, or to force you into anything. Posters and fliers are just one way of evangelising, alerting people to events on campus where they can learn a bit more about what is, at the end of the day, a life and death decision, so that they have enough information to choose. It sounds clichιd, but fundamentally evangelism is done out of love. Of course you can say 'no', and of course you can debate what Christians are trying to share with you, but please respect the reasons why they're doing it in the first place. It's for your benefit, not theirs!

    17 Feb 2006, 20:48

  20. I have to say, I find the Christian Union and their obssessive leafletting quite annoying, infact I have been complaining about it to my friends for a while now and was considering writing a blog entry but it seems I have been beaten.

    Christianity is evangelical, yes- it is a religion that is based around the conversion of others (unlike the Jewsih religion which is very hard to join and is more based around familial ties), but Islam is also based on conversion and they're not printing a million and one leaflets and sticking them in my hand. The other week I was accosted by about 7 people on my short work from the library to the union trying to tell me about bloody 'Essential'. By the 6th person I was pissed off. I understand why they do it, but seriously, I'm not changing my whole lifestyle choice because someone thrusts a piece of paper into my hand. Its like when they try and give you tea and hot chocolate outside the Union- its not going to convert me, so stop trying!

    17 Feb 2006, 21:16

  21. "Islam is also based on conversion and they're not printing a million and one leaflets and sticking them in my hand"

    I kindly challenge you to find out and tell me how islam achieve their mission, and then convince me why I should prefer that approach.

    "Its like when they try and give you tea and hot chocolate outside the Union- its not going to convert me, so stop trying!"

    Did you by any chance have anything to do with the letter to the Boar about two weeks ago, complaining about CU members going around kitchens in Rootes to do washing up? After a night with sweaty freshers, purple spilt all over you, music too loud and a general mixed smell of beer and piss, your night is ruined by a bunch of people kindly offering you a hot drink when it's cold outside? I'm afraid we need a new level of cynicism.

    17 Feb 2006, 23:40

  22. I think, that there is a point to be made, that if groups mass poster campus, then students become desensitised to their presence. As a fresher I would read most posters as I walked by, but now, I've seen so bloody many that I filter them out, not really reading any (except ones by WASS as they're usually very wrong and very sexist). Groups, and not just religious groups, need to think about when using posters is appropriate.

    However I know that, for Christians at least, encouraging others to think about their faith, and consider if they need an organised faith in their lives, is an important part of being a Christian.
    The biggest Christian event, in terms of recent publicity, was Essential. I attended one of the talks this year and I attended a few last year, I am not a Christian. I am a student, and do like to learn, I would dearly like to understand why so many people feel that they need some organised religion in their lives. Essential gives me such an opportunity to learn.

    So you have two choices when faced with publicity from any religious group, either, ignore it completely and remain ignorant, or read it, ask questions, find out more and understand not only them, but yourself better.

    18 Feb 2006, 00:28

  23. Christopher Rossdale

    Benjamin, i resent your claim to a very high degree. I've read the bible many times, and i've been a christian for the vast majority of my life. As far as i'm concerned, the message to take from the religion is one of love and charity; not one of judgement and fireballs. I'm sure you'll agree that religion is a personal thing, individual to each and other; because your personal reading of the bible is as it is doesn't mean that my reading and faith displays any less value and validity. The reason i'm no longer a christian is because I can no longer stand the dogmatic views of so many christians faithful to the bible and not to God. The message, i believe, is in your heart, not in a book. The bible, if you can read the message instead of the words, tells you so – it's actually a rather superb book.

    18 Feb 2006, 02:58

  24. Chris – I dont think that means that you're no longer a Christian. I may well be wrong but from what you've said you still have a faith and a faith in one God, Jesus Christ etc etc. I would say that you are Christian, oyou have a faith and a belief. But that, like me, you may have become disillusioned with a growing sector of Christian people and wish to a) distance yourself physically and emotionally from them b) you do not want to be judged as the same as them – it is your personal faith, not a 'one size fits all' faith.

    I have always thought that my relationship with my best friend varies greatly with her relationship with other people. It is always worked out on a person by person basis. To me, this is how my relationship with God is, it will probably differ in some way from every other person's i ever meet – but it doesn't make any of those relationships less valid.

    18 Feb 2006, 09:00

  25. Chris,
    Of course I meant no offence or disrespect, and I think our difference of opinion on this comes down to the fundamental issue of what the Bible actually is. You seem to regard God and the Bible as two different and almost opposing things, and think that being faithful to the Bible is somehow missing the point. I, on the other hand, firmly believe that the Bible IS the Word of God – far from being set apart from him, it's actually the most direct revelation of him and his plans for mankind that we have. It says in 2 Peter 2:20–21, for example, that "no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves…It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God." There is a major heart element, certainly, but nothing God puts in your heart will ever contradict what he's put in the Bible – it's the same, unchanging God who authored both of them.

    Faith is, of course, a personal thing and far be it from me to judge or condemn anyone. If I came across like that, I must apologise. You understand, though, that for me this is an important issue – as I said earlier, the aim of the game is to give people enough information to be able to decide for themselves.

    18 Feb 2006, 11:09

  26. anonymous

    personally i believe jesus was some dude some people wrote a book about. then they went around selling it to people to convince them to lead a good life. then someone forgot it was a book. (faith seems to be the only thing that makes the bible different from say.. "the young thief and his mother" or "the wolf and the lamb" by aesop? (mho – aesop was before jesus, wasnt he? ot as usual :/ its bearing witness to myself!)

    18 Feb 2006, 12:14

  27. "Its like when they try and give you tea and hot chocolate outside the Union- its not going to convert me, so stop trying!"

    (falls over laughing)

    Ok, ok. No. The point of Hot Chocolate…actually, I think there are three.

    1) Warm up cold people with hot chocolate and give biscuits.
    2) Meet and talk to people (about whatever, but God, life, the universe and everything is a popular topic)
    3) Advertise lunchbars (more free food; sorry, Christians think it's really important :P)

    If you don't advertise Christian events, no one will know they're on. And then no one will come. Simple as. It's not exactly false advertising if it says: "CU Talk and free lunch, blahdiblah, Tuesday 12–1" etc.

    Anonymous: Thing is, the writers of the NT especially were convinced it was literally true. Luke, for example, begins his first book with a sort of covering letter to Theophilus, which ends, "Having carefully investigated all of these accounts [of the early followers of Jesus] from the beginning, I have decided to write a careful summary for you, to reassure you of the truth of all you were taught." (Luke 1:3–4, NLT)

    On a side note, do Muslims try to convert people to their faith? I'd be interested to know if and how they do.

    18 Feb 2006, 16:50

  28. I had nothing to do with any letter and I stand by my opinion. I had no go at anyone personally and was expressing an opinion and would prefer it if people weren't rude to me.

    18 Feb 2006, 17:38

  29. I'm sorry if at any point I was rude in my comment. The link to the letter in the Boar was made because it made me laugh just as much as your Top B / Hot chocolate comment. Expressing your opinion is great – I was hoping you could explain a bit more, hence my comment.

    18 Feb 2006, 18:12

  30. I really didn't mean to be rude. Your comment just struck me as funny. Sorry.

    18 Feb 2006, 18:31

  31. "To be honest you say that the posters have little influence on you but im sure they are successful in persuading others to the right cause."
    You really think so? I doubt it somehow… a university full of intelligent young people, arn't suddenly going to see a poster and go 'oh I was wrong, they must be right'.

    "Oh please, Christians do not distribute any more leaflets proportionally than any other religious society, indeed any other society in general on campus. Why refer to Christianity specifically rather than religion in general?"
    Well there's a lot more than other religious societies but your point about other socs in general is a good one. I personally find the preponderance of posters for Christian events annoying. But then I get annoyed when I see masses of identical posters advertising some ball or an event at the union (and to be fair to the Christians, at least you produce different posters with different things on, as opposed to just making a 3×3 grid of identical posters which is an utter waste of time).

    These evangelical groups have just as much right to poster and flyer as any other society, the fact is they spend a lot more time and effort on it. It might be annoying but it's their right. I'd hate to see us curtailing free speech on campus just because it was frustrating us.

    Are they effective? Well if they're advertising events they certaintly could be. I attended an alpha course here after seeing that advertised everywhere a few years back. Now I found the whole experience quite disturbing and the course on very dodgy ground, but it was the posters that got me along in the first place.

    "There is a major heart element, certainly, but nothing God puts in your heart will ever contradict what he's put in the Bible – it's the same, unchanging God who authored both of them."
    Except the bits in the bible that contradict itself. Lets speed this arguement up:
    "Oh but that should be interpreted differnetly. And when jesus died he fulfilled the ceremonial laws so they no longer apply and so only certain bits of the old testement we have to listen to anymore"
    So: a) there's different interpretations of the bible, and b) we don't listen to all of it but arbitrallity choose which bits to go for. So infact it's pretty impossible to figure it out fully, so there's contradictions all over teh place.

    I'd love to see this poster:
    ""When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife." – Deuteronomy 21:10–13

    Feminists versus Christians – the two loudest societies on campus, it'd be a real battle royale…

    "I am all for saving the planet through recycling etc. In fact just last week in a bid to save water i tried to convince my girlfriend to share a bath with her best friend. No such luck :("
    I leave my fridge door open for twenty minutes a day to help combat global warming. We all have to do our bit.

    18 Feb 2006, 19:18

  32. A question for evangelists: What happens to people that die without having heard your god's message? Do they go to heaven or hell?

    If the former, it seems rather cruel to tell them about it, as it would reduce their chances of eternal happiness. If the latter, it seems rather horribly unfair to punish people for not following a message they weren't given. Is there some other possibility I've missed?

    18 Feb 2006, 19:42

  33. anonymous

    "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" Luk 1:34 KJV

    18 Feb 2006, 21:28

  34. Colin,
    It's a question that we simply don't know the answer to (as far as I know – I might just be ignorant), although it does say in the Bible that God has revealed himself to everyone in the form of world around us (humming-birds' wings, the human eye, that sort of thing), so no-one is able to say that they know nothing of God. I'll try and find out where, cos I've temporarily forgotten – sorry.

    Dean,
    The Bible is one big history, which needs to be viewed as such. Initially, before Jesus came and died, the Law was there as the way to God. People had to do this or that, sacrificing and so on, to try and be right before God. But throughout the Old Testament it looks forward to the coming of Jesus. Through Jesus the Law is fulfilled – there's no longer any need to sacrifice bulls and that sort of thing, because Jesus took the punishment for the sin of the whole world when he died on the cross. Now, all you (not you specifically, 'one') have to do is believe that that's true, that Jesus was the Son of God, he died on the cross, rose again, and in so doing defeated sin. Accept that you're a sinful man, ask Jesus to come into your life and forgive you, and try to live your live his way, and bam, job done. Calves can rest easy at night, because you no longer need to sacrifice them to be right with God.

    That's the key thing, I think – the regulations in the Old Testament are a sort of tick-list to get to God. Problem was that no-one could tick all the boxes, no-one was that good, so Jesus came and offered a different way of getting to God – much simpler, something everyone can do without having to follow loads of rules. For Christians, following the Law is no longer a condition of salvation. Lots of it still makes sense, though (do not steal, that sort of thing), and I think that goes some way to explaining why Christians don't disregard it altogether.

    You obviously know quite a lot about it, and I've probably not enlightened you much. Most reliable thing you can do is probably to read the Bible, see what it says about it (everything I've said is in there, but in a much more accurate form!), and find someone to ask questions of. Wander into a church tomorrow morning, find the preacher/vicar/whoever afterwards and ask them about it. I can guarantee they'll be only too happy to try and help. They might even give you lunch, you never know ;)

    18 Feb 2006, 22:52

  35. Yeah I'd heard all that before – basically what I was trying to get at before, but in a less eloquent way, but I was under the impression that modern christianity picked and choosed aspects of the Old Testament to see Law that can be disregarded, and other bits as stuff that's still valid. The idea of, in effect, disregarding the Old Testament in its entirity is an interesting one.
    Problem is, while 'christian' groups are still using passages from the Old Testament as fuel for arguements for any number of things, from anti-homosexual positions, through sex before marriage and an entire gamut of other 'policies' you can't get away from it. And this even happens in modern, mainstream evangelism. Literature designed as an accompniment to the Alpha Course makes clear it considers homosexuality a sin.

    But I digress – your 'ask a preacher' point is an interesting one. Because when it comes to such contentious issues, depending on what denomination of church I wonder into tommorow, I'll get a different answer. Because the whole thing is open to interpretation.

    Now, I don't want to put words into your mouth but I'd imagine that you'd suggest in that case I read the bible myself and let God interpret it through me. Problem is, if this is how everyone did it, then God interpreted his own work in different ways for different people – hence the differing denominations of christianity with differing beliefs in some areas. So God isn't speaking to everyone in the same voice, or even saying the same thing – so the path to salvation is different for everyone.

    And when I thought about this and prayed about this, to try and figure out how everyone can see it differently I realised, be it through divine intervention or self revelation this one thing: it doesn't matter. No matter what take you have on the book, or even if you use an entirely different book altogether, or no book at all – it doesn't matter. As long as, basically, you're a good person, the road you take to finding God, and the form you find her in does not matter. It's all the same.

    Unfortunatly, Jesus has that "no-one shall come to the father except through me" thing. Which is frustrating. As my personal beliefs allow me to accept that what you believe is right and correct (even if some of it is unecessary), yet your beliefs, and those of most major religions, preclude a simmilar all-encompassing acceptance.

    19 Feb 2006, 00:24

  36. The flyers I've seen aren't so much "writing to persuade" as "writing to inform". Or, perhaps more appropriate would be "writing to entertain", even if it is unintentional.

    19 Feb 2006, 03:45

  37. Interesting angle on it, Dean. I think it's worth saying that, particularly in the last few years, different denominations are really trying to unite in the face of the very problem you outline. The 'Churches Together in…[insert town name here]' initiative is an example of that – churches uniting around what they all agree on, that is that Jesus was the Son of God, who came to earth, died on the cross for our sins, was raised to life again and ascended into Heaven, and that he is the only way to God. The bits that set each denomination apart are minor in comparison (except the Protestant-Catholic thing, that's a bit more fundamental).
    Good on you for investigating it!

    19 Feb 2006, 12:58

  38. I think their is nothing wrong with feeling that since your religion makes you happy, maybe you want others to be happy too. I know I do that to my friends about Buddhism. But I dont see how that translates into accosting people in the Piazza warning them that they will go to hell if they dont become a Christian, or generally having a holier-than-thou attitude regarding their religion and their method of propagation. Now I have nothing against the people themselves, I have a lot of friends from CU, but this aggressive propagation technique is abhorring.

    In my first year, CU members would constantly come to our kitchen wanting to discuss God. Now, can someone not make a cup of tea without their beliefs being challenged? Also, Ive been to some of their 'Grill A Christian' things, and sadly, I find that they answer questions with an obscure reference from the Bible which frankly has no relation to the question. I do feel they should spend less time advertising, and maybe more time actually understandng their religion.

    19 Feb 2006, 14:34

  39. I kindly challenge you to find out and tell me how islam achieve their mission, and then convince me why I should prefer that approach.

    Why don't you ask some of the Muslims converts attending Warwick? Or we could ask my mother, who came from a Scottish Catholic family. Or we could ask Yusuf Islam. Or Mohammed Ali. Or Malcolm X (at least before his murder).

    Or if you are talking history we could take the examples of the very first converts. The prophet didn't leave his house and whip Abu-Bakr or Khadija into becoming Muslim. Khalid-Ibn Waleed was never defeated militarily by the Muslims, yet after attacking them and defeating them militarily he converted entirely voluntarily. We could look at the history of Indonesia and Malaysia. We could look at the history of the Hui ethnic group in China.

    In Islam missionary work is carried out by inviting you to come and to learn more. If you don't wish to – that's your choice. "Lekum deenakum wala yedeen" – To them be their religion and to me be mine.

    19 Feb 2006, 22:16

  40. In fact, Thorwald, if you're genuinely interested in how converts are made and are not trying to make a completely irrelevent and bigoted political point, why not e-mail Dawud Bone ( dawud.bone@ntlworld.com ) who was, I believe, President of Warwick ISOC for 3 years and was a convert. Why not invite him to tell you more about his experiences?

    19 Feb 2006, 22:22

  41. I'll be honest with you and say I tried to avoid a "bigoted political point" [which in my opinion was relevant as the ways of missionary work was discussed] that would have pointed out my ignorance on the subject. Yet instead I let it shine through the lines and hoped someone would tell me about islam missionary work, which you did, so thanks.

    "...inviting you to come and learn more" – sounds rather similar to evangelism to me, disproving the original point.

    I understand the harshness of your comment, but if I read stuff like this on the BBC website specifically, what do you expect me to think? Sure, I don't expect every muslim convert to have been bullied into it, especially not in the West, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen at all.

    20 Feb 2006, 00:37

  42. Leigh Robinson

    Sorry for not posting responses in a few days, here goes:

    wouldn't our visual space be far more peaceful if we weren't blighted constantly by information overloads: billboards, neon signs, Internet pop ups, newspaper ads, posters, door to door salesmen (to expand on Thorwald Stein's comment)... day in day out ad nauseum. If you did open your eyes to the bigger picture, you would also see that the 'spiritual' messages of religions – (read support, direction, certainty and security of religions) are of far greater moral worth than the throw away, emphemeral materialism of commercial advertising. Why single out Christianity?

    Well yes, you have a point. Gross over advertising is annoying, fact. Though I'm much more receptive and hence I can see the point in advertising products as opposed to complete belief systems. Are you seriously suggesting 6 words on a poster will really be enough to make people re-consider the religion? I suspect that no-one has ever done so…

    Nor do I seriously think you just want to promote atheism – otherwise you would not be suggesting printing 'Don't bother believing in Jesus, does it make any difference?' on your flyers. That would give the impression you were targeting Christianity specifically.

    Well I am looking at Christianity since that is the only religion that I constantly see 'adverts' for. Do you really think the adverts themselves have any worth?

    Atheism means 'not beleiving in God'

    Id say it means not needing to attribute your moral and ethical standpoint to a "being" telling you so and all the baggage that this entails.

    Ben, you say:
    bq. Evangelism isn't something Christians do to annoy you. Look at it from their (our) perspective – if our message is true, which we believe it is, then some day soon everyone's going to wind up before God in judgement, and for people who've ignored God all their lives, everything's going to go belly up. Hell, they call it…

    I understand this is your point. Though I am proposing that the segment of the population you are targeting do not care for your information as either they have their own religion or dont believe in anything. Can you tell me a "reason" why (if 'it' exists) a God would punish someone for simply disputing his existance? Seriously I dont see the logic here… (perhaps thats the point)

    It's for your benefit, not theirs!

    Hmmm isn't it true that evangelism is required if your to follow the biblical texts to the letter?

    I have to say, I find the Christian Union and their obssessive leafletting quite annoying, infact I have been complaining about it to my friends for a while now and was considering writing a blog entry but it seems I have been beaten. Christianity is evangelical, yes- it is a religion that is based around the conversion of others (unlike the Jewsih religion which is very hard to join and is more based around familial ties), but Islam is also based on conversion and they're not printing a million and one leaflets and sticking them in my hand. The other week I was accosted by about 7 people on my short work from the library to the union trying to tell me about bloody 'Essential'. By the 6th person I was pissed off. I understand why they do it, but seriously, I'm not changing my whole lifestyle choice because someone thrusts a piece of paper into my hand. Its like when they try and give you tea and hot chocolate outside the Union- its not going to convert me, so stop trying!

    Philippa I think you just hit the nail on the head with a huge oversize hammer.

    20 Feb 2006, 02:21

  43. Leigh Robinson

    oh and…

    The Bible is one big history, which needs to be viewed as such. Initially, before Jesus came and died, the Law was there as the way to God. People had to do this or that, sacrificing and so on, to try and be right before God. But throughout the Old Testament it looks forward to the coming of Jesus. Through Jesus the Law is fulfilled – there's no longer any need to sacrifice bulls and that sort of thing, because Jesus took the punishment for the sin of the whole world when he died on the cross. Now, all you (not you specifically, 'one') have to do is believe that that's true, that Jesus was the Son of God, he died on the cross, rose again, and in so doing defeated sin. Accept that you're a sinful man, ask Jesus to come into your life and forgive you, and try to live your live his way, and bam, job done. Calves can rest easy at night, because you no longer need to sacrifice them to be right with God.

    Reading that and the rest of your post it seems a lot like an 'upgrade' for want of a better word. Could it have been that the 'pre-Jesus' version was too restrictive as society grew and so was 'watered down' (again for want of a better phrase) so ensure a wide acceptance?

    For Christians, following the Law is no longer a condition of salvation.

    Then what is the condition of salvation?

    20 Feb 2006, 02:32

  44. Visiting Atheist

    The thing about evangelism is its salesmanship, I think. It's very in yer face and people get a bit annoyed about that. Chris Rossdale said

    As far as i'm concerned, the message to take from the religion is one of love and charity; not one of judgement and fireballs.

    And, frankly, the judgement and fireballs bit is what annoys most people. What do religious people think non-believing people are doing wrong? I'm an atheist because I don't believe in God (and I'll capitalise that word because I'm respectful of people who believe, ok?). Just because I don't believe in God doesn't mean that I can't 'get' how to live a decent, responsible life. Thou shalt not steal means as much to me, for example, as it does to a Christian or a Muslim. I can understand the need not to commit adultery for the immediate reason that it annoys the offended spouse, as much as anything else. God doesn't come into the equation.

    Right, that's a couple of the commandments out of the way. I won't bang on about the rest. Just because I need a bit more proof than someone else's word about this God person doesn't mean I can't lead a decent – perhaps, spiritual – life and my soul is eternally damned.

    Perhaps there should be an Evangelical Atheist movement that goes around shaking people's faith. But there aren't many because atheists can show respect towards other people's belief systems. Though it has to be said that some of the most self-promoting Christians I have known are the least christian people I have known. Elitist, cliquey, selfish, snobbish, greedy are a few of the words I could use about them – these are people I have met in the past and I take each Christian on his or her individual merits, by the way. And maybe I would be doing Christianity a favour if I did shake those people's faiths!

    The thing is: from the point of view of a lot of (non-believing) people, the main point of religion is to perpetuate religion for its own sake or those who benefit from it. The needs of the individual don't seem to be much of a priority. Those of us who don't subscribe to any organised religion are doing very nicely by ourselves, thank you very much. Thorwald, back in comment 12, said it's more complicated than I made out and that I made him laugh. I had my tongue in my cheek when I phrased my posting but I was also being deadly serious. And I don't think it is complicated as he thinks. In fact, it's quite simple.

    If people want me to join their religion, don't send a salesman. I'll make up my own mind, thank you.

    20 Feb 2006, 10:31

  45. Starbuck

    Well said, Visiting Atheist.

    The thing that really narks me in discussions such as this is when religious people start quoting their scriptures at you.

    C'mon, get with it people. These things mean nothing! (In my humblest of opinion…)

    Your faith is just a by-product psychological evolution, the need to find patterns where no exist essential in humanity's development, the primitive mind making sense of a strange and confusing world. Because that's where we exist, within our own minds.

    And lets face it, those subscribing to the line of any of the Great Religions are just the victims to centuries of social brainwashing.

    No wonder religion and politics are so intrinsically linked… and no wonder religions are so afraid of evolution…

    20 Feb 2006, 10:56

  46. "And, frankly, the judgement and fireballs bit is what annoys most people. What do religious people think non-believing people are doing wrong?"

    It's not exactly that. Kind of the point is that God (aka Creator of the universe etc) is perfect and holy. And can't stand wrong thought or words or actions.

    We not being perfect, people do this a lot. (In some instances, may I say Christians are especially guilty. Like hypocrisy. But that's a side note.) The result of this wrong everything (I'll call it sin for the sake of shortness) is that we get distanced from God. Merely keeping laws of good behaviour isn't enough because we still fall short.

    Hence (sorry, I really should be doing work so I'm speeding up) Jesus dying on cross, one (perfect) sacrifice for all the crappiness of everyone. Christians think this is just the neatest thing ever. So we like telling people. As well as that, in 'proper' Chrisitianity the needs of the individual are really really important. The Bible constantly tells us to be good to each other, look out for each other, etc. It's just that Christians are still people. So we're still fairly crappy. But honest guv, we are trying (Yeah yeah, sometimes extremely trying :S)

    Course, if you don't believe in God this is all completely academic, but meh. You have your beliefs, I have mine.

    Look, no queues forming. ;)

    20 Feb 2006, 10:58

  47. Visiting Atheist

    Jilll, you said

    Course, if you don't believe in God this is all completely academic, but meh. You have your beliefs, I have mine.

    And I will defend your rights to say that against anyone.

    So, why do so many of your colleagues see the need for evangelism at all. Who's right and who's wrong?

    20 Feb 2006, 11:41

  48. Thorwald

    "...inviting you to come and learn more" – sounds rather similar to evangelism to me, disproving the original point.

    I didn't say that. I said that if you wanted to learn more you could invite him to tell you about his experiences. I'm not running any group meetings but if people want to discuss religion or seek my opinions or wish to be pointed in a scholarly direction, I'm happy to take part.

    bq.
    I understand the harshness of your comment, but if I read stuff like this on the BBC website specifically, what do you expect me to think? Sure, I don't expect every muslim convert to have been bullied into it, especially not in the West, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen at all.

    I'm not sure what you've been reading on the BBC - if you have a link please feel free to share. But your point was essentially that Islam forces people to convert. My point was that Islam itself doesn't force conversion. "There is no compulsion in religion" and I gave you examples of such.

    Leigh

    Id say it means not needing to attribute your moral and ethical standpoint to a "being" telling you so and all the baggage that this entails.

    I'm pretty sure it means not believing in a God. You can believe in a God or in gods and at the same time not derive your moral and ethical standpoints from that God/creator.

    20 Feb 2006, 12:22

  49. Visiting Atheist

    Let me try and explain why it's complicated. Actually, one complication has already appeared from this discussion and that is that everyone sees religion differently. Since you do accept people's beliefs, it should be easier to bring the complication across.

    A while ago I was wondering about heaven: what it exactly entails and how to get there. I learned that the Christian concept is that in heaven you'll be with God in eternal bliss, worshipping Him forever and ever. You'll get there if that's what you're life is directed at, if you've loved God or learned to love Him, if you have accepted Jesus as your saviour and repented your sins. This basically implies that you and I won't end up there [unless we get a change of heart some point in our lives].

    Say you've got a Christian friend like I do, who sees you're living a just and righteous life [kind of derived that from your post, not even saying it is according to Christian morals, it's just that your way of life overlaps with those morals] and then looks at some fellow Christians [like you described: elitist, selfish, clique, what not] and is horrified by the idea that they might end up in heaven whereas you, a friend, will end up somewhere outside the gates. To that friend, it might hurt to know that you won't go to heaven, even though you're living your life so well, and especially since you're their friend. That is enough reason for your friend to try and acquaint you with their faith, discuss it with you, and indeed try and convince you to join, so that you will go to heaven.

    To summarize the complication: there's lots of Christians who aren't living their life according to their religion's morals – then there's lots of non-Christians who are living their lives according to those morals – the former have a good chance of getting into heaven – the latter have no chance for they don't accept God in their lives. You can't change the "rules" and you love God so won't change your belief, so what's left is to try and spread the word and hope that those good people do accept God in their lives.

    20 Feb 2006, 13:34

  50. Hamid

    Extending the quote:

    In Islam missionary work is carried out by inviting you to come and to learn more.

    Is what you said. And that sounds like evangelism. And I might take up on your invitation once my head is cleared from this unknown flu-string induced head-ache. Thanks!

    On my screen the link does show, but here is the address as well:

    link

    I don't think Islam itself forces people to convert. I do think in cases more force is used than a million leaflets could do. That doesn't mean I think Islam is a militant religion, and I definitely don't want other people to think that. What I did want with my comment [12] is that people try and think about what they say before they make such a ridiculous comment [11]. The fact that my own comment was constructed in such a way was because I was 1) stupid and 2) trying to force a reaction out of someone [preferably the original commenter, but your comments are very welcome indeed].

    20 Feb 2006, 13:34

  51. Visiting Atheist

    This thread started off as

    Are Christians at Warwick too pushy with their beliefs?

    Not "Are Christians at Warwick right!"

    The thing is, Thorwald, I'm sorry to say that you're starting to evangelise right here and now in the way that you are explaining that yours is The One True Way and that you have a responsibility to gather in as many souls as possible. I respect your beliefs and I am not trying to shake your faith. There are arguments I can bring out so as to have a damned good go at it! We could turn this around and say see it from the other guy's point of view. Would Christians find it offensive if someone started hassling them and saying there is no God?

    My point is – and this is why it's simple – my choice of belief is my decision, not anyone else's!! University is an opportunity for you to open your mind, examine everything in the world and to draw your own conclusions. Don't take anyone else's word for anything. Be free in your own mind, make your own decisions (if they agree with other people's then, fine, you have someone to explore them with further) and, ultimately, respect other people's freedom of choice to do what you have just done yourself.

    20 Feb 2006, 14:57

  52. I'm on the side of the Atheists here. Its not a case of who's right or wrong, and its not a case of whether any of us will be heading down to the big smoke in the future. As an atheist at warwick, and one who gets very uncomfortable around organised religion, I feel justified in saying 'Yes' they are too pushy! All this saving your neighbour from their sins – its annoying! I live my life by my own moral code, and I don't wish to be accosted by people telling me I'm going to suffer because I don't believe in God. The debate in the boar over the last couple of weeks was very good oon that point – CU people coming in to do peoples washing up? I mean, seriously – its crazy! (ALso, to whoever was saying about the Boar having comerical adverts, I dunno what you call commercial adverts, but charging a grand a term for a quarter page seems pretty comercial to me) Anyway, the point I think most people are trying to make is that people are entitled to thier own opinions, but a lot of Christians think they are also entitled to try to tell others that their point of view is wrong – yet should I go up to a Christian and tell them that they are wrong, I would be accused of religious intolerance, which is an unfair double standard!

    20 Feb 2006, 15:15

  53. Graham

    First off, I think you've misread Thorwald's comments Visiting Atheist – he makes it pretty clear he's talking from a neutral point-of-view.

    Secondly, I think Thorwald makes a fair point – most evangelising Christians probably think what they're doing is actually a good thing.

    This needs a more refined attitude, though. From the descriptions so far, it seems that spreading the word is pretty much a grand philosophical cry of "Watch out for the manhole!". If you think someone is going to fall down a manhole, by all means point it out. But there must be a distinction between (a) people who haven't looked to see if the road is clear, and (b) people who've taken a damn hard look at the road already, thanks. This was the point of the original post – the uncommonly high amount of posters gets quite annoying for those of us in category (b).

    Additionally, I think the general attitude towards kitchen-washing up and TopB tea and biscuits can seem a little naive sometimes. If they really believe that all they want to do is help those poor hapless first years/TopB revellers, then they shouldn't do it with "we're from the Christian Union!" banners (metaphorically – I've never seen them in action). If they want to set up a stall to talk to people about their beliefs fine – but don't pretend you are there to supply tea and biscuits. You're not. I'm a lovely caring person, but there are more important things for me to be doing then supplying our university's members with tea and biscuits after TopB.

    20 Feb 2006, 15:55

  54. And I don't think it is complicated as he thinks. In fact, it's quite simple.

    I thought I'd try and explain why it's complicated. Not why I'd be right. Hence comment 49.

    you're starting to evangelise right here and now

    What am I evangelising for? Nowhere in that comment [49] do I say it's the truth, that it's the one and only way. I explain that it's how I understand certain Christian concepts, and how those concepts in my opinion justify Christian evangelism, exactly in line with this discussion. Throughout the discussion I have thought you respected my beliefs, whatever they may be, and that you weren't trying to shake my faith. Throughout the discussion, I have tried to answer your questions, whether or not they were direct, and especially those concerning my own comments.

    If I've been evanglising then it's mainly to open people's minds for Christian evangelism. I couldn't care less which path of life you choose, but I would prefer it if you could at least try and understand people's reasons for their actions, and how they are inherent in their way of life, before calling them pushy or what not.

    20 Feb 2006, 15:57

  55. Graham

    Try this for a poster?

    link

    20 Feb 2006, 16:01

  56. Visiting Atheist

    Yeah, that's the problem with blogging, isn't it. Sometimes, it's hard to actually 'get' what people are really saying. My problem was that you seemed to be going off topic. Perhaps I didn't say so in the most precise manner. I'm sorry for my choice of words, ok?

    I think that most people actually do understand all the God and Jesus, heaven and hell stuff. And they do understand what Christians are trying to do on their behalf. It's just they've already made up their minds, themselves. Because Christians think they are somehow 'in the know' whereas they think the rest of us are not doesn't make it complicated. We already know.!

    20 Feb 2006, 17:12

  57. Matt

    Exactly. Everything about Christianity is subjective; people are constantly choosing which aspects to follow, and which part not to according to their personality, their up-bringing etc. No-one techically "knows" whether God exists or not; they just think they know. Anyone, no matter what stance they have should ever say"This "X" is missing from your life, come here and be converted." because there is no objective truth. People may retort on this, but this is only a matter of faith.

    The only objective stance here (possibly, feel free to argue on this) is agnosticism, which is what I consider myself part of. I don't know either way, and wouldn't like to say, but given sufficient evidence for a belief, (which frankly I don't think any side has ANYWHERE near the amount of evidence needed to really push one way or another) I would agree with that side.

    Mind you, the Lunchbars are very interesting, and free to, so I definitely recommend them. Having your own viewpoint is of structural importance to who we are and who we identify with, and these can be expressed at these meets.

    However, the general conclusion thus far from this topic is that no-one likes having something shoved in our faces. :P

    Ps: Sorry if this went a bit off track – had to skim read to keep up and may have missed this point being brought up earlier.

    20 Feb 2006, 19:21

  58. Leigh Robinson

    Agreed guys this has gone somewhat off-topic.

    I'm pretty sure it means not believing in a God. You can believe in a God or in gods and at the same time not derive your moral and ethical standpoints from that God/creator.

    Ok it 'means' not believing in a God, but what are the main reasons for belief in a God. I propose that one of the prominent reasons are the moral guidance it brings. Show me one religion that has a creator/God and in which said creator/God does not in someway tell you how to behave.
    I think the bottom line here best highlighted by Graham's analogy:

    If you think someone is going to fall down a manhole, by all means point it out. But there must be a distinction between (a) people who haven't looked to see if the road is clear, and (b) people who've taken a damn hard look at the road already, thanks. This was the point of the original post – the uncommonly high amount of posters gets quite annoying for those of us in category (b).

    Brilliant. Its exactly this for me. I have considered religion (I say religion as to me they are all the 'same') and discounted it as a outdated method to instill a sense of morality and law in now forgotten times.

    Finally,

    a lot of Christians think they are also entitled to try to tell others that their point of view is wrong – yet should I go up to a Christian and tell them that they are wrong, I would be accused of religious intolerance, which is an unfair double standard!

    Yep. Exactly.

    20 Feb 2006, 20:09

  59. Additionally, I think the general attitude towards kitchen-washing up and TopB tea and biscuits can seem a little naive sometimes. If they really believe that all they want to do is help those poor hapless first years/TopB revellers, then they shouldn't do it with "we're from the Christian Union!" banners (metaphorically – I've never seen them in action). If they want to set up a stall to talk to people about their beliefs fine – but don't pretend you are there to supply tea and biscuits. You're not. I'm a lovely caring person, but there are more important things for me to be doing then supplying our university's members with tea and biscuits after TopB.

    The purpose of hot chocolate after Top B and washing up (which was part of a week of talks about Christianity) is just to be friendly. As I understand it, they'll only mention Christianity if they're asked, "so why are you doing this?" or something like that. But if someone doesn't want to talk about religion, they're not going to be forced to. I think that even if they were banned from mentioning Christianity, they'd still do it, because they'd still want to.

    But I've never seen them in action either, so maybe they're out there with a big banner saying, "Believe in Jesus and get a free cup of hot chocolate!".

    21 Feb 2006, 00:49

  60. Visiting Christian

    This is an interesting thread!

    "I think the bottom line here best highlighted by Graham's analogy:

    'If you think someone is going to fall down a manhole, by all means point it out. But there must be a distinction between (a) people who haven't looked to see if the road is clear, and (b) people who've taken a damn hard look at the road already, thanks. This was the point of the original post – the uncommonly high amount of posters gets quite annoying for those of us in category (b).'
    Brilliant. Its exactly this for me. I have considered religion (I say religion as to me they are all the 'same') and discounted it as a outdated method to instill a sense of morality and law in now forgotten times."

    I am happy you have made a decision. In my experiance though the majority of people haven't looked and so are still in catagory (a). Even if there was only 1 person in catagory (a) it would be worth the posters – what kind of person would think otherwise. As to the number of posters… I have been in a number of societies and we have used a number of posters. IF the CU use more than most then surely that is to be expected from a group that feel very passionate?

    "'a lot of Christians think they are also entitled to try to tell others that their point of view is wrong – yet should I go up to a Christian and tell them that they are wrong, I would be accused of religious intolerance, which is an unfair double standard!'
    Yep. Exactly."

    Really? Tried it? Somebody earlier talked about a session where they were invited to question a christian on what he believed, is that shying away from probing questions? You can believe what you like. If you don't want to go to an event, don't. If a christian tells you that you are living your life incorrectly, tell him/her to mind their own business – unless you joined a discussion. If you want to know more about christianity (or any other religion) ask about it, have those discussions. Make up your own mind. Christians want people to think – sure they would be happy if you became christian – but the main thing is to make people think. If you do that and decide yea or nea then fine. Move on. Tell people to leave you alone.

    That doesn't mean they will stop offering you the opportunity to revisit the question. Nor should it.

    21 Feb 2006, 01:10

  61. Leigh Robinson

    Really? Tried it? Somebody earlier talked about a session where they were invited to question a christian on what he believed, is that shying away from probing questions?

    I believe the person who brought this up said himself that the session was utterly useless. Every question was sidestepped with the usual religious fallbacks : faith and scripture – neither of which are very convincing for someone looking for rationally testable reasons (if there are any of these at all)

    21 Feb 2006, 04:16

  62. Visiting Christian

    I never said he would ave the answers to your questions, just that we invite the questions. We don't care if you take a different stance. Questions help us to review our faith just as much as it give the questioner the opportunity to find out more about us.

    21 Feb 2006, 10:12

  63. "So, why do so many of your colleagues see the need for evangelism at all. Who's right and who's wrong?"

    I really should get off this thread. Last thing. Probably.

    The need for evangelism is that, I guess, some people are curious about Christianity. And if they are then we should be helpful and tell them, etc.

    Besides which, even if there is no way on earth someone is going to change their mind, it's still good to get a different perspective anyways.

    There are good ways and bad ways of 'doing' evangelism, has to be said. My general idea atm is that if no one can see any kind of difference in me because of my faith, then that's my problem, not theirs.

    But that doesn't negate what everyone else tries to do. It's just an observation.

    Leigh: Re: rationally testable reasons…does that mean like testing the Bible for historical accuracy, or miracles (for example at the weekend a friend prayed for his friend's leg to be healed and the leg grew about 3 cm in two minutes) or something else entirely or a combination of the above?

    21 Feb 2006, 10:20

  64. CM

    I was actually put off by some of the evangelical stuff when I asked if there was going to be dinosaurs in heaven they said no, it's only for humans! Gutted! What's the point then?!

    21 Feb 2006, 10:21

  65. Visiting Christian

    LOL. I don't know who you are, but I love you. I am going to be chuckling all day.

    21 Feb 2006, 10:29

  66. I for one don't expect religion to be rationally testable. I would ask for well documented evidence, but I'm sure it would only be anecdotal, and I would probably just refuse to believe it anyway.

    I would at least be impressed (though not, I suspect, convinced) by a religion that was logically consistent, which as far as I can tell none are. The only explanation for this I've seen is that 'God works in mysterious ways' which, while not necessarily false, isn't at all helpful. There doesn't seem much practical difference between a God I don't understand and one that doesn't exist at all.

    21 Feb 2006, 10:55

  67. Interested Bystander

    This needs a more refined attitude, though. From the descriptions so far, it seems that spreading the word is pretty much a grand philosophical cry of "Watch out for the manhole!". If you think someone is going to fall down a manhole, by all means point it out. But there must be a distinction between (a) people who haven't looked to see if the road is clear, and (b) people who've taken a damn hard look at the road already, thanks. This was the point of the original post – the uncommonly high amount of posters gets quite annoying for those of us in category (b).

    Very good analogy, and its the position I'd hold on this.

    21 Feb 2006, 12:56

  68. I think the manhole analogy is a good one. And yes, I have tried to tell those who would convert me that I have no interest whatsoever. They're persistent. In fact, I would argue that they actually jeapordise their own cause – I refuse to go to any discussions etc because I can't stand the thought that I will be 'converted' at every turn. I admire people who feel they can go and ask questions – whether or not they get satisfactory answers, but when I say I'm not interested, it means I'm not interested, and I think the biggest problem is that even if we say we're in category B, it gets ignored, and I still get harassed!

    21 Feb 2006, 13:32

  69. Visiting Christian

    In that case kick them in the nether regions. I can understand them caring, but once you have made your decision they shoulld leave you alone.

    I don't think the issue is are there too many fliers/posters – they are simply advertising as any society does. The problem is they wont listen – so walk away. There aren't many places that you have to sit and listen. Unless they are friends. In which case tell them to leave you alone. Thank them for their concern, but ask them to stop it as it is jeopardising your friendship.

    21 Feb 2006, 16:51

  70. Leigh Robinson

    I don't think the issue is are there too many fliers/posters – they are simply advertising as any society does.

    To me though its a little different that simple advertising.
    Advertising a belief system is different to advertising an event, and even less likely to work… Thats what sparked my initial criticism.

    21 Feb 2006, 17:16

  71. The purpose of hot chocolate after Top B and washing up (which was part of a week of talks about Christianity) is just to be friendly. As I understand it, they'll only mention Christianity if they're asked, "so why are you doing this?" or something like that. But if someone doesn't want to talk about religion, they're not going to be forced to. I think that even if they were banned from mentioning Christianity, they'd still do it, because they'd still want to.

    Note that they'll only mention Christianity if asked why they're doing it- because that is why they are doing it, to talk (and convert people to Christianity if possible).

    I had a very good Christian friend who I used to debate to about religion and she used to actually listen to what I said, and answered my questions directly. She was very liberal, and I asked her one day if she thought I was going to Hell. Her response, after much prodding, was "yes" and that it made her very sad and uncomfortable to think about it. I understand why Christians are evangelical, they think they're 'saving' us from an eternity of damnation. She never tried to force it on me though- she respected what I believed and I respected what she thought. Some Christians are just trying to help us, may it be through washing up and giving you hot chocolate (quite transparantly) or thrusting leaflets in your hand. It's still bloody annoying though and I have already chosen what to believe and what not to (I did used to be a Christian but found myself having great trouble with various basic concepts and over time came to realise I didn't believe anymore).

    I didn't think I was going to comment on this thread again, but I'm so bloody opinionated when it comes to religion I just couldn't help myself.

    21 Feb 2006, 20:30

  72. Someone might have said this before, as there are so many comments that I can't be bothered to read, but the best way to make those annoying people who thrust flyers in your face go away is to say 'I'm Jewish'.

    21 Feb 2006, 20:40

  73. I can certainly sympathise with a lot that's been said here and on the other thread (link). There's much about certain types of Christianity which gets up my nose a great deal. Thrusting leaflets in people's faces will almost inevitably annoy them; you might get them to come along to a talk if you're lucky, but it won't endear them to you.

    If you start chatting to some Christians about their faith, you will normally get to one of two barriers to further conversation:-

    1) The Bible is the 'Word of God' (whatever that means), so everything it says is true (with little or no room for interpretation),
    2) If you don't 'accept Jesus as your saviour and let Him into your heart' (whatever that means), then you're an 'unrepentant sinner' and you're going to Hell.

    It was at base these two things, along with a reluctance among many Christians to ask questions which lacked an easy answer, which almost caused me to abandon Christianity.

    And yet, Christianity has brought me great comfort, and even a hint of true contentment, so I'm not quite willing to drop it yet. Of course, this could just be my point of view changing with time and age. There is no way I can prove its beneficial effect on me scientifically, which has caused me no end of brooding since I'm always the first to mock, say, astrology. It has these faults, yet it's a faith, not a certainty, so I'll live with it for now since it seems to have made my life better in such a vast number of ways.

    I think Christians need to change their modus operandi quite significantly. They need to realise that people aren't willing to be told what to believe any more. They need to stop talking a foreign language. They need to engage with others' ideas, and consider uncomfortable questions seriously (why is the Bible such an authority, when it apparently contradicts itself and wasn't finally brought together as a collection of books and letters until the 4th-ish century?). Perhaps then people will be more willing to listen to them.

    But don't write it off completely. Look a little closer, and be sure to question your own assumptions as well.

    22 Feb 2006, 00:34

  74. Graham

    I think Edward's comment draws out the important points really well and, though not a Christian myself, I would certainly concur with most of it.

    …it seems to have made my life better in such a vast number of ways.

    better or good? Depends, I think, on whether you've ever lived without it.

    Look a little closer, and be sure to question your own assumptions as well.

    Definitely.

    22 Feb 2006, 10:40

  75. I believe that there is not harm in putting posters or flyers as long as they are not offensive. You have the choice to read or ignore. I was very ignorance of such things before but it did make me curious that I wanted to find out more. It turned out to be the best choice ive ever made. and yes i dont believe that people should impose their beliefs on anyone, but rather give the opportunity for people to know about it.. so I guess such flyers are harmless. Its good to be open to things and slow to stereotype. I think its about what the heart says and not the head. :)

    23 Feb 2006, 13:34

  76. I think its the matter of being confidence in your belief. If we are confidence enbough we wont feel intimidated by any actions done by the others. I have lots of frens, etheist, muslims, budhists,jewish, hindus.. we all like to engage in discussions about our beliefs and try to understand each other. I will never feel annoyed of intimidated if I see or hear people talking about their beliefs because i've taken the effort to understand theirs and I am confident witrh my own belief based on my personal experiences with my God. Hence, the question about who's wrong or right seems to be rather petty. Living testimonies are more powerful than mere words. :)

    23 Feb 2006, 13:44

  77. This is quite an interesting discussion, though I wish that I had started to read through it before it got to 76 replies!

    Historically I used to get very frustrated about evangelism – its hard to go anywhere without having leaflets shoved at you for things that you don't want, but I used to feel most aggrevied by those given to me from Evangelicals. Why? Because they were the most patronising – they implied that I was missing out on something by not taking it upon myself to believe in Christianity. 'How dare I? ' was almost the way this argument came across to me. I was not happy about it.

    Since then I have had a revelation: and not of the religious kind! I do not expect that I shall ever be a Christian frankly, but I have attempted to publicise what I view as good causes and debates, and this puts me in the same boat as the evangelicals. Its hard, very hard, to convert people's beliefs from one point of view to another. But people, like me with politics, and like the evangelicals with religion will try. We try because we care deeply about something, and it doesn't matter if it annoys some people: others will come along to a meeting and take part because of the publicity.

    Frankly I think this blog entry exemplifies the general apathy that predominates at Warwick. As someone who is moving towards the end of a four year degree: people do seem to be more interested in the latest story lines in hollyoaks than the changes in the world around them. This has been a continual area of disappointment to me throughout my degree. Frankly I wish other campaigning socities had members who were as active and enthusiastic as the Evangelists: I am sure that we would be able to make a genuine and effective impact if this were the case.

    25 Feb 2006, 17:25

  78. Leigh Robinson

    Frankly I wish other campaigning socities had members who were as active and enthusiastic as the Evangelists: I am sure that we would be able to make a genuine and effective impact if this were the case.

    Of course. Though the sad truth of the matter is that no-one really cares about these societies you speak of, now dont get me wrong i'm in no way saying this is right i'm just saying it is as it is. :(

    26 Feb 2006, 06:30

  79. Couldn't agree more. Few people give a damn about anything anymore, beyond Jordan's latest tit-job or Beckham's haircut. It's a pretty pathetic state of affairs, and doesn't bode well for the future.

    26 Feb 2006, 11:26

  80. Atheist Jew

    I'm and atheist Jew who went to a CofE school.
    My experience of "preaching the good news" can be better described as trying to convert people through fear and blackmail.
    They start off by giving you free hot chocolate, and the next thing you know they are telling you the fate of your soul should you choose to continue on your sinful way.

    So you're trying to scare me into joining your religion to save me… fair enough…
    …but then again…

    My impression has always been that people don't try to convert others out of love of their fellow man but rather to gain brownie points with God.
    Basically the converters i meet seem to care only about their mission and any questions you ask are always answered by a ridiculous persona that says things like "trust" and "faith" on an infinate loop.

    Maybe i'm just spouting fire for the sake of getting attention. I love people. I want people to be happy. But the last thing i'm going to do is tell everyone i see that i have a method for achieving this.

    26 Feb 2006, 23:38

  81. Alexander Nicholson

    "I was actually put off by some of the evangelical stuff when I asked if there was going to be dinosaurs in heaven they said no, it's only for humans! Gutted!"

    What about Godzilla? Will Godzilla be in Heaven?

    That's the only reason I'd go to church. Godzilla FTFW.

    I get annoyed by evangelical bullshit as well. I've not had a problem with people telling me I'm going to hell just yet; but I'm totally 'fessing up to being an atheist should one of them cross (lol) me. I really wanna see what happens.

    Interesting that the Satanist poster got torn down. So much for a tolerant Union. If the Navy can accept Satanism, why the greasy poop can't Warwick?

    27 Feb 2006, 02:38

  82. Ben Williams

    Havent read all the comments but my view is the posters do not sway anyones religious opinions, if Christians wish to advertise events do as everyone else does…have a bloody website and spread the word subtly. And for the moment they are just killing trees which is wrong and very un-christian.

    28 Feb 2006, 00:08

  83. Edward Cooper: "Few people give a damn about anything anymore, beyond Jordan's latest tit-job or Beckham's haircut. It's a pretty pathetic state of affairs, and doesn't bode well for the future." I feel exactly the same way. How can people arrive anywhere where they have no sense of direction, other than selfish, materialist and consumerist concerns tugging them in all directions? What happened to the community spirit, shared values, patriotism, the greater good, the interests of society, and responsibility for others?

    02 Mar 2006, 00:56

  84. Ummmm…as a christian, I don't think we do all the leafletting and washing up etc to show that we're better than y'all. it's just that we love y'all and believe that God wants everybody in His family. The bible says many people won't see God, people WILL choose to live their lives their way. Fine, but from what I'm learning the bible teaches that there's only two ways to live on earth – for Him or not. Its simple as that, but I'm learning that at university there's so many theories on life and living, theories that are divorced from action, theories that clearly don't work or only work partially. Until Jesus comes I guess I'm going to unashamedly claim Jesus as Lord of the world! My only hope is that people see past the little things like the leaflets and "wasting trees" etc, to hear the Christian message and choose whether they believe or reject Him.

    03 Mar 2006, 23:08

  85. luke maguire

    maybe the fact that the presence of the word 'jesus' is touching a nerve, suggests that you are feeling uncomfortable or maybe guilty with regards to the way that you live your life. maybe that you know your lifestyle to be erroding your individuality and uniqueness as you conform at the expense of your dignity and self worth. give jesus a go, you'll be suprised/

    04 Mar 2006, 19:08

  86. Bob

    "God wants everybody in His family."

    Everything is about opinions, its just that some people like to think that their opinion is the truth. I think that's what gets to most people; Christians seem smug/superior/pitying towards their non-religious comrades because they think they know the truth.

    04 Mar 2006, 22:08

  87. Maria

    A truth that seems more plausible than any of the other theories out there. I encourage you to try the claims of Christianity out for size, seems most people talk about it without really understanding the truth of it. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" is what the bible says. Go along to a lunchbar in the chaplaincy or something. Challenge people's thoughts, go with an open mind. many say that christians are closed minded but how is that possible in an institute of learning? In a place where in almost every subject you study, what you believe is being openly challenged? You learn at university to make your decisions, to believe or not to believe all you've learned from the bible. I challenge anyone to go along to one of the events the Christian Union puts on and to talk to fellow christian students. challenge them…well, most of them dont mind.

    05 Mar 2006, 23:14

  88. Alex

    Where's the lion pits when you need them, eh?

    07 Mar 2006, 23:34

  89. JD

    IT’S NOT THAT ATHIESTS DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD,IT’S JUST THAT CHRISTIANS DON’T BELIEVE IN ATHIEST.YES.I AM ONE OF THOES MIDDLEMEN.I DON’T CARE EITHER WAY,YOU LIKE ME-I LIKE YOU!LETS JUST GET ON!

    12 Sep 2007, 07:09


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