An interesting point of view from someone who believes in the concepts of "truths" and not Truth -- not an uncommon position today.
I believe him to be misreading the Zaccheus passage. There is quite a bit of eisegesis on this fellow's part in assuming his theme in the passage rather than finding it there. Christ always converted people to Himself, not to a better form of their own religion. The pattern is consistent throughout each of the gospels. It seems this man places his faith in tradition (this is the way things have always been done here at BU) and in epistemological relativism (it is mostly unstated that it is a given that each religion is a right choice and that there are no wrong choices or misunderstandings in the area of Truth). Exclusivism sounds pejorative and downright feisty (and sadly, some of its adherents can be). But this kind of pattern is reinforced throughout the rest of life. Chemists must be exclusivists -- they must (in love, and as kindly as possible) communicate to others what they have learned -- that some combinations of chemicals are poisonous and some are beneficial. If they act like it is fine for people to drink out of jars with skulls and crossbones on them, they are unloving, no matter how harsh they may seem. Similarly, people who are drowning often fight those trying to save them. Also, we cannot assume this kind of relativism in the courtroom, for instance, or every testimony would be taken as true, no matter the contradictions apparent in them.
Marcia, I like to think of "proselytizing" (not a word I use) like this, and I don't mean to be sacrilegious:
Sharing revealed truth with others is like an alley-oop in basketball. I try to throw the "basketball" up in the best way possible, gently where necessary, forcefully where necessary, always in as best a direction as I know how. But the basketball is not going in because of me -- I am not going to convince anyone on my own of such a foundational issue as the direction of the soul. It is up to God whether he wants to "dunk" the basketball and persuade someone's heart of the truth of what I share with them. The appropriate job of the Christian is the speak the truth in love (as truthful as he knows how to be, and as loving as he knows how to be -- and both are necessary). But it is God who persuades the heart. No emotional Crusades, no bitter wrangling. Just firm, sincere, but pleasant sharing of the light one has been given.
How does that sound?
>>> [log in to unmask] 11/07/04 11:25AM >>>
This is in response to Will's post about his friend who was unhappy
being approached on the street by those wishing to "save her," as I
think the phrase goes. Will told her and us that proselytizing showed
love. Another point of view can be found to the Boston University
website. Conversion and the role of proselytizing are part of the
Protestant sermon of Oct 31: