A lot of people have different beliefs about this. I know Christians who believe that it is the duty of any good Christian to convert others, because otherwise the person will go to hell and it is not right to enjoy heaven when you know that you didn’t do all you can to convert others. As annoying as these people can be, I can’t help but feel some level of respect for them. They are doing what they believe is right, and they truly want what is best for the people that they are trying to convert.
Other Christians that I know believe that it is not their right to tell others what to believe, so they should not attempt to convert others. They also tend to be the type that believes that non-Christians aren’t necessarily destined for hell. I can understand their view too. Like I said before, the converting type tends to be more annoying, and people do have the right to believe what they want (though we don’t always have the right to act on said beliefs). I also like this version of the Christian god a lot better. But this version doesn’t seem to fit the biblical description as well as the god that will send non-believers to hell does.
The atheists that I know have a similar debate. Some atheists believe that we should go out and convert others. This view tends to come from the belief that religion is harmful. If we convince people that there is no god(s), then we can eventually get rid of religion and the abuses that come with it.
The atheists that disagree with conversion tend to have, again, a live and let live mentality. They tend to feel that it is not their right to tell people what to believe and only worry about religion when someone causes harm in the name of their religion.
Personally, I don’t know which side I agree with most. I agree that institutionalized religion has done a lot of harm, and I agree that a lot of religious people have done terrible things in the name of religion. But I also believe that most religious people have not caused harm and never will. I don’t believe that getting rid of religion will solve the problem either. If religion disappears, then people will just find other ways to convince people to do immoral things, and they will find other ways to excuse their actions. The people who want to do harm will continue to do so, they’ll just do it in the name of something else. So, on the one hand, I understand the wish to convert people. But on the other hand, I fear it’ll do more harm than good.
What are your thoughts on the issue? Why should we go out to convert people? Why should we not?