I don’t mind when poeple try to convert me.
I’ve had a number of conversations recently with people of all different faiths, it made me think a lot about my attitude towards other religions back when I first started practising Paganism. My outlook has completely changed over the years.
I was recently talking to a Christian who said that they got annoyed when they saw other Christians trying to convert other people. I didn’t quite understand where he was coming from.
Christianity is a religion strongly associated with proselytism, the Bible encourages its followers to go out and convert those around them. They don’t do this out of hatred, but out of love. If someone believes in Heaven and Hell then their attempts at converting me aren’t selfish, they’re because they don’t want me to suffer through eternal damnation.
If you’re a Christian, or a member of another proselytising faith, and you try to convert me, I’m not going to be offended. I won’t change my views or my faith; my beliefs run as strongly as yours, but I won’t get aggressive or think any less of you.
It can be really hard to take when someone starts to pick apart and question your faith; it sometimes feels like they’re insulting you in the worst way by believing that anything they say could break your love for your Gods. However, that preaching is probably an integral part of their belief system.
I’m very luck in that neither my partner, nor any of my close friends are particularly religious, I would like to think that constantly being around someone who was trying to change my belief system would be something that I could deal with; but I’m not so sure. I know that if my partner was a strong and devout Christian we would butt heads constantly.
Time and maturity help to give us patience. It’s allowed me to get to a point where I can happily listen to others talk about their faith and even attempt to sway me to it. I think there is a point where it could over-shadow a relationship, but I hope I either never have to tackle that, or grow even more patient and wise by the time it comes around.
I take my hat off to the interfaith couples out there, it can’t be easy to have someone who you love so much unable to understand such a big part of your life.
I’m secure and happy in my faith, someone else’s opinion of it doesn’t factor in. When I was younger I saw it as disrespectful and an insult, and yes, that is still the knee-jerk reaction that I sometimes have, but overall I can deal with it.
I think that Pagans can be quite touchy when they come into contact with Christians; I mean, you can understand why, but at the same time it doesn’t help the image of our community. If I want someone to respect my faith then I have to respect that, and if their faith tells them to proselytise, then I have to be the bigger person and deal with it.
’til next time,