When Did Christians Get Nonbeliever Radar?

October 27, 2009

Also, why hasn’t my software been updated?

Several of my fellow grad students aren’t religious. Some of them are militantly atheist (fair enough), others just non-observant, others completely apathetic. For this they are targets. Now, I don’t think they go around shouting, “I don’t care about this whole God thing!” but somehow they get proselytized to. A lot. It seems that every class I hear a new story about someone asking them about Jesus.

So let’s talk about cold evangelism. I have never seen this work. We live in the West; it just doesn’t seem constructive to go up to someone and say, “Have you considered Jesus?” Most people have heard of the guy. More than that, what exactly are we hoping to accomplish here? I thought this whole Jesus thing needed to be lived, so what purpose, other than being obnoxious, is asking everyone whether or not they’re Christian serving?

Consider me mystified, so please add your two-pence.

Also, I’m still working “The Imaginarium” over in my head. Holy cow.


9 Responses to “When Did Christians Get Nonbeliever Radar?”

  1. Katie said

    “Have you considered Jesus?” sounds like “Have you considered liposuction?”

    Yeah, something really does not set right with me when it comes to “cold evangelism”. There’s probably a time and place for it, and I won’t discount God’s ability to work through such blunt an approach, BUT I really believe the whole point of life is relationship: relationship with God and with each other.

    So basically my head spins over this, too.

  2. Em K said

    I am often afraid to bring up my faith because I don’t want someone to immediately be on the offense because they put me in the same category as a bad experience they had with an overly evangelical Christian on a mission… But, I have found that often when I am trying to not bring up Christianity (even allowing people to think I meant the NWC in Chicago or something), they bring it up themselves and are genuinely interested and WANT to know more… and then I feel stupid for not just saying it in the first place. This has happened a couple times since I’ve moved here, and I realized I try too hard to hide something that shouldn’t be hidden just because there are people out there who aren’t doing a good job being an example of Christian…

  3. I have been in this circumstance many a time since coming here– most people in Norn Iron have never met a Jew as far as I can tell. Not that I’m a prime example.

    In response to Em, I have no problem with Christianity, and I probably DO want to know more about you! But being curious about your beliefs and faith does not mean I want it thrust upon me.

    When people cannot SHARE information, a two-way street, it becomes evangelist and frankly disrespectful. When there is space for a conversation and discussion about where we both come from: I’m in. When my background is viewed as lower or backwards or something that should be fixed, please take your views elsewhere.

  4. Allegra said

    Oddly enough, I rarely have people come to me and try to shove religion in my face. Perhaps I am scary looking (I do regularly wear skyscraper boots, ridiculous tights and have a facial piercing….).

    Actually, I’ve suprrised quite a few people when I “came out” (so to say) as a non-Christian.

  5. christophermahlon said

    I kid you not, there is a “Consider Christ” ad up on buses here in the city. It says:
    “In a world lacking Certainty, Direction, Hope consider Christ.”

    I have to say, Jesus doesn’t really give me certainty or direction. Mostly just hope.

  6. Allegra said

    Is that in Des Moines? If so, that peeves me that those are still up but the ads that said something like “Don’t believe in God? you’re not alone” where pulled for being offensive.

    • christophermahlon said

      No, the ones I’m talking about are in Belfast, although I think the ones in Des Moines got put back up after some free speech activists protested. And good for them. There are also plenty of counter “You don’t need God” things up here, too.

  7. Tyler said

    1. I agree that cold evangelism is unfruitful because it is cold. But what about warm evangelism to strangers? The witness of scripture testifies that Jesus practiced warm evangelism to strangers and so did all of his followers.

    2. @Chris – RE:”I thought this whole Jesus thing needed to be lived” – you are wise in stating this because in one sense our lives are changed by our relationship with Jesus and we do new things and stop doing old things…but i the core of Jesus’ message is not about doing but about being. ultimately it’s not about us doing anything but about looking to the only One (Jesus) who has done everything — work completed is always better than work left undone. in Jesus our salvation (whatever that is) “is finished” — he has SAT DOWN (resting/job done) at the right hand of God the father. Meaning: our lives are certainly transformed in and through Jesus and in one sense “this Jesus thing is meant to be lived” but it’s about being more like him not doing more like him. beautiful elixir of life–my Jesus–how sweet you are–gospel indeed!

  8. christophermahlon said


    As to 1.) I see where you’re going with this, and I agree; Christians *should* evangelize like Jesus, but I think that kind of evangelism would require a reboot for a lot of Christians. When I look back through the Gospels, I find that most of the time when Jesus actually talked through a theological point the people he was with brought it up first and asked him about it. He wasn’t running up to the rich young ruler and screaming at him to sell his possessions; he responded to a question from the guy. When he wasn’t talking theological points with people, he tended to avoid bringing God into the conversation until the other person opened the opportunity. I don’t think this was due to any timidity in talking about God; I think Jesus knew most people knew he was a Rabbi, and what’s the use bringing God into a non-theological situation until the other person indicates a willingness to take the conversation in that direction?

    Am I making sense here?

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