Conversion & Proselytization: A Common Theme Across Religions

Christianity

“Yes, I do convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu, a better Christian, a better Catholic, a better Sikh, a better Muslim. When you have found God, it’s up to you to do with him what you want.”
Mother Teresa, Christian saint

Islam

“There is no compulsion in religion: true guidance has become distinct from error, so whoever rejects false gods and believes in God has grasped the firmest hand-hold, one that will never break. God is all hearing and all knowing.”

Judaism

“ ‘And the Levite[…]and the proselyte shall come’ (Deut. 14:29). Moses spoke up to the Holy One: Is a proselyte as important to You as a Levite? God replied: He is more important to Me, since he became a proselyte for My sake […]. But this one came on his own. He is therefore deemed by Me the equal of an Israelite, even of a Levite.”

Baha’i

“It is true that Bahá’u’lláh lays on every Bahá’í the duty to teach His Faith. At the same time, however, we are forbidden to proselytize, so it is important for all believers to understand the difference between teaching and proselytizing […] Proselytizing implies bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone to change his Faith. It is also usually understood to imply the making of threats or the offering of material benefits as an inducement to conversion.”

Hinduism

“I do not want you to become a Hindu. But I do want you to become a better Christian by absorbing all that may be good in Hinduism and that you may not find in the same measure or not at all in the Christian teaching.”
— Mahatma Gandhi, acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation

Buddhism

“Dogen-zenji said, ‘When you say something to someone, he may not accept it, but do not try to make him understand it intellectually. Do not argue with him; just listen to his objections until he himself finds something wrong with them.’”

Daoism

“The great man shows his greatness by combining all the common aspects of humanity. So, when ideas come to him from outside, he can receive them but does not cling to them. Likewise, when he brings forth some idea from within himself, they are like guides to those around but they do not seek to dominate.”

Confucianism

“To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others; and not to revenge unreasonable conduct — this is the energy of southern regions, and the good man makes it his study.”

Modern Philosophy and Theology

“Conversion is in its essence a normal adolescent phenomenon, incidental to the passage from the child’s small universe to the wider intellectual and spiritual life of maturity”

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Universal Enlightenment & Flourishing

Universal Enlightenment & Flourishing

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