Why do religious people attempt to persuade others of their beliefs? What are the current objections to the religious practice of proselytizing? Is proselytizing an ethically defensible practice? Are there kinds of proselytizing activities that are ethically questionable?
Elmer John Thiessen responds to questions like these in The Ethics of Evangelism providing a philosophical defense of proselytization, or religious persuasion, as an ethical practice. Thiessen examines and refutes current cultural and academic objections to religious proselytizing and offers a thorough ethics of evangelism.
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Review 1 for The Ethics of Evangelism
A thought provoking book
Date:May 12, 2012
K K Tan
I found the book to be thought provoking, especially as societies get more pluralistic and many are arguing for inclusivism which inevitably means tolerance and tolerance in turns means no one should be evangelising someone who is either from another religion or has no religion. The author points out that this is really being intolerant of Christianity. He argues that there is a moral way to proselytise and there are criteria that one should use to evaluate whether this is so. He stresses the importance of human dignity when proselytising, and warns us to watch out for attempts to apply (unacceptable) coercion whether emotional or otherwise in trying to convert someone. But he argues that there is always a place for persuasion when one proselytises in a moral acceptable way. Not an easy read (as afterall it is a philosophical book), but if one is interested in this topic, it is a worthwhile book to read and ponder hard.