10 Reasons It’s Wrong to Evangelize in the Workplace

Tim

If you are a Christian evangelizing in the workplace, you are:

1. A bad employee. Unless part of your job description reads, “Evangelize to your co-workers,” you are effectively stealing from your employer when you spend company time doing that. Worse, you are making your employer vulnerable to all kinds of trouble it does not want. As one Human Resources expert succinctly put it: “Religion, like politics, is a workplace topic that is guaranteed to generate an HR shit storm.” Show your employer some real Christian love by ceasing to evangelize at your workplace.

2. Violating Jesus’ Great Commandment. Jesus said that the greatest law of all—what he himself called the Great Commandment—was to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Trying to convert a coworker isn’t loving them; it’s disrespecting them, since it’s asserting that you know better than they do what’s best for them. And a love without respect (and remember, we’re talking about your peers here) is no love at all. At best it’s patronizing.

3. Violating Jesus’ Great Commandment again. The odds are outstanding that once a co-worker becomes aware that you’re itching to evangelize them, they’ll start avoiding you like the plague. And that guarantees that you will fall out of relationship with them. And that means that you will no longer be able to in any real way love them, since you can’t love someone with whom you have no relationship at all. Thus did you blantantly violate the Great Commandment.

4. Being wildly condescending. Fueling your will to evangelize is the conviction that your spiritual life is better—richer, more rewarding, truer—than is your co-worker’s. But you have no right to in any way say or communicate that. Unless you have taken the time to become very good friends with the co-worker you’re endeavoring to convert (and if you have, then why are you having this conversation at work?), you don’t know them. You don’t know the full extent of what they believe, or why, or how they came to their beliefs, or what those beliefs have meant to them in their life. You have no idea what their spiritual life means to them. But you can bet they have one—or serious ideas about why they don’t. And you can bet that their beliefs and convictions mean every bit as much to them as yours do to you. Respect that. Learn from it, even.

5. Out of order. Evangelizing Christians are fond of saying that they’re “witnessing” to others. What they forget, however, is that the entire point of being a witness is to answer questions when asked. And only when asked.

6. Wasting your time. Evangelizing in the workplace is like evangelizing anywhere else: it doesn’t work. Churches consistently rank evangelism and outreach as their top priority. In the few minutes I tried I couldn’t find a more recent statistic, but a 2002 report among Protestant pastors indicated that in that year Christian churches would raise and spend more than FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS on domestic ministry.  Yet today America is less Christian than ever. This is failure on an epic level.

7. Being exceptionally anachronistic. The whole idea of evangelizing is grounded in what men (not, notably, as in the case of the Great Commandment, Jesus) decided to call The Great Commission, which is when Jesus tells his disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations”—to get out there, in other words, and evangelize. But Jesus directed his disciples to do that at a time when just about nobody in the world had heard of him. Of course his crew had to get out there and spread the word about him. And they did! Which is awesome! It’s why you yourself today have heard of Jesus and Christianity. It’s why all of your co-workers have, too. Mission accomplished! You can now feel absolutely, 100% free to take fulfilling the Great Commission off your to-do list—and put back on top of that list, where it belongs, fulfilling the Great Commandment.

8. Ego tripping. There’s not a person in the world who doesn’t get off expounding to others about why they should believe the exact same things they themselves do. It’s called an ego rush. Stop getting yours at the expense of your co-workers and your employers.

9. Being emotionally dishonest. When you go into a conversation with an agenda for how that conversation should go, you’re not being emotionally honest. You’re not being real, spontaneous, open, vulnerable. You’re not truly engaging with the other person, because at the very least you’re not listening to them. What you’re doing when “evangelizing” isn’t a real conversation. It’s a sales pitch.

10. Putting yourself ahead of God. Bringing people to God is God’s job, not yours. God told you what your job is: to love others. Do your job, well-meaning Christian friend, and stop interfering with God’s. I’m sure God would appreciate that, as, most certainly, would your co-workers.


To read Bill Peel’s first post in our three-post debate—the post of his to which on Monday I’ll be posting my rebuttal—go here. [UPDATE: I just read Bill’s piece. I don’t think he said anything I don’t completely agree with. So that’s … not what I thought was going to happen. Lamest debate ever? You be the judge! But yes. Obviously. Although … I could see this being kinda fun, actually. We’ll see. Stay tuned!]


Photo from my friend Tim Hornor and Haynes Brooke’s almost deviously addictive webseries Think Tank.

 

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About John Shore
  • Owengirl

    And…regarding #1…if you work in any form of government, like I do, there’s that pesky church and state matter.

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    Yeah, that’s such a strong point. In one of the drafts of this piece I referred to the whole Church and State thing, but … somehow lost it along the way. Maybe I’ll go back and jam it into the “Bad employee” passage. Anyway, you’re right, for sure. Thank you.

  • Melanie D.

    There is also the issue of proselytizing in the military, which I’ve read is rampant.

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    25 years ago, my then-husband joined the Army and became a chaplain’s assistant specifically because the recruiter had told him how wonderfully welcoming the military was of his style of “turn or burn” evangelism. And the recruiter was right. That place was like a militarized Sunday School with a liquor store next door: all Bubba Jesus, all the time. He just loved being there; it was like his own personal mission field, and he referred to it as such many times. I’m quite certain the encouragement he got from his similarly-minded leaders had a lot to do with the meltdown of our mixed-faith marriage.

    I hear the culture has only gotten worse since then. It’s hard even to imagine it worse than I saw it, but that’s what I’ve heard.

  • John Clemens

    I had a boss like that once in San Francisco. And I DID work in the Federal Government! I always found it to be similar to sexual harassment but more technically like workplace bullying. He was a blond haired marshmallow and supposedly a Buddhist “convert.” Was taking every opportunity to declare his faith and berate Christians. He took it up a notch when he figured out I was from the Bible Belt even though I hadn’t lived there in 30 years. None of us ever brought up religion but him.

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    Man, that is just so … wrong. And awkward. And … ugh. Bad.

  • Guy Norred

    Re your update: agreed (nothing I see to disagree with on the other side) and agreed (pretty lame debate). Oh, well……

  • Andy

    Great article, as always.

    I kinda hope that one of the rebuttal articles is basically “We agree. Guess the debate’s over.”

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    Oh, man. I know. Or I have another idea I might have some fun with.

  • Ashley Cohea

    Can’t wait to read it!

  • Andy Vloedman

    I would agree that the fact that the King of Zing and Dean of Redeem agree on the appropriate way to share your faith in the workplace in the first exchange doesn’t bode well for a fiery debate. I do think there is a point worth noting and an interesting question that is raised. The fact that the 2 of you who were presumably chosen by folks who thought you represented opposite sides , imagine their reaction to this first exchange, agree on how we should share our faith is significant and worth noting. The question raised is if this practice, evangelizing in the workplace, is so prevalent it merited a debate and neither of you support it who are these folks doing it.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Ok…I’m a little disappointed. Where are the folks insisting that you’re leading people to hell because you’re not making exclusive truth claims?

  • BarbaraR

    They’re at work, of course!

  • Ashley Cohea

    I love the idea of a debate like this. I also love that it isn’t really a debate at all (at least so far).

  • Ben P

    If you claim the salvation of the Christ as truth then wouldn’t you want that for everyone who doesn’t have it? Yes I think evangelism could be handled in a very poor manner, but I believe God uses His followers to bring people to Him. This can definitely be done by sharing, but I feel like sometimes that isn’t enough. If we are following the Greatest Commandment then by loving others we should want the best for them. Evangelizing can be done in a loving way, and it should be done appropriately. Even at work.

  • BarbaraR

    God can handle it without anyone’s help. I am not so egotistical that I think I know what’s best for everyone else.

  • Ben P

    But isn’t the gospel of Christ the best? I don’t think it is right to have an arrogant mindset that you will save everyone in the office. It is obviously God who saves. I don’t see an issue with talking in about it. If someone is already a Christian then that’s great, something you have in common. There’s a difference between bothering someone and humbly discussing it.

  • BarbaraR

    The best?

    I can’t even wrap my mind around “the best” when it comes to a faith. To me, that is incredibly arrogant. “Jesus kicks Buddha’s butt! The Bible beats the Bhagavad Gita! We’re number one! Neener neener!”

    I do not believe that one needs to be a Christian in order to find salvation or contentment or favor with God. If God wants to appear as Brahma or Allah or the Divine Mystery to someone, that is good enough for me – or if they choose to not believe in a god at all, I respect that and assume they are intelligent enough to have made their own decisions.

  • Ben P

    A Christian believes that the gospel is universal truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6).

    If other religions are equally viable options for salvation then Jesus suffering and dying on the cross is kind of pointless. Plurality is arrogant in assuming all truths are equal. This is like highlighting every page of a book. Christians can say that the gospel is the universal truth and not be ignorant or intolerant because Jesus himself said it.

    Christians aren’t the ones leading people to God, God can do that, but a true Christian should want to share the great news of Christ. They should share it lovingly and humbly no matter what setting they are in.

  • BarbaraR

    This Christian doesn’t agree. You may do and believe whatever you wish, but the words,” a true Christian should….” puts you in the position of claiming to know exactly what determines a Christian – and following that, who is and isn’t a Christian. You do not speak for me.

  • Ben P

    I mean no offense and apologize if my wording offended you in any way. I only claim to know what the Bible tells me. As Proverbs 3:5-6 tells me to lean on God’s own understanding and not my own conclusions.

  • BarbaraR

    The Bible is not a rule book. If you want to use it as one, fine and dandy, but not everyone agrees with every interpretation, and I certainly do not take it at face value. A binary viewpoint (“it has to be all this way; if it isn’t, then it’s all useless”) is mentally crippling.

  • Ben P

    But if one part of the Bible is wrong then how can you trust any of it? The Bible does not have the direct answer to everything, but it does answer matters of God and Christ. Sure some things are difficult to interpret, but many conclusions concerning orthodoxy are clear.

  • BarbaraR

    And that is what I mean by a binary viewpoint.

    The Bible is a book of history, poetry, allegory, personal letters, visions, and memories written many years after the fact. It has become an object of worship itself rather than its subject. People absolutely lose their shit altogether when historical findings or scholarship suggest that some of it is inaccurate, or new writings have been discovered that contradict it. The Bible is the venerated object and it has supplanted a personal relationship with God as a litmus test for one’s faith or lack of same.

    And one thing I know for sure: it is anything but clear.

    But if you believe differently, that’s okay with me.

  • Ben P

    I hold strongly to 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 can also be interpreted in a number of ways. Plus which, when the author of 2 Timothy speaks of *all Scripture*, he probably did not have all 66 books we have today, since the Bible as we know it did not come together until much later. If it was Paul writing, he was probably talking about the Hebrew Scriptures/Tanakh/Old Testament. Paul wrote before any of the Gospels came into existence.

    Some of the differences in interpretation rest on how the key word in 3:16 is translated. The word in Greek is *theopneustos*, and it contains in it a form of *pneuma*, which can mean “Spirit,” or “wind,” or “breath.” Inerrantists tend to translate it as “God-breathed,” which supports their understanding of every word of Scripture coming directly from the mouth of God. Others might translate it as the New Revised Standard Version and Common English Bible do: “inspired by God.” That translation does not require inerrancy. God inspired the people who told the stories, the people who eventually wrote them down, the people who wrote letters to one another that eventually found their way into the New Testament, the people who had visions, and eventually the people who did the copying and translating–as well as those of us who study, teach, and preach the texts. But no human being and no human endeavor is or can ever be inerrant.

  • Ben P

    Even if it is God inspired? Isn’t the Bible really God’s endeavor? Since it is His story, right?

  • Sharla Hulsey

    First of all, the entire Bible is not a *story* in the strictest sense of the word. There are stories in there, but there are also letters, laws, poetry, litanies, visions, and other stuff. The Bible is not “God’s story.” It’s a record of the experiences of God’s people trying to live as God’s people over a period of centuries. If I honestly thought God wrote every word in the Bible, or dictated every word of the Bible to the people who finally wrote it down, I couldn’t deal with it. The genocide that happens as Israel moves into Canaan would do me in if I truly believed it was God’s will. If, on the other hand, I see it as a record of God’s people doing something *they thought* was God’s will, I can wrestle with it.

    “God inspired” is not the same as “God dictated.”

  • Ben P

    Then we agree to disagree it seems.

  • Chris

    Oh, for pity’s sake… It’s only a bloody book… or a collection of old books.

    Get a grip of yourselves. Learn to live your own lives… not some restrictive existence dictated by a bunch of power junkies that only feel good if they’re telling others how to live their lives.

  • BarbaraR

    Hey Chris… You’re on a page of people who do, in their varying ways, believe in that book. We try to be respectful of that, even when we disagree with their interpretation. No one here is telling you to believe in it at all, or in anything/anyone. There are numerous atheists, agnostics, and myriad other folks who hang out here without flinging insults. We would appreciate the same courtesy from you. Thanks.

  • Chris

    I’m sorry, Barbara, if my statement of fact offends you. It wasn’t intended that way and again, I apologise. (Perhaps your irony detector needs adjusting)
    However, if you read most of the comments posted by believers about the Bible from an outside perspective, they do look kind of ‘silly’.
    Would anyone other than kids get so uppity about people pointing out that ‘The Gruffalo’ wasn’t a true story, or that ‘Harry Potter’ was only a character in a book?… No, of course not. So why should this book of stories be any different?

  • BarbaraR

    I am asking you to be respectful of different beliefs. No one here is mocking or infantilzing your beliefs or lack or same, whether we agree with them or not. Calling your beliefs “statement of fact” does not make them any more or less valid than the other beliefs here.

    This is not about whether books or beliefs are true; it is about maintaining civility. If you don’t agree with the majority of posters here, that is fine, but calling others “silly” is not conductive to discussion and may get you booted.

    The internet is a large place and there are places where your views are welcome, but it is pointless to come to a religious forum to mock others – unless you are here only to stir the pot. It won’t convert anyone to your point of view.

  • Chris

    Barbara… The ‘fact’ that I was stating, was that it is a collection of old books. What you think/know/believe about those ‘old books’ is immaterial. The fact is that they are still ‘old books’.

    I wasn’t calling the posters themselves silly… I was simply stating that when viewed from an outside perspective, the posts they posted looked a little ‘silly’ and poorly considered.
    If they want to make a point, or defend something that they believe to be true, they need to use a good solid argument.
    Just saying, or implying, that the Bible’s true because it’s the Bible is no different than saying that the Brer Rabbit story must be true because I read it once in a book.

    I’m sorry again if this offends you, but I think I’m a lot more reasoned and polite than the religious trolls that frequently post on other fora, and certainly I’m less offensive than many of the fundamentalist mouthpieces that seem to infest the media in America.
    Those people are only too happy to espouse hatred and damnation towards their fellow man, don’t you agree?

  • BarbaraR

    I am not offended. You may twist words however it pleases you, but the fact remains: if you’re here to merely stir the pot, which it appears you are, you’ll get booted as surely as all the other trolls.
    It’s 2:05 AM here and I have had enough.

  • Chris

    The nature of debating is to throw things into the metaphorical pot and of course any pot needs stirring.

    If differing opinions weren’t aired, the debate would be short lived and extremely boring because everyone would post the same thing.

  • Ben P

    The point you and many seem to miss is the importance of faith. Faith is believing in something even if it hasn’t been proven. If that sounds dumb to you that’s fine. The Bible is my explanation of the legitimacy of my faith because I believe it is sufficient. I don’t need to justify my faith to anyone because it doesn’t come from my own reasoning.

  • Ben P

    Isn’t your comment attempting to tell me how to live my life?

  • Chris

    “Isn’t your comment attempting to tell me how to live my life?”

    Maybe, Ben… but isn’t that exactly what christians, and indeed all the other proselytising religions, have been doing for countless centuries?

  • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

    If someone asks you about your faith, then go ahead and share. But just be yourself. Don’t try to convert anyone. They may just be curious and interested in getting to know you–not looking for some kind of big answer to life. You don’t need to “save” anyone. That’s God’s job. You get to just show love.

  • RockyMissouri

    Gross.!!

  • Lookingup73

    The problem is that you think if people are not going around with “Jesus is my personal lord and saviour” on their lips every hour of the day, that they somehow haven’t found Him. Leave folks alone – you never know what their beliefs are.

  • Barbara

    Mr. P, it is very awkward when a co-worker brings up the topic of religion in the workplace. As a non-believer I struggle to find a response that won’t “out” me when I can’t know how that knowledge might negatively affect my work relationships and prospects. I don’t want my co-workers to love me; being treated with fairness, kindness and respect is enough.

  • Timothy Weston

    How about an article on Christians being evangelized by other Christians?

  • lorasinger

    Evangeleists are doing re-run after re-run of the same old story. There is a website called ex-Christian.com. Much more interesting.

  • Jerry Lynch

    Spinning a version of what Francis had to say on this matter.

    This will be seen as boast, and maybe there is something in that observation, but it is meant to be illustrative only. I work at a small, local TV station. Almost everyday a fellow worker and I go to a nearby supermarket cafe for lunch. After about six months of this, within a day of each other, the manager and a worker asked us some personal questions. After a bit of chitchat by both, separately, they got to the point: are we religious or what organization do we belong to? We looked at each other and then answered together “We’re Christians.” Same response by both: “Oh, really.” And then they rang up our order.

    Perhaps a month passed before the manager asked us to speak privately. “My whole staff talks about you two guys, almost constantly,” he started. “Both of you have helped several of them with various difficulties, such as old Thelma’s computer problems. You go out of your way to be helpful and are always upbeat and appear genuinely helpful, to really care.” Another exchanged look with Vic, feeling a little embarrassed. Then this body-slam: “Why don’t you be bold for Christ and witness as a true believer! You have ten easy converts if you did.” He then confessed he had been “working on” his employees without success for their conversion for some time.

    I was speechless and Vic looked angry. He was ready to say something and then this calm came over him. “They come first,” is all he said. And I got it! A simple and genuine concern for the well-being of our neighbor is the love of Christ. I had never verbalized this before. It is not a mission but a lifestyle. Or otherwise it can become a sports event with a tally of “saved souls,” a pyramid scheme for a Rapture flight, a gimmick for recruits, or just an old-fashioned ego trip. Let it be God’s love, not my agenda. As you side, God changes hearts. Love is hearing Christ.

  • Lookingup73

    Evangelism in the workplace is obviously wrong. It can be subtle however. At my job when I first started someone sent me an email asking for certain documents. Their signature had some quote saying all nonbelievers and sinners were doomed to hell with a gif of satan. That is wrong. I did not and would not complain about it unless the person approached me in person with such nonsense. But that is an example of a subtle form of evangelism.

    At the core of evangelizing is arrogance – My way is better than your way and once you know my way you will be happier and saved. It has never been a good thing, and it has never been done in a good way – from the apostles to now.

  • Fred the Barbarian

    A quote saying all nonbelievers and sinners were doomed to hell with a gif of satan is a lot of things, but subtle it ain’t.

  • Lookingup73

    Good point LOL. I guess I mean subtle since he wasn’t “speaking” to me! At my old employer – private sector – you couldn’t put ANYTHING below your signature. I have had many more “in your face” conversations. Like my co-worker who saw my partner’s picture on my desk and told me how she doesn’t agree with my lifestyle choice BECAUSE she accepts J.C. as her personal lord and savior. Said all of this with a smile too! I just smiled back and said I didn’t agree with her opinion, but had nothing against her lifestyle choice to believe in J.C.

  • Fred the Barbarian

    You are a much nicer person than I am.

  • RockyMissouri

    Sorry, that you have to endure such things..

  • Lookingup73

    Oh thanks for the sympathy – it was not all that bad – I have a rough hide and can give back pretty good :) But thank you!

  • Mar Komus

    This is STRONGLY worded on the whole “evangelize” premise, so I want to address the “sharing” side. It is ALWAYS appropriate to share. However, to do so with tact and stay on one’s task at work is one of those balancing acts of life.

    My own guidelines for sharing: 1) answer questions briefly–if you know a good, brief answer. If not, then one might say, “Oh…well…uh…that’s one of those let’s-do-lunch-or-get-a-cup-of-coffee questions. You want to go grab a cup of joe or a bite to eat or something after work?” Make sure you’re not slacking anymore than the normal ebb and flow of a work day

    2) Break time is a perfect time to answer questions slightly more fully–so long as you’re both on break

    3) Be respectful. Most questions are really tests to build rapport. You have to build rapport to speak more deeply later

    4) Be honest. If you don’t know, just say, “Wow…I really don’t have an answer for you about that at the moment. I could get back to you on it, though, at another time.” But follow up! Do your due diligence and don’t use that line as a cop out.

    5) Avoid the “us vs them” mentality. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”

    6) Be careful about how you address scientific points (that goes for both camps). Popular science and popular Christianity are founded on two different worldviews. Listening to evolutionists argue against scripture is about as grating on my nerves as Christians arguing against scientific journals. Let’s face it: both schools of thought are ever evolving in their understandings of their subject matters. If we would realize, much as Galileo did, that scripture rightly understood and science rightly understood will yield harmony and not disparity, we’d probably be better off because we’d be seeking common ground.

    7) Be careful about how you address hot button social issues. “Speak the truth in love,” but realize that sometimes, no matter what, someone just might be out to get you fired. And sometimes you have to let that happen.

    That’s all I can think of right now.

    OH…and that’s for “sharing”–not evangelizing.

  • nick.gotts

    If we would realize, much as Galileo did, that scripture rightly
    understood and science rightly understood will yield harmony and not
    disparity

    Complete tosh, of course. Much of the Bible does describe the structure and functioning of the universe – and when it does, it is almost invariably wrong.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    “Of course”? The Bible is not a science book, so Scripture *rightly understood* is not to be used as a science book. The cosmology described in the creation stories and elsewhere in the Bible is what was commonly understood in the Ancient Near East. We know otherwise. So we can set that cosmology aside, and look for the truth in the Scripture that has nothing to do with whether its scientific understanding is the same as ours. It is there, but we’ll never find it if we spend all our time and energy arguing about creation vs. evolution, what happened to the “dome” over the earth, etc.

  • nick.gotts

    we can set that cosmology aside

    But that view has only been adopted since it became clear to all but the invincibly ignorant that the Bible’s cosmology is wrong. But so is much of its history, and much of its morality is repulsive and anti-human.

    look for the truth in the Scripture that has nothing to do with whether its scientific understanding is the same as ours. It is there

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    I don’t know that you can apply that kind of debate rule to a discussion of Scripture. The main thing that makes fundamentalists and progressives, atheists and believers talk past one another is the insistence on the one hand that everything in the Bible ought to be provable by science or logic, and the realization on the other that a huge amount of what’s in the Bible cannot be proven that way. If “truth” is assumed to be the same as “factuality,” then the Bible is worthless. Is there another way to think about “truth”?

  • nick.gotts

    Not a useful one. Even if you’re talking about the insights about people to be found in literature, they are only real, useful insights if, in fact, people are or behave or think the way the supposed insight indicates. The Bible is not worthless, in that because it has had a great cultural influence, reading it can help our historical understanding, but it is worthless as an ethical guide – as is shown by the fact that people with diametrically opposed ethical views read their own values into it.

  • Mar Komus

    Give an example, please. Where does the Bible “describe the structure and functioning of the universe?”

  • nick.gotts

    Genesis 1.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    And several psalms, and then there’s that weird bit in Joshua where the sun stands still so the Israelites can finish a battle.

  • Mar Komus

    Not going to get snowballed. Stick to one scripture or one avenue.

  • Mar Komus

    That’s a scripture reference. Care to elaborate?

  • nick.gotts

    You’re just being deliberately obtuse. Here it is, with my notes in italics.

    1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    The earth did not come into being until at least 9 billion years after “the beginning”.

    2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    The earth has never been without form, or void.

    3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
    Light predates the earth by at least 9 billion years.

    4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

    5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
    Light predates day and night by at least 9 billion years.

    6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

    7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

    8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

    9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

    Taken together, verses 6-9 provide a picture of a layered universe, with water at the top and bottom. This is not an accurate picture.

    10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.

    11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

    The dry land (“earth”) did not “bring forth” plants; they eveolved from earlier ocean plants, which come into existence through successive symbioses between prokaryotes.

    12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

    13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
    The evolution of land plants took some 3 billion years.

    14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

    15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

    16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

    17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

    18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

    19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
    The sun existed before the earth, as did most of the the stars.

    20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
    Water animals and plants preceded land ones.

    21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged
    fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
    Whales evolved from land animals.

    22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

    23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

    24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
    Land animals evolved before whales.

    25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

    26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
    Many herbs and trees bear nothing edible to human beings.

    30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
    No beast or fowl can eat every herb. Some are obligate carnivores, many are obligate parasites.

    31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
    Presumably he was particularly pleased with the rabies and smallpox viruses, the plague bacillus, the guinea worm…

  • Mar Komus

    OK, let’s assume for the moment that Genesis 1 was written to describe the structure and functioning of the universe.

    1 You assume “the beginning” refers to the Big Bang, I suppose? 9 billion years according to currently standing theories, yes.

    2 By that technical understanding, nothing is ever really formless or void. What’s being spoken of here is the conventional sense in which we can distinguish order from chaos–meaning from meaninglessness. Technically, there’s really no such thing as “color,” is there? It’s a conventional term.

    3 9 billion years according to currently standing scientific theories, yes.

    4-5 Again, according to currently standing theories.

    6-9 A “layered universe” is not an acceptable understanding of what’s being taught here.

    10-11 Again, a currently standing scientific theory is called upon as an infallible source.

    12-13 Assumption of the absolute infallibility of a theory

    14-19 I’m surprised you didn’t go for the glaringly obvious: How did God mark off evening and morning (all the previous verses) before there was a sun, moon, and stars to govern and mark off those things?

    I’m not going to entertain the rest. My answer will be the same: it’s all based on the assumption of the infallibility of the currently standing scientific theories or misinterpretation of scripture.

    But as to the opening chapter being about the structure and functioning of the universe: no such assumption is warranted. Only the most conventional terms are used and only to paint a bit of a picture–an artistic rendering, if you will.

    You see, the opening chapter of the Book has more to do with giving credit to whom it’s due. Much of it is rather poetic and serves as hooks to hang your thoughts on–nothing more.

    But what if future scientists–more open-minded and less dependent on the good grace$ of con$tituency group$–get together with theologians who are also equally more open-minded and who can test the text of scripture against traditional understandings come to different conclusions? What if Genesis–when properly understood–agrees with scientific theories–when the data are properly understood? What if scientists and theologians do bridge a gap between these seemingly contradictory state of affairs?

    An air of humility is required to approach both subjects soberly and not put too much weight in one’s own interpretation of the data–whether that be scripture or the currently observed universe.

  • nick.gotts

    I don’t see any obvious sign of humility in any of your absurd pontifications, but plenty of ignorance. The current best estimate for time since the Big Bang is 13.82 billion years (not 9.3), and since the formation of the earth 4.54 billion years – hence the former can, with some confidence, be reckoned at least 9 billion years before the latter.

    A “layered universe” is not an acceptable understanding of what’s being taught here.

    I notice you are unable to supply an alternative. There are stated to be waters above and below the firmament of heaven, and at a later point, the dry land emerges above the waters, but below heaven. “Layered universe” looks like a reasonable description. In any case, what is described bears no resemblance at all to reality.

    I’m not going to entertain the rest.

    Because you have no answer other than pompous nonsense and ignorance.

    My answer will be the same: it’s all based on the assumption of the infallibility of the currently standing scientific theories or misinterpretation of scripture.

    You have not shown that it is a misinterpretation of scripture: Genesis 1 does describe the structure and functioning of the universe, and that is how it was interpreted until scientific research showed that its description was hopelessly wrong. And I was responding to your absurd claim that:

    scripture rightly understood and science rightly understood will yield harmony and not disparity

    If “science rightly understood” does not mean giving a degree of credence to current theories appropriate to the degree to which they have been tested against the evidence (which is a very different thing from an “assumption of their infallibility”), then what does it mean?

    But what if future scientists–more open-minded and less dependent on the good grace$ of con$tituency group$

    And here we have the slanderous and evidence-free accusations against scientists expected from creationists.

    What if Genesis–when properly understood–agrees with scientific theories–when the data are properly understood? What if scientists and theologians do bridge a gap between these seemingly contradictory state of affairs?

    Or what if it turns out that Hindu or Greek or Norse or Maori or Lakota creation myths – when properly understood – agree with scientific theories – when the data are properly understood? Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Well so does your blithering nonsense about Genesis.

  • Mar Komus

    Your ad hominem attacks have been and will continue to be duly noted and ignored.

    As for the facts…

    1) Science is a marvelous tool when used responsibly and for its intended purposes. When the love of money, though, is introduced into the functioning of science, and when scientists–or when certain communities of science-minded people–are driven by a humanistic ideology (and anything other than reporting facts and neutral conclusions) the results of scientific investigation will, necessarily, be skewed. We shouldn’t think that whole sectors of scientists are above reproach. Remember, too, that news media outlets’ reports on the findings of science often skew what’s actually been found and the conclusions are far more neutral, non-sensationalist, and varied than the clean and tidy metanarratives the armchair scientists slobber and smack their lips over. It should also be noted that some very good counterpoints to the talking points parroted and regurgitated by the faux sophisticate are ignored and/or repudiated by the same. I’m not overly fond of many of the popular creation scientist advocates. But I am fond of facts that show there’s some room for debate. The way science advances is for there to be a multitude who disagree with the main party line.

    2) Likewise per above holds true for religious institutions and theology.

    3) That I have not offered an alternative interpretation of Genesis 1 doesn’t mean I don’t have one or that one doesn’t exist (Like they say, ask five theologians for their interpretation and you’ll get fifteen different answers). I try to keep my responses brief. There seems to be an unwarranted assumption among some sectors to the effect that if an alternative explanation isn’t offered for something then, by default, the standing explanation must be true. That doesn’t logically follow. What’s true doesn’t always stand and what stands isn’t always true. Now I could either spoon feed you my outlook on Genesis 1 or I could say, “Try to think outside the box.” I think I’ll do the latter as that will encourage you to do some freethinking. Right now it appears to me you’re rather locked into this idea of Genesis 1 being about the structure and functioning of the universe (the sacred cow, of course, being the metanarrative “science has disproved the Bible,” or, taking it a step further, assuming a priori that 1) all reality is discoverable by science 2) Certain aspects of the Bible can’t be discovered scientifically 3) Therefore the Bible isn’t real). So here’s a starter question: What if our concept of “universe” is anachronistic to the original audience of Genesis 1? What if BOTH sides are getting it wrong because they’re reading too much into the text? Or because they’re expecting something of the text that wasn’t intended?

    4) If it turns out that the Hindu, Greek, Norse, Maori, or Lakota creation accounts agree with later revelations of science, then I guess you’ve got your answer. Now YOU might think it sounds absurd, but what you eat doesn’t make me defecate. I happen to have a profound respect for what ancients knew and were able to achieve. Many of the ancient cultures accomplished remarkable feats we can’t figure out to this day! Of course I don’t mean to imply they always got everything right. But then again, neither do we in our scientific age. Again, humility is the key.

  • nick.gotts

    Your ad hominem attacks have been and will continue to be duly noted and ignored.

    Hilarious, from someone who just dismissed scientific findings they don’t like with a slanderous and unevidenced claim that those scientists responsible for them are lying for money.

    It should also be noted that some very good counterpoints to the talking points parroted and regurgitated by the faux sophisticate are ignored and/or repudiated by the same.

    I notice you don’t actually produce any of these alleged “very good counterpoints”. That’s because there are none.

    I try to keep my responses brief.

    You fail. You do, however, manage to keep them pretty much free of content.

    So here’s a starter question: What if our concept of “universe” is anachronistic to the original audience of Genesis 1?

    Well of course it is. But that doesn’t alter the fact that Genesis 1 is an account of the creation of the world we live in – earth, its life, and the sun, moon and stars – that is completely wrong.

    Again, humility is the key.

    Then why don’t you try showing a little?

  • Mar Komus

    That scientists routinely fudge facts for $ is common knowledge. $ oils their machine as it does many others’ machines. I only raise the issue to perhaps tone down the brightness of the halo effect with which atheists and other non-believers might wish to bestow on their heroes the scientists–as if they’re somehow these bastions of truth in a dark world. The truth is they’re just human beings like the rest of us. Some will lie for profit–or to keep funding, or gain a chair, or whatever. And while you can find some general agreement, there’s not yet a standing theory of everything. Thus humility: hear out the scientists, but use critical thinking skills.

    Yes, there are good responses. No, I’m not going to get off track.

    I didn’t fail. I just didn’t spoon feed you my understanding of Genesis 1. I want you to think outside the box–if you choose. I’d be doing you a disfavor by spelling it all out. See, right now you’re entirely convinced that your interpretation of Genesis 1 is accurate enough to warrant labeling the account a myth. Why do you expect of the text the kind of Western-minded, scientific, precision-oriented detailed map that would be completely out of place for the time and culture to which it was revealed?

    “anachronistic” – Oh, it doesn’t alter the fact that it’s an account of the creation of the world–that’s not my point. My point is that Genesis 1 is correct in its own context. Trying to read it with a Western, scientific mind that requires such exact precision to the trillionths is creating a context that didn’t exist in the minds of the recipients–who weren’t a bunch of stupid bunglers! Ancient history reveals that our ancestors were capable of some pretty amazing stuff! Thus it’s anachronistic to read Genesis 1 against the backdrop of what we THINK we know about the nature, structure, and functioning of the universe. This is a case of what’s behind the eyes affecting more what is seen that what is before them. Thus, again, humility. It’s pride that keeps us from thinking outside the boxes.

    Humility means holding our conclusions with a soft grip. I don’t hold my conclusions about Genesis 1 with an iron grip. I don’t hold anyone’s scientific analysis with a close-minded, dog-headed determination that thinks that it’s all about science or it’s all about scripture. Instead, those who want to be humble with their conversations look for ways to hold certain truths that seemingly contradict each other–for the time being–knowing that in the end it will likely work out. It also means being comfortable with the fact that we don’t have all the answers, never will, and so we can’t know if one of the many things we don’t know is that we were wrong all along. It takes patience.

  • nick.gotts

    That scientists routinely fudge facts for $ is common knowledge.

    It does happen. The claim that it is routine is a slanderous lie. If you dispute this, produce your evidence.

    Yes, there are good responses. No, I’m not going to get off track.

    No there are not. It is not “going off track” to support a claim you have made in the course of an argument, and which has been disputed. Evidently, you cannot support your claim, but refuse to admit that fact.

    I didn’t fail.

    Yes you did – and here you have failed to read for comprehension. Try again.

    I just didn’t spoon feed you my understanding of Genesis 1. I want you to think outside the box–if you choose.

    Smug condescension without anything to back it up is really rather pathetic – and not at all humble.

    My point is that Genesis 1 is correct in its own context. Trying to read it with a Western, scientific mind that requires such exact precision to the trillionths is creating a context that didn’t exist in the minds of the recipients–who weren’t a bunch of stupid bunglers!

    This is just hand-waving distraction from the fact that the account is completely wrong – and you do not say how it is “correct in its own context”, because you can’t, and you know you can’t. Of course the writers were not stupid – but they were ignorant.

    Instead, those who want to be humble with their conversations look for ways to hold certain truths that seemingly contradict each other–for the time being–knowing that in the end it will likely work out.

    Well this rather obviously hasn’t helped you achieve any humility. The scientific account of the universe and Genesis 1 don’t just “seemingly” contradict each other: they clearly, obviously and irretrievably contradict each other, and pretending otherwise is simply dishonest. There is no reason to consider Genesis 1 any more true than the other creation myths I mentioned. You have just chosen the one you want to be true, and asserted without any reason whatever that you know “it will likely work out”. No, you don’t.

  • http://example.com/ SwiperTheFox

    My general viewpoint, as someone to whom my spiritual beliefs have changed a lot over the past many years, is that:

    1. “Living by example” and striving to be a good person on the job, thus expressing goodness morally, is a clear thing that the Bible seems to call Christians to do.

    2. Speaking in a friendly manner about religious-related topics is certainly reasonable the same way speaking about sports, choices in soda, and so on is.

    3. Lecturing, haranguing, or otherwise treating Jesus Christ as a product to be sold (“McJesus– Bah-Bah-Buhhh-Bah-Buhhh, He’s Loving It”) is completely anti-Christian in spirit as well as counter-productive. Faith in Jesus is a personal, emotional thing analogous to one’s own faith in their father and their father’s love, say, and so it can’t just be sold to people. It’s far better to speak to people as people rather than just go to strangers and mumble some slogan like “Can I talk to you about Jesus?”

    I’m not now a Christian, however, so I guess what I say could be condemmed as ‘concern trolling’. But, seriously, I’m just being a conduit here for what the best Christians in my life that I’ve known have done– retelling their thoughts, as show to me / through me.

  • Brandon Roberts

    honestly i agree the workplace isn’t a place to evangelize but i did disagree with a couple of your points

  • Lark62

    North Carolina is providing an interesting example of faith at work.

    Since when do government employees get to choose which citizens they will serve or which paperwork they will process?

    Does a vegan employee get to refuse to issue hunting licenses? Can a muslim employee refuse to process the business license for a pork BBQ restaurant? Should a catholic employee accept the sales tax remittance from a pharmacy that sells birth control? Can a baptist employee refuse to answer a zoning question from a gas station mini mart that sells beer?

    Is this the world we want, where strangers get to interfere in the legal choices of others? And where our own government doesn’t serve all equally?

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    Yes, but the Great Commandment doesn’t let Christians behave like jerks and feel justified in the doing. Loving people is boring, time-consuming, and doesn’t pay off at all with feelings of superiority, smugness, and correctness. Being an jerk is fun, quick to do, and gives that pleasant rush of feeling superior, smug, and correct–and enforces cultural dominance and privilege! What’s not to like? Get with the program, here, John. Christians don’t care about the Bible. Given a thousand verses about the necessity of being kind to people, they’ll focus on ONE verse that they mistakenly think KIND OF gives them a permission slip to be jerks. And when a Christian stands up and saying “Hey, guys, let’s not be jerks anymore,” they’ll argue till they’re blue in the face about why jerkiness is needed so they don’t have to stop getting their rush. Won’t someone think of the jerkiness rush?

    (/s, in case I needed to say. I loved this post. Loved loved loved. Wish more Christians understood this. Know they’ll find a zillion ways to rationalize their way out of listening. Wish they’d listen anyway.)

  • Sharla Hulsey

    The ones that bother me the most are the ones who say they’re evangelizing you out of “love.” As in, “I love you too much to let you continue your sinful ways and end up in hell,” which thus justifies the hard-sell tactic they’re foisting on you.

    Tell you what, folks, just actually love people. Honestly, if you were really doing that, instead of pretending you are and thinking that somehow gives you license to be a jerk, it would be transformational.

    The hard-sell folks make life harder for the rest of us, who have to hear an awful lot of “Christians are…” that has no resemblance whatsoever to who we actually are and what we’re trying to do, which is to follow Jesus and love our neighbors.

    Interesting thing in the “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19-20: In English translations it often begins with an imperative, “Go and make disciples…” But the Greek begins with a participle, “Going…” and it looks to me like the imperative verb “make disciples” could also be rendered “be disciples.” Maybe not; I’m not sure the context supports this alternative, but I wonder if thinking about it this way might make a difference… Instead of “you must go out and evangelize,” the emphasis is more on letting your life be your witness. I suspect if more of us did that, we’d be having a very different conversation right now.

  • RockyMissouri

    You are SPOT-ON!!

  • egirl

    I work at a church and I don’t evangelize anywhere. Because of where I work friends will sometimes ask me church related questions. I am always open about what I believe (when asked), although I never pressure anyone to attend church or change their beliefs. I think friends feel a lot more comfortable asking me questions because I’m not a ‘pushy sales person’, but rather just another human being.

  • cvryder2000

    I HATE being evangelized at work! I’ve been known to be a little short with people who do it, although I try not to be. I usually just tell them I am happy in my own church, and if they get pushy, I walk away if at all possible. My son, who grew up in east Tennessee and was an acolyte in the Episcopal church for what seemed like forever, got really sick of being evangelized at school and other places in that hotbed of Southern Baptists etc. and developed his own answer when asked “Are you saved?” “Yes,” he’d tell them,”I was saved on a Friday a couple thousand years ago.” They were usually so mystified they couldn’t do anything but stand there.

  • RockyMissouri

    I was raised in the Methodist church..and they did not witness …or do any of that speaking in tongues nonsense.. But the evangelicals used to come to our home!! (Which is kind of difficult!) I finally got wise by telling them that we have lots of ticks this year …and not to linger getting back to your car!! They’ve not been back!

    It’s nobody’s business whether we are saved, or not. That is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS.!!

  • cvryder2000

    LOL I once told a Mormon missionary, with a perfectly straight face, “I’m sorry, I’m a practicing Buddhist.” He didn’t know how to respond, just stood there with a blank look then turned and walked off. Apparently they’re programmed on how to answer other Christians, but have no answer for Buddhists, especially middle-class white ones!

  • RockyMissouri

    If it ever happens again, I’ll tell them I’m a VERY ELEVATED HEATHEN. Or…maybe, a Muslim.. (THAT would probably trigger some kind of swat team visit…and we don’t want to add to the burden of more stigma, they have suffered enough!)

  • Chris

    I used to have a large ‘Ankh’ pendant left over from my misspent youth in the sixties and seventies.

    If the JWs came to my door, I’d wear it and tell them…. in a creepy voice… “I… am of the ‘Old Religion’!” then make some sort of vague blessing type gesture with my hand.

    They would scuttle off like frightened rabbits.

    I was later told that the local group had been told to ignore it if people said they were satanists or devil worshippers as it was just a ploy to get rid of them. Just carry on with the ‘good work’.… But they were also told that real satanists referred to their belief as ‘The Old Religion’.

  • RockyMissouri

    Oh, I like that..!

  • cvryder2000

    Or you could tell them you CAME from Planet Kobol……..

  • RockyMissouri

    That might be even BETTER!

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Mike got rid of some Mormons at our door by telling them his wife was a pastor. (His first wife was a Mormon; I doubt very much that he’s susceptible to conversion.)

  • Linnea912

    One of the reasons I’m glad I live in a secure apartment building… no obnoxious missionaries knocking on my door.

  • SJ

    Peel, if you are representing evangelicals and can’t tear down Shore’s house of cards then this whole debate is a media charade that deceives people.

    So I will tear him down on every point.

    Point One

    Mr. Shore you can evangelize at work on break time and socialize with coworkers on entering and leaving the building. As well as invite them to your home.

    Point Two

    Christians are not disrespecting coworkers. Christians know God and we introduce Him to people.

    Point Three

    Christians answer to God not co- workers.

    Point Four

    There is no spiritual life without Jesus Christ period.
    Without Jesus Christ a person is spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins and it is unethical to leave someone spiritually dead.

    Point Five

    Witnessing isn’t by questioning alone. Witnesses also make sworn statements. Just ask any cop!

    Point Six

    Perseverance in the face of failure has always been the definition of success.

    Point Seven

    This is an outright lie. Many people say God is unknowable like many skeptics and atheists. Therefore Christians need to make Christ more well known.

    Also people suffer from problematic attachment issues in their infancy that need solving. Read Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson, M.D.

    Point Eight

    Are you a psychiatrist? How do you know someone got an ego rush and if they did what is wrong with having one?

    Point Nine

    You are not being emotionally dishonest but emotionally honest. You are introducing people to a Person you have a relationship with and how is making an introduction dishonest?

    Point Ten

    Jesus told his disciples to go out and do what he taught them to do in Matthew 28. You, Mr. Shore, are no expert on God’s testimony that He gives in the bible so please stop making authoritative statements for Him.

  • nick.gotts

    You are introducing people to a Person you have a relationship with

    Well you could just give them that person’s postal address, email address or phone number – if they were a real person.

  • Fred the Barbarian

    Fortunately, at my work place, people like you are told to fuck off.

  • Chris

    Listen, SJ… your bible says, “Thou shalt not steal”… So that takes care of pinching the work time from your boss.

    And of course, during the lunch break, or other breaks, which in many cases took a lot of negotiation by trade unions and other workers’ representatives to get, people want to spend that time relaxing, reading, eating, or doing a hundred and one other more worthwhile things than fending of some godbothering pillock who’s spouting off about the voices in his head and his imaginary friends in the sky.

    So you’re stealing their free time from them too.

    But don’t think that it’s just because you’re wanting to rabbit on about god and that waste of space hippy son of his.
    I’d feel the same about someone who went on ad nauseam about football, reality TV, so called celebrity gossip, or any other vacuous subjects during my much needed break.
    I just wish that you proselytisers would get the message… most people simply aren’t interested.

    Is that clear enough?… or is Fred’s co workers’ response easier for you to understand?

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Point ten… “You, Mr. Shore, are no expert on God’s testimony that He gives in the bible so please stop making authoritative statements for Him.”

    My question for you is, are YOU an expert on God’s testimony, God’s will, God’s mind? How do you arrive at the notion that you are and John isn’t?

  • Warren

    Mr. Shore you can evangelize at work on break time and socialize with coworkers on entering and leaving the building. As well as invite them to your home.

    If you’re trying to lure people away to get them alone so you can evangelize at them, then you’ve crossed the line from annoying to creepy. Now, if you’re just talking about normal, naturally-arising casual conversations, that’s perfectly fine (though I’d argue that, due to all the other points, evangelism is not a good topic for casual conversation), but the way you phrase this makes it sound like you’re trying to catch people off the clock.

    Christians are not disrespecting coworkers. Christians know God and we introduce Him to people.

    But you’re not just “introducing” him, are you? You’re trying to get us to make an all-encompassing personal commitment. There’s a difference between saying “Hey, have you met my husband, Mike?” and saying “Hey, this is my husband, Mike! He’s the best husband ever–Way better than yours! You should marry him, too!”, and evangelism is much closer to the latter. You’re basically setting yourself up as the designated adult, and that’s pretty disrespectful.

    Besides, it’s insulting to imply that someone hasn’t already been “introduced” to Jesus. That would take a severe degree of cultural isolation.

    Christians answer to God not co- workers.

    Refusing to consider another’s feelings is the very definition of disrespect. Besides, John Shore is saying that God doesn’t appreciate his followers destroying relationships and associating his name with harassment.

    There is no spiritual life without Jesus Christ period.
    Without Jesus Christ a person is spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins and it is unethical to leave someone spiritually dead.

    Thank you for proving Shore’s point for him. If another person has the exact same evidence as you, yet comes to a different conclusion, it is extremely condescending to declare that they must be wrong.

    Perseverance in the face of failure has always been the definition of success.

    And doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results has always been the definition of insanity.

    This is an outright lie. Many people say God is unknowable like many skeptics and atheists. Therefore Christians need to make Christ more well known.

    This is blatant equivocation. Agnostics don’t say that god is unknowable because they’ve never heard of this Jesus fellow; they say that none of the world’s religions is capable of adequately explaining god. Thus, most agnostics (and virtually all atheists) have examine Christianity and explicitly rejected its claims.

    Also people suffer from problematic attachment issues in their infancy that need solving. Read Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson, M.D.

    Know what else is condescending? Diagnosing people with secret mental disorders to write off their disagreements with you. See also the “designated adult” link.

    Are you a psychiatrist? How do you know someone got an ego rush and if they did what is wrong with having one?

    Literally one line above this you talked about solving people’s “attachment issues”! You can’t relegate knowledge of basic human emotions to the experts while simultaneously claiming knowledge of deeply buried emotional disorders!

    You are not being emotionally dishonest but emotionally honest. You are introducing people to a Person you have a relationship with and how is making an introduction dishonest?

    The dishonesty lies in how the conversation is set up. If you act like you want to genuinely get to know someone, when in truth you’re just softening them up for conversion, you’re being dishonest.

    Jesus told his disciples to go out and do what he taught them to do in Matthew 28. You, Mr. Shore, are no expert on God’s testimony that He gives in the bible so please stop making authoritative statements for Him.

    I have little investment in what your god’s commands are. All I can say is, if he does want you to convert people, he certainly can’t be very satisfied with evangelicals’ accomplishments.

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    Outstanding. Thank you, Warren.

  • lorasinger

    If he is all powerful and all knowing, he doesn’t need evangelists to start with.

  • RockyMissouri

    Gross.

  • lorasinger

    The bottom line is “Christians answer to God not co- workers.” and this bottom line most often leads to the unemployment line.
    .
    Matthew 28:19 is a forgery.

  • dodieododo

    People like you are the reason I abhor Christians.

  • Ben P

    Strongly worded here and there, but I agree with your ideas. I am glad you shared your views.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Here’s an interesting twist on this… My husband was recently in a store he’s visited many times before. This particular time an employee, in the course of a conversation, said, “Can I ask you a serious question?” The question turned out to be, “Are you a Christian?”

    If it’s wrong to evangelize co-workers, how much worse is it to be trying to evangelize CUSTOMERS?!

  • Fred the Barbarian

    I used to be able to find christian business directories so I could avoid places where that was likely to happen, but there hasn’t been one published where I live in years.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    I also wondered if this fellow realized my husband is married to a pastor.

  • lorasinger

    Are you a pastor?

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Well, I’m the only person my husband is married to… 😉

  • RockyMissouri

    That’s truly OFFENSIVE.!!

  • Sharla Hulsey

    That’s what I thought. It makes me a little bit uncomfortable shopping there. Thing is, the owners of the store belong to a completely different church than this employee, and I am afraid that they would be equally offended if they knew about this conversation.

  • lorasinger

    Best to let them know because she is probably doing this to others too and they’re going to wonder why their business is dropping off.

  • drdoorma

    The proper answer is “no, I am not, but I have had sex with many of them when they were away from their husbands. Are you busy later?”

  • lorasinger

    I wish I could give you at least 10 thumbs up on this one. Best I’ve heard for a long time!

  • Linnea912

    Oh, that’s good! Love it.

  • trinielf

    Listen up! The doctrine of Christianity is ALREADY KNOWN okay. The religion has had over 1500 years of cultural dominance. If there is anyone in this part of the globe who does not know about Jesus dying on the cross and raising from the dead, they would have to be some alien from another dimension. Accessing information about Christianity is also RIDICULOUSLY EASY. We have churches galore! We have Christian institutions of learning galore! Geez, even ads pop up on Google for it all the time.

    So no, you are not Evangelizing because you are not telling anyone “news”. They already know. What you are doing is BARRAGING someone with high pressure sales tactics so they adhere to YOUR PARTICULAR sect’s ideology. Right now it is PURELY a high stakes “membership race” between the different Christian sects and for some there are political and social dominance goals attached.

    JWs want RCs to convert to THEIR sect. Mormons want Episcopalians to convert to THEIR sect. Southern Baptists want all other sects to convert to theirs. And of course, when it comes to non-Christians, all the sects are in a head&heart grab to convert. However all non-Christians in THIS part of the world ALREADY KNOW the doctrine. Geez, even in the most remote parts of India, they know about it. People need to respect people’s spiritual journey and stop trying to circumvent it with coercive, manipulations and emotional blackmail just to get them to join their church. Allow people to come of their own free will.

    Also it does not matter how much you preach and pressure. It is actually your everyday actions, words, relationships that speak the LOUDEST.

  • Chris

    But John… You’ve missed out the most important reason of all why evangelising in the workplace… or anywhere else… is bad form:

    It’s quite simple… people don’t like being lied to.

  • RockyMissouri

    I despise witnessing…and missionaries..but I respect Dan Savage, and if he recommends that I read your words, I most definitely, will do so.

  • Gregory Curtis

    Evangelism at work is not illegal, just use your time and the situation wisely and it shouldn’t matter. I’m a supervisor in the federal sector and I have employees coming to me with their personal issues a few times per week. If I just tell them to get back to work I’m not going to have a very productive employee and deadlines will not get met.

    Stopping work for a few minutes to discuss a personal issue with an employee shows them you care about them and they can trust you is good for morale of your service. They already know me and what the answer I’m going to provide them to close the conversation. They are glad they have someone to discuss their issue ad they have my confidence that I won’t talk about it outside my office.

    My main issue with proselytizing from other Christians is their spreading false interpretations of their version of the Gospel. This is in direct line with the false gospel they get from their churches. Baptists, Lutheran – whatever; all have some falsity about the Bible, but maybe night their denominations. Denominations are wrong; Holy Scripture isn’t.

    Let’s face it we live in a biblical illiterate world and people who call themselves Christians usually don’t know what the term means. Their ignorance is part their fault and partly their pastor’s faults. Most don’t even know what to say to proselytize others and can’t give a good definition of what sin is.

    Compared to China or India the American Christian is the most biblically illiterate on the planet. After all, we have our smart phones to keep up busy and make us dumber.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Wait… are you saying that when you proselytize, it’s okay, but other Christians are Doing It Wrong? That sounds a bit hypocritical to me.

  • BarbaraR

    I think he is saying exactly that, yes. We’re ignorant (partly our fault), so sayeth he.

  • Gregory Curtis

    If the shoe fits wear it. If that’s what you believe I’m saying so be it. American Christians are biblically illiterate and embarrassing. Just watch a televangelist for a few minutes and you’ll see my point.

  • Gregory Curtis

    I’m comparing the act (proselytizing) with the knowledge of sharing accurate biblical information. Reread my post. If you interpret Scripture the way you just interpreted my post then hermeneutics is not your strong suit.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    You said: My main issue with proselytizing from other Christians is their
    spreading false interpretations of their version of the Gospel. This is
    in direct line with the false gospel they get from their churches.

    I’m not sure how else to interpret this other than that you believe any of us who are not you or do not agree with you ought not proselytize.

    If you would like to know more about whether or not hermeneutics are my strong suit, I challenge you to come hear me preach, or even just read some of my sermons, which I post at my blog, revsharkie.wordpress.com.

  • Nathan Guerra

    “And you can bet that their beliefs and convictions mean every bit as much to them as yours do to you. Respect that. Learn from it, even.” Not exactly on topic, but this does not seem like a true statement and seems to discourage even having a good conversation with co-workers about what the heck is reality.

    My observation is actually exactly the opposite, it depends on the person and how much time or thought they have given to beliefs on subjects that are spiritual or meta-physical. I find most just do not want to bother with it or have a discussion at all. Beliefs might “mean a lot” in the sense that people like to be “right”, but that does not mean they actually have a whole lot of value to the individual or they have given a whole lot of intent toward the subject.

    John, you seem a bit too politically correct here, hard questions are good for a workplace to keep open minds. I would agree that evangelism is not good in the terms you set it up, but like you said that kind of evangelism seems almost always counter productive in modern countries. Where there is severe need is another story…

  • BarbaraR

    this does not seem like a true statement
    I am not sure what seems untrue about it. Perhaps they just don’t wish to discuss it. Politics and religion are deadly subjects to bring up at work; people who persist in doing so may find themselves on the carpet at HR.

    I find most just do not want to bother with it or have a discussion at all.
    That is a clue to back away.

    Beliefs might “mean a lot” in the sense that people like to be “right”, but that does not mean they actually have a whole lot of value to the individual or they have given a whole lot of intent toward the subject.

    That’s their business.

    hard questions are good for a workplace to keep open minds

    A workplace is where one goes to earn a paycheck, not be annoyed by a co-worker about their spiritual beliefs. Most people want to do their eight hours and go home. A workplace is difficult enough without having to avoid the guy in the break room who is subtly (or not) prying into one’s personal belief system and implying that you are lacking because you don’t believe like he does.

  • Nathan Guerra

    Going to start from the bottom and work up, as your presumption is I think evangelism in the workplace is good seems to be the root of why you took the time to disagree with me, when really I think we most likely agree. I stated I do not think the kind of “thing” the author is writing about is good at all, probably never ever, ever! Getting around to a conversation with co-workers to share part of who they are and what they believe seems fairly natural and good for relationships, but your sentiment is ever increasing about “my business” so back off! I have found this to be a fairly American phenomenon.

    It seems every person we follow in a religious context or meaningful movement tends to bring these topics up. We like it if done with the right motivations, I tend to think if we don’t like this process there is something off in us, rather than the person exploring tough questions. Yes, work should get done and that is good (well, maybe depending on who and what you work for…). I never said anything about anyone lacking. I would say only if they never put anytime into those thoughts and questions, that is the only lacking I would see, and I think it is good for anyone to help someone along in exploring those questions, tactfully as a trusted friend. I am sorry you see the workplace in this way rather than a peer environment. Seems rather hostile. It is a sad, sad place we live where someone cannot even ask simple questions about life and reality without an HR problem. Nothing I said in anything of this involved Jesus or prayer or salvation…I just want to know more about people’s beliefs and why, but my observation is this ability in people is disappearing or really frowned upon if shared. We seem a scared population to share our beliefs or even explore them, maybe a major red flag of culture wars happening as colors start flying, or maybe the first observation was true and the thinking person is disappearing into mostly a consumer, which is not good for anyone. The true demise of “man” in the “american dream” of false independence sinking into black holes of nothingness being cheered along by “that’s my business”…

    Why do I think this? Well, I will share one of my beliefs with you. I think we are all in this together, and therefore bad thinking or wrong thinking is not good for any of us. I am not the judge of course, but we can have discussions which help us have good and right perspectives on the world and life. I do believe it is a moral obligation of those whom have obtained more freedom and good in life, through intent exploration of knowledge and wisdom to create space, conversation, opportunity for others to gain from those acquired valuables. In the same way one should not simply bury their treasure, but reinvest it to invigorate the common good of a community and not let it rot away in the barn. This has been lost in us as a people in our “I am a rock, I am an island” attitude who needs no peers or mentors in our lives because we are supposedly independent self made men and women. We have completely lost skills in relationships if we can not simply share and discuss our beliefs in the public sphere without fear and ridicule. We should all be actively involved in attaining a better understanding of the world/cosmos. Encouraging a place of closed door ignorance of each other is an environment of fear and distrust.

    Why so black and white on the subject? I was trying to bring a different perspective to the table that did not fit in the debates box, but related in a way all people could interact with in the workplace.

    Lastly in a more pointed way toward the subject of Christianity, IF we think Jesus is our example, do we think he would have gotten to know people and their inner life and beliefs in a workplace?

  • lorasinger

    If you start evangelizing to me at work, then I will report you immediately. Keep your religion at home and in church. I’m not interested in them and that is generally the response you will receive from most people. You may want to share and you do so with the intention of converting – otherwise you wouldn’t be so adamant about “sharing”. Not interested.

  • Nathan Guerra

    Is this whole thread just people looking for a fight? Did you read my comment before responding? I was not even talking about promoting evangelism at all…

  • lorasinger

    No, the majority of people have reached a saturation point with the aggressive push by fundamentalists at conversion – on TV, radio, in the streets, family infected by the bug, and it even goes to politics with the fruitcakes like Santorum, Palin, Huckabee and Bachman. They’re hostile – no doubt about it.
    .

  • Linnea912

    Agreed. I once worked at a large insurance company where the receptionist (!) was born-again and never let anyone forget it. She came off as exceptionally judgmental even when she may not have been trying to be. I’m amazed that no one complained about her behavior- at least, I’m assuming no one did as she just kept it up, day after day.

  • Linnea912

    Just this past December, I was at work shortly after my grandpa (a 98-year-old mechanical engineer and Unitarian Universalist who didn’t talk much about spiritual matters) died. When I told one of my co-workers, she said, “Well, if he knew the Lord, he’s in a better place now.” I knew she was trying to be comforting, but the truth is, I was so shocked I couldn’t think of anything to say, especially since I hardly knew her (I had just started the job maybe a week or so earlier). The unspoken implication was incredibly offensive, as I know that at least some evangelicals do *not* consider UU’s to be Christians. I decided to let it go, but I never forgot about it, and I never looked at that co-worker quite the same way again.

    I avoid talk of faith at work. It’s not the appropriate place or time. I’m a liberal United Methodist, but it’s not my business (no pun intended) what anyone else believes, and it’s not their business what I believe. I might mention that I’m involved in a church (and even name my congregation), or say, when someone asks me about my weekend, that I performed a solo at church on Sunday morning, but that’s about it.

  • lorasinger

    Just a tip. My father died and a couple of weeks later, I was hard at work, concentrating on what I was doing on the computer when I felt two taps on my shoulder and felt someone standing behind me. I turned and there was no one. My father’s habit while alive was to sneak up behind me and stand to one side and then give me two taps on the shoulder. I think it was him saying “Hi, I’m still around”. And the best part? He wasn’t a Christian.


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