Mercy me. The wrong people are getting damned here.
It’s the peculiar opinion of any Proselytizing Religion that those who disbelieve are damned.
Wouldn’t vice versa make more sense?
If an evangelist for a Proselytizing Religion is incapable of convincing someone of the truth of his religion, shouldn’t the evangelist be the one who gets damned?
Damned for what?
Damned for being un-persuasive, damned for being un-convincing, damned for being un-impressive, damned for being in-effective.
If a Proselytizing Religion possesses a message that is true, then the messenger is at fault when he fails to persuade, because an apodictic message, offered from a capable speaker, is obviously true and beyond dispute and compels assent as soon as it’s heard.
So it is the speaker not the un-convinced hearer of the message who should bear any punishment attending the encounter.
The hearer is in no way blameworthy for an act of dissent. No one incurs a duty of assent unless a message is obviously true. If a message is obviously true, then dissent suggests the moral crime or intellectual crime of obstinacy, or moral or intellectual ineptitude.
In the case of religious messages, there are too many competent reasoners (millions of them) who dissent to all Proselytizing Religions, indicating that the messages of all Proselytizing Religions are not obvious, not compelling, not beyond dispute, not apodictic.
If Proselytizing Religions insist that they have an obviously true message, then they should realize that their evangelists bear the risk of damnation for taking up a precious truth and mishandling it, evinced in dissent to their message.
Had it always been understood that the evangelist and not the hearer of the evangelist’s message is the one risking damnation, the world would surely have far fewer evangelists.
The risks of damnation would be too high for the would-be evangelist. The would-be evangelist would wisely choose a less perilous occupation.
In the Great Commission in chapter 28 of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus directs his students to preach his message. Jesus might very well have included the following warning to his students:
‘And if you fail to convince, it’s on you.’
Featured image ‘Street Preacher’ by MissTessmacher via Flickr