Why are many Christian preachers so intent on conversion? Rather than living lives that would transmit Christian charity, compassion and love through action, they favour enumerating rules of entry to heaven, then constantly reminding everyone else that they're breaking them and not getting in. Some conversionsts justify their judgemental existence by forming meaning from passages in the bible that say deeds to please Christ are not enough, but that always speaking God's word is praise-worthy.Christian unions here actively encourage conversion attempts from their members, so they can spread the "good word" to the general gaming public.
For serious religious conversionists everywhere, the desire for others to see things the same way as they do runs far hotter than for most other believers. Not allowing or broadcasting the views of an evangelist can often be seen as an insult to what they "know" is true and an affront to the proposed divinely guided world they inhabit. Debate is entirely besides the point for other converters, since constantly getting their message out there, regardless of any contrary debate, may eventually have a scatter-gun effect of drawing the odd few people towards it. The avoidance and separation from questioning may additionally serve to shield their views and re-enforce those blinkered beliefs being scattered.
So how do people actually come to Christian faith (aside from being bought up on it)? What is the best way to target the largest numbers with innate religious tendencies? How can religions best "tout" for a punter to change their world-view and join a particular faith club? Like most things in Christianity, there is quite a division in methodology behind the best way of evangelising faith. Some threads here caught my interest since they represented views from "modernist" ("traditional", "evangelical", or "fundamentalist") and "post-modernist ("relevancy" or "emergent") Christianity.
(BTW, I don't think the T-shirt is of a "boom-box", but some "double-decks"! Would that make a difference?)
The threads are interesting to me since they present the views of the conservative and the liberal Christian conversion worker, and the issues between the two faith groups. They also indicate the feelings underpinning these conversations between the two knowledgeable theists involved.
One difference between the views is the presentation of Christianity as a dogma to the "convert-ables" they seek: To me, the traditional movement aim to spread the unabridged versions of the "traditional" bible (pretextual criticism movement), devalue scientific discovery, reject human endeavour and naturalism in favour of divine truth, state an absolute position of biblical correctness and are keen to outline the many biblical human sins, as often as possible.
Emergent movements take more account of human involvement in the story of religion, and reference the relativist, objectivist scientific framework, as if acknowledging the self-supporting rational evidence that created our tremendous wealth of human advancement. Emergents still believe the bible is the ultimate source of knowledge, but that we may not know how to understand it, since our view is limited.
The emergent movement has several splits that variously find the bible more allegorical, less factual or more nebulous and use various different emphases of scripture. Emergent movements try to embrace the culture and make the religion relevant to it, rather than reject it as traditionalists do. Greater personal tolerance to social sins, dressing and living as the people you were trying to save and making Christianity seem relevant to naturalism are all aspects of the Relevance Movement.
It does seem obvious to me that the traditionalist movement is out of step with society (any – except theirs) by their own desire, so will have trouble attracting people from a culture that they reject. I also don't understand how these "modernists" can ignore the textual criticism applied to the bible and not use the purest manuscripts in ensuring they do have the unequivocal word of God - directly word-translated from Greek and Aramaic, rather than the versions they do use with their various emphases and inferences.
I also don't really understand why evangelists/fundamentalists don't live in the actual conception of traditional protestant Christianity, rather than the rather comfortable, wealthy, conservative politically motivated modern culture that has shifted the emphasis of their faith, as fundamentalism itself evolves. The desire to rubbish scientific advancement seems futile and hypocritical in the face of such demonstrable achievement from the rationalist scientific method.
The Emergent movement is not much better in my estimation - it does often seem to dilute the faith. The various divisions of tolerance within the emergent movement cause more factionalism within Christianity, as a single message turns into unclear conflicting messages on various aspects of tolerance and the people preaching it.
Often, people seek the desire to know from a faith. If the knowledge delivered by that faith is itself uncertain, it may repel truth seekers from staying with it. Our culture increasingly but unwittingly does contradict the written word and context of the bible, which makes it all the more difficult to relate to it, unless the bible is made more relevant to modern people - by changing it (again). Since the bible is the basis for Christian belief, that would further compromise biblical inerrency.
I don't think either of these tactics work too well, since there is no one overriding culture. Instead, there's a cultural melting pot, in a century where more and more people are easily able to communicate their different ideas, like never before, from anywhere in the world. The emergent Christian movement may well delay the decline of Christianity in society, as it tries to relate modernity to allegory. But it is fighting with our new realisations of the many other faiths, creeds and cultures in our globe too. Modernity has discovered that witness testimony is far less reliable than objective evidence, in making rational decisions about what sort of things we should be devoting our lives to.