Saturday, January 22, 2005

Why can't Christians do it this way?

Today I went to the post-office to pick up a lovely little parcel of free booklets I ordered online from an Islamic dawah* ministry based out of Saudi Arabia.

To be perfectly honest, I no longer have any desire to convert to Islam, and am pretty much "doggedly Christian" (nay, "catholic" with a small "c") in my basic convictions, but I ordered these booklets anyway, since I believe the best way to learn about other religions is to read their own literature.

However I have to give Muslims alot of credit when it comes to the distribution of religious literature (with the goal of converting people to their religion.) This is not the first time I've taken up such offers for free Islamic booklets, Qurans, etc. In each case, I've noted the following...

- the publications are of reasonably good quality
- they are absolutely free

and most importantly

- they come to you with absolutely no strings attached.

I've noticed this last qualification usually not the case with those Christian organizations which offer religious literature of any significant quality or quantity. Whether they're on the fringes of what people will call "Christianity" (like the Jehovah's Witnesses), or a little more mainstream (like some variety of non-denominational, evangelical Protestantism), they almost always will come at you with a "hard sell"...whether it be at the time you request the offered materials, or afterward.

While such "hard selling" (translation: PESTERING!) might win a few converts, I suspect it turns off alot more. You can certainly include me in that number.

For example, I've taken quite a strong affinity toward normative (if very traditional/conservative) Orthodox Christianity. I would be thrilled, if it were possible to receive substantial, quality reading material on said faith, let alone with no strings attached. Perhaps if anyone from the ROCOR, OCA, GOAA, etc.** is reading this, they might take this as a constructive suggestion.

* dawah is the Islamic equivelent to Christian evangelization.

** these are all "juristictions" in North America, representing various self governing Orthodox Churches...typically divided along ethnic lines.

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