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diversity, culture, and proselytizing

June 3 2012 at 3:23 AM

Kate  (Login kateothelamp)

Response to I guess scarves are culturally OK, after all, the bible directs that

I live in a pretty diverse city, and where I work is very progressive. I don't think Affirmative Action has anything to do with it, at least not at my workplace; the best qualified candidates get the jobs. But the fact that we are known to be progressive may encourage more multi-cultural people to apply? I don't really know. But we actually have an Office of Inclusion that plans activities, seminars, etc to make people more aware about diversity, more tolerant of our differences, and less likely to offend or step on someone else's toes.

Head coverings are common in many different religions and cultures -- turbans, scarves, etc. Covering one's face wouldn't be acceptable at my workplace because of our security requirements -- but if you think about it, the ultra-conservative branches of Islam that require women to wear a burqa or have their faces veiled don't typically encourage women to be independent, work full time outside the home, or even drive cars. I believe it's still against the law for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, and they are considered to be a fairly progressive Muslim nation, if I understand correctly.

I was kind of wondering when this might be brought up...why do people feel compelled to share their religion? Well, not everyone does. Some do, and some feel they are mandated or obligated to, and here is why:

There are essentially two broad types of religion in the world: one path or many paths. Those who adhere to the "many paths" philosophy feel that there are many different valid spiritual experiences, and someone else's path to God may be different than our own. They tend to be live and let live kind of folks. Those who believe there is only "one path" believe exactly that -- there is only one way to get to heaven/please God, and theirs is the only way -- everyone else is mistaken.

Of the "one path" believers (including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, among others), there is again a split into two broad types: inclusive and exclusive. Exclusive believers think that they have the only true faith, but they don't search out converts. Judaism is a good example. It is very, very, difficult for a Gentile to convert to Judaism (although I know one family that did it). Some branches of Islam are the same way -- they have the only truth, and they aren't interested in converting others outside their culture.

Then there are the "one path, inclusive" believers -- they believe they are following the only true way, but they are more than willing to allow in converts and may actively proselytize.

And one last sub category: "one path, inclusive, and it's my responsibility to share this truth with everyone". That would be most Christians, especially the evangelical ones, and also including Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. I know they can be incredibly annoying (I used to be a Fundamentalist, although I was not very good at it). But please try to understand -- they share the gospel with you and try to tell you about Jesus because they truly believe it is their responsibility to do so and that you are lost and will be separated from God for all eternity if you don't believe. They truly do believe that it's their responsibility to warn you, and that they are disobeying God if they don't try to tell you.

Doesn't make it less annoying, but I hope that helps explain it a bit...

(edited to correct spelling)

This message has been edited by kateothelamp on Jun 3, 2012 1:10 PM

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