TEXAS FAITH 96: Is it time for religions to double-down on evangelism?
Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
Recently, we discussed comments that Jon Meacham made in an address to SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. Now, here’s something else from Meacham, the former Newsweek editor, that is worth discussing.
In a Time Magazine essay this week, Meacham raised the question of whether it’s time for Christian leaders to double-down on their faiths. Meacham sees some more aggressively promoting the Gospel message instead of watering it down.
Time included his essay in its annual issue of 10 ideas that are changing how we live. And you can read his thoughts at this link:
Now, Meacham, an Episcopalian who helped start The Washington Post’s On Faith blog, is writing here largely about Christians, who are seeing a growing share of their market lose out to the religiously-unaffiliated. But his question can certainly be applied to other religions as well. And that is whether it’s best to “double-down” on evangelism.
What is your view of doubling-down on evangelism? If you agree that it’s time to do that, please explain why. If not, why not? Can your faith tradition really sit by idly and expect its followers to grow?
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
To evangelize about spiritual life is a need in the state of emergency, for our modern materialistic culture is a forest fire of evangelism for consumerism. Everywhere you go, every turn you take, someone is seeking you, your time and your money. “Listen to us, pay us and thereby enjoy,” the siren screams to the sheepish masses. “But so many are suffering, there are so many disturbances!” “Do not worry, the next season of your favorite soap serial will be out in a week or two.” However, gassing up a car will not quench the thirst of the driver. yayā sammohito jīva ātmānaṁ tri-guṇātmakam – Because the soul misidentifies the body as the self that soul suffers in so many ways. Therefore teaching others the transcendental nature the self constitutes the highest form of altruism. By such knowledge, one free themselves of all suffering.