This might be a GD question–if it is, please feel free to move it. Thanks!
This is also something of a naive question, I realize–and I hope I can phrase it properly because I sometimes have trouble getting my mind around it. For reference, I was raised a casual Christian of indeterminate Protestant variety. I’m not at all religious, though (not an atheist–just not religious).
So here’s my question for religious folks (or anyone, really): Why do people who follow various religions care if others share their beliefs? It seems like a lot of wars, disagreements, and arguments are caused by people trying to convert others to their belief system, but really, why? I’m not talking about people getting offended when their faith is ridiculed–of course they’re going to get upset about that. But why should you care if I believe in your particular brand of God?
Consider these points and questions:
Most of the religions I’m aware of have some concept of an afterlife where believers go after they die to experience some sort of paradise.
If the afterlife is paradise, then that brings up a paradox: if you can’t be happy without your loved ones, then you’ll want them to believe and thus be there with you. But if it really is a paradise, then you won’t miss them if they aren’t there, right?
Do you get brownie points with your god for bringing in more souls? Even if the souls are coerced into joining up? Evangelism is one thing, but forced conversion is something else.
If you’re happy in your religion I can understand why you’d want to share it with your loved ones. But if they say “no, thanks,” why do you (the editorial “you”) get angry with them? Why not say, “Okay, I tried,” and move on?
Yes, I know that a lot of these issues can be addressed by basic human nature (you’re rejecting me because you’re rejecting my belief system). But…I still ponder this question a lot, and I’m interested in hearing others’ opinions on it.
Apologies in advance if this is a bit muddled, but I hope my meaning came through.