Imposition and Proselytization

It’s a curious thing that when a good or necessary thing is being communicated, one feels justified in imposing it to an unwilling recipient.

Equally curious are dialogues in which where one is quickly accused of imposition when it comes to debating a particular thing (usually for a religious or political position), where anything more general in its place would have been perfectly acceptable.

Imposition is imposition when an intellect wills a thing onto another without regard for the hierarchical order of things (be it stages or order of conduct or relationship), or for place and/or time, and without recognition of the dignity of another intellect; that of the human person.

Hence proselytizing, which the contemporary society is quick to label as an imposition, is in its truest sense the very opposite of it. This is the case because proselytization in the true Christian sense necessarily involves a regard for the hierarchical order, place and time, and recognition of the dignity of the intellect, the human person; in other words, a respectful and respectable dialogue. Without these characteristics, it cannot be called truly Christian. Indeed, it not only regards and recognizes them, but promotes them actively and fervently against philosophies which negate them. This is the paradox, one which Chesterton himself would have been proud of!

Thus, there are two extremes which both the Christian and the post-modern man must avoid: for the former, calling imposition proselytizing, and; for the latter, calling proselytizing an imposition.

It must also be said, somewhat unfortunately, that the Christian is often also the post-modern man, and thus he must realize that his duty to evangelize is not in conflict with his duty to respect the human person, and vice versa.


2 thoughts on “Imposition and Proselytization”

  1. Interesting thoughts. Do you feel that being righteous then, is the compulsory element in being able to gather that sort of energy to let someone else know the Right from the Wrong?

    Let the action speak the thoughts of a thousand spoken words.

  2. Hi PAC ;),

    Being righteous and discussing ethics go hand in hand, for sure, or we’re hypocrites. The problem here, though, is that no man is perfectly righteous. So, I think the best we can do is to admit our own shortcomings, while dutifully upholding what is right.

    The thing is, we all feel a certain obligation or a sense of compulsion to expound what is true and right; and this is an obligation if we truely believe it, since silence and neglect are both means of cooperating with what is false and wrong.

    I don’t necessarily believe that such an “energy” comes with being righteous; although it certainly helps us be open to it. I believe that it is grace (technically an “actual grace”). It is then unmerited, and freely given.

    I have been given a pearl of wisdom, and this is it: “I’m a proud sinner”. Any good that I can do, desire, think, or communicate are of God; any failures my own. Praise God!

    Does that answer your question?

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