We know; and, better yet, we feel inwardly, that religion is the basis of civil society, and the source of all good and comfort.
A good friend believes in the freedom way of life as much as anyone. But he’s not sure he agrees with our methods. He used these words from Mark XVI:15 to make his point:
And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
And our friend adds: “The accent is on go!” In a word, sell!
Why be concerned over this difference between selling and sharing as related to Christianity and evangelism? Simply because the selling idea is so prevalent among the many Christians who espouse the freedom philosophy. They are turned off by the view that evangelism is a sharing process. As a consequence, many of them turn away from FEE and become exponents of the hard sell—convert the masses, the man in the street, as the saying goes. And in their missionary zeal, they tend to neglect the study as to why freedom works its wonders.
Just about the hardest sell in all history, so far as I know, was undertaken by Medieval “Christians,” namely, the Crusades that went on for the better part of two centuries. These were largely attempts to reform heathens, forcing them to “see the light.” The result: countless thousands on both sides losing both their souls and their lives! Trying to ram freedom ideas into the heads of nonbelievers also is a crusade doomed to fail. High ideas and ideals are not spread or sold. Rather, they are sought or bought—caught not taught.
Jesus of Nazareth was presented to mankind as the perfect Exemplar. The law of attraction accounts for all true Christians—His attraction!
There is nothing in the biblical record to indicate that Jesus ever thrust His views on anyone. He acknowledged the need for receptivity on the part of the unconverted. He sent out the Apostles two by two on a preaching mission and among His instructions we find in Mark VI:11: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.” Now, as then, if they don’t hear—are not drawn unto you—fret not about it. If you have done your best in the way of understanding and exposition, that’s as far as you or anyone else can go. Discouraging? No, that’s the way it should be.
Human destiny, I fervently believe, presupposes that individuals evolve. Are not the human beings of our day and age of a higher type, or further advanced in awareness, perception, consciousness than Cro-Magnon man of some 35 millennia ago? To argue that evolution has now reached its apogee is to claim that we are perfect exemplars, a far cry from the teachings of Jesus. Am I perfect? Heaven forbid such an egotistical thought! Nor can you or I name one who remotely approaches perfection. My problem is to grow, and growth is achieved only by seeking and sharing such light as may be discerned. How can I do that if I devote my efforts to selling others on being like me? First, it can’t be done and, second, if it could, there would be more loss than gain.
As Burke wrote, “. . . religion is the basis of civil society, and the source of all good and comfort.” And America was founded upon that religious base, the conviction:
. . . that all men are . . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The result of this religious conviction? The Creator replaced government—for the first time in history—as the endower of men’s rights. Truly, this was the basis of the most wonderful society that ever existed; “good and comfort” blest all men as if by magic, with the greatest outburst of creative energy ever known, flowing freely to the citizenry.
Our Founding Fathers, for the most part, believed in sharing rather than selling their views. Their method was quite the same as the Apostles—preaching missions, explaining the freedom thesis as best they could to those who cared to listen. They orated, preached, fielded questions and pamphleteered. Perhaps the outstanding example of their method was The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. A re-reading will assure anyone that these noble persons were sharing evangelists.
Suppose those several leaders in the founding of the United States had been political activists instead of sharing evangelists, angry at the many whose understanding was not up to theirs, trying vainly to inject their ideas into the heads of the several millions who had no interest! They would not be known today as Founding Fathers; indeed, if remembered at all, it would be as “floundering” something-or-other. The words, “Our Fathers’ God to Thee, Author of Liberty,” would never have been written.
As I read these authors of liberty, they reveal a graceful humility. True, compared to a vast majority in their and our time, they had a remarkable knowledge and clarity of expression but no signs of be-like-me-ness. They would, without question, have agreed with Ralph Sockman, “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”
The method must fit the mission! If the mission be an improved understanding of freedom and why its wondrous performances, the means employed must be as free from coercive preaching as the free market is free from coercive pricing, production, exchange. The fruit will be determined by the kinds of seeds we plant. Tell ’em off and we’ll be told off. Share and we’ll share alike. Emerson shared a truth we should heed: “The end pre-exists in the means.” Therefore, look to the means!
To repeat, high level ideas and ideals cannot be imposed on anyone, any transmission that occurs is a taking-from procedure: the law of attraction which, in turn, is governed by one’s personal growth in understanding and exposition.
It is growth, and that alone, which energizes the magnetism that draws others to the knowledge an individual possesses. There is an excellent guideline as to how much one is growing: observe who and how many are seeking ideas on the free market, private ownership, limited government way of life. If none, one stands alone. The remedy? An improvement of the potentially magnetic self!