How can I spread the word of God to unbelievers?
How can I spread the word of God to unbelievers?

How can I spread the word of God to unbelievers?

This article is filed under Edward Banks

A great reply from Barry Goldberg via Quara

Q: How can I spread the word of God to unbelievers?
First of all, you just need to decide which of all the many gods worshiped throughout human history is the One True God™ in the first place. Zeus? Odin? Amun-Ra? Marduk? Quetzalcoatl? Ba’al? Amaterasu-Ōmikami? Tāne? Vishnu? Ahura Mazda? Jehovah (a.k.a. Allah)? Each God has different attributes and offers a different path to salvation (not to mention has different holy books written about Him/Her/It), so it’s vitally important you select the right one. OK, so it’s probably not one of the Gods worshiped by ancient civilizations¹, but at the very least you will need to pick between the God of the so-called “Abrahamic” religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), the God of Hinduism, the God of Zoroastrianism, the God of Sikhism, etc. Still, it’s probably whichever God your parents just so happen to believe in², so that’s easy enough.

Once you’ve picked a deity, you need to decide which holy book written about that deity contains the most accurate description of what that deity is like and what it wants you to do. If you chose Odin to believe in, for example, your best bet would be the ancient Norse Edda, whereas if you went with Lord Brahma, you’d be better off going with the Vedas and/or the Bhagavad Gita. If you decide to go with the Abrahamic God, on the other hand, you have a choice among the Hebrew Tanakh (a.k.a. “the Old Testament”), the Christian Bible³ and the Islamic Qur’an.
Then, once you’ve selected a holy book describing the deity you selected and picked the correct translation of that holy book (if necessary), decide which of the various religions based on the teachings contained within that holy book is the one true faith in that God. If you’ve opted for, say, Jehovah/Allah and went with some version of the Bible or the Qur’an, then you would simply need to decide whether Judaism, Christianity or Islam is the One True Faith™. Each main religion has very different ideas of what their chosen God wants us to do, so once again it’s vitally important to pick the right religion. After all, what if you pick Judaism and it turns out that the bit about Christ was true after all? Or what if you pick Christianity and it turns out that Muhammad actually was God’s final prophet? What if you dutifully pray toward Mecca five times each day and it turns out that God really wanted you to observe the Sabbath once a week instead? Again, though, it’s probably whichever God your parents happened to believe in, right? Lucky you for being born into the right family and the right culture and the right country, eh? Pity about everybody else who wasn’t so lucky, but what can you do?

Next, once you’ve figured out which is the correct religion, decide which of the many, many denominations of that religion is the correct one. If, say, you picked Christianity as the one true faith, just figure whether the correct denomination is Catholics, Episcopalians, Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormonism), Baptists, Born Again Christians, Seventh-day Adventists, Pentecostals, Methodists, Shakers, Quakers, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Church of Christ, etc. Keep in mind that each denomination interprets the holy scriptures in a different way, and one denomination’s “salvation comes by grace alone” is another denomination’s “faith without works is dead.” A little harder here, since people do tend to convert from one denomination to another and you may not be able to rely on the denomination your parents belonged to. But, still — it can’t be that hard to know which one is the right one, can it? No pressure, though — it’s not like the fate of anybody’s everlasting soul depends on it or anything⁴.
OK, now that you’ve figured out which is the correct denomination of the correct religion of the correct God, you may also need to decide which particular sect of that denomination really knows what God’s will is. For example, if you selected Baptist as the correct denomination of the correct religion of the correct God, you will now have to decide whether the correct sect is Southern Baptist Convention, National Baptist Convention, Nigerian Baptist Convention, National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, National Baptist Convention of America, Baptist Union of Uganda, Baptist Community of Western Congo, Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baptist Convention of Tanzania, Brazilian Baptist Convention, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Baptist Bible Fellowship International, American Baptist Churches, Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, Baptist Community of the Congo River, National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A., Myanmar Baptist Convention, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Baptist General Association of Virginia, Baptist Convention of Kenya, Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India, Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Korea Baptist Convention, Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches, Orissa Evangelical Baptist Crusade, National Baptist Convention (Brazil), Church of Christ in Congo–Baptist Community of Congo, Baptist Convention of Malawi, Garo Baptist Convention, Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Ghana Baptist Convention, Union of Baptist Churches in Rwanda, American Baptist Association, Baptist Missionary Association of America, Conservative Baptist Association of America, National Association of Free Will Baptists, Convention of Visayas and Mindanao of Southern Baptist Churches, Manipur Baptist Convention or Baptist Community in Central Africa. Again, each sect is bound to interpret the main doctrine of the denomination in a different way unique to their own culture. I know this sounds daunting, but I’m sure if you pray to God and ask Him (or Her or It), She/He/It will be happy to let you know. Just make sure you pray sincerely (just like everybody else) and I’m sure God won’t steer you wrong⁵.

Now that you’ve selected the correct sect of the correct denomination of the correct religion of the correct God, go pick the congregation you think has the most knowledgeable preachers and teachers. After all, the Southern Baptist church down the street may be full of budding heathens and atheists or just ignorant folks who don’t really understand the word of God. At this point, you’re almost there, so you can be sure that God wouldn’t steer you toward the wrong congregation. Just go with whichever one makes you feel the most comfortable and be assured that God has directed you (and you alone, among all the billions of his children, because you are just so danged special⁶) to the right place.

Once you’ve selected the right congregation of the right sect of the right denomination of the right religion of the right God, all you need to do now is figure out which of the many preachers and teachers within that congregation actually understands what the holy book of that religion actually means. Sadly, each individual preacher or teacher will likely have their own interpretation, so it’s vitally important that you only listen to the one who has it 100% right.

Should you shun homosexuals or welcome them? Should you donate money to homeless people or is that just encouraging bad habits? Do women really need to be subject to their husbands’ will or not? Is it enough to just accept Jesus into your heart, or do you actually need to do good deeds and repent for your sins?

Is it really harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, or is that just a metaphor? Does “turn the other cheek” mean you can’t own a gun for self-defense? Did God really just promise to “answer prayers” (and sometimes the answer is “no”) or did he actually promise to give “whatsoever we ask for in faith”? Is lusting after a woman in your heart really the same as committing adultery, or was Jesus just being metaphorical again? What’s the best way to “love thy neighbor as thyself” while still preventing transgender people from using the bathroom they feel most comfortable in? Is it OK to vote for somebody who claims to share your values if he talks about sexually assaulting women, mocks disabled people and lies all the time? What, actually, would Jesus do? And so on and so forth.

Finally, with all that prep work out of the way and secure in your knowledge of what the “word of God” actually is, just open your mouth and actually tell it to anybody who comes within earshot of you. Don’t forget to do all the prep work, however, or else nobody will take you seriously.

See? Nothing to it!

Best of luck in your efforts, Karthik!

¹ We all know what a bunch of ignorant and superstitious people those ancients all were, am I right?

² What an amazing coincidence!

³ If you go with the Bible, you should also probably decide which of the many, many different translations you want to rely on, including (but not limited to) the 365 Day Bible, American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, An American Translation, Beck’s American Translation, Berkeley Version, The Bible in Living English, Bishops’ Bible, Children’s King James Version, Christian Community Bible, Christian Standard Bible, Clear Word Bible, Common English Bible, Contemporary English Version, Concordant Literal Version, Coverdale Bible, CTS New Catholic Bible, Darby Bible, Divine Name King James Bible, Douay–Rheims Bible, Douay-Rheims Bible (Challoner Revision), Easy-to-Read Version, Emphasized Bible, English Standard Version, Evangelical Heritage Version, Ferrar Fenton Bible, Geneva Bible, God’s Word, Good News Bible, Great Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, International Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible, Julia E. Smith Parker Translation, King James Version, Knox Bible, Lamsa Bible, Literal Standard Version, A Literal Translation of the Bible, The Living Bible, Matthew’s Bible, The Message, Mickelson Clarified Translation, Modern English Version, Modern Language Bible, Moffatt, New Translation, Names of God Bible, New American Bible, New American Bible Revised Edition, New American Standard Bible, Saint Joseph New Catholic Bible, New Century Version, New Community Bible, New English Bible, New English Translation, New International Reader’s Version, New International Version Inclusive Language Edition, New International Version, New Jerusalem Bible, New King James Version, New Life Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, The Orthodox Jewish Bible, The Orthodox Study Bible, Quaker Bible, Recovery Version of the Bible, Revised New Jerusalem Bible, Revised Version, Revised Standard Version, Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition, Revised English Bible, Scofield Reference Bible, The Scriptures, Simple English Bible, The Story Bible, Taverner’s Bible, Thomson’s Translation, Today’s New International Version, Third Millennium Bible, Tree of Life Bible, Tyndale Bible, The Voice Bible, Webster’s Revision, Westminster Version of Sacred Scripture, The Woman’s Bible, World English Bible, Wycliffe’s Bible, and, of course, Young’s Literal Translation.
⁴ Oh, wait…

⁵ Just because God apparently steered wrong everybody who picked a different sect than you doesn’t mean He would ever steer you wrong. After all — you’re special! Billions and billions and billions of people on the earth since the beginning of time and all desperately hoping to know what God’s will really is. But they weren’t all special like you are, so it’s OK.

⁶ Did I mention just how very special and lucky you are? I mean, just think of the odds! Seriously, you should go out and play the lottery right now.

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