Prosthelytizing - Disabling the Religious Replicators
By Steve Gillman
Note: This is a continuation from Disabling
the Religious Replicators - Wishful Thinking.
Religious replicators are covered here: Natural
Selection in the Viral Spread of Religion.
Replication Strategy: Prosthelytizing
Prosthelytizing can be one of the more effective strategies
for spreading a religion. This is especially true when the obligation
to do so is a tenet of the religion. Consider the Gospel of Matthew:
"Go to all the nations and make disciples. Baptize them
and teach them my commands." Some religions make it a requirement
that young men spend some time going out to make new converts.
How do we counteract this? My ethics do not allow the use
of force to stop people from preaching their religions. Nor can
I think of many ways to convince missionaries and others from
spreading their evil ideas. But there are some things we can
We can stop giving preferential treatment to religions in
our laws. Tax the property of churches just like we tax other
properties. All other "non-profit" organizations pay
taxes on the property they own, so why not churches? Why does
this address the problem of prosthelytizing? Because the current
preferential treatment frees up a lot of money for such work.
Note that I am not suggesting we punish the religious for
their beliefs. We simply tax them the same as the rest of us.
I do not get a property tax exemption because of my beliefs,
so why should the churches? They benefit from the same public
services (roads, water, police protection, etc) as every other
organization and individual, and so it seems entirely fair that
they help pay for these as well.
Discredit the Prosthelytizers
We can point out the many true stories of corruption of those
who try to convert others, like the case where thousands of written
prayers were submitted with money to an evangelical preacher,
to be opened and prayed over. They were later discovered unopened
in the garbage. These stories get little exposure in our media.
We can perhaps change that, to reduce the impact these preachers
Don't Tolerate the Message
Another simple solution that may help, is to stop tolerating
the nonsense of those who come to our doors or public places
to spread their evil religious faith. If a man knocked on your
door and wanted to promote a racist political party, you might
let him know that his ideas are not welcome. Why then, when a
religious person knocks - one who believes in a God that condones
the slaughter of towns and whole races - are we so polite and
unwilling to correct him?
I'm not suggesting attacking anyone. Attack the evil beliefs.
The right person might even compassionately show the religious
man or woman the error of their ways.
In any case, those prosthelytizing folk who do not wish to
see any truth which contradicts their faith will at least begin
to feel less tolerance for their nonsense. They may be discouraged
from venturing out as often to do their harm.
Missionaries for Reason
Another possible solution: Missionaries for reason could go
out to spread the good news of love, reason and respect for human
life. They may even have large gatherings like religious groups
do, and collect donations to further the work. Unlike religious
prosthelytizing, this would be about encouraging people to investigate
the facts and think for themselves.
Continues here... Instilling