Friendship Evangelism: If you want to show genuine interest you have to know how to fake it

As Evangelicals come to realize that their doctrines are a harder sell to an ever brighter, more skeptical and information literate generation, they look for ways to bypass the critical faculties. Often this is referred to as “friendship evangelism.” You may, for example, be interested in stamp collecting or running 5ks. So you target someone else who is interested in the same things, and gradually introduce him or her to your Best Friend, Evangelical Republican Jesus.

People who encourage this always harangue the audience about having a “genuine interest” in the person. But how can you have such an interest if you are hagridden by an end game scenario if making them believe what you believe? When do you get to just enjoy their company? If he or she is skeptical or doesn’t fall on his or her knees to say the sinner’s prayer, when do you decide to cut your losses and ditch them?

In short, it is impossible. It is like trying to whistle while eating a peanut butter sandwich. The average person who tries this–or thinks he or she should try it–will eventually give up and go back to hanging with people who believe the same things he or she does. But they’ll feel guilty about it.

So we come to the true result: yet another impossible demand on the believer that will nag at him or her subconsciously and make him or her feel guilty, inadequate, and incapable of making decisions.


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