Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytism is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix 'πρός' (towards) and the verb 'έρχομαι' (I come). Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly Incidentally, proselytism is prohibited in Greece, according to the constitution of Greece. Historically in the New Testament, the word proselyte denoted a person who had converted to Judaism. Proselyte, from the Koine Greek προσήλυτος/proselytos, is used in the Septuagint for "stranger" i Judaism (from the Greek Ioudaïsmos, derived from the Hebrew יהודה Yehudah, " Judah " in Hebrew יַהֲדוּת Yahedut Though the word proselytism was originally tied to Christianity, it is also used to refer to other religions' attempts to convert people to their beliefs or even any attempt to convert people to another point of view, religious or not. Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity or a change from one religious identity to another Today, the connotations of the word proselytism are often negative but this article will use the word neutrally to refer to any attempts to convert a person or people to another faith.
Mark 8:34 Whosoever will come after me—It seems that Christ formed, on the proselytism of the Jews, the principal qualities which he required in the proselytes of his covenant.
The first condition of proselytism among the Jews was, that he that came to embrace their religion should come voluntarily, and that neither force nor influence should be employed in this business. This is also the first condition required by Jesus Christ, and which he considers as the foundation of all the rest:—If a man be willing to come after me.
The second condition required in the Jewish proselyte was, that he should perfectly renounce all his prejudices, his errors, his idolatry, and every thing that concerned his false religion; and that he should entirely separate himself from his most intimate friends and acquaintances. It was on this ground that the Jews called proselytism a new birth, and proselytes new-born, and new men; and our Lord requires men to be born again, not only of water, but by the Holy Ghost. See John 3:5. All this our Lord includes in this word, Let him renounce himself. To this the following scriptures refer: Matthew 10:33; John 3:3, 5, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The third condition on which a person was admitted into the Jewish Church as a proselyte was, that he should submit to the yoke of the Jewish law, and bear patiently the inconveniences and sufferings with which a profession of the Mosaic religion might be accompanied. Christ requires the same condition; but, instead of the yoke of the law, he brings in his own doctrine, which he calls his yoke, Matthew 11:29: and his cross, the taking up of which not only implies a bold profession of Christ crucified, but also a cheerful submitting to all the sufferings and persecutions to which he might be exposed, and even to death itself.
The fourth condition was, that they should solemnly engage to continue in the Jewish religion, faithful even unto death. This condition Christ also requires; and it is comprised in this word, Let him FOLLOW me. See the following verses; and see, on the subject of proselytism, Ruth 1:16, 17——Adam Clarke's Commentary, 
Many Christians consider it their obligation to follow what is often termed the Great Commission of Jesus, recorded in the final verses of the Gospel of Matthew: "Go to all the nations and make disciples. Christianity ( Greek Χριστιανισμός from the word Xριστός ( Christ)is a monotheistic Religion centered on the life and teachings The Great Commission, in Christian tradition is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples, that they spread his teachings Jesus of Nazareth (7–2 BC / BCE —26–36 AD / CE) This article is about the canonical books of the New Testament Matthew the Evangelist (מתי/מתתיהו "Gift of Yahweh " Standard Hebrew and Tiberian Hebrew: Mattay or Mattithyahu Baptize them and teach them my commands. " The Acts of the Apostles and other sources contain several accounts of early Christians following this directive by engaging in individual conversations and mass sermons to spread the "good news". The Acts of the Apostles is a book of the Bible, which now stands fifth in the New Testament. This article is about the canonical books of the New Testament Evangelical Christians often use the term "witnessing" to mean discussing one's faith with another person with the intent of proselytism. Evangelicalism is a theological movement tradition and system of beliefs most closely associated with Protestant Christianity, which identifies with the Gospel
Most self-described Christian groups have organizations devoted to missionary work which in whole or in part includes proselytism of people of other faiths (including sometimes other variants of Christianity). A missionary is a member of a Religion who works to convert those who do not share the missionary's faith someone who proselytizes. Groups noted for their extensive proselytism include:
See the article on missionary for more information. The Southern Baptist Convention ( SBC) is a United States -based mostly conservative Christian denomination Jews for Jesus is a Christian evangelistic organization that focuses specifically on the conversion of Jews to Christianity, viewing its followers Jehovah's Witnesses is a restorationist, millenialist Christian denomination The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the fourth largest Christian denomination in the United States and the largest and most well-known A missionary is a member of a Religion who works to convert those who do not share the missionary's faith someone who proselytizes.
Some Christians define "proselytism" more narrowly as the attempt to convert people from one Christian tradition to another; those who use the term in this way generally view the practice as illegitimate and in contrast to evangelism, which is converting non-Christians to Christianity. Evangelism is the Christian practice of proselytisation. The intention of most evangelism is to effect Eternal salvation to those who do not follow the An Eastern Orthodox writer, Stephen Methodius Hayes has written: "If people talk about the need for evangelism, they meet with the response, 'the Orthodox church does not proselytize' as if evangelizing and proselytism were the same thing. The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second largest single Christian Communion in the world " However the boundary varies from group to group. For instance the Moscow Patriarchate has repeatedly strongly condemned what it describes as Catholic proselytism of Orthodox Christians within Russia and has therefore opposed a Catholic construction project in an area of Russia where the Catholic community is small. See also Eastern Orthodox Church Structure and organization The Slavic Orthodox Church is organized in a hierarchical structure Catholic is an Adjective derived from the Greek adjective '' / 'katholikos' meaning "whole" or "complete". Catholic is an Adjective derived from the Greek adjective '' / 'katholikos' meaning "whole" or "complete". Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending The Catholic Church claims that it is supporting the existing Catholic community within Russia and is not proselytizing.  Recently, the Balamand declaration on proselytism was released between the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches. The Balamand Declaration is a Declaration made by the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox
In Islam, (see dawah) inviting people to the religion is a meritorious activity. For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. Da‘wah usually denotes proselytizing of Islam. The Arabic دعوة da‘wah means literally "issuing a summons" Some religions do not accept converts at all (membership is inherited), such as the Druze and Zoroastrians. The Druze ( Arabic: درزي derzī or durzī, plural دروز durūz) are a religious community found primarily in Syria, Lebanon Zoroastrianism (ˌzɔroʊˈæstriəˌnɪzəm is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings
Unlike in the Hellenistic era, in the modern era most branches of Judaism do not actively proselytize to non-Jews. Judaism (from the Greek Ioudaïsmos, derived from the Hebrew יהודה Yehudah, " Judah " in Hebrew יַהֲדוּת Yahedut Some groups, however, will encourage nonobservant Jews to be observant, such as Chabad. Chabad-Lubavitch is one of the largest Hasidic movements in Orthodox Judaism, and is based in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn Reform Judaism has been known to welcome the non-Jewish spouses of already existing mixed marriages to convert to Judaism. Hi and welcome to Wikipedia! Please understand that this article is frequently subjected to vandalism and the insertion of personal opinions Miscegenation (Latin miscere "to mix" + genus "kind" is the mixing of different racial groups, that is marrying, cohabiting A conversion to Judaism (גיור giyur) is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community  Orthodox Judaism usually discourages conversion, but persistent and sincere requests for conversion are conducted. Orthodox Judaism is the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized  See Ger tzedek. A conversion to Judaism (גיור giyur) is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community
In ancient times, there have been periods (especially the Hellenistic) in which Jews were more favorable to proselytizing than they are today and in one case, the people of Idumea, forcibly converted them in 125 BC. Some historians believe that one of the major sources of the Early Christian movements were communities of "pagans" who had been attracted to Judaism. Early Christianity is commonly defined as the Christianity of the three centuries between the Crucifixion of Jesus ( c However, with the dominance of Christianity and Islam, Jews came to avoid proselytism, since that might incite Christians and Muslims to persecute them.
Indian religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are largely pluralistic. Hinduism is a religious tradition that originated in the Indian subcontinent. Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma / Shraman Dharma (जैन धर्म is an ancient religion of India. Sikhism ( IPA: or; ਸਿੱਖੀ sikkhī, IPA:) founded on the teachings of Nanak and nine successive gurus in fifteenth century Religious pluralism (rel Comparative religion) is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of different Religions and is used in a number of related Hinduism as placing faith in a Vedic proclamation which states that "Truth is One, though the sages know it as many". "Veda" redirects here For other uses see Veda (disambiguation. However, Hinduism does accept reconversion of former Hindus converted into other religions on the basis that though all religions lead to the same goal, the argument cuts both ways. That is, people professing one religion who were converted to another religion were free to come back to their original religion. This 'reconversion' was justifiable since the converts' judgment - especially about their own self-discipline to fight through life's problems which is sine qua non (indispensable element) in any valid religion for realizing divinity in oneself - might have been deliberately blurred by proselytizers from other religions by fraudulent and distortionist propaganda to increase their flock sizes. Apart from distortionist propaganda against their current religion, proselytizers also exploited the materialistic problems especially disease, and quite adroitly encouraged their blaming of their parent religion, and thus welcomed them to 'embracing' the new religion, offering several allurements by charities of education and jobs, in exchange for 'professing' the new religion. One group that takes converts in Hinduism, but without calumniating other religions, is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness also known as Hare Krishnas. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON) also known as 'the Hare Krishna ' movement is one of several Vaishnava groups
The Sikh Gurus (spiritual teacher ) have propagated the message of "many paths" leading to the one God and ultimate salvation for all souls who tread on the path of righteousness. They have supported the view that proponents of all faiths can, by doing good and virtuous deeds and by remembering the Lord, certainly achieve salvation. The students of the Sikh faith are told to accept all leading faiths as possible vehicle for attaining spiritual enlightenment provided the faithful study, ponder and practice the teachings of their prophets and leaders. The holy book of the Sikhs called the Sri Guru Granth Sahib says: "Do not say that the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran are false. Those who do not contemplate them are false. " Guru Granth Sahib page 1350.  and "The seconds, minutes, and hours, days, weeks and months, and the various seasons originate from the one Sun; O nanak, in just the same way, the many forms originate from the Creator. " Guru Granth Sahib page 12,13.
Ethnocentrism of any sort (including the idea of belonging to a 'school of Buddhism' as well as evangelism and religious supremacism) is, according to Buddhist thought, rooted in self-grasping and reified thought - the cause of Samsara itself. The current Dalai Lama has repeatedly pointed out that any attempt to convert individuals from their beliefs is not only non-Buddhist, but abusive: the identification of evangelism as an expression of compassion is considered to be false, and indeed the idea that Buddhism is the one true path is likewise false for Buddhists. Mahavira (599-527 BC), the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, developed an early philosophy regarding relativism and subjectivism known as Anekantavada. As a result of this acceptance of alternate religious practices, the phenomenon of proselytisation is largely absent in these religions but not unknown.
The difference between legitimate proselytism and illegitimate proselytism may not be definable. What one person considers legitimate, another may consider improper or even illegal. Proselytism can include:
Illustrating the problems that can arise from such subjective viewpoints is this extract from an article by Dr. C. Davis, published in Cleveland State University's Journal of Law and Health:
According to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Jews for Jesus and Hebrew Christians constitute two of the most dangerous cults, and its members are appropriate candidates for deprogramming. Cleveland State University ( abbr CSU) is a Public university located in Cleveland Ohio. Jewish Christians (sometimes called also "Hebrew Christians" or "Christian Jews") is a term which can have two meanings a historical one and a Deprogramming refers to actions that attempt to force a person to abandon Allegiance to a religious political economic or social group Anti-cult evangelicals . . . protest that “aggressiveness and proselytising . . . are basic to authentic Christianity,” and that Jews for Jesus and Campus Crusade for Christ are not to be labelled as cults. Jews for Jesus is a Christian evangelistic organization that focuses specifically on the conversion of Jews to Christianity, viewing its followers Campus Crusade for Christ is an Interdenominational Christian organization that promotes Evangelism and discipleship in over 190 countries around Furthermore, certain Hassidic groups who physically attacked a meeting of the Hebrew Christian “cult” have themselves been labelled a “cult” and equated with the followers of Reverend Moon, by none other than the President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The Unification Church is a New religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. 
Views on the propriety of different types of proselytism differ radically. Some feel that freedom of speech should have no limits and that virtually anyone, anywhere should have the right to talk about anything they see fit. Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without Censorship or Limitation. Others see all sorts of proselytism as a nuisance and an intrusion and would like to see them restricted (either completely or to a limited arena). Thus, Prof. Natan Lerner of Tel Aviv University observes that the issue is one of a clash of rights—the perceived right of a person to express his or her views—versus the perceived right of a person not to be exposed to views that he or she does not wish to hear. Tel Aviv University (TAU אוניברסיטת תל־אביב את"א is Israel 's largest on-site University, located in Tel Aviv. Still others see a long-term geopolitical hidden agenda in merely increasing flock sizes of a religion since the assumption in proselytization, which is done with monthly, quarterly, yearly, and decadal 'targets' and 'actuals', rather like in corporate marketing plans, is to achieve polarization of people on religious basis. This view points to the mischievous potential of proselytism for religious divisiveness, national disharmony and treason, and religious violence. In Law, treason is the Crime that covers some of the more serious acts of disloyalty to one's sovereign or Nation. Religious violence is a term that covers all phenomena where Religion, in any of its forms is either the subject or object of individual or collective violent behaviour
Some don't mind preaching but are concerned if the speech is accompanied by physical benefits (e. g. , a soup kitchen that provides food, but only under the condition that the recipients listen to an evangelical discourse) or new converts are given physical benefits not available to those who don't convert. Others are concerned if the preaching is aimed at children without the knowledge and consent of the parents.
From a legal standpoint (international, India and United States), there do appear to be certain criteria in distinguishing licit from illicit proselytism:
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 18 states:
- Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a United Nations Treaty based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created in This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
- No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
- Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
- The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
In the United States and India, the first amendment to its Constitution provides that all people have:
By the same token, these very rights exercise a limiting influence on the freedoms of others. For instance, the right to have one's religious beliefs presumably includes the right not to be coerced by the government into changing these beliefs by threats, discrimination, or similar inducements.
In Islam, the Qur'an states "Let there be no compulsion in the religion: Surely the Right Path is clearly distinct from the crooked path. For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. The Qur’an ( القرآن, literally "the recitation" also sometimes transliterated as Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran " (Al-Baqarah, 2:256) which is taken by most Muslims that force is not to be used to convert someone to Islam. Sura Al-Baqara ( سورة البقرة, Sūratu al-Baqarah, "The Cow" is the second and the longest Sura (chapter of the
Limits on proselytism is a combination of what is considered legal (and this varies from country to country) and what is considered moral (and this varies from person to person).
Some countries such as Greece prohibit all proselytism, some such as Morocco prohibit it except for a particular religion. Some restrict it in various ways such as prohibiting attempts to convert children or prohibit offering physical benefits to new converts.
Religious groups also draw lines between what they are willing to do or not do to convert people. For instance the Catholic Church in Ad Gentes states that "The Church strictly forbids forcing anyone to embrace the Faith, or alluring or enticing people by worrisome wiles. Ad Gentes is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church. " The World Council of Churches in The Challenge of Proselytism and the Calling to Common Witness states the following: (Note: this document uses proselytism in the negative sense only. )
19. Proselytism as described in this document stands in opposition to all ecumenical effort. It includes certain activities which often aim at having people change their church affiliation and which we believe must be avoided, such as the following:
- making unjust or uncharitable references to other churches’ beliefs and practices and even ridiculing them;
- comparing two Christian communities by emphasizing the achievements and ideals of one, and the weaknesses and practical problems of the other;
- employing any kind of physical violence, moral compulsion and psychological pressure e. g. the use of certain advertising techniques in mass media that might bring undue pressure on readers/viewers;
- using political, social and economic power as a means of winning new members for one’s own church;
- extending explicit or implicit offers of education, health care or material inducements or using financial resources with the intent of making converts;
- manipulative attitudes and practices that exploit people’s needs, weaknesses or lack of education especially in situations of distress, and fail to respect their freedom and human dignity.
Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the rise of democracy in the Eastern Block, the Russian Orthodox Church has enjoyed a revival. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 Democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power is held completely by the people under a free electoral system See also Eastern Orthodox Church Structure and organization The Slavic Orthodox Church is organized in a hierarchical structure However, it takes exception to what it considers illegitimate proselytising by the Catholic Church (even though the Catholic Church had been set up in Russia before the Soviet Block severely limited the contacts of Catholics with the outside world), the Salvation Army, Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious movements in what it refers to as its canonical territory. The Roman Catholic Church in Russia is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. The Salvation Army is a Christian charity and church that is internally organised like a military service. Jehovah's Witnesses is a restorationist, millenialist Christian denomination Canonical territories are geographical subdivisions that mark the boundaries of the jurisdiction of local Orthodox churches on the one hand and the Roman Catholic Church 
Greece has a long history of conflict, mostly with Jehovah's Witnesses but also with some Pentecostals over its laws on proselytism. Greece (Ελλάδα transliterated: Elláda, historically, Ellás,) officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία Jehovah's Witnesses is a restorationist, millenialist Christian denomination Pentecostalism is a renewalist religious movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the Baptism This situation stems from a law passed in the 1930s by the dictator Ioannis Metaxas. The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression. General Ioannis Metaxas (Ιωάννης Μεταξάς ( April 12, 1871 January 29, 1941) was a Greek General and A Jehovah's Witness, Minos Kokkinakis, won 3,189,500 drachmas (US $10,600) in damages from the Greek state after being arrested repeatedly for preaching his faith from door to door . Minos Kokkinakis ( 25 January 1919, Sitia, Crete - 28 January 1999 Sitia was a Greek Jehovah's Witness from In another case, Larissis vs. Greece, a member of the Pentecostal church also won a case in the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights ( ECtHR) (Cour européenne des droits de l’homme in Strasbourg was established under the European Convention on Human Rights