world.pngWhenever we try to spread a belief, we encounter a problem.  Other people have their own agendas, and their agendas usually do not coincide with our own.  So to sell our belief, we have to convince others that accepting our belief will further their own interests.  That tends to be easier said than done.

  • Once they realize we are trying to proselytize, our targets become automatically skeptical.
  • Our targets are generally already sold on their own beliefs.  When our belief conflicts with their own, we must first convince them they are wrong.  Nobody likes to be proved wrong.
  • People have their own plans and agendas; they do not want to be bothered.

Nonetheless, countless people are converted or sold on various ideas and beliefs every year.   Since I want sell people on Conservatism and Christianity, I have spent a little time wondering how the selling of a belief is done.  The answer?  I still don’t know, but I have been asked (here).

I can tell you about the problems.

  • Since I am a Conservative, and the Republican Party believes in limited government, I am also a Republican.  Unfortunately, while many elected Republican officials talk like Conservatives, very few walk the walk.  With almost as much eagerness as Democrats, elected Republicans also tax and spend.  That makes the Republican Party a hard sell even to other Conservatives.   In fact, many people consider politics such a dirty business, they want no part of it.
  • I have come to Christianity late in life.   A product of the public school system and the corporate mass media, I found it hard to reconcile the teachings of Christianity with the ideas with which the world constantly bombarded me.  I did not relent in my agnosticism until I finally took the time to read the Bible.  Why did I do that?  I saw it worked for other people.  Even though I was raised a Christian by Christians, achieving that simple understanding took over fifty years.

I don’t know enough about sales to list all the rules or to teach others how to sell.   All I know is that what people need most from each other is honest love and concern.   So I think it safe to say that the first thing a successful salesman does is to convince his target that he cares about them.   Consider this passage from the Bible.

John 13:34-35

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The primary selling point of Christianity has always been the practice of Christianity.  By being Christians — with our example — we proselytize for Christianity.  Christianity sells because we each need to love and be loved.  We each need to be part of a community where we believe we are wanted.

People come to church for many reasons, but they stay because the members of that church make each other welcome.  People come to Jesus because we bring each other to Jesus (John 12:20-22.).

Modern Conservatism can succeed only if Conservatives adopt a similar strategy.  We must emphasize how Conservatism can and will do a better job of building communities where people can love and care for each other.   That is in fact what George W. Bush tried to do when he campaigned as a “compassionate Conservative.”  Unfortunately, in the process of proving his compassion, Bush also proved his credentials as an avid tax and spender.  What Bush failed to do is show how Conservatism itself provides the basis for compassionate and caring government policies.

Conservatives can begin by pointing to the inevitable result of an overemphasis on government solutions.  Each government program creates a huge bureaucracy.  Each of these bureaucracies is uncaring of individuals.  Each bureaucracy knows us only by our social security number.  Within government bureaucracies we become like rats in a labyrinth.  With only our wits can we escape with a bit of cheese, a few dollars worth of whatever is dispersed by the denizens of that government institution.

Conservatism must point to Conservatism and explain that Conservatism is about choice.  Conservative, limited government allows each citizen to find out for themselves the answer to questions such as these:

Where do I want to belong?

To what cause do I want to dedicate my life?

Socialists or Busybodyists already have their answers to these questions.  And with the power that government gives them, they will force their answers on each and every citizen. If we want our rightful choices to be our own, we must each protect our right to choose.  How do we begin?  We each can begin by exercising our right to make our rightful choices.  We can seek the communities where we belong.   We can each dedicate our life to a worthwhile cause.


  1. “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.”

    I like that quote. It’s a great metaphor for many things. There are too many bloody noses in this world.

    I’m glad I have you scratching your head. Just don’t make yourself bald. 🙂

    One of the reasons we don’t make the same connections is that we have had, I am sure, very different backgrounds. Another one is that I just think differently from many people. It’s part of my neurological makeup and part just chance.

    It’s not that I think I am so original. It’s just that I think differently. You could say it’s the way I’m wired.

    Thank you for the compliment. And back at ya, Tom! 🙂


  2. kgotthardt – Thank you for your comment. I always find them interesting. Since we do not think alike, I often find what you have to say puzzling. I find myself scratching my head, wondering how you reach some of your conclusions. Nonetheless, because you are sincere and well-spoken, I am compelled to give your words serious consideration.

    The term busybody does sound tame, doesn’t it? It isn’t. Even if someone sincerely loves and wants to help another person, they have no right to FORCE their help or their “solution” onto that person. What happens when we deprive people of their freedom, their liberty to make their own choices? Don’t we steal the minutes and seconds of their lives?

    When busybodies can use government to force their choices and beliefs on others, they can become lethally dangerous to body and soul. They can educate our children and teach them whatever THEY THINK IMPORTANT. They can regulate our jobs out of existence. They can nullify our choices over what we eat, what we drive, where we live, how and where our houses are built….. They can throw us in prison just for singing the “wrong” song.

    Poverty does not justify Busybodyism. It may be true that someone who is hungry will not be interested politics. They will, however, be interested in religion. When we are desperate, we very quickly look for a savior. We rant and rage at Him, and we beg for His help. Then the Dear Leader can step forward, hand out a few crumbs, and claim to be god.

    Look at the past. Theocracies were once commonplace. That is no accident.

    You offered a comment on this statement of mine.

    “We each can begin by exercising our right to make our rightful choices.”

    You said:

    This is highly subjective because people of different religions/political beliefs disagree with people of other religions/political beliefs about what is right.

    While I agree that different peoples disagree over what constitutes a rightful choice, I do not see much subjectivity about the issue. What I see is people confused over the difference between rights and privileges. To understand my point-of-view, I suggest you contemplate this quotation.

    The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    Because government charity involves robbing Peter to pay Paul, government charity is a dubious enterprise at best. Never forget we collect taxes by threatening to throw our neighbors in prison.

    James – We express ourselves quite differently, but I think we for the most part agree. Where one of us cannot connect, perhaps the other will.

    God Bless you both.


  3. Great post to get to the heart of one matter. I offer two ways of marketing two different things.

    1. Christianity. The Bible teaches there are natural man (pagan), saved Christians who live in the flesh (saved by live like pagans), and transformed Christians.

    The transformed Christians live differently. The primary evidence is their agape love for everyone – including their enemies.

    Transformed Christians have started their everlasting life on earth – it just walks through a door at death. So, the relationship with God by a physically indwelling piece of God, the Holy Spirit, has begun – and it brings joy beyond bounds and peace beyond understanding. Nothing fake, but something that sooner or later causes people to ask – “Why are you different?” (not gossiping about boss, making dirty jokes, cheating on something, worried about job, economy, overcome by responsibilities, tragedy, loss etc. etc) and then, according to the Apostle Paul, you tell them.

    Our walk is our witness. Our witness is the simple, unbelievable truth of the Roman Road in the Bible. Jesus died on a cross for you, rose from the dead, is alive right now and if you believe in Him, you will live forever and get connected to the greatest power – the creator of the universe and of love – right now. It will change your life wonderfully – no matter what happens to you.

    2. In the marketplace of ideas encourage folks to read the Bible. Do Bible study. The Bible stands up to any analysis – any intellectual inquiry, etc. Every other holy book fails – especially the Koran (except for the parts copied out of a Syriac Nestorian Bible).

    If you look at Barna’s stats roughly 9 out of 10 people who read the Bible will come to Conservative ideas. Which leads to 3.

    3. Conservativism requires engagement in wholly human and corrupted political process. Christianity is about holiness. Conservativism is about give and take among men. You can read Shakespeare and the Bible to see how humans will screw everything up.

    Conservatives need to engage in the issues du jour with ideas that provide real solutions. Our ideas are in competition in a Kultur Kampf. The issues may be informed by our Judeo-Christian world view, but the political fight isn’t religious, it is individuals engaging in the exercise of our rights and responsibilities.

    Engage means educate simply, clearly and cheerfully. Over and over and over.


  4. Well first, Tom, let me say I like the word “busybodyist” far more than “Socialist.” As you point out in your May 08 post, Democrats (or what you call liberals) aren’t violent persecutors. That’s an important distinction to make. Also, the busybodyist descriptive doesn’t yet have the cliched, negative connotation that Socialist does in this age. So I say, go with the busybodyist term until it no longer has the meaning you are trying to convey. Busybodies might irritate you, but they won’t kill you 🙂

    Now tracking back…

    “So to sell our belief, we have to convince others that accepting our belief will further their own interests.”

    I’m going to use the case of advocating for the poor. When we work with the poor, they tell us they don’t want to be poor. We try to help them and get them involved. But as I have said, they haven’t even met basic needs so how can they get involved in the political process? Therefore, we become busybodies to try to help them the best way we know how, which is through democracy. For better or for worse, democracy requires government–good government.

    “Unfortunately, while many elected Republican officials talk like Conservatives, very few walk the walk.”

    This can be said of any group at any time. Christians and other religions turn people off when they see proponents of that religion openly acting like hypocrites and outright hurting people.

    This is not to say human beings shouldn’t be able to be human, but when obvious contradictions between belief and action are present that represent the group, they have negative results. (This is one reason why I choose generally groups that allow me to choose. Group-think is the enemy just as much as contradiction can be.)

    “We each can begin by exercising our right to make our rightful choices.”

    This is highly subjective because people of different religions/political beliefs disagree with people of other religions/political beliefs about what is right. As you noted above, we ALL think we are right unless we have some reason to believe we are not. Then we are back to proselytizing which turns people off.

    Democracy is the only way to make sure our rights are protected no matter what our sense of “right” is. At least we have the commonality of the Constitution and voting which, for better or for worse, are our guiding lights.

    “Each of these bureaucracies is uncaring of individuals.”

    I ABSOLUTELY agree with you here. But again, until we get at least a LITTLE effective, CARING government that gives us solutions, we can’t rid ourselves of the bureaucrats. It’s a catch 22 in some ways. (I have to look up that term. I used to know what it meant, but the brain is on overload).

    I’m being wordy on your blog again, aren’t I? Sorry.

    “We can each dedicate our life to a worthwhile cause.”

    Again, this is rather subjective and the means in which we give our lives is also varied. I happen to agree with you, but sometimes our methods don’t agree. It would be nice to merge the methods for the common good.

    In terms of government and advocating for the poor, I will say that if government gave us some useful solutions, then we wouldn’t HAVE to advocate for the poor by asking government for much more.

    That said, partnerships seem to be the best way to handle these problems for now. We might have better ways in the future, but public/private partnerships are at least the start of reaching consensus.

    The WORST thing we can do is deny there is a problem because that is how we fall apart internally and externally.

    I am proselytizing now, aren’t I? But aren’t you when you start an academic and philosophical argument? Argumentation/debate is all about proselytizing in some sense.

    But it’s fun, isn’t it, if people aren’t total jerks? 🙂


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