Ever since Christianity was founded nearly 2000 years ago, Christians have felt called to spread the Gospel around the world. The source for this commandment, known as the Great Commission, is Matthew 28: 18-20.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Note what Jesus did NOT say. His commandment wasn’t to “convert all the people you can to my religion” and he certainly did not call for all other religious communities to be wiped out. He called for a Christian community to be established among all the nations of the world. So his Great Commission would be fulfilled if in some countries of the world only 1% of the populations became Christian.
Indeed, the idea that the vast majority of a population should be made to embrace Christianity would have been more likely to debase Christianity rather than to uplift the population. We saw exactly that in the case of the Roman Empire, which converted en masse from Paganism to Christianity around 300 to 400 AD. That did nothing to stop the Empire from falling in 476 AD.
Why did Christianity fail to improve the population? Because it never changed human nature. Read this blog entry:
The Bell Curve of Morality
As the illustration shows, only a minority of people are truly good and very rarely do we find anyone that is extremely good.
Some Jewish groups not only do not proselytize, they discourage people from joining them and only accept those who they deem worthy of membership.
Sadly, the Baha’i Faith is also obsessed with winning converts. As I noted here:
A Baha’i Divorce
After I left the Baha’i Faith, I realized that religion simply has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s character; if people have screwed up personalities, religion actually can make them worse by making them think that believing certain dogmas and following certain rituals will save them and make them great people before God and their fellow humans. I know from my own experience with myself and others that this is simply a lie.
Maybe if Christians had been more cautious about accepting members, a lot of the scandals and atrocities associated with Christianity wouldn’t have happened.