One of the things that some people do not like about conservative Christianity is the focus on converting people who are not Christians. The attractive thing about liberal Christianity is that it can focus on the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus, encouraging us to better people, without taking the offensive step of conversion.
I can understand why this is difficult. I remember as a non-Christian working for some Christians who attempted to convert me. I did not particularly enjoy it. But at the same time, I do not think spreading the Christian message with a hope of people embracing it is a bad thing. First of all, as important as the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus are, it is also central to Jesus’ teachings that following him is essential for a good afterlife. While at times, the eighty or so years on this planet seem like a long time, it is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to human history, not to mention eternity. The fact is that we will be dead a lot longer than we will be alive. If we take steps to have the best possible life, why not take the steps to have the best possible afterlife? According to the New Testament, eternal life is found through faith in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross.
Now you may disagree with an afterlife or the necessity of atonement. You may think there is no afterlife or you may think that everyone goes to heaven. But for a moment, put yourself in the place of an evangelical Christian. If you truly believed that you had a message that would have a life and death impact on the people you cared about, what would you do? Would you withhold the information required for eternal life for the sake of tolerance? I know if someone had the cure for a deadly disease that I would hope they would share that information with me. I might not believe them, but I would at least want the option to choose.
At the same time, I will admit that Christians have not always been the best at sharing their faith. Sometimes conservative Christians have forced religion down people’s throats, imposing a “turn or burn” message on people. I believe that the Christian message must be shared, but it must be shared with love and respect. Conversions are not for notches on a Bible cover, they should be attempts to share important information with the people we care about. When it has not been that, the church needs to repent.