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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

Why Do You Insist on Imposing Your Religion on People–Can’t You Just Live and Let Live?

Question:

I don't care if you're Catholic or Protestant. You shouldn't impose your religion on people. Missionaries have no right to tell other people about religion. My philosophy is live and let live.

Answer:

That may be your philosophy, but it’s not what Jesus said. He told his disciples to take the gospel to all men: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:18-19).

This is known as the Great Commission, not the Great Imposition.

Jesus commanded his followers to make others Christians through preaching and baptism. We must all, in one capacity or another, be evangelists and present the truth of Christ to those who don’t yet accept it. In so doing, we aren’t imposing anything on them. Christ wants a free acceptance of himself and his message.

Evangelization is not an imposition but an act of charity. Through it the whole truth about God and man is made known to people in need. Those outside the Church hear the message of Christ the Savior and become united with him in his Church, his Mystical Body.

“Live and let live” is a false philosophy. It reduces to Cain’s question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In things spiritual as well as things material, we are indeed our brother’s keeper.

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