My wife and I are in regular contact with some friends who consider themselves to be “independent Baptist”. There’s quite a lot of emphasis on “soul-winning”, and being “ambassadors for Christ”, and suchlike (IE: pretty much what you’d expect).
The other thing (which I at first found bizarre, but have finally started to understand) is their notion that the vast majority of those who “believe” themselves to be Christians really aren’t anything of the sort.
I’ve heard this particular notion expressed (in a variety of different formulations) by members of other denominations, over the years. What it boils down to, in essense — is this:
YOU might (mistakenly) think that your religion is about what YOU “believe”.
In reality, your religious affiliation is assigned to you, by others — with absolutely no reference to your internal mental processes (“beliefs”) WHATSOEVER.
Thus — you are “assigned” a religious “identity” (which can be reliably predicted by means of mere geography — whether you actually “believe” the various truth-claims put forward by that dogma. (This is how demographers can get away with insipid claims about “religious population growth” predicated on the “breeding” habits of specific demographic segments. Those who happen to have been born into a given “demographic”/geographical area, are “assigned” a religious “identity”, merely on the basis of a LITERAL ACCIDENT OF BIRTH.
(In other words: if I had been “born to” Mennonite parents, those involved with the pseudoscience of “religious demography” would “assign” me as Mennonite — with no regard to my “beliefs”, whatever.
The above travesty would be bad enough.
Where it gets horrifying is: even if you explicitly “BELIEVE”/practice a given religion – your actual beliefs/practices are IRRELEVANT to (some) others, and will be blithely dismissed out of hand — if/when they find doing so to be EXPEDIENT.
In other words: your religion (if any) is NOT about your “beliefs” (if any).
Nor is it about your practices (if any).
In REALITY, your religion (or lack thereof) MERELY boils down to: yet another externally-imposed “identity”, which can be foisted on you WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT — and REVOKED just as easily.
I can’t help butt find that increasingly horrifying, the more I examine it.