When many are asked if we have been saved, we automatically understand the question to be an inquiry about our status before God. In addition, we also probably sense that the inquirer is trying to determine if we qualify as a good person in their eyes or if we are a candidate for proselytizing. In the first instance, the question becomes a coded message aimed at determining whether we are a member of the select group and therefore worthy of association and friendship. In the latter case, we are being asked to identify ourselves as a target of sorts, someone to be confronted and converted or else shunned as an evil influence.
It is not at all difficult to see how this loaded question will have a number of negative implications. For one, the questioner automatically assumes a role of superiority in asking the question. The question naturally presumes a right to delve into another’s personal relationship with God and then to instruct the hearer and press for compliance with those instructions. Equally as toxic is the intimation that the questioner judges everyone else based on conformity to the questioner’s chosen religious dogma. Goodness and worthiness is thus determined exclusively by comparison with themselves, thereby making their character and behavior the standard of righteousness. The standard of acceptability is not something that both strive toward together; instead, it is always something the questioner has achieved; and the hearer has failed to achieve.
When so called evangelical Christians notice the discomfort or outright hostility which their question engenders, they needn’t be shocked by the “world’s” rejection of their implied message. In any other context besides religion, their impertinence would appall even themselves.