Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Wow ...

So, blogsurfing a bit -- and came across this rabid site. The Conversion Agenda. Out to expose the lies, trickeries (and worse) of Christians trying to undermine India's spiritual values.

Here's some mind-boggling quotes from the sidebar.
The concept of religious freedom espoused by America is a Euro-centric definition imposed upon the world after the Second World War, in the form of Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Promoted as a universal doctrine, though not founded upon genuine international consensus, this concept has been used by Western nations to advance their own religion and culture and impinge upon the religious freedom of other nations and faith groups.
That's from an article that says that the US was being hypocritical in denying a visa to Narendra Modi, the Butcher of Ahmedabad, the Chief Minister of Gujarat who was behind the horrifying pogroms of 2002.
The world would be a much safer, happier place if Christians were to convert themselves to Christianity. Minus its superstitions and minus the mafia-like activities of the Vatican, Christianity is a beautiful religion. We could then bid goodbye to a lot of evils: from colonialism to neo-colonialism to consumerism, from inquisitions to conversions to the Holocaust to India's partition, from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Vietnam, Iraq, Kosovo and East Timor.
Mafia-life activities? Partition? The Holocaust? Hiroshima? Vietnam? Though the point of Christians converting to Christianity is very well taken. Something that, you know, for instance, the Holy Father keeps saying.
It is wrong to draw ideological parallels between Christianity and Hinduism. It is pointless to contrast dogmas as original sin, eternal damnation, and the absolutism of the Kingdom of God with that of the experiential reality of the Hindu Darshanaas which proclaim: "Each soul is potentially Divine", and teach the authentic way and means to discover, realize and manifest in day to day life the inherent divinity equally present in all. Hinduism and Christianity represent incompatible modes of thought and irreconcilable value systems.

Hinduism is dedicated to individual freedoms and rights. The philosophy of Hinduism and Christianity does not mix. Equating Hinduism (or, indeed, any religion of the book) would be doubly regrettable. A strict ban on religious conversion is in the best interest of all Indians because, to quote the wisdom of a common sense poet, "Good fences make good neighbors".

Christian missionary efforts at conversion under the guise of social work do not take place in places, say, like the Brahmin-dominated ward of Mylapore in Chennai. They are conducted in poor, illiterate and innocent tribal areas and in remote jungles far from the prying eyes of authority.
Yep. Sure. Rave and rant about spiritual destruction, and treat Dalits and tribals and the poor like human excrement. As a commentor remarked below, so much of the passion of the opposition seems to be because what is being challenged here is not just the "religion" per se, but a culture of deprivation and repression. Needless to say, this site, which waxes eloquent about the glories of Hinduism doesn't once mention caste. The point isn't that Christians are perfect and Hindus are not. It's just one sided and hypocritical. I don't even know where to begin. Actually, there's no point in beginning really. This is about as one-sided as, say, that pamphlet I once saw at a Baptist church urging all Christians to join in the campaign to save the Hindus from their spiritual darkness. This is pure and simple porpaganda. It has RSS/VHP/Sangh Parivar written all over it. And, ironies of ironies, they quote Gandhiji on the evils of conversion (his virulent opposition to any Christian missionary activity is well known), but ignore practically everything else he was about - communal harmony, (I'm sure Gandhi would just love Narendra Modi), religious amity, the rights of the "untouchables," the opposition to caste, non-violence. Gimme a friggin break.


chez said...

I'm surprised that you chose to taken them on. I've chosen to ignore them, atleast on my blog.

I had once written to the editor of a local english daily condemning the pogram in gujrat against the muslims/minorities and I got a death threat posted to my home address!. I was told that I'd be burnt to ashes.

I'm not sure if I bacame wise after that threat or if I got frightened :)

By the way, I'm a great admirer of Gandhi though I don't agree with all his views. Yes, he championed the rights of the "untouchables" but I think you got it wrong when you said that he was against the caste system. He firmly believed in the caste system, he thought that the caste system was a scientific way of keeping "balance" in the society. He did not find it ok for an "untouchable" to take up any other profession than what he is destined to. He thought that it would create imbalances and the collapse of society. My 2 cents.

Gashwin said...

Well, the truth of the matter is that I'm really not very familiar with Christianity as it is lived and practiced in India. I was involved in the Church in Bombay for about 4 years prior to being baptized. Almost immediately thereafter, I moved to the US. The Church in the US is where my faith has deepened and grown, it's where my call to the ordained ministry took root, and is my spiritual home, in many ways.

So, stumbling upon these folks was an eye-opener of sorts, as to the kidns of crud that's out there. I couldn't not respond! At least I have the advantage of 10000 miles of distance when it comes to death threats.

So, at some point, I'll blogsurf the world of Indian Christianity. Your spot is a great starter. Pointers and links most welcome!

Best wishes in general, and in particular for the trip to the Holy Land.

Gashwin said...

PS: You're right about Gandhi on the caste system per se. Mea culpa.