The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Monday, October 11, 1999

Missionary Activity & Secularism : Pope's Visit

(from BHARATIYA PRAGNA OCTOBER 1999 VOLUME 1 NUMBER 4 )

by David Frawley

Secularism is based upon a separation of church and state, removing religious control over the government. It arose to counter the influence of the church on politics and the religious sanction given to kings and their armies during the Middle Ages. Secularism grants freedom of religion to all citizens. It recognizes that many different religions exist and that people should be free to follow any or none of these. It regards differences in religion like those of race, language or culture, as incidental more than fundamental, and as involving the private life rather than the political sphere.

Opposite to secularism, both in ideas and in practice, is missionary activity, which is the attempt to convert the world to a single religious belief. Starting from the Christian takeover of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, European governments have used their influence to promote the conversion process. In time this gave rise to the Inquisition and to colonial efforts to convert native peoples. It resulted in a history of violence and genocide on a global scale that literally devastated the populations of entire continents. Missionaries used the political and military might of Christian states to discredit other religious beliefs, conquer other religious groups and destroy their holy places.

While modern secular Western states have removed overt religious influences from their governments, they have not removed the influence of religion altogether. In a democratic society any group that can produce votes becomes valuable. Western political leaders cultivate good relations with Western religious leaders in order to access their political goodwill.

Western governments today favor their majority religions in foreign affairs. It is obvious to see how much more sensitive Western Christian countries are to the welfare of the Christian community overseas than they are to the welfare of the non-Christian community. Religious oppression of Christians is quickly highlighted in the Western media, while oppression of non-Christians is seldom regarded as newsworthy. The entire history of Christian conversion activity is forgotten, as if the missionaries were only charity workers with no overt religious agenda!

A good example is Robert A. Seiple, the American ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom. Is the man a seasoned diplomat, sensitive to other cultures and religions, as would be expected for the post? No, he was for eleven years the head of World Vision, the largest privately funded relief and development organization in the world, which is a Christian charity and connected to various missionary activities.

Seiple was formerly President of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a Christian missionary, which on the Protestant side is dominated by the Baptists. A person with such a background is inappropriate for the role that he has been given, which would be like giving it to a Catholic priest. It reflects an American religious bias not a diplomatic sensitivity and objectivity. Not surprisingly, his report on religious freedom in the world highlights oppression of Christians but ignores oppression perpetrated by Christians, as if Christian groups were entirely innocent of any wrong doing anywhere!

Even the secular West will bow to religious influences when it deems necessary. The result is that missionary activity, which was the main arm of the religious state, is learning to hide itself under the guise of modern secularism, working to subvert it from behind the scenes now that its overt control is a thing of the past.

Let us not forget its history. Missionary activity first arose in a religious state as its main means of expansion. Missionary activity per se is the extension of a medieval state attitude - that there is only one true religion like only one true king. It has had a long alliance with colonialism and with racism, with colonial armies marching with priests and friars, denigrating non-White religions as pagan and barbaric.

Missionary activity, therefore, is the very denial of secularism, which it has regarded as its enemy. The missionary movement holds that only one religion is true for humanity. It creates funds and personnel to convert the world to the one true faith. It targets the poor and uneducated who are vulnerable to favors. It does not work through reason or through friendly debate but through every sort of persuasion and intimidation, friendly or unfriendly.

Secularism and Missionary Activity in the New World Order

The problem for new democracies of the post-colonial era like India is that foreign missionaries use the very freedom of a secular state to promote their anti-secular agendas. A free state means that missionary activity is allowed and that conversion is tolerated. In a colonial state, one religion, that of the foreign rulers was favored at the expense of the others. In a free state, Western missionary religions can use the greater wealth of Western countries, which perpetuates their advantage. They also manipulate the Western dominated world media for their cause. For this reason, a Hindu Swami in India is ill equipped in terms of money and media facing Christian missionary forces in his own country. He is dealing with the multi-national conversion business that has tremendous resources at its disposal, to use with little scrutiny or accountability.

The very groups that denied or limited religious freedom during their colonial rule now want to make sure that religious freedom is maintained in their former colonies, not because they honor diversity in religion, but to maintain their conversion efforts and to sustain the minorities that they carved out by their missionary activity. Such an action is hypocritical to say the least. It doesn't represent a change of heart by the missionaries. It is not a sign of their new secularism but merely a convenient way to keep their agendas going in the changing world order.

Christianity is today, and has historically been, an anti-secular religion. Christian churches may tolerate the laws of living in secular countries, but they have not yet adopted a secular acceptance that many religious and spiritual paths can be valid and that no one religion has the last word. One could argue that any religion based upon an exclusive belief, thinking that only its religion, bible, prophet or savior is true, is inherently anti-secular.

Islam is more obviously anti-secular than Christianity because it generally has no separation of church and state. Christianity was compromised by a resurgence of earlier Greco-Roman pagan ideas of pluralism and democracy, but though softened, has still not given up its goal of converting the world. Christianity needs to go forward with its reformation by giving up its exclusivism and apologizing for its history of intolerance. The Islamic world needs a similar reformation to begin as it stands much where Christianity was at the end of the Middle Ages, still harshly controlling the minds and lives of its people and preventing any religious diversity from arising.

The Pope's Visit

The Pope's upcoming visit to India is a product of the same old anti-secular and intolerant Christian conversion agenda, which has not fundamentally changed throughout the centuries. The Pope can be described, though perhaps unflatteringly, as a Christian chauvinist leader encouraging massive conversion efforts to eliminate non-Christian beliefs. He is not a bringer of peace but a destroyer of culture. The Pope has never stated that any other religion is as good as Christianity. He has never said that Jesus is not the only Son of God. He has never said that salvation can come from outside the church or apart from Jesus. He has made statements of brotherhood, peace and tolerance but has not removed the barrier of religious intolerance and exclusivity that upholds these.

All Hindus, including the so-called fundamentalists, have not made such chauvinistic statements as the Pope. They recognize the existence of many religions and of many paths. They are not promoting the idea that Hinduism alone is the true path and that non-Hindus must go to hell. They are not insisting that everyone in the world become a Hindu. They are not asking everyone to bow to Kailash or Kashi.

Recently Ashok Singhal, head of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), asked the Pope to "announce that Christianity is one of the ways that can lead to salvation and not that Christianity is the only way to salvation." The newspapers called Singhal a "hardline" Hindu leader but did not accuse the Pope of being rigid in his views. Yet Singhal accepts a pluralism to religion and salvation but the Pope does not. In terms of ordinary religious discourse Singhal has more liberal views than the Pope does but he is called a hardliner because he is questioning the missionary process! A very statement asking the Pope to affirm religious tolerance is itself styled intolerant!

In other words, Hindus should tolerate the effort to convert them but it is intolerant for Hindus to question the motives or ideas of those who denigrate their religion. That such statements are accepted in the modern media shows how deep-seated the anti-Hindu and pro-missionary bias is.

Make no mistake about it. The Pope is not a friend of Hindus. His visit is organized to promote his evangelization activities, his targeting Hindu India for Christian conversion. The Pope wants to convert Hindu India to Christianity. He would be happy if all Hindu temples were abandoned in favor of churches. He would be happy if all the swamis, sadhus and yogis either became Christian priests or disappeared altogether. He has no praise for a Ramana Maharshi, a Sri Aurobindo, a Ramakrishna, or a Shankaracharya. He does not honor the Vedas and the Gita like the Bible. He does not allow pujas to the Gods or the chanting of Om in churches. He has nowhere apologized for the use of the Inquisition in India or elsewhere. He has nowhere said that Hindus won't go to hell. He may claim to honor India's spiritual traditions but not to the extent that it requires him giving up his efforts to convert Hindus.

Let all Hindus therefore ask the Pope to say that he respects Hinduism, that Hinduism can also lead people to the ultimate goal of life, and that Catholic efforts to convert Hindus are a mistake. Let the Pope repeat the mantra of samadharma samabhava, that all dharmic teachings are in accord, and ekamsad vipra bahudha vadanti, that the enlightened seers declare the One Truth in various ways.

Let the Pope have a conference in Rome and bring the main Hindu religious leaders to dialogue with Catholic leaders on the nature of God, consciousness, the universe and immortality. Let such dialogue occur above board, out in the open and with the educated people in the field, rather than a secretive Christian targeting of poor Hindus. This would be the correct procedure if discovery of truth was the goal of such encounters.

If the Pope will not do these things then let us call him an intolerant and chauvinistic religious fundamentalist, which is what such behavior would be called in a Hindu. And let Hindus stop bowing out of respect to the Pope, prostrating to a religious leader who does not respect their religion, who is in fact plotting its downfall.

It is time for Hindus to take the offensive on religious tolerance and freedom, even if it means confronting the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has been in India for centuries. There is no reason why Catholic leaders can't appreciate the Vedas, Upanishads or modern Hindu teachers as having insights as great as those of Jesus. And this should be done starting with the Pope, not with some Indian priest that has no real power in the church or influence outside of India.

Let the Christians in India not appeal to Hindu tolerance but show their own tolerance and acceptance of other faiths by saying that though we believe in Christ we also accept Rama, Krishna and Buddha as sons of God. Let them declare a unity of religions that includes Hinduism and Buddhism as true faiths and does not require placing Jesus at the top for everyone. While Christians in India are unlikely to do this, the challenge for them to do so is bound to impact on their community and cause a deeper introspection.

As long as we hold that only one religion is true, that it must convert the world, and that other religions must be false we are not good citizens with respect for all, much less secular people. We are promoting an agenda of intolerance and violence that must cause conflict and suffering, even if we are doing so in the name of God. If we truly honor the Divine, we will recognize the Divine Self in all and will afford each individual their own perspective on truth and their own search for enlightenment, not to be circumscribed according to a church or a creed. If the West is so modern and enlightened it should stop exporting its intolerant medieval religions and become open to the great wisdom of the yogis and sadhus of India. Then a real basis for religious tolerance and spiritual growth could occur without obstruction.

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5 Comments:

At 5/13/2007 12:53:00 PM, Blogger Seamus Breathnach said...

POPE BENEDICT XVI AND SECULARISM

David Crawley is correct. The trouble with the separatio of Church and State is that the Vatican will bring down anyone who moves in that direction. Their power in this regard around the world is hardly grasped by the experts. The do it everywhere -- the latest victim was East Timor.


There is hardly a web-site these days that has not been commandeered by the RC Church and its whining hoardes. But on the question of a religious versus a secular society, why not let readers of this webpage decide for themselves.

In Ireland (a very Catholic country) as I write, there is an election going on. Both sides are Catholic. The only other side we ever had was Protestant, and, to keep the Catholic Church in the majority to which it had become accustomed, it was thought better to divide the island. Indeed, where ever the Catholic Church is opposed, it conveniently seeks to divide the country it subverts in order to keep its majority safe, e.g. Vietnam, East Timor, Croatia, etc. The point is – while no one quite knows with certainty who will lose the election, no one is in doubt but that the Catholic Church shall win it. And this has been the case ever since the British left Ireland in 1922.

The moral is: if you let the Catholic Church grow on you, your country also can have futile elections, just to demonstrate to Europe the native talent for theatre and self-deception. Your country, too, can become religious after the fashion advocated by the Infallible One in Rome – in which case nice Opus Dei types, types not unlike Benedict XVI himself, shall decide all issues in secret. Important matters of fertility, sexuality, the spiritual nature of women, clerical paedophilia, rat-lining Nazis, blocking access to ‘Government’ files ad charging the tax-payer for clerical crimes -- whatever the issue, it will, like the current elections, be taken out of your hands and safely placed in the hands of the Church.

So, what have these elections got to do with secularism a la Pope Benedict?

In the current election, no one (including Sinn Fein/IRA) says anything by way of challenging complete Papal hegemony over the political parties. The IRA/Sinn Fein, the so-called freedom fighters have managed to reduce the only opposition to the totalitarianism of the Roman Church, Mr Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland, to the role of caretaker of Catholic education.

And in the middle of the political campaign Miss D, a seventeen year old woman, who became pregnant with a child, discovered that her child had a fatal brain condition and due to die at birth. She was having what is termed an encephalitic pregnancy. On consideration of the scans and the medical advice she received, she decided she wanted to travel to England for an abortion. Because of the religious laws against abortion in Ireland, Miss D was restrained from travelling to the UK. (Even since the Middle Ages Irish people have travelled to England to exercise freedoms they could never get in Ireland.)

So, now Miss D, a citizen of a very religious country, one very my influenced by Benedict XVI, found herself between a rock and a hard place. And as everyone knows, pregnancies cannot wait upon Roman religious inspiration or Irish moral vacillation. Between Rome and Dublin the pregnant Miss D was more or less arrested – and smack in the middle of a theatrical election!

Question: Who was going to come to rescue Miss D from the wolf-trap of a mediaeval Catholic society?

Did Pope Benedict XVI, the main advocator and beneficiary of a religious Irish society, or his main man, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev Diarmuid Martin, try to help in any way?

They did. Archbishop Martin let the world know that the stance of the RC Church on questions of abortion was unalterable. Indeed, he brought the whole weight of the biggest empire in the world to bear upon the case and where Miss D was between a rock and a hard place, thanks to religious cruelty, she and her baby were now doomed to the terms of the Infallible One in Rome.

It is only incidental to the case that the Archbishop of Dublin had recently discovered some 150 paedophiles in his diocese (and it took years to get that information out of him.) Why this is at all relevant is because if your bugger a child in Ireland and you are a cleric, the RC Church has different laws, laws that are less strict, ad are even negotiable. Indeed, the whole Criminal Justice System was changed to prevent the people from showing their disgust at the depravity of such a religious society and at the extent of ecclesiastical corruption and deceit. This right to voice disgust is, of course, the real source of social morality and it alone legitimates the criminal trial and punishment of offenders. In the case of clerical paedophiles, through the good offices of Mr Michael Woods, then Minister for Education and Opus Dei, the taxpayer – not the Church – had to pay for the clergy’s crimes. The Infallible One in Rome had no inflexible rules respecting the receipt of such payments from what must be the most foolishly religious people in the world.

Back in the Vatican, all of the members of the rather elderly, celibate, plush-living Curia, like the Archbishop of Dublin, are also against any woman getting an abortion under any circumstances. So, in effect, people who have no experience whatsoever of child-bearing or child-rearing have most to say about everybody else’s freedoms in this respect. That’s what the Pope means by a religious society and what he wants to prevent is a secular society, where ordinary people would decide on matters wholly controlled by the Catholic Church. It's a most peculiar situation and is only common to Catholic countries like Ireland, Poland, the Philippines, Rwanda and Brazil.

If what the Archbishop Martin said was upheld, it would have mean that Miss D would have to carry a child with an incurable mental defect to full term, bear it and then bury it. If Miss D wishes to do this herself, then that is her business and should be her right; but to have it imposed upon her from the Vatican by an inflexible episcopacy and a petrified ‘secular’ Republic is uncivilised. This, in effect was what the Catholic Church thought moral and proper to inflict (with impunity) on this teenager. The Pope ad the Archbishop have no shame whatsoever in this whole affair. The inordinate pain and suffering they are prepared to inflict, their total disregard of persons rather than an obsolete ideology, the secular wishes of the community, or the insights of the social sciences, are simply remarkable. No thanks to either the Pope or the Dublin Archbishop, Miss D would have had to do all this without any help from the Vatican, who are rather coy in giving anything more than words of advice to their flock.

What then about the leaders of the various political parties. Very few of them, including Sinn Fein/IRA, had a word to say about the teenager’s predicament or her proposed breach of the Catholic Constitution. But the opposition leader, Mr. Enda Kenny, anxious to please the Church and, perhaps, pick up a few votes for his ‘loyalty’, and thereby win back its place at the right hand side of the Pope, was hailed for his ‘courage’. As the Irish Independent of May 11th, put it:



"ENDA Kenny has shown himself to be a politician of considerable courage this week.

Interviewed on RTE news the other day he was asked about the abortion issue and repeated for what must have been the fourth or fifth time this election that if he wins power he will not legislate for abortion"

In Irish political speak; this repetition is, in fact, a plea for divine intervention. Mr. Kenny knows that the opposition party, led by the current Premier, Bertie Ahern, is leader of the Fianna Fail party – the party which the Church has chosen to represent its interests best in the Republic of Ireland. Part of the deals done since the 1930s with former leader Eamon De Valera compromised the State, not so much in running an Elaborate Eucharistic Congress, or rat lining the Church’s favourite Nazis, or in keeping the files under lock and key (Ireland still believes it was neutral in WW11), or giving the Pope the new Constitution of 1937, or giving the Church a Special Place (after the fashion of East Timor), or allowing them to sell children to the US in the fifties, or to retain ownership of all the country’s schools, etc., etc..


Mr Kenny knows all this. He just wants to be the Church’s man in Ireland – hence the guarantee of his grovelling compliance even before the election. In praying for a sign from the invincible Church, Kenny knows that the Church, which usually digs up some issue or other at election time, can cause the parties to split in whatever direction the Church wants them to split and therefore decides the particular party it wants to represent them for the next five years.

So, who helped the pregnant teenager, who needed more help than homilies?

Had it not been for Mr Justice MacKechnie, a secular judge (in a hive of Opus Dei Judges), a man to whom Ireland owes a great debt of gratitude, the unthinkable barbarity of the Catholic Irish and their anti-secular Pope, might well have been acted out in Dublin. Judge MacKechnie praised the teenager for her morals and allowed her to travel to secular England to get something she could never get in Catholic-oppressed Ireland. Of course the decision got the extraordinarily contradictory church off its impossible celibate hook, but do Europeans really want to return historically and let Europe be governed by such ignorant and overdressed popinjays?
Do you really want to forego the secular rights you have won from the RC Church down the centuries?

For complicated historical reasons, the Irish have not got the moral wherewithal to face the Church down. The Angelus peals its Pavlovian hegemony from the national broadcasting studio daily, reminding a very insecure culture of its debt to its deepest traitor.

The world should tell the Pope where to get off. Say no to religion; you certainly do not need any more religious chains extending like an octopus around World’s neck.


Seamus Breathnach
Dublin

www.irish-criminology.com

 
At 8/19/2007 07:11:00 PM, Blogger deepak sarkar said...

Lord Krsna is not son of God,but God Himself.Lord Sri Rama is non different from Krsna.In Bhagvat Gita He states'aham sarvasya prabavho mattah sarvam pravartate...',that is,I am the source of everything material or spiritual,everything emanates from Me.
D.R.Sarkar
USA

 
At 8/01/2008 05:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reply to Seamus Breathnach's comment...

Mr Breathnach brings up the point about various Religious organizations using missionary processes as a form of subversion, which is meant to divide a society.

This may be true for the Abrahamic Religions, however, the purpose behind such activity for other Religions is not always subversive or counterproductive to society. Especially if that Religion has its base in the Ancient Religion of that country. For example a high percentage of Indians worship Lord Krishna who contrary to European thought is the original God of Bharat Varsha.

What he fails to mention is that Secularism also uses the same principal of indoctrination and divide and rule in a much more effective way and destructive way.

The Western Post Industrial Revolution Education System is the tool of the Secularists.

With this form of indoctrination no City, Town or Village is spared the indoctrination into gross Consumerism.

This system 'brainwashes' its members into firmly believing that education and Credentialism and Professionalism is the only way to true happiness and success in life.

They demand that Consumerism via Capitalism is the only thing that a child may learn. God is kicked out of their schools. His name or activities must never be mentioned by the Secularist.

How can this be good? He quotes as his evidence incidences such as the abuse of Children by members of the Catholic Church - This did happen but it was the exception not the rule. There are many thousands of Catholic Priests that are good holy men and have never abuse children.

This mentality is so typical of the western Secularist. They cite evidence from deconstructed history to support their cases, as if no abuse, cheating or criminality occurs in a secular country? This kind of evidence is mere sensationalism.

Secularism is rapidly consuming most of the countries of this earth. It cares little for the original Religion of that country it only cares for the Great Dollar – which is the GOD of the Secularist.

The original Religion of India is Sanatan Dharma. India is presently in a very delicate position in its development into a so called 1st world Country. It must make a clear and balanced plan on where it is headed and what its identity will be for the unfolding century.

The influence of all Abrahamic Religions and Secularism must be looked at with seriousness and balance must be made by taking into consideration India's original Religion... the very beautiful and glorious essence of India itself, Sanatana Dharma.

If India does not take this into consideration it will be melted into the 'Kitchery' of western secularism and lose its identity.

SPChela (Sorry I forgot my password)

 
At 8/05/2008 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do not refer to Jesus Christ as if he really existed. It is time we stopped playing defense and started aggressively exposing the truth about this "one and only way to salvation".

There is a lot of evidence that Jesus did not exist at all, that the Roman Caesar Titus built up the story of a Messiah (a Christ, literally) to be told to the Jews of that time. The intent was to fool the Jews so that they would accept this Messiah as their saviour, and the Romans had made the story such that the Messiah was forgiving of the Romans. So the Jews who accepted this Messiah would forgive the Romans too. This would be great for the Romans, since the Jews were very rebellious and anti-Roman at that time.

Here are some sites:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

http://www.caesarsmessiah.com/summary.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCNJf83bqjs

http://www.christianaggression.org/

Discussions with Christians are always about defending our Dharma; Christianity and Jesus are taken as an established fact. Why is that so? Evidence is mounting that there was no Jesus. None whatsoever. "Jesus" was only a story, an invention of Romans to subdue the Jews a couple of millenia ago. Joseph Atwill describes all this quite well through his book (link #2) and his interview (link #3).

If we treat "Jesus" as a real character, even if we call him crazy etc., the "believing" christians will only say, "here is one more Hindu out to malign my Christ", and their faith will only get stronger, since Christianity is built upon martyrdom and victimhood feelings. But when a white guy himself says that Jesus was a hoax (see links 2 and 3), and another website run by white people (link 1) says jesus never existed, the "believer's" world receives a severe jolt.

So please say "the Roman invention Jesus" of the "hoax Jesus" or something like that every time you mention jesus. And point people to the sites above.

Doing so will be much more beneficial than a million letters that just vent exasperation at the christocult's devious ways.

We are no longer going to act like some miserable beggar trying to get invited to a party, pleading to the people who mockingly keep him at a distance.

We will pull the carpet out from under Christianity's feet.

Thanks.

 
At 8/16/2008 07:01:00 AM, Blogger Seamus Breathnach said...

In general I do not disagree with Anonymous. It's just that I am specifically referring to the Irish and Catholic propaganda abroad, the use of RTE, the Government and the general public, to subscribe to the building of Catholic Churches in culturally inimical places under the disguise of doing 'charity'. It is propaganda pure and simple, and the Irish cushion of imagining that 'we Irish' are not as monstrous as other imperialists is simply not true. The RCC is imperialist on our behalf

In his second contribtion Anonymous says:

'Please do not refer to Jesus Christ as if he really existed. It is time we stopped playing defense and started aggressively exposing the truth about this "one and only way to salvation".

Couldn't agree more!

Seamus Breathnach
www.irish-criminology.com

 

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