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, December 20, 2004

Hindus, The Last Of The Pagans?


What is called paganism, heathenism, and polytheism is in fact the Natural religion of humanity. In areas where it has survived the onslaught of anti-human ideologies with their ego gods, it has retained its self-respecting name. In Japan it is Shinto, in Taiwan Confucianism And Taoism, and in India as Hinduism.

When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire under Constatantine, the natural humanistic beliefs were proscribed. With the spread of Christianity after the fall of Rome, the story was the same across Europe, the Maghreb and the former Roman Middle East. The high philosophy of the Greeks, the ancient beliefs of ancient nations like the Armenians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Celts, Teutones, Norse, Slavs, and last of all, right up to the thirteenth century, the Lithuanians, fell to the rapacious jaws of iconoclastic and dogmatic Christianity. Under both the dominant Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, manifestations of the natural religion was condemned as sorcery, Satanism, and witchcraft. The incineration of heretics at the stake replaced the pluralism which had been the standard of classicalist Europe under Celtic, Roman and Greek cultures. Schism and reformation brought no respite. The Russian Orthodox church became perhaps the most backward and regressive of all Christian sects. Protestants saw veneration of icons and celebration of life as remnants of paganism which had to be stamped out. The Catholic multinational machine became even more zealous. Yet this could not stem rationalism which stemmed from the Renaissance, a rediscovery of the classical past.

Christ now paled in the shadow of a resurrected Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and Pythagoras. Voltaire saw that Confucianism made Chinese civilization every much as valid as Europe but without the inflexible dogmatism that made science a slave to the accursed one, the Church. Thomas Jefferson pondered whether the Christian deity was a god or a devil. It was these rationalist ideas, which fuelled The industrial revolution, made western states the most powerful, brought ideas of democracy and free thought, as well as toleration of pluralism in personal belief. It had nothing to do with Christianity, which now sought refuge in opposition or mutated form, seeking allies with Fascists, National Socialists, and Marxists, people for whom the very idea of personal belief was a complete anathema.

In Europe today Christianity presents a different face, of compassion, equality, multiculturalism, and interfaith pluralism. But this has not been the case throughout history. It is not even the case now in India. While the fundamentalist Christian propaganda machine, losing souls it once considered its private property in Europe, pumps out the blatant untruth of Hindus as Nazis, fundamentalists, and satanic followers in India, it is forgotten just how much damage Christianity did to the paganism of Europe. How many were burnt at the stake or killed by some other means? How many were forcibly converted by zealous crusaders like Charlemagne? How many temples were desecrated and turned into churches for the one ego god? How many Pagan festivals were reincarnated as Christianity such as Christmas itself? Yet this is happening in India right now.

In the northeast Christian inspired terrorists are wiping out the indigenous Hindus. Pope John Paul II has said that the future harvest lies in India, and that Hinduism should be annihilated where it contradicts the teaching of the church, which means that it will be annihilated per'se, just as paganism was in Europe. The pagans of Europe who have been told they must have nothing to do with the Hindu Nazis of India should ask themselves if they should believe an ideology which threw Europe under its dogmatic boot for almost two millennia, and yet now cries wolf in the face of resistance in India, the last refuge of what it calls paganism.

The propaganda machine pumps out a stream of stories that Hindu Nazis are persecuting Christians. But is it never asked just exactly what Christians are doing converting Hindus in India by? fraud, force or bribery, desecrating Hindus shrines, and demanding heroic status for criminals like Francis Xavier. How quickly the Inquisition of Goa has been forgotten. If paganism is to be revived and flourish as it once did, the pagans of Europe needs to ask themselves this, Should they keep calling themselves by the term pagan, an insulting subjective term invented by the close-minded church? Second, should they not have sympathy for the Hindus of India, who are suffering the same fate that their like minded spiritual brethren did in Europe centuries of Europe?

India is the spiritual mother of natural religion. Without India the natural beliefs of humanity can never be fully realised. Can the pagans of Europe thus sit back and let happen in India what they have taken almost two thousand years to throw off themselves? These are not issues for the next few years, but ideas long overdue for now. It must be understood that a renewed fundamentalist church in India would threaten the physical existence of neo-pagans of Europe. The battle between rationalism and dogmatism is not yet over.


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