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.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Evangelists - The Next Disaster waiting to strike the Tsunami Victims!

February 10, 2005, 9:12 am
Sarath Bulathsinghala

Another disaster, another place, this time it is South Asia’s coastal regions. The killer, a tsunami the biggest the world has seen so far in the last two centuries has struck human settlements unawares. The scale of disaster is unprecedented in terms of the cost of human lives and infrastructure damage.

At the beginning help is only local and delays unavoidable. The delays are typical be they in the third world Sri Lankan town or in the first world America. There were complains to the US Government when the help took long to arrive after hurricane Andrew and the ones that followed. The universal phenomenon of looting takes place wherever there is easy picking be it Los Angeles, California after the great earthquake of the St Andreas fault or now in Sri Lanka or elsewhere. These are to be expected. It is up to the government to exercise law and order.

Now the countries in the region have to be careful and watchful of another form of disaster waiting to happen. We have adequate warnings about this disaster and only need to take suitable precautions to meet it head on! This is disaster in the form of Evangelists! They come bearing goodwill, compassion and with heart felt condolences. What is abhorrent is when disaster come bearing holy books and rosaries to change life as we know it. All such efforts in the past have led to divisiveness, disunity and broken homes.

It is customary for the evangelist to follow aid teams to disaster struck communities. They follow like vultures after the kill to pick and clean the bones of what is left of the living – their dignity. Human misery is rich and fertile grounds for the bible waving hordes that come to strike and convert. This has happened in the past wherever there is misery be it refugees centers set up due to political turmoil or disaster struck areas elsewhere. We must not allow this to happen in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand or Indonesia. It must be clear this is not Christianity. They come to find more slaves for the modern Holy Roman Empire and its mutants elsewhere in the world. This is all the more important because it is possible that most of the aid coming from the Western countries is diverted through various Christian Church affiliated organizations and NGOs.

Sri Lanka has suffered immeasurably by the meddling of the Christian Church in her zest for conversions and through the ethnic war they created and helped to finance in the past two decades. They have created and funded separatist movements and carried out unethical conversions with impunity elsewhere in the world too. Rebels in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in India, Karen rebels in Burma, the Hmong rebels in Vietnam (and the list is growing after the new Papal dictat announcing the 21st Century as the time for the conversion of Asia.) and their growing militancy bear ample testimony to the works of these evangelists. The end result is more misery, death and destruction.

What evangelists come to do is willful and premeditated. It is disasters planned and executed to strengthen the armies that feed and arm God based institutions so that the bishops, cardinals, the popes and their minions spread around the world can continue to live enchanted lives while collecting money from the poor, spreading ignorance, giving sanctuary to drug dealers, slave drivers, pimps and pedophiles. Conversions enable these institutions to continue to fool the world in a time when their traditional hunting grounds are getting depleted of people whom they can deceive and rob as they did in the past. They come to rob the third world countries of their young, the impressionable and now the worst - the depressed and the displaced.

We want the world to know that Sri Lanka is a majority Sinhala Buddhist country with a rich culture dating back some 2500 years and more. If a country has a flavor it is the Buddhist flavor that permeates the country from West to East and from North to South with a touch of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam here and there. We are as much a multicultural and multi-religious country as Spain, France, Germany or Norway and better. We have lived in harmony with our brethren of other faiths during most of our recorded history. Our history bear witness to Sinhala Buddhist kings saving Muslims from the Catholics Portuguese and Catholics from the Protestant Dutch. This is in contrast to countries mentioned that had histories of religious intolerance, papal inquisitions, and pogroms and of other acts and crimes against humanity.

What we don’t need at this time of misery and despair are more evangelists to come and tell us about their absentee God and all this devastation and misery happened for His Greater Glory. Sorry to say at this moment those traumatized can only read His name backwards! We don’t want to see the Bibles or the Cross the symbol of pillage, death, destruction, of crusades now of the cancer of Evangelism waved in front of the innocent victims to traumatize them more and deprive them of their last vestiges of dignity and add more misery to the physical and emotional injuries they have already suffered. At this moment what they last want to hear is how God is great or All Loving and All Merciful. Evidence of his mercy and greatness is all around the coast line of South Asia. It is there in the faces of the babies he has killed. His presence is drenched with the smell of death, decay, putrefaction and unimaginable destruction. Now He is threatening the wounded and the maimed with his creations of death carrying diseases.

What has flowered immediately is the compassion of our own compatriots from within and outside Sri Lanka, because Loving Kindness, Compassion, Empathy and Equanimity in the face of disaster are the hallmarks of our great religion and our culture. We also have an overflowing of the milk of human kindness, compassion and assistance flowing from the rest of the world in spite of this ineffective and lame God.

Our quiet and innocent Buddhist philosophy can better explain the disaster that struck our nation without having to resort to an all powerful and all merciful God. We can find more elegant explanations and ways to drown our sorrows and find solace in Buddhist philosophy. We know that life is unsatisfactory, is not all milk and honey and why the life stream continue to exist in endless cycles of birth, decay and death. When misery strikes there is no need to point fingers or find scapegoats. We understand it is the life stream personified that weaves the web of life and keeps us mired where we are. We have a clear path to follow to escape the vagaries of this Unsatisfactory Existence called life. We know that it is greed, lust and ignorance that keep us marooned in the ocean of Samsara. Because there is the made, the conditioned and the transient there is an unmade, unconditioned, and intransient state called Nibbana – our goal.

What actually happened was a disaster that was in the making for many millions of years. According to experts the stress caused by the formation of the Himalayas is now causing the tectonic plates further south to bend, crack and move. This is many millions of years before the birth of this God less than 10,000 years ago!

So the message to those who send humanitarian aid in this time of dire need to the affected areas of this God created disaster is not to send Evangelists. We can easily do without the Evangelists! Sri Lanka is not the Amazon nor the wilds of Borneo to be ‘civilized’ in the Christian mould! We are sick of the “cock and bull” stories and Grand Mother’s tales the Evangelist want us to hear. To the compassionate humanity in the West - We understand you and respect you but please don’t Evangelists! Right now with furor on unethical conversions already in the background the presence of Evangelists in South Asia’s affected areas will be in such bad taste. If they come then they come at their own peril!


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