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, July 04, 2005

God is for all, not just Christians

June 26, 2005
Sunday Tribune
South Africa
Grant Hermes
New Germany

Hindu parents have every right to be outraged at a Christian group evangelising at their children's primary school.

Whereas other faiths will spend time teaching children about love, tolerance and respect, Christianity unfortunately sees the conversion of a person as their main goal.

Hinduism respects all religions and views them as valid paths to God. In fact the concept of many paths, one truth, is found in most faiths.

Christianity, on the other hand, sees other religions as false, their Gods demonic, and the devotee desperately in need of salvation. I am a forty-something white male, who in his youth in the former whites-only schools, was victimised and labelled a Satanist by classmates and teachers for holding free-spirited views.

On the passing of my father, I was told he was burning in hell because he was a Buddhist!

The Christian education system only taught Christianity in Religious Education and those of other persuasions were heckled and belittled.

Those who didn't convert generally spent Religious Education classes messing around on the field while the chosen flock learnt about Jesus.

Christians should stop trying to convert others and treat them as spiritual equals and learn from other faiths. Highlighting the differences instead of the similarities in your neighbour's faith promotes hostility and prevents peaceful coexistence.

As the Dalai Lama said, "Love and compassion are the universal religion". God, after all, is not a Christian and it seems unlikely he would leave all other nations in spiritual darkness until the arrival of the first missionaries.

Whether called God, Brahma, uNkulukulu or Allah, God is One. Jesus, Krishna, Muhammed, etc, are all masters who were sent by God to enlighten humanity.

Fortunately, not all Christians are over-zealous and one-dimensional. There are many enlightened, spirit-filled Christians who work selflessly towards the alleviation of suffering in the world, and who serve with love and altruistic motives.

Their efforts, however, are undermined by fundamentalists who seek the devil beneath every bush, instead of looking for God.

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