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.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tactics and Propaganda of Proselytization

U. Mahesh Prabhu

Ours is an era of capitalism-an era marked by financial prowess, controlled by financial czars, and ruled by corrupt politicos. The greatest weapon of our times is not one that kills the body"s power to breathe, but the one which kills the mind"s power to reason-propaganda. Any person or institution which successfully utilizes this system is the one who can be victorious in all endeavors. Organizations in this country, apart from political parties, who use propaganda are Christian missionary institutions. Their sole reason for being is to proselytize the masses, largely Hindus, into ardent Christians.
Beginning from the time of the British, we have developed a system of negation. We have often demeaned our own religions, cultures, and knowledge, thereafter hailing the western ones. How often have we spoken of caste, creed, and other discriminatory practices like Sati and child marriage in our textbook? And how much have we cared to inform our generation about the brutality of Christianity which has for itself the most blood-soaked history?

Recently, when violence flamed in Khandamal district of Orissa, mainline media were quick enough to criticize the violent agitation of VHP, while at the same time hastening to defend the foreign Christian missionaries whom they called "peaceful". I am still not clear as to what is making our eminent journalists term those missionaries "peaceful", whereas their ambitions are such that they can"t be achieved without disturbing peace and harmony.

In this context, I recall an instance where our late President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, had once gone to Assam where he visited the schools and hospitals established by Christian missionaries in those hilly regions. He expressed his appreciation and yet, also advised them saying "You have no doubt done very good work. But do not exploit all these things for the purpose of proselytization." However, one of the missionaries bluntly replied, "If we had been prompted to do all this by mere humanitarian considerations, why should we have come all the way here? Why should we have spent so much money? We are here for only one reason and that is to increase the number of followers of our Lord Jesus Christ."

These missionaries feel that all tactics, however foul, are fair. The various surreptitious and mean methods they employ for conversion are all too well-known. There is the case of a village where, in the census, the Christian missionaries got the whole population registered as Christians. When this was revealed, the people protested, and were told by the missionaries, "Nothing can be done now. You have been registered as Christians in government records. So you have to behave as Christians hereafter." The poor Hindu villagers, cut off from the support and succor of the indifferent Hindu society, believed their words and embraced Christianity. It is through such tactics that they are swelling their numbers with each passing day. It is popular knowledge that many leading Christian missionaries have often declared unequivocally that their one single aim is to make this country "a Kingdom of Christ".

What many people don"t know is that Christ was born a Jew, lived a Jew, and died a Jew. He is not the founder of Christianity. If Christ could form a group of people called Christians and divide a section of society bringing about several wars and killing millions of people, then Christ cannot be considered a holy man. Christ did not build churches or sit in confession boxes. The cunning priests made Christ a son of God and created sin, hell, and heaven, to terrorize the people so that they can dominate and exploit them. It is evident that Christianity, followed by Islam, has killed more people than anything else in the world.

Sometime ago, I happened to read Edward Gibbons "Decline and Fall of Roman Empire". In the book, he makes an observation on early Christians and their tactics for conversion. Gibbons quotes a Roman proconsul who wrote that Christians have a very effective method of getting noticed and portraying themselves as "victims" in order to advance their cause. Whenever a minute transgression occurs, or even an attempt is made to implement law against them, they kick up a fuss and in such a rowdy manner that one would think that a "great injustice" had been committed against them!

Christianity does not have a reputation for tolerance and respect for other religions. The Christian need to convert the entire world has been an historical obsession that continues in major Christian fundamentalist groups even today-both Protestant and Catholic. The Christian missionaries" failure to honor other religions, particularly non-biblical traditions, is well-known, with Christians still denigrating the sophisticated yogic traditions of Asia as mere superstition, idolatry, and polytheism. Christian missionaries are known for using methods that are not always honest, including employing military and political force during the colonial era, to promote conversion. Their targeting of the poor and illiterate, shows that they don"t like open debates in the light of day. Yet Christians like to ignore such inconvenient facts while posing as peaceful people concerned with human welfare, not with conversion. They are surprised if members of other religions are suspicious of them, despite their considering and condemning these religions as works of the Devil. They are easily hurt and insulted should anyone "question their motives".

In the modern secular world, Christians along with Muslims, now demand conversion as a democratic right, even though their religion is authoritarian, and not democratic, accepting only one way; and not honoring pluralism in approaching the "Divine". They offer no freedom of choice about the "Savior" or the book or the creed that can bring salvation, and there is little tolerance for those who choose another way outside their faith. Europe had to reject the church and Christian dogma in order to become democratic over the past several centuries. Considering this, Christian churches should be the last to talk about "democratic rights". It is merely a smokescreen for promoting their own agendas, spreading their authoritarian and exclusivist beliefs, recklessly eliminating other cultures and religions along the way.

Some years ago, there were serial church bombings in South India. It turned out that the charges made by Christian leaders against Hindu organizations, accusing them of the bombings, were unfounded, if not malicious. However, instead of admitting their mistake, Christian leaders and organizations started a propaganda campaign again, blaming Hindu organizations for "creating an atmosphere" that led to these crimes! The arrests in this regard, in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, showed that "Deendal Anjuman", a Muslim outfit, headed by a Pakistani national was behind most of the blasts and attacks on Christian groups in southern India. The Christian response has been to ignore or deny the report, though it is quite well-documented and occurred in states not ruled by the so-called "Hindu BJP". For further details, I recommend reading of "Church Blasts: Truth and Propaganda" by S Y Seshagiri Rao.

Christians in India, who exaggerate such minor incidents, somehow never speak of the fact that more churches have been burnt in America in recent years than in India. Several dozen Black American churches were burnt to the ground. Christian priests and ministers are robbed, assaulted, and sometimes killed in all Western countries in numbers unlike what occurs in India. We should note that the number of priests in America arrested for sexual molestation of children far surpasses the priests assaulted in India. Should we use that to make conclusions about the nature of Christianity?

It is a fact that many more pagans were killed by Christians, and thousands of pagan temples destroyed throughout Europe by this "peaceful" community. The great Greek (Neo-platonic) Academy in Alexandria was destroyed and its illustrious scholars like Hypatia, killed by Cyril-none other than "Saint Cyril"! The number of Native Americans killed or forcibly converted by Catholics is in the millions, and yet Catholics rush to martyr the few priests killed by Native Americans. There are many more such incidents of Christian oppression.

Writes David Frawley in his book "The Missionary Ploy"- "As a former Catholic, I know in what little esteem the Church holds Hinduism and Buddhism with all their great sages and yogis. Christianity, like Islam, sees tolerance not as a virtue to be emulated but as a weakness to be exploited. Were Christians really to honor Hinduism as a valid religion, all Hindu-Christian hostility could easily come to an end. As long as Christians hold that theirs alone is the "True Faith" and work to convert members of other religions in one way or another, they should not be surprised if members of other religions do not welcome their presence."

It is only a matter of time before missionary Christianity is seen for what is imperialism in the name of God and Christ; the proverbial wolf in sheep"s clothing. It is a political, worldly movement, with little spirituality in it. Unfortunately, such Christians confuse real Divine work, which involves improving the self through introspection, with the institutional work of imposing a single belief upon all humanity. This political view of religion has no place in the global age of consciousness that is dawning on enlightened minds all over the world today. The quicker it comes to an end, the better it will be for all of humanity!


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