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Why are Christian Missionaries Targeting India – V

18 October 2009 2,043 views 176 Comments

Dear All: I’m opening a new thread on “Why are Christian Missionaries Targeting India” – Part V (Part IV is overloaded with 100+ comments).

Pl. discuss all aspects related to conversions, missionary activity, distortions and mis-interpretations of scriptures and sacred stories by Christian media on this thread.

To kick off the discussion, here is an observation that I posted on twitter just now:

Here’s how you include Jesus & avoid ShriRam in a news-story on Diwali.

I wonder if this inspired the image & shloka (note the words “Sanskrit” instead of “Vedic”?

Is this another example of the secular assault on ancient traditions of this land – or am I over-reacting? By the way, I did not go looking for this…I stumbled on the article completely by chance, while browsing through Google news earlier this morning:

diwali-news-google-india

Parts of the short news-story (mentioned above) are also open to mis-interpretation, I think..specifically:

Thousands of years back, Kings and Kingdoms tried to conceal this Light from the world….

Today, again this message of truth is being subdued and confined. The modern world and its substances have replaced this Light with manmade traditions and false doctrines

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I am also including a somewhat related comment by VOP on the last thread to maintain continuity in the discussion:

*** Comment by VoP:

Massive protest against Missionaries in TN Village

http://www.haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=9358&SKIN=B

Inculturation with no shame! “Vijayadasami and Sivarathri are Christian Celebrations , Imitated by Hindus!” say missionaries
http://www.haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=9355&SKIN=C

.

Pl. share your thoughts and comments below.

.

Related Posts:

Why have Missionaries chosen to attack India?

“Why are Christian Missions targetting India?” – II

Why are Christian Missionaries targeting India – III

On Kandhamal, Conversions and Proselytization (Part IV)

176 Comments »

  • 1. B Shantanu (author) said:

    The concluding line from Christian Today’s Statement of Faith:

    9. We believe that Christ commanded the Church to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person, baptizing and teaching those who believe.

  • 2. kc said:

    Not only India… everywhere else too

    “Churches involved in torture, murder of thousands of African children denounced as witches”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-af-nigeria-child-witches,0,5276725.story

  • 3. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    I think you’re overreacting. In my opinion as long as no one is being forced to convert to any religion, then there’s no problem.

    After all, we get bombarded by advertisements every day for hundreds of products. The Church is simply using all means possible for advertising their religion. This isn’t an abuse of freedom of speech. The abuse starts if they start forcing people.

    People are adults and have the right to make up their own minds. They’re not unintelligent and don’t need any protection from this sort of thing.

  • 4. kk said:

    Shantanu,

    Some believers (not all) consider spreading their “Truth” as their Dharma (I’m using Dharma to mean as a moral binding). In their judgement end may justify the means to spread the “Truth”, so rules of fair engagement as perceived by non-believers are not applicable to spread the “Truth”. The idea of monotheism precludes “I may be right, you may be right” option in a myfaith-vs-yourfaith ideological battle and co-existence. For them it is like “I’m right, you are wrong, and it is my Dharma to “help” you”.

    So considering this:

    1. One way to help ourselves and the situation is to channelize the frustration of dishonest engagement (by some believers) into constructive action! Ranting may be therapeutic, but doesn’t address the ideological problem.

    2. Light the lamp of rationality/reason to dispel the darkness. This darkness cannot be driven away using a stick and cannot be won in a faith-vs-faith combat. This solution is my opinion.

    At the heart all this is a philosophical problem: How to engage with an ideology where it is the moral binding of the believers to spread their “Truth”!

    Again, my opinion:
    - There is no perfect solution to this philosophical problem.
    - Permanent solution lies in embracing reason/rationality.

    You reached part V, since many past comments serve the therapeutic purpose of helping the people who make them.

    I’m just guessing here, but this blog may be a manifestation of your channelized frustration. I still need to discover my personal way to maximize this anger to positive action.

    I would love to learn what permanent solutions to this philosophical problem other critical thinkers/readers of this blog. I’m not that well read, may be others can educate me or point me to – if this philosophical problem has been addressed by the leading thinkers/philosophers of the world.

  • 5. kk said:

    Let me restate the problem -

    How to engage with an ideology where it is the moral binding of the believers to spread their “Truth”? Academic dishonesty is justified in this endeavor.

    (Believers may not even realize that they are being dishonest in their zeal to “save” the world!)

    Also, I’m assuming that individual freedom is not violated (no coersion) and activity stays within legal bounds.

  • 6. Satya said:

    Conversion itself is an adharmic concept if one sees from a dharmic perspective. No person nor religion has the authority to convert anyone to a particular faith. The act of conversion itself is against the very foundation of freedom of thought, word and deed.

    Everyone in this world should be free to practice any faith according to his or her wish and this is what Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism (now narrowly seen as religion in a similar way Christianity and Islam is) stand for.

    The act of conversion itself confines a person to a prison of a particular faith, dogma, book and founder. This is against dharma. This concept of conversion was introduced by adharmic religions which do not believe in freedom. Thus all civilized society should ban conversion activities.

    In the Indian context, religious freedom will mean being indifferent to another’s faith. That means there is no reason to look upon another differently just because they are of another faith or an atheist. It also gives all due respect to another person’s faith irrespective to whether you agree or not. The person is left free to explore his or her religious life without being challenged to change his or her religion. Such exploration need not be confined to any one religion, and may freely embrace the entire religious and philosophical heritage of humanity.

  • 7. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ kk: How to engage with an ideology where it is the moral binding of the believers to spread their “Truth”?

    I think you need to challenge the ideology at a fundamental level – by arguing and demonstrating that there are perfectly satisfactory alternative belief systems/faiths/”truths” that have been around for several millenia before Christ and the Prophet.

    But in the present context (in India), the REAL question is: Should the state/government take upon itself to protect the culture/tradition and heritage of the native faith when it appears to be under threat from such zealots?

    Should conversions be completely banned?

    As for permanent solution(s), might the ONLY permanent solution be for followers of such monotheistic, proselytizing faiths to abandon their proselytizing zeal?

    I am somewhat surprised that you consider this post as a rant. My purpose in posting the observation (twitter) was two-fold: 1] to expose the subtle propaganda and 2] to make others aware of such zealous proselytizing…

    As for “lamp of rationality/reason”, I doubt that reason can replace faith – especially in a coumtry and society like India…

    ***

    KC, Bhagwad and Satya: Thanks for your comments..

  • 8. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ kk: pl. also have a look at: Thou shalt go out and convert

  • 9. kk said:

    Shantanu,

    Thanks for the reply and the other post. I think patriot raised some valid points on the that post.

    by arguing and demonstrating that there are perfectly satisfactory alternative belief systems/faiths/”truths” that have been around for several millenia before Christ and the Prophet.

    - Before or after the Christ/Prophet is irrelevant.
    - If you ask a true believer who is interested in converting you, he is doing the same thing as you are suggesting.
    “Helping” people is what motivates a 60 yr old evangelical lady. I have met one. She was very sincere. How different are you? I don’t doubt the sincerity of your conviction that other belief systems are better.
    - Problem is that no believer has sufficient evidence to back up his claims. I do concede that different faiths vary in their ideological expectations from believers.
    - But you are still suggesting: engaging in a faith-vs-faith battle. My opinion: this is a tough shot. Faith by definition is belief without evidence. So anything goes.

    But in the present context (in India), the REAL question is: Should the state/government take upon itself to protect the culture/tradition and heritage of the native faith when it appears to be under threat from such zealots?

    I don’t have an answer for this. But my gut feeling says that if you are dragging the state into protecting a faith system, you are getting into lot of trouble. I will wait for others to throw more light on this option.

    Should conversions be completely banned?

    How will you differentiate between genuine change of heart and a conversion? If individual liberty allows genuine change of heart, then you have a loophole. Complete banning – has potential to backfire. I am surprised that you are thinking along these lines.

    As for permanent solution(s), might the ONLY permanent solution be for followers of such monotheistic, proselytizing faiths to abandon their proselytizing zeal?

    This solution requires “change of heart” on the other side. We may have to wait for a long time, and given 2000 yrs of history this may never completely happen. I do have a one christian friend, and one muslim friend, who do not think it is their business to bother about other’s beliefs. Thats why I always say – some believers, not all. But they do maintain that I run the risk of confrontation on judgement day.

    I am somewhat surprised that you consider this post as a rant. My purpose in posting the observation (twitter) was two-fold: 1] to expose the subtle propaganda and 2] to make others aware of such zealous proselytizing…

    About ranting: I was broadly speaking about the comments you have received before or will receive from now on on this thread. Please, continue the good work of exposing the propaganda and increasing the awareness.

    As for “lamp of rationality/reason”, I doubt that reason can replace faith – especially in a coumtry and society like India…

    I wouldn’t remove this option from the table completely just because it is difficult. This is under our control, has potential to stay very positive in approach and is better than expecting monotheists giving up their zeal to proselytize. Again, this is my opinion and I don’t expect others to agree.

    I have given this problem some thought and then I slowly realized one thing: Richard Dawkins and Carl Sagan can be a huge part of the solution than problem (some may consider them as threat to beliefs of hinduism). If you can see what I mean, then you know why I believe reason is potentially a permanent solution. Again, my opinion. :)

    Anything else has the potential to be seen as a faith-vs-faith battle. Since academic dishonesty is not an issue for believers (Ex. creationists), this will never end.

  • 10. B Shantanu said:

    KK: Two quick points: I am not challenging one ideology by another…I am simply saying “Let things/people be”.

    This is “faith vs. individual freedom/choice” not “your faith vs. mine”. I hope this is clearer..

    Re.“Should conversions be completely banned?”, the question was meant to provoke further thought…which I think it did (I’m guessing!)

    My stance is close to point # 3 in this post i.e.:

    …b) All religions have legitimate rights to compete for loyalty and seek to extend their influence. To the extent such activities lead to conversion, the state has an interest in ensuring that no coercion, bribes, or misleading conduct is involved in the process. FTI would ask religious bodies to come up with self-regulatory (and binding) Code of Practice by which all religions will ensure that misleading conduct is eliminated. This Code should have provisions for concerns, if any, from any affected party to be adequately addressed.

    However, instances such as the one I have cited above make me very very uneasy.

  • 11. Question and Answer said:

    Good… I hope we have new Mullastan and Popistan :-) ) Let’s start the exodus to safer places like US, bear a Hitler and then mercy have a tiny state like Israel, surrounded by Chruchistan and Pakistan. Time to get a VISA or get converted to two religions of peace Islam or Christianity!!!

  • 12. Nikhil said:

    Somehow i feel that proselytization – both bounden duty and the very act of – is the root of all conflict and violence. Particularly, where it is practiced in a context of hope being offered out of poverty and deprivation. Its a sad truth that even in the 21st century we live a world where blind belief and dogma is a legitimate way to overcome such problems.

    No proselytizer can honestly ‘respect’ other belief systems since its against their DNA – their every act will sow the seeds for conflict and easy recourse to violent acts. I’ve not seen truly peace-ful teachings feeling the need to ‘sell’ themselves and win converts e.g. Jainism and maybe Buddhism or even Zoroastrianism

    Much as we’d like to pretend otherwise there’s no denying this not-so-benign elephant/s in the room.

  • 13. kk said:

    Shantanu,

    This is “faith vs. individual freedom/choice” not “your faith vs. mine”. I hope this is clearer.

    It is definitely clear to me.

    From the point of a monotheist, individual choice/freedom is also a faith! Remember that individual choice in his life on this earth has no meaning. He’s driven by spending his eternal life in heaven. Plus, he’s genuinely concerned about others burning in hell.

    The proselytizing aggression of monotheists bothers us. Exactly like that, others ignoring the “Right” message bothers some monotheists.

  • 14. mentalcrumbs said:

    *** COMMENT EDITED ***

    Wow! kk seems to be extremely clear in head. Infact he is clear in head. So he has to have a solution to everything related to religion. Hopefully, we can witness kk lecturing on faith of worlds.

    *** NOTE by MODERATOR ***

    Pl. be careful in your choice of words…no personal abuse/insults…This is borderline so I am letting it stay. Pl. attack the argument not the person.

  • 15. Salil said:

    @Nikhil:
    Its a sad truth that even in the 21st century we live a world where blind belief and dogma is a legitimate way to overcome such problems.

    Despite all progress in science and technology, it is impossible to rid the world of religion. There is a theory behind why Buddhism (and to an extent Jainism) which were the most popular philosophies/faiths/religions once upon a time in India faded out – the lack of an idea of ‘god’ which Buddhism and Jainism either rejected or had an ambiguous stance on. Buddhism offered hope to the underprivileged, promoted an egalitarian and caste-less society and was popular among the merchant classes which were considered ‘lower’ in status by prevalent society. But eventually, the common man felt the need to turn to a supernatural power for hope in uncertain times eg. monsoons, birth of a healthy child, war, etc. This is when people are ready to subscribe to faiths with the idea of ‘god’ even if blind belief and dogma is expected.

    I’ve not seen truly peace-ful teachings feeling the need to ’sell’ themselves and win converts e.g. Jainism and maybe Buddhism or even Zoroastrianism

    Like marketing of any product, selling needs USP. Buddhism and Jainism had the USP of ahimsa during a period when animal sacrifices were in vogue. Once Hinduism was reformed and the importance of sacrifices/yagna decreased, these 2 religions lost their USP. Christian proselytism in India was based on freedom from the caste system. Islamic proselytism was mostly by sufis but since sufi thought was similar to Hindu bhakti, they lacked a USP and Islam was spread more by force than by proselytism. Zoroastrianism does not accept conversion to their religion at all!

    IMHO, conversions should not be banned on the basis of the age-old Indian concept of religious pluralism. Speaking from the point of view of competitive marketing, those afraid of their own religion dying out to others should reform their religion eg. getting rid of the caste system in Hinduism, I think, will reduce the number of missionaries targeting India.

  • 16. Nishka said:

    Getting rid of the caste system will increase missionary perversion. I know this is a contradictory fact but caste system cctually saves the infrastructure of Hinduism.
    Discrimination is wrong but let us not through the baby out with the bathwater. Each caste carries a unique trait of hinduism and preserves it. The unity within a jati preserves Hinduism.
    The Christiand and Marxists know this. We have to get rid of discrimination but should not fall prey to this mongering on jati

  • 18. Indian said:

    @Nishka

    I agree!

  • 19. kk said:

    @Nishka,

    It is an interesting article.

    I know this is a contradictory fact but caste system cctually saves the infrastructure of Hinduism.

    But I think it would be very difficult to detach the value judgement associated with the caste label. It should be easier to trivialize the label itself.

  • 20. Kaffir said:

    =>
    Once Hinduism was reformed and the importance of sacrifices/yagna decreased, these 2 religions lost their USP.
    =>

    And I guess the fact of Islamic invaders destroying the Buddhist viharas and killing Buddhist monks by the thousands played no role whatsoever in Buddhism losing its USP and retreating to Tibet and other parts?

    I see a lot of analysis & commentary that either disregards or is ignorant of the role played by Islamic invaders in Buddhism’s decline in India – as I hardly ever see people (including “rationalists”) mention this. I have to wonder why.

  • 21. Kaffir said:

    =>
    Speaking from the point of view of competitive marketing..
    =>

    Competitive marketing happens in an environment where the rules are the same for all competitors and there’s an even playing ground. Makes it a lot difficult to compete when the dice is loaded against one party.

    And, your comment that Hinduism should reform itself by getting rid of caste system, otherwise, too bad if the Abrahamic religions take over – is short-sighted as well as an instance of cutting the nose to spite the face.

  • 22. Kaffir said:

    =>
    The proselytizing aggression of monotheists bothers us. Exactly like that, others ignoring the “Right” message bothers some monotheists.
    =>

    I fail to see this equivalence you speak of, and neither do I buy your justification of the intolerance of Abrahamic faiths.

  • 23. kk said:

    I fail to see this equivalence you speak of, and neither do I buy your justification of the intolerance of Abrahamic faiths.

    I seek to understand why so many good, decent, hard working christians donate money to their churchs to spread the message of gospel. This is the source for all activity. Tell me why they consider it a nobel deed to save the world? Isn’t it part of their belief system?

    Intolerance is not the same as conversion. Neither do I have any intentions of justifying any intolerance. If you are saying that intolerance motivates conversion, then kindly make the case. I’m willing to learn.

  • 24. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Nishka (#17): That is an amazing link..thanks.

    I am now wondering if instead of saying that the “caste system” should go (by the way, “system” is such a wrong word in this context), might it be better to qualify the statement by saying, “caste-based discrimination” should go…and the “jaatis” can stay and evolve as they wish. Need to re-read the article and think through this.

    ***

    @ Kaffir: You said: I see a lot of analysis & commentary that either disregards or is ignorant of the role played by Islamic invaders in Buddhism’s decline in India

    Yes, this is so very true…I am as guilty as anyone else…Until a few years ago, I was blissfully ignorant of this aspect…In fact there is a long pending draft in my folders on some research that I did on this subject…Your comment has reminded me that I need to finalise it soon.

    Thanks.

  • 25. kk said:

    Speaking from the point of view of competitive marketing, those afraid of their own religion dying out to others should reform their religion

    I wonder if this is a feasible solution. Look at the effects of competitive marketing in Africa between Christianity and Islam. Leads to an arms-race-of-conversions! I’m not sure how you would regulate this marketplace also. My opinion.

  • 26. Salil said:

    @Kaffir (#20)

    And I guess the fact of Islamic invaders destroying the Buddhist viharas and killing Buddhist monks by the thousands played no role whatsoever in Buddhism losing its USP and retreating to Tibet and other parts?

    I was refering to the Buddhist USP of ahimsa with respect to the Vedic religion based on sacrifices. You probably misunderstood that statement as being the reason for decline of Buddhism.

    I see a lot of analysis & commentary that either disregards or is ignorant of the role played by Islamic invaders in Buddhism’s decline in India – as I hardly ever see people (including “rationalists”) mention this. I have to wonder why.

    There are many reasons for the decline of Buddhism and Islamic invasion isn’t the only reason. There was also loss of royal patronage, absorption by Vaishnavism as Buddha was made the 9th avatar, Buddhism losing its common man approach (shifting the languages of scriptures from Pali to Sanskrit), Hindu revival led by Shankaracharya, the various schisms in philosophy and the Tantric practices in Vajrayana affecting the image of Buddhists. Islamic invasions (and before them the Hunas) also had a major role in the decline of Buddhism (most notoriously the burning of Nalanda in early 13th c.) but by that time Hinduism had taken over Buddhism as the dominant religion, so the decline had started much earlier.

    Competitive marketing happens in an environment where the rules are the same for all competitors and there’s an even playing ground.

    Agree. But freedom of propagation of religion is available for all, no? Unless there are restrictions on propagation & proselytism for some religions and promotion of others, then it is not an even playing ground.

    And, your comment that Hinduism should reform itself by getting rid of caste system … is short-sighted as well as an instance of cutting the nose to spite the face

    I realize I might be on a slippery slope here, but it is my personal belief (and I know most might disagree) that the caste system is the biggest bane hindering Indian society and polity. As long as there will be identification on the basis of ‘jaati’, the identity as an Indian will not be primary.

    ***

    @kk (#25):

    I wonder if this is a feasible solution. Look at the effects of competitive marketing in Africa between Christianity and Islam. Leads to an arms-race-of-conversions!

    I wouldn’t call that fair competition. To give a product market analogy, I was refering to one competitor improving the quality of their products (reform), not trying to takeover the other (convert).

  • 27. Nishka said:

    Shantanu,
    The reason that Hinduism is still strong in Karnataka (which is apparently in Dravidian land) is because of caste based mutts. These have kept people together. Also, once someone converts they are thrown out of the caste.
    Additionally think of the Patels and Marwaris. Jati is a big factor in the prosperity of the community.
    The Christians and Marxists know this. Breaking the Jati system will be the first step in homogenizing the culture. People who don’t have a strong Jati identify are most vulnerable to conversions.
    Discrimination has to be removed but Jatis are very valuable. The two are not the same.

  • 28. Indian said:

    @Nishka

    Again I have to support your views. I agree. Ask any Marwari or Patel to convert; Chances are Christians will start doing Garba.

  • 29. Salil said:

    When we talk of Patels or Marwaris, we might be confusing between caste and community. Community-based cultural ties are strong even in non-Hindu religions eg. Gujarati speaking Bohra Muslims, Konkani speaking Mangalorean Catholics or Marathi speaking Bene Isreali Jews.

    The caste system I spoke of is not the one based on community cultural ties but the one on which politicians perform ‘social engineering’, form Bhumihar/Maratha/Vokkaliga vote banks, divide tickets & ministries or play with OBC lists. A person from a Patel or Marwari has no incentive to convert because of high social standing and economic prosperity. But for a person from the Dalit caste or a tribal village, a conversion means a possibility of rise in socio-economic status and access to a place of worship which was lacking before.

  • 30. Anonymous said:

    @Salil (#15): “Despite all progress in science and technology, it is impossible to rid the world of religion. …. common man felt the need to turn to a supernatural power for hope in uncertain times …when people are ready to subscribe to faiths with the idea of ‘god’ even if blind belief and dogma is expected.”

    The need for psychological support in times of uncertainty (failing monsoons, whether i’ll have a child) is accepted as a legitimate need for a God and religious practices are OK for this..but not for being freed from deprivation and social and economic backwardness – religions promote this status quo…. making adjustments solely as they compete with each other and reverting to type (social distinctions return to separate society) once the dominant religion has won its ‘flock’.

    Science and tech. are results and applications of ‘believing based on Reason’ as opposed to ‘believing based on mythology and dogma’ …While these applications improve us economically (is there or has there been any other way??)I don’t see dogma removing backwardness.
    I agree Hinduism as a religious practice should offer this psychological support to all irrespective of caste, race or any other social separator and needs to gear itself for this to survive

    “Like marketing of any product, selling needs USP… Speaking from the point of view of competitive marketing… I think, will reduce the number of missionaries targeting India.”

    Looking at religions and their practice in free-market and marketing terms I’m afraid will encourage starting a war with several unethical practices and hostile take-overs!! unless there’s an MRTP, Corporate Governance edicts, and other regulatory infrastructure including Consumer Forums and the lot- coming to think of it, it’s an interesting thread to pursue! Proselytizing and conversions could be allowed provided there’s no dada-giri (assured by regulation) that one cannot convert back and transparency in invitations to ‘invest’ with a religion or buy into a religious product is ensured… I’d hate to think of a day when I’m forced to drink Tata Gold tea with no hope of trying Lipton’s latest variant for fear of life and limb or losing my job!!

    Its interesting where our economic freedoms are concerned we welcome regulations and transparency but baulk at such ‘intrusions’ where our religious freedoms are exercised…

  • 31. Salil said:

    @Anonymous (#30):

    The need for psychological support in times of uncertainty (failing monsoons, whether i’ll have a child) is accepted as a legitimate need for a God and religious practices are OK for this..but not for being freed from deprivation and social and economic backwardness

    My statement was made in the context of blind belief and dogma which is present in all religions. As for freeing from deprivation, here we can highlight the role of community ties within religions. No religion has a uniform community, even Islam or Christianity have various sects. For a tribal converting to say a particular sect of Christianity (Catholic/Presbytarian/Seventh-day), accepting a new faith is acceptance by a community which supposedly raises their socioeconomic status.

    Looking at religions and their practice in free-market and marketing terms I’m afraid will encourage starting a war with several unethical practices and hostile take-overs

    There are laws and safeguards to prevent unethical practices such as force, coercion and fraud. My point was on fair competition based on self-reform rather than conversion-based hostility.

    Its interesting where our economic freedoms are concerned we welcome regulations and transparency but baulk at such ‘intrusions’ where our religious freedoms are exercised

    I think we are living in a world where economic regulations have been drastically reduced as compared to the days of MRTP and License-Raj. Transparency is always welcome.

  • 32. Moderator (author) said:

    A request to all readers/commentators. Stick to the topic. Off-topic comments will be deleted.

    Also read: A Reminder on Comments Policy

  • 33. Nikhil said:

    @Salil:
    Do you really believe we have transparency in proselytizing and conversion activity – for both the convert and the public at large and for that matter sufficient protection from MNC type prolelytizers with money and promotional muscle… That’s news to me – would be happy to be educated

  • 34. Salil said:

    @Nikhil (#33)

    Do you really believe we have transparency in proselytizing and conversion activity

    I dont know. I neither said that there is transparency nor did I say there isn’t. All I said is that transparency is desirable.

  • 35. Nikhil said:

    @Salil: “All I said is that transparency is desirable”
    I now understand you better..I also agree that converting to a religious sect would improve feelings of community for say a marginalized tribal –
    But to return to transparency –
    How would one bring it? Looking from the marketing/free-market context “fair competition based on self-reform” as you put it – how does one expect that to happen given articles of faith Abrahamic religions espouse that include exhortations “to convert the non-believer” who will “rot in hell” if he resists believing their particular mythology. I don’t believe too many conversions will happen if free and fair criticism of religions is allowed in public discourse. But that goes against the concept of an article of faith. As a Christian I would never put up for discussion the virgin birth of Jesus or whether I should or shouldn’t spread the Word of God. So, how (if ever) this will happen is beyond me….Remember attempts by the Islamists to use the good offices of the UN to ban criticism of their religion!

    Separately, I don’t think freedom of religion should extend to engendering conditions of fair competition (like a free-market) between competitive ‘faiths’ – this hardly seems to me a solution given its impracticality and non-level playing field (level of organization, funds)..Its also based on an assumption that all religions are proselytizing and those that aren’t should now begin to organize themselves (to protect their numbers) for this i.e. collect money, appoint and train preachers, and organize promotional activities…

    Sarva-dharmam kutumbham and ‘all paths lead to the same goal’ is possible to observe where they are all inclusive spiritual practices and ‘mutual respect’ is possible – not where exclusive/separative articles of faith and commandments guide the follower

  • 36. KSV SUBRAMANIAN said:

    Have you seen this. Medieval Christianity is still thriving with all such evil practices. It is time people are made of these facts in India.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-af-nigeria-child-witches,0,5276725.story

  • 37. Salil said:

    @Nikhil (#35):

    But to return to transparency – How would one bring it?

    Transparency in funding is possible, by asking all religious bodies to declare their sources of income. Someone pls correct me if I’m wrong, but places of worship are liable for tax, aren’t they?

    Transparency in actual sermon is tricky – I guess it is only when people are literate enough that they will be able to make rational decisions about choosing a religion based on their own convictions.

    how does one expect that to happen given articles of faith Abrahamic religions espouse that include exhortations “to convert the non-believer” who will “rot in hell” if he resists believing their particular mythology.

    That depends on the awareness or knowledge about one’s beliefs. A gullible person is likely to fall for the heaven-hell scare, but an educated or self-aware person may not.

    As a Christian I would never put up for discussion the virgin birth of Jesus or whether I should or shouldn’t spread the Word of God.

    I doubt that. Many works of literature have questioned Christian beliefs, recent eg. being Da Vinci Code which questioned Jesus’s chastity. None of these are banned here or even in the Western world.

    Remember attempts by the Islamists to use the good offices of the UN to ban criticism of their religion!

    Yes, fair competition requires acceptance of fair criticism. To avoid criticism, reform is important.

    I don’t think freedom of religion should extend to engendering conditions of fair competition (like a free-market) between competitive ‘faiths’ – this hardly seems to me a solution given its impracticality and non-level playing field (level of organization, funds)

    My point on fair competition was directed to those who are afraid of other faiths encroaching upon membership of their faith and are bothered to do something. I disagree that there is a non-level playing field in proselytism. Take Hinduism for eg. – there is the richest religious center (Tirupati Devasthanam), several popular TV channels and plenty of popular religious cults in India and abroad (like ISKCON).

    Sarva-dharmam kutumbham and ‘all paths lead to the same goal’ … is possible – not where exclusive/separative articles of faith and commandments guide the follower

    True. When most believe that all paths lead to the same goal, there will be some who will exhibit & advertise their path as the best path. Fair competition calls for cleaning & beautifying your own path to make it more appealing and not dragging others to your path. In advertising, everyone does find faults with other paths but the end-consumer is intelligent to choose the path of his own which suits him the best.

  • 38. Sanjay said:

    Shantanu,

    In the context of the issue of Christian missionary activity, a couple of facts need to be put on the table:

    i) Evangelism is part of Christianity’s DNA (Gospels of Mark, Mathew, Book of Acts, Romans, Timothy,etc have enough and more fairly clear directions). Conversions are natural given the aggressive nature of evangelism which has Biblical sanction.
    ii)Christianity, like Islam & Judaism, is exclusivist. It would be blasphemy to accept any other God/Prophet if one were a Christian. Therefore, Christianity like Islam & Judaism, can at best only TOLERATE, never RESPECT, another way of life.
    iii) A Christian is one who accepts The Holy Trinity and Jesus as the redeemer & saviour of mankind, especially of oneself.

    Now juxtapose these three simple facts with responses to “Who is a Hindu” and the conflict between the two streams becomes obvious (not to speak of conflicts between Christianity and Islam!). These three simple facts need to be internalised by all especially Westernised, educated, “liberal-secular” folk who believe that all religions are equal. These folks are generally innocent of the contents of the canonical works of religions.

    Here’s an interesting essay Myth of Sameness by Rajiv Malhotra
    http://rajivmalhotra.sulekha.com/blog/post/2004/11/myth-of-hindu-sameness.htm

  • 39. Patriot said:

    @ Sanjay -

    “Now juxtapose these three simple facts with responses to “Who is a Hindu” and the conflict between the two streams becomes obvious (not to speak of conflicts between Christianity and Islam!). These three simple facts need to be internalised by all especially Westernised, educated, “liberal-secular” folk who believe that all religions are equal”

    While I agree with you on the above thought process, and I am fully aware of the driving force of evangelism in christianity, which is all about a (christian) duty to save others while it is all about subjugation in islam, are you then arguing for special protection for the “hindus” given the diversity of thoughts within hindu culture and religion?

    And, if you are indeed arguing for such protection, may I direct you to the members of the Bombay Club who had similar sentiments about Indian industry!

    Cheers

  • 40. Patriot said:

    @ Salil -

    I do think that you have hit the nail on the head – if consumers of one product (yours) are switching to another product, the answer lies in improving your own product rather than trying to restrict the sale of the other product.

    A level playing field does exist in India – alleging fraud in consumer conversions is not proof – provide proof and organisations that have used fraud will be banned, as per existing laws of India.

    Also, I do think that there should be an online national registry with all foreign donations received by any religious/charitable organisations, so that anyone can track flows – just like we do with FII and FDI investments. And, this has to be reported and updated in a timely manner – say, fortnightly. I think that should take care of half of the issues that people raise.

    Cheers

  • 41. B Shantanu (author) said:

    All: Thanks…this is turning out to be an interesting debate…

    A few quick thoughts…

    I don’t think “free-market” dynamics can work in the present set-up (in India)…there is no transparency, there is no level playing field, there are no oversight mechanisms and nothing to check “unfair” trade practices…

    Re. “induced” conversions, they may not be so easy to prove as the inducements may be subtle and difficult to establish in a court of law.

    Re. the question of special protection to “hindus”, the REAL question is: Should the state/government take upon itself to protect the culture/tradition and heritage of the native faith when it appears to be under threat from such zealots? (a point I had raised in #7 above)

    What do readers think?

  • 42. Indian said:

    @ #29.

    ———–A person from a Patel or Marwari has no incentive to convert because of high social standing and economic prosperity. But for a person from the Dalit caste or a tribal village, a conversion means a possibility of rise in socio-economic status and access to a place of worship which was lacking before.——-

    If I talk of patels than 70 years ago many patel families were vulnerable. And Patels back then were hardly depended on temples and religion, because basically they were all farmers. But they stood by the norms of the community. Many have achieved high standing by their virtues. They just followed some basic rules and are still following same as Marwari. Some of them was vegenism, no marriages between relatives, respect each and every members of the community. Guest were treated as god, and girls were treated as Laxmi. Asking help of money from others was like killing self respect. Socially and morally united in bad or good days of each other. Remarriage and getting divorce is as simple as ABC, no qulams about it. Prosperty will itself follow and definitely be there. No need to go and look out for higher god or in need of improving product.

  • 43. Kaffir said:

    =>
    Also, I do think that there should be an online national registry with all foreign donations received by any religious/charitable organisations, so that anyone can track flows – just like we do with FII and FDI investments. And, this has to be reported and updated in a timely manner – say, fortnightly. I think that should take care of half of the issues that people raise.
    =>

    As a classical liberal, I thought you were in favor of smaller government and less bureaucracy, not more. ;) :)

  • 44. kk said:

    Shantanu,

    I hope someone answers the real question for which you are asking: “Why are Christian Missionaries Targeting India?”

    My honest answer is: Belief. Belief that “good” message of Lord needs to be spread. Belief that world needs to be saved.

    One needs to acknowledge the facts (i), (ii), (iii) as presented Sanjay.

    Unless you start questioning belief, you will not arrive at a solution. You can enact laws, introduce national registry, retain castes, do whatever you want. These are all cosmetic, feel good measures.

    My point is: “True believers” will find a way to work the system since they are feel morally bound to spread the message.

    Nishka,

    You did not address how you would get rid of the value judgement that comes with the caste label.

    @16: The Christiand and Marxists know this.

    Marxists? What do you mean Christians and Marxists?
    My question: Do chistianity and marxism belong together?

    Social Gospel is ‘Marxism in Christian Clothing,’ Says Warren

    And this:

    The Christian Anti-Communism Crusade

    And this:

    Vatican twice condemned the liberationists’ acceptance of Marxism and violence ?

    And if you ask the average Christian leader in this country, it is way, way outside the mainstream of Christian belief, and, in fact, it’s based in Marxism. At the core of his theology is really an anti-Christian understanding of God, and as part of a long history of individuals who actually advocate using violence in overthrowing those they perceive to be oppressing them, even acts of murder have been defended by followers of liberation theology.

  • 45. Nishka said:

    Dude mujhe nahin maaloom
    I can just hypothesize that the caste has to give way to the 4000 odd jatis in India.
    The jatis subsume the chatur varna and more (there are plenty of jatis that do not fit into the standard caste construct).

    We see very little positive press around the jati system. We need to see more. Media will be the first place to start

  • 46. kk said:

    @Nishka,
    We see very little positive press around the jati system. We need to see more. Media will be the first place to start

    How do you expect positive press with the current state of the jati system??

    You also lauded Karnataka and mutts in Karnataka. Are you from Karnataka or belong to one of these mutts to obseve from close quarters?

    From my experience, these mutt people cannot agree to come together to make one panchanga or agree on when ekadashi/sankasthi falls, let alone do anything under the common umbrella of hinduism. I have seen the pettiness of differences between lingayats, madhwas, smarthas, etc (all uccha jaatis) who control these mutts. I concede that some mutts do social work. But so does Catholic church!!

    This idea of preserving jatis but removing discrimination is something I have heard for the first time. I have my doubts based on my personal experience, but then again I concede that I may be wrong.

  • 47. Kaffir said:

    =>
    My point is: “True believers” will find a way to work the system since they are feel morally bound to spread the message.
    =>

    And the backing of overseas money makes it a lot easier to feel “morally bound” to spread the message and put up churches all over the place.

  • 48. VoP said:

    Thanks to Sonia, Anti-Hindu inquisition in Goa

    http://www.hindujagruti.org/news/8093.html

  • 49. Sanjay said:

    Patriot – Whatever made you jump to the conclusion that I’m arguing for a special status for Hindus? All I was saying was that one needs to know the canonical exhortations of the other religions to understand the conflicts inherent in Christianity vs Islam vs Judaism. Hinduism is pluralistic (eg even atheist views are accepted as in the Carvakas), secular (ie not exclusivist) and non-evangelical (resulting in respect for other religions). There are tiered layers of “authority” in every faith – the canonical texts, their interpretations and then the practice. The canonical texts of the Abrahamic religions explicitly sanction evangelism-conversions for example. This implies they cannot respect another faith, just tolerate it. Anyway, if you are really interested, we can have a separate offline discussion on the topic. Best, Sanjay

  • 50. Patriot said:

    @ Sanjay -

    “Whatever made you jump to the conclusion that I’m arguing for a special status for Hindus? ”

    I did not – I said IF. :)

    And, I do agree with you about the canonical exhortations, as I mentioned before.

  • 51. Patriot said:

    @ Kaffir -

    “As a classical liberal, I thought you were in favor of smaller government and less bureaucracy, not more. ;) :)

    I know you are taking my trip, but I am still going to reply ;) because of the various misconceptions around the classical liberal/libertarian theories in India.

    In India, currently we have a huge number of rules, regulations and laws, but extremely poor implementation. We need to reverse this – we need much fewer rules, with most stuff being on self-declaration and trust, and very strong implementation, if the trust is broken.

    That is how you get to the small government from the huge mess that we have currently. And, as far as foreign inflows are concerned, it is a trivial matter to even report this daily – all the data is available electronically. I am sure you knew that but I just wanted to be sure that everyone else on this blog also does! ;)

  • 52. Indian said:

    @Shantanu (#41) Re. the question of special protection to “hindus”, the REAL question is: Should the state/government take upon itself to protect the culture/tradition and heritage of the native faith when it appears to be under threat from such zealots? (a point I had raised in #7 above)

    What do readers think?

    Yes, state govt must take upon itself to protect the cultural and heritage of the native faith when it appears to be under threat from such zealots.

    And also to be supportive in fulfilling the needs of the individual. Person turns to another faith in search of fulfilling their needs and desire to rise from the bottom not because they start liking another faith.

    And to raise fund for doing as much as they can from the public. State, govt., should not feel shame in asking from the public in need.

    Each state must be like a personal home of the chief minister and must strive in the best interest of the public.

  • 53. Indian said:

    We think missionaries are targeting India only and that also because we have caste system than think again. Here is how they are targeting Israel and Jews and many more countries. And the question still remains Why?

    http://video.google.ca/videosearch?hl=en&resnum=0&q=proselytization%20of%20jews&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#

  • 54. Indian said:

    And this one very interesting video. I had this from long time but did not want to post it because some of the statement are of disharmony. Captured by one Jews guy.

    http://video.google.ca/videosearch?hl=en&resnum=0&q=proselytization%20of%20jews&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q=John+Hegge+and+Israel&hl=en&emb=0

  • 55. Kaffir said:

    Christian missionaries have also targeted South Korea and other south-east Asian countries. There’s no caste system in those countries, AFAIK. I guess the apologists would point to poverty and/or other existing social ills in those countries as justification for Christian missionaries moving in.

  • 56. Kaffir said:

    =>
    We need to reverse this – we need much fewer rules, with most stuff being on self-declaration and trust, and very strong implementation, if the trust is broken.
    =>

    Ah, yes. A liberal version of Ram Rajya, with the liberal creed replacing the dharma.

  • 57. kk said:

    Indian,

    Yes, state govt must …
    ..also be supportive in fulfilling the needs of the individual.

    Specifics please. What needs of the individual should the govt support?

    Each state must be like a personal home of the chief minister

    Do you recommend the chief minister act like a father figure responsible for the state just like his personal home? Again, specifics please.

  • 58. kk said:

    Indian,

    And to raise fund for doing as much as they can from the public. State, govt., should not feel shame in asking from the public in need.

    I guess you are referring to taxation. At what percentage of personal income should govt feel ashamed to ask the public?

    If you are not talking about taxes, then please explain why should Govt beg money from public? I’m interested. If you can point me to examples of such “fund raising form public by Govt” implementation in any country, I would be glad to learn.

  • 59. Indian said:

    @kk

    Didn’t PM asked CEO’s that take less salary? What was he suggesting?

    Govt must take strong initiative by asking public in helping to run food pantries, shelter homes(we have shelter homes but see the condition of it), women’s hostel,(again have anyone seen the management and condition of women’s shelter?) I recommend everyone to go once and take something with them to donate.

    Asking public to take active part in it by donating used items, clothings, books, including cash or volunteering their time. Many retired govt or non- govt officials can volunteer their time if they want. Looking at the population and poverty we need more in numbers. Govt can advertise for it on TV that they have set up such stalls or whatever arrangement they have done for destitute people.

    ——Do you recommend the chief minister act like a father figure responsible for the state just like his personal home? Again, specifics please—

    Is it necessary to look it as a father figure? what is that taking you there? just because I used the word personal home you got interested?

    He should follow his dharma towards the state and nation without engaging in corruption, injustice, and anything that is detrimental to the state and the nation.

    If you want anything that need to be explained just ask explain, not a dominating way of ‘specifics please”.

  • 60. kk said:

    Indian,

    Didn’t PM asked CEO’s that take less salary?

    This may be MMS’s personal opinion. But are suggesting that the head of the state is responsible for CEO salaries? I hope not. Are you suggesting that Govt/State should regulate CEO salaries?

    What was he suggesting?
    I can’t explain his thinking.

    Asking public to take active part in it
    Why should the Govt ask?

    by asking public in helping to run

    Asking for help to run means that Govt should run food pantries or women’s hostels? Why is the Govt running food pantries or women’s hostels?

    I recommend everyone to go once and take something with them to donate.

    I concur 100%.

    Govt can advertise for it on TV

    Why?

    Many retired govt or non- govt officials can volunteer their time if they want.

    I agree. Any human being can volunteer. Again, this is an individual choice. So there is no need to bring in Govt into the discussion. It is like saying males and females can volunteer (instead of saying humans can volunteer).

    None of the things you have suggested support earlier statement:

    And to raise fund for doing as much as they can from the public. State, govt., should not feel shame in asking from the public in need.

    What I am trying to figure out is why is the Govt/State in the business of raising funds? And it is still not clear to me.

    If you want anything that need to be explained just ask explain, not a dominating way of ’specifics please”.

    Please read my comment. I said: “please explain”.
    I was shooting for clarity. Not domination. I am sorry if you feel insecure. I never learn if I try to dominate but I do when ideas are expressed clearly.

    I am curious since we started this under the category of “Missionaries targeting India”. Please explain (and help me understand) why we are discussing “Govt running women’s hostel” in this context.

  • 61. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Off-topic Alert. Pl. stay on the subject of discussion.

  • 62. Indian said:

    The main issue was to preserve culture and heritage.

    I was suggesting what else S. Govt can do for the public.

    As I said in my previous comment –Person turns to another faith in search of fulfilling their needs and desire to rise from the bottom not because they start liking another faith–.

    Missionaries are doing the same thing going personally to each homes supporting the needs of individual through foreign funds and than gradually converts them and now see the great amount of people they have converted.

    There are many schemes and funds in the hand of state govt to work towards the same people where Missionaries are working but what happened to it?

    Is that I wanted to suggest by saying fulfilling their needs and desire to rise form the bottom.

  • 63. kk said:

    Shantanu, thanks for the alert. I realized that.

  • 64. Indian said:

    @KK

    I have my views for this blog not for you and it is what ever I have seen through my eyes and experiences. I am not hear to give you full explanation and justification. Everyone has their own understanding about the matter and issues. Right! from now don’t raise any question to me if you cant follow my comment.

    Sorry shantanu this is my last comment with KK. I will stay on topic from now.

  • 65. kk said:

    Indian,

    This about this:

    (A). You say, there are individuals who are seeking to fulfill their desires and wish to rise from bottom.
    (I assume this is not the culture/heritage you want to preserve).

    (B). You also say, missionaries are helping people in (A) [but are converting in the process].

    Unless such people -(who wish to rise up and are not being able to) – is your heritage/culture, what exactly is your concern?

    I would rather have them convert and but *do well in their lives* (“rise from bottom” as you phrased it). This is my personal choice. You are free to make yours.

  • 66. Indian said:

    Read my comment again and again. In the end it will make a sense to you. Did not I used the words… And also…in my comment. Read again. I did not wanted to go in details so just used few words. And you stretched it.. stretched it.. and now telling me what this and that is doing here.

    I was supporting Shantanu’s view and added some words of my own and that’s what bothering you so much.

    —I would rather have them convert and but *do well in their lives* (”rise from bottom” as you phrased it). This is my personal choice. You are free to make yours.—

    So what you think am I going to stop them? And stop ignoring what S. govt and public too can do for them?.

    For you info, Women Hostel=Nari Suraksha Grhu run by state govt.

    I am very much at topic, and see the videos what I have posted. Did you see it?

  • 67. Indian said:

    Sorry this is the link

  • 68. Salil said:

    @Shantanu (#41):

    Why do you say that there is no level-playing field? My point was that only those interested in preventing conversions should indulge in competition. Even if it is only a small number of people interested in preventing Hindus from converting (such as the VHP), I’m sure they are flushed with funds, right? If it is a larger number of people, again what is the problem?

    @Indian (#42):

    About the Patels – I raised the point about them already having an established religious center/community to look up to, which many tribals lacked.

    ***

    I’d like to raise a point which I dont think has been asked here. A naive question (before I’m accused of being a “Vatican agent”) – do conversions by missionaries really matter? Taken at face value, the missionaries are only spreading “the Lord’s message” which they say is their duty. At the end of the day, if converts are law-abiding citizens, is there a problem? I know many second-generation Christians (parents converted) who are patriotic Indians and contribute to society (doctors, social workers) and have no qualms in participating in Hindu festivals like Holi/Diwali. Of course, this is a small sample size, so am willing to be corrected.

    If there is an issue of anti-national activities under the garb of religion, then the issue of those activities must be addressed objectively. Some raise the issue of seccession like in Mizoram. Considering that the population of Mizoram is 80% Christian, it is probable that the community leaders also supported community issues, just like some Akalis supported seccession in Punjab. Then the issue is of community, not religion.

    A scare of “they are setting up churches all over India” is raised. Well, the VHP and other Hindu groups are setting up temples all over the world, so what is the problem again?

    Preservation of culture and heritage is done by communities. Govt steps in to protect cultural/heritage property, not traditions/rituals/language. So it is not upto the govt to protect native faiths, but for the community of the native faiths themselves to do so.

  • 69. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Salil: Some facts and thoughts to add to the debate. You asked, why do I say there is no “level playing field”?

    1. There is no level playing field because evangelical Christianity has had a head-start in India over the last 200 years – this head-start against a faith/ belief system that not only had no concept of evangelical zeal but was very curious, welcoming and accepting of different views/ alternative interpretations. At its heart, the Hindu ethos welcomes the “other” and does not consider alternative approaches adversarial..

    This head-start has given the Church in India not just access to enormous resources but also created a “fertile” ground to implant their ideas – the idea of “secularism” for instance, which is intrinsic to Dharma and Bharat but is routinely considered to be a progressive, modern import.

    The fertile ground has been created by a system of education that has systematically underplayed (and worse, undermined) everything that has the whiff of tradition, culture or heritage.

    2. There is no level playing field because the “competing faith” (if I can call “Hinduism” that) does not even know how to “play” this game. As most readers on this blog know (and you must be aware too), recent Hinduism has not had any major evangelical thrust to it. The focus has been more on internal reform rather than gathering followers. Even historically, it is debatable whether Hinduism ever had a proselytizing element to it. Most likely it did not. It did not because it was structurally different – having neither a single book, nor a single Prophet/God/Pop/Imam.

    3. There is no level playing field because not only does one of the players not know how to play the game, one of the teams often resorts to “cheating” to score a point (as in asking “Dalits” not to reveal the fact of their conversion since that might make them loose the benefits granted under reservations) and does not hesitate to hit below the belt – as in denigrating the Gods and icons of Hinduism.

    4. There is no level playing field because of a government (think of it as a referee) that in its zeal to prove its “secular credentials” (impartiality) either intervenes where it should not (as in providing a subsidy to visit Jerusalem) or turns a blind eye where it should – as when Christian missionaries were found distributing pamphlets and cassettes in/around Tirumala.

    Worse, you have governments actually siphoning off money collected from Hindu temples (under government control) to Churches and Mosques.

    5. There is no level playing field because of the access to vast resources that the Church has.

    Read this recent report which mentions that the Roman Catholic church in India has five times the number of priests as compared to the rest of the world and its budget is equivalent to that of the Indian Navy. It is also the second largest employer after the government of India and by some accounts, the largest private land-owner.

    ***
    The reason this issue needs to be seriously discussed and debated is because the matter is not simply that of replacing the icon of Bhagwaan Shri RamChandra with a picture of Lord Jesus Christ..

    As Francois Gautier has noted at its heart, conversions attack a whole way of life, obliterating centuries of tradition, customs, and heritage and teaching people to despise their own native faith and adopt a belief system that is alien to them.

    And I don’t think competitive evangelization is the answer – it can only set the stage for more conflict – especially considering the evangelical zeal of missionaries and the canonical injunctions to do so. Are you OK with that?

    Finally, let me reproduce here what I wrote on Part III of this thread last year:

    A “Hindu” in India today feels besieged…he feels he is slowly being encircled…that his voice is not being heard and his concerns are not shared…

    This perplexes him as he has always believed this is his motherland, his “natural” home, the birthplace of his faith…and yet, he feels unsafe in large parts of Bharat-bhumi…in Maharashtra (if he is from UP/Bihar), in Assam (likewise), in Kashmir, in Orissa…

    He feels not only his life and personal safety is in danger but his belief system is being attacked too – slowly but systematically…

    He feels exasperated that he has to preface every grievance that he may have by stressing his “secular” credentials – lest he be mistook for a “Hindutva-wadi”…He feels embarrassed to mention his faith in public discourse…and constantly feels that he is being forced on the backfoot…

    At some point, this feeling gives way to anger – spontaneous, unplanned and unpredictable…and we all wonder where and how did this happen…

    This is what you saw in Kandhamal…and in Jammu…unforeseen reaction of people who feel that their back is against the wall…

    Is their logic to this? Probably not…but is the feeling real? It does appear to be…

    ***

    Re. you remark about “A scare of “they are setting up churches all over India””, pl. look at this data which might surprise you.

    ***
    By the way, this is what might happen when there is a “level playing field”: “The Pakistani-born bishop…was echoing concerns that many Church leaders are abandoning attempts to spread Christianity among Muslims out of fear of a backlash.

  • 70. Rohit said:

    I miss the words of Incognito for the likes of Salils… Where are you Incognito?

  • 71. The Priest said:

    *** COMMENT EDITED ***

    With all sympathies for Shantanu… Effective solutions come by original thought process which is based on rationality and common sense… Persons who do not have original thinking and have tendency to monkey around or chimp around usually end confused, like you sound in your post which is a supposed reply to Salil.

    This is for Salil, the neo missionary, as he himself accepts, for his nonsense utterances on Punjab and Punjabis.

    One of the highest developed areas of India is Punjab and this is due to gut, determination, capacity to work. Separatism rose in the area due to secularism and one of the main contributors to the same is MK Gandhi and the politics of congressis. Read history before you type baseless craps. Today, if there is any schism or iota of dissatisfaction in Punjab, it is due to secularism and politics of congress. Punjab and Punjabis would have survived without India in 1947… Punjabis were not protected by Gandhi but by the sword… Punjabis have enough guts to fend themselves and feed hungry poor people… Walk into any Gurudwara and see how many visitors eating in Langar are Punjabis. Sikhism was founded by contribution of eldest son by each Punjabi family. Punjab is the one which fended off Moslems and showed the way.

    Before talking about Punjab & Punjabis, Salil…remember that Guru Teg Bahadur was executed for not accepting mohammedanism.

    VHP’s founder member is a Sikh, Master Tara Chand. In Delhi Riots, only organization which stood with Sikhs was VHP/ RSS. GURUDWARA/ MANDIR is the only place where you can pray they way you know to pray. If ou don’t knw how to pray, you can simply inhale the piousness that is there in Gurudwara and Temple and will still get satisfaction, peace, happiness…

  • 72. Indian said:

    And we all have message of Christ. Dont we? We have christmas vacation, convents school, churches now what is left to spread the message? Conversion?

    Why they dont want to analyze it? Blindly follow what is written in the Bible? They must think this message is for who? This is not by-gone era. It is understood if they go to those who has no scriptures, belief, culture and is harm to the Earth. I wonder what we are missing in recognizing the God being in our faith that we can only see by converting christian?

    Are( missionaireies) interested to learn and know more about Hinduism? Nope! So how they know the people; who they are interacting with their message?. Or they just assumed we are all dumb in recognizing the God?

    They have to think where to go or else their message will be misunderstood. Jews has their belief system than why would they go to them? They will have the same response not only from India but from eveywhere they go with their message. Its time they recheck their agenda for spreading the message.

    Please for those who have not seen interesting video for days, please watch the video which I have posted in comment#67. Its really interesting to see how jews guy handled them and than how he is being treated? Its not about India its in Israel.

  • 73. Indian said:

    @ The Preist

    Very true! what you said about Punjab, Punjabis and Sikhism.

  • 74. Kaffir said:

    =>
    Shantanu wrote: “As Francois Gautier has noted at its heart, conversions attack a whole way of life, obliterating centuries of tradition, customs, and heritage and teaching people to despise their own native faith and adopt a belief system that is alien to them.
    =>

    Salil, as Shantanu mentioned above, the obliteration of centuries of tradition, heritage etc. and its replacement with an ideology that says “my way is the only right way and others need to convert to my way” is at the heart of this problem. If you cannot see the danger in spreading of such intolerance, or refuse to acknowledge the danger because “Hinduism” has caste system discrimination, had sati etc. (you know, the most popular negatives people – even Hindus – associate with their dharma), then you’re missing the forest for the trees.

    I’d also suggest that you do a simple exercise – think about “Hinduism” and its many positives and make a list. And then see how many of those positives will be lost when a person converts to Christianity or any other monotheistic religion that says “my way is the only right way”.

    From your comments, it seems like you’ve fallen into the trap of drawing equivalence between a monotheistic faith like Christianity, and “Hinduism” (number of temples being built vs. number of churches being built), as well as ignoring the reasons behind building of temples vs. churches, and whether such temples/churches reflect demographic changes or not. I offer that no such equivalence can be drawn between “Hinduism” and Christianity, because “Hinduism” does not fit into the western concept of religion (doesn’t mean there are no similarities).

    Please do some research into how spread of Christianity in south-east Asian countries has caused conflict as well as obliteration of their native customs and traditions. What’s happening in Africa regarding AIDS virus and contraception, and how the Pope interferes in those decisions, is well-documented too.

    Please watch some videos by S. N. Balagangadhara to understand the core differences between “Hinduism” and Christianity, or you can read some essays by Mahatma Gandhi on why proselytism is bad.

    At the end, all I’ll say is that the kind of attitude that you display is quite common among those who remain unaware of the positives of “Hinduism” and simply focus on the negatives. Once you are more aware of the positives and stop looking at “Hinduism” through a western lens (Dawkins and Marx are/were not experts in “Hinduism”), perhaps your attitude will change too.

    Cheers.

  • 75. Salil said:

    Shantanu, Indian, The Priest, kaffir:
    I’ve read all your comments. Out of town this week, so will send out a detailed reply in a few days.

  • 76. Vidhya said:

    I have been quietly following this thread, and similar threads for sometime now. One thing I see that is missing is the need for “Dharma”. With respect to this problem there are three aspects of Dharma 1)Dharma of the Indian government 2) Dharma of the monotheist religionist and 3)Dharma of the Sanatani

    1) I believe lot of the problems will stop of Indian government followed its Dharma, which is treat all citizens as equal without special considerations for any religion, minority or not. Religious matters is not the dharma of the government and must be left to the individual and the religious organizations. This means no hajj subsidy, no endowment boards, no different laws for mosques and churches, taxing church and mosque properties etc etc. When must the government interfere, when law of the country is not followed. At this time the government does not see the person as a muslim or a hindu or a christian but a law breaking citizen, and must do whatever is needed in the larger good of the country. So a terrorist is not a muslim, and hence no minority tears, but is a terrorist, simple.

    2) Dharma of the monotheist religion: This is in one way defined by what they believe, which is why there is a problem. However their belief must not supersede law of country. What does this mean? One cannot believe it is okay to kill for religion, since law of land prohibits it. I can propagate only if I respect other religions, meaning only if my message is based on spiritual strength, not on denigration of other religions. I think the law of country is clear on it. But blurring this boundary isnt Dharma. Inducements, gifts, etc for conversion is against the ethos of secularism, and doing that isnt dharma.

    3) The dharma of the sanatani is defined. The problem with hindus is we have forgotten our basic ethos and dharma. Selflessness, courage, seeking wisdom and knowledge, truthfulness, giving, sharing, all this have been forgotten. A hindu seeks artha, kama and moksha, however the current hindu only seeks the first two. Even the first two is sought by unfair means, not through hardwork. Freebies is what the current tamasic hindu wants, and he seeks specially others’ wealth and belongings. Unless the hindu goes back to his principles that guided his ancestors, and helped them create a country of wealth in all aspects, all the problems mentioned in the 5 parts will only grow.

    If the first happens, very unlikely, it is good for the country. But the real change at all three levels will happen with hindus follow real dharma, wake up from inaction, and move to real action. Action doesnt mean violence, action means moving from tamas to rajas/sattva nature.

  • 77. Patriot said:

    I much prefer these guys:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/10/21/new.york.subway.ads/index.html?eref=time_us

    When people have stopped fighting over an accident of birth, maybe we will actually have a better world to live in. I can certainly dream of such a freedom for humanity.

  • 78. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Vidhya: Good point: But the real change at all three levels will happen with hindus follow real dharma, wake up from inaction, and move to real action. Action doesnt mean violence, action means moving from tamas to rajas/sattva nature.

  • 79. Rohit said:

    What are you trying to address Vidhya: Is it Governance or Is it Religion?

  • 80. Vidhya said:

    @Rohit,
    The current problem is since both are intertwined, government is interfering with religion, and vice versa. The discussion is not about spirituality here (I dont see anything related to it in any of the five related posts). So what we are talking of is about the problems in society caused by both religion and misgovernance.
    At the level of spirituality such issues would have never arose, and debates would have settled them. Unfortunately religion without spirituality is proving the bane of society world over, making people only interested in increasing numbers, setting rules, etc, not in one’s own spiritual growth.

  • 81. Kaffir said:

    =>
    I much prefer these guys:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/10/21/new.york.subway.ads/index.html?eref=time_us

    When people have stopped fighting over an accident of birth, maybe we will actually have a better world to live in. I can certainly dream of such a freedom for humanity.
    =>
    Same philosophy of {“my way is the only right way” as with the monotheistic religions} + {utopia attained (Thy Kingdom Come) when everyone sees the same truth that I see} – {God}.

  • 82. Indian said:

    True vidhya.

    Thats what I meant CM must work as per his/her dharma, his dharma towards the state and the country when I said “personal home”.

    CM of any religion must take care of culture and tradition of ancient states. Has duty toward the ancient civilisation of India to preserve it.

  • 83. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Kaffir (#81): Quite true…and therefore any dogma is going to be dangerous…

    The only thing that will work is “Live and Let Live”…which is exactly where Sanaatan Dharma comes in.

    ***

    Vidhya & Indian: Presume you both had a look at my recent post on Raj-Dharma?

  • 84. kk said:

    Shantanu (@83),

    Quite true…and therefore any dogma is going to be dangerous…

    I agree 100% that any DOGMA is dangerous.

    But I completely disagree with atheist movement in the west as being dogmatic as monotheistic religions. New atheists (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris and Condell) have courageously confronted the dogma of monotheism. Major body of the Dawkin’s arguments are against Christianity (God of new testaments). Show me a book chapter written by him claiming to be an expert on Hinduism? Sam Harris has talked about how using “religion” as a common word to describe is not appropriate and has talked about buddhist meditation techniques. This is what Pat Condell says on his website:


    Q: What do you think of Buddhists/Hindus/Sikhs/Jedi etc.?
    A: I have no problem with any of them, as last time I checked they weren’t trying to take over the world.

    They have experience the ills of monotheism and are able to refute the stupidity of monotheistic dogma. If it works for monotheists in western nations, then it benefits India (source of funding). If it works for monotheists in western nations, then it has the potential “enlighten” the monotheists in India.

    All I can say humbly say is: It would be a very costly mistake to score cheap points by setting up petty straw man arguments. Immense possibilities exist in the natural partnership in combating monotheism.

    This is my opinion. I just thought this should be made clear. I don’t expect others to agree with me or I may even get booed or egged on.

    To each his own.

  • 85. Salil said:

    @Shantanu (#69):

    I dont think that your 1st 3 points and last one (1. 200 yr head-start for Christianity, 2. Competing faith does not know how to play the game, 3. Cheating by faiths 5. Christianity has vast resources) are valid in the argument for level playing field. Level-playing field refers to the present conditions of a neutral ground, not the relative strengths of the competitors. By level playing field I mean the conditions provided by the Indian Constitution, not the strength of support a religion possesses.

    4. There is no level playing field because of a government (think of it as a referee) that in its zeal to prove its “secular credentials” (impartiality) either intervenes where it should not

    This is a fair point. So the issue here is of true secularism by the government not giving subsidies for religious activities, collecting money from places of worship and siphoning money to religious. However I dont see anything wrong in Christian missionaries distributing pamphlets outside Tirumala if other religions are allowed to do the same outside churches.

    On the issue of denigration of religion, here is a recent case of ‘denigration’ of Christianity by a comic book which actually depicts scandalous incidents of the bible (!) http://www.boingboing.net/2009/10/19/some-christians-mad.html
    But does the government ban the comic book? No, because free speech and expression is valued more than religious belief.

    Now about the point if the missionaries issue should be addressed at all:

    (Gautier): … conversions attack a whole way of life, obliterating centuries of tradition, customs, and heritage and teaching people to despise their own native faith and adopt a belief system that is alien to them.

    I agree that conversions change the way of life. However, lifestyle, customs, beliefs are choices made by rational individuals. Coercion to live a certain way is definitely abhorrent. For example, many Muslim women in villages of Maharashtra or Christian women in villages of Goa still practise traditionally Indian customs like wearing local costumes with a mangalsutra and fasting once a week. If they are told to do otherwise, then it is an issue of interfering in their freedom and that must be checked, rather than the issue of religious belief. It is probably easier to indoctrinate the uneducated with alien customs, so this can be tackled by education and encouragement of independent thought rather than prevention of proselytism.

    About my remark about the scare of churches and the relevant data you provided, I agree, transparency into where the money is coming from is welcome. But if churches are built, they cannot sustain without local support, and local support is gained because the locals turn to missionaries for material benefit when the governments failed to provide education and development.

    Level-playing field and Pakistan: I dont agree that there is a level-playing field in Pakistan which is an Islamic state and the government will obviously support Islam over any other religion.

    ***

    @The Priest (#71)

    This is for Salil, the neo missionary, as he himself accepts, for his nonsense utterances on Punjab and Punjabis.

    I never accepted that I’m a “neo missionary” where did you get that from? And what were my “nonsense utterances on Punjab”? The only thing I said was that some Akalis supported seccession in Punjab and that the issue is of community, not religion. Do you disagree with that? I’m aware of Sikh history and made no mention of Sikh-Islam relations. If you think my single statement that some Akalis supported seccession is “baseless craps” then let us know what was wrong in that statement.

    ***

    @Indian (#72)

    Why they dont want to analyze it? Blindly follow what is written in the Bible? They must think this message is for who?

    The way I see it, missionaries claim to perform their duty even if it may be incorrect. Doesn’t the Bhagvad Gita teach to do one’s duty even if it may be considered wrong by others? Just like a butcher kills animals because its his duty, a missionary preaches.

    ***

    @kaffir (#74)

    I do see the intolerance of my-way-right-way ideology independent of Hinduism. As I’ve said above is that if the issue is of coercion to live a certain way, it should be addressed on those grounds rather than raising matters of them being against traditional culture.

    I offer that no such equivalence can be drawn between “Hinduism” and Christianity, because “Hinduism” does not fit into the western concept of religion (doesn’t mean there are no similarities).

    Point taken, I agree that they cannot be compared, but my point about building temples vs. churches was regarding the paranoia about building churches regarding which I’ve replied above.

    At the end, all I’ll say is that the kind of attitude that you display is quite common among those who remain unaware of the positives of “Hinduism” and simply focus on the negatives.

    This discussion was never about Hinduism. Do the positives of Hinduism have to be mentioned if negatives are mentioned to show an unbiased attitude? Otherwise you’re not only attacking a straw man but bringing attitudes into the discussion.

    ***

    On Monotheism:

    Why are all monotheist religions equated with proselytism/intolerance? Zoroastrianism & Sikhism are monotheistic, but neither intolerant nor into proselytism.

    ***

    A general suggestion to all commenters here:
    I find that most comments end up attacking the person rather than the content of the comment they reply to. This sort of ad hominem is classic behaviour when your argument is weak and you have to resort to hit out at a person to seem superior. A milder form is questioning the person’s background or attitude eg. if person A says “I think that ________” then B says “Your attitude is wrong / Its easy for you to say that when you dont do anything about it” instead of saying “I disagree because ______”. This doesn’t help the discussion and only creates unpleasantness. Lets resist from such attacks, shall we?

  • 86. Patriot said:

    @ Kaffir:

    I say:
    “When people have stopped fighting over an accident of birth, maybe we will actually have a better world to live in. I can certainly dream of such a freedom for humanity.”

    And, you twist it to mean:
    “Same philosophy of {”my way is the only right way” as with the monotheistic religions} + {utopia attained (Thy Kingdom Come) when everyone sees the same truth that I see} – {God}.”

    Wow!!!

  • 87. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Salil (#85): Quick response…

    A. I disagree with your comment. Your interpretation of a level-playing field is too narrow (and literal).
    You cannot provide a “level-playing field” by just providing a flat/level running track for two runners (in your words, “conditions provided by the Indian Constitution”).
    The competition that I have outlined in my comment #69 is manifestly uneven – which is what I was referring to in my comment #41 (which you picked on)

    B. I notice that you have not chosen to comment on my points #1,2,3 and 5 at all. Do you agree with them or disagree? or are you saying that you will not comment since they are not relevant to the argument?

    C. You have also avoided commenting on my assertion that competitive evangelization is not an answer – Do you agree or disagree with this?

    D. There is no equivalence between the link you have provided denigrating Christianity and the link I had mentioned (it was broken; now fixed). The link you have provided is not by a Hindu organisation. The denigration of Hindu scared icons and Gods/Goddesses was in a booklet published by a evangelical group. That is what I was hinting at.

    E. Finally, almost every “problem” that we are discussing on this post can be addressed by the government doing its job properly as in – “issue here is of true secularism by the government not giving subsidies for religious activities, collecting money from places of worship and siphoning money…” OR “…this can be tackled by education…rather than prevention of proselytism” OR “”…locals turn to missionaries for material benefit when the governments failed to provide education and development” etc etc.

    But we are not discussing these topics sitting in a vacuum – certainly I am not. Which is why I had reproduced a part of my comment from Part III of this thread. I notice that you have chosen not to respond to that either. Do you share that sentiment – or do you think I am(was) over-reacting?

    The “reality” is that the government has failed to do anything…the “reality” is that the missionary is happy to provide material benefits to further his cause…the “reality” is that the missionary then proceeds to subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) undermine the culture, tradition and heritage of the convert.

    In the face of this “reality”, what approach would you take? I am getting inreasingly tired of – and impatient with – theoritical discussions these days…so any practical suggestions will be gratefully received.

    F. Finally, the last bit was not about Islamic Pakistan but secular Britain. Pl. check the link.

    And as for your final suggestion…good points.. I cannot resist adding that “ad hominem” is also classic behaviour in politics!

  • 88. Kaffir said:

    Patriot, no twisting going on – that’s how I interpreted the link you provided regarding atheism.

  • 89. Salil said:

    @Shantanu:

    A. I accept I did take the literal meaning of level playing field. Competition is uneven, but the field is level. Competition will be even when one side (in this case Hinduism) will step up activities with as much intensity as Christian missionaries (minus fraud – that is unacceptable for both). Related to this is my reply to point C below.

    C. Is competitive evangelicalism the answer? Not really – I dislike all forms of religious evangelicalism. But I’d say yes to competition instead of unconditional ban on speech or entry for missionaries. If the goal is to prevent Christian missionaries altogether, this, I think is the answer, instead of blanket bans.

    B. I did not reply to points 1,2,3,5 of #69 because I thought they were not relevant to the issue of level playing field but of uneven competing groups. But I’ll respond here.

    1. 200 yr head-start for Christianity: Agree that there is a head-start, but disagree that it matters, because I dont believe that the system of education has created a fertile ground to implant *only* their ideas and that tradition/culture gets less importance than Christian ideas.

    2. Competing faith does not know how to play the game: Agree – Recent Hinduism has no evangelical thrust.

    3a. Cheating by faiths: In case of the Dalits being asked to not reveal their conversion, I believe that reservation does not consider religion. There are Scheduled Castes in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism.

    3b. Hitting below the belt by denigration (also related to point D): I believe that Hinduism is far superior to be vulnerable to lies written in books written by random individuals lacking knowledge so much that a person would convert after reading a book. I’m reminded of Vajpayee’s remark about book bans, that the answer to a bad book is another book, not a ban.

    5. Christianity has vast resources: Agree.

    D. Back to denigration:
    Yes, the link I gave about Christian comics is not equivalent to denigration of Hindu gods by evangelical groups. My point was about free speech being supreme, maybe unrelated to the topic of evangelicalism.

    E. Re: your excerpt from Part III, am afraid I dont share the same sentiment, because I dont see only the Hindu feeling vulnerable but every common man. Like you mentioned a person from UP/Bihar feeling unsafe in Maharashtra – that is irrespective of whether he is Hindu or not. Exasperation is also caused by socio-economic reasons more than religious reasons.

    As for practical suggestions: Since I believe that the root cause of conversions is socio-economic rather than sharper tactics by missionaries, tackling this is more worthwhile than banning missionaries from preaching. Development and employment by way of promotion of small-scale industry and education to foster independent thought and behaviour among the converting prospects. This answers the questions why missionaries are more successful in villages and tribal areas than in urban areas. At the same time, there should be zero tolerance on violence, coercion and fraud in the name of religion.

    F. My apologies for misreading. The article points out that Christian missionaries are losing the battle due to Islamic competition. So did you mean that a level-playing field will cause a faith to decrease their attempts to spread (like Christianity in Britain) or that they will try harder to increase?

  • 90. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Salil: “…But I’d say yes to competition instead of unconditional ban on speech or entry for missionaries…” No, I am not suggesting an unconditional ban…but some oversight and some regulation.

    Re. 1. “…I dont believe that the system of education has created a fertile ground to implant *only* their ideas..” – Let me calrify..By their ideas, I do not mean Christian ideas…I am hinting at Macaulay and his minute here.

    Re. 3a. “…I believe that reservation does not consider religion…” To the best of my knowledge it does – in case of SCs. There are no castes in Christianity and Islam . STs maintain their status even on conversion while SCs do not.

    Re. 3b. “…I believe that Hinduism is far superior to be vulnerable to lies written in books written by random individuals…” This is not about a bad book..It is about systematic denigration.

    …missionaries are more successful in villages and tribal areas than in urban areas…” Not sure I agree with this. Any data? Kerala is a counter-example here. And perhaps you have heard of the term “Crypto-Christians” – which might explain the low numbers in urban areas?

    …did you mean that a level-playing field will cause a faith to decrease their attempts to spread…
    I was hinting at competitive evangelization here…which is very likely to lead to violence and further aggravation within communities.

  • 91. Salil said:

    @Shantanu:

    some oversight and some regulation
    IMHO, oversight and regulation should be at a bare minimum of checking coercion & fraud. I dont support a ban on conversions and speech.

    I am hinting at Macaulay and his minute here.

    Point taken. But since do this came up in the context of fertile grounds for missionaries, do you propose going back to a pre-Macaulay education system? And if so, upto what extent? I know this is a different topic altogether, but I feel it is now difficult to reverse a few aspects from Macaulay’s minute like use of English as lingua franca, modern science, and modern civil law code which are not surviving just because of Macaulay but are also the need for present globalized times. If it means promotion of Indian art, culture and languages, I feel these are taught in sufficient measure and opportunities for those who wish to study them in detail are also available.

    To the best of my knowledge it does (consider religion) – in case of SCs. There are no castes in Christianity and Islam

    I was refering to this link which says that there are SCs in different religions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheduled_castes#Distribution

    Islam does have the Ashrafi-Ajlafi castes

    Caste system in Christianity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_among_Indian_Christians

    Not sure I agree with this (missionaries are more successful in villages and tribal areas than in urban areas). Any data? Kerala is a counter-example here. And perhaps you have heard of the term “Crypto-Christians” – which might explain the low numbers in urban areas?

    I dont have data off-hand, but my statement was on the premise of where Christian missionaries are active the most in the present times, which is the tribal rural area where they promote their religion on the grounds of education & material benefits. I doubt they would be successful in places where literacy rates and economic levels are higher, what would they be providing there to make themselves popular? Education prevents being fooled by denigrating lies and economic levels prevent them from buying them off. If there is data that missionaries are as much successful in urban areas, it would be interesting to know why urban people would consent to converting.

    Kerala is different because the majority of Christians there belong to the Syrian Orthodox Church brought by St. Thomas at least 1500 years before European missionaries arrived. Christianity in Goa & Mangalore area was mostly by coercion by the Portuguese. Most of the conversions in the tribal areas of North-east, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and Orissa were done by European missionaries.

    Crypto-Christians – these are those who practise the Christian religion privately, but have Indian traditions and customs in public, right? So if there are Crypto-Christians in urban areas who believe in keeping their religion private and not changing their Indian lifestyle, what is the problem?

    I was hinting at competitive evangelization here…which is very likely to lead to violence and further aggravation within communities.
    I had made a case for fair competition. But in any case, I accepted in the previous comment that competition is not the most desirable solution but I’d prefer it to banning conversions and speech.

  • 92. Patriot said:

    @ Kaffir -

    “that’s how I interpreted the link you provided regarding atheism.”

    Wow!!! I will have whatever it is that you are smoking ….

  • 93. Patriot said:

    @ Salil/Shantanu –

    I have been reading both your comments with a lot of interest.

    I do think the starting point of both are different, which leads to different conclusions – (please do correct me if i am wrong)

    Shantanu’s starting point is that “native culture and traditions” deserves innate and intrinsic protection – even if this is at the expense of free speech (and eventually liberty?)

    Salil’s starting point is that free speech is protected, even if he does not like the end use of that free speech. He is asking for a more robust free speech response from the other party.

    That is the basic dichotomy.

    Cheers

  • 94. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Salil: Another hurried response…
    “If it means promotion of Indian art, culture and languages, I feel these are taught in sufficient measure…” – You must be kididng me! Not really…but this is for another thread.

    Re. castes, my comment was in response to the fact that Missionaries ask converts not to mention the fact of their conversion since thy will loose the benefits under reservations if they become Christians. This issue is one of the flash points in Kandhamal and elsewhere where the Dalits are converted but realise they they might stand to loose by converting (note that STs retain their quota rights even after conversion)

    ***

    @ Patriot: Interesting observation! will respond in more detail later.

  • 95. kk said:

    Patriot,

    Here again:

    The Sign

  • 96. Salil said:

    @Patriot:
    Your interpretation of my stand is correct. I know that free speech causes heartburn, but controlling it and banning religious conversions is not the answer.

  • 97. Kaffir said:

    =>
    Wow!!! I will have whatever it is that you are smoking ….
    =>
    Funnily enough, I was thinking the same thing about you. :)

    Alright. So tell me what was wrong with my comment.

    The “atheism” that you are a proponent of has those characteristics I mentioned.

    It has a striking parallel with the monotheistic faiths (no surprise there, since it is a reaction to them) in terms of “my atheism is the only right way”, you need more converts to your view (as was evidenced by your comment that “When people have stopped fighting over an accident of birth, maybe we will actually have a better world to live in.” disregarding that Hindus in India have been living in much harmony and giving shelter to Jews and Parsis without forcing them to assimilate – they don’t need your stupid “atheism”) and you have a view of utopia once xyz happens (more people join your “atheism”).

    QED.

  • 98. Patriot said:

    @ Shantanu – will await your response!

    Salil – I agree

    KK – thanks, wonderful set of cartoons, I especially liked the YMCA one!!

    Kaffir – yeah, hindus did not bother attacking others, they were too busy with each other – as I mentioned elsewhere, all the hindu hatred was endothermic, not exothermic (as I explained elsewhere)

    And, I am waiting for the Atheist buses in Mumbai – at least, then we will get our first “public position” here in India. You can pipe up then about our stupid atheism.

    And, I wonder what whether religion will merit the same kind of derision 500 years from now similiar to what the flat-earthers of 1500 merit today? :)

  • 99. B Shantanu (author) said:

    The real debate on freedom of speech and limits – if any should happen on this post.

    Do have a look and continue the discussion of “free speech” on that thread.

    Pl. limit this thread to conversion activities and their implication(s).

    Thanks.

  • 100. Kaffir said:

    =>
    And, I wonder what whether religion will merit the same kind of derision 500 years from now similiar (sic) to what the flat-earthers of 1500 merit today?
    =>

    Yup. Instead of living in the present, keep living in your futuristic utopia – gives your beliefs a sense of purpose and meaning. :)
    It’s a moot – as well as orthogonal – point since neither of us will be there if and when it happens. And I don’t live today based on conjecture or blind belief of what may or may not happen in far-away future.

    BTW, only someone ignorant would term disagreements and debates between different Hindu/Indic philosophies among scholars as “hatred”. Seems like you are the one projecting your hatred on to others.

    Good for you and have fun riding your “atheist” bus, along with followers of other monotheistic faiths – I guess insecure beliefs do need a poster on a bus as validation. Those could be your modern-day mosques/churches that give you peace of mind and happiness. :D

    I’m quite happy with my “live and let live” Hindu religion – as long as you monotheistic followers leave me alone and don’t want me “converting” to your blind faiths leading to some utopia in far-away future (sounds like the description of ‘heaven’ found in religions, doesn’t it?).

    Cheers.

  • 101. Patriot said:

    @ Kaffir -

    “Yup. Instead of living in the present, keep living in your futuristic utopia – gives your beliefs a sense of purpose and meaning. :)
    It’s a moot – as well as orthogonal – point since neither of us will be there if and when it happens. And I don’t live today based on conjecture or blind belief of what may or may not happen in far-away future.”

    Ah, how we struggle, and how we try to deny …. and try to live in our current mode (of self-satisfied ignorance).

    :)

    “I’m quite happy with my “live and let live” Hindu religion – as long as you monotheistic followers leave me alone and don’t want me “converting” to your blind faiths”

    Of course, sure … whatever makes you happy, including name-calling.

    “only someone ignorant would term disagreements and debates between different Hindu/Indic philosophies among scholars as “hatred””

    Indeeeeeeeed. Disagreements between scholars, eh? Okay.

  • 102. Patriot said:

    @ Shantanu -

    “Pl. limit this thread to conversion activities and their implication(s).”

    Well, you did bring up protection of “native faiths and culture” on this post – which brings us directly to free speech.

    cheers

  • 103. Nikhil said:

    @Salil, Patriot: I am not somehow comfortable with free speech and conversions (as they go on today)going together..
    Reason – free speech is based on values of individual freedoms that are foundational for an effective democratic process, which is the spirit in which our Constitution founders went about scripting it, and conversions are largely through a mechanism of evangelical brainwashing (many who are illiterate) which is further compounded by hermetically sealing the shift i.e. making it difficult to change one’s mind when one may want to… apostasy can be dangerous

    I’ll be more comfortable with conversions in India where large numbers shift allegiances with the alacrity they show with political affiliations! Then i’d say the spirit of this is effectively free and individualistic

  • 104. Patriot said:

    @ Nikhil –

    “I am not somehow comfortable with free speech and conversions”

    That is usually the problem we face with free speech – as long as the speech is in consonance with our thoughts, we will support it. When it goes against, then it is a different matter.

    “and conversions are largely through a mechanism of evangelical brainwashing (many who are illiterate) which is further compounded by hermetically sealing the shift”

    And, how is this different from the brainwashing that infants and children suffer within the confines of their own homes, with their parents being the perpetrators?

    And, why do we assume that just because someone is illiterate (by our defintions) that person is also an idiot? Absence of literacy does not equate to absence of intelligence.

    Think about it.

    Cheers

  • 105. Nikhil said:

    @Patriot: “That is usually the problem we face with free speech – as long as the speech is in consonance with our thoughts, we will support it….”

    Where does this come from i wonder? Free speech is freedom to express oneself which is part of a democratic environment – religious conversions do not allow it with their articles of faith and we were talking about conversions with respect to religious affiliations or so i thought!

    “brainwashing at home same as evangelical”
    Wonder how this is relevant..an environment of free speech ensures questions get asked because of one’s interaction outside one’s family and home but would not be the case where there is no active criticism of faiths e.g.Taslima Nasreen. The same state actively protects religious freedoms and does little for free speech when the two clash, on grounds of religious sentiment and potential violence which the religious are quick to resort to

    “Illiterate does not mean unintelligent”
    Sure – but isn’t there a strong correlation between literacy and education? and education and capacity to act based on evidence-supported facts?

    Honestly, your comments strike me as rather facetious – or maybe i’m just not getting your drift..

    My point is giving primacy to freedom of religion should not be at the expense of promoting individual freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, particularly where religion and freedoms do not mix, as oil and water

  • 106. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    http://lokmanch.com/cms/index.php/society/6901-muslim-became-hindu-

    Have a look at this.
    There are 5 moving from Hindu to Christ & Muslim.
    And 4 from Others to Hindu.

    Looks tragic. Although this is just daylight and open scenario.
    But we can think of other scenarios.

    Jai HInd!

  • 107. Patriot said:

    @ Nikhil -

    “religious conversions do not allow it with their articles of faith”

    But, that is not what we were talking about, were we – this is an attempt to confuse the issue.

    The issue is that free speech also subsumes the right to preach (which is how people convert, I guess). So, I am upholding the free speech right of the missionaries to spread their gospel.

    “Wonder how this is relevant..an environment of free speech ensures questions get asked”

    You brought brainwashing of a particular religion (after conversion) into the picture, not me – so, I just showed you how brainwashing actually happens much earlier and much more effectively.

    “there is no active criticism of faiths e.g.Taslima Nasreen”

    Please do not mix up issues – the attacks on Taslima in India were an abomination on free speech, and law and order. The states of AP and Bengal failed to uphold public order – you should be pillorying them instead.

    “but isn’t there a strong correlation between literacy and education? and education and capacity to act based on evidence-supported facts?”

    Depends on which skill sets you choose to enumerate – we had this debate on a different issue as well – the “illiterate” villager will identify 50 different seeds to you and 100 different types of leaves just by visual intelligence – can you do this? They will also tell you the proper conditions for sowing of a majority of the different types of seeds – can you do this?

    IF you answer no to the above, may I conclude that you are an idiot?

    There are certain skills which are more easily gained through literacy – higher math skills for example. Certain types of logic, for another. But, there is no causative links between literacy and “intelligence”. There is certainly a causative link between literacy and modern IQ tests, but that is yet another story (there is a separate post on Shantanu’s blog on this issue)

    And, evidence supported facts? Don’t make me laugh. Are you an atheist, then?

    Cheers

  • 108. Nikhil said:

    @Patriot:
    “The issue is that free speech also subsumes the right to preach (which is how people convert, I guess)”
    Wonder who’s doing the confusing. How does a Christian practice free speech when his articles of faith are not allowed to be discussed – you clearly miss the point or wish to for rhetorical reasons

    “so, I just showed you how brainwashing actually happens much earlier and much more effectively”
    So what has that got to do with the price of fish? the comment is irrelevant to to point that free speech is not being practiced while proslytizing which is why i’m uncomfortable with the idea that the principle of free speech is being practiced without the necessary openness of a free discussion

    “Ref Taslima Nasreen – The states of AP and Bengal failed to uphold public order – you should be pillorying them instead”
    I gave an example of how free speech and the primacy of religious freedom do not go together – religious freedoms must be subordinated to free speech, where’s the confusion?

    “IF you answer no to the above, may I conclude that you are an idiot?”

    Its no revelation that literacy and education are two different things but generally former leads to latter. You seem to be going off at a tangent..My point is that the more exposed you are to education via literacy you are likely to be more discriminating while accepting to convert or not – a choice made out of a more individualistic awareness rather than ‘what the elders/authorities are asking us to do’ You seem to be confusing capacity to use reason and logic with intelligence (may i remind you that i had never mentioned intelligence – even rats are found to show the same intelligence as humans in making ‘financial decisions’ when placed in a controlled experiment by behavioural economics researchers – but that’s a story for another day)

    “And, evidence supported facts? Don’t make me laugh. Are you an atheist, then?”

    Maybe i am – aren’t we all for our opposing brands of ‘blind’ beliefs? Somehow the concepts of free speech and evidence based on facts go together for me..i find it does not in any way interfere with the essence of the spiritual, but we could argue/discuss that separately

    Am enjoying this but the points seem to be getting into hair-splitting zones – if i understand you correctly you wish to stick by free speech for proselytizing come what may
    even where – say, proselytizers would turn on the very concept once they’re free to..my point is we need not wait for that to happen and we could ensure through greater articulation and awareness of the opposing viewpoints that such a situation does not happen.
    Expecting non-proselytising religions like SD, Jainism et al to suddenly get organized and articulate this is regressive – its far better if its done by those guided by reason and logic based on facts rather than throwing non-verifiable my-way-is-better articles of faith at each other,even in free-market place of ideas. The cure for bad religion is not good religion but common sense and reasonableness

    Cheers to that!

  • 109. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Patriot (#93): I am not sure whether my starting point is “native culture and traditions deserves innate and intrinsic protection” or not…but I do have very strong views about it.

    There is no point in denying that there are organised, well-funded and well-resourced evangelical groups that are intent on spreading Christianity in India.

    Unless I am convinced that they are doing so openly, transparently, without insulting the native traditions, without denigrating native faiths, without inducements, without subtle influencing and without brainwashing, I will continue to feel anguished, angry, anxious and very very uncomfortable about it.

    We live in an imperfect world…and while it is nice and polite to talk about focusing on socio-economic development, education etc etc rather than “banning missionaries from preaching”, NONE of these “counter-measures” are going to have an impact in the short run. And while it is nice to say that there should be zero tolerance for violence, coercion and fraud in the name of religion, all of us know that this is simply not happening in the present dispensation.

    What is a Hindu to do in such a situation?

    ***

    Thanks for the Lokmanch link Sandeep.

  • 110. Indian said:

    @Shantanu

    Well said! We cannot remain fool and dumb when their intention is to convert India and its people in to majority of Christians. Whatever their purpose of message may be but it cannot be consider as godly gesture when its harming and hurting other faiths.

  • 111. Patriot said:

    @ Shantanu –

    “I am not sure whether my starting point is “native culture and traditions deserves innate and intrinsic protection” or not…”

    Let me assure you …. it is – your proof is here -

    “Unless I am convinced that they are doing so openly, transparently, without insulting the native traditions, without denigrating native faiths, without inducements, without subtle influencing and without brainwashing, I will continue to feel anguished, angry, anxious and very very uncomfortable about it.”

    This is clearly a proscription and a condemnation of free speech when it does not suit you.

    Just because your side is unable to compete is no reason to proscribe the free speech of the opposing party. From there to a muzzle is but a short step, and then from there to tyranny is another.

    I think the solution lies in either making sure that your side is better equipped to combat the issues that you raise or to stop carping about it.

    I remember back in the 1980′s when the English Cricket Team could not compete with the West Indies Pace Battery and were being convincingly flattened at every opportunity – the English newspapers came up with a lot of humorous suggestions – such as that the Windies should bowl with one hands tied behind their backs, that if the English batsmen manage to get bat on ball, it would be a Four, and if it actually went for a 4, it would be counted as an 8, and so on ….

    Your suggestions kind of fall in the same category, except that they are not humorous. I suggest that you figure out ways of helping your side compete better, rather than saying that specific rights should be curtailed.

    I did not expect this from you, Shantanu, given that you are a member of Freedom Team.

    Also, I have a suggestion, I would like your website to translate IPs into flags of the corresponding nations – I would actually like to see how many of our worthwhile commentators are based in India and how many are talking about protecting Indian traditions while being safely ensconced in a foreign land.

    Cheers

  • 112. Patriot said:

    @ Nikhil -

    I think you make some good points, starting with this –
    “The cure for bad religion is not good religion but common sense and reasonableness”

    While that is good, I would urge you to instead consider the following, as well -

    The cure for religion is not good religion but common sense and reasonableness.

    Now, on to your specific points -

    “Wonder who’s doing the confusing. How does a Christian practice free speech when his articles of faith are not allowed to be discussed – you clearly miss the point or wish to for rhetorical reasons”

    Christian religion, like most other religions, does not take kindly to being questioned. However, IN INDIA, you are free to question the tenets of your own belief and not be prosecuted or be hounded for it (at least in theory) by your former co-religionists – in the case of christianity, the Catholic Secular Forum (sic) tried hard to ban the book and movie, The Da Vinci Code and failed spectacularly. They are attempting the same with Angels and Demons, without much success, either.

    Taslima was indeed targeted by her co-religionists in India, but there was a state failure to protect her – there was no state muzzle on her writings against islam and how it treats women. I trust that you can understand the difference?

    So, what is your point about free speech?

    “So what has that got to do with the price of fish? the comment is irrelevant to to point that free speech is not being practiced while proslytizing which is why i’m uncomfortable with the idea that the principle of free speech is being practiced without the necessary openness of a free discussion”

    Huh? You said this earlier on brainwashing “conversions are largely through a mechanism of evangelical brainwashing (many who are illiterate) ”

    So, I brought in the fact of infants and children being brainwashed by their parents and the two being equivalent – so, what exactly is it then that you are trying to say?

    “we could ensure through greater articulation and awareness of the opposing viewpoints that such a situation does not happen.”

    I agree – and it is up to those that want to protect the “native cultures” to do so – I articulate my opposition to all organised religions very clearly and very strongly in every forum that is foolish enough to give me a voice! ;)

    Cheers

  • 113. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Patriot: Let me lay out a few things clearly. I think you have misunderstood.

    “Unless I am convinced that they are doing so openly, transparently, without insulting the native traditions, without denigrating native faiths, without inducements, without subtle influencing and without brainwashing, I will continue to feel anguished, angry, anxious and very very uncomfortable about it.”

    I don’t know why (and how) did you feel that this is a “proscription” (unless you mean it in the narrow sense of denounce). If I wanted to suggest proscription, I would have happily and explicitly written: “Ban all conversion activity”

    All I am asking for is a mechanism to make sure that there is some accountability in the system and a way to address grievances.

    And let me repeat, competitive evangelization (as in “…the solution lies in either making sure that your side is better equipped to combat the issues that you raise or to stop carping about it“) is not an answer – it can (most likely will) lead to more friction and eventually violence.

    Re. translating IPs to indicate location, I have toyed with this idea before – and I feel it intrudes on personal privacy…but I will rethink.

  • 114. sridhar krishna said:

    dear all,

    just curious to know how much credence we should give to J S Mill’s hate principle or Joel Feinberg’s offence principle in the context of freedom of speech.

    cheers!!!!

    sridhar

  • 115. Indian said:

    @Patriot

    I assume your comment is against all NRI’s

    Though many are settled in foreign land they have taste of India. They have come across many issues back then in India what Shatanu is addressing. Leave India,do you think conversion propaganda is silent in foreign land? So what if some of them are out side the country, dont they have any right to preserve their tradition and culture?

    You have gone too far now..in addressing the issue what other think is important and you think its not and targeting people who are not in India.

    One side you talk about free speech but other side you malign people who wants to protect native culture.

    Its about Hindus,Hinduism culture and tradition not about nationalism. Right! One dont have to be in the country to practice their culture and tradition.

    As usual I find you rude towards other commentators. You must understand that you cannot debar anyone’s rights, views and opinions because they are residing in another country or having different stand not same as yours.

    Free speech! Right!

  • 116. Indian said:

    Its #115

    This post carries more comments.. always, what does it suggest?

  • 117. Patriot said:

    @ Shantanu -

    “All I am asking for is a mechanism to make sure that there is some accountability in the system and a way to address grievances.”

    I am happy to hear that – I think the FTI policy on religious freedom and tolerance incorporates some of the above points. The issue, as always, will be the strict implementation.

    “And let me repeat, competitive evangelization (as in “…the solution lies in either making sure that your side is better equipped to combat the issues that you raise or to stop carping about it“) is not an answer – it can (most likely will) lead to more friction and eventually violence.”

    Maybe, you are right about the above on competitive evangelism causing friction – but, to ban the speech of evangelists is not the answer either. I would like to believe that we can evolve into a mature society where we can hear alternative viewpoints, without erupting into flames. In any case, restricting speech is not the answer.

    So, I would wait for you and others to suggest other innovative measures.

    And, I do not not think that resolving the IPs of the posters into their nation’s flag is a breach of privacy – and, it does provide us with greater info – so, why should that be bad?

    Cheers

  • 118. Patriot said:

    @ Indian -

    “Though many are settled in foreign land they have taste of India. They have come across many issues back then in India what Shatanu is addressing. Leave India,do you think conversion propaganda is silent in foreign land? So what if some of them are out side the country, dont they have any right to preserve their tradition and culture?

    You have gone too far now..in addressing the issue what other think is important and you think its not and targeting people who are not in India. ”

    I will go even further and poke another finger in the eye of NRIs – I find many of them (not all) completely illogical and hypocritical when it comes to the question of native culture and traditions, etc.

    IF, as a NRI, you would like to ban the christians from India and you would like to get muslims and christians in India to follow the “hindu way of life” in the name of protecting our native religions, traditions and cultures, then the very least YOU can do while being in European nations is to follow THEIR way of life. Do not go about planting temples in their land, and funding ISCON to go about converting poor, illiterate, innocent whites. Do not hold Diwali, Holi, Durga pujas, etc – all alien cutures and subversive to boot – in their lands.

    On the other hand, if you think that European and American liberalism allows you the freedom to practice your faith, plant temples, bring your priests and cultures to their native lands, while trying to influence their cultural mores and sensitivities, I do not think that you can complain if a few christian missionaries want to preach their faith in India, eh? How can you argue that India should be hermetically sealed from all these practices when you are taking your alien cultures and practices in their lands?

  • 119. Indian said:

    —–I will go even further and poke another finger in the eye of NRIs – I find many of them (not all) completely illogical and hypocritical when it comes to the question of native culture and traditions, etc.—

    Good you recognize( not all), so what was it about? You want each and everyone to be the same?

    —-IF, as a NRI, you would like to ban the christians from India and you would like to get muslims and christians in India to follow the “hindu way of life” in the name of protecting our native religions, traditions and cultures, then the very least YOU can do while being in European nations is to follow THEIR way of life.—-

    I never thought your understanding of protecting native (indiginious) people, religion, tradition and culture is so limited. Why native cannot be protected without asking anyone to follow Hindu way of life? Who gave you this crazy idea of bannig christians and muslims and to follow Hindu way of life… Complete misundertanding.

    — Do not go about planting temples in their land, and funding ISCON to go about converting poor, illiterate, innocent whites. Do not hold Diwali, Holi, Durga pujas, etc – all alien cutures and subversive to boot – in their lands—.

    Why? Whats the problem? Why India dont have churches, mosques, gurudwara etc… I think they have gone one step further of converting people in large scale. Atleast NRI’s from India are not doing that in another’s country. NRI’s are from the land India, where they have been taught all religion are same and respect each and every faith. Their homeland is not only multicultural but multi faith. When poor whites can be innocent; than what about poor Indians who gets converted are well informed? NRI’s are not invaders and ruins the life of native people and land. They have earn the respect with great efforts. They dont care who follows what. They are happy celebrating Diwali, planting pace of worship, Holi and durga puja. Its none of the NRI’s business to poke someone’s else belief system. But they have all rights to protect and seal themselves if some one tries to poke their belief system same as missionaries have right to spread their faith.

    Only those will think of protection who gets attacked not all. Sorry European countries are not under attack.

    —–On the other hand, if you think that European and American liberalism allows you the freedom to practice your faith, plant temples, bring your priests and cultures to their native lands, while trying to influence their cultural mores and sensitivities, I do not think that you can complain if a few christian missionaries want to preach their faith in India, eh? How can you argue that India should be hermetically sealed from all these practices when you are taking your alien cultures and practices in their lands?—-

    Wow…few christian missionaries..great information and want to turn deaf ears about their activities. When learned christians have already accepted this conversion propanganda as menace and you say its just free speech!

    Learn more about how native, indiginious people are protected in their countries. A person can be penalized if does any harm to natives in some European countries.

  • 120. Patriot said:

    @ Indian -

    “But they have all rights to protect and seal themselves if some one tries to poke their belief system same as missionaries have right to spread their faith.”

    Okay, as long as you are agreed on this, I think we have common ground.

    “Learn more about how native, indiginious people are protected in their countries. A person can be penalized if does any harm to natives in some European countries.”

    Please elucidate – happy to learn.

  • 121. sridhar krishna said:

    dear all,

    maybe one should read this site fully before we talk about evangelisation. in 1974 an International congress on world evangelisation was held at lausanne where preachers from more than 150 countries participated.

    the next congress was held in manilla in 1989. the third is to be held at cape town in 2010.

    http://www.lausanne.org/covenant

    rgds/sridhar

  • 122. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    Orissa land scam
    Puri Temple land sold to Vedanta Foundation
    http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=316&page=3

    (Vedanta is funded by Church of England).

    Jai Hind!

  • 123. KSV SUBRAMANIAN said:

    “Western evangelists damaging established churches in India” is the report appeared in today’s (2nd Dec.) The New Indian Express.

    Western evangelism should stop, says the Most Rev. Dr. Marthoma, Metropolitan of the Marthoma Church. A very sane voice indeed. The following paragraphs are very noteworthy:

    “The situation has improved a lot,” he says. “The churches are being reconstructed. However, the old wounds are still there.” Dr Joseph Marthoma puts the blame on the vitiated atmosphere on western evangelism. “The drawback is that they denounce other faiths and cultures,” he says. “Theirs is a hit-and-run evangelism. They have no long-standing presence. They do great damage and the sufferers are the local, established churches, as well as the poor people.” The Metropolitan says that these groups should change. “They have the attitude that they are bringing the torch of light to the dark continents of Asia and Africa,” he says.

    “But times have changed. They must understand that the only way forward is mutual respect. Because of their aggressiveness, the riots took place in Orissa.” He says the Mar Thoma Church has a mission at Khariar Road, in Nuapada district, just 150 km from Kandhamal. “We had no problems during the riots,” he says. “The local people, comprising mostly Hindus, were the protectors of our mission.” He proudly asserts that the 10-lakh strong Mar Thoma Church is an independent entity. “We do not take funds from foreign agencies for our maintenance and programmes,” he says.

    The full report is available by following the link below :

    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Western+evangelists+damaging+established+Church&artid=CKCltClm0XU=&SectionID=1ZkF/jmWuSA=&MainSectionID=fyV9T2jIa4A=&SectionName=X7s7i%7CxOZ5Y=&SEO=

  • 124. Arjun said:

    Well if Christianity stops conversion which is central to their faith it would seize to exist. Like communism Christianity breeds on poverty and that’s why India is a prime target . I don’t believe that most conversions taking place in India are based on some superior religious intellectual argument by Christian missionaries against the Hinduism. I know because I’ve interacted with many western Christian missionaries in the West and their targets are the poor because abusing someone’s vulnerability and poverty is any easy way to convert people..So they may not force but they use manipulation to gain converts which is just as bad.. Christianity is dead in west .Churches are closing down everyday .Christianity is often ridiculed .I remember in school when school kids use to tear the pages of the bible and flush them down the toilet so its not surprising that Christian missionaries are looking for new converts in poorer countries to keep their religion somehow alive..And also it serves the political agendas of western countries as well even though their own people may not believe in Christianity..

  • 125. K. Harapriya said:

    I wonder why some people think banning coerced conversions or even conversion per se is against our democratic values. There are numerous democratic nations which have such laws, including Israel which explicitly prevents evangelical groups from targetting Jews and Greece, which seeks to protect the Greek orthodox church from evangelical protestant groups from the US. Both these countries recognize that the new evangelical groups pose a threat to their local religions and have taken steps to stop them. It seems only in India do we persist in being unable to name the enemy much less defend ourselves from them.

    Let us be clear about this. Both Christianity and Islam view Hinduism as completely antithetical to them. And they are right. The Hindu world-view is completely in oppostion to a Christian or Islamic world view. It is time Hindus wake up to the fact that both these Abhramic religions pose a real danger to Hindusim and focus on strengthening their numbers and institutions.

    Regarding the question of free speech, aren’t there laws in India which prohibit speech which can cause religious hatred? Or do these apply only when VHP rouses religious sentiments but not apply when priests villify Hinduism and ask their converts to denounce Hindusim and break Hindu images?

  • 126. Arjun said:

    “I wonder why some people think banning coerced conversions or even conversion per se is against our democratic values.”

    Well maybe because many indians equate christianty with white/west and have a complex about it especially if they have studied in christian run schools..Mother Theresa would have never been so famous in any any other country than India..It was India that made her..The amount of hate they promote against Hinduism in their literature and their speeches is enough to even make the nazis look like Gandhians but they only get away with it in India while Hindus get blamed for everything..

  • 127. Ribeiro Article said:

    Some words from Julio Ribeiro. This is food for thought. He thinks the conversions today are different, and not like what conversions used to be:

    My ancestors, like those of most Christians in India, were Hindus. True, I have a strange name. It is Portuguese in origin, but neither I nor the numerous other Christians sporting Portuguese surnames like Fernandes (George is a friend of the BJP) have any Portuguese blood. Our ancestors got these surnames when they were baptized and the surnames were those of the different clerics who officiated at their initiation. Was force or coercion used? I dare say it was. If not force, then certainly coercion. Lure of land, I learn, was the main instrument of that coercion. All land was appropriated by the conquerors and only those who converted retained their share. This, I dare say, was a powerful attraction….

    Read the whole article, it is though-provoking and debate-provoking.
    http://richardrego.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/the-testimony-of-one-christian-julio-rebeiro/

  • 128. JBM said:

    The julio love over there is really thought provoking. It reads missionary statement… One can interact with missionary and he will say the same stuff to educated persons… Most of Julio love is explained in this post http://estheppan.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/maya-inconsistency/ which will explain Riberio’s thought provoking article

  • 129. KSV SUBRAMANIAN said:

    Foul and most devious way to convert !!!

    http://haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=9830&SKIN=C

  • 130. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ KSV: Thanks for the link – Unbelievable and shocking. I will dig deeper into this. The behavior of the “trust” may be legal (I will check) but it is still borderline. Thanks.

    If anyone reading this is from Faridabad/Delhi, can you please email me at jaidharma AT gmail.com? I need help to get more details on this.

  • 131. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Follow-up to the Mid-Day story: http://www.mid-day.com/news/2009/dec/081209-midday-exclusive-converted-girls-rescued.htm

    Two girls have apparently been rescued…

  • 132. Indian said:

    So its clear, its not the case to be seen as alternative viewpoints or freedom of speech as described by the Patriot in comment on 31 oct 2009.

    Any alternate view points aggressively and forcefully cannot be accepted.

    @Shantanu

    The comment #’s missing, I used date above to refer the comment. May be you wanted that way or due to new updates its missing?.

  • 133. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Indian: Yes, thanks for alerting me…I will try and see if there is any way to get them back in (the new theme does not appear to have this feature).

  • 134. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    *** COMMENT DELETED ***

    Sandeep: Off-topic. Nothing to do with conversions. Pl. stay on topic.

    For suggestions or to alert me to something, use the “Suggestions” tab on the right-hand side of the page (near the top).

  • 135. Rohit said:

    I went thru the Postio of Julio Riberio. It is a missionary statement which has got source of origins from Christians of United States of America. The same people who wiped out people with faith native to America wih their winchester rifle and went ahead washing sins of Christians whom they call as “Westerners”, for convinience. One can read similar thought provoking Christian Missionary Statements @ http://www.newsweek.com/id/212155. The funny thing is that the writer of article Lisa Miller compared the mental evoluton of Christians to “Hinduism”, a term coined by westerners to denote people with faith native to India so they could express their Christian love against not humans but HINDOOS. Most of Julio Love is contained there in comments of American Christians, who have failed to evolve mentally.

  • 136. Salil said:

    @Rohit:

    How exactly is Julio Ribeiro’s comments like that of a missionary? Where does he say that others should convert to Christianity?

  • 137. VoP said:

    “Our kids have new names, go to church. We don’t even know”

    http://www.mid-day.com/news/2009/dec/071209-children-christian-conversion-unaware-parents.htm

    Please take a look.

  • 138. Rohit said:

    @ Salil,

    Ah I was just remembering you when I posted the post. There is zero difference between your posts supporting conversion to Christianity elsewhere (Secularism Part II and this post as well) in the blog where you support conversion on basis of providing health care, education, a camouflaged use of money flowing in from Christian west. Read the posts of neo missionary in the article I provided the link. All are same. That is why I asked you in secularism, why do you support the teachings of Bible… Propagation of conversion or superiority of religion? I probably can guess your answers but would love to hear words of wise incognito when you post answers.

  • 139. Rohit said:

    @ Salil… And I forgot to add that Julio post is nothing but supporting Christian propaganda machinery in name of love… Healthcare, education etc, something which even you like

  • 140. Salil said:

    @Rohit:

    There is zero difference between your posts supporting conversion to Christianity elsewhere (Secularism Part II and this post as well) in the blog where you support conversion on basis of providing health care, education, a camouflaged use of money flowing in from Christian west.

    Yes, can you point out why and why? Nowhere have I said that i *support* conversion to Christianity. I oppose banning of conversion. The two are different.

    That is why I asked you in secularism, why do you support the teachings of Bible… Propagation of conversion or superiority of religion?

    Again, where did I specifically support the teachings of Bible? I’m as indifferent to the Bible as I am to the Koran or any other religion. I dont “propagate conversion” neither do I consider any religion as superior.

    And I forgot to add that Julio post is nothing but supporting Christian propaganda machinery in name of love… Healthcare, education etc, something which even you like

    Well you didnt answer my question. What part of the post is Christian propaganda? If a person talks about love, is he trying to convert everyone to Christianity? I’d like you to point out the exact part in that post where you say Ribeiro is trying to convert or proselytize.

  • 141. K. Harapriya said:

    It is interesting to note that both Prof, S.N Balagangadharan and Radha Rajan point out that secularism has actually been cloak, a disguise by which Christians have pushed essentially values of the Christian reformation onto a non-christian population. In India, Shri Balagangadharan states, we have essentially not understood the terms used to define us, nor their historical context.

    An example of this is the freedom of religion enshrined in the U.N charter on Human rights. There, it is explicitly states the right to propogate religion. Yet the rights of native populations to practice their native religions without being harrassed or troubled or coerced in anyway by non-natives is not recognized as a right.

    The language of demanding rights as opposed to having mutual agreements within society to fulfill obligations, is itself a product of Christian thought. Within the Hindu society, there has traditionally been a system of obligations. Thus a King has the duty to rule fairly. The warrior the duty to fight for the nation; the husband the duty to provide for the family, the wife to take care of children and the elderly etc.

    It has long been the custom of evangelical movements to identify groups have been impoverished or in some way underserved and create in them a sense of victimhood. We see this in various underhand schemes hatched by missionaries. An example is here

    http://www.dailypioneer.com/222182/Fraudulent-conversion-of-minor-girls-Brazilian-missionary-in-dock.html

  • 142. Rohit said:

    Well said Harapriya! Julio love and evangelical love for non humans called as Hindoos

  • 143. Rohit said:

    *** COMMENT EDITED ***

    These Christian Missionaries…spread…stories of lies of white supremacy and exaggerated, British/ European Christians founded stories of Casteism while the entire world knows, whenever there was a war imposed on India, common people were never asked to fight or the warriors of India never hid themselves behind unarmed civilians and fought the war. Also, somehow, the stories of casteism are not found in documents of Chinese travelers and also Moslem travelers.

    Salil would love this Christian Love for non humans @ http://www.newsweek.com/id/212155/output/comments/

    *** NOTE by MODERATOR ***

    This discussion is in danger of degenerating into a personal slanging match. Pl. be considerate in your comments…Rage (or personal attack) on its own is rarely going to solve anything.

    Let us keep the discussion civil – sharp by all means – but polite – and on topic.

  • 144. Salil said:

    @Rohit:

    Where have you got this information from that casteism did not exist before the British came? The word ‘Caste’ is of Portugese origin but it refers to the existing varna-jati system. And which Chinese & Moslem travelers are you talking about? The Chinese traveler Hsieun Tsang (xuan chwang) who came during Harsha’s time has mentioned the rigid caste system. So has Alberuni who came from Ghazni, he mentioned society being divided into 4 varnas and 8 antyaja castes.

  • 145. Rohit said:

    *** COMMENT EDITED ***

    Casteism as portrayed by Christians is something which was practiced by Christians.

    …India never had casteism. Varnas and Jatis are not casteism, like Dharm is not religion. False sense of superiority due to clouding of knowledge is at the best Bigotry not Casteism. India never had religion…

    The term religion and Hindoo to faith native to India was given by Moslems and Christians. Dravidian theory, Aryan Invasion theory are all Christian theories and a Christian theory is based on premise of superiority of Christians

    *** NOTE by MODERATOR ***

    @ Rohit: Pl. be careful of what you write. I want this blog to be a place for civil discourse NOT name-calling or scoring cheap points by personal abuse or ridicule. And pl. be mindful of your language.

  • 146. Rohit said:

    One can read about varnas at following post… In support to my posts above http://estheppan.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/aim-of-life/

    The site by Incognito is a great site to be in. Hats off to Incognito. A site dedicated to Bharat and Dharma in true sense

  • 147. Salil said:

    @Rohit:

    Neither does that link explain your unsubstantiated statements about foreign travelers talking about caste nor does it accept the sad fact of varna-jati based discrimination. How about sticking to facts while making arguments rather than basing them on someone else’s thoughts?

  • 148. Rohit said:

    Whoa! Foreign traveller and talking about CASTE & CASTEISM. Foreign traveler except a Christian can at best can talk about division of society in class.

    EVERY society has division which is a natural process but this is CASTEISM because Christians called so for India. Even Korea, Japan, Bali, China had divisions in society and clans but this is NOT CASTEISM because Christians didn’t call so. Christians do not talk about division in their society based on money/ color/ meeting of interests of mind as CASTE. They now call these divisions as EQUALITY, PRACTICAL DIVISIONS, like Nigger Church, Gay Church, Protestant Church, Catholic Church, Orthodox Church.

    CASTE and CASTEISM are Christian theories and THEORIES not FACTS but exaggerated epics written by themselves and testified by their own selected subjects, whose independency of thought process is QUESTIONABLE. Conversion took place more under AEGIS of SECULARISM AND FALSEHOODS, the likes of YSR, than might of GUN and FEAR of MISSIONARIES WALKING with gun in one hand and bible in other because Christians didn’t meet RED INDIANS OR ABORIGINALS but people with faith native to India which included Shudras too. Christians could have had vast army of Shudras and Vaishyas but they didn’t. Christians were never interested in development of India but subjugation either by VIOLENCE, which they were met with by equal might and fervor, or by LIES/ DIVISION. Christian theories are based on FALSEHOODS and LIES. Whatever Christian says about faith native to India is LIES. And Christian theories about any non Christian in WORLD, including themselves, is collection of LIES, because it is founded on a monolithic statement of superiority, which in turn is the single source of greatest EPIC of BIGOTRY like Nigger Love, Red Indian Love, Aboriginal Love, Gypsy Love, Hindoo Love, Jew Love, Tribal Love, Love for Buddhists in Vietnam, Cambodia, S Korea etc.

  • 149. Salil said:

    Caste is the English word used to refer to the varna-jati system. This is a reality and not just a “theory”.

    The way you generalize Christians talking of “Christian theories are based on FALSEHOODS and LIES” is of the same caustic tone as a Macaulayan generalizing Hindoos.

  • 150. Rohit said:

    Caste is a English word used to refer to Varna Jati system

    EuroPains first understood Varna Jati System and then devised the word Caste to explain the system. This is better than the best!

    The way you generalize Christians talking of “Christian theories are based on FALSEHOODS and LIES” is of the same caustic tone as a Macaulayan generalizing Hindoos.

    Yeah we asked Christians to tell us about our history in ENGLISH. We also asked Christians to translate our books in English because we didn’t understand Sanskrit. We were also doubtful about our origins so we asked Christians to come and tell us the Aryan Invasion Theory and Dravidian theory and not to forget that Earth is flat and Jerusalem is center of universe. We asked Christians to grow rich by thievery, murder, rob, loot and pillage because these are noble Christian love qualities which were somehow not in us and then we should also expect that murderers, thieves, looters are the most honest persons on earth who are now hell bent to indulge again in thievery, rob, loot, pillage in name of global warming.

  • 151. Salil said:

    Assuming you’re being sarcastic, can we have the citation/reference from where you got the info about foreign travelers and caste? And also with reference to the Ribeiro article where exactly in that article any hint where he advocates conversion to Christianity?

  • 152. Chetan Arya said:

    This is one sick site. ‘Reason’ has been thrown out of the window even before discussion starts. Most of the Hindu mongeres here are saying things in emotions, even when all their comments have no validity.

    @ Indian, I have many christian friends who are Patels and Marwaris.

    @ Nisha, Karnataka is one state where Christianity had made maximum influence. Bengaluru, the Capital is the HQ of many Chsistian organisations.

    @ Nisha, “caste system cctually (sic) saves the infrastructure of Hinduism”.
    I know you mean ‘saves the upper caste’.
    Not any low caste hindu cares for the ‘infrastructure’ of Hiduism.

  • 153. Chetan Arya said:

    “Neutral Umpiring Please”. Shantanu, you seem to be harsh on any anti-hindu comments, while very soft of outright rude comments made on other faiths.

  • 154. Rohit said:

    I think I said it is like a missionary statement or no better than a missionary statement… Julio creates the platform a missionary creates and stops from where where a missionary then goes ahead and start degrading other religions and preach nomadic gibbersihes.

  • 155. Rohit said:

    I somehow left the first part… I would like to answer it the other way of logic… Caste was a word which ORIGINATED in India, I guess from Varna Jati as you said earlier and we should rely on Christian texts written by Christians because god was witnessing them as they composed stories about India… My mistake I should have assumed thugs of East India Company, as the name denoted India in between, were Indians and we of course were foreigners.

  • 156. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Chetan: Shantanu, you seem to be harsh on any anti-hindu comments, while very soft of outright rude comments made on other faiths.

    Can you be more specific please? I am always happy to own up and apologise if shown to be in the wrong… and the number of “Edited” comments should give you some idea of the moderation that I use.

    Anyways, welcome to the debate!

  • 157. VoP said:

    I don’t know why stupid Indians still don’t understand these Christian inventions like Caste. Even whites are willing to learn, see my incident few years ago and the link that is embedded in it – about American Caste system!

    http://myexperimentsagainstprejudice.blogspot.com/2008/08/ibm-incident-and-dialog.html

    Rohit, I think it’s best to ignore stealth Christians with Hindu sounding names. Christian love is indeed the only type that kills.

  • 158. Anonymous said:

    Chetan Arya

    Your degradation of other faith… It is your figment of imagination. And about your Christian Patels… Their name sounds their weakness in their new found faith Christianity… You like their friendship, go and enjoy it and write epics about your friendship; is some one stopping you? You can even go ahead and write a epic on Christianity and the immediate difference it made in your life once you embraced Christianity or in your Christian friends. I think all have full right to demolish any religion that comes to preach about superiority of their religion. And as far as your statement is concerned, I find it the most deplorable statement on this blog, worse than the likes of Ramdeholl and Juven Bachan @ http://satyameva-jayate.org/2005/10/08/revising-the-aryan-invasion-of-india-theory/. The site as it says is dedicated to Bharat and Dharma. Why don’t you blog on sites which you like?

  • 159. Indian said:

    @Chetan

    You got hurt learning about strong Patels and Marwaris. Right! Oh ya!

    Are you talking about patel and marwari who are fool and dumb friends of yours? For your info your friends were not real patels and marwaris. And talking about Marwaris? I doubt on your words?

    ———-This is one sick site. ‘Reason’ has been thrown out of the window even before discussion starts. Most of the Hindu mongeres here are saying things in emotions, even when all their comments have no validity——-.

    Chetan you will not be succeeded in your mission of conversion here because public is alreday enlightned so no need to go into unnecessary discussion. And what made you to comment here when comments have no validity?

  • 160. Salil said:

    @Rohit:

    I think I said it is like a missionary statement or no better than a missionary statement

    You said that before, and I asked you again to point out the exact lines in the article that explains your statement. You have repeatedly failed to do so, but instead made arbitrary comments that the article is “degrading other religions and preach(ing) nomadic gibbersihes” without quoting.

    Caste was a word which ORIGINATED in India, I guess from Varna Jati as you said earlier and we should rely on Christian texts written by Christians because god was witnessing them as they composed stories about India…

    Going past your sarcasm (again), you seem to imply that just because the word was coined by Christians, it is wrong. This is warped logic – since you’re using the same language that Christians came up with.

  • 161. Rohit said:

    @ Salil,

    There is no point in arguing with one person: Religious torch bearer. Let me again give it a try thereafter, I hope to simply copy paste this comment, because your question will be repetitive. I was wrong in reading Julio post. He seems to be talking about something other than Christianity over there. Since he is talking about something other than Christianity, he can talk about anything but Christianity. Now Christianity is unlimited, numerous books, unlimited philosophy, unlimited ways of spirituality. Since he is talking about unlimited things, he somehow seems to be talking about universal love. Since this is universal , unlimited love, he is extremely different from Missionary, who has only got limited resource of reference when asked about things like violence, bigotry, casteism, racism, lies etc. You seem to be a fan of Christian history… Earth is flat, Jerusalem is center of universe, casteism, aryan invasion theory, red indian theory, aboriginal theory, negro theory… Again no point in arguing with someone who likes Christian theories… Travelling back in history, Buddhs didn’t term it as casteism… But again they were not Christians. Jainis didn’t term this as casteism… But they were again not Chirstians. Sikhs didn’t term it as casteism but again, they were not Christians. At the best Jati Varna system can be said to be deterioration to bigotry with advent of weakening of Kshatriyas, but this is not true, casteism is the word to describe Jati Varna system because CHRISTIANS said so and CHRSITIANS are by birth honest and they came to India to get us rid of CASTEISM otherwise, they were happy, rich, content, peaceful and when CHRISTIANS left, we became the most PROSPEROUS NATION of world, thanks to Aryan Invasion Theory, Dravidian Theory, Casteism theory. Of this caste theory is peculiar. Caste was used by Dutch to describe themselves as SUPERIOR CREATURE but somehow this became applicable on India… How because Christians wanted to get rid of Casteism and casteism therefore belongs to India and rest of world never had casteism… Why because Christians said so and we know, in this world, only Christians speak truth, rest are liars.

  • 162. Salil said:

    @Rohit

    There is no point in arguing with one person: Religious torch bearer.

    Which religious torch bearer?
    (you really seem to like that term a lot, dont you?)

    I was wrong in reading Julio post. He seems to be talking about something other than Christianity over there.

    Good, so hope this mistake deters you from future baseless invective.

    You seem to be a fan of Christian history…

    I’m not. What makes you say that? Did I ever say I support theories of flat earth, Jerusalem and Aryan invasion?

    Travelling back in history, Buddhs didn’t term it as casteism…

    Didnt term what as casteism? Buddhism was quite against caste/varna/jati discrimination.

    casteism is the word to describe Jati Varna system because CHRISTIANS said so

    ‘Caste’ and not ‘casteism’ is the English word used to describe the Jati-Varna system. And the reason is not because Christians said so but it is from the vocabulary of a language used by people irrespective of their religion.

    CHRSITIANS are by birth honest and they came to India to get us rid of CASTEISM otherwise, they were happy, rich, content, peaceful and when CHRISTIANS left, we became the most PROSPEROUS NATION of world, thanks to Aryan Invasion Theory, Dravidian Theory, Casteism theory.

    Now where did you get that from?

    Of this caste theory is peculiar. Caste was used by Dutch to describe themselves as SUPERIOR CREATURE but somehow this became applicable on India…

    Untrue. Caste refers to the social system based on occupation, endogamy, culture and class. Each place has had different social systems and ‘caste’ is the word used to describe the hierarchy.

    How because Christians wanted to get rid of Casteism and casteism therefore belongs to India and rest of world never had casteism…

    Again untrue. There have been caste systems in many places in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

    Why because Christians said so and we know, in this world, only Christians speak truth, rest are liars.

    Wow!

  • 163. Salil said:

    @Shantanu:

    The italics tags dont seem to work, so parts of my comments where I have quoted someone else might appear to be from my comment!

  • 164. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Salil, Rohit: Pl. take a pause here…The thread is over-loaded…The discssion has got around to the caste system – which is probably more appropriate on this thread.

    ***

    Salil: Will try and rectify

  • 165. B Shantanu (author) said:

    All: This particular thread appears to be having some problems accepting comment(s) in italics and bold. Pl bear with me as I try and fix it.

  • 166. Rohit said:

    I will take a pause and before that I will say that Christian Missionaries are HARMING the COUNTRY. Christian Missionaries have zero interest in Nation and Nationality, human beings. Their allegiance lies somewhere else than this nation. Christian Missionaries are creating separatists and terrorists. Christian Missionaries in other words are traitors/ anti national elements. I think the Julio post also needs to be removed from here. It is irrelevant post and sways the topic.

  • 167. Manohar said:

    This is a bunch of anti-nationals creating suspicions in the minds of vulnerable and creating communal discord.
    It’s because of mad fellows like you there is so much of hatred and restlessness in India. You are abusing the net to spread your lumpen ideology.
    Christians and Muslims are people of the place. Just like us. Among us, upper castes are aliens – came conquering and keep enslaving us still! At least, the British came educated us and left the country; so did the muslim rulers did contributed to the cultural heritage and left the country. But what are these lumpen-fundamentalists doing? Creating problems for everybody?
    Just this: don’t create hatred among people!

  • 168. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Manohar: I have not seen you here before, so welcome.

    When I first started this blog, I used to get angry after reading comments like yours…These days I am amused.

    You fall in the same rut (trap?) that many other, casual visitors to this site fall into – that of making sweeping generalisations based on a quick read of some comments on the thread.

    Let me attempt a response to your points:

    You say: This is a bunch of anti-nationals creating suspicions in the minds of vulnerable and creating communal discord.

    Pl be more specific. Just how did you reach this conclusion?

    It’s because of mad fellows like you there is so much of hatred and restlessness in India. You are abusing the net to spread your lumpen ideology.

    This is not a post on ideology. Have you read ANY of the posts under the category of “Political Ideology”?

    Christians and Muslims are people of the place. Just like us.

    Of course…I never disputed that.

    Among us, upper castes are aliens – came conquering and keep enslaving us still!

    I don’t think this deserves a comment.

    At least, the British came educated us and left the country;

    Pl. read some of the posts under British Rule in India. You may change your mind.

    so did the muslim rulers did contributed to the cultural heritage and left the country.

    Pl read some history. No Muslim ruler “left” the country. Invaders came, destroyed and left the country.

    Just this: don’t create hatred among people!

    Again, pl. be more specific and I will be happy to respond to your points. How are we creating hatred? Does a discussion on missionary activities itself creates hatred?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    ***

    All: Pl. don’t flame Manohar. Let us give him the chance to substantiate his views. Thanks.

  • 169. ashok said:

    @Manohar!! You are so foolish and naive and ignorant of history. You need only to be sympathised. God should give you some sense. I ask you just one question; think honestly; what if muslims form 51 percent of the population of this nation. Will the constitution of India in its present form be valid. It will be torn and thrown in the Arabian sea and We will have an Islamist state. The history of the war and blood shed the world over is history of these two relegions fighting each other yelling my God is greater than yours

    So get real ; the peace and tranquality that you are enjoying is because the base of Indian nation is Indic . Chang this and see the fun.

    You seem to be a typical shallow thoughtless well tutuored sham secularist. Do begin to come out of it and use your brain

  • 170. ashok said:

    Came across a widely circulated and logical page on the net with respect to Bible and its likely authencity. Please do note that it has not originated in India but is a western. Please go through this thread. thoughtgodisimaginary.com/video2.htm

  • 171. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Thanks Ashok. Will have a look..

    ***

    All: I am thinking of closing this thread for further comment as it is now over-loaded. Might open a Part VI, if appropriate.

  • 172. SKS Mumbai said:

    @Shantanu

    Do you have any idea or heard anything about (1) “Tentmaking” in India, (2) ACTS Ministry Bangalore, (3) Government of Meghalaya’s Act establishing Willian Carrey University (2005)?

    I found the linkages a bit interesting

  • 173. B Shantanu (author) said:

    No I have not…Any other links/ references? I will do a google search later.

  • 175. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Thanks SKS…will have a look

  • 176. B Shantanu (author) said:

    This thread is now closed for further comments.

    Pl. continue a discussion on Conversions etc on this thread.

    For other topics, please use the “Search” box below. Thanks.