Conversion – A crime against Humanity

Coercive Religious Conversion: A Crime against Humanity

Dr. Babu Suseelan (babususeelan@hotmail.com)

Professor in Clinical Psychology and the Director of Addiction
Research Institute, Pennsylvania.

Religious conversion of Hindus is threatening
individuals, families, communities and the nation. Coercive religious
conversion of Hindus contains a threat to spiritual tradition
and the freedom of choice. If carried unchecked, coercive religious
conversion would threaten the very existence of India as a nation.

Armed with a rigid dogma, and millions of foreign
money, missionaries are on a warpath to forcefully convert hundreds
and thousands of innocent Hindus. If unchecked, coercive religious
conversion will have a cataclysmic impact on our freedom.

“Freedom to convert” is counterproductive as
a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex
interrelationships between self and society that make the concept
of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines,
and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human
freedom.

Missionaries are trying to deconstruct Hindu
society by waging a psychological war. The purpose of the war
is to create personal, social and political disorganization. Their
dogmatic notion of truth is inappropriate, even dangerous to a
pluralistic society. Christian dogmas, by nature are non-deductible,
non-negotiable and in fact non-verifiable, whereas an open exchange
of ideas, a readiness to give and take, is vital to the survival
of a pluralistic society.

Christian preaching tends to be a process of
indoctrination in unshakable beliefs. Religion as indoctrination
is suited to a totalitarian regime intent on not having people
think independently.

By contrast, Hinduism helps in liberating, not
closing of minds of individuals. All Hindus, by their very nature,
stand for and accept free expression, spiritual progression, and
freedom of choice. But once converted to Christianity, the church
is not eager to cultivate habits of intellectual freedom among
its followers.

Missionary propaganda is deceptive and can be
described as the state of mind of a salesman who habitually believes
in his own propaganda and the superiority/supremacy of his ‘only’
product which he wants to push in the market, by hook or crook,
at the cost of all existing alternatives. The church’s ideological
pretensions are smokescreens to destroy Hindus and the all inclusive,
liberating Hindu value system.

When a church group takes a position on a political
or social issue, it typically does so by claiming divine inspiration.
Not only does this inhibit debate, but also it replaces rational
discourse. Citing “God’s Will”/ “God’s Word” in a discussion is
meant to silence, not convince, an opponent. Public discussion,
so intrinsic to a democratic society, requires public debate.
A democracy is degraded when its members, seduced by the desire
to play God, get in the habit of pontificating infallible truths
on subjects of public policy. Such a practice must culminate,
if unchecked, either in theocracy, or in chaos.

One does not find in the Christian theology
a conception of human beings as having both the right and the
ability through Sadhana to control one’s destiny. Concepts such
as individual freedom, civil rights, human initiative, and secular
programs are basically foreign to holy writ.

It is wrong to draw ideological parallels between
Christianity and Hinduism. It is pointless to contrast dogmas
as original sin, eternal damnation, and the absolutism of the
Kingdom of God with that of the experiential reality of the Hindu
Darshanaas which proclaim: “Each soul is potentially Divine”,
and teach the authentic way and means to discover, realize and
manifest in day to day life the inherent divinity equally present
in all. Hinduism and Christianity represent incompatible modes
of thought and irreconcilable value systems.

Hinduism is dedicated to individual freedoms
and rights. The philosophy of Hinduism and Christianity does not
mix. Equating Hinduism (or, indeed, any religion of the book)
would be doubly regrettable. A strict ban on religious conversion
is in the best interest of all Indians because, to quote the wisdom
of a common sense poet, “Good fences make good neighbors”.

Evangelism is an irrational impulse, a form
of tyranny over the mind. Freedom of religion is equivalent to
freedom from someone’s religion. Hindus have every right to expect
that they will not be proselytized away from their own faith and
into an all-exclusive, rigid dogma.Every citizen should be free
from foreign sponsored missionary groups. An individual converting
under psychological duress is loosing his very freewill and freedom
of choice and conscience.

From a moral standpoint, Hindus respect all
religions. But that respect is limited by our own mutual obligation
to observe boundaries that have a reasonable relationship to the
needs of the society and of the individuals in it. Once a person
is converted by devious means, he or she is reduced to creatures
of the church in which conformity to generalized mediocrity becomes
the rule.

Freedom to propagate hatred, dogma and hostility
must be restricted because the ideas expressed in such rigid dogma
have led to murder and suffering of millions of people throughout
history. Terrorism, social upheaval, community conflict, and hostility
towards non-believers are caused in part by the philosophy that
underlies the concept of freedom to forcefully convert on-believers.
Even the capability to conceive of direct harm to others will
be seriously diminished if we restrict coercive religious conversion.

Government should ban religious conversion and
the free flow of foreign money for missionary activities. Ban
on religious conversion will reinforce our values and identification
and that protects our freedom. These are values that would be
threatened if religious conversion were carried out extensively.
Not everything that can be labeled “free expression” is worth
protecting or immune from legal regulation for the general good.
Given the gravity of the danger and destruction of missionary
activities, anti-conversion alarm is sensible.

Hindus must initiate a much more wide-ranging
debate about religious conversion, missionary activities and the
free flow of foreign money for conversion activities. Hindus must
go on the offensive and stop being baited by those who call our
defense of Hindu society as communal. Hindus must stop allowing
them to set the agenda for what is and what is not religious freedom.

Our survival as a nation is in crisis. But realistic
solutions are within our reach, if we all work together. So I
urge you, become activists on behalf our Hindus who have no one
else to speak on their behalf, for yourselves, and for the nation.

Coercive religious conversion of Hindus is one
of the most important issues of the day. Religious conversion
of Hindus is threatening individuals, families, communities and
the nation. Coercive religious conversion of Hindus contains a
greater threat to spiritual tradition and the freedom of choice
than European colonialism ever posed. If carried unchecked, coercive
religious conversion would threaten the very existence of India
as a nation.

A dark future

Today as we look down the road toward the future,
we see the warning sign: “Danger Ahead”. The danger is not limited
to our freedom to practice our Dharma; we see threats to our progress
as a democratic, pluralistic society. Christian tyrannical missionary
groups are determined to destroy our society, our spiritual way
of life and the nation. Armed with a rigid dogma, and millions
of foreign money, missionaries are on a warpath to forcefully
convert hundreds and thousands of innocent Hindus. If unchecked,
coercive religious conversion will have a cataclysmic impact on
our freedom.

“Freedom to convert” is counterproductive as
a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex
interrelationships between self and society that make the concept
of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion,
rather than supporting, it undermines, and in extremes would dissolve,
that individual autonomy and human freedom. In effect, it would
serve no one, neither the subject, nor the nation. As a rule,
missionaries attack cultural symbols, rituals, and samskaraas
of Hindus. Hindu symbols and rituals are real and powerful and
they influence behavior. Symbols, rituals, festivals and religious
practices have the power to unite and motivate people. These are
the elan vital of a nation. Individual and society are symbiotic.
When an individual is forced out of his/her role into a strange,
dogmatic belief system, he/she would have to readjust to the new
realities. Forced out of the system of meaningful social bonds,
they would begin to lose the sense of identity and symbiotic relationship
with the larger society. They ! would become rudderless ships
adjusting to momentary pressures without a sense of direction.
It is this most terrible condition, even worse than death that
the missionaries impose on Hindus.

Christianity promotes their sectarian values
and symbols over the interests of the society as a whole. Missionaries
are trying to deconstruct Hindu society by waging a psychological
war. The purpose of the war is to create personal, social and
political disorganization. As the war continues, individuals,
families, groups and society find it difficult to maintain proper
reality orientation.

As the battle progresses, only parts of the
problems are seen by the victim, and a collective cognitive disorder
sets in. The social and political reality is distorted. As a result,
family and community are disorganized. Individuals find it difficult
to find the right concepts, ideas, words and thinking will become
fragmented. The person and society lose a sense of identity and
direction. A sense of cultural continuity and connection disappears
almost entirely. This results in distorted thinking and dysfunctional
behavior. Individuals act impulsively and blame the culture and
religion that provide psychological equilibrium. They act irrationally
and join with the oppressor. Eventually, they act as enemy within.
Clearly, if the missionaries win finally in their psychological
warfare, India as a nation is crushed.

History of repression

Let us turn to a logical examination of several
key features of Christian thinking. The religion was founded and
its theology elaborated under the dual influence of theocracy
and imperialism. Its very conception of truth reflects political
environment in which it evolved. It has crystallized orthodoxy,
or a core of inalterable dogmas that its followers are expected
to steadfastly profess.

Now, it is precisely, such a notion of truth
is inappropriate, even dangerous to a pluralistic society. Christian
dogmas, by nature are non-deductible and non-negotiable. Where
as an open exchange of ideas, a readiness to give and take, is
vital to the survival of a pluralistic society.

Christian preaching tends to be a process of
indoctrination in unshakable beliefs. Religion as indoctrination
is suited to a totalitarian regime intent on not having people
think independently. By contrast, Hinduism helps in liberating,
not closing of minds.

Hindus accept free expression, spiritual progression,
and freedom of choice. But once converted to Christianity, the
church is not eager to cultivate habits of intellectual freedom
among its followers.

Missionaries use Biblical quotations to rationalize
vested interests of the Church. Very frequently such views systematically
distort social reality in much the same way that a neurotic deny,
deform or reinterpret aspects of life that are inconsistent to
him. Missionary propaganda is deceptive and can be described as
the state of mind of a salesman who habitually believes his own
propaganda. The church’s ideological pretensions are smokescreens
to destroy Hindus and the all inclusive, liberating Hindu value
system.

When a church group takes a position on a political
or social issue, it typically does so by claiming divine inspiration.
Not only does this inhibit debate, but also it replaces rational
discourse. Citing “God’s Will” in a discussion is meant to silence,
not convince, an opponent.

The entire history of biblical exegesis shows
that almost any personal or collective conviction can find support
in divine revelation. Thus, the bible always obliges a true believer
by miraculously saying whatever he or she wants it to say. When
the true believer quotes “God’s Word” to confirm an opinion, what
he or she expresses is the wish to raise personal opinion to the
level of absolute truth. Put more bluntly, the true believer pretends
to speak with godlike authority as if he or she was God. Public
discussion, so intrinsic to a democratic society, requires public
debate. A democracy is degraded when its members, seduced by the
desire to play God, get in the habit of pontificating infallible
truths on subjects of public policy. Such a practice must culminate,
if unchecked, either in theocracy, or in chaos.

The shackles of Christianity

It is an awkward fact that neither personal
liberty nor civil rights have biblical sanction. On the contrary,
scripture is at pains to tell us just the reverse: that we must
submit all things to the will of a Supreme ruler against whom
we have no acerbate rights. The bible is an undemocratic and anti-libertarian
text. The Ten Commandments, like the parables of Jesus, say nothing
about individual freedoms and rights but a great deal obedience
and surrender, and “law” that all must obey. The essence of the
bible is thus constraint, not freedom, oppression not liberation.

One does not find in the Christian theology
a conception of human beings as having both the right and the
ability through Sadhana to control one’s destiny. What the bible
gives us, in contrast, is a picture of human nature caught powerlessly
between two factors–God and Satan–along with the caveat that
no “salvation” is possible without total surrender to God’s wishes.
Concepts such as individual freedom, civil rights, human initiative,
and secular programs are basically foreign to holy writ. The believers
are docile vassals of the “Lord”.

It is wrong to draw ideological parallels between
Christianity and Hinduism. It is pointless to contrast dogmas
as original sin, eternal damnation, and the absolutism of the
Kingdom of God with that of the experiential reality of the Hindu
Darshanaas which proclaim: “Each soul is potentially Divine”,
and teach the authentic way and means to discover, realize and
manifest in day to day life the inherent divinity equally present
in all.

Hinduism and Christianity represent incompatible
modes of thought and irreconcilable value systems. Hinduism is
dedicated to individual freedoms and rights. The philosophy of
Hinduism and Christianity does not mix. Equating Hinduism (or,
indeed, any religion of the book) would be doubly regrettable.
A strict ban on religious conversion is in the best interest of
all Indians because, to quote the wisdom of a common sense poet,
“Good fences make good neighbors”.

The value of Religious Freedom

Evangelism is an irrational impulse, a form
of tyranny over the mind. Freedom of religion is equivalent to
freedom from someone’s religion. Hindus have every right to expect
that they will not be proselytized away from their own faith and
into an all-exclusive, rigid dogma. Every citizen should be free
from foreign sponsored missionary groups. An individual converting
under psychological duress is loosing his freewill and freedom
of choice and conscience. From a moral standpoint, Hindus respect
all religions. But that respect is limited by our own mutual obligation
to observe boundaries that have a reasonable relationship to the
needs of the society and of the individuals in it. Once a person
is converted by devious means, he or she is reduced to creatures
of the church in which conformity to generalized mediocrity becomes
the rule.

Freedom to propagate hatred, dogma and hostility
must be restricted because the ideas expressed in such rigid dogma
have led to murder and suffering of millions of people throughout
history. The genocidal usurpation of the western hemisphere, the
genocidal enslavement of Africans, Hindus, Buddhists, worldwide
colonialism, holocaust against Jews and Gypsies, dropping of the
atom bomb on Japan, the Vietnam war, colonialism, slavery and
apartheid-these are the bitter fruits of Christian propaganda.
Christianity is arguably, history’s greatest crime against humanity.
The solid evidence of history in the long and short term gives
proof beyond a reasonable doubt, nay any doubt, that there is
no greater social evil than biblical movements. Their dogmatic
ideas are like small pox. It is not worth preserving it.

Time for activism

Terrorism, social upheaval, community conflict,
and hostility towards non-believers are caused in part by the
philosophy that underlies the concept of freedom to forcefully
convert non-believers. Even the capability to conceive of direct
harm to others will be seriously diminished if we restrict coercive
religious conversion.

It is painfully obvious that political leaders,
westernized media pundits, and the bureaucrats in India lack the
requisite social and political knowledge, and philosophical skills
to understand the devious activities of the church. They lack
a firm national, religious, cultural commitment. They are driven
to extreme and idiosyncratic decision by the lack of historical
context of their judgments.

Government should ban religious conversion and
the free flow of foreign money for missionary activities. Almost
invariably, ban on religious conversion will drive missionaries
out of business. For the politicians it is a dilemma. But life
is filled with dilemmas that we can attempt to ameliorate but
we cannot entirely avoid. Ban on religious conversion will reinforce
our values and identification and that protects our freedom. These
are values that would be threatened if religious conversion were
carried out extensively.

Not everything that can be labeled “free expression”
is worth protecting or immune from legal regulation for the general
good. Given the gravity of the danger and destruction of missionary
activities, anti-conversion alarm is sensible. We should not wait
until Christianity takes over India. On the individual level as
well as the genocidal level the effects of dogmatic missionary
preaching justify its prohibition.

Hindus must initiate a much more wide-ranging
debate about religious conversion, missionary activities and the
free flow of foreign money for conversion activities. Hindus must
go on the offensive and stop being baited by those who call our
defense of Hindu society as communal. Hindus must stop allowing
them to set the agenda for what is and what is not religious freedom.

Hindus must wage a battle against violence,
intolerance, rigidity, and thought control. Hindus must put an
end to the imperialistic, missionary culture, and end to religious
conversion. It’s time to name our real enemies. Our enemies arise
in part from our silence, but also from passivity. Our survival
as a nation is in crisis. But realistic solutions are within our
reach, if we all work together. So I urge you, become activists
on behalf our Hindus who have no one else to speak on their behalf,
for yourselves, and for the nation.

Dr. Babu Suseelan

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