Hinduism and Conversions

Conversion of an Adivasi Tribal

by Jayaram V

This article is not about Christianity, but mass conversions, questionable means, and double standards used by some Christian organizations and missionaries in India to convert Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. Jayaram V

A Hindu friend of mine told me, "When my wife told her about a health problem, the first thing her Christian friend did was to hand her a copy of King James Bible and ask her to read it regularly until it was healed. She knew we were devout Hindus and I taught Hinduism to school chidren in the local temple." Jayaram V

Theory - What Vatican expects Christians to do

The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men. Declaration On The Relation Of The Church To Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, Proclaimed By Pope Paul VI, On October 28, 1965

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. Declaration On Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, On The Right Of The Person And Of Communities To Social And Civil Freedom In Matters Religious Promulgated By Pope Paul VI, On December 7, 1965.

The mission of the Church, therefore, is fulfilled by that activity which makes her, obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, fully present to all men or nations, in order that, by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace of Christ; that thus there may lie open before them a firm and free road to full participation in the mystery of Christ. Decree Ad Gentes On The Mission Activity Of The Church

The Church, sent by Christ to reveal and to communicate the love of God to all men and nations, is aware that there still remains a gigantic missionary task for her to accomplish. For the Gospel message has not yet, or hardly yet, been heard by two million human beings (and their number is increasing daily), who are formed into large and distinct groups by permanent cultural ties, by ancient religious traditions, and by firm bonds of social necessity. Some of these men are followers of one of the great religions, but others remain strangers to the very knowledge of God, while still others expressly deny His existence, and sometimes even attack it. The Church, in order to be able to offer all of them the mystery of salvation and the life brought by God, must implant herself into these groups for the same motive which led Christ to bind Himself, in virtue of His Incarnation, to certain social and cultural conditions of those human beings among whom He dwelt. Chapter 2, On the Mission Work, The Decree Ad Gentes.

Practice - What conservative Christians may think or do

Some conservative Christians believe that the Gods and Goddesses of other religions are actually demons. Thus, they see little difference among Hinduism, Buddhism, Satanism, Wicca, other forms of Neopaganism, and all other non-Christian religions. They believe that while members of these religions think that they are worshipping deities, they are really interacting with evil spirits or with Satan himself. .religioustolerance.org.

So what distinguishes Christianity from Hinduism so that it feels superior? The main point is the status of Jesus Christ. It is just not enough to see in him a great enlightened sage or an avatar. He is claimed to be the only son of God, whom God had sent to earth and who, through his death, has saved mankind. This of course is difficult to understand and cannot be understood. It has to be believed. It is a dogma and dogma means, there is no proof. So why should one believe it? Because it has been decided in some council some 1700 years back that this is the truth and Christians have to believe it. Unfortunately Christians do believe it. I, for example, ‘knew’ already in primary school in a small town in Germany, that we, i.e. the Roman Catholics, were ‘right’ and all others, including the Protestants in the neighbourhood, ‘wrong’. Maria Wirth, 2013.

Mr. Gandhi, the prophet of reform and home rule for India, urges on the part of Christians a more sympathetic attitude toward the religions of the East. A more sympathetic attitude toward the followers of those religions than is sometimes shown, we can endorse. But how can one be sympathetic toward that which he knows to be false? Rev. H. V. Andrews, 1930.

The problem of conversions

Hinduism suffers from many disabilities. Prominent among them are, apathy of many Hindus towards their own religion, misinterpretation of Hinduism by western scholars, and a very palpable bias against it in the western media as well as Indian media. Missionary activities go largely unnoticed in countries such as India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, because of these problems. It becomes an issue only when some locals react against the missionaries and resort to violence, which is then sensationalized and circulated by the media. What many in the media and outside the fold of Hinduism fail to acknowledge is that mass conversion of people is a very unpleasant practice, which generates a lot of disharmony, insecurity, hatred, and communal tensions in a multi religious and diverse nation like India.

Christianity is not an inclusive religion. Hence, no one can really trust the aims of Christian missionaries in serving non Christians. Further wherever the missionaries worked in India in the past, they converted the people and contributed to commual disharmony and even cessationist movments. The missionary activities in India are perceived by Hindus as a direct assault on their identity and the future of Hinduism. Hindus believe that they have a right to defend themselves against such activities, as much as the missionaries have a right under the constitution to preach their doctrine to the willing people. The same missionaries and church leaders in India would object vehemently if Hindus want to build a temple inside Vatican and preach Hindu doctrines to willing Christians. At the same time they want the government to allow them to preach their gospel or practice conversions near Hindu temples and Hindu pilgrimages. In fact, many Christian organizationsin India do it openly using the religious freedom guaranteed under the Indian constitution and object strongly if Hindus protest.

The following figures show how religious conversions had an impact upon different religious groups between 1990 and 2010. Of particular interest is the loss of about 600,000 adherents by Hinduism during this period followed by Judaism, while Christianity gained about 2.5 million new adherents, followed by Islam with a gain of about 865,000. Since Hinduism is the majority religion of India and Nepal, you can logically conclude that most of the conversions from Hinduism took place in these two countries.

Conversions and their impact on Hinduism
Source: Britannica Encyclopedia as reported by fastestgrowingreligion.com Pl. see the fair use notice below.

How do conversions help Christian organizations?

Missionaries themselves may be driven by their religious fervor to convert people or by their love for their Lord and their Savior Jesus Christ, but their actions indirectly serve many other institutions and nations that are engaged in overt and covert conversions, and do not necessarily reflect or uphold the values preached by Jesus. Throughout his life upon earth, Jesus said to have opposed accumulation of wealth, greed, violence, discrimination, and self-interest whereas the organizations that promote conversions are mostly situated in countries that have a long history of racism, unjust accumulation of wealth, oppression, exploitation, discrimination, promiscuity, and inhuman treatment of the people they conquered. Mass conversion of non Christians to Christianity creates certain advantages to people who indulge in it. Some of them are listed below.

1. It benefits businesses owned by Christians and helps them to promote Christian values and ideals in turn.

2. It increases the power and influence of the Pope, the Vatican, and other Christian institutions.

3. It perpetuates or reintroduces colonialism and western imperialism in a different disguise.

4. It asserts and validates the supremacy of Christianity over others in pluralistic societies.

5. It increases the Christian population in the world and will eventually help the Christian institutions to wage their final battle for supremacy against Islam.

6. It opens the doors for spying and intelligence gathering by foreign nations.

7. It makes the converted Christians subservient to the power and influence of historically Christian nations.

8. It removes opposition and challenges to Christian doctrines and questions about the origin and authority of Jesus.

Why do people convert to Christianity?

Hindu people convert to other religions for several reasons, which range from general to the most personal. Few people convert on their own, while a vast majority convert due to the activities of the missionaries and local churches, who spare no effort in increasing their numbers. They use many techniques to convince vulnerable Hindus that Christianity is a superior religion, and they should convert to it to save themselves and their families from eternal damnation, even though it is solely based upon beliefs and lacks any supporting evidence. There is a marketing side to every organized conversion. Missionaries whose sole aim is conversions employ persuasive techniques to facilitate conversions. They strategize their missions and services to that end. If people are reluctant, they wait patiently, visit them several times, until their resistance wears away. People do not usually listen to strangers. However, if you visit them frequently or live among them for long, they may start liking you, trust you and believe in you. The missionaries serve the local communities to win their trust, and as the relationship develops and matures, they persuade them to visit the church and become baptized. Many factors such as the following contribute to conversions.

1. Ignorance: Hinduism is a complex religion. Even the educated Hindus do not know much about their own religion. This makes the uninformed and the less informed Hindus an easier target for conversions. Many converted Christians also do not know much about the history of Christianity. They see the caste system and social injustices wihin in Hindu community and believe that by becoming Christians they can redress such problems. They do not know the injustices, racism and social inequalities, and gender discrimination that prevailed and still prevail in many Christian nations. These facts are never discussed in the churches. Therefore, the neophytes live under the delusion that they have chosen a better way of life. When they visit a western coutnries, they will perhaps realize that the public in those countries do not perceive much difference between a Hindu Indian and a Christiain Indian, and treat them all alike with the same attitude of indifference, contempt or curiosity.

2. Poverty: Historically, the Indian subcontinent was once a very prosperous region. Indian merchants traveled to several countries by sea or by land and returned with gold laden ships and caravans. As early as 500 AD, Indian kings crossed the seas and established colonies in South East Asia. Indian merchants set up their own trading colonies in the Roman Empire with which they traded. The Arabs and Persians imported a lot of goods from India and served as the link between the East and the West. During the medieval period, people in Europe believed that India was a land of honey and milk, where rivers flowed, filled with gold and precious stones, and mountains of gold glistened in the sun. They believed that finding a direct route to India would open many opportunities to conduct trade and commerce.

Until the British set foot in India, the Indian subcontinent accounted for nearly one third of world economy. It was not that everyone was rich. There were poor people who toiled in the farm lands and suffered from famines and pestilence. However, compared to other parts of the world, they were better off. India also witnessed the birth of many philosophies, and religious movements which spread across half of the world. All the major religions of the world, except Judeo-Christian religions, originated from the Indian subcontinent. Until the invention of the modern press, both India and China accounted for more than half of all the ancient literature and works of art that were ever produced in the world.

Unfortunately, 400 years of British domination and destructive exploitation, drained the country. India funded the wars waged by the British to establish their colonies and hegemony over the world. India was the secret power behind British imperialism, which gave it an enormous advantage to build its fleet of ships and rule the world. India was the major source of funding for the two world wars waged by the British. Indians contributed to their army, built their ships, supplied them with coal, iron and other metals, and fueled the Industrial Revolution, and the expansion of the British empire. England went into overdrive largely because of the wealth that flowed from India, the Crown Jewel of the Empire. While it helped a tiny island nation to become a super power, it drained India's wealth and rendered it weak and poor.

By the 20th century the economic drain, coupled with the population explosion, created one of the poorest nations in the world. Today, many people in the West, including media hosts, focus upon India's poverty and speak disparagingly about it. What they do not tell you or probably do not know is that their countries owe a great debt of gratitude to India, because the European nations drew generously from its riches and prospered. The intense poverty of Indians, for which Christian nations were fundamentally responsible, is a major cause of conversions in today's India. People are led to believe that they can change their fortunes or the future of their children by converting to Christianity.

3. Status: The caste system creates a lot of social inequalities in Hindu society. Economically, socially or politically, despite the reservations and constitutional guarantees, the lower castes do not enjoy as much respect and social privileges as the higher castes. The missionaries focus upon this aspect and try to convince people that by becoming Christians their children and future generations will have a better status. The possibility of a better social status is a major incentive for conversion among educated people from lower castes because they experience social inequality mostly in educational institutions, jobs and social situations.

However, most of the people who convert to Christianity in India do not know that historically and for centuries social inequalities prevailed in all Christian nations, and the situation in some countries was worse than that in India. The nobility and the clergy in all European countries enjoyed wider privileges than the peasants and the commoners who were virtually at the mercy of the former. The French Revolution was caused by seroius social inequalities and injustices practiced by the king and the Nobility with the very blessings of the Church who were solely interested in collecting their taxes from their poor brethern despire their intense poverty.

The situation was still worse in the USA, where conversions to Christianity did not improve the status of the Africans slaves, who were held in chains like cattle, or of the native Indians who were either killed or forcibly converted to remove their opposition to the control of pasture lands. Even today, deep, racial, and religious divisions exist in the USA, and ethnic minorities and immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America suffer from discrimination and social disabilities. The missionaries and churches highlight the gender inequalities in Hindu society, but do not speak about the witch hunting and discrimination of women in mediaeval Europe, or the trafficking in women and wage discrimination, which are currently and openly practiced in Europe and America.

4. Negative propaganda: Hinduism is not an organized religion. The teachings of Christianity are centered around the Bible, which had been purged a thousand times to remove any inconsistencies and controversies found in it about the life and teachings of Jesus or his relationships. The Christian Doctrine was carefully doctored, and all contradictory teachings and philosophies were systematically destroyed in the early days of Christianity to establish a single chain of command under the watchful eyes of the Pope and the Roman emperor. Even the purged scripture is not entirely free from blemishes and contradictions.

In contrast, Hinduism has thousands of scriptures, which give a lot of room to the scholars to interpret them numerously. Many western scholars use the scriptures to concoct their own theories and hypotheses about Hinduism, or produce documentaries and movies which are used by the missionaries to denigrate it. Some of them receive their funding from Christian organizations who have a vested interest in academically downgrading and showing Hinduism in poorer light in comparison to Christianity. As a result we have a diversity of negative opinion about Hinduism, which is used by the missionaries to sow seeds of doubt and distrust in the minds of ignorant Hindus.

In the early days of the British rule, the missionaries went to the extent of depicting Hinduism as a dark and demonic religion. The attack is now toned down largely due to the growing influence of Hindus in various parts of the world, and the prevailing laws that protect religious freedom. However, the approach and attitude are still discernible among several conservative Christians. The missionaries and those who indulge in conversions criticize Hinduism severely and even falsely in private and before Church congregations to justify their actions or secure funds.

As stated before, Christianity has its own flaws, which the missionariers never discuss in public while contrasting Christianity with Hinduism. Christian nations without exceptions had a long history of perpetrating social inequalities, racial superiority, slavery, persecutions, exploitation, feudalism, inquisitions, mass killings, gender inequality, and wars. Christian nations were largely responsible for the most violent wars that were ever fought in the history of the world. In their conquests of Asia, Africa and Latin America, Christian armies destroyed local cultures, trampled upon people's freedom, raped their women, transmitted worst venereal diseases, and caused a lot of oppression and suffering to the people in the countries they ruled. They also tried their best to stop scientific inventions and advancement of scientific knowledge that was not in tune with their Biblical beliefs or missionary agenda.

Both Hitler and Nazis were Christians. The Germans as a nation were responsible for the death of nearly 50 million people in the two world wars. It is well known that Italy, the world center of Christianity, and Germany under Hitler joined hands in the 2nd World War because they believed in the supremacy of Aryan race and Christianity, and wanted to create an unequal world of Christian masters and ethnic slaves.

The Spanish conquistadors ravaged Latin America and caused widespread destruction in the colonies they established. They decimated large populations and converted the rest to Christianity, besides destroying their literature and art works. Europeans overtly or covertly carried out slave trade until the 19th century. In the USA, slaves were treated on par with animals and hung by the trees if they showed any sign of disrespect or disobedience. They had no rights whatsoever to legally protect themselves from the oppression of their masters because they were held as their property. These are historical facts, which prove beyond any doubt that Christianity cannot lay any claim to moral or spiritual superiority.

5. Peer pressure: The missionaries also focus upon influential people in India and try to convert them to enlist their support. They use their power and authority or their social status to convince the weaker sections. For example, in coastal Andhra hundreds and thousands of people converted to Christianity due to the activities of one chief minister who hailed from a higher caste and converted to Christianity. Because of his clandestine activities, the state now has more churches than temples. It was not an isolated event. Many politicians in India, support both covertly and overtly conversions in the name of secularism. They bear the names of Hindu gods and goddesses and officially remain Hindus, but in private practice and promote Christianity.

The missionaries extend their influence in various other ways. They fund educational institutions and employ Christian teachers to influence young minds, who join them in their eagerness to acquire English education. They also target unsuspecting parents who befriend the missionaries. In the tribal areas, they focus upon village heads and tribal chiefs, and use their influence to exert peer pressure upon their tribesmen.

6. Hope and change: People have been falling for hope and change since the earliest times. It is human nature to resist change, but with persuasive techniques and effective communication you can overcome the resistance. The task becomes easier when people are going through difficulties or living in poor conditions. In India, about 400 million people live in poverty. They have little opportunities to enjoy their lives or spend time with their children. They see rich people living in luxury, while they are forced by circumstances to live in slums and makeshift houses. The oppressive conditions breed a lot of resentment, violence, and frustration among people, and thereby make them vulnerable to any idea of hope and change offered by the missionaries in exchange for a better life. Many NGOs that are funded and supported by Christian organizations are active in the areas where poor people live. Their ulterior motive is not philanthropy but to inculcate Christian values and facilitate conversion.

7. Marriage: Inter caste and inter religious marriages are traditionally not encouraged in Hinduism. However, in urban areas, where traditional values and religious beliefs do not exert much influence, people have the freedom to choose their partners. When a Hindu marries a Christian, the Hindu becomes an immediate target for conversion. In most inter-religious marriages between Hindus and Christians, the Hindus convert to Christianity due to the pressure from the other side. When a Hindu woman marries a Christian man, most likely the Hindu woman and her children end up becoming Christians either formally or informally. A similar situation develops when a Hindu man marries a Christian woman. The Christian family of the woman and her local church encourage the Hindu husband to accompany his wife to the church and listen to the sermons. As the visits become frequent, the initially reluctant Hindu comes to the conviction that for the sake of marital harmony and the future of his children he should better convert and settle the matter.

8. Individual experiences: It is not true that all conversions invariably happen due to external factors. At times, individuals may become genuinely interested in Christianity due to positive experiences and decide to convert. People may also develop a particular liking to Jesus or his teachings and decide to convert. Miracles and strange spiritual experiences may also prompt some to turn to Christianity. When people are dissatisfied with their current religion, they will naturally turn to other religions for answers. Such actions are perfectly in tune with the religious freedom guaranteed under the constitution and upheld by Vatican. Few years ago a famous South Indian film star converted to Christianity because she believed that a Jesus like person saved her from drowning during a film shooting. It is equally true that Christians also convert or reconvert to Hinduism because of the miraculous events they experience in the presence of Hindu gurus or Hindu temples.

Who are converted?

Hindu society has a core of ardent Hindus who will never convert to any religion. For the missionaries engaged in conversions they are the untouchables, and the most dangerous, because they would oppose conversions and counter their efforts. Therefore, they systematically attack them through the western media and local media outlets as fundamentalists, narrow-minded bigots, and fanatical people, with an aim to weaken their resolve or silence their voice. In their strategy to denigrate Hinduism or its ardent supporters, they do not mind to join hands with communists, rationalists and atheists because their aims are the same, destroying the roots of Hinduism. A great example is the current Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narender Modi. He was denied a US Visa for several years by the US government on the basis made up charges, even after the Supreme Court ruling. According to Wikileaks, The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is currently in power in India, had been put under direct surveillance by the NSA, even though the party is a peaceful democratic party with no history of extremism, and with a following that is larger than the entire US population. Hindus are very peace loving people. Yet, the impression that is being generated in the media is that they are dangerous and untrustworthy.

The missionaries who operate in India know that they cannot easily convert all Hindus. They are in the country for a long haul because they know that Hinduism survived several onslaughts in the past and Hindus are intelligent enough to pose a major challenge to the missionary effort. Hence their strategy is to initially focus upon a few vulnerable sections, and work on them, until the core of Hindu society becomes a minority and remains isolated in their own traditional environment. It is a slow process, which will work upon Hindu society like a slow poison, until it collapses and the designs of the missionaries are achieved. Currently the missionaries are focusing upon the following groups in India for their mission work.

1. Scheduled castes: The census figures for 2011 show that the scheduled castes, numbering 1108 castes, constitute 16.6% of the total Indian population, or approximately 175 million, who are spread out in all states, but present predominantly in Punjab and Haryana region (32%). Because of their socioeconomic conditions, namely poverty, illiteracy, and their deplorable status in Hindu society, they are most vulnerable to conversion. Most of them have already converted to Buddhism. According to a survey conducted in 2006, by NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization), 90% of the Buddhists in India are scheduled castes. Since Buddhism is also a passive religion, they provide a fertile ground for the aggressive missionaries for conversion to Christianity.

2. Schedule tribes: According to the 2001 Census, tribal people constitute 8.14% of the total population of the country, numbering 84.51 million. Most of them live in central India. Although traditionally they are part of Hindu society, and many tribal deities have become an integral part of Hindu pantheon, the tribes have not been properly and socially integrated into Hinduism. Hence, they are the prime target for conversions. According to the survey conducted by NSSO in 2006, only 9% of Hindus are from scheduled tribes compared to 33% Christians. The converted tribals live mostly in the North east, where separation movements and extremism are on the rise.

3. Economically backward people: Poverty is not specific to lower castes. Many higher caste families also suffer from poverty and social degradation of their status. In a growingly materialistic society, and a developing economy, poverty among higher castes, who generally enjoy a positive social image, is a huge problem. Since they have many needs and expectations, they are also vulnerable to indoctrination, and often succumb to the prospects of lucrative jobs, educational opportunities and migration to foreign countries. The missionaries target them for conversion, exploiting their vulnerabilities and negativity.

4. Illiterate people: India has a large population of literate and semi literate people. When India became independent in 1947, only 12% of its population were literate, which meant about 88% Indian were illiterate. As per the 2011 census the literacy rate now stands at 74%. However, it still means that roughly about 300 million people, or a population of the size of the USA, are still illiterate. It is said that India may become the second largest economy in the world by 2025, but may have to wait until 2060 to achieve 100% literacy rate. The large number of illiterate people provides a fertile ground for the missionaries to spread their gospel as they are susceptible to propaganda, misinformation and conversion.

5. Educated immigrant Indians: Educated Hindus who live abroad or settled there are frequently targeted by missionaries for conversion. They are mailed brochures and books about the impending destruction of the world and encouraged to visit the local churches and participate in prayers and sermons. Their locations are marked by the local churches for increased missionary effort. Even the young children are not spared from the effort. Fortunately, not many people fall for these gimmicks as Hindus who live abroad are deeply religious and well informed. However those who are not particularly attached to their religion or have a vested interest in gaining power of position do take interest in Christianity and convert. Many US politicians of Indian origin, including some governers of states, whose parents were Hindus, are now Christians because the identity helps them to win elections and remain in power.

The machinery of conversions

Organized religions focus upon the socioeconomic factors of the regions, countries or communities which they target for their cause. In the past, wars played an important role in conversions. In the aftermath of wars, women were raped, enslaved, or forcibly married by the conquerors to facilitate their conversion, while the men who were captured were given the option to save their lives by conversion or face death. Thus, in the ancient and medieval world, wars, slavery, discrimination, and persecution were the main weapons of conversion. Nowadays, due to constitutional guarantees offered to their citizens in many countries, and the emphasis upon equality and liberty, the methods have become subtler and more civilized. The missionaries try to make the conversions a win-win approach. It helps them reach their targets, while the neophytes enjoy certain immediate material and tangible benefits. Currently most conversions in Hinduism are happening through the following channels.

1. Vatican: The impetus for all the missions comes directly from Vatican. The Pope personally seems to respect the freedom of all people to practice their religions according to their beliefs. However, the approach of Vatican towards other religions is rather ambiguous. The Declarations passed by the 2nd Vatican Council suggest that Christians all over the world should treat men of other faiths in a brotherly way and "The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion." However, this is not an inclusive policy or a pluralistic principle which is practiced by the religions of Indian origin. In rather winded and twisted expressions, the Council recognizes and accepts as true only such beliefs, doctrines and practices that agree with the teachings of Christ or lead towards it. Secondly, the Church wants all the missions to live amidst people of other faiths to work upon their hearts and minds until they fully owe their allegiance to the Christian God and the teachings of Jesus. In other words, the catholicism shown by Vatican is temporary with the ultimate aim to convert the whole world.

The Council also assumed in its naïve arrogance that people all over the world worshipped the same God, who is mentioned in the Bible. It admis that all human beings have an inalienable right to education and should be encouraged to receive education to promote peace and unity. At the same time, it stipulates that all Christians have a right to Christian education, so that they "learn not only how to bear witness to the hope that is in them (cf. Peter 3:15) but also how to help in the Christian formation of the world that takes place when natural powers viewed in the full consideration of man redeemed by Christ."

When viewed separately, these statements seem noble and present a very benign picture of the Church. However, on a closer examination you will notice that such aims are secondary to the primary intent of the Church, which is to convert all non Christian people. It becomes self-evident in the Decree Adgentes passed by the Council, which states, "The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father."

In theory, the missionaries are expected to serve the humanity selflessly "for the love and charity of God the Father." However, in practice it assumes that the mission of the Church is "fulfilled by that activity which makes her, obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, fully present to all men or nations, in order that, by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace of Christ; that thus there may lie open before them a firm and free road to full participation in the mystery of Christ."

Further, the missionaries while participating in the holy service, are expected to "serve as leading strings toward God, or as a preparation for the Gospel." The other Churches are even more aggressive. For example, a Jesuit oath runs like this, "Go ye, then, into all the world and take possession of all lands in the name of the Pope. He who will not accept him as the Vicar of Jesus and his vice-regent on earth, let him be accursed and exterminated."

Although, India's secular credentials are much broader and more inclusive than those the Vatican, the Pope in the past tried to interfere in the internal affairs of India. In an article titled, "Who is supreme - the Pope or the Supreme Court, which was published in 2006, S. Gurumurthy wrote, "The Pope wears two hats - one religious, as the global pontiff of the Catholics, and the other political, as the head of Vatican State. The second one gives him and the Catholic faith a global political and diplomatic status which no other faith can match. As the head of the Vatican State, the Pope relates to all heads of State as a political equal and more. When the present Pope's predecessor, John Paul II, came to India, he proclaimed that the Church planted the Cross on Europe first, then on Americas and Africa and now, he said, it was Asia's turn to bear the Cross! Asia was ripe, he said, for harvesting the souls - read heathens - for Christ. "

In 2006, when the Rajasthan government tried to ban conversions by passing a law, Pope Benedict publicly decried the attempt and amply expressed his displeasure to the Indian ambassador in a strongly worded letter. It was not the only occasion during which the Pope tried to interfere in India's internal affairs. In 1977, when a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of anti-conversion laws passed by Orissa and MP, the Pope raised an objection. Regarding the incident, Gurumurthy commented again, "Two weeks back when the new Indian ambassador to Vatican, Amitava Tripathi, presented his credentials to the Pope as the head of the Vatican State, the Pope shocked him saying that Indian laws against conversions offend freedom of faith and should be rejected as unconstitutional. This angered even the normally timid, secular Indian establishment to react sharply, call in Vatican’s charge de affairs in Delhi and tell him sternly of the Indian Government’s strong disapproval of the Pope’s conduct."

Interestingly, the Pope who is so particular about the freedom of the missionaries in India, offers no freedom to any religion outside Christianity to propagate their beliefs in Vatican. Gurumurthy observes in the same article, "In the Pope’s own Vatican State no faith other than his own is allowed. The Vatican Constitution is named as ‘Apostolic Constitution,' that is constitution of Christian missionaries! Spain where till date Catholicism is the state religion has again a treaty with the Papacy. Will the Pope allow freedom of faith in Vatican and sermonize on freedom to those countries?"

2. Missionaries: Regarding the mission of the Church, the Vatican Decree, Adgentese states thus, " Since this mission goes on and in the course of history unfolds the mission of Christ Himself, who was sent to preach the Gospel to the poor, the Church, prompted by the Holy Spirit, must walk in the same path on which Christ walked: a path of poverty and obedience, of service and self - sacrifice to the death, from which death He came forth a victor by His resurrection."

The document also suggests how the missionaries should conduct themselves among groups that presently do not practice Christianity. "Some of these men are followers of one of the great religions, but others remain strangers to the very knowledge of God, while still others expressly deny His existence, and sometimes even attack it. The Church, in order to be able to offer all of them the mystery of salvation and the life brought by God, must implant herself into these groups for the same motive which led Christ to bind Himself, in virtue of His Incarnation, to certain social and cultural conditions of those human beings among whom He dwelt." Dwelling among men of other faiths, the missionaries are expected to show exemplary behavior so that they "observing their good works, can glorify the Father (cf. Matt. ES:16) and can perceive more fully the real meaning of human life and the universal bond of the community of mankind."

While the intentions are theoretically noble, the missionaries in practice aim to fulfill their ultimate intent which is conversion. Currently thousands of missionaries, both foreign and indigenous, are operating in India under various names and in various guises. The foreign missionaries were originally required to obtain permission and clearance from the authorities to operate in certain parts of the country. As stated earlier, this ban was surreptitiously lifted by the UPA government. To circumvent the problems, foreign missionaries began also training local Christians to do the task. Most of the missions that operate in India are funded by wealthy Christian organizations in the USA and elsewhere. They enjoy unconditional blessings of Vatican and various international churches, besides direct and indirect help from several prominent Indian leaders and politicians.

Hundreds and millions of dollars are channeled by them into India to help these missions to promote conversions. Their purpose is clear, to convert India into a Christian nation, by uprooting Hinduism as the dominant religion, for which they use the media and western scholars and denigrate Hinduism through false histories (such as the one cococted by Wendy Doniger), and misinterpretation of Hindu scriptures. Regarding the double standards maintained by the Western media, Belgium historian Konenraad Elst has to say this, " When over a thousand Hindus are killed and a quarter million Hindus ethnically cleansed in Kashmir, the world media doesn't even notice, but watch the worldwide hue and cry when a few local riots take place and a few missionaries are killed by unidentified tribal miscreants." The Christian missionaries are engaged in the destruction of local cultures, while the media looks away and government turns a blind eye.

3. Opportunistic politicians: In the West, a person of Hindu origin geneally converts to Christianity to gian public support. In India, Hindu politicians convert to Christianity to gain minority support. In the past sixty years, in the name of secularism and to secure the support of minority voters, Indian politicians of Hindu and non Hindu origins turned a blind eye to the activities of the Christian missionaries in India. Some of them even channeled Indian tax payer's money and revenues generated by Hindu temples to Christian and Muslim organizations, churches and mosques. Rajaram, an eminent Indian scholar stated in an article few years ago that the government gave 125 Crores to Haj Pilgrims to facilitate the pilgrimage to Mecca in accordance with the Haj Bill introduced in 1959 by the ‘secular’ Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

He further observed, "What is no less scandalous is the diversion of funds from Hindu temples to mosques, brought to light by Sri Sri Ravishankar of The Art of Living Center. In the state of Karnataka Hindu temples generate Rs. 40 crores. The government gives them back only 50 lakhs. The mosques on the other hand generate only about 50 lakhs, but get Rs. 8 crores from the government! This means the government is in effect taking money from temples and diverting it to mosques and madrasas. This is in spite of the fact that Karnataka has no major pilgrimage centers. The diversion of funds from temples to mosques, madrasas and waqf boards is much greater in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, which have major temples like those at Tirupati and Guruvayoor."

During the Congress rule, many Christian politicians engaged in direct and indirect promotion of Christianity at the expense of Hinduism. An ex chief minister, Y.S.Rajshekhar Reddy of Andhra Pradesh, who is now deceased, channeled hundreds of crores of government money to Christian churches in coastal Andhra to promote Christianity, for which he received a special blessing from none other than the Pope himself. Many prominent Congress politicians at the center and in many states bear Hindu names and act like Hindus in public, but in private practice Christianity. They are either converted to Christianity or married Christians who use their influence upon their spouses to promote missionary activity.

As stated earlier, the UPA government, without the consent of Parliament, covertly relaxed the visa rules and removed many restrictions imposed previously by the government upon the missionaries. These restrictions were imposed as per the recommendations of the Niyogi Commission to protect the tribal people from unscrupulous missions. The same news report states that Government had decided "to end the requirement for Protected Area Permit (PAP) needed by foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, three States where the Church has been well entrenched since the colonial era, and where the missionaries want to expand the separatist agenda."

4. NRI Christians: Many Indian Christians who migrate to the USA and other western nations, participate in conversion activity or religious missions aimed to spread Christianity back in India. They fund the local churches in India and assist the local organizations within the USA to conduct missionary activities in India. The more aggressive among them also befriend local Hindus within their community or provide leads to the churches about them, so that someone from the church would later contact them and try to engage them in a persuasive dialogue. Each indoctrinated and self-hypnotized Indian Christian who lives abroad creates for himself or herself a mission to convert at least one or two Hindus in their lifetimes. Many Indian Christian women who settle abroad, marry Hindus and convert them gradually to Christianity. Since the couple stay away from their families in India, their task becomes easier.

4. Converted Christians: In India converted Christians are encouraged regularly and even offered economic incentives to go out on local missions and convert their friends and families to Christianity. A lot of missionary activity in India is currently in the hands of Indian Christians. The second and third generations of converted Christians are more aggressive than their predecessors in their zeal for promoting Christianity. Regarding the confrontational approach chosen by the converted Christians, Maria Wirth states thus, "­ To expect broadmindedness from Church representatives seems a long way off. As of now their course is set on confrontation and Hindus are too polite to question the ‘one and only way’ bogus. While in the west many leave the Church, in India many join for reasons that have nothing to do with religion. Those converts may initially get some financial benefits but the price is high. They have to confess a belief in dogmas, in which they don’t believe. They have to despise the faith that they had held dear. They or at least their offspring will become convinced that they alone have the right faith and will look down on those who go to temples. In the process they lose their integrity and will become hypocritical, like so many in the west. And if conversion is not restrained, together with her children, Bharat may lose her integrity. Truth will have no place anymore."

5. Foreign Organizations: Apart from the missionaries, many businesses and charitable organization overtly or covertly support the spread of Christianity in India. The Dmoz web Directory provides a list of various organizations that are currently active in various part of the world. These organizations support several activities which include sending missionaries, establishing churches, organizing ministries including music and arts oriented ministries, fund raising, church partnerships, training church leaders, establishing mission training centers, providing maternity, adoption and family services, building or supporting orphanages, spiritual over reach, delivering food, supplies and disaster relief, and so on. These philanthropic and humanitarian activities are mostly a disguise and secondary to the main mission, which is conversion. One of the missions claims the following as its objective, "To win millions of souls for His kingdom through various projects & ministries like Bible colleges, Outreach programs, Church planting, Music ministry, Children & Youth ministries, Media & broadcasting, Online ministries and so on. "

6. Local Churches: The state of Andhra Pradesh in India has been traditionally a stronghold of Hinduism. It was under the rule of many famous dynasties including the Mauryas, Satavahanas, the Guptas, Cholas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Rayas and Gajapatis. The state also boasts of several ancient Hindu temples. The world famous temple of Sri Venkateswara is also located in the state. The state is predominantly a Hindu state. But after ten years of Congress Party rule, things have changed. According to the book, A Tribute to Hinduism, currently available online, "A survey commissioned by the Revenue and Endowment Board of Andhra Pradesh, Christian churches outnumber Hindu temples in most districts of the state." The churches play a vital role in converting people, spreading awareness of Christianity in rural areas, denigrating Hinduism, capturing political power through local Hindu and Christian leaders, and organizing mass conversions. Some of the churches even make monetary payments to the new converts, which are later recovered from them in the form of tithe. According to Christianaggression.org, " the Christian churches in India launched two major fronts to target the "Hindu Belt", the heartland of India. One front is being launched from the missionary stronghold of Kerala up through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh towards Orissa. The other front is coming from the Christian majority northeast through West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar also towards Orissa. We can notice that these two fronts converge on the "Hindu Belt". "

India and China

It is estimated that by 2050, the Christian population in the world will almost double to its current number and exceed the three billion mark. Christian missionaries are currently active in almost every country of the world, including Islamic countries and China. However, so far they are unable to make a major dent in China and India, which account for nearly 30-35% of the world population. China is a communist country where the government does not explicitly allow anyone to practice any religion. The Pope and his team, therefore, have a little chance of spreading their influence there, unless they actively try to topple the communist regime and install a puppet government there as it was done in case of South Korea, which was once a Buddhist stronghold, but now a Christian majority country.

That leaves them with only one option, India, which is a democratic country, with a largely tolerant community, a diverse population, secular government, and a murky constitution modeled imperfectly on the lines of the British Parliamentary system. While Christians leaders may wait, with bated breath, for the collapse of communism in China, they will intensify their efforts in the coming years to proselytize entire India, because India, being an ancient spiritual country, is a major threat to Christianity, which has been largely losing its ground in the West to Hinduism and Buddhism.

It is believed that a systematic and secret effort by Christian organizations is already on the cards and in progress. The strategy seems to be to start from the outlying or peripheral states in all regions and slowly move towards the heartland of India, the Gangetic Valley. It is necessary that Hindus understand these designs and protect themselves and their culture from disintegration and subliminal attacks. Hopefully, they wake up from their torpor and take a serious look at the reality that is slowly invading their homes and lives.

Consequences of conversion

If history is any proof, conversions have not radically altered the lives of any. In some cases, mass conversions led to social disintegration and destruction of indigenous cultures. When you convert people, you not only convert their religion but also their mindset, culture, history and society. The following are a few important consequences of conversion.

  1. Destruction of families.
  2. Destruction of their cultural identity.
  3. Destruction of native history.
  4. Changes in lifestyles.
  5. Domination of church.
  6. Cultural and commercial imperialism.
  7. Increasing materialism
  8. Decadence and degeneration of native spiritual values.
  9. Promiscuity and similra moral issues.

Regarding the impact conversions create, Swami Dayananda Sarawathi commented thus, "Religious conversion by missionary activity remains an act of violence. It is an act of violence because it hurts deeply, not only the other members of the family of the converted, but the entire community that comes to know of it. One is connected to various persons in one's world. The religious person in every individual is the innermost, inasmuch as he or she is connected to a force beyond the empirical. The religious person is connected only to the force beyond he has now accepted. That is the reason why the hurt caused by religion can turn into violence. That is why a religious belief can motivate a missionary to be a martyr. When the hurt of the religious becomes acute, it explodes into violence. Conversion is violence. It generates violence."

In another article he repeated the same theme that conversions destroyed local cultures and identities, " It is amazing how easily cultures disappear by the program of conversion through various means, leaving only dead monuments to be preserved for posterity. The living religious traditions, intimately woven into the fabric of their respective cultures, have to be allowed to live and thrive. Religious conversion should stop--the aggressive religions should realize that they are perpetrating violence when they convert. We want them to live and let others live." The same concerns were voiced by many prominent Hindu leaders, which are listed at the end of this article.

Hinduism attitude towards conversions

One of the reasons why Hinduism, the oldest world religion, is losing ground to Christianity is because Hinduism is particularly averse to religious conversions and does not engage missionaries. The Bhagavadgita explicitly states that one should not try to confuse others with their intelligence. Everyone should be allowed to pursue their liberation according to their choices and inherent nature (gunas). You should teach your knowledge of God only to those who are ready for it, who can understand it and who are receptive to it. Religion is not a political tool that you will use to increase your numbers and then wage a war against others who do not share your religious beliefs. The demons do it. They use religions for their selfish and nefarious ends. You have a right to defend your religion and protect it from evil people, but you do not have any right to impose it upon others in the name of God, Church or any other institution.

According to Hindu beliefs, imposing your will upon another person is against the principle of karma. When you impose your will upon others, even if they are your children or dependents, you become responsible for their karma or the consequences of converting them to your beliefs. What happens if you take a doctor and force him to become a cook? First, he will not be able to help hundreds of patients who might have been helped by him. Secondly, he may cause a lot of problems and suffering to himself and others by becoming a bad cook. Same is the case with any religious conversion that involves people who are not ready for it.

Hence, our scriptures are particularly averse to teaching religious knowledge to the ignorant and the unprepared and interfering with their lives and destinies. People can be motivated and encouraged to become religious or enlightened, perform their obligatory duties and live responsibly with self awareness and gratitude to God, but no one should be misguided with false information or the promise of heaven, when you yourself do not know anything about it and never went there or seen anyone who had been to that place. You cannot say that your path alone offers eternal freedom, when you do not know anything about other paths or have a limited knowledge of it. You can teach and preach, engage in debates and discussion, let others know what you believe in or cherish, but you should not tempt them, force them or pressurize them to follow your beliefs or a way of life because of your egoistic belief that you and your kind alone are right. In his book Explore Hinduism, Bansi Pandit explains how the missionary zeal can lead to communal violence, "Although religious conversion is not necessary for spiritual knowledge and experience, Hindus do not oppose religious conversion by an individual for personal reasons. What Hindus reject are conversions by proselytizing creeds in the name of salvation. Such conversions are unwarranted and they cause confusion and violence."

When conversions make sense

Conversions make sense only when you view others as purely physical beings with names and forms. In this sense, there is not much difference between tribalism, casteism and communalism. The act of conversion is a survival instinct, which prompts you to have more people in your group so that you will have a sense of safety or you can ask for help when needed. When you are not sure of your own beliefs and convictions, the group mentality helps you to find security, approval, and conformity in what you do. Frankly, none of the people in the world know anything for sure about their religious beliefs. Yet, they hold on to them because they do not want to unsettle themselves and feel insecure. Most religions should have crumbled by now with the new scientific facts that have emerged about the world and the universe in which we live. They are surviving because a vast number of people are living in denial, holding on to their untested, irrational and erroneous beliefs, ignoring the accumulating evidence through scientific research about the origin of life and the world. Somehow, most of them have convinced themselves that their particular religious beliefs are alone right and the rest are false.

The individual soul, which is eternal, all knowing, infinite and indestructible, has no religion. It is eternally free. Hence, it is not bound to any religious, national, or planetary identity. If it is, then every description we find about the soul or the Self in the scriptures should be false. God has no religion. He does not uphold one idea or doctrine at the expense of others. He filled this universe with diversity, but made each object unique. Therein lies an important lesson. There cannot be just one path to God. If that is so, every departing soul from millions of planets where life may exist will be caught in a huge cosmic jam.

The purpose of any religion is to liberate the soul from the sins and impurities of the world. Once, the goal is accomplished, any religion as such becomes irrelevant for the soul. God, Brahman, or Isvara, is the source of all knowledge, but He is also not bound to any religious identity. If He is, you can conclude that He is limited, bound to an identity and cannot be infinite or eternal. Duality, divisions, identity, individuality, separation, these belong to the domain of mortal world. Their main purpose is to hold you in chains, keep you limited, and prevent you from achieving freedom from the cycle of births and deaths.

Do we need organized religions at all?

Human beings, ought to realize that religions are mere tools and the scriptures are but books of wisdom. They are not an end in themselves. We are not expected to become attached to these superficial things. Our purpose here is to explore life, experience our eternity and depart from here in a pure state. Instead of wasting their precious time converting others or engaging in religious divisions and communal politics, people should work for their personal salvation. Only a religious guru or an enlightened master who has experienced truth personally should engage in the spiritual transformation of others. The Buddha initiated many people into Buddhism. However, he never forced anyone. He taught them the knowledge he gained through enlightenment, and allowed them to think about it and test it for themselves. On his death bed, he even suggested to his followers, not to follow him blindly but become islands unto themselves. Perhaps, this is the best instruction any spiritual master can give to his followers.

In conclusion, we can say that you can preach any religion or belief system according to your convictions, but you should let others decide for themselves what they need. You can help the poor and the needy on humanitarian grounds, but not with the missionary intention to convert them. When you trade benefits for conversion, the sanctity of your service is lost. In that exchange, you probably incur more bad karma than the good you render. Therefore, no one should try to convert people using fear, force, temptation, promise of heaven, and the lure of money, power or position. If you do it, you reduce your religion to a commercial venture, a brand name or a commercial product for sale. Then, your religion represents nothing but darkness and materialism.

What Hindus should do to counter conversions.

Hinduism is not an organized religion. Hence, no one Hindu or a Hindu organization can undertake the responsibility of countering the activities of unscrupulous missionaries. It has to be done by all Hindus collectively as well individually, as an obligatory duty. Hinduism very clearly emphasizes that every Hindu has an obligatory duty to practice, promote and protect his dharma. He has to practice it to keep it alive and set an example, promote it by helping others, especially his children and family, know about it, and protect it from degradation and condemnation by upholding and defending its values. Your religion survives as long as you practice it. It dies for you, when you ignore it, degrade it or convert to another belief.

In the present day world, Hindus should try to practice the ideal of universal brotherhood in word and deed by treating everyone within the community as their equals. They should be charitable towards the poor and the needy, and treat them with respect and dignity. The caste system in its present form is a weakness of Hinduism. It does not fit into the present day values of equality and individual liberty. The future of Hinduism will be bright if Hindus can collectively address this problem and remove the traditional view they hold in their minds about castes and tribes. In this regard, they should look to Saivism for answers and follow the values it upholds.

What Hindu scholars and spiritual leaders said about conversions

Ever since the Europeans set foot in India and began actively converting Hindus through missionary activities, several prominent Hindu leaders reacted against the practice and voiced their opinions. Some of them are reproduced below.

1. A particularly grave abuse was practiced in Goa in the form of mass baptism and what went before it. The practice was begun by the Jesuits and was later initiated by the Franciscans also. The Jesuits staged an annual mass baptism on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (25 January), and in order to secure as many neophytes as possible, a few days before the ceremony the Jesuits would go through the streets of the Hindu quarters in pairs, accompanied by their Negro slaves, whom they would urge to seize the Hindus. When the blacks caught up a fugitive, they would smear his lips with a piece of beef, making him an untouchable among his people. Conversion to Christianity was then his only option. Dr. T. R. de Souza as quoted by Sita Ram Goel in the History Of Hindu-Christian Encounters Ad 304 To 1996.

2. When you convert somebody, you have to criticize his religion, his worship, and his culture. All these things will hurt him. How will he change religion? He has to disown his parents, their wisdom and their culture. You are isolating him, uprooting him and uprooted people are emotionally unsettled. Swami Dayananda Saraswati

3. May it not be that "Go ye unto all the world" message has been somewhat narrowly interpreted and the spirit of it missed? It will not be denied, I speak from experience, that many of the conversions are only so-called. In some cases the appeal has gone not to the heart but to the stomach. And in every case a conversion leaves a sore behind it which, I venture to think, is avoidable. Mahatama Gandhi.

4. Stop all conversion, it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth. M.K.Gandhi.

5. And whenever you missionaries criticize us, let them remember this: If all India stands up and takes all the mud that lies at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and throws it up against the Western countries, it will not be doing an infinitesimal part of what you are doing to us. Swami Vivekananda

6. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor is a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth. If the Parliament of Religions has shown any thing to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity, and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of resistance: "Help and not Fight," "Assimilation and not Destruction," "Harmony and Peace and not Dissension". Swami Vivekananda.

7. You train and educate and clothe and pay men to do what? — to come over to my country and curse and abuse all my forefathers, my religion, my everything. They walk near a temple and say, 'You idolaters, you will go to hell.' But the Hindu is mild; he smiles and passes on, saying, 'Let the fools talk.' And then you who train men to abuse and criticize, if I just touch you with the least bit of criticism, but with the kindest purpose, you shrink and cry: 'Do not touch us! We are Americans; we criticize, curse, and abuse all the heathens of the world, but do not touch us, we are sensitive plants.' And whenever you missionaries criticize us, let them remember this: If all India stands up and takes all the mud that lies at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and throws it up against the Western countries, it will not be doing an infinitesimal part of what you are doing to us. Swami Vivekananda.

8. Truth cannot be shut up in a single book, Bible or Veda or Koran, or in a single religion. The Divine Being is eternal and universal and infinite and cannot be the sole property of the Mussulmans or of the Semitic religions only, – those that happened to be in a line from the Bible and to have Jewish or Arabian prophets for their founders. Hindus and Confucians and Taoists and all others have as much right to enter into relation with God and find the Truth in their own way. All religions have some truth in them, but none has the whole truth; all are created in time and finally decline and perish. Mahomed himself never pretended that the Koran was the last message of God and there would be no other. God and Truth outlast these religions and manifest themselves anew in whatever way or form the Divine Wisdom chooses. - Sri Aurobindo.

9. Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion, and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion, by which we shall understand in the future man's seeking for the eternal, the divine, the greater self, the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values. Sri Aurobindo.

10. The question is: Is there not truth in religions, in theories, in ideals, in beliefs? Let us examine. What do we mean by religion? Surely, not organized religion, not Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, which are all organized beliefs with their propaganda, conversion, proselytism, compulsion, and so on. Is there any truth in organized religion? It may engulf, enmesh truth, but the organized religion itself is not true. Therefore, organized religion is false, it separates man from man. You are a Muslim, I am a Hindu, another is a Christian or a Buddhist and we are wrangling, butchering each other. Is there any truth in that? - Jiddu Krishnamurthy.

11. You can be converted from one belief to another, from one dogma to another, but you cannot be converted to the understanding of reality. Belief is not reality. You can change your mind, your opinion, but truth or God is not a conviction: it is an experience not based on any belief or dogma, or on any previous experience. If you have an experience born of belief, your experience is the conditioned response of that belief. If you have an experience unexpectedly, spontaneously, and build further experience upon the first, then experience is merely a continuation of memory which responds to contact with the present. Memory is always dead, coming to life only in contact with the living present. Jiddu Krishnamurthy.

12. Conversion is change from one belief or dogma to another, from one ceremony to a more gratifying one, and it does not open the door to reality. On the contrary, gratification is a hindrance to reality. And yet that is what organized religions and religious groups are attempting to do: to convert you to a more reasonable or a less reasonable dogma, superstition or hope. They offer you a better cage. It may or may not be comfortable, depending on your temperament, but in any case it is a prison. Jiddu Krishnamurthy.

13. Christian missionaries should thank their stars that the historical and critical research undertaken by Western scholars regarding Jesus and New Testament stories, has not yet reached the Hindu intelligentsia, partly due to the traditional Hindu indifference towards the historicity of saints and sages and partly due to the Christian domination over education and mass media in this country. The Hindu intelligentsia at large is also not yet acquainted with the history of Christianity in Europe and its missions elsewhere. Western scholarship has already produced several hundred well documented studies which have made the historical Jesus of Christian theology evaporate into thin air and Christian history look like a tale of terror and wanton bloodshed. The Christian missionaries in India will run for cover whenever the findings of Western research become widely known to the Hindu intelligentsia, the same way as the churches have been doing in all Western countries since the middle of the eighteenth century. The missionaries know it very well that Christianity being in a very bad shape in the West is trying desperately to find a safe-house in the East. Sita Ram Goel from History Of Hindu-Christian Encounters Ad 304 To 1996.

14. Jesus Christ has been the stock-in-trade of Christian missions down the ages. He has been packed in all shapes and sizes depending upon the gullibility of the clients to be duped. And he has been rammed down the throats of those who have refused to be hoodwinked by the hoax. As one surveys the history of Christian missions in lands where this hoax has been hawked or imposed, one comes across no end of force and fraud employed in its service by a variety of soldiers and salesmen most of whom are presented as saints. It can be said without exaggeration that if one is in search of a hardened criminal with a clean conscience, one should reach out for the first available Christian saint and one will not miss the mark. St. Francis Xavier, the Paron Saint of the East according to the Roman Catholic Church, provides an excellent example. Sita Ram Goel from History Of Hindu-Christian Encounters Ad 304 To 1996. (To anyone who is interested in knowing the history of religious conversions by Christian Missionaries in India from the earlies times, I strong recommend this book. It is well written and researched by an eminent historian. You can access the online version from here (External link will open in a new page).

15. It would be the same in India, did not Hindu tolerance (apart from 'India held by the sword') make it needless; but even Hindu tolerance may some day be overstrained. If it be intolerance to force one's way into the house of another, it by no means necessarily follows that it would be intolerance on the owner's part to drive out the intruder." By Ananada K. Coomaraswamy

16. You can have health-care, education, food everything without conversion too. Religion you are in is over you. You know, if someone likes a particular religion out of full interest, that is a different issue but alluring them with food, medical and all education should not be done. Sri Sri Ravishankar.

Suggestions for Further Reading

References

1. History Of Hindu-Christian Encounters Ad 304 To 1996 Sita Ram Goel Voice Of India, New Delhi (External link)

2. Documents of the Vatican Council - the Archives of Vatican

3. Who is supreme - the Pope or the Supreme Court?, by S.Gurumurthy, 2006.

4. Encirclment From Within, Threat of encirclement from within is greater than being encircled from outside. To defeat this, the impact of dhimmitude must be understood. by N.S. Rajaram, 2003.

5. Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus? by Dr. Koenraad Elst.

6. Politics of conversion, from A Tribute to Hinduism: Thoughts and Wisdom spanning continents and time about India and her culture, by Sushama Londhe

7. Chrisitian Missionaries Harm India, by Maria Wirth, 2013

8. The Christian Attitude Toward Non-Christian Religions Submitted by Matt Costella on Sep, 07, 2012 written by Rev. H. V. Andrews in 1930.

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