Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Christianity & Conversion - A second shot

Conversion is not an easy topic for discussion I realize. But I still am going to make a second attempt. I am critical of a lot of things the church does. Trust me, I am not a religius fanatic but with recent circumstances I am open to talking about something I see no fault with.

The people of a religion or community might take offense of the fact that some people choose to convert or move to an another religion. It probably is because then the rest of the world sees the original religion or community in poor light or the reasons for conversion are put up like on neon boards. That is a individual's choice and what he considers would benefit him. The parent or original community does not approve of it. They do not encourage it. Very Understandable. The issue is Conversion. Accepting a religion or group or caste is a individual's choice. As far as nobody is forced at gun point to convert, I don't think there should be a problem. Whether I make a good choice or a stupid one, is only for time to tell.

We have a christian organization in Pune that belongs to my parental church. They have around 50-60 female children in the age group of 5-18years, of parents who suffer from leprosy. Its an organization totally driven by charity. The church also runs a school where these kids study along with other children. The routine of these kids involve praying morning & evening and going to church on Sunday. None of them are converted today but since the nuns look after them, they teach them what they know. The girls who have completed school do not want to go back to where they came from. They stay back voluntarily for further studies and to help look after the younger ones. I think with this education they would be better equipped to make it on their own. I wouldn't be surprised if they did convert when they come of age. And ofcourse it is not because Christanity is the greatest religion but this is the environment that gave them a better standard of living.

Missionary schools, charitable institutions & hospitals have been around for decades. I do not think anybody thinks twice before sending their kids to a missionary school or admiting anybody to a missionary hospital. I was in a convent for 10 years. I do not remember a single instance of a child getting converted. The rich and well-dos do not need any kind of missionary support. The poor need help and so they are there. The primary reason for going to these places are not conversion but to help & extend a loving hand. Preaching is nothing but teaching them a better way of life.

Since religion is purely a matter of the heart & soul, getting a conversion in figures, is of no help to anybody. Conversion based on bribes is the missionaries loss. Conversion for a bribe is the convert's monetary benefit. While any kind of bribed conversion is giving Christianity a bad name, but there is still no cause for violence here. There is no reason why it should be seen as in-tolerance of an another religion. It is not. And about the number of Christians swinging the vote bank, I am not sure which way but still 3-4% of the population does not stand a chance even if they wanted to. And at this rate the number will not be significant for an another 200 years atleast.

Preaching & Conversion is in no way harmful to anybody. In its purest form, it is only to enrich lives. Preaching in its worst form can be compared to advertising. Its your choice finally if you are buying the product for the core product solely or for the freebies. It surely does not justify any kind of violence and vandalism.


S m i t h a said...

there is no problem with conversion. i love ppl who convert to atheism :)
it is not offense that is felt when ppl convert, it is pity or disbelief over their irrational decision. what irrefutable proof the new religion provided for them that wasnt there in their previous belief system?
i would be wary of letting younger gen into a missionary school unless they promise not to teach bible or any god. i would be particularly lewd if my kid tried to knife another kid and explained that if he was being really devout like abraham, god would intervene like he did for issac. yeah, i went to a missionary school too :D
preaching religion is for a better way of life?? better for whom? religion encourages prayer as a good thing, but i think it is a waster of time and useless strain on the knees. "better way of life" is subjective.
it took the 2% minority christians of lebanon in 1940s to grow to nearly 40% in 3 decades. the rest is history... civil war still rages on! religion is a number game for power.
conversion is a result of preaching and im all for preaching.. preaching of science that is! preaching of verifiable truth not assertive faith.
for the world to survive we need more athiests bcos they wont take arms and fight others for their faith(or the lack there of)

Sunita said...

@Smitha: Atheism & practising a religion is a different matter all togather. I just wanted to talk about conversion and I am done. About Lebanon, I will need to do some reading there, was never a good history student :-)

S m i t h a said...

in the debate of religion & conversion, atheism is a very relevant entity. i don't understand how do u say that they are different matter.
i recommend the book `From Beirut to Jerusalem` by Thomas Friedman. it is a bit graphic/gory for my taste..
while on books, check out `The God Delusion` as well.

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Artnavy said...

intersting perspective

i am not sure anybody's religion is anybody's business but their own