Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Religion doesnt really matter?

Recently I had an argument with my friend...

I said All these service organisations must slowly spread our religion also...

She said
Nowadays I feel service to the human being next to u is more important...It doesnt matter what their religion if a christian missionary is helping ppl and demands they get converted in return, whats the harm in that? U cant talk abt karma and bhahman to a hungry stomach...Atleast they lead a happy life...
Assumption here being missionaries do really help.

Now I have some issues with this....Now we are in a majority and hence we still have the freedom to practise our religion without any trouble...suppose we allow conversion(because it removes the guy's day-to-day problems and Religion doesnt really matter), soon we will become minority...then will I have the same freedom? How much trust can we place in Abhrahamic religions, that they will not try to convert us by sword when they become majority?

Or Am I wrong? we mustnt mix service with religion...would we turn out to be like christian missionaries whose main is conversion...

My Reply:
There are many flaws in that line of thinking of your friend. Some of them:

1. The proposition is a typical “your gold is my gold, my gold is your gold; your gold be with me, my gold also be with me” attitude – religion does not matter, so lets not convert others, religion does not matter, so lets allow others to convert (this same religion does not matter is also presented with replacing “all religions are same stuff”)

2. The helplessness of the exploited is no justification for what the exploiter has done. For example, suppose a criminal uses an orphan child to do theft, then it is a unfortunate event for the child (exploited), but this does not justify what the criminal (exploiter) has done. In the same manner, the hunger of the exploited does not in any way justify the exploiter misusing it. Rather it makes it a bigger offense.

3. The whole debate revolves around the assumption that Christian missionaries do really help. But for few cases like that of Mother Theresa (though she too was involved in conversions), the work of Missionaries cannot be termed help. I have argued in this blog of mine that missionary charity is just a myth.

4. One should distinguish between help and ensuring dependability. Making one self sufficient or atleast helping one in that direction is called help. But making one more dependent cannot be termed help. We have often seen that big countries like US etc some times give money to the small countries in the name of help. But they do it in realms such that it does not really help the person, but only makes him more dependent (like giving free cars and selling you oil- just an example). The case of African countries which have seen huge conversions in the last century serves as an example. Those people did not become independent, but rather became more dependent.

5. Keeping aside the economical factors, the major concern is the separatist tendency which is accompanied by these conversions. The case of North East is a perfect example for it. No matter what the temporal benefits, one cannot encourage such things- do we allow people taking money and turning against the country. Then why should we allow this, even if this happens at a milder pace and manner.

6. Having said all, I agree to the point that religion is not more important than a hungry person. But that’s the whole damn point you idiot (missionary): religion does not matter, so shut your mouth and sit in your home; help if you can, but don’t do business and call it help; at least don’t do in the name of religion.

can service organisations run by hindus, also use it as a medium to spread religion?Or Am I wrong? we mustnt mix service with religion...would we turn out to be like christian missionaries whose main is conversion...

My Reply:
Can service organizations run by Hindus also use it as a medium to spread religion?? A definite Yes. Why not?

Saving the "humanity" as a whole is good, but it starts with first saving yourself... hence I see nothing wrong in maintaining a preferential attitude (wrt protection of Hinduism) in service... after all it is Hinduism which is motivating that service to fellow men.

That being said, even self-preservation is impossible if one cocoons himself; rather one should be boldly willing to take the battle to new frontiers.

Basically it depends on the situation... if we have 10 rotis, we share them only within our family; but if we have 100 rotis, we go out and share them with others also and hence in a way also increase the boundaries of our family.


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