Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Religious Conversion

Innumerable controversies seem to hound the topic when it comes to conversion. Is it a state of mind or is it something more complex? I have often wondered and reflected upon the merits and de-merits of religious conversion. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and other religions are beset with issues of conversion. It also creates a topic for further conversation with fellow friends and beings, when someone takes the step of conversion. The gossip mills work overtime to find the exact cause and reason for this step.

I have often wondered how knowledgible are we to judge a religion. Take the instance of a person who converts from Hinduism to Christianity. On what basis does this transformation take place? Has he gone through all the vedic scriptures? Has he mastered the Bhagavad Gita? Has he studied the Upanishads and the other sacred verses? On the other hand, how much of the Bible is he comfortable with? The obvious answer to all these questions would be a NO, for it is no joke to master all these sacred scriptures. What is not there in Hinduism that is there in Christianity or for that matter, what is not there in Christianity that is present in Hinduism? Every religion talks of morality and righteousness. Why then the man-made difference?

The former chief minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalitha had banned religious conversions by force. But, of course, she had to withdraw the Bill after her loss in the Assembly elections. Why do "learned" people have to lure others through monetary benefits forcing them to embrace their religion? Will it serve their cause? It is frivolous to see people fighting over the pros and cons in the name of religion. Politicians obviously have a reason to fight over such things considering the vote-bank politics they have to deal with. After all, a politician lives and breathes politics.

Today, we see these issues surfacing in many places. There are certain places where you don't expect to hear such issues. But sadly, even the holy pilgrimage centers of Tirupathi and Tirumala are not spared when it comes to religion and politics.


  1. Well, simple reason is that people see more good in other religions. I dont see any reason why someone should sick to the 'religion' his parents tfollow...

  2. I would like to know what "people see more good in other religions" as third eye mentions.
    As far as my knowledge goes, most of the RCs are poor SCs who are lured by these fathers/church. They get few thousands which would help them to carry on their life.

    Now what do ppl see good in this?

    If hindus give money and ask them to reconvert(rechristine--whatever), they would definitely convert back.

    May be third eye can elaborate as to what is good in other religions.

    PS: please ignore casteism.

  3. @dude, u know me said...:
    Before I state my argument, let make two things clear -
    1. I am not against my religion, Hinduism nor am I lured by other religions esp. Xianity.
    2. I am not an SC/ST/OBC.

    Okay, now coming to the meat of the argument - One reason why people from lower castes get lured into Xianity is because of the blatant casteism prevalent in Hinduism.

    For eons, SCs and STs have been socially supressed and treated worse than animals. As you know, many temples including Mantralayam provide free meals for people in the name of "Sama Panthi saapadu (SPS in short)" (If you are not tamil, it means Equality while distributing free food -No bias based on caste/gender/social status etc). Unfortunately, the SPS is everything but what it means. Brahmins have a separate panthi (row) from the non-brahmins. Why this partiality? So why wouldnt the low caste people get lured to other religions? Money is just an excuse/blame for people converting to Xianity.

    If the religion you know has no place for you, if your own people do not treat you well, what's the point in sticking to that religion?

    Atleast in Xianity, there is not so much of a visibile partiality (Now dont bring up the conspiracy theories like the Da Vinci Code)

    And as a matter of fact, how many brahmins are willin to marry SCs/STs or people from OBC? Its all easy to comment on people's decision to convert to Xianity, but there is more truth than we all know!