Missionaries in India: Conversion or Coercion?

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by chase, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. chase

    chase Tihar Jail Banned

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    Philip Goldberg

    Imagine you're poor and living in a rural area. Your child gets sick. You manage to transport her to a hospital or clinic. To your relief, the condition is treatable. But the cost of treatment is not just beyond your means, it's beyond your imagining. However, says the kindly health care worker, you can get the treatment free of charge. All you have to do is renounce the centuries-old traditions of your people and convert to a foreign religion.

    Such offers are being made to desperate people in the villages and tribal areas of India.

    I just returned from a month in that country, to mark the Indian publication of my book, American Veda. In the 18 cities I visited, the most frequently mentioned topic was the shady tactics of certain missionaries.

    Not all of them, mind you. Not the intrepid souls who work selflessly to help the poor, the afflicted, and the illiterate, in the spirit of their savior's exhortation to serve "the least of these." Such missionaries have been welcome in India for centuries, and the Hindus I spoke to are grateful for their good works. What is causing consternation and anger is a new breed of zealots, heavily financed by American fundamentalists, who seem driven to pile up numbers like door-to-door salesmen racking up commissions. Determined, fervent, and creative in pursuit of souls to save, they sound more like the snake-oil hucksters of legend than servants of Christ.

    Targeting mainly the impoverished and uneducated, some of their tactics make the hospital bargain I described earlier look as reputable as ordering a book from Amazon. I was told of missionaries giving people temporary jobs in return for converting, and then threatening them with job loss -- not to mention eternal damnation -- if they reconvert to Hinduism. Families have apparently been torn apart because the converts are made to disassociate from the heathen.

    I heard about missionaries who dress in orange robes to look like swamis. Gullible and desperate villagers are told that their traditional gods are actually corrupted versions of Christ; that the venerable saints and sages of India's past were really Christians; that the three horizontal stripes traditionally drawn on the foreheads of Shiva devotees stand for the Holy Trinity; that the Upanishadic prayer that includes "Lead us from darkness to light" was meant as a cry for Jesus to save them.

    A mother is sick? A father loses his source of income and can't feed his family? The bus filled with youngsters suddenly "stalls" on a dangerous mountain road? Well, say the missionaries, try praying to your Hindu gods. Hmmm, imagine that: nothing changes. Well then, see what happens if you pray to Jesus. Wow! Lo and behold! The mother receives medicine. The father gets a one-day job that puts rice on the table. The bus engine starts again! If one prayer to Jesus produces miracles like those, imagine what converting will do!

    I heard about people being told that their misfortune derives from their worship of Hindu deities, because the idols are really forms of the Devil; about village strongmen being paid to coerce conversions from other villagers; about women given a choice of walking a mile to haul water from their usual source or using the new well conveniently dug in front of a church. The price? Conversion, of course.

    I don't know if these egregious actions are commonplace or rarities. I do know that they are dishonorable. They're about coercion, not spiritual conversion; extortion, not the exchange of ideas. And, if I may say so as a non-Christian, they are an affront to Jesus, whom every Hindu I've ever met regards as a holy man of the highest order if not an incarnation of God. I can't help thinking that he would be as outraged by the deception being perpetrated in his name as he was about the moneylenders in the temple.

    I told people in India that most American Christians would be appalled if they knew what was being done by their overly aggressive brethren. I was tempted to wait until after Christmas to test that thesis, but I decided that this season of goodwill might be the ideal time. So, what do you think, my Christian sisters and brothers? Is there some cosmic war for souls going on, in which anything goes? Or are there rules of engagement that civilized people should observe? What would Jesus say?

    Missionaries in India: Conversion or Coercion? | Philip Goldberg
     
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  3. Deccani

    Deccani Tihar Jail Banned

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    If the countries governments are having funds to help their own citizens and make ways to assist and uplift the poor citizens of their countries and invest money in developing living standards , infrastructures , access to schools, hospitals and medicine then will anyone are able to exploit the poor ?

    In country like India , everything is there but the level of corruption is so much that ordinary poor people cant get all this and on this having strange feelings to see other Indians lower depending on their religion, caste, color etc .

    Who are really responsible if the missionaries are able to convert people ? its Indians only but the problem of Indians is this that they wont accept this and instead of this talk about coward ancestors who accept invading religions .
     
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  4. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    As a Christian, I have to say that this is unfortunately very true. I am a witness to such incidents and many others where so called missionaries (who are Indians also) convert people by giving gifts and free meals just to take more and more money from their foreign contacts be it americans or any others.

    But on the other hand I also personally know real missionaries, who lead a sacrificial life and do not indulge in any of these activities except helping the poor and sick and needy without even uttering the name of Christ.

    We have a saying that by the time the truth is known at the end of the street, lies travel around the globe. This is very much true in this case.

    I would like it if some knowledgeable person on DFI can suggest feasible methods to counter these corrupt practices. Not only that, I will involve personally to try root out these evil people if anybody can sincerely cooperate.

    I hope, I will get sensible replies.
     
  5. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    as of my view

    Two types of Missionaries ..One is helping Peoples and Giving infra Base to undeveloped area's such as Forest settled Peoples and Hill area Peoples ..those who didn't have access to Electricity and Roads .and Trying to educate into Religion based

    others making fund from foreign and Keep their live Bright and Make Publicity Boards in Landmarks
     
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  6. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    my 2 cents :- i too received a small group of "christians" ( please notice i used inver ted commas)
    they were missionaries from the usa

    and they were so arrogant
    wanted to start a church here
    but their attitude was so wrong
    all i did was take them out for dinner
    gradually they went back without achieving anything

    but there are good ones too
     
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  7. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    Missionaries are interesting in uplifting the poor is a false argument. They are interesting in "converting" that is to get the people to renounce and hate their own gods. There are many countries where Christians live in abject poverty and misery but once they are Christians, missionary don't give a damn about them. If they were so interested in "uplifting people" they should first help their own fellow Christians.
     
  8. Deccani

    Deccani Tihar Jail Banned

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    There are different Christian missionaries from different sects and have different ways of working in different parts of the world. Some missionaries works within the Christian communities and even help them financially and give them aid etc and there are some missionaries in Western world which just try to talk with foreigners who are non Christians .

    But the way missionaries work in India is completely different from the way missionaries work in Western world.
     
  9. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Under British rule there were Protestants, Roman Catholics, jesuits, Anglicans etc with a single-minded agena of converting people and spreading hate, as revealed in this 1889 book:

    Missionary handbook of 1889

     
  10. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Christians missionaries in thousands of number from New Zealand and Australia flock to North East India to preach Christianity and get rewarded with air ticket for harvesting Hindu soles. This was told to me by my Patient, an ex Christian who is now Atheist.
     
  11. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    The churchrnan's missionary atlas 1924

     
  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    King James' version of Matthew 6:24

    The way I see it that these Christian Missionaries, and the converts, are proving to be serving money when conversions take place through the transfer of wealth and money.
     
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  13. Waffen SS

    Waffen SS New Member

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    This Missionaries must be expelled from India, they are dedicated to destroy Hinduism and other Dharmic religions. And Christian converts are more dogmatic in this, RSS and other Hindu organizations should continue work among poor so to indirectly halt them.

    No Violence. We are Hindus, we will counter this evil in non-violent way.

    We dont Jesus Christ came to India, to study about Hinduism, more ever no contemporary writers say there was any man named Jesus.

    He was actually a social reformer, we got Jesus from Greeks and Romans that's why we see some "miracles" in his behaviour and his white colour.

    Jesus in India (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  14. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Aren't you an atheist ?? :p
     
  15. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Exactly. So sad.

    I guess, in the coming future, wealthy are going to increase more and more around the world. Also a mechanism to bring uniformity and equanimity between all sections of the people may come into force to reduce the divide between the rich and the poor.

    I wonder, whether people will have a god or the rulers will become gods at that time. :frusty:
     
  16. Deccani

    Deccani Tihar Jail Banned

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    Christianity came to South India by Saint Thomas and he was not Greek or Roman but of Middle eastern origin .
     
  17. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Punjab missionary conference 1862


    Missionary work on the hill tribes

    Missionary work on Sikhs

     
  18. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Missionary fraud and aggression was successful among the tribes of the North-East, and they made vigorous efforts to convert tribes in Western and Central India. But here the tribal lands overlap and merge with Rajput lands, and this area has been a bastion of Hinduism and resistance to foreign invaders.

    In Rajasthan and Gujarat, the tribal population is indistinguishable from Hindus, through a process called Rajputisation. The tribes considered themselves blood brothers of the Rajputs, carry their titles, and are involved in their martial and religious customs. Rajput and tribal have been further fused together because of their joint resistance to the Mohameddan invaders.

    But in the eastern areas like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, Rajputisation is less effective in the absence of Mohameddan aggression into these remote jungly regions. However the princely states like Surguja and Jashpur forbade missionary aggression and hate mongering in their territory. After Independence and merger into Madhya Pradesh, these areas became open to attack.

    After much conflict the Niyogi Committee which investigated missionary activity in Central India recommended anti-conversion laws to guard against conversion by force (kidnapping of children) fraud and bribery. It also called for the expulsion of foreign missionaries, mostly Roman Catholics, whose only aim was to convert people.
     
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  19. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Even after merger, the Rajputs continued the fight against the missionaries in MP. The most notable being Dilip Singh Judeo, who said in an interview, "There was a 150-year-old Shiva temple here, which these people [foreign missionaries] went and destroyed. Now if you go and destroy our heritage...go on breaking our temples in this manner and if you expect us to sit quietly and watch...we will not tolerate it... We are not sitting at home wearing bangles."

    Dilip Singh welcomed RSS organizations like the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, the Ekal Vidyalaya, Sewa Bharati, in Jashpur to resist the conversion agenda. Judeo started the Ghar Vapasi programme and freed lakhs of tribals from the clutches of missionaries. The Jashpur royal family almost exhausted what little wealth they had on these programs.

    Dilip Singh Judeo passed away this year, but his work continues under his son, Yudhvir who won the seat for BJP in the recent Chhattisgarh elections. “My father was a hero,” says Yudhvir Singh Judeo. “He stopped the atrocious Ajit Jogi from plundering the state and forcibly converting people. He brought the BJP to power.”
     

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