English Section

      Buddhism Today 

Vietnamese Section


...... ... .  . .  .  .
By Mac Kher (Greenwich Village Gazette)

Recently, the Pope called for stepping up conversion in Asia. The Pope said that religious conversion is a human right. "Just as the first millennium saw the cross firmly planted in the soil of Europe, and, the second, in America and Africa, so may the third Christian millennium witness a great harvest of faith on this vast and vital continent" the Pope said. The Pope said the Church acknowledged what was true and holy in such religions as Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, but only Christ offered the way to ultimate salvation. The advent of Christianity in Europe, Americas, Australia, and large parts of Africa and the Pacific led to the systematic and complete elimination of the pre-Christian polytheistic religions and cultures. Truly, the bible was exchanged for the native lands with the help of the gun. Coming from Pope, the highest official of Catholicism, this call to conversion is a Declaration of War against Asian culture, Asian religions, and Asian society in general, and Hinduism in particular. Mass-conversion to Christianity seeks to destroy the soul of Asia, transplanting an un-needed philosophy. Asia does not need any lesson in religion or piety from anybody. Why should one religion try to eliminate other through mass-conversions? Clearly, the Pope seeks to achieve religious cleansing of Asia. This malicious and predatory approach is highly immoral and unethical. What makes the Pope think that his is the only true religion? This is self-righteousness and intolerance to the extreme. He may have the right to believe so, but he has no right to organize a concerted attack on other societies to destroy their very nature. Mass religious conversions have caused political partitions of many nations. The Pope will cause political instability in Asia through mass-conversions. In fact massive and active conversion is akin to alienating the affections of one partner in a happy marriage. The worst thing about most of the Christian conversions in India is that they are influenced heavily by economic inducements. Under the garb of medical and social service, many Christian missionaries effectively blackmail poor people into Christianity. Whose God can be happy with such fraud? The hypocrisy of Pope is really amazing. Last year during his Latin American tour, he had blamed the Protestant of poaching his flock! The same Pope today claims that religious conversion is a human right. Well, does the Vatican recognize any religion other than Catholicism? Obviously the Pope wants a one-way street of conversion to Christianity. While waxing eloquent about service and love, the Pope through his chauvinist and hardline theory of "only one true religion" makes it clear that the tolerance and goodness displayed by Hinduism counts for nothing. Hinduism is non-judgmental, and Hindus have graciously accepted the Christians amongst them. The Hindus simply ask the Church to spare them the fate of Europe and Americas. Satisfied with their religion, the Hindus do not like outsiders seeking to change their religious and political demography through orchestrated mass-conversions. But the Pope insists on mass-conversions. He leaves no incentive in being nice and accommodating. If the Communists had been allowed to operate legally in the USA, they would have - through their zeal and trickery and sophistry - changed the very nature of the United States. The US did the right thing to preserve its inherent nature by banning the Communists outright. But the Hindus are willing to live with Christians. They ask for only one thing: that the Church not seek to eliminate Hinduism through conversions, thus changing India forever. The existing Christians can live freely without trying to convert others. Isn't guarding one's land, liberty and culture the most basic human right? The Pope talks about "harvesting faith in Asia" as if the Hindus and others are mere crops, waiting to be cut off and stored in the elevator. Some may like being portrayed as a flock of cattle, but the Hindus dislike being shown as lifeless, immobile crops who can not protect themselves. While attending an inter-faith meeting, the Pope talked about dialogue, understanding, and solidarity between religions. The next day he reverted back to his insistence on Christianity as the only true religion, and gave a call to convert Asia. This is hypocrisy and duplicity at its worst. The Papal determination to eliminate Hinduism and Indian culture by converting masses to Christianity is barely one step short of medieval Talibanism. The medieval Islamites seek to eliminate the infidels through the sword; the Pope seeks to achieve this through mass-conversions. The end result is same in both cases. The Western press is not playing a positive role in this whole episode. Invariably, the reports from the Associated Press and Reuters suffix the word "hard-line" or "zealot" when describing Hindu groups which are resisting the Pope's attempts to take over their religion. Pray tell, shouldn't the party that says "only my way is correct" be described as hard-line, zealots and fascists? Instead, Hindus who are ready to co-exist with others - without being gobbled up by others - are maligned. In fact any group which claims exclusivity and believes that all others are wrong, and which on top actively tries to eliminate the other groups forfeits its claims to any special rights, privileges or tolerance from others. The dire need of the hour is religious tolerance and co-existence. The religions may continue to believe in themselves, but they should not seek to destroy others. Any organized offensive on a religion will invite doom for everybody. We all must realize that God is too big to fit into one religion.

Sincere thanks to Prof. Tran Chung Ngoc for providing us with this article

Click here for a Vietnamese translation by Tran Chung Ngoc


Updated: 1-6-2000

Return to "Dialogue"

Top of Page