To Convert or to Not Convert
The debate over religion conversion has occurred throughout history. Whether it is legal or not, or it is ethical to allow forceful conversions. In an article titled “The Conversion Crusade: Competing for People’s Souls” Hindustan Times, January 13, 2015, Harsh Mander discuses the idea of religion conversion in India.
The article begins with discussing the fact that India is home to many major religion communities. It states that the Constitution’s freedom of religious belief also allows the religion communities to propagate it. It mentions the campaign called Ghar Wapsi (homecoming) meaning that the Hindu faith is home and conversions to foreign religions betrayals. This campaign performs religious conversions with the consent of the person being converted, rather than doing it forcefully. I believe that this campaign is ethical since they are not doing the conversions forcefully. Although the campaign has faced much opposition from the public and the government, I think that as long as the people being converted agree, the campaign should continue. Throughout history, there have been many events where people are forcefully converted to Christianity, Islam, or even Hinduism. This is highly unethical and must stop. As discussed and shown in a movie watched during class, there have been many incidents in history of forceful conversions where people are abducted and brainwashed.
The article then discusses that it is a problem that the Hindu faith has inequality of castes. This inequality causes the people in lower castes to be attractive towards egalitarian religions such as Christianity and Buddhism since they are enduring the discrimination and violence in the Hindu faith. It mentions how the largest majority of converts to egalitarian religions are from the lowest Hindu castes. I agree with the article on this point because social equality is a right that everyone holds. No religion or faith can take that right away. When people convert from one religion to another to escape the shingles of caste, I think that is appropriate to do so. These barriers remain very high in India and because of this people have to convert.
The article concludes itself by a quote from Dalai Lama “It does not matter which God you worship,” he declares, “or even if you worship no God. What is important is to be a compassionate human being”. With this quote, the article leaves its readers thinking about their own religion and values. I agree with Dalai Lama because it is true how an individual should become a good human being before having a religion dominating their lives. I agree with the part saying that it does not matter which God an individual worships because everyone is equal. People ask for social equality by converting to other religions but do not understand that all Gods are equal. I believe that everyone has the right to equality and choice of religion and god to worship, or to not follow a religion and worship a god altogether.