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Donations, disparity and conversions

On The deceit of religion On The deceit of religion
11 Jan 15
Written by
Published in Subversion

"As men and women flock to Hindu temples to give alms and sacrifices today, pray that the mercy of God would break into their routine and they'd be freed from slavery to the demonic gods of Hinduism and in turn enter into the freedom and family of Christ!"
-Ekballo Project India

This sadly, is the language and tone that prvails among evangelists visiting India to this day;As if nothing has changed since they first set foot in India in the 15th Century. Such contempt, such derogatory notions for the faith of fellow human beings.
And unfortunately, this is the notion they spread across the length and breadth of our country, not only dividing the people upon faith and religion but also spreading stone-age bigotry and communal divide among them. This surely is not what a good Christian would stand for, but where is one when you need them in our country?
This intolerance and hurry to convert 'non-believers' is a characteristic  which is unseen in developed nations but is definitely found abundantly in the so called third world.
Coming to India, it's no surprise then that the foreign donations to evangelist organisations occupy at least eight out of ten top spots every year in terms of monetary value of funds received through FCRA (source: Home Ministry). There is a clear connection between wealth of the church and 'soul harvesting' as they like to call it. Their fervour reminds one of the white man's burden' to civilise the whole world.

One such example came from the recent experience which the Hindus from Pakistan narrate about their initial experiences in India. They recall that when they were facing their weakest moments of their rehabilitation, they were approached by evangelising agents from a nearby Church.
They were quite happy to see them offering money and even went on to offer them small odd jobs here and there. However they're taken aback when the agents said this aid is not free. The condition was, for anyone receiving their help the entire family of that person must convert to Christianity and denounce the Hindu gods.

For the refugees who had to flee the bigotry of Pakistan, this was a glimpse of another Taliban- albeit a soft one in its approach and hiding a similar deeper malice and contempt for the faith of others. Something these victims of communal hatred could not bring themselves to accept. Those agents left with a lament that no one's going to help these refugees.

video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev4sRIVtwKk

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In the video one such refugee speaks out in his sorrow and anger. He says it's clear that people of other faith are willing to spend a fortune for religious conversions however it's utterly disappointing that Hindus are not willing to part with a penny to preserve the faith of their brethren (let alone bring back anyone to Hindu fold). He leaves us with a pertinent question,  are Hindus willing to do what's necessary to preserve their faith from being sold off for a few alms by the rich western religions?

The problem is also of information and perception rather than just that of willingness. Hindus are known to donate a large part of their earnings to temples and faith gurus. Hindus have this notion that donating to these sources is more than enough they need to do for the community.They assume that their temples and faith leaders will take care of everything else. And after all these donations, there is precious little left to dispense for the poor brethren elsewhere.
Now this is where the problem lies.
Only a meagre fraction of temple donations (which amount to lakhs per month for any average temple in a small town) makes it to the temple and or welfare activities in and around it. Te first(and a mammoth) share of  temple funds are taken over by the government, second share goes to temple administration and influential priests. Only a trickle goes down to temple welfare activities.  Of course there are exceptions to this but once we accept the aforementioned truth it all begins to make sense.
It then becomes evident as to why despite such huge donations,  poor section of Hindus are devoid of any social help and thus vulnerable to religious conversion under duress or lure.

What's the solution then? one may ask.
Either the Hindus divert a major fraction of their temple donations (which in reality is a donation to the government, the ministers and babus) to the poor sections of Hindus,
or, stop the takeover of Hindu temples by the governments and make them accountable for all their funding and expenditure - just to make sure that a large sum of incoming donations goes to the temple and welfare activities around it. Because that's what Sanatan dharma prescribes, but is rarely practised.

In a truly libertarian democracy, people should have the freedom to practice and propagate their faith (or the lack of it). However, having said that, conversion of people to a particular faith simply for the want of financial well being reflects poorly upon the native faith and requires a serious approach on the part of the native community.

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