Thursday, 29 January 2015

Forget IAS, here's IES

IES.  Yes, we have a new civil service establishment in the country - the Indian Evangelical Service.  It comes with the added benefit of civil servants doubling up as priests and proselytisers.

For those of you who are still in the dark, an IAS official, no less, has been proselytising!  Not just advertising his religion, but, as reports suggest, openly denouncing other faiths in a communally sensitive area.  Apparently, this very same person had gone on record saying that it is "a sign of wrath of God on Hindu sinners" about the Uttarakhand floods.

There was a raging debate on the issue of the IAS official proselytising last night on the News Hour on Times Now channel.  His defenders were suggesting that there is a constitutional right - Article 25 - that allows one to adhere to, believe in and propogate one's religion.  No doubt, evangelical organisations have taken full advantage of this clause to carry out their clandestine activities.

Further, another guest on the program suggested that if what the IAS official is doing is wrong, then the pooja offered to Hindu Gods in government offices is also wrong.  Two wrongs still do not make a right.  By all means ban religious activities in all public service institutions and organisations.

Then they will still cry foul, because that would mean the end of all Christian schools, colleges and hospitals, where faith is openly propagated and religious symbols and icons are prominently displayed.

But then again, why wouldn't they propagate?  It is all part of the grand scheme of influencing gullible and vulnerable sections of populations, such as children and the sick people, so that the number of 'believers' increases manifold.

Actually, it already has increased; go to North Karnataka and East Godavari areas and see for yourself.  We are not even talking about Kerala and Tamil Nadu here, where Christianity is said to have had its origin, and, over the years, has established a firm base.

As the numbers increase, we should expect more and more of such proselytisers from prominent walks of life, brazenly advertising their religion and gaining new recruits.  Ghar wapsi, it can be argued, is a flawed response to evangelisation and conversion activities of all sorts.    

Actually, the proselytisers can't help it you see, because it is written.  The church 'rule book' has made it very clear that there is going to be a second coming of the Son of God, and when that happens, all the souls who are true believers would be saved and housed in the Kingdom of God.  Therefore it is incumbent upon every believer to propagate the faith and get more recruits.

On the other hand, if you haven't signed on to the program, well, then that's your grave error, and you will be rotting in hell for eternity.  Really?  Only because you did not believe in a notion?  I thought God was a lot more benevolent than that. 

It is this basic tenet that compels people such as the IAS officer to 'harvest' souls that can be saved from damnation.  Remember also, that merely signing on to the program is not enough.  You have to totally give up on your old practices and faith, and not just that, totally denounce them, abhor them and tear up your scriptures, which are an affront to the 'True God'.  Really?  I thought God was a lot more mature and tolerant than that.

So to fulfil something which has been decreed by the church, which of course, may never come true, proselytizers go out on their mission to create a nation of 'believers'.  

Now which of these tenets and notions are actually secular?  How can we, as citizens of a progressive, emerging, secular democracy, put up with a notion that says 'mine is the only true path, my God is the only real God, yours is demonic, therefore you should join me if you want to save yourself, otherwise you will rot in hell'?  Isn't this kind of thought process that can 'splinter' the country, Mr Obama?

We love Jesus - his life, his work, his example, is worth worshipping and emulating.  But he is not alone, as evangelists would have you believe.  India has been home to multitudes of seers of similar magnitude and spiritual aura.  Besides, Sanatana Dharma has always extolled the validity and equality of all faiths. 
The fundamentalist ideology propagated by evangelists goes against the very foundation of a secular democracy.  Worryingly, the Christian community has not so far denounced the IAS official's opinion or behaviour at all.  Therefore, the only secular alternative that we would be left with - if this continues unabated or spreads to other parts of the country - might just be banning advertising and propagation of all religions.  

In this context, there are three monumental works that clearly elucidate the issues at play, the reasons behind them, and possible solutions.  These are:

  • Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dalit Faultlines by Rajiv Malhotra & Aravindan Neelakandan  
  • Harvesting our Souls: Missionaries, Their Design, Their Claims by Arun Shourie
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
Breaking India speaks about the funding sources of certain vested interests who are bent upon bifurcating the country.  Harvesting our Souls is a no-holds-barred attack on the lies, manipulations and ulterior motives behind all conversion activities undertaken by missionaries.  It also cleverly quotes from the Bible itself to highlight fundamental and intolerant ideas at play.  Zealot, on the other hand, tells the charming and touching story of the historical Jesus, which has been twisted, glorified and appropriated to suit the evangelical requirements of the early church.

To date, there hasn't been a convincing response to the above works from the defenders of evangelism.  All three, are highly recommended if you are interested in knowing the truth and preserving the secularism and unity of the country.

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