Predatory Proselytism

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Predatory Proselytism

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 04, 2013 7:15 pm

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Coyote » Sat May 04, 2013 7:54 pm

The unethical tactics employed by Christians in places like India are truly terrible. Of course the same thing has been happening for centuries all over the world.
I disagree that conversion, even at the expense of culture and social ties is necessarily a bad thing. Imagine if the situation was reversed and someone became a Buddhist in devout christian community or family, and was not able to take part in some Christian ritual due to morality (for example drinking the wine at Eucharist). People have the right to convert even if it upsets family members or means they are not able to partake in time-honoured traditions. But the article is from a Hindu point of view and clearly wants to try and protect those traditions. I don't consider "native traditions" sacred or in need of any protection, especially if they promote something that is immoral which is clearly the viewpoint of those Christians present in those communities - not that I believe Hindu traditions are immoral, of course. But what if it was animal, or even human sacrifice? What about arranged or forced marriages? These were, and still are in some places, a part of someones "native culture".

Where is the line drawn between aggressive destruction of native culture and the natural replacement of one religious culture by another?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Kim OHara » Sat May 04, 2013 10:31 pm

Coyote wrote:Where is the line drawn between aggressive destruction of native culture and the natural replacement of one religious culture by another?

Hi, Coyote,
You might like to look at the assumptions buried in the above.
"native culture" as compared to ?
"religious culture"? Can a religion be separated from its cultural matrix? Can a religion be separated from its religious underpinnings?
"natural replacement" ? Does that ever happen?

:thinking:
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Coyote » Sat May 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Coyote wrote:Where is the line drawn between aggressive destruction of native culture and the natural replacement of one religious culture by another?

Hi, Coyote,
You might like to look at the assumptions buried in the above.
"native culture" as compared to ?
"religious culture"? Can a religion be separated from its cultural matrix? Can a religion be separated from its religious underpinnings?
"natural replacement" ? Does that ever happen?

:thinking:
Kim


True, but these are assumptions that come from the article in the OP. Native culture is contrasted with the "foreign" Christian culture.
By religious culture I meant the aspect of culture, in this case Hindu, that is religious given that it was this that the article was talking about being destroyed or exploited. Ultimately I don't think it can be separated from its cultural matrix, but the article was talking about religious aspects of the Hindu culture, not the culture as a whole.
As for whether natural replacement ever happens, well, thats part of why I ask the question. Is there really a difference? If so, where do we draw the line? It was a genuine question. I guess I would make a distinction between forced or "predatory" extinction/replacement and that which comes as a result of society slowly (or not so slowly) moving in another direction, but this is not an absolute distinction. The article makes out that Christianity is some kind of foreign invader, much how Islam is treated in the UK. Cultures will clash, but how much of this is truly a result of unethical tactics? Christianity has, after all, been present in India for at least 1500 years.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Kim OHara » Sun May 05, 2013 3:06 am

Coyote wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Coyote wrote:Where is the line drawn between aggressive destruction of native culture and the natural replacement of one religious culture by another?

Hi, Coyote,
You might like to look at the assumptions buried in the above.
"native culture" as compared to ?
"religious culture"? Can a religion be separated from its cultural matrix? Can a religion be separated from its religious underpinnings?
"natural replacement" ? Does that ever happen?

:thinking:
Kim


True, but these are assumptions that come from the article in the OP. Native culture is contrasted with the "foreign" Christian culture.
By religious culture I meant the aspect of culture, in this case Hindu, that is religious given that it was this that the article was talking about being destroyed or exploited. Ultimately I don't think it can be separated from its cultural matrix, but the article was talking about religious aspects of the Hindu culture, not the culture as a whole.
As for whether natural replacement ever happens, well, thats part of why I ask the question. Is there really a difference? If so, where do we draw the line? It was a genuine question. I guess I would make a distinction between forced or "predatory" extinction/replacement and that which comes as a result of society slowly (or not so slowly) moving in another direction, but this is not an absolute distinction. The article makes out that Christianity is some kind of foreign invader, much how Islam is treated in the UK. Cultures will clash, but how much of this is truly a result of unethical tactics? Christianity has, after all, been present in India for at least 1500 years.

Hi, Coyote,
There are no simple, easy answers to these questions and I haven't the time just now to attempt complex answers so I will have to leave the discussion to others to continue.
Good luck!

:namaste:
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 05, 2013 5:10 am

Coyote wrote:The unethical tactics employed by Christians in places like India are truly terrible. Of course the same thing has been happening for centuries all over the world.
I disagree that conversion, even at the expense of culture and social ties is necessarily a bad thing. Imagine if the situation was reversed and someone became a Buddhist in devout christian community or family, and was not able to take part in some Christian ritual due to morality (for example drinking the wine at Eucharist). People have the right to convert even if it upsets family members or means they are not able to partake in time-honoured traditions. But the article is from a Hindu point of view and clearly wants to try and protect those traditions. I don't consider "native traditions" sacred or in need of any protection, especially if they promote something that is immoral which is clearly the viewpoint of those Christians present in those communities - not that I believe Hindu traditions are immoral, of course. But what if it was animal, or even human sacrifice? What about arranged or forced marriages? These were, and still are in some places, a part of someones "native culture".

Where is the line drawn between aggressive destruction of native culture and the natural replacement of one religious culture by another?
Are you serious? When Buddhism moved into an area they did not squash the local practices, denounce the local gods.

I don't consider "native traditions" sacred or in need of any protection, especially if they promote something that is immoral which is clearly the viewpoint of those Christians present in those communities -
This is way too overly slimplistic to even warrant a consideration.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby fig tree » Sun May 05, 2013 5:16 am

It does seem like there are some difficult distinctions to be drawn. I think perhaps one can draw the line at offering material assistance conditional on converting.

In restraint of denigration, I wish one could just call upon people to be reasonable. There have been "religious" practices that have been truly horrible, and it seems like one should be free to call them out. In the more usual case where a person's practices aren't what I would recommend, but are not so horrible, it seems to me that one can be courteous. I'd like for evangelical Christians to do the same. But I find it hard to explain why they shouldn't go around calling Hinduism or Buddhism evil, idol-worshipping religions without depending on the fact that they, the Christians, are mistaken in their beliefs about God and what He wants us to do.

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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Coyote » Sun May 05, 2013 8:36 am

tiltbillings wrote:Are you serious? When Buddhism moved into an area they did not squash the local practices, denounce the local gods.

"I don't consider "native traditions" sacred or in need of any protection, especially if they promote something that is immoral which is clearly the viewpoint of those Christians present in those communities "
This is way too overly slimplistic to even warrant a consideration.


I'm not trying to draw a parallel between Buddhist and Christian proselytising practices. They are clearly very different religions, with different purposes.
Hindu culture may need protection from exploitative individuals and groups, I do not deny that. The article in question talks about predatory behavior like that experienced by Seethamma and her family. This is clearly wrong.
In the sense that my comment ignored this behavior, which may be very widespread, it was simplistic. Maybe my post were too reactionary because the article is not really talking about the issues I brought up.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby binocular » Sun May 05, 2013 9:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5317


Isn't all proselytism predatory to begin with?
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby chownah » Sun May 05, 2013 2:47 pm

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5317


Isn't all proselytism predatory to begin with?

No, it is not.
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby binocular » Sun May 05, 2013 5:22 pm

chownah wrote:No, it is not.


Can you say a bit more?
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 05, 2013 5:37 pm

Here are a couple of Christiam evangelical ministers talking about the issue: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongo ... rd-sell-2/
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Coyote » Sun May 05, 2013 6:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Here are a couple of Christiam evangelical ministers talking about the issue: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uncommongo ... rd-sell-2/


Interesting, thanks for sharing. It is good to see Christians taking responsibility for things such as this.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby binocular » Sun May 05, 2013 6:34 pm

Coyote wrote:Interesting, thanks for sharing. It is good to see Christians taking responsibility for things such as this.


I'm surprised they acknowledge it.

Be that as it may, I think it is important to become resistant to proselytism, for the sake of one's own wellbeing, and not hope and wait that the preachers would one day realize that they aren't being particularly kind to those they try to convert.
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Coyote » Sun May 05, 2013 7:20 pm

binocular wrote:
Coyote wrote:Interesting, thanks for sharing. It is good to see Christians taking responsibility for things such as this.


I'm surprised they acknowledge it.

Be that as it may, I think it is important to become resistant to proselytism, for the sake of one's own wellbeing, and not hope and wait that the preachers would one day realize that they aren't being particularly kind to those they try to convert.


Why? Many Christians do care about what predatory Christian groups do to the rest of us. Not least because it reflects badly on them.

With regard to proselytism - Maybe we should debate them, talk to them. You never know, you might convince them that what they are doing is unwholesome and generally just annoys people. Ven. Yuttadhammo has had some interesting conversations with those who have tried to convert him. I am sure that meaningful dialogue can come of it.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Sekha » Sun May 05, 2013 11:46 pm

It's never difficult to find despicable facts about any religion. And Theravada buddhism easily counts among the most corrupt of them. So we are not doing any better here than a bunch of christians would do on their own forum spitting on Theravada buddhism.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 12:53 am

Sekha wrote:It's never difficult to find despicable facts about any religion. And Theravada buddhism easily counts among the most corrupt of them. So we are not doing any better here than a bunch of christians would do on their own forum spitting on Theravada buddhism.
Oh, my.Theravada certainly has its problems, but I do not see that that this thread was meant to spit on Christianity.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby binocular » Mon May 06, 2013 7:14 am

Coyote wrote:Why? Many Christians do care about what predatory Christian groups do to the rest of us. Not least because it reflects badly on them.

With regard to proselytism - Maybe we should debate them, talk to them. You never know, you might convince them that what they are doing is unwholesome and generally just annoys people. Ven. Yuttadhammo has had some interesting conversations with those who have tried to convert him. I am sure that meaningful dialogue can come of it.


I've been preached to a lot, in a predatory manner. I guess over time, I've lost hope that they would ever change, and instead I grew some elbows.
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Kim OHara » Mon May 06, 2013 9:45 pm

Coyote wrote:With regard to proselytism - Maybe we should debate them, talk to them. You never know, you might convince them that what they are doing is unwholesome and generally just annoys people.

The trouble is that if your belief is the ONE TRUE FAITH and you know that unbelievers will be tormented in hell (or some equivalent of it) for eons, then the very best thing you can ever do for an unbeliever is convert them to your ONE TRUE FAITH. Asking them nicely is best, but bribing them and blackmailing them is still ultimately good, and so is standing over them with a cudgel whacking them until they say they believe.
And that is true whether your ONE TRUE FAITH is Christianity, Omnianism or Pastafarianism.
That is, any believer in the ONE TRUE FAITH who doesn't proselytise is being untrue to the faith, weak and half-hearted.
Logically, proselytism is not the error - the belief is.

:namaste:
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 06, 2013 10:05 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:And that is true whether your ONE TRUE FAITH is Christianity, Omnianism or Pastafarianism.
I rather doubt that His Noodliness would ever expect or want its followers to harm anyone in any way for any reason.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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