Predatory Proselytism

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Coyote » Mon May 06, 2013 10:34 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
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:
Kim


I agree that the beliefs that lie behind the proselytism are ultimately the problem, which is what leads religions to try and spread their faith in the first place. But active proselytising requires a drive that would seem to me to be quite course and ego-driven. It simply isn't the case that all theists are ready to lie, blackmail and use violence to gain converts. It isn't just about hell, but about Christ. Ever read anything like "the fulfillment of all desire"? Depending on the sect of course proselytising can be more about sharing a way of life they believe is the most rewarding. Not only can there can be meaningful dialogue, but it can be used as an opportunity to practice metta and strengthen one's understanding of the dhamma.
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Sam Vara » Mon May 06, 2013 10:52 pm

:goodpost:
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby plwk » Tue May 07, 2013 12:34 am

That reminds me tilt of a convo I had with a tour guide back in 2010 when I was in New Delhi.
So, the subject was on how the Muslims insist on the conversion of the non Muslims in a mixed marriage situation between a Muslim & a non.
And he was lamenting that even in a cricket game, Indian Muslims would rather support Pakistan than their own country LOL

Now the icing on the cake...
I asked him if he was a Brahmin and he said yes. Fine.
Then I asked him if he would mind marrying a non Hindu and he said no.
Then I asked him if his 'no' was with or without any reservation/conditions.
Then he says as long as she converts over to the Sanatana Dharma, it's fine.
Then I asked him what if she refuses? Then he said that it's not an option for her and added that it was for her own good.
Then I asked him what's the difference between his stance and that of the Muslims?
'Sanatana Dharma is the only true path, is there another?'
End of dialogue...

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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Kim OHara » Tue May 07, 2013 2:38 am

plwk wrote:That reminds me tilt of a convo I had with a tour guide back in 2010 when I was in New Delhi.
So, the subject was on how the Muslims insist on the conversion of the non Muslims in a mixed marriage situation between a Muslim & a non.
And he was lamenting that even in a cricket game, Indian Muslims would rather support Pakistan than their own country LOL

Now the icing on the cake...
I asked him if he was a Brahmin and he said yes. Fine.
Then I asked him if he would mind marrying a non Hindu and he said no.
Then I asked him if his 'no' was with or without any reservation/conditions.
Then he says as long as she converts over to the Sanatana Dharma, it's fine.
Then I asked him what if she refuses? Then he said that it's not an option for her and added that it was for her own good.
Then I asked him what's the difference between his stance and that of the Muslims?
'Sanatana Dharma is the only true path, is there another?'
End of dialogue...

:mrgreen:

Great story! And it illustrates very neatly the root of the problem: any religious belief (Buddhism included!), sincerely and deeply held, trumps all other allegiances and all rational discourse.
Discourse between people of different faiths is possible (and I think it's desirable, as most of us would agree) but it is only possible to those who are prepared to acknowledge that their religion may be incomplete or incorrect on some points, or at least not the only path. That's pretty easy for Buddhists but cuts other beliefs to the core.

:namaste:
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Coyote » Tue May 07, 2013 10:59 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Great story! And it illustrates very neatly the root of the problem: any religious belief (Buddhism included!), sincerely and deeply held, trumps all other allegiances and all rational discourse.
Discourse between people of different faiths is possible (and I think it's desirable, as most of us would agree) but it is only possible to those who are prepared to acknowledge that their religion may be incomplete or incorrect on some points, or at least not the only path. That's pretty easy for Buddhists but cuts other beliefs to the core.

:namaste:
Kim


I disagree. Dialogue doesn't mean that you can't be sincerely and deeply religious, or that you have to be a hypocrite like in the story above. Why would it? It simply means one has to understand where another person is coming from and be able to take an impartial look at where you stand. The biggest barrier to that is not deeply held belief IMO but the fact that we speak different "languages". Of course some hold their faith so tightly that this is not possible, but that does not equate "sincerely and deeply held", as if those who are able to have civilised dialogue aren't sincere.

Metta
"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 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:10 am

Coyote wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Great story! And it illustrates very neatly the root of the problem: any religious belief (Buddhism included!), sincerely and deeply held, trumps all other allegiances and all rational discourse.
Discourse between people of different faiths is possible (and I think it's desirable, as most of us would agree) but it is only possible to those who are prepared to acknowledge that their religion may be incomplete or incorrect on some points, or at least not the only path. That's pretty easy for Buddhists but cuts other beliefs to the core.

:namaste:
Kim


I disagree. Dialogue doesn't mean that you can't be sincerely and deeply religious, or that you have to be a hypocrite like in the story above. Why would it? It simply means one has to understand where another person is coming from and be able to take an impartial look at where you stand. The biggest barrier to that is not deeply held belief IMO but the fact that we speak different "languages". Of course some hold their faith so tightly that this is not possible, but that does not equate "sincerely and deeply held", as if those who are able to have civilised dialogue aren't sincere.

Metta

Hi, Coyote,
I stand by what I said.
But I don't mind if you disagree, which just goes to show that I am more flexible and tolerant than the average proselytiser. :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Kusala » Wed May 08, 2013 1:00 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.


It doesn't matter how long Christianity been in India. Christianity is an Abrahamic religion, which IMO is diametrically opposed to all things "Dharmic".
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby binocular » Wed May 08, 2013 8:09 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Great story! And it illustrates very neatly the root of the problem: any religious belief (Buddhism included!), sincerely and deeply held, trumps all other allegiances and all rational discourse.
Discourse between people of different faiths is possible (and I think it's desirable, as most of us would agree) but it is only possible to those who are prepared to acknowledge that their religion may be incomplete or incorrect on some points, or at least not the only path. That's pretty easy for Buddhists but cuts other beliefs to the core.


Ah, the fictionality of dialogue ...
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Kim OHara » Thu May 09, 2013 4:46 am

binocular wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Great story! And it illustrates very neatly the root of the problem: any religious belief (Buddhism included!), sincerely and deeply held, trumps all other allegiances and all rational discourse.
Discourse between people of different faiths is possible (and I think it's desirable, as most of us would agree) but it is only possible to those who are prepared to acknowledge that their religion may be incomplete or incorrect on some points, or at least not the only path. That's pretty easy for Buddhists but cuts other beliefs to the core.


Ah, the fictionality of dialogue ...

Huh?
A few more words may help us know what you want to say ...

:coffee:
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby binocular » Thu May 09, 2013 7:33 am

Often, when people summon to "dialogue," what they actually mean is 'I want you to listen to me and do as I say.' But this isn't PC to say flat out, so they talk about the importance of dialogue and open-mindedness and tolerance etc.
Hence the fictionality of dialogue.
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Re: Predatory Proselytism

Postby Kim OHara » Thu May 09, 2013 7:45 am

binocular wrote:Often, when people summon to "dialogue," what they actually mean is 'I want you to listen to me and do as I say.' But this isn't PC to say flat out, so they talk about the importance of dialogue and open-mindedness and tolerance etc.
Hence the fictionality of dialogue.

Thanks.
I agree that that is often what people want but don't want to say they want.
On the other hand there are people who do actually want balanced two-way communication and sometimes achieve it. I have that in my own life - very good, useful-to-both-sides conversations with a couple of good, sincere but not narrow-minded Christians. Dialogue is not always fictional :smile: although (as I said a while ago) "it is only possible to those who are prepared to acknowledge that their religion may be incomplete or incorrect on some points, or at least not the only path."

:namaste:
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