The Candid Eye

March 30, 2010

Missionaries: the good, the bad, and the ugly

An excellent article by Professor and Hindu Monk Ramdas Lamb.

Q: Is there a problem with proselytism overseas by U.S. religious groups? Isn’t sharing one’s faith part of religious freedom? When does it cross the line into manipulation and coercion?

Missionary proselytization has been an integral part of the two main prophetic religions, Christianity and Islam, since early on in the formation of each. It is precisely the reason they are the two largest religions in the world. It is also one of the darkest and most sinister aspects of religion and one of the main reasons so many people have a negative view of anything to do with religion. The basis and justification for proselytization is an extremely narrow minded and arrogant assumption: “My religion is the only right one, I have the only truth, all other religions are wrong, and it is my duty to get others to think and believe like me.” This belief has been used by Christians and Muslims for more than a millennium to justify the seduction, coercion, torture, and even murder of countless individuals in trying to get them to convert.

This does not mean that missionaries as a group have not done many good things for people over the millennia, and some continue to have positive impacts in the lives of the poor and needy. Examples of this can be seen currently in both Haiti and Chile. However, the negative actions of those who focus is proselytization far outweigh the positive.

Monk Ramdas Lamb : Image Courtesy - http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/

Religion is simultaneously one of the best as well as one of the most destructive of human creations. Religions have inspired people like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King to selflessly serve others and work to make the world a better place. Religions have also given rise to an ideology of hatred and have provided justification for the kinds of evils perpetuated by the likes of Aurangzeb, Hitler, and bin Laden.

Proselytizers are fundamentalists whose ideology divides the world into “believers” and “non-believers.” The latter comprise all those who are different, those perceived as the “other.” One of the biggest difficulties that we face in this world is our distrust of others, a feeling that leads to fear, hate, and violence. In his 1991 documentary entitled “Beyond Hate,” Bill Moyers addresses concepts such as “insider and outsider,” “us and other,” etc. and the pivotal role this bifurcated view plays in justifying hatred and violence. Proselytizers thrive on these distinctions, these divisions, drawing sharp lines between their own beliefs and those of everyone else. Non-believers are seen as lesser, sometimes even as evil, and clearly in need to either being changed or, in the extreme, annihilated.

More wars have been fought because of narrow religious doctrine and beliefs than for any other reason, and Christians and Muslims have been at the forefront. Both their histories are punctuated with wars against people of other religions, and the paths they have followed are riddled with the bodies of millions of innocent victims. One of the more extreme examples is the case of Timur, the 14th-century Muslim conqueror. In December, 1398, he overthrow the reigning Muslim ruler in Delhi. His justification was that the ruling dynasty was too tolerant of Hindus and did not convert them. Timur happily recounts in his memoirs that in the process of taking over, his army slaughtered 100,000 Hindus in a single day.

Forced conversions continue, as is evident by events in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Egypt. Even in the Gaza strip, two western newsman were recently forced to convert at gunpoint. Just last week, two young Sikh men were kidnapped and beheaded by members of the Taliban in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam. While such actions clearly do not represent the vast majority of Muslims, they have been condoned and even justified by fundamentalist Muslim leaders, and very few Muslims speak out in opposition, often out of fear. A recent and welcome exception is Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri, an influential Pakistani Muslim scholar, who just released a 600-page fatwa (religious edict) condemning Muslim terrorism and suicide bombings. Although it is a powerful and needed statement, it is a rarity, and Dr. ul-Qadri has unfortunately put his own life in danger in the process. Fundamentalists, irrespective of their chosen ideology, find disagreement difficult to allow, and violence has increasingly become a common reaction.

Christian missionaries in the past were not much better. In addition to the violence in the name of Christianity that was perpetuated during the Crusades and the Inquisitions, a look at the early proselytization efforts in India, the Americas, and the Pacific makes it clear that many missionaries found relatively easy justification for the torture and execution of those who refused to become Christian or who challenged their beliefs. Although nowadays most Christian proselytizers have renounced such violence, groups like the Manmasi National Christian Army in Assam, India, continue to use threats to force conversion.

Most European and American Christian missionaries during the last two centuries in Asia have found offers of food, work, education, and health care to be better methods for gaining converts. In the late 1700s, missionaries followed on the heels of the British East India Company and began a concerted effort to take over the Indian soul. Once the British government took control the country, proselytizers had a relatively free reign to pursue their objectives. Again, some missionaries did good works, but those focused on proselytization showed little actual concern for the well being of those they sought to convert.

Many Hindus had hoped that Indian Independence would help curtail the more underhanded activities of the missionaries, but this did not happen. Less than a decade after Independence, a government study conducted in central India known as the Niyogi Report brought to light many of the underhanded and cynical methods that Christian missionaries were continuing to use. The Indian government did little about it, and as a consequence, many of the same tactics remain prevalent.

Currently, Americans donate millions of dollars annually to Christian organizations that advertise charity work they do around the world. While it is true that some organizations do help many people, the assistance of many such groups comes with a price for the people being helped. That is because the real focus of most missionaries is on their proselytization efforts, for which a significant portion of the money is used. Far too often, their activities have absolutely nothing to do with spirituality or real charity, and everything to do with getting names and numbers of converts, so the missionaries can go back to their funding agencies and supporters and ask for continued finances for their claimed “successes.”

In India, missionaries tell their supporters in the U.S. that they provide free or inexpensive services to the needy. However, once initial assistance is given, then conditions are often added for subsequent help. If free education is provided, conversion may then be a requirement for its continuance past a certain point. If aid is in the form of health care, then the quality of care or type of medicine and treatment available may be determined by one’s willingness to convert. This becomes a serious and difficult issue for parents who bring a sick or injured child to a missionary hospital. They may be told that the necessary care is only given to Christians, or that the required medicines “will only work” on Christians. For those who do convert in order to receive needed care, they may well be pressured to then convert other family members or else lose whatever aid they are receiving. I have seen families torn apart by such missionary activities in Central India where I conduct research. Again, this is not what all missionaries do, but these are fairly common occurrences.

In early 2009, Pope Benedict XVI met the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and agreed to stop all conversion attempts directed at Jews. A month later, Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, president of Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, visited India and was asked while there if he would offer Hindus the same respect. He refused. There is a degree to narrow mindedness in every religious tradition, but when that is coupled with fundamentalist arrogance and powerful backing, nothing good can come from it.

In his “Seeds of Contemplation,” the late Catholic Trappist monk and mystic Thomas Merton warns about those with spiritual pride who think of themselves as having the truth and humility while others do not, who think they are suffering for God’s sake but deep inside are becoming full of pride in their supposed sanctity, who think that everyone else must adhere to their truth. Merton writes that when such an individual thinks that “he is messenger of God or a man with a mission to reform the world. . . He is capable of destroying religion and making the name of God odious to men.”

I am a strong supporter of freedom of religion. Most proselytizers are not. They want the freedom to coerce vulnerable and gullible individuals into converting, and they can justify many nefarious methods to accomplish their goal. No matter how well intentioned, any attempts to push a religious belief or denomination on someone ultimately benefits no one and demeans the religion in the process. If missionaries actually have something of genuine worth and value, why do they need to seduce, coerce, or threaten people to get them to accept it? Maybe their methods suggest that what they have to offer is not that worthwhile.

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March 29, 2010

Lord Ram temple demolished by Secular Christians!!

It was very shocking when I read this news on this site. When Churches in Karnataka were attacked, all news channels were busy 24×7 broadcasting the news saying BJP led Karnataka government let loose all the culprits who were responsible for this act.The anti-Hindu campaign has been so much so that even in the recently held BBMP election campaigns, this was blown out of proportion by the Congress party to hoodwink people of Karnataka just to get the votes to loot further.

Where are these secular media and newspapers and English speaking  elitists? None of the English channels have given any hint on this most criminal offence.When the media is very busy in  highlighting  “Advani celebrated when Babri came down”.”Modi deserved this treatment.”, they simply ignored this piece of information just because the perpetrators belong to Sonia Gandhi’s religion.

English Media in India has lost all its credibility among the common man.When Churches and Mosques are protected by our government, temples are not.When Christians and Muslims are protected by Law, Hindus and their place worships are not.Hindus are required to pay their taxes to send the Muslims and Christians to Mecca and Jerusalem.The poor Hindus will be kicked out if they ask even a temporary shelter in Amarnath.

Please note that though the FIR is submitted, NO ACTION has been taken so far.Compare this with the hue and cry this peace loving church and Christians would make if similar incident happen to them.

Excerpts start here

Sources: 1) Andhra Jyothy, March 18, 2010

http://www.andhrajyothy.com/tabloids/2010/mar/18/wgd/wgd%20page05.pdf

2) FIR submitted by a villager

——– Translation of the Newspaper article ———————–

Temple demolished in MangalaGunta Palem Narasapuram rural: March 17: A few people (Christians) belonging to the Managalagunta palem have demolished a temple. It has been found that the incident happened on Tuesday night. This temple has a 100 year history. According to some villagers the demolition is part of a conspiracy. The Tehsildhar of the village Jawaharlal Nehru visited the place after he came to know about the incident. Police have taken precautionary measures to prevent disturbances. Tehsildhar mentioned that inquiry is going on to identify the culprits and the underlying reasons.

——- Translation of the FIR submitted to police (no action was taken so far ——-

To

The Superintendent of police, West Godavari Dist,

The report submitted by

Bandela RamaChandra Rao, Narasapuram, West Godavari Dist on 17-March-2010

Sir,

We belong to Mangala Gunta Palem Village in Kustubada Panchayati. There is a 100 year old Ramalayam (Rama’s temple) in the Harijan (Dalit) area in our village. In this temple, for the last 100 years festivals such as Nandi puja, Sri Rama Navami etc were celebrated grandly.

For sometime Christians belonging to our village have been trying to demolish this temple and create communal disturbances. During many such attempts earlier, we protected Hindus and this Sri Rama temple from these militants.

We have been planning and making arrangements to celebrate Sri Rama Navami from 24-March-2010 5:00 PM onwards. After looking at these arrangements, the Christian anti social elements decided to stop the same at any cost. On 16-March-2010 7:30 PM the following Christians named

1. Gorinkala Vijaya Prasad S/O Adam

2. Bandela Venkataratnam S/O Gnana Rao

3. Gorinkala Sharmila W/O VijayaPrasad

4. Kollabothula Appa Rao S/O Yesu Dasu

5. Kona Ratnam Raju S/O Satyanarayana

6. Kollabothula Sundara Rao S/O Vanamayya

demolished the Sri Rama Temple and destroyed the idols of Sri Rama etc. This is an anti-Hindu extremist activity.

As soon as the news of the attack to came to the notice of the villagers, members belonging to the Harijan (Dalit) Ramalaya protection committee and temple protection committee visited the place. The following members of the committee were attacked by the Christian extremists.

1. Vangala Jagannadha Krishna Kishore

2. Desetti Satyanarayana

3. Boosim Sankar

4. Koppada Harinath

5. Boodida Venkateswara Rao

6. Sangani Venkateswara Rao

Excerpts end here

March 28, 2010

Devil is in the Vatican!!

Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican”, according to the Holy See’s chief exorcist.

Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican’s chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon”.

Don Gabriele Amorth is the chief exorcist at the Vatican : Image courtesy - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/

He added: “When one speaks of ‘the smoke of Satan’ [a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972] in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia.”

He claimed that another example of satanic behaviour was the Vatican “cover-up” over the deaths in 1998 of Alois Estermann, the then commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife and Corporal Cedric Tornay, a Swiss Guard, who were all found shot dead. “They covered up everything immediately,” he said. “Here one sees the rot”.

A remarkably swift Vatican investigation concluded that Corporal Tornay had shot the commander and his wife and then turned his gun on himself after being passed over for a medal. However Tornay’s relatives have challenged this. There have been unconfirmed reports of a homosexual background to the tragedy and the involvement of a fourth person who was never identified.

Father Amorth, who has just published Memoirs of an Exorcist, a series of interviews with the Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, said that the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981 had been the work of the Devil, as had an incident last Christmas when a mentally disturbed woman threw herself at Pope Benedict XVI at the start of Midnight Mass, pulling him to the ground.

Father José Antonio Fortea Cucurull, a Rome-based exorcist, said that Father Amorth had “gone well beyond the evidence” in claiming that Satan had infiltrated the Vatican corridors.

“Cardinals might be better or worse, but all have upright intentions and seek the glory of God,” he said. Some Vatican officials were more pious than others, “but from there to affirm that some cardinals are members of satanic sects is an unacceptable distance.”

Father Amorth told La Repubblica that the devil was “pure spirit, invisible. But he manifests himself with blasphemies and afflictions in the person he possesses. He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, transform himself or appear to be agreeable. At times he makes fun of me.”

Devil making fun of Father Gabriele Amorth

He said it sometimes took six or seven of his assistants to to hold down a possessed person. Those possessed often yelled and screamed and spat out nails or pieces of glass, which he kept in a bag. “Anything can come out of their mouths – finger-length pieces of iron, but also rose petals.”

He said that hoped every diocese would eventually have a resident exorcist. Under Church Canon Law any priest can perform exorcisms, but in practice they are carried out by a chosen few trained in the rites.

Father Amorth was ordained in 1954 and became an official exorcist in 1986. In the past he has suggested that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were possessed by the Devil. He was among Vatican officials who warned that J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels made a “false distinction between black and white magic”.

He approves, however, of the 1973 film The Exorcist, which although “exaggerated” offered a “substantially exact” picture of possession.

In 2001 he objected to the introduction of a new version of the exorcism rite, complaining that it dropped centuries-old prayers and was “a blunt sword” about which exorcists themselves had not been consulted. The Vatican said later that he and other exorcists could continue to use the old ritual.

He is the president of honour of the Association of Exorcists.

Source: Times Online

March 24, 2010

1st Anniversary!!

Filed under: About this Blog — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: ,

1st Anniversary

One year has passed since we started this blog.

It’s been a very pleasant experience sharing things we have come across.

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.


March 22, 2010

Congress & Austerity

An RTI query filed by activist Ramesh Verma has revealed the Delhi government alone spent Rs 2 crore in print advertisement featuring Congress party President Sonia Gandhi.

Half-page advertisement in an English newspaper cost the Delhi government about Rs 30 lakh. On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti another advertisement whopping Rs 31 lakh.

Sonia Gandhi, the leader of All India Corrupt Congress

In fact the Haryana government showed their gratitude to Soniaji by printing thank you advertisement in not one but five different newspapers on the same date.The opposition is crying foul at all these party propaganda at the tax payers expense.

“She (Sonia Gandhi) is the Party President, but if she becomes an integral part of official advertisements at taxpayers money, it’s a really sad thing for our democracy,” said BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar.

Meanwhile, that doesn’t seem to bother Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dixit.“She is the UPA Chairperson and we have been doing it since so long. There is nothing wrong on it,” said Sheila Dixit.

However, the party’s central leadership also support the action.”She is the UPA Chairperson and the political guiding hand. So nothing wrong in it,” said Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan.

The congress government’s austerity measures which were beautifully orchestrated some time ago, by travelling in cattle class flights,trains etc.. with full media attention and coverage have grabbed the attention of many people, glorifying Sonia & Rahul Baba as people friendly leaders.

The congress, the most corrupt party in India, since Independence, have not only looted and built their network on people’s money but also failed to protect people from external threats.

Source : IBN

March 20, 2010

Pakistan again using mafia links for terror strikes

Saturday’s arrests of the two terror suspects in Mumbai who wanted to set fires at three locations across the city shows that Pakistani planners are now returning to their old ally, the underworld, to plot terrorist acts.

In the recent case, Abdul Latif Rashid alias Guddu, 29, and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz alias Rehan, 22, were arrested for conspiring to set fires at the ONGC office in Bandra (East), Mangaldas Market in Kalbadevi and Thakkar Mall in Borivli. Latif’s uncle, Abdul Bashir Khan, is an absconding accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, which was plotted and executed by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who is now living in Karachi. Khan is currently living with Dawood in the latter’s Karachi flat and works as his assistant.

Pakistan ISI : Image Courtesy - http://www.topnews.in/

The security establishment in India has been claiming that the D-gang is hand-in-glove with Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) in the execution of conspiracies in India.

In the 11/7 Mumbai train blasts case, the police arrested a doctor, two engineers and a sotware programmer who did not have any prior criminal record. However, the recent case points to the in-depth involvement of the D-gang. “The two accused were in touch with a D-gang member who had asked them to identify youths for terror training in Pakistan,” said the source.

Officials in the security forces said terror bosses may have returned to the underworld because the police have mentally de-linked the underworld from terror. “The police seem to have formed an opinion that gangsterism is entirely different from terrorism and they do not pay heed to gangsters when it comes to probing terror cases nowadays. This could be one of the reasons why the Pakistani terror handlers are focusing on the use of the underworld,” the security source said.

Pakistan ISI : Image Courtesy - http://trendsupdates.com/

“In 1993, the underworld had first participated in a terror strike. Later, the modus operandi changed and the handlers started recruiting young people with no criminal records as the underworld was already on the police list,” said a security establishment official.

In the 2001 Parliament attack, new faces who were neither in the police list nor connected to the underworld were recruited. In the post-2001 modus operandi, the use of educated youths from the Muslim community was seen.

Software engineer Mansoor Peerbhoy, a Pune resident, who had a job with a Rs 19-lakh-a-year salary, was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch in 2008 for being part of the Indian Mujahideen. He was accused of hacking into computers and sending terror emails.

Earlier, in a string of post-2001 terror-related cases in Mumbai, an MBBS, an MBA, three civil engineers, four mechanical engineers, two chemical engineers, a pilot and a professor working for the National Defence Academy, Pune, had been arrested. While the police had focused on these men, most of them were later acquitted by the court or discharged by the central Pota review committee.

Noteworthy also is that absconding Indian Mujahideen operative, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is also suspected to be in Pakistan, was connected to the Fazlur Rehman gang before he formed his own extortion outfit. Bhatkal later took to terrorism.

Source: TOI

March 19, 2010

1000+ lives impacted through the ‘Model Village Development Project’

Shivaji Nagar is among a group of 40 villages located at about 20 km from Pune on the Pune-Bengaluru highway. Through their geographic proximity, the inhabitants of these villages have cultural and societal commonalities, as well as share some facilities for health and education. A majority of the inhabitants of these villages depend on agriculture as their sole source of income.

To enable the progress of the community there is a need to facilitate sustainable development on an infrastructural level, economically empower the youth and women of the villages and improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the villages.

Art of Living Ashram - Bangalore

Sterlite is partnering with The Art of Living Foundation, in a project that spans 5 years to develop a Model Village that involves a 5H implementation – developing homes, building of facilities to promote hygiene, undertaking health awareness initiatives, instilling human values and facilitating harmony within the Model Village. Says Pravin Agrawal, Director – Sterlite Technologies, “Our objective is to give back to society in such a way that needs of the weaker sections are responded to and improvements made in the quality of their lives. All the projects we partner with, address the fundamental domains of environment, health and education.”

Since the initiation of the project in October 2009 Sterlite, The Art of Living Foundation and the youth of the villages worked cohesively and several schemes have already been successfully initiated:

Breath Water Sound Workshops

Village cleanliness campaign

Tree plantation drive

Empowerment of women through vocational training

Training program in Youth Leadership

Keeping in focus the aspects of safety and environment protection, a unique initiative was also undertaken at Shivaji Nagar, an electricity deprived village. The Art of Living Foundation worked in collaboration with Project Dharma to source and to facilitate the most suitable solar lighting solution for Shivaji Nagar. These solar lamps provided an eco-friendly, safe and convenient alternative to kerosene lamps.

According to Ankit Agarwal, co-founder, Project Dharma ‘We are proud to be associated with this great initiative of Art of Living and Sterlite Technologies, and are committed to providing livelihood creation and innovative solutions to villages across India’ Future schemes at Shivaji Nagar also include the development of public sanitation facilities and enhancement of education under the 5H implementation. The intrinsic involvement of the youth of the villages in the execution of the project has been a noteworthy aspect of the implementation methodology. This has helped create a sense of self-pride within the community, instilled human values and facilitated communal harmony within the villages.

To date, more than 1000 inhabitants of these villages have been benefited by the Model Village Development Project.

Source: Webnewswire

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