Conversion a favorite hobby of religious zealots
Conversion is overzealously advocated, encouraged and undertaken by clerics of Islam and Christian religions. There is a church in brickfields displaying prominently to all “go and get disciples’. A seven year old girl was snatched from school by a mother without the father’s knowledge with presence of police and Islamic department officials and converted to Islam immediately. In another case a father stole his baby from the Hindu mother and converted into Islam in Ipoh. We have the other extreme of dead bodies snatched from the loved ones and buried the Islamic way. It is said that there are about 7000 people converting to Islam in Malaysia every year. Conversion into Christianity should be more because churches have active new convert programs. Conversions are causing more unhappiness within families of converting persons but religious clerics are only concerned about recruiting new converts. All these conversions are undertaken by public institutions that are supposed foster harmony and peace within the family and the general public.
Wikipedia talks about people converting to different religions for various reasons, including: active conversion by free choice due to a change in beliefs, secondary conversion, deathbed conversion, conversion for convenience, marital conversion and forced conversion. For example, someone might join a religious group primarily because their spouse or partner has done so; such a person would be a secondary convert. People who convert others into their religion do not understand their religion and what is religion is all about. Organized and institutionalized religions have over the years studied the social and psychological needs and vulnerability of people and perfected the art of converting ignorant and gullible people. Those with financial, health and family problems are the easy targets for converting. Such people need hope and assurance from the so called godly people. These religions clerics with religious knowledge instill fear and hope and easily hoodwink them.
But these religious converters do not talk about conversions to higher and nobler values which involve expansion of mind, more selflessness and tolerance, greater forbearance, sharing and caring and seeing the bigger picture. To become a better person one need not convert to another religion. Inner transformation to higher values is within ourselves which may require knowledge. This knowledge is not the monopoly of any one religion but is everywhere and all it requires is awareness and wanting to change for the better. Many religious clerics themselves do not have these wanting to change for higher and nobler values. They are more interested in increasing their religious authority and control and make many people’s life miserable such as the non converting parties in a conversion trauma.
To transform ourselves to higher values there must be greater awareness about who we are. Jesus Christhas said that “be still and know thyself”. Therefore to have greater awareness of ourselves one need not convert or go anywhere but to remain wherever we are and reflect inwards into ourselves. Ramana Maharishi said inquire into “who are you”. Such self inquiries will make us realize our greater potential and inner resources and will provide an understanding that religion is just one means to an end. Therefore we make or mar ourselves and it has nothing to do with god. We are the architect of our own future.
Senator Dr. S. Ramakrishnan