In criminology, ‘Means, Motive and Opportunity’ are the three things that are sought while investigating any crime. It is useful to apply the same measures when studying the history of religions.
In criminology, ‘Means, Motive and Opportunity’ are the three things that are sought while investigating any crime. It is useful to apply the same measures when studying the history of religions. And in that, only the Christian and Islamic dogmas provide the doctrinal motive, called the Great Commission and the Da’wah respectively, for their adherents to ‘impose’ upon other people. This imposition has taken many forms – genocide, massacre, slavery, inquisition, colonization, racism, jihad, terrorism, culture wars, ponzi proselytizing, obligating via charity and so on.
While other traditions, like those of the Hindus, might have had the means and the opportunity at different points in history, to visit such acts of violence upon others, they never had nor will have a doctrinal motive which enables or sanctions such violence upon disbelievers.
There are the Good, the Bad and the Ugly among the people of all religions and ideologies. Individuals can be good or bad because of the ideologies they subscribe to or despite them. They should be judged by their actions. Even the extremists can be accommodated if their ideology is one of defence, one which does not seek to impose itself upon others.
But Islam and Christianity are not about defending. Rather, they seek through various methods – overt and covert – to make the whole world accept the dominion of their belief. They condone even horrendous crimes if committed against non-believers in pursuit of that dominion.
It is when individuals entirely allow themselves to be possessed by such offensive ideologies that they become a danger to themselves and society. Their violence need not be always ‘physical’ violence but can be psychological, cultural and social. This aspect of imposing their beliefs upon others becomes the defining aspect of the ideology and the individual adherent, making both the ideology and its adherent criminals in the process.
Since their motives are doctrinal and cannot be changed or challenged, they need to be challenged on the other aspects — means and opportunity. All civilized societies that seek to retain a diversity of faiths, beliefs and ideas should constantly strive to restrict the means and deny the opportunities for such invasive ideologies to function. It is suicidal to allow such ideologies to run rampant, in the name of secularism and liberalism, in the common space along with other value systems and traditions.
But that is precisely what is being done in societies like India. As opposed to restricting them, secularism guarantees a bonanza of opportunities for the adherents of Christianity and Islam. Instead of restricting the means — Islamic and Christian institutions are left untaxed and with full autonomy. And on the other hand, curbing the means and opportunities of non-invasive native worldviews.
Instead of evaluating the social forces based on their ideological nature – offensive and defensive – the political system foolishly is measuring things, based on numbers (majority and minority). This is akin to coddling the carnivores and hampering the herbivores because herbivores are more in number, therefore dangerous.
Secularism is like HIV, it destroys the immunity of Hindus and leaves them more defenceless than any other invasive ideological infection which can attack the body – Christian Evangelism, Islamism, Postmodern liberalism, Communism, Socialism etc. Even strict equality of treatment by the laws of a society towards all religions are insufficient, because of the inherent nature of such ideologies.
A religion with proselytizing intentions and organized, world-spanning institutions with whopping financial resources cannot be treated equally to a religion with no intent to proselytize or organize. That is not equity. If social justice for individuals is pursued by providing preferential access and conditions, such as reservations to disadvantaged individuals; the same applies to traditions, religion, and cultures as well.
When one person does not wish to compete and the other is intent on competition, providing a competitive space and forcing the first person to compete is not justice. It is not the role of government to do such things. And further, to put obstacles for the first person is greater injustice. That is Indian secularism for you (A dissertation detailing this and strongly recommended for reading is available here.)
Many analogies can be given. Like planting a few eucalyptus trees among other plants in a garden itself is damaging to the other vegetation and then further disproportionately watering only the eucalyptus, because they are a minority is disastrous and will kill all the diversity of the garden as only the eucalyptus will be left. This is not to deny the existence of eucalyptus as a species, but that the other species should not be devastated by implementing policies unmindful of the nature of the species.
There is increasing awareness about this disparity among religions and the need to ensure that the diversity is not made extinct. The one that is currently happening is ‘The Mauritius Dharma Declaration’. Please do sign the declaration, which is available here.
An article explaining the need: Can UN Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples Halt Evangelism?
And within India, please consider and sign the Hindu Charter of Demands.
People can have a conversion in their beliefs out of their own changing convictions but conversion as a religious activity is as criminal as nuclear proliferation, peddling of drugs or pyramid marketing scams. The freedom of religion should be to practice it for oneself, but proselytizing others must be strictly regulated as conversions as acts of violence alienate people from their own roots.
In law, crimes of passion are clearly differentiated from crimes of intent, which are premeditated. Premeditated crimes have an explicit motive. Conversion is a premeditated crime committed in the name of religion.