In the first week of May, Organiser reported a case from Maharashtra where Missionary preachers were trying to lure innocent Hindus to convert to Christianity. In the same story, we compiled numerous tactics used by missionary preachers to lure other religious people. In this article, we will be talking about the ‘social media’ tactic used by the missionaries.
On May 22, we came across this video on Facebook, posted from a handle named Yeshu Satsang. In the 47-second viral video, a man introduces himself as a Hindu Brahmin, Vishal Sharma. Sharma shares how he remained confused throughout his life until he followed the path to Jesus. He shared; he did not feel the same spirituality towards any deity except Jesus. He urges people to message them so that they can teach, the life-changing lesson to others as well.
The page Yeshu Satsang on Facebook has 16,000 followers and its ‘about’ section does not has any detail about the people running it, except for the fact that it is a community page. The first post on the page tells how Jesus faced all the punishments to save humans.
Well, this page is luring innocent people to Christianity and even forces them to convert.
It is to be noted that, the primary country/region location of the people who manage this page includes: the United States (10), India (2), Myanmar (1), and Taiwan (1).
In the Train Story reported by Organiser, one can see a video clip where two Hindu women are confronting a missionary preacher who was busy grooming innocent Hindus to convert. In the viral video, the Hindu woman told the preacher, that she knows how missionary conversion activities are rampant in India. She added the preacher should worship their god at their home only; the train is not a place to tell others about god.
The preacher responds by saying, “We are preaching the message of God because we care for Hindus”.
The woman behind the camera tells, “Hindus have gone out of their mind, as they believe in frauds like you to give up their Sanatan Dharma. It is high time, we Hindus are already fighting for our existence, we will not let you run your propaganda in public places.”
She added, “Have you ever seen a Sanatani spreading his religion, forcing his religious beliefs on others like you are doing, Do not take benefit of our silence”.
“We have 108 Crore gods and goddesses in our Dharma, we don’t need any other deity to worship. You, people,
are running your propaganda in exchange for money. This is not allowed in the constitution, don’t brainwash innocent Hindus stop this,” the woman said.
Well, this is not it, there has been a number of practices observed by the preachers selling lessons of Jesus. We compiled some of them here, read:
Grooming by texts and pamphlets
Missionaries send letters to entice locals to convert or produce pamphlets that as this one from Mumbai, A local church in Dharavi (Mumbai) distributed pamphlets bearing the following text: ‘Jesus says I am the path, the truth, and the life. He who has faith in me will live even after death. Jesus cures diseases and relieves from black magic.’ They also distribute Bible and other religious texts at public places like railway and bus stations, busy crossings, or signals. The goal is to ensure that people read these books which are free of cost and are ultimately encouraged to accept Christianity.
The idea of heaven and hell
In their plays, these missionaries promote subtle messages that indicate those who convert to Christianity will instantly be welcomed in heaven, while those who do not are doomed to rot in hell. Hinduism doesn’t base its entire philosophical premise on the concept of hell or heaven; instead, the focus is on the karmic cycle and Aham Brahmasmi.
The biggest of all remains their conversion and soft grooming in missionary human service centres. Be it orphanages, child homes, old age homes, schools, trusts, hospitals or any other institutions. Organiser has reported from time to time, instances where illegal conversion activities were going on under the banner of shelter homes and schools.
Prayers and meetings in tribal belts
The recent practice that has come to light, especially in the tribal regions of the country are prayer meeting. Ironically, these missionaries have captivated unassuming people from the lower to middle classes suffering from health and mental issues.
Drawing similarities between Christianity and Hinduism
Reading verses from the Bible is known in Kerala as Vedapathan (recital from the Vedas). Tirthakshetra (Pilgrimage Site) has been displayed over some of the churches. Throughout southern India, many Churches have renamed themselves Ashrams. Ironically, priests and nuns have popularized themselves as Acharyas and Sadhvis. Most often, they decorate their premises with oil diyas instead of candles. Some of the organizations have employed Hindu terms like Ishavani and Shrivani rather than Nobelium because this develops a better connection with the people and makes them see the similarities between Christianity and Hinduism.
The promise of a job, a better future, health benefits and education, is in general the basic alluring tactic that is used by the missionary people. Organiser reported a case from the tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh, where a man was offered all of this in exchange for conversion. Enticements are given to people affected by calamities natural calamities like tsunamis, and earthquakes. In Tamil Nadu also, this Tsunami was used as an opportunity for conversion.
‘In Kerala, especially in the localities of poor Hindus near the coastal belt, the church has kept ‘miracle boxes’. Hindus there are asked to write their wishes on a piece of paper and drop it in this box. Innocent Hindus write things such as ‘I want a fishing boat, I want money to pay school fees of my children’, and drop them in these ‘miracle boxes’.
Christian Conversion and Punjab
The fraudulent missionaries in Punjab use dubious techniques like shows of miracles and giving guarantees of cures for terminal illnesses etc., to attract innocent people most of the lower segment of society and mislead them into conversion. In many cases, the lure of migration is used as the bait. There are also reports of the use of force to engineer conversion.
Since the church has a massive following from among the Dalit community which has been converted to Christianity in Jalandhar, the idea behind a new party is being seen as an attempt to tap this vote-bank in the Jalandhar bypoll.
Surprisingly, Punjab, unlike many other States of the country, does not have an anti-conversion law. Even though there is demand for the same from some quarters, the larger opinion goes against the same since the region has, for millennia, been a hub centre of religious diversity and the peaceful co-existence of many communities and religions. If somebody wishes to convert out of conviction it will not be contested in Punjab, the conflict is with regard to the use of dubious means.
There is a strong need to curb the activities of devious elements who are misleading people for personal gains and in a manner that is not condoned by their own Church. In such cases, the intervention of the Government on grounds of deceitful and fraudulent activity is within the ambit of the law which provides for the Government to book people for superstitious practices in the name of religion; this clause should be used extensively by the State Government. The upcoming Christian Deras also need to be kept under scrutiny to ensure that they do not become centres of criminality, exploitation and extortion as was the case with many others before them.