Tuesday, April 22, 2008

** Religious Harmony

Towards Religious Harmony

April 2008,Crusadewatch

Harendra DeSilva

Christian evangelists are on a roll in Sri Lanka. During the past few decades many reactionary Christian organisations originating in the west have swept into Sri Lanka with the single aim of converting all non-Christians to Christianity.

Having arrived in a "third world" country, their reasoning is that all
niceties and norms of decency can be dispensed with; evangelism is
carried out through whatever means necessary without any thought for
the consequence, even if this means creating a religious conflict.

Sri Lanka must be on high guard if she is to preserve her religious harmony, for looking around the world it can be seen that religious conflict has not been far behind wherever Christian evangelists have set up shop.

Moderate Christians in the country have opposed the acts of the minority
Christian fundamentalists, but this opposition has been much too soft
and has been relegated to a few personalities.

If the articles in
various national papers are anything to go by, more often than not we
come across members of the mainstream churches supporting and
encouraging the evangelists and their insidious activities.

By throwing their weight behind the Christian fundamentalists, moderate Christians are only doing what the fundamentalists want them to do: join in the offensive against other religions.

Such an outcome does not bode well for the future of this country, and a deep reflection on the issue ought to be undertaken by moderate Christians siding with (or leaning towards) the evangelists.

It is true that we have heard some sections of the Church condemn the
insensitive and indecent activities of the evangelists, but nothing has
been done to reign in those who continue with these provocative

No concrete steps have been taken to stop abusing the
poverty and destitution of a war-scarred population in order convert
them, and no concrete steps have been taken to stop once and for all
the iconoclastic practice of smashing Buddhist and Hindu statues to
signify total conversion to Christianity.

We are left to believe that
the public condemnation is merely a ploy to appear moderate and
tolerant, and that the Church continues to support such activities in
secret. But surely this cannot be true? For if it were, we have the
makings of a religious imbroglio that could overshadow the current
national conflict itself.

It is unfortunate but true that the history of the Church in this island
has not been one that it can be proud of. If truth be told, the
mainstream churches, hand in hand with the colonials, engaged in
vicious forms of evangelism, trying to convert all the non-Christian
natives to Christianity and bring them to the "civilization" that the
Europeans supposedly first brought to this country inhabited by
brown-skinned "pagans."

The Church played a leading role in trying to wean away the natives from their culture and national religion - Buddhism or Hinduism, and used whatever means at their disposal to carry out this task.

They shamelessly paid new converts to go around
villages degrading Buddhism and they had no qualms about providing
education through their schools if only the Buddhist and Hindu children
would convert to Christianity.

Churches were built on the desecrated remains of Buddhist and Hindu temples, and for a long time the inveterate enemies of the Church remained the two religions of Buddhism and Hinduism which were adhered to by the vast majority of Sri Lankans.

So it is with much concern today that the people of this country regard
the lack of action taken by the Church to arrest the activities of the

Is the Church falling back into its past history of openly
attacking and trying to annihilate other religions? Is this the case in this "age of enlightenment", and if so, how can such an openly hostile attitude towards other religions be conducive towards religious harmony?

The established churches in Sri Lanka
must be wary of providing support to the evangelists who are conducting
an ideological war against against non-Christian religions. By
providing overt or covert support to the activities of the evangelists,
the mainstream churches are only inviting the displeasure of the vast
majority of Sri Lankans who do not look kindly upon the provocative
methods of proselytism employed by the Christian fundamentalists.

Many in this country are quite plainly fed up with the crusade of conversion that is being spearheaded by the evangelists, and want the hate
campaign against non-Christian religions to end.

If the Church were
responsible and tolerant of other faiths, it ought to take into account
the thoughts and feelings of the Sri Lankan people, instead of
continuously ignoring them in order to satisfy the rather fanciful and
intolerant dream of Christianizing not only Sri Lanka, but the entire world

fundamentalists have sown the seeds of religious discord in this
country, and the fruit of their actions can only be disastrous. It is
in the interests of the Sri Lankan nation to take immediate steps to
neutralize the war waged by the Christian evangelists against
non-Christian religions, and to reinstall and reinforce a climate of
religious tolerance and understanding.

Moderate Christians must
understand that the religious harmony that was prevalent in Sri Lanka
has been breached solely by the irresponsible activities of the
evangelists, who care naught for the welfare of Sri Lanka, and who
would do anything in their power to "harvest souls" for their God.

By ignoring the principles of tolerance, love, compassion and
understanding that are enunciated in the Bible, the evangelists are going against the teachings of Jesus Christ, and are trampling on accepted norms of decency.

No good can come of it, and Sri Lanka should not have to undergo the trauma the Christian fundamentalists are thrusting upon her.

United together, Sri Lanka
can shake off the unpleasant activities and attitudes of the Christian
fundamentalists and move towards greater understanding and
co-existence. By doing so, the country can stave off a possible
religious war, and maintain its proud tradition of religious harmony.

But as long as the Christian evangelists continue with their
ideological war against non-Christian religions, and as long as some
mainstream Christians support and aid the intolerant activities of the
evangelists, an end to religious rivalry and hostility will not be

The vast majority of Sri Lankans comprising Buddhists, Hindus,
Muslims, moderate Christians, free thinkers and atheists will not be
happy over such a situation. They want the religious fanaticism of the
Christian evangelists to end as soon as possible - before it creates
debilitating religious rifts among society.

Opposing religious fundamentalism will be of benefit to Sri Lanka
both now and for the future. To ignore evangelism today will likely
lead to more hostile religious conflicts later on. This is something
that Sri Lanka can ill afford after more than 20 years of national conflict. United together as Sri Lankans who appreciate religious harmony and
co-existence, the intolerant worldview of the evangelists and their
machinations can and should be defeated. The voice of the tolerant
majority must be heard. http://www.crusadewatch.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=928
LTTE in Sri Lanka @ http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1112887194