|show details 12:14 PM|
The act of searching often turns up something useful that one was not looking for. Last night I discovered that this applies to channel surfing as well. We’ve recently changed cable providers, so I was flipping channels to find the documentary I wanted to watch.
As I scrolled past one of the televangelism channels I noticed something different from the usual preacher-in-paroxysm show. A priest, clad in corvid catholic garb, was addressing the camera in a low and intense voice, occasionally pausing to display excerpts from what he was reading. What I saw made me run for scrap paper and pencil.
I took notes as fast as I could, but you wont have to rely on sentence fragments and inadequate recall, because I found the orginal document he was reading from, on the web. I excerpted portions I found significant and compiled them in a word document, titled “Ad Gentes” — which I will upload into the Files section.
Let me share a few thoughts about that document.
The document in question is the DECREE AD GENTES issued by the Second Vatican Council It lays out, in exquisite detail, the following:
— the divine mandate for missionary activity culminating in conversion
— the methods to be used by bishops, including
(i) in-depth study of Christian texts with the ability to answer all challenges
(ii) knowledge of the culture targeted for infiltration and the need to project an appreciative demeanor in order to gain access
(iii) the need for sharing of resources whether human or material between churches to maximize overall impact and penetration
— the role of the laity in serving as extensions of the missionary agenda
— the role of educational institutions in furthering the missionary agenda by means of opening up a deeper understanding of the target culture so that it may be more efficiently and systematically destroyed.
Now there might be people on this list who are well aware of what this document says, and will tell me there is nothing shatteringly new about this that was not previously known. Nevertheless, I believe this document could be as much a resource to Hindus as a revelation to some.
Well, for starters, allegations about the evangelical agenda and modus operandi when made by Hindus, can be caricatured and set aside as paranoid “Hindutva” fundamentalism. But here you have the highest authority of the Church laying out in their own words, exactly how they conceive of promoting the germination and metastasis of a particular faith system until such time as it extinguishes all other conceptions of Creation, whether theistic or non-theistic. That is the clearly stated goal.
And I do not use the cancer metaphor lightly — the primary characteristic of the cancer cell in its early stages is its genius for disguise.
Secondly, we should reflect on the language in this document that speaks to developing and harnessing human resources for the cause according to each person’s ability.
To me this is a key point to internalize, particularly in light of recent posts criticising/supporting/ disassociating with the RSS and Sangh Parivar. It also has relevance to the frustration expressed here on account of the perceived shortcomings of grassroots activism.
The thing is that none of us is omniscient. We cannot know, or see, the full effect of our positive contributions. It would be a mistake for Rajiv — or anyone else for that matter — to assume that the effect of setting a particular line of thinking in motion — is limited to what one directly sees and experiences.
And so, instead of berating and beating up on each other for what we do not see happening, we should be alive to what we do best, and in the words of the Nike ad — Just Do It. Every single one of us has a role to play and no contribution can be written off as insignificant.
Thirdly, it must be noted that the language in this carefully crafted decree incorporates some wriggle room for interpretation — not just by evangelists, but by their intended victims. I was particularly interested to find the following:
” The Church strictly forbids forcing anyone to embrace the Faith, or alluring or enticing people by worrisome wiles. “
Now what sort of Wiles would the Church find Worrisome ? They do not specify. How about asking slum dwellers to throw their religious icons in the gutter? Or staging spectacles of miraculous healing? This document should be produced to challenge the legitimacy of some of those methods.
Clearly this is a CYA sentence inserted to pre-empt accusations of coercive practices, when in fact the whole weight of the Church’s strategy rests on tying the gospel to any and every “good deed” performed and every positive outcome observed.
The priest on television specifically exhorted missionaries to NOT forget to promote the gospel when doing good works. He regretted the fact that some missionaries get so engrossed in their host culture that they forget to evangelize, and he said this was a serious mistake.
And get this — he also pointed to the need to re-evangelize those who were less than diligent in following the faith! Do you remember the uproar among some US -based activists a few years ago about how Ekal Vidyalayas were attempting to “Hinduize” the communities they served?
So Christian evangelization must be protected as “freedom under democracy” — but defensive measures along similar lines to safeguard and preserve indigenous belief systems must be reviled and condemned! Regardless of what anyone might think about the Sangh Parivar’s methods, their purported lack of intellectual depth and closed-mindedness, or the Ekal Vidyalayas themselves, this is a despicable double standard abetted by self-styled “progressive” voices that must be challenged! And the Ad Gentes document provides the foundation on which to base that challenge.
In the same paragraph from which I quoted above, the very next sentence says:
” By the same token, she ( the Church) also strongly insists on this right, that no one be frightened away from the Faith by unjust vexations on the part of others.(2)”
Who shall be the arbiter of whether the “vexations” in question are unjust or not? The Vatican Council sitting in Rome?
The way I see it, evangelism and conversion as conceived by the Christian Harvesting Combine is nothing but moral fascism. It would be ridiculous for our courts to come up with a law that said every adult had to unconditionally submit to whatever his or her parents decided was best for him or her. Yet we let people wearing robes and crucifixes run around brainwashing others into believing they are fundamentally flawed and worthless and undeserving of spiritual elevation as they are — and will remain so unless they convert to Christianity!
The West is repelled by human cloning and expresses horror and outrage at Eugenics when it targets blacks and jews for extermination. Well, evangelism is another word for cultural eugenics. Its goal has less to do with universal love than the wholesale extermination of humanity’s dazzling diversity of beliefs, to be replaced by a monoculture designated as “superior” or “the only truth.” And it is as criminally stupid to perpetrate this on humans as is the practice in agriculture.
Evangelism at its root has nothing to do with God, nor even much to do with Jesus. It is about the basest, most despotic human need for mind control and domination masquerading as a moral mandate.