Who Is Afraid Of Religious Liberty? - Revelation Movement

On August 7, 2010, some “devout” Muslims in Badakhshan, Afghanistan dragged 10 Christians out of their vehicle, robbed them and shot them one by one. The victims of this brutal “spirituality” included three women. They were returning from mountainous Nuristan after completing an eye-camp for poor Muslims. The ladies had joined the medical team to make it possible for Muslim women to receive treatment without having to see a male doctor, nurse or translator. They were “guilty” of walking miles and miles in hilly terrain, offering free treatment and surgery to those who suffered from various eye-diseases.
The murderers did not blame their victims of converting Muslims, because everyone knew that they did not convert anyone. The Christians were blamed for carrying Persian (Farsi) Bibles! It was their Christ-like, self-sacrificing service that became a serious threat to Islam.
I knew two of the victims – Dan Terry and Tom Little. They were the team leaders. Our daughters studied with theirs and for two years our families lived next door. I talked more with Dan because he was more talkative. Dan, 64, first went to serve Afghanistan in 1971, much before the Soviet invasion or the Taliban takeover. Their organization, International Assistance Mission (IAM), was registered with the Afghan government as a Christian group. It had signed the “Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response Programmes”. One of these “Principles” stipulates that aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint. IAM was strict about following the “No Preaching” policy. That is why many Muslims invited them to their towns and villages and protected them. The team travelled unarmed and without security. Why would devout Muslims fear such dedicated public servants?
Dan explained the puzzle to me: “We do not preach,” he said, “but everyone knows that we serve because we follow Christ. Therefore, many intelligent Afghans come to us privately and say, ‘Our land is under a curse – the curse of Islam. We want freedom to seek truth. But we are kept in bondage at gun-point.’”
Opposition to Truthseeking
So, why does Islam deny individuals the freedom to seek and find truth?
It is because Islam is not public truth. It is based on private revelations of an individual and private revelations cannot be cross-examined.  Even though four centuries after Christ, Roman paganism injected intolerance and bigotry into the church, Christianity was able to resist it and institutionalize religious liberty because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a private revelation: It is public truth; many eye-witnesses saw Jesus die for our sin and rise again.
But why is Hindutva scared of giving to individuals the freedom to investigate truth and choose their own religious or non-religious beliefs? Why does it see individual liberty as a grave political threat to its existence?
content_The_Living_God_invited_the_Hebrews
content_Through_an_advertisementThrough an advertisement in Hindustan Times (July 27, 2010, Page 4) the Law Commission of the Government of India has notified the public that it is considering a national legislation on conversion. Some people suspect that the legislation under consideration may be a subtle avatar of the law that was first proposed in late 1970s, during Morarji Desai’s rule, to restrict an Indian individual’s freedom to choose his or her faith. The Commission, however, says that its primary reason for considering this legislation is a formal request by Kerala High Court. The court has found it difficult to resolve divorce cases that involve inter-religious marriages. For example, if a Hindu marries a Muslim, should the divorce be according to Hindu Marriage Act or Muslim Marriage Act? The High Court feels that resolving such cases will be simplified if one of the spouses “legally” converts to another’s faith. The problem is: requiring truth-seekers to file legal papers declaring their new faith will endanger their businesses, inheritance and even life. If a Brahmin woman filed legal papers that she had become a Muslim, Hindutva forces might even start a riot. Kerala High Court’s suggestion then may solve a few technical problems in a private case, but create umpteen public problems.
The Truth Behind Myths
content_The_Truth_Behind_MythsSo, why is Hindutva so opposed to our religious liberty?  I understood Hindutva’s problem during a winter vacation in Tamil Nadu. We were visiting the world-famous Meenakshi temples in Madurai. Our guide was enjoying lecturing to us, since our host, the principal of a local woman’s college and her daughter, had accompanied my wife, our young (minor) daughters and me. After learning much about the grandeur of ancient Hindu religion, culture and architecture, I asked the guide, “Isn’t this a tantric temple? Isn’t this a platform where sexual orgies would have happened in this holy temple?”
The guide blushed and took me away from the ladies. He began to point out the mini erotic sculptures that are easy to miss seeing in that huge temple complex. “This temple had bigger and better erotic sculptures than Khajuraho,” said the guide, “but they have been vandalised and stolen. Yes, that platform is where the priests and royalty had sexual orgies with devadasis (female “slaves of gods”).
I left the temple saying to myself, “Indian women have such a strong sense of modesty: how did these brahmacharis (celebate priests) get the women to have sex with them in public?”
From Madurai we went to Madras (now Chennai) to see the famous Mylapore temple. Before we got off the bus, the guide told us the story behind the temple: “Shiva and Parvati were sitting here. A peacock came and Parvati got distracted. Shiva was angry and cursed Parvati. Immediately, she became a peacock. She was terrified and began to worship Shivalingam (Shiva’s penis) morning and evening, until Shiva was pleased and turned her back into a woman.”
“What a crazy story!” was my spontaneous reaction, “Why would anyone build such a magnificent temple to commemorate such an absurd story?”
content_The_modern_notionIt so happened that I was using that winter vacation to read Greek philosopher Plato’s famous book Republic. On the way from Madurai I had been reading the section where Plato proposes that philosopher kings (Brahmins in our context) should not marry. Wives want to have babies and then they nag you, demanding time, attention and energy to bring up those babies! Philosopher kings shouldn’t have to bother with crying, messy babies that want to be cuddled. Therefore, they should have a community of wives. The best women should be reserved for their use, but the children produced should be brought up by nurses and teachers paid for by the Republic.
Plato’s proposal has attracted many. The problem, however, is why would a woman give herself to someone, who makes no long-term commitment to love her and take care of her? Plato’s solution was that philosophers should invent religious stories (myths) that motivate women to have sex with them. In other words, a clever leader (religious and political) should make no commitment to love a woman and take responsibility to nurture their children; he should invent religious stories to manipulate her into pleasing him. On a printed page, Plato’s proposal was nothing more than a cold, abstract, rational paragraph that failed to grab my attention. But the story behind the temple made it alive. Mylapore temple was also a tantric temple. Tantra was the state religion in most Hindu states. The temple was built to manipulate women to worship the penis. The main temple had fallen in the 19th century and much of the present temple was rebuilt without erotic sculptures, because under Muslim and European influence, Tantra had gone underground.
Myths are no better than private revelations. They cannot be cross-examined and judged to be untrue. Manipulative myths that serve the priests’ interest require force for their survival. Plato denounced democracy as the worst of all political systems. He felt that philosopher-kings (Brahmins) must rule, and they should not give to the masses, slaves or women the right to question their motives or myths. Plato’s disciple Aristotle trained Alexander the Great to be a philosopher-king, who became one of history’s most ruthless tyrants. All his life, Alexander enjoyed company and advice of philosophers!
Only Truth Is Tolerant
Democracy is dangerous. It gives to “little” individuals the freedom to question and discard manipulative religious myths perpetrated and perpetuated by “big” philosophers and thinkers. Mahatma Jotiba Phule said that we are backward because a vast majority of the Shudras have not yet become Truthseekers – thoughtful people who will question the manipulative myths of our Brahmin-priests and have the courage to discard myths in favour of truth.
Truth is tolerant because it is not afraid of free and serious examination. Truth sets us free. That is why the living God invited the Hebrews (Jews) and all people to seek and find Him. He told them not to allow their leaders to make false gods for them. Idols with their supporting myths are created to enslave and exploit.
Those whose power comes from false gods are afraid of our religious liberty … and they should be. Therefore, on the pretext of addressing some exception to the general rule – e.g. divorce by an interfaith couple – let not the Law Commission and the Government of India abridge or abrogate our fundamental freedom, enshrined in the Indian Constitution, to believe, practice and propagate the truth.  May India live up to Mahatma Phule’s personal motto and now our national motto –  Satyameva Jayate! Truth Alone Triumphs!
Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi’s letters to Arun Shourie, Missionary Conspiracy: Letters to a Postmodern Hindu can be obtained from www.RevelationMovement.com
Please join www.RevelationMovement.com and become a regular donor to make it possible for us to make a weekly video for YouTube.
This is article XV in a series “Why Are We Backward?”  Permission to reprint this article can be obtained from Ivan Kostka at Aspire.Prakashan@gmail.com

Download Sample

Download Sample

Please enter your name and email address to receive the Free sample book.

You have Successfully Subscribed!