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Religious minorities and the mainstream in a pluralist secular democracy- Part 1

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  • Bar 'Eato Briro Dr. D. Babu Paul
    Part - I Before I begin I must clarify why I have used the word �����religious�����. It is to exclude linguistic, ethnic, rich, educated and such other
    Message 1 of 3365 , Jan 14, 2006
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      Part - I

      Before I begin I must clarify why I have used the word �religious�. It
      is to exclude linguistic, ethnic, rich, educated and such other categories
      of minorities and simultaneously convey that pluralism means religious
      pluralism in the context of this article.

      Let me now present the quintessence of my thesis. My first point is that
      INDIA IS A RAINBOW, WHICH WITHOUT MINORITIES WILL BE ONLY A BOW: A RAINBOW
      IS A THING OF BEAUTY WHILE A BOW WOULD MAKE ONE LOOK FOR ARROWS. Secondly, I
      submit that the minorities should not insulate themselves from, but rather
      they should necessarily integrate themselves with the mainstream: in the
      language of Christian theologians one may say that the minorities should get
      themselves rid of the � mission compound concept� of the Kingdom of God.
      Thirdly, the minority rights should be exercised with transparency and
      accountability; wherever these special privileges become sources of
      corruption and alienation they should be handled with caution, and totally
      given up if necessary because it is better to enter heaven with one eye
      rather than be confined to hell with both eyes intact. My next point would
      be to say that while conversion is left to the conscience of the citizen it
      should be ensured that it is a transparent exercise; minorities should
      volunteer to accept legal monitoring of their conversions. Finally, I
      believe that the advocacy and enlightenment role of minorities should
      continue; it should not be confused as a communal activity; this would also
      imply the responsibility of the majority community to ensure control of
      their �lunatic fringe�.

      At this stage I think it is necessary to properly understand certain words
      and expressions. Communalism should be defined as the collapse or
      malfunctioning of a religious community vis-�-vis the rest of society; being
      religious should not be confused with being communal. Another word that is
      thoroughly misunderstood is evangelisation. It should rightly refer only to
      the speech part; acceptance or rejection is the choice of the listener.
      Gospel means good news. Evangelisation means sharing the gospel. If the one
      who hears does not consider the news as not so good the matter should end
      there: that is what the Bible records as the advice of Jesus. Church
      planting is another word that confuses a lot of people. This relatively
      recent expression basically means formation of small groups of believers who
      consider themselves as specially separated from the world: it is more of a
      threat to mainstream churches than to non- Christians. Another common
      misunderstanding of the outsider is about the words charismatic and
      miracle- healing. Without at this stage going into the theological nuances I
      would like to broadly state that these are words that offer a refracted view
      rather than a truly reflected theological position. One more word needs to
      be understood clearly before we proceed further. That is fundamentalism.
      This word is often confused nowadays with extremism. Actually this word came
      into use at the beginning of this century in southern California. Two
      devoted Christians felt that the average person who goes around as Christian
      was identifying more with the values of this world than what was fundamental
      to Christian faith as set out in the Holy Bible. They therefore raised a
      call �RETURN TO FUNDAMENTALS� which meant that every word in the Bible had
      to be taken literally and made the basis of everyday life. This is why you
      do not see a Christian fundamentalist indulging in violence. In fact this is
      also the reason why I say that a Hindu who is intolerant is not repeat not a
      Hindu fundamentalist because a fundamentalist Hindu cannot be intolerant!

      To be continued.....

      Bar 'Eato Briro Dr. D. Babu Paul
      Member Id No: 075
    • SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com
      Dear honorable members Greetings in HIS name To keep the forum debate s authenticity, we the moderators of this forum, have decided to implement a new
      Message 3365 of 3365 , Jun 1 5:47 AM
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        Dear honorable members

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