There is nothing wrong with accepting money to change your religion. Everyone knows that brands can offer incentives to promote their products. So what is wrong with religions tempting people with money, food, or education to join their club? <br></br>
creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Albert Freeman: http://flickr.com/photos/albertfreeman/8642760030

There is nothing wrong with accepting money to change your religion. Everyone knows that brands can offer incentives to promote their products. So what is wrong with religions tempting people with money, food, or education to join their club?

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Albert Freeman: http://flickr.com/photos/albertfreeman/8642760030

What is Wrong with Religious Conversions for Money?

I see nothing wrong with organizations like the RSS and VHP paying people to convert (or reconvert) back to Hinduism. This “Ghar Wapsi” project is exactly what they should be doing. As long as there is no force or physical coercion involved, paying people to convert is exactly the same as Christian missionaries increasing the flock by promising better education or food.

Let’s face it – religion is a product. A club. Now when Pepsi wants to increase its market share, what does it do? It entices customers. It provides coupons, discounts, special draws, prizes, organizes events and what not. And if Coke wants to match that, it needs to come up with counter offers of its own. That’s how the free market works. If you want others to consume your product, you need to give them a reason to convert. Why should religion be any different?

Belonging to a religion is exactly like belonging to a club. You just need a club ID card.

“But religion isn’t a product!” you say. But why not? This whole nonsense about “conversion” has nothing to do with beliefs. It never has. You think a Christian priest has the power to magically reach into someone’s head and make them believe something all at once? Is there any test, any exam before a person formally changes their religion? No! It’s all about what you put on paper as your religion. That’s all religion is – a piece of paper. Get it out of your head that all this conversion bullshit has anything to do with actual belief.

Belonging to a religion is exactly like belonging to a club. To be a member, you need a club ID card, that is all. It doesn’t matter if you never go to the club, or if you don’t believe in the club’s “ideals”. What matters is only one thing: “What ID card do you have?”

Now if someone tries to use illegal force to threaten someone into carrying a “Hindu” ID card, I have a problem with that. Whatever happens, needs to be done out of a person’s free will – and that includes converting for incentives. There are those who illogically argue that offering someone money or food is “forced conversion”. That’s a load of crap. There is no such thing as a forced conversion – at least not in modern India. Unless someone holds a gun or a sword to your head and threatens to kill you if you don’t convert, all conversions are voluntary by definition.

There is no such thing as a forced conversion

Most of the time I find myself at odds with the RSS’s ideologies and the Hindutva types in general. But on this issue, I perfectly agree. They have realized that religion is a free market. Like any product, it has to be advertised and promoted. To do that, you need incentives. And Christian missionaries as well as Islamic leaders have been doing this for decades. Not just in India, but everywhere else.

Why should Hinduism be denied the opportunity to get a piece of the action? Not allowing the RSS to pay people to convert to Hinduism is unfair competition. Just like Reliance Broadband needs to provide me with incentives to use their service, the RSS is giving people benefits to carry their “Hinduism” membership card. What is wrong with that?

In fact, we need to take this one step further. People should wisen up and not sell their religion cheaply. We need to have a platform where various religions can bid for the allegiance of any given person. For example, if I proclaim that I want to change my religion, I should be able to receive bids from the RSS, the Christian missionaries, and the Islamic leaders. Let these bids be publicly visible so I can get a better price.

And what’s more, I want to keep doing this regularly. This week, I take 2 lakhs to become a Hindu. Tomorrow, I will accept 5 lakhs to be a Christian. After all, there are no contracts, and no “minimum terms” for conversion right?

I think this is a great time to be a consumer in the religion market. There are lots of service providers, each of which is vying for my attention. I will carry the membership card of that religious club which offers me the best benefits.

Why should the government interfere?

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Comments

  1. Totally agree. Religions are nothing more than glorified club memberships and government has no business regulating them. The only role of the government should be to ensure a fair and free market along with consumer protection for conversions.

    India has too many caveats in law for religion. I would vote for all of them being removed and for religion being treated exclusively as a club membership. This of course means uniform civil code. But it would also mean ending special accommodations for people at work places just because they belong to a particular religion. A lot of people will argue that religion is something you are born with, just like gender and sexual orientation. This could not be further from the truth. What it is is social conditioning from childhood. We don’t excuse criminals just because they were raised by criminal parents or taught criminal activity from childhood, religious exemptions fall under the same category.

    Reply

    • In reply to Clueless

      Exactly. I think the Indian government doesn’t understand the word “secularism”. It should mean ignoring religion entirely and pretending that it doesn’t exist. Instead of that, it’s become about protecting and coddling it more than necessary.

      Completely useless.

      Reply

    • In reply to Clueless

      I have converted to Hindu recently and I was Muslim before but now Muslims have demolished my shop for all.
      Now no Hindu organization is helping me when I need money to resettle.
      Should I go back to Islam

      Reply

  2. Sharing.

    Reply

  3. Finally a blog post on this issue I can agree with! I’ve been shouting myself hoarse on this one. For years all this conversion has been going on. If a poor family gets money or some facilities it wants, why not? And if you have a problem with it, impose a uniform Civil Code. Do not have one faith feel more entitled than the other. Once that is done, lets have a anti-conversion law.

    Reply

  4. Love the post. Sharing this on my page. :)
    And the last bit somehow reminded me of how IPL players are bought and sold like cattle during the IPL and 20-20 season. If they can do it so can we! :D

    Reply

    • In reply to Arushi

      We sure can. This is a great way for people to get some extra cash – keep selling their religion. Sooner or later, the Christian missionaries, the RSS etc will wise up and stop this nonsense.

      Reply

  5. We shouldn’t allow Abraham of religions to do conversions in india because those religions ultimately demand separate country based on religion. So it’s really political. That’s unacceptable.
    Hence goodbye islam chriatianity. Keep your one jealous god concept at your home. We indians believe in multiple gods and multiple casts and communities. To each his own.

    Reply

    • In reply to Ranga

      I suggest you read my other article on why conversions for money are a good thing.

      http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/2014/philosophy/christian-missionaries-show-some-fucking-gratitude.html/

      We need more conversions – not less. If you want to alleviate poverty, you can’t object to people selling their religions for a better life. It’s their choice.

      Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Sure I too agree but then it should not be termed as religious conversion with names of God etc. Its.just a business transaction. But using missionaries and house of worship like church to do that is cheating. How can government allow cheating so openly when the ulterior motive is increasing the headcount.? Also converted people are ultimately controlled from outside by Vatican or some arab mullah. How can indian gov let our own indians be controlled by outside forces in the garb of religion? How many Indians will have to die quelling insurgencies by these converted people? See from a government perspective things are different. FYI now there are several Hindu organizations doing selfless work to up lift our own downtrodden. It’s plain cheating and trickery for rich western nations to convert needy poor indians to their religion. It leads to disaster and ethnic wars. Look how Muslims kill one another in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the name of sunnyi shia ahmedia etc. Look how Africans are literally massacring one another in the name of Islam and christianity. That’s exactly what happens to converted people. Just go on rampaging others. So indian govt can’t allow indians to be converted to prevent ethnic wars in the future funded by western powers and Arabic nations. Poor converted people become scapegoats in the political game plan of external powers. Indian govt will never let indians face such a fate. Before it’s too late bring the converted into their original culture so that they don’t face the age Fate that their brethren are facing in Africa and pak/afghan…shamelessly being controlled by major powers. India has and must protect its downtrodden from the insidiously and nefarious game plan of external powers.

        Reply

      • In reply to Ranga

        Of course it’s a business transaction. Religion is a business. You are good in order to receive favors from god. If you do bad, you will be punished. It’s all business. God is a business.

        Just like Pepsi attracts me with offers, religions attract followers with offers.

        Personally I would be very happy if all poor people converted to some religion and took money to improve their lives. Money is important. Religion is not.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Well. Most poor people could be bought for a price by religions. But since religious conversions are putting the converted in grave danger of being brainwashed and remote controlled thereby putting them in peril of genocidal wars,, it cannot be allowed by indians. There are after all lessons learned from Pakistan Africa and even the Jewish holocaust. Indian converted cannot be put in harms way. .indians will not allow that. Let Abrahamic religious fight themselves out but keep indians out if it. We Hindus are finally coming to the rescue of our downtrodden. We will not let them be sold out to external forces. We will restore the self respect of those tricked into converting.

        Reply

      • In reply to Ranga

        Nonsense. The overwhelming majority of Christians in today’s world are peaceful. Any violence today is not done in the name of Christianity, but politics. It doesn’t matter in the least whether everyone is a Christian, or a Hindu, or whatever.

        In fact, going by what Hindutva types believe about aircraft and all in ancient India, it’s pretty obvious to me that they are the ones who are brainwashed.

        I’m happy that poor people can be bought for a price. At least then they can sell something useless to them and improve their lives.

        Answer me this: Give a poor person a choice between “culture”, and a better life or better education. Which do you think they will choose?

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Why poor people, you give a choice between material goods and religion to a middle-class or rich people and you will get the same answer- better material conditions of life.

        Is it a surprise that the majority of well-off Muslims in India chose sharabi-pork kababi, barrister Mohammad Ali Jinnah over hazi, namazi Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Religiosity does not seem to be the defining factor.

        Reply

    • In reply to Ranga

      In case you have read history, the Maulvis and Maulanas fought against Pakistan while the Muslims trained in Western education demanded it. The reason was not religion but the simple fact that upper and middle class Muslims were unable to compete with upper and midle class Hindus for government jobs.

      Reply

  6. So you agree it’s all politics at the end of the day. Missionaries trying to save lost souls are really playing politics isn’t it? A poor man could choose to be bought for some price I agree. But since conversion is all about politics, govt cant allow that. Harvesting lost souls is all BS. It’s about buying loyalties. Hence it’s morally incorrect. It’s like prostitution. Selling yourself for money. Sure you can argue why the gov should bother if a poor person is selling her body for money. I will let you answer that. So conversion is just like prostitution. Gov can’t allow. Also over whelming majority of christians are peaceful because 95% of christians are in the western countries. West is rich and powerful hence no violence due to religion. But western nations using money power to convert indians only leads to rift with indians in the name of religion. We don’t need that in india. You really think Hindus will just keep quiet when their own brethren are changed to christianity and islam? I have seen enough christians who spew hatred on their own ancestral culture. We don’t need that kind of nuisance in India. With enough numbers land demands start. So no, conversion to foreign cultures can not a personal choice. It’s a law and order issue. It’s also a national security issue. No sudden changing of names to some foreign sounding names. No sudden shifting of loyalties to foreign cultures. And no identity based on religion should be allowed in india. All indians are Hindus whether you pray to Jesus or Ram or allah. Hindus pray multiple gods and Jesus and allah just are one Form among countless others in india. I too have a picture of Jesus at home but in the company of several indian gods. No conversion business allowed in india. Just take the money from missionaries and put a picture of Jesus next to ram and Krishna at home. Simple. Concept of complete change in religion identities is illegal in india. Because we Hindus don’t have a concept of religion. Just multiple gods.

    Reply

    • In reply to Ranga

      Religion IS politics. God is business. Belonging to a religion is like belonging to a club. The government cannot interfere in a free market.

      And yes – prostitution should be legalized. It will be one day when we have a more enlightened government.

      Show me some studies to support your assertion that Christians will turn violent when converted, then we’ll talk. Otherwise you’re just making up facts to support a flawed argument.

      Yes, Hindus will keep quiet when they see other Hindus converting. You know why? Because it’s none of their business.

      All Indians are not Hindus. All Indians are actually Africans. We need a “ghar wapsi” project to convert all Indians into Africans. With spears :P.

      The government should just derecognize all religions. End of story.

      Reply

  7. Very good article. I completely agree. I suggest there should be a database where the going rates for conversion are mentioned so that there are well-defined price signals, which are essential for functioning of any market.

    Reply

  8. If any rich religious Hindu , can anyone fund me 1 crore INR and request me to convert the religion, I will do under certain conditions and start a new life somewhere.
    mail me. Money is very important.
    I don’t get it even if I request it in the hardcore believers of my religion so survival is priority than the worship.

    mohomadmifaz@gmail.com

    Reply

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