A lie told a thousand times

 

A lie told a thousand times

My sister’s friend picked me up at the airport. I will refrain from naming him, but it is sufficient to say that I consider him a gentleman, a great human being and a devout Hindu. From the minute we drove off, our conversation spanned a million conversations. We covered politics, technology, society and faith.

It is the faith issue that got my ears puckered up in the context of conversion. Quite casually I dismissed the so called ‘conversion bogey’ that I have come to believe has settled in the minds of many Indians. The belief (no longer an accusation) is that Christians are rampantly converting in India; this with foreign funding from the Vatican. To my surprise he confirmed that of late he has been receiving a slew of messages on this very topic, making this lie almost believable in his mind and may I say with conviction, into the minds of many Indians!

There is something going horribly wrong in our nation since the last couple of years. A campaign of hate and fear has been spread, fuelled by the callous responsibility to the truth that comes with the ‘compulsion’ to share everything via social media. Little thought is being given to the truth behind the messages sent to us and even less to the consequences of spreading it to others. Taking recourse behind the words “forwarded as received” is like Pilate washing his hands over the death of Jesus; it does not exonerate you from the sin of slander.

In the past few years the bogey of conversions seems to have been doing its rounds at a rapid pace and such kind of propaganda worries me, for when my sister’s friend admitted that he has received this message more than twenty five times in the country he now resides in, it sets me wondering about the consequences in India!

It is to the Nazi, Joseph Goebbels that the line “repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth” has been attributed. His kind was notorious for spreading a propaganda of hate and fear, sadly to the disastrous consequence of the extermination of more than a million Jews. All this was done with a campaign  that first rode on whispers behind closed doors. When the Nazis came to power, the campaign became state sponsored. When the seeds of hate are sown, the harvest of that hate happens swiftly and without warning, as has happened across the world and even in India.

There is no truth what so ever to the so called Vatican money flowing into this country, none what so ever! The laws of this country with regard to foreign funding are stringent for religious and charitable organizations, and New Delhi most certainly has its eye on movements of money into and out of this country be it any individual or organization.

There is no truth at all to the Catholic Church converting people by lure or force. I can vouch under oath that even if someone approached me as a priest with a request to become a Catholic, I would view him or her with suspicion (unfortunately), and then by the directives set by the Archdiocese, the person undergoes a year of discernment and training.

The bogey of mass conversions to Christianity is a lie and nothing short of it; a lie that is fed by the propaganda machine of political and religious groups that use it for short term goals that  permanently scar this nation of ours. And even if we stand accused of mass conversion, then the evidence of numbers should simply be our vindication, for the numbers of Christians in this nation has remained the same; long years after Independence!

Let’s look at some FACTS: The Indian government statistics show that Christians form 2.3 per cent of the population, a number that has never gone up. The fact remains that 40% of educated Indians at some point have studied in a Christian institution. Eleven out of thirteen Presidents of India and nine out of sixteen Prime Ministers of India studied in Christian institutions. If the alleged Christian agenda is to convert India, then our Christian institutions are doing a terrible job.

What must be said unapologetically is the contribution of this tiny two point three per cent of nationalists to nation building; in its contribution to the field of education both formal and non-formal in the villages of India, to medical care as seen in the running of hospitals and dispensaries, in the running of institutions be they orphanages, homes for the destitute or elderly, and in the relief and welfare of the poor.

Perhaps the greatest forced conversion is being imposed by the ideology of vested interests, who for their political gain, perpetuate hate and lies against minorities and never cease or attempt to change every belief, from history to culture, often using the machinery of the state to meet their devious ends. Such persons can never lay claim to nationalism for they are truly anti-national.

Let freedom ring in our nation and not the noisy gongs of hate and division.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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6 thoughts on “A lie told a thousand times”

  • Thanku soo much for writing on this Fr. Despite all the cases of violence on catholics in places like Orissa and other parts of the country, a lot of my office collegues still feel we catholics make an issue out of these one off cases that happen in small towns in India and that we as a minority feel worried about our future existence in the nation……more so becoz the media doesn’t report these issues and nothing watsoever spoken about the hidden agenda of the government….
    For many non catholics i know of, Christian missions are a synonymous to conversion…
    Once again, thankyou so much for speaking about this Fr….

    Reply
  • You have hit the nail on the head Fr. Warner. Most of the propaganda goes by hitting the ‘send ‘button and as you say a lie told a hundred times gets locked in our minds. Noone wishes to test the authenticity of the forward received. They feel happy to be like the media the first to report some hot news never mind if it is false. I love your candid spirit Fr. Warner ans it is good for all of us

    Reply
  • Aren’t Christians supposed to convert others ? Isn’t it the very purpose of Christianity – to spread Christ’s message ? Not by force or by deception, but by incessant talk about the Gospel and the Kingdom of Heaven. Your article proves that Christians are shying away from their duty in India and leading unholy, impure and imperfect lives !

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    • David
      Christians are supposed to evangelise and not not convert. Only God converts. We in India never shy from preaching we are under attack for simply being Christians. The accusation is a lie and that’s what the article is all about.

      Reply
  • Fantastic. This is a planned campaign to fuel hate n division.

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  • Amazingly well-stated, Fr.Warner and brutally true! Both about the thoughtless HABIT of “forwarding” the sensational without corroborating the facts, as well as about the underlying political propaganda. About the latter, I’m really glad you touched upon the analogy of Joseph Goebbels role in the Nazi Regime… as many a time I have had the same feeling… only this is WORSE as Hitler had ONE Joseph Goebbels…. and we have sooooo many political puppets here, that it scares us at the magnanimous possibility of history repeating itself. Only the Lord can help us now… esp by speaking to the hearts and minds of people in power. Let’s keep the FAITH and do OUR part in spreading the TRUTH (as you are doing). Have a Blessed Day.

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