Monday, January 26, 2009

The Anti-Conversion Bill is a much needed legislation,

With the triumph of the Armed Forces over terrorism in the North, the presentation of the Anti-conversion Bill in the Parliament for its second reading is a triumph over the continued erosion of Sri Lankan Cultural values.
The erosion of our cultural values started with the conquering Nations from the west laying their feet on our shores to colonise the country. They brought along with them the Missionaries to convert the heathens- as our forefathers were called by them, and educate them to bring them into the fold of their Christian civilization.
Many generations after, our people who had been converted to the religion of the conquerors, have forgotten that their forefathers were denied the freedom of conscience and the freedom of expression in the choice of the new faith, but accepted to be converted to a foreign religion of which they knew nothing, merely for the privileges that were offered to them for accepting their Gods.
For the Buddhists as much as it was for the Hindus, the foreign Gods of the Colonial rulers were false Gods forced on their people in the process of a planned conversion to the faith of the Colonialists, to prepare the natives to accept the colonial rule as a divine system of governance prepared for them by their Gods.
The religion was an important arm of the conquerors to bring the natives into the their faith, to make it easy for them to rule the conquered countries, without opposition and rebellions. The British colonialists sent specialists in to their new colonies, to study the religious faith of the people, to prove to them the falsity of their faith, and the value of their own . They continued their conversion by very subtle ways introducing the religions to the poor and uninstructed persons., and to ambitious elements who sought wealth and privileges.
However, there was a British scholar a son of a Welsh Congregational Minister Mr.T.W.Rhys Davids who after passing the Civil Service exam was posted to then Ceylon. He was the Assistant Government Agent in Anuradhapura. Unlike the British Soldiers, Administrators and the Missionaries Rhys Davis was an intellectual and a scholar. He had studied Sanskrit . In Sri Lanka he came across Pali-the language in which the Buddhists texts had been written.
Mr.Rhys Davids, studied Pali and read the Canonical writing of Buddhism. He was greatly interested in the teachings of the Buddha, finding in it an incomparable depth of meaning. And unlike our fore fathers, who not being well learned in Buddhism, readily embraced a foreign religion of lesser value, for employment and privileges offered by their colonial masters, Mr.T.W.Rhys Davids promoted Theravada Buddhism, and Pali Language in England.
Speaking about Buddhism Mr. Rhys Davids had said, “Buddhist or not Buddhist, I have examined every one of the great religious systems of the world, and in none of them have I found anything to surpass, in beauty and comprehensiveness, the Noble Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha. I am content to shape my life according to that path."
Mr.RMB Senanayake writing an article against the Anti-Conversion Bill say, that Jesus had said that the Word of God must be proclaimed throughout the world. Jesus warned that it was not going to be easy for it would entail persecution but it is not an exhortation but a command which every Christian is expected to follow. We Christians are required to follow Gods commandments rather than man’s where they clash. So it is our duty to oppose the so-called Anti-Conversion Law.
But we the Buddhists are not bound like Mr.RMB Senanayake to follow commandments of any God, and therefore, we have a right to defend Buddhism, and stop the continued attempts to rob our people of their faith in Buddhism, because of their poverty, or ignorance of the greater value of Buddhism, against those who attempt to convert them as the Colonial Missionaries converted our forefathers to believe in their false Gods.
There are no genuine conversions , or imitation conversions, all conversions or attempts to convert are wrong and should be opposed. For that purpose the present Anti-conversion Bill is a much needed implement long awaited by right thinking persons. No legislation is 100 percent perfect. It is in being implemented that imperfections could be put to right. Therefore we should in the first place have a Bill passed and available to be implemented to stop further acts of conversion.
It is in the name of conducting humanitarian work that the “crime” of conversion had been going on unobserved. Therefore, such work should be taken over by non-religious institutions. Sri Lanka is predominantly a Buddhist Country, and Hinduism is the second important religion, and both these religions are affected by Christian conversions, and therefore the Anti Conversion Bill is an important legislation, to stop furher activities of conversion.

No comments: