Coming home to intuition and reason – from blind belief

The topic of conversion has become centre stage in India – not because millions have been converted from their Hindu faith to Christianity and Islam in recent years, but because some 50 Muslim families came back to Hindu Dharma.

‘How dare Hindus do what only Christians and Muslims are entitled to?’ seems to be the motto. Strangely, not only representatives of the dogmatic religions and western mainstream media, including the New York Times, are outraged, but even Indians with Hindu names. Why would they bat for religions that require blind faith, and not for their own Dharma that is based on deep philosophy? The reason may be that many Indians are ignorant, when it comes to religion. They neither know their own tradition, as they have been to convent schools or grown up in westernized families, nor do they know the insidious effect of dogmatic religions as they never were insiders.

Since I grew up as a Christian, I may see clearer why the dogmatic religions depend on conversion and indoctrination to gain followers. The reason is simple: Suppose a community on some island is completely unconnected to the modern world. They will never become Christians or Muslims because they would need to be told a story about God sending his only son to earth 2000 years ago, etc. and then they would need to believe it blindly and get baptized. Yet if these islanders had wondered about the truth, they might have come to similar conclusions like Sanatana Dharma, as it doesn’t depend on some event in history. It only requires dedicated, deep enquiry into “That What Truly Is – Now And Always”.

Everyone, who learns about Christianity and Islam, will right away discover illogicality: both religions claim that they are the only true religion and all human beings have to follow it, and both also claim that the Creator of this universe has endorsed this claim. Now such claim would be of great consequence, if it were true. However, none of the contenders for the “only truth” provides any proof. To cover this up, they put forth an ingenious idea: “You will know that it is the truth when you are dead. After you die you will be rewarded with heaven for believing what we tell you.”
“And what if it is not true?” may someone have asked.
“What!! You doubt the word of God? You deserve to be put to death!” was the harsh answer given by both religious ideologies over many centuries.

So apart from dangling the carrot regarding the other world, they also used the stick in this world. The threat: “If you don’t believe what we tell you, you will be killed”, was not only the hissing of a snake. It was a deadly bite. Christianity stopped killing in the name of God only some 250 years ago and Islam is still at it, with ISIS or Boko Haram being examples of inhuman brutalities in the name of Allah.

Why would they do this? Do they really believe that it is God’s command? I don’t know. But I guess that ultimately it is about power and big money and not about “saving souls”, as claimed.

The strategy to claim divine approval for the demands of a small group had mind boggling results. After some 2000 years for Christianity and 1400 years for Islam, 2 billion human beings consider themselves as Christians and 1,5 billion as Muslims. Imagine, Christianity started with a small group in Palestine and later in Rome, and Islam started with a small group in Mecca and later in Medina. These huge numbers are no doubt extraordinary. However, it was paid for with a heavy price by countless individuals who felt not convinced by the dogmas and behavior of the clergy, but had to conform if they held their lives dear. Further, societies under the sway of Christianity and Islam were neither free, nor happy.

One’s own conscience needed to be suspended in favour of the religious doctrine. I learnt it in catechism class as a child: ”If there is conflict between one’s conscience and what the Church says, one has to follow the Church.”

This demand is serious and shows that not all is well with those religions. Is conscience, supported by sound reason, not our moral barometer? Is freedom of conscience not guaranteed in the Declaration of Human Rights? Is it not dangerous to demand suspension in favour of an ideology that may promote, apart from good, also unethical behavior? Should such ideologies that demand blind allegiance not be intensely scrutinized in the interest of humanity?

ISIS terrorists are a case in point. Have those youngsters no conscience? Or has it been silenced by the Quranic injunction to wage Jihad for Allah? They brush away any human feeling and justify their worst, violent instincts. Do they really believe they will be rewarded with paradise for slaughtering other human beings in whom the same one life and love is throbbing?

There are other features of the dogmatic religions that don’t stand up to scrutiny:

For example the claim that the creator – God or Allah – is watching us from ‘somewhere’. He (alleged to be male) is not our essence according to the dogmatic religions. To claim, as Indian traditions do, that the cause/ creator is permeating the whole universe, and we are in our innermost being one with That, is considered heresy. Several Christian and Muslim mystics were killed for expressing their experience of being one with the Whole.

Another doubtful claim is that human beings have only one life, and on the basis of this one life, eternity will be decided – either heaven or hell. Simply by reasoning, this seems unlikely. Then there are many cases (over 3000 are documented in the archive of the University of Virginia, USA.) where persons remembered their past life and gave details about their previous life that nobody could know. Moreover, the law of karma makes much more sense when it is stretched over many lives.

Another point is the attitude towards animals and nature. Man is considered as the crown of creation and the rest is there for his service. It is clearly a harmful attitude and the west is in the process of changing it. Butchering animals on a daily basis by the millions can’t be the ‘right’ of man. It demeans him. Vegetarianism is, at least in theory, seen as a solution to many problems.

Extremely harmful is also another attitude: Arrogance towards those, who don’t belong to one’s religion, as they are damned by the Highest himself. “Don’t think about truth” is told to children and adults. “Man can never know the truth. God had to reveal it and he has revealed it only in the Bible”, claims Christianity or “only in Quran”, claims Islam. And they assure their flock: “You belong to the chosen ones. You are very lucky”.

Unfortunately, this claim caters to a weakness in human beings. Who doesn’t like to feel superior to others, and more so, when it is divinely ordained? Further, to belong to a big group of like-minded people gives a sense of strength. The only requirement is ‘blind faith’ in return. It may seem a small price, but it is huge. It undermines one’s integrity and humanness.

Christianity stopped killing those who dissent with the dogmas of the Church, but “conversion” of heathen is still considered the sacred duty of every good Christian. Muslims, too, have to bring the whole world to worship only Allah and obviously, the agenda is still unfinished. “Conversion” has necessarily an element of coercion – allurement, deception or threat – because believing unverifiable claims as absolute truth does not come naturally. Both religions didn’t grow to those huge numbers by convincing arguments, as there are no convincing arguments. They grew by conversion and by indoctrination of small children born to those who were converted. Every sane, liberal person should welcome a ban on conversions by coercion.

Westerners are gradually getting out from the grip of forced Christianity. Theirs was a joyless religion and many are tired of it. They don’t believe anymore that only one way leads to truth; they consider rebirth as possible and become vegetarians. They are influenced by Indian thought and those who visited India are almost envious of the joyful, sacred atmosphere of spiritual India. Just attending for example Ganga Arti or Ramayana Parayanam induces automatically a feeling of awe, wonder and joy.

“We are all Hindus now” was the title of an article in Newsweek a few years ago that summarized the preference among many Americans for Indian insights that are based on reason and intuition, instead of blindly believing in Christian dogmas. This does not mean that those Americans stop praying to Jesus or won’t sing Christmas carols, but they don’t swallow the whole belief system anymore. They use their conscience and intelligence, and refuse to believe incredible dogmas, like that heathen go to hell. This means, they are more like Hindus.

Westerners become more Hindu and persons with Hindu names shout on Indian TV that Indians that were converted must continue to wear their straightjacket and must not be allowed to come back to their eternal, joyful Dharma. Further, these same persons have no objection that Christians and Muslims continue their conversion agenda by dubious means and plenty of money. The strangest thing: these people claim to be liberal, secular and progressive. Can someone please make them see light?

By Maria Wirth

Link to my article on Research on Rebirth



    Saudi Government presuurizes and incentivizes people to convert, wheras Govt of India remains neutral, isnspite of ALL conversions happen in only one direction, hindus getting converted out of hinduism into christianity and Islam.

  2. Excellent. Eye opener.Many thanks.

  3. viraltiwari · · Reply

    Fantastic penmanship there!

    And like Maria Lozano says, the core belief that other dogmatic religions are solely based on the thought that others are inferior and are to be subdued and made as “us” or to be destroyed.

    When the purpose of their existence is based upon the destruction of other religions, then how can we expect them to yield an iota of even a breathing space for others?

    Hindusim is acknowledged to be the most tolerant religion world wide.

    Hindus never conquered in the name of their religion by subduing the faith of others. Skirmishes,sectism might have been there but never the aim of total destruction of the others!

    In fact India is a country where people persecuted from all over the world found the perfect place for shelter,succour and solace. So much so that many who arrived thousands a years ago, never left!

    And to add to it they were not in any way forced or asked to renounce their faith as a cost for this refuge. To this day most retain their culture and practices.For more check the links below:

    And compare this to the missionary religions like Islam and Christianity.What could you expect for them? For. e.g in most of the Middle East Islamic countries (most prominently KSA) the freedom of religion/expression is heavily curtailed. And I am not talking about 1000 years ago, or a century ago or a decade ago.I am talking about right now!

    Compare this to an eerie silence of our Indian liberals about famous Shah Bano case. Shah Bano was poor lady who won the case against her husband for alimony in the highest court of India viz. Supreme court.What happened next is mind numbing.

    After the lady managed to win,The Indian government “changes” the law to so that decision effectively becomes null and void. And this was done in guise to protect interests of the “minority community”. I am amazed that how frail and fragile that community is, which needs the law to be changed so that an old and poor lady couldn’t get the alimony for the support of her existence.

    Even more surprising is the fact how majority of public as taken it, not to mention the self proclaimed wise,educated and liberal elites.

    For full details, check the link below:

  4. viraltiwari · · Reply

    Cont. from my previous comment..

    I for the fact don’t agree with the notion that a minority community should survive only by the good will of the majority. I am against that.

    However the situation above as cited in Shah Bano case is even worse! Here the survival of majority seems to be hinging on the mood and whims of the minority!
    Minority can decide what hurts them and what laws should not be applied to them selectively. But they cant let majority have same prerogative.
    Many a times they insist on deliberately doing things which berates Hindus.

    How balanced and “secular” is this approach?

    Recently congress government in Karnataka government decided to facilitate Tipu Sultan(The great appeasement/opportunism). What would be the reaction of liberals if Hindus facilitate the likes of Khurso Khan ,Samrat Hemchandra Vikramaditya (Hemu) or Maharana Pratap?

    For more historical facts about the religion of peace, check the links below:
    On the link above you can find the benevolent treatment meted out to Hindus from the likes of Timurs,Ghazni,Tipu etc.

    The liberals would argue that those were the thing of past and way too old. That history is hazy and not written correct.
    But again it was the thing of past and old times when refuge was given to many people from different faiths in India without extorting any cost in terms of their religious beliefs.

    Then their argument would change.They’d say that those were political battles and wars and not related to religion in anyway.

    But if you make a war for the booty to forcibly to convert the faith of others, then I guess it goes well beyond just political.
    And for the second fact, missionary religions are always at the helm of the politics. They are the nerve centre for politics.
    The idea of total domination is what they thrive upon.They derive their clout through politics itself.

    In fact the boundaries between religion and politics blur for them.You don’t know when they are being religious fanatics or the politic ones. Talk about wearing many hats but retaining the same dagger!

    I am sure many of so unwisely wise Indian “Sickulars” / rationalists would label Maria as a Hindu fanatic and brand her with many a colourful adjectives.

    Their opinion would not change even as she states with her utmost honesty and sincerity “Let the Highest be worshipped under many names – as God, Jesus, Allah, Brahman, Ishwar, Bhagwan, Ram, etc.”.

    Off course they are correct! How can she say that there are many gods!! She has committed the great sin and atrocity of blasphemy against peace loving missionary religions.

    If that does not settle it, then fingers would be raised because she did not say it whilst wearing a skull cap or with a magnificent cross around her neck.

    Its seems that an effusive display of “Sickular” minded secularism has its own version of the white man’s burden for Hindus.
    Hindus should profess without a question what other religious fanatics ask out of them. To top it up, they should do it in the way as prescribed by these so called peace lovers.That is their *only* expectation.

    How many missionary religion folks have you observed talking of peace with a tilak mark on their forehead?

    Yet, its Hindus who are jingoists. While these elite liberals are secular!

    Even after this Maria shall remain a mindless,senseless, irrational fanatic in the purview of the definition of secularism as scribed by these elite liberals.

    She would be an untouchable pariah who’s ideas are a cancer for the secular fabric of India is what they would describe her as. Not to mention that many a unmentionables will be hurled at her, she shall be hounded, and yet its these folks who would don the cloak of being civilized,balanced,logical and liberal!

    Even now they will browbeat the same old grass, blow their own trumpets and try to label and dump Maria as a Hindu zealot.

    What a sham!

    But then these missionary religions, whose sole aim is to convert, are the real peaceful and secular souls(Pun Intended).

    Hindus should submit to them,just like these elite liberal rationalists did.
    By selling their rationales to the highest bidder in the market, pretending to be asleep with their eyes wide shut and ears stuffed with rancour for the most peaceful and scientific religion alive today.

    Thanks but, No thanks..! Not in this life and neither in any ever!

    Oh dear elite liberals…wake up…for I feel compelled to recite famous statement of Martin Niemöller as below (albeit a little altered for the Indian Context):

    First they came for the vulnerable Hindus, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a one.

    Then they came for the affluent Hindus, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a one.

    Then they came for all the practising Hindus, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a one.

    Then they came for me(liberals)—and there was no one left to speak for me(liberals).

    Jai Siya Ram!

    1. Maria Lozano · · Reply

      Viraltiwari ji. How well you write! The case of Shah Bano and the many more that may exist thanks to unfair laws is simply outrageous. Please check Maria Wirth´s articles on secularism: secularism is an idea absolutely out of place in a culture like India. Because secularism, as Rajiv Malhotra ji makes sense only in the West, were thanks to the abrahamic religions, they were unable to match religion and science and they had to invent a concept to suit people who considered themselves very scientific and not backward (religious in the western sense). Incredibly in the XXI century, there are many religious communities in the West that are still trying to match science and religion, when being judeo-christian religions is like trying to mix oil and water.
      I cannot fathom how the idea of secularism has been so spreaded in India (and accepted!) when it simply doesn´t make sense there. In a matter of religions, when will they realise that the only possibility of real secularism is through sanathan dharma or other dharmic tradition? Because it is the only inclusive worldview!!

      1. Maria Lozano · ·

        I meant “as Rajiv Malhotra ji says”

  5. viraltiwari · · Reply

    Dear Maria Ji,

    Thanks a lot for your kind words. I am glad that you like what I write.

    Thanks a ton for pointing me to the another article of Mariaji. She writes so crisp, with supreme logic,to the point and with eloquence.

    She has written on so many topics! I try to read them. But I read them slow. Because I don’t want to just *read* them. But absorb them as well.

    Sometimes,when you read, you are simply stunned or get into a trance. Because she points out to the facts in such a simple way.

    You don’t need to go a millions miles in search of truth. All you need is to have faith and open your eyes, and you find truth in front. Maybe you need a “guru” who can help you with the correct way in the right method to discover the truth.

    There are many an examples like Shah Bano but sadly they don’t get the attention they deserve.

    In the context of India, secularism is embodied in Sanatan Dharma itself.

    It says, there is one single truth. But many paths to it. No one way is definite and the *ONLY* way.

    Hence, the choice of Ishta Deva is very democratic.

    In fact, there are many sects and sub sects.

    There is also the concept of shapeless, odorless and colorless form of Almighty. What we call “Nirgun” and “Nirakar” form.

    You can choose whatever gives you most peace. Where you find yourself aligned most, which enables you to achieve the purpose you were born to die for.

    And its common in one family to belong to different sects / sub sects or to have different Ishta Devas.

    There is no rule of thumb there.

    If someone is so free to profess his faith in the way he likes that too under one roof, isn’t it a sign of true secularist society enabled with honest democracy?

    IMHO, its the other cultural systems which should learn how to be secular without being Adharmic.

    How to be in balance and in harmony without disturbing peace.

    Like you said, only when you include others who think different then you, then its being secular.

    And in Hinduism, there is no concept of “Only Me” but “US”.

    I think that sums it up.

    About Mr. Rajiv Malhotra, yes I have heard about him.

    From what I can see so far, he seems to be a shining beacon of Santan Dharma in the West.

    And I believe what Mr. Malhotra says is correct viz. “You don’t need to try and understand India through the eyes of a Westerner. But you need to understand India from the soul of an Indian itself.”

    In West, I think the mistake is to think what they have for themselves is best/perfect for others itself.

    That is being too objective. One should be more subjective, and adapts one views as per the reality of the the land where you try to imply them.

    That’s where their fallacy is. When they believe they have got it perfect. They might have, but only for themselves.

    They don’t need to force that upon us!

    With passage of time, I hope to read and learn more about Mr. Malhotra’s writings which look very promising!

    p.s : Like in my previous comment for Shah Bano, I had tried to include couple of links which point to some mind numbing facts. But alas, I am unable to share those. I don’t know why, but I include those links,my comment does not get through:( Don’t know how to get those to you and others!

    1. Maria Lozano · · Reply

      The Ishta Devata chooses us, I think :-.). It is not that we choose Him/Her…though it may seem so…

      The mistakes in the West are many…..starting for the mindset…..kindly go to my blog, I have just posted regarding that. I am not sure whether the “follow” option is working…I´ll try to keep posting weekly.
      Rajiv Malhotra ji´s works is crystal clear and an eye opener, because he knows deeply “both worlds”. There are many videos in youtube of his talks. His books are eye openers. To me “Being different” helped me put into words many ideas I had about why abrahamic religions have nothing to do with dharma traditions.
      Yes, please, take your time for reading Maria´s articles. I would recommend all of them! But in this topic there is one saying something like “Please Hindus, don´t say all religions are the same” that it is fabolous.

      1. Viral Tiwari · ·

        Dear Maria Ji,

        I think you are correct to say that Ishta Devata chooses one rather than the other way round.

        But to add to it, I think we all are born with a natural mould which aligns our basic strengths with Isht Deva.

        Now to awaken and realize those strengths depends on two factors:

        1) How persuasive one is about self discovery? This journey of self discovery is ultimately destined to the higher truth.
        2) The blessings of Ishta Devata.

        IMHO ,when these two combine, then in a real sense I think we can safely say that we are the chosen ones!

        Like you said,I’d definitely read up on your article about Western Mindsets.Reading that would make me aware of many a different dimensions from the purview of western minds. Thanks a lot, as always!

        And don’t worry, the follow option is working fine!

        You seem to hit the nail right on its head in regards with your observation about Mr. Malhotra.

        He has seen and experienced both worlds viz. Indian Spirituality and the great American/Western dream of success and its melodrama henceforth.

        As pointed by you, I will try to devour his teachings. He is already on my target list. Hope I execute this task soon 🙂

        I am glad that you were courageous enough to have stood up against the force of generic flow.
        I can understand that it takes guts to be one to stand out in the crowd. I can only imagine those awkward looks and stupid thoughts people might have given to you upon that.

        My knowledge about Abrahamic religions is very limited. No doubt your articles would be a credible force to improve upon my this limitation.

        With this, I will dig straight into Maria’s article about secularism.

        The feel of knowing the adage “Please Hindus, don´t say all religions are the same” is both a fantabulous & reverberating feeling.

        I can understand why you urge me to read it 🙂

        Thanks a lot as always!

        Jai Siya Ram!

    2. Great articulation,just a quote from Rajiv Malhotra “Hindu’s are under informed & over opinionated”.

  6. Thank you for such an excellent article! I feel sad that I now know so little about my own faith! You are inspirational, thanks 🙂

  7. Rahul Rao · · Reply

    Do keep writing. We, the so called educated Hindus ,especially those with a background of spirituality, feel fettered in the current atmosphere, to express with the clarity, what you do. Plus as an outsider who has taken the trouble to delve deep into the Sanatana Dharmic way of life, you bring a refreshing change of perspective. We constantly feel pressured to be sure that pur expressions are secular and not hurtful to other religuons. Cerrtainly an eye opener !!

    I have one niggling thought though. I don’t know what defines a religion. I somehow harbour the feeling that the very attempt to classify Sanatana Dharma as a religion was a mischievous one, aimed at keeping the faithful away from adopting it’s ways. Will look forward to your views.

    With utmost regards.

    1. yes, Hindu Dharma is in a different category than the religions based on dogmas, and i am not sure whether it should opt out of “relgiion” category. it would need a broad awareness, though. i thought about it here

      there are some more frank posts. This one is short:

  8. Haqiqat Rai · · Reply

    “Do they really believe they will be rewarded with paradise for slaughtering other human beings in whom the same one life and love is throbbing?”
    We Hindus have been short changed by many gurus and political leaders. Mahatma Gandhi used to recite at his evening prayer meetings: “Sab ko sammati de bhagwan”. I am sure he was aware that sammati is an anathema to the followers of the Middle Eastern religions; as such to expect such a miracle was unattainable. We know the end result and the Hindu Holocaust of 1947. Notwithstanding this horrific experience, Sain Baba and people of his ilk continued to show symbols of Islam and Christianity. All of them carried on reciting the Mantra that all religions teach and practise Love. They never put that in context. Love in the context of Islam and Christianity applies within their own religious community (Umma in Islam).
    Their religious books are replete with vitriolic references to people of other religions. They are called Kafirs and Pagans and devil worshipers. As I had studied Farsi (Persian) for eight years, I came across a word: “Ghazi”. This honorific title was bestowed upon those who kill non-muslims. These Ghazis do not have to lie in their graves till the Day of Judgement (Qiamat). They ascend to Paradise (Firdaus in Farsi) to be with the virgins. This religion, therefore, does incentivise killing other human beings.
    Best wishes

  9. K M Padmanabhan · · Reply

    It is interesting read. Hinduism do not recognize the concept of Sinners and kafirs. Swami Vivekananda says that it is sin to call human being a sinner. Human beings progress from less truth to more truth. These wonderful thoughts have been handed over to Hindus by thousands of years of devotion and practice of truth. It is really nice to learn that Americans started looking for the truth. In the end only the Truth will prevail. But the most important part is the huge difference between principles and practice. Hindus had lost their originality due to 1000 years of slavery. It is only by conscious efforts, Hindu Society has reclaim its original glory.

  10. So beautifully written! Just why people don’t get it.

    For Hindus, the religion(do not like to categorize it this way) does not stop one from experiencing multiple gods as per ones imagination and through various schools of thoughts. The different schools of thoughts are like beautiful flowers in a garden which have a happy co-existence.

    You may be an atheist and that is perfectly okay, Hinduism embraces one and all with equal grace. Atheism infact is considered an important phase in spiritual growth. Swami Vivekanand went through a phase of atheism himself. In that sense Hinduism has always been truly inclusive.

    Which other religion we know would be okay and accepting of this?

    Our ancients sages and Seers used to have practical and fair debates for understanding the Truth.
    It was so wonderful imagine! And what maturity it had attained way back then.
    Where is there a question of force?

    On the other hand neo-coverts out of Hindu faith are forced to give up all of this. Honestly its an insane number game (battle) that some of these faiths are indulging in and we are already seeing the consequence.
    Is there any scope for a come back if realization occurs? Are they easily allowed to move out?

  11. A very good article . It is not like a foreigner writing. It seems to be an insider Hindu view. The writer could catch essential Hindu thought. Kudos to her.

  12. rahulprahlad229 · · Reply

    Simply very nice , i am from india , I like Everything that you write in this article

  13. GERARD ALDERSON · · Reply

    Wonder who has given such knowledge to you.May satan always use you so that one day you will be part of His Kingdom.God is beyond Human Understanding.Jesus Christ showed us what is it to be faithful to God.Worship the Lord do not question God.Can u question the Birth of your body the same applies to each human.By faith you will understand the truth.Do not see what mortal humans do on earth,but see what GOD has done for you & all.

    1. Coming home to intuition and reason – from blind belief….

    2. You are on the correct way to hell! Pls carry on, at the very end you will find your TRUTH. GOOD LUCK.

  14. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.|

  15. A nice article written by you Maria.You have put very basic facts about Christianity, Islam & Hinduism.No wonder Hinduism is gaining popularity in the West,on the contrary Hindus in India are leaving Hinduism because they are not aware about the greatness of Hinduism.If Islam & Christianity can be taught in schools why not Sanskrit & Hinduism? I fail to understand why secularism in India is in danger if you talk, discuss or convince anyone about Hinduism.
    You are doing a great job by educating us about Hinduism through this media.Thank you once again.

    1. Thank you

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