I am asking this question because I genuinely want to know the answer. Thus, I may not participate that much, because I don’t have that much input. But this question has been on my mind for a long time.
I can’t help but feel that it’s wrong to try to convert someone, for several reasons.
[li] I’ve only ever been on the side of being converted. Hinduism (my original religion) is not a religion that lends itself to trying to convert someone, nor is it part of the religion to do so.[/li][li] Conversion to a new religion causes strife, unhappiness, and the breaking-up of families. I’ve seen it many times. [/li][li] Conversion seems to smack of extreme arrogance. “I know better than you where your soul is going to go, and what you should do.”[/li][li] Conversion seems to me to be at the downfall of many religions. If it wasn’t written in a couple of holy books “Unbelievers will perish in hell, and should be converted” (majorly paraphrased) perhaps religion would not have caused so much strife. [/li][li] If we didn’t go around trying to convert each other, I firmly believe religions could live together more often. I realize there still would be other problems, but it seems this is a biggie. [/li][/ul]
I’m sure there’s more but that’s all I can think of. So, teach me, Dopers, why is it OK to proselytize? Why are missionaries considered good people for coming into a foreign country, changing the rules, telling people they have to worship a certain god, and alienating them from their culture & traditions of thousands of years?
For the purpose of this discussion, I mean *any * religion that converts people. So unless you’re using examples, please don’t pick on any one religion.