Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Faith is personal

I hold no brief for Benny Hinn or any other religious leader, in case some one thought so, reading my previous post.

Like they say in Bangalore's ubiquitous call centres, "I have a neutral accent"; here let me say, "I have a neutral stand." I am not at all interested in knowing the credentials of Binny Hinn.

You may ask then why am I so "worked up" about him, if I don't have a stand at all. Because of the protest. I could have understood rationalists protesting; but not other religious leaders. I could have understood if all these people who are protesting were being pressurised to attend the prayer meeting.

My approach in this matter is very simple.
If A wants to go for the prayer meeting. Let him go.
If B doesn't want to go. Let him not go.
We should not ask A not to go, or ask B to go. Either way, it is equally bad.

I wouldn't like someone to question my faith in whatever that gives me strength and peace of mind. Also, I wouldn't like anyone to force me to believe in or follow something that I don't believe in. Again, either way it is bad. I am sure it applies to all individuals. These are all very subjective, personal matters of faith that are best left to the discretion of individuals.

Finally, because of the protests, Benny Hinn got all the free publicity. Much more than probably he expected.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Pradeep when he says everyone must have the freedom to attend any meeting. I will have no objection if it is a proper Christian meeting. Any prayer is welcome. It doesnt matter whether it is organised by Sri Ramakrishna Math or CSI.
    But where I differ is meetings where made to convert - not because of faith, but because of subtle coercion.
    What Hinn 'performed' was not a prayer meeting, but a blatant invitation to convert to Christianity.
    When I was in ahmedabad, one of my (he was a Hindu) collegues wanted to sponsor an advertisement for a similar meeting (though on a smaller scale). I was surprised because he was barely able to meet both ends meet. Why did he want to 'sponsor' an advertisement? He said he had taken his perennially ill wife to one such meeting. After witnessing the 'show', he contacted the organisers. The promised to 'cure' his wife if he could pick up the tab for their next advertisement and also attend 'their' church regularly. Another condition was that he must introduce at least one new person to the church every month.
    He said he had taken a loan for Rs 5000 (His monthly gross salary was Rs 6000 and took home hardly Rs 2500 after all deductions, including one for a loan).
    Prayers must be from the heart, not from loudspeakers. I am against 'commercial' prayers like Hinn's. I make it a point not to attend any prayers organised even by VHP or RSS if they install loudspeakers, though I have several friends in these organisations.
    If Hinn wanted to pray for India, he could have organised, or joined an all-religion prayer meet!