The 21st century has dawned with the amazing news that the old religious wars are once again alive and well in the world. Jews and Muslims fight in Israel and Hindus and Christians are engaged in a serious conflict in India. Hindu fundamentalists are furious at what they claim is an attempt by Christians to convert poor Hindus so they did the only thing one who is against forced conversions can do–use force to convert people to Hinduism. Siman Nayak was one of the Christians in the state of Orissa who was forced by Hindu nationalists to become a Hindu or face the consequences. “They told us if you do not become a Hindu we will hack you to death.” He was one of thirteen villagers who were surrounded by Hindu thugs waving axes and shouting for revenge after the death a few days earlier of a Hindu leader they claim was killed by Christians. Actually, a Maoist leader last week said he ordered the killing in protest against forced conversions by Hindus.
There are deep seated religious fears and ignorance at play in the riots that swept Orissa during the past month. Hindus are the majority in India but they refuse to exam why Hindus convert to Christianity. Perhaps, Christians are offering people something that is not present in the current Hindu approach to religion.