There are many secular reasons for the necessity of conversion. But some of the arguments are religious too. If one understands the nature of religion, teachings on salvation and devotion, one will also agree that anti-conversion attitude is an anti-religious attitude. Jerry Thomas argues that those who oppose conversion are against all religions.
Let us begin with salvation.
Salvation is an Individual Responsibility:
A religious person, whether Hindu, Muslim or a Christian, may differ the way to salvation and even the meaning of salvation, but would agree that salvation is an individual responsibility.
Ask a Christian. He/she would say we must all individually stand before the judgment seat of God. When we stand before the God, we are accountable individually. Every Muslim would wholeheartedly agree with this.
The story of Valmiki, the author of the great epic Ramayana, from Skanda Purana is an apt illustration for this. I quote it from Wikipedia: According to legend Skanda Purana , Sri Veda Vyasa asks Sanatsujata about birth history of Valimiki. Sanatsujata explains, Valimiki actual name is Agni Sharma and his parents are called Kausiki and Sumati. In childhood days Agni Sharma was did not concentrate well on studies and did not learn Veda s well. When he reached an age where he needs to take care of family (wife and parents) there was a famine in the kingdom. He moved to forest and as he was not pious and not aesthetic since childhood he became a robber and used to rob people who pass through the forest.
One day Maharsihis were passing by the forest and Agni Sharma tried to loot them. Then Atri maharishi asked Agni Sharma whether his family members would share his sins. He went home and asked his parents and wife they disagree with that. They said it is his duty to care of them and they would not share the result of sins he committed; Agni Sharma becomes upset learning this.
Agni Sharma came back and asked Atri maharishi for advice to get rid of sins. Atri maharishi suggests to perform meditation. He reaches a state in meditation; a huge snake hill gets constructed on him. Maharishis after few years pass through the same way and notice this snake hill and realize that Agni Sharma is in the snake hill. Atri maharishi calls him Valmiki (Valmiki= came from snake hill). (Italics mine).
Questions to Hindus and Muslims who oppose conversion from their respective religion to any other religion:
(a) If salvation is an individual responsibility, shouldn’t the individual be given the freedom to pursue it?
(b) If salvation is an individual responsibility, are you not committing a great sin by opposing the individual’s right to choose?
(c) If salvation is an individual responsibility, what has the state, society and even family (remember Valmiki) to do with it?
(d) If a person can reject his/her family to attain salvation, then why is the hue and cry over rejecting a family belief? Surely, those who oppose conversion are deeply anti-religious or worst are hard core hypocrites.
This brings us to the next point.
Devotion Should Be from the Heart and Mind Every religion agrees that hypocrisy is one of the worst sins. Jesus Christ spoke against the hypocrisy in the hardest terms (Mathew 23).
Quran says “That God may reward the truthful for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if He wills, or turn mercifully towards them…” (Koran 33:24). Hypocrisy is lying.
Bhaskararaya says in his Varivasyaarahasyam (2: 54-56) “The utterance of sound without a knowledge of the true import bears no fruit, and is only like an oblation poured into ashes. Those who merely recite variou
s mantras without knowing their meaning may be compared to a donkey carrying a load of sandalwood.”
Questions to Hindus and Muslims who oppose conversion from their respective religions to other religions:
(a) When some one has lost faith in your religion, why do you force him/her to continue in your religion? Are you not making them hypocrites?
(b) Why are you not allowing people to follow their heart and mind? Why are you making them hypocrites?
Those who read this article also read Religious Conversion: A Secular Democratic Necessity.