Contested Religious Conversions
Buddhist Assertions on Proscribing 'Unethical' Conversions.
Dr. Mahinda Deegalle, Senior Lecturer, Study of Religions, School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, Bath Spa University.
Buddhism has spread largely on the basis of voluntary conversion. In the twentieth century, however, religious conversion, in particular, conversion to a variety of evangelical Christian denominations, seen as carried out by the use of 'unjust' means, has become a controversial and contested issue. The mid 2000s witnessed a Buddhist movement in Sri Lanka demanding the government to pass a bill in the parliament to proscribe 'unethical' religious conversions. This lecture aims to examine the background of these contestations, Buddhist assertions on proscribing what they perceived as 'unethical' conversions and the Buddhist position on the very act of religious conversion itself.