How do you feel about this book? Is it helpful? What can be improved? What should be the next steps?

What do you think about insensitive proselytism and its impact to lives and our society? Are there any specific actions that can be taken towards long-term inter-religious harmony?

Share your suggestions and thoughts here. Add your comments…

11 thoughts on “Action”

  1. Hope to spread Buddhism to the English speaking Believers

    I am glad that the association/temple is able to come out with this book/ebook. I have been harrassed by these insensitive proselytism for so many years. My friends are mostly christians (I come from a Christian school) and they can give very negative/insulting remarks on buddhism. I always tell them there are also good people who are not christians. I hope the association and temple can reach out to more believers of buddhism thru english medium.

  2. First step

    This book is a good first step to assist those who needs a harmonious way to deal with fellow human beings that might be a little too harsh when hoping to preach their religion. The awareness of religious harmony is so important especially for a country like Singapore. – metta

  3. Hidden Voices Revealed

    This book managed to bring about a sense of revealing my thoughts and negative about insensitive proselytism and how Buddhism can be undermined. Coming from a Christian school background and the constant way in which evangelism is rampant even in education systems reduces the level of mutual respect religions have for one another. This book, in my opinion is non-protectionism in its own religions, and with sufficient literature reviews and advices from astute Venerables, gives devotees and Buddhists alike a good guidebook in seeking freedom from proselytism, without removing the basic respect for any other religion.

  4. The Golden Rule

    A timely book indeed. Thank-you authors!

    This is an expansion of the quotations in Pg 3 regarding 'the ethic of reciprocity' which is also known as The Golden Rule, found in numerous religions:

    • Ancient Egyptian: Eloquent Peasant, 109 – 110
    • Baha'i Faith: Gleanings
    • Buddhism: Udana-Varga 5.1, Samyutta Nikaya v.353, Sutta Nipata 705
    • Christianity: Bible Matthew 7.12, Matthew 22.36-40, Leviticus 19.18
    • Confucianism: Analects 15.23, Mencius VII.A.4
    • Hinduism: Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8, Mahabharata 5:1517
    • Humanism: British Humanist Society
    • Islam: Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13
    • Jainism: Acarangasutra 5.101-2, Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
    • Judaism: Leviticus 19.18, Shabbat 31a
    • Native American Spirituality: The Great Law of Peace, Black Elk, Pima proverb
    • Shinto:Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga
    • Sikhism: Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 1299
    • Sufism: Javad Nurbakhsh
    • Taoism: T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien, 213-218
    • Unitarianism: Unitarian principle
    • Wicca: Wiccan Rede
    • Yoruba: Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)
    • Zoroastrianism: Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29

    May all beings be well and happy.

  5. How to achieve Religious Harmony

    1. A good start. Helpful to a certain extent…but the target readers should not just be Buddhists but people of other faiths, especially Christians who believe that to proselytise is to carry out their god’s command.

    2. As history has shown time and again, insensitive proselytising can lead to dire consequences in multi-faith S’pore. As a senior citizen and as a nominal Buddhist, I have unpleasant personal experiences with over-zealous Christian family members and Christian friends who caused friction and negative anxiety amongst people of differing beliefs.

    3. The Inter-Religious Council can do more to “educate” religious leaders of all faiths on the pitfalls to avoid in their zeal to spread their belief.
    Council members from various faiths could meet to discuss how best to achieve Religious Harmony in multi-faith Singapore…detail steps that should be taken to avoid another Senior Pastor Rony Tan incident.

    4. The Council can also work closely with various Govt and NGOs to organise more inter-faith dialogues, seminars, assembly talks in educational institutions (maybe during Racial Harmony Day), etc.

    5. For inter-faith dialogues to be effective the following criteria must be present:

    a) Frequency. Are the number of sessions adequate?

    b) Participants: Base on the objective of the session, is it well-represented by the right people?

    c) Publicity. Are the sessions well-publicised in the media and various places of worship?

    d) Follow-up. Do various religious leaders take affirmative action in their respective places of worship to spread the “Truth” of racial harmony?

  6. Look for Common Threads that Bind

    I commend the commitee for moving in the right direction by putting in print and online, “Agree to Disagree”.

    All Singaporeans, regardless of their faith, should read this book in order to have a better understanding and perspective of Buddhism.

    May I suggest that copies of this literature be distributed to Singaporeans of all faiths through the S’pore Inter-faith Council.

    The examples set by religious leaders (especially senior ones) of various faiths go a long way to ensure the long-term religious harmony in multi-faith Singapore.

    We should identify the common threads (in all the different religions) that help to bind us as a Nation and avoid those that seek to cause misunderstanding and mistrust.


  7. Door to door evangelism

    Based on happenings at my own home, I believe a lot of unpleasantries occur in door to door evangelism scenarios.

    Someone knocks. You open. You say no. The evangelists insist on continuing. Passions flare. And conflicts occur.

    Or it gets ambiguous. You say you are a Buddhist. The evangelist responds by saying, Buddhism is good! But would you like to come see what real love is about? Etc etc. (This was what was said at my doorstep recently)

    I feel that in such scenarios, to the best effort of anyone, sentiments may blind us and result in unnecessary conflicts.

    Is there any recommendation for such scenarios? To put something on the door, for example a message like, “We are happy Buddhists. Please, no proselytization.” Is that a reasonable move?

  8. Restarting Religious studies

    Many years back, S’pore had religious studies and somehow it was dropped.

    Asking some friends of that generation (which does not constitute facts), i gathered that Buddhist studies was very popular.

    With the proper religious education at a enmasse level, it would help such unwanted happenings as what is happening.

  9. Aggression – hopefully it is Not pervasive worldwide

    Awareness is part of the solution to ameliorate the efforts of proselytising. After that comes, seeking peaceful, logical solutions or alternatives of the usual Buddhist way of thinking.

    Otherwise, if a dominant group or groups which is/are aggressive and whose members may comprise of the highly influential society or even all stratas of the community, that can in future lead to marginalisation of other groups.

    This may be in the form of opportunities in areas of jobs, etc, etc. (up to your own imagination).

    Apathy as can be seen in general state of Buddhism in Singapore can be detrimental.

    So i attach a url which i picked up from surfing the website which is not proof of anything but perhaps may serve as reference for speculative things if not handled carefully with compassion, wisdom and action : Planning the Demise of Buddhism

  10. Helpful Advice

    Just a brief note of “thanks” for this handy, succinct guide for responding to proselytising. It’s perfectly buddhistic in that it 1) speaks truthfully and 2) speaks compassionately. Couldn’t ask for more or better than that 🙂

  11. Approach to different religion within the same family

    (1) The book is quite interesting but may not have covered different belief or religion from members within the family. How to maintain the peace and harmony in the family when different family members have different belief or religion among themselves ?

    (2) Scenario 1:-
    A Buddhist family relative who has been hospitalised and not in any capacity to make decisions.
    Another same family member from “Y” religion approaches this patient and try to convert to the “Y” religion.

    How would you respond to this proselytiser especially who is a same family member (or especially a elder family member) and a staunch “Y” religion ?

    How to maintain the peace and harmony within the same families members when the patient (a family member) is in hospital or hospice ?

    Even when a sign board is place near the bed and states that the patient is a Buddhist, the proselytiser (a same family member or elder family member) insist on putting his/her views forward to the patient.

    I would appreciate very much on how you would respond to the situation above and from a Buddhist perspective.

    Thank you, Looking forward to your reply.

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