Christians has been in the forefront of religious conversions. Many religious groups feel threatened by the aggressive missionary conversion agenda of the Church. Leaving faith is seen as betrayal of family, community, faith and nationality. Now a new fad in the ‘Christian’ West – renouncing Christianity by choice.
A new faith renouncing ceremony has emerged. It is called ‘de-baptism’ and is a growing phenomena in Britian, a nation that send out Christian missionaries all over the world. See report in TIME and USA Today.
Brits are not converting to any other faith, but are simply unchristianizing themselves or say converting to atheism. This was spearheaded by National Secular Society (read New Aethists) and the campaign was carried over by ads in buses in London. It offered their ‘converts’ a certificate of de-baptism over internet for $4. It is estimated that over 100,000 people have been de-baptized.
Bizzare as it might seem, it is indicative of growing indifference in Western Europe towards Christianity, which was once the nerve center of Christendom. The growing irrelevance of institutionalized church and culturalized christians, at the face of multiculturalism, postmodernity and the invasion of Islam, may have been the cause of much of it.
See breakpoint commentary by Chuck Colson, where he talked about Original Sin that campaign had targetted at. Christianity have thrived when it took root in a particular culture. Even as center of Christianity has shifted to the global south, the Western & Northern hemisphere Christians are forced to do some soulsearching.
In India, conversion has been a hotly debated political and religious issue and the anti-conversion legislation is enacted in several states. Some of those who have been converted to Christianity has been reconverted back to ‘original’ faith in a communal ceremony called vapsi, which never existed in Hindism before. Even poor animist tribals are forcefully converted to Hinduism as a result of this ritual, who were never Hindus in the first place.
If the Christian Gospel is truly universal (for people of all cultures in all times), Christians should engage afresh cultures of our times with the truth claims of Jesus Christ and make him relevant. When it fails to do and theological vaccum is created, it sure going to suck it whatever cultural fad emerges. Are you ready for this task?