Can I Convert to Hinduism [Google Questions Answered]


"Conversion" is a very charged word for Hindus.It is exclusively associated with the predatory behavior of Abrahamic religions (Islam and Christianity) as they work to convert Hindus by any means necessary (including bribery, withholding medicine, tricks, and other coercion). For many Hindus it is only religions that teach exclusive access to Truth that need the concept of conversion. Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma is the original term for the faith) is a way of life and it doesn't put the Truth … [Read more...]

Better Words Than “Convert”

I've spoken here about the reasons why I think the word "convert" can be helpful for people new to Hinduism. It's a label that one often grows beyond, but in the beginning it can help to frame your experience when you're learning and doing things for the first time.However, I have realized thanks to my friends on Twitter that the word "convert" is a sensitive one. It is so closely connected to the evil and underhanded schemes of some certain Christian groups who trick Hindus away from … [Read more...]

Book Club: How to Become a Hindu (Chapter Seven)


The well respected Himalayan Academy and their guru Subramuniyaswami put out a book several years ago called How To Become a Hindu. Over the next few weeks I'll be reading the chapters and discussing each one individually. Today we're looking at the seventh chapter: Six Steps Toward ConversionFinally we reach the chapter that spells out what the "ethical conversion" process is!Subramuniyaswami explains that in order to fully become a Hindu, one must examine and reject previous beliefs … [Read more...]

Hoping to be Born Brown


(Note: I am on my honeymoon this week, so if your comment doesn't show up right away, give me a day or two!)Most of the time I'm just living my life, trying to be a good person, trying to live up to the ideals my religion sets for me: to help others, to see everyone as myself (or at least as family), to react calmly rather than in anger.Every so often I stumble on something that forces me to confront a larger issue that is always in the background of my life: the cultural … [Read more...]

White People Helping

From the comments on the article

I read an article from Facebook about yet another white person who is out "saving the savages." That might be a little harsh, but there does seem to be this savior complex with white people. We want to fix the world and be do-gooders but the attempts to help often turn out misguided and more than a little racist.A Real Maasai Woman's Thoughts on the White 'Warrior Princess' ChickThis "white person comes to save the non-white people from their own systems" is a very common narrative. We … [Read more...]

Is New Faith Delicate?

Sometimes it seems like people feel like my faith is delicate and needs to be protected.I can understand that. One might be worried that I've seen and liked the peace and love hippie 70s version of Hinduism in the west and that when I get exposed to more variety of Hinduism, that I will be disappointed and give up on it (Hint: I've already seen many, many, many sides to Hinduism and Hindus).I suppose in the beginning for a convert, your faith is kind of delicate like that. You're l … [Read more...]

Does a New Religion Mean a New Name?


It's pretty common when someone converts to a religion to take a name that lines up with the new religion's traditions. Even though Hinduism doesn't always support the notion of "convert" you can still see a number of non-Indian Hindus who traded names from other traditions for Hindu names. Ram Dass, for example.You know me as Ambaa, but I am not called that in real life.I've said before that I don't want to disrespect my parents by rejecting the name they gave me.On the other hand, … [Read more...]

How To Have An Interfaith Dialog

No, I'm not going to be giving lessons on how to have a productive interfaith dialog!I want to hear from you. What tips and ideas do you have for how to make an interfaith dialog respectful and productive?I'm here on Patheos where interfaith dialog is in the mission statement. I want to be able to have these discussions. Yet it is difficult to overcome defensiveness and unfortunately I have been subjected to enough slimy and underhanded attempts to discredit my religion in order to get m … [Read more...]

Did I Start as a Christian?


Sometimes in life we see things really simplified. But rarely are things actually that simple.When we hear about someone who isn't Indian, who grew up in America, and is now practicing Hinduism, our first thought is that person must have started out Christian or Jewish. We tend to think of the world divided between east and west and the west is all Christian and Jewish while the east is all Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist.But of course, we know that's not true.There are Indians who have … [Read more...]