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460 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 1993
Response (Professor X):What is worse?
A. Use force to make others join your faith
B. Use force to keep out of those who want to join your faith
Me: an additional dimension is there: you keep them out and then you discriminate and degrade based on religion.
Professor X: I wanted to strip the discussion of dalit angle, but, YES, this has got me thinking.
Me: ah. okay. wouldn't majority of early religions (tribal) been exclusivist? missionary religions were probably an innovation. which is the more natural tendency? need to study more :)
Professor X: No. This man has hit the nail on the head. Hinduism is the only one that opted to have exclusion as a theme and that, I suspect, because there was no occupation effort.
The same religion in south east asia saw the need to absorb locals in :)
Me: Ambedkar claims elsewhere that early Hinduism was an evangelizing religion and that once caste and varna systems were hardened, it had to stop being one.
if a religion obsessed with purity starts absorbing, it will also try to exclude at the same time. this will have to give rise to a varna and then even a caste system as more and more walls are erected for more and more minute exclusions. eventually the evangelizing had to stop and thus occupation. that is the chain of causation i glean from reading ambedkar, not the other ay round. what say?
now, if i assume that tribal religions are exclusivist and accept this line of reasoning, it would seem to imply that religions once they pass a critical mass, will become missionary in nature (religion and politics going together). however if they do not reinvent themselves to lose completely their exclusivist tendencies (as happened with islam etc), then they will eventually reach another critical mass when they harden and cant expand anymore. with that both religious evangelism and political expansion will end. [simplistic, i know. but seems to make some sense to me...]
Me: btw, Hinduism is not the only such religion. there are other religions too that are exclusivist. a good example to prop up my case would be Judaism, a more or less tribal religion which probably never reached the first critical mass point. Judaism discourages missionary activities and maintains an exclusivist doctrine, again based on purity of the chosen people.
we could say that Judaism once it came close to the first critical mass reinvented itself as Christianity - an evangelist religion but with no exclusivist tendencies - and hence it didnt have to hit the second point. could spread and spread :) islam too - another variation of the same theme.