The Hindu-Christian Studies List (HCS-L) came alive in the middle of January when the question was asked on the List how scholars engaged in Hindu-Christian studies should respond to the flare-up of violence in India involving Hindus and Christians and the issues connected with conversion. Should people ever convert from one religion to another? Would people ever convert if it were not for force, fear, material inducements? Is a truly spiritual conversion so rare an occurrence that it proves nothing about the phenomenon of missionary programs to change people's religions? Is the condemnation of acts of violence against Christians an act of selective memory which overlooks a longer history of Western colonialist and missionary violence against Hindu culture and religion? Is the only future path the abandonment by believers of all efforts to convert others? What should Indians do -- politically, socially, religiously -- in the face of religious violence? And what do scholars involved in Hindu and Christian studies have to do with any of this?

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