(Original post by TheTruthTeller)
Really interesting. I would have never thought this.
Is there any Hindu scripture you could referrence to back up the conversion/ ethnoreligious aspect?
Also what about if you marry a non-hindu and you have a child- would the child be considered hindu if they indentified as it?
That's the thing though - I don't think there is a scripture that would back up any assertion that being a Hindu depends on birth/race - especially since the word "Hindu" doesn't appear in our scriptures!
It's a bit of a contradiction, since the name given in the scriptures is "Sanatana Dharma" - "The Eternal Dharma" which cannot be eternal if its practice is limited by descent/ethnicity.
The reason we by-and-large don't seek converts is because we see other paths, religions and philosophies as leading to the same Absolute - just as the water in different streams comes together in one global ocean.
In that sense Hinduism is very pluralist in its outlook.
Part of the complication is the fact that in the medieval period, the word 'Hindu' was a geographical term given by the then Persians to refer to anybody who lived beyond the river Indus, regardless of religion.
Essentially, anyone who lived in that area would have been termed as Hindu and their land was called Hindustan (land of the Hindus). Mostly where the ethnic/descent definition for 'Hindu' comes in.
Then it evolved to mean anyone who practiced a religion native to India until, under British rule the definition was modified further - so anyone who practiced a religion native to India apart from Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, was called a Hindu.
Regarding the child, it really depends on the sect - some branches would say that anyone who identified with Hinduism and practiced its teachings could be a Hindu. Other branches would say it depends on the mother and yet other branches depend on the father
Welcome to total confusion - but also freedom to choose what viewpoint you want to subscribe to!