Lately I've been asking myself this question more and more. I am aware that kiruv is a multimillion dollar industry and so no one will tell me with a straight face that its 'wrong'. But I am hoping for some sincere folks out there to tell me like it is.
To be sure, kiruv brings back many Jews who would otherwise live a happy secular life never knowing who Hashem is, what mitzvot are, and never feeling like second class citizens to group of FFBs.
To be sure, kiruv introduces a more simpler life away from the complex, sophisticated how many years degree needed "outside" world life. Just listen to 'the rabbi' and your whole life is set. Forget college, forget education. The Torah is the only thing you need. What? help to understand the Torah? Just ask a rav!
Do I sound cynical?
I just wonder is there a better way?
Some say kiruv introduces love of Hashem, but does not inject fear of Hashem. But I do think it introduces some kind of fear. LOL.
And what about those who accept the kiruv challenge, only to find out that they are mamzerim? Do they now have to chase down converts to include them in their mess? Wouldn't they have been happier lost in their secular lives? Was there a reason that they were gone?
I'll stop here.
(disclaimer: I'm not saying a life of religious Jewish practice is at all bad. I think its wonderful! I am just not crazy about the social parts of it and not crazy about the luring people in without 'full disclosure' business)