Christianity In India

satyameva jayate nānṛtaṁ, satyena panthā vitato devayānaḥ, yenākramantyṛṣayo hyāptakāmā, yatra tat satyasya paramaṁ nidhānam - Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6

Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood. Through truth the divine path is spread out by which the sages whose desires have been completely fulfilled, reach where that supreme treasure of Truth resides.

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This article aims to hilight the issues of Christianity in India, its impact on the native traditions of India like Hinduism and many other aspects of the propagation of Christian faith in India. Writings of Christian and Hindu authors are included here and their books and articles are introduced to the reader.

A Question to Christians in India

In the 4th century AD, Christianity became the dominant and then the established religion in the Roman Empire. The Sassanian rulers of Iran wisely foresaw that the Syrian Christians within their borders would develop into a fifth column of their powerful neighbour. Their solution was to persecute the Syrian Christians. Some of these Christians fled Iran and one group, led by Thomas Cananeus (whose name would later get confused with that of Thomas Didymos the apostle), arrived on India's Malabar coast and asked for refuge. The generous and hospitable Hindus granted the wish of the refugees and honoured their commitment of hospitality for more than a thousand years. The Christian world has no record at all of any such consistent act of hospitality: the only non-Christian community which they tolerated in their midst were the Jews, and the record of Jewish-Christian co‑existence is hardly bright. The Hindus, by contrast, have likewise welcomed Jewish and Parsi communities. Unfortunately, the Portuguese Catholics gained a foothold on the Malabar coast and started forcing the Malabar Christians into the structure of the Catholic Church. Even so, the Christians, who had gotten indianized linguistically and racially, tried to maintain friendly relations with the Hindus. This attitude is not entirely dead yet, a recent instance is the statement by a Kerala bishop denying the false allegation that the BJP was behind the gang-rape of four nuns in Jhabua, a lie still propagated by the missionary networks till today. However, many other Malabar Christians have been integrated into the missionary project, and are now gradually replacing the dwindling number of foreign mission personnel. My question to them: don't you think that working for the destruction of the very religion which allowed your community to settle and integrate, is an odd way to show your gratitude?

- Dr Koanrad Elst, in article The Problem of Christian Missionaries

Articles

The Problem of Christian Missionaries

Link:http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/chr/missionaries.html
Author: Dr Koenraad Elst

Extract:-
In a debate on conversions, it may be useful to hear the voice of a convert. I was raised as a Roman Catholic in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, which was for centuries a Catholic frontline region against Protestant Holland and Masonic-secularist France, and a top-ranking provider of missionaries.

Summary:-
The article discusses the problem of Christian missionary work in India and on how it causes sever stress on traditional Indian culture often resulting into retaliation and death of some Christian missionaries. It also shows how the mainstream media only hilight the retaliatory violence of native Indians while hiding the work of Christian missionaries in invoking such responses.

Salvation: Hindu influence on Christianity

Link:http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/chr/hinduinfl.html
Author: Dr Koenraad Elst

Extract:-
Indic traditions had been influencing the intellectual climate in the Eastern Mediterranean and among them, Buddhism made its mark most strongly on the scriptures and doctrines of the nascent religion named after Jesus Christ. Some of these borrowings are anecdotal and peripheral, others go to the heart of Christianity's distinctive beliefs, e.g. the doctrine of Incarnation. The Christian doctrine of Salvation (in a non-worldly sense, as distinct from the Jewish belief in a political "salvation" amounting to the restoration of David's kingdom by the Messiah) is borrowed in its essential features from Upanishadic-Buddhist notions of Liberation transformed in a devotional-theistic sense. It sets Christianity apart from the other members of the "Abrahamic" tradition.

Summary:-
The article analyses the myth of Jesus Christ in India. It touches upon the concept of inculturation, ie the adoption of Pagan elements in christianised form in order to ease the transition from Paganism to Christianity. Abrahamic Hostility towards Paganism is also discussed. Finally the author shows how the concept of salvation, incarnation and charity are the result of Hindu-Buddhist influence on early Christianity.

The use of Dalits and racism in anti-Hindu propaganda

Link:http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/chr/christiandalit.html
Author: Dr Koenraad Elst

Extract:-
Whereas Christian missionaries have invested heavily in studying Hindu society and its subsets as defined by language, caste or social class, most Hindus including anti-conversion activists are unfamiliar with the Christian mentality.

Abstract:-
The article describes how Christian Missionaries use Dalit card to abuse Hindus and to put them on backfoot, while hiding their own record of slave trade and suppression of lower castes.

Books

Psychology of Prophetism: A secular look at Bible

Link:-http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/pp/index.htm
Author: Dr Koenraad Elst

Extract:-
European Christians of many generations, have outgrown Christianity. Most people who left the Church have found that they are not missing anything, and that the beliefs which once provided a framework for interpreting and shaping life, were but a bizarre and unnecessary construction after all. We now know that Jesus was not God's Only-begotten Son, that he did not save humanity from eternal sin, and that our happiness in this world or the next does not depend on believing these or any other dogmas. When staying in India, I find it sad and sometimes comical to see how these outdated beliefs are being foisted upon backward sections of the Indian population by fanatical missionaries. In their aggressive campaign to sell their product, the missionaries are helped a lot by sentimental expressions of admiration for Christianity on the part of leading Hindus. Many Hindus project their own religious categories on the few Jesus episodes they have heard, and they base their whole attitude to Christianity on what I know to be a selective, incoherent and unhistorical version of the available information on Jesus' life and teachings. That is why I have written the present introduction to one of the most revealing lines of proper scientific research into the origins of Christianity, viz. the psychological analysis of Jesus and of several other Biblical characters.

Summary:-
The book explore the psychological aspect of Jesus the person based on what is written about him in Biblical writings and is based on the research work on other researchers. This field of study is called psycho Christology. First the scripture is brought down to earth, by removing the many superlatives in it and analyzed in a rational way based on the principles of scientific research. Then the personna of Jesus is analyzed point by point providing lot of insight into the mind that is behind the character of Jesus and other Biblical characters.

The myth of St Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple

Link:-http://ishwarsharan.wordpress.com/
Author: Ishwar Sharan

Extract:-
Judas Thomas and the merchant trader Abbanes arrive by ship at a royal city called Andropolis (identified as Sandaruck in Balochistan, one of the ancient Alexandrias). They disembark, “and lo, there were noises of flutes and water-organs … for the king hath an only daughter, and now he giveth her in marriage unto a husband … and Abbanes hearing that, said to the apostle: Let us go [to the marriage feast] lest we offend the king, especially seeing we are strangers. And he said: Let us go.…

Summary:-
The book is the result of a detailed research of Ishwar Sharan, who have analyzed many previous research works and original source materials like the Act of Thomas, to unraval the origin and spread of the myth of arrival of St Thomas in India, his matyrdom at the hands of a Brahmin at Mylapore, Chennai. He concludes that the originators of this myth were Portuguese, using the false information in the records of Marcopolo, who wanted to create a base in Chennai. As a result of the spread of this myth, a famous Shiva temple at Mylapore, viz. Kapaleshwara temple was destroyed and a Church of St Thomas was built there. The book also hilights that St Thomas's death at the hands of soldiers of a Zoroastrian king named Mazdai in Baluchistan is recorded in the Act of Thomas and thus his question of coming to India never arises.

  1. Sitaram Goel's Chapter on the same topic

History of Hindu Christian Encounters

Link:-http://voiceofdharma.org/books/hhce/
Author: Sitaram Goel

Extract:-
Hindus from seventeenth century Pandits of Tamil Nadu to Mahatma Gandhi have wasted no end of breath to demolish the dogma of Christianity. But it has hardly made any difference to the arrogance of Christian theologians and missionaries. That is because dogma was never meant for discussion. It is an axiom of logic that that which has not been proved cannot and need not be disproved. Who has ever proved that the nondescript Jew who was crucified by a Roman governor of Judaea in 33 AD atoned for the sins of mankind for all time to come? Who has ever proved that those who accept that Jew as the only saviour will ascend to a heaven of everlasting bliss and those who do not will burn for ever in the blazing fire of hell?

Summery:-
History of Hindu-Christian encounters, as surveyed in this book, falls into five distinct phases. In all of them Christian missionaries stick to their basic dogma of One True God and the Only Saviour. But they keep on changing their methods and verbiage. To start with, spokesmen for Hinduism offer a stiff resistance to the Christian message as well as missionary methods. But due to a number of factors, Hindu resistance weakens in later stages and then disappears altogether so that Christianity forges ahead with a sense of triumph.

In the first-phase, which opens with the coming of the Portuguese pirates, Christianity presents itself in its true colours. Its language is as crude as in its homeland in Europe, and its methods as cruel. Hindus are helpless and suffer any number of atrocities. Fortunately for them, this phase does not last for long. The Portuguese lose power except in Goa and some other small territories. The other European powers that take over have no time to spare for Christianity except the French for a brief period in Pondicherry.

The second phase opens with the consolidation of the British conquest. The British do not allow Christian missions to use physical methods. But missionary language continues to be as crude as ever. Christianity enjoys a brief period of self-confidence. The phase ends with the rise of Hindu reform movements, particularly the Arya Samaj. Christianity suffers a serious set-back.

The third phase starts with the advent of Mahatma Gandhi and his slogan of sarva-dharma-samabhAva. Christianity is thrown on the defensive and forced to change its language. The foul-mouthed miscreants become sweet-tongued vipers. Now they are out to share their spiritual riches with Hindus, reminding us of the naked beggar promising to donate his wardrobe to wealthy persons. The phase ended with the Tambram Conference of the International Missionary Council in 1938 which decided to reformulate Christian theology in the Indian context.

The fourth phase which commenced with the coming of independence proved a boon for Christianity. The Christian right to convert Hindus was incorporated in the Constitution. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who dominated the scene for 17 long years promoted every anti-Hindu ideology and movement. The regimes that followed till the rise of P.V. Narasimha Rao raised the spectre of 'Hindu communalism' as the most frightening phenomenon. Christian missionaries could now denounce as a Hindu communalist and fascist, even as a Hindu Nazi, any one who raised the slightest objection to their methods. All sorts of 'secularists' came forward to join the chorus. New theologies of Fulfilment, Indigenisation, Liberation, and Dialogue were evolved and put into action. The missionary apparatus multiplied fast and manifold. Christianity had never had it so good in the whole of its history in India. It now stood recognized as 'an ancient Indian religion' with every right to extend its fold. The only rift in the lute was K. M. Panikkar's book, the Niyogi Committee Report, and Om Prakash Tyagi's Bill on Freedom of Religion.

The fifth phase which is continuing now started with Hindu awakening brought about by conversion of some Harijans to Islam at Meenakshipuram, renewed Muslim aggression in many ways, and Pakistan-backed terrorism in Punjab and Kashmir. The Sangh Parivar which had turned cold towards Hindu causes over the years was startled by the rout of the BJP in the 1984 elections, and decided to renew its Hindu character. The Ramajanmabhumi Movement was the result. The Movement was aimed at arresting Islamic aggression. Christianity or its missions were hardly mentioned. Nevertheless, it was Christianity which showed the greatest concern at this new Hindu stir, and started crying 'wolf'. Its media power in the West raised a storm saying that Hindus were out to destroy the minorities in India and impose a Nazi regime. The storm is still raging and no one knows when it will subside, if at all.

Reports

The Niyogi Committe Report on Christian Missionary Activities

Link:-http://voiceofdharma.org/books/ncr/

Extract:
FROM

Dr. M. B. Niyogi, M.A., LL.M., LL.D. (Hon.), Kt., C.I.E.,
Chairman, Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur,

To

Shri K. B. L. Seth, I.C.S.,
Chief Secretary to Government, Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur.

Nagpur, 18th April, 1956.

SIR,

I forward herewith the report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee appointed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, by Resolution No. 318-716-V-Con., dated the 14th April, 1954, to enquire into the activities of the Christian Missionaries in Madhya Pradesh, and other matters.
………………

Summary:-
The complete report of Niyogi Committe on Christian Missionary activities in India.

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