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Christianity in India the Hindutva Perspective

Christianity in India the Hindutva Perspective

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Vishwa Hindu Parishad - India
Vishwa Hindu Parishad - India

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Published by: vhpsampark.org on Jan 24, 2010
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09/13/2012

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Christianity in IndiaThe Hindutva Perspective
 byAshok V. Chowgule
PrefaceA Pluralistic HinduismThe Christian ChallengeObjections to conversionsChristianity in IndiaLiberal Christianity?Christianity and the BrahminsDialoguePoliticisation of issuesMissionary social serviceVandalism and apologyChristians in India Today
Appendices
 Notification Concerning The Writings Of Father Anthony De Mello, SJ - Congregation for thedoctrine of the faith.A Retrospect: Christianity in India (An exposition of the RSS view of the Relevance of Christianity in India Today)Arun Shourie and the Missionaries in IndiaComments of Ashok Chowgule on the Articles ?Christians Awake? by Shri Hansel D?Souza
Annexure
Christians Awake!Paranoia of Proselytisation
 
Preface
Being involved a dialogue with some Christians, I had an opportunity to perusematerial relating to Christianity and its relationship with other faiths. While I concentrated onthe encounter with Hinduism, I studied other encounters too, and what Christians have to sayabout themselves and their own system.Looking at the totality, I was surprised at the vast chasm between what the impressionmost Hindus have about Christianity and what the fact is. I also realised that the Christianhierarchy and the apologists have mounted a sustained campaign of misinformation.The compulsion of writing this book was the way the issue of the attacks on Christianestablishments has been politicised. In the programme, the Christian clergy has been amplysupported by the laity and those who go under the rubric of ‘secularist’. The objective of thewhole exercise is not only to put Hinduism in bad light, but also India.This book will not deal with the attacks, but will present the sociopolitical issues thatare important to be tackled if Christianity is to co-exist in harmony with Hinduism. Carefulthought will have to be given to them, since the history of Christianity in India is notsomething to be proud of The sad part is that this history is sought to be negated, and the‘secularists’ are as much at fault as the Christian clergy. At least one can rationalise the behaviour of the clergy. But what is the excuse of the ‘secularists’ to authenticate the clergy’s programme?Much of the book is devoted to quotes from already published material. Many of themare from Christian sources. The objective is to inform the reader that the points being made arenot new. However, they have not been addressed, and that the same old issues’ are raked upagain and again.This book has four appendixes. They have to be read in totality to understand theflavour of the argument. As above, another objective of reproducing the whole texts is toinform the reader that the points made are not new.Hindu philosophy has always been accommodative. It will continue to be so, providedChristianity reciprocates the tolerant spirit of Hinduism.
IA Pluralistic Hinduism
 Before we address the issues concerned, there is a need to appreciate that there is adifference in which religion is looked at in the Hindu and Christian viewpoint. For a Hindu,religion is not a mere ritual, but a philosophy of life. We know that Hinduism does not have a book, a prophet, or a centralised hierarchy. The correct description of Hinduism is
Sanatan Dharma
. While
Sanatan
has an English equivalent, meaning eternal, translating
 Dharma
asreligion is not proper.
 Dharma
encompasses religion. Confusion prevails when
 Dharma
isequated with religion.Hinduism has a religious connotation in the Western sense, as well as a philosophicalconnotation in the Eastern sense. Hinduism believes in pluralism - that is there are multiple paths to salvation and one chooses the path that one thinks is valid for oneself. This is thehallmark of its tolerance. Its ethos is expressed in the shloka
 Ekam Sat, Viprah BahuddaVadanti,
which is best translated as follows: “There is an eternal Truth, but there are many
 
ways to achieve it.” While a Hindu may vigorously argue about the merit of his/her way toachieve the Truth, he/she will accept that another person may have a different way which is better situated to that individual. Hindus consider that the belief that one is in sole possessionof the Truth is an impediment to enlightenment. It is even regarded as being arrogant.Christianity believes in exclusivism. It says that Christ in the only Son of God, and wassent to this world to lead the people to Him. Upon the death of Christ, this task was given tothe Church set up in the name of Christ. The present inheritors of Christ are the Popes, theCardinals, the Bishops, the priests, etc. Furthermore, Christianity believes that Christ hascommanded his followers that it is their duty to convert others to their system. Many haveinterpreted this command to imply that one could use physical violence as a means to achievethe objective.Christianity divides the world into believers and non-believers, with the former goingto heaven, and the latter to that place where one is eternally barbecued! Moreover, the believers do not go to heaven on their own merit, but only on the intervention of Christ. It isthe priests in the parish who is supposed to have a line to Christ. The request for forgiveness of any sin that is committed by a Christian is to be conveyed through the priest. Under thecircumstances, the priest has a tremendous amount of influence over the laity, since he issupposed to intercede between man and god.Shri S Radhakrishnan, one of the famous philosophers of this century, said:Christian theology becomes relevant only for those who share or accepta particular kind of spiritual experience, and these are tempted to dismiss other experiences as illusory and other scriptures as imperfect. Hinduism has not betrayed into this situation on account of its adherence to fact.... When theHindu found that different people aimed at and achieved God-realisation indifferent ways, he generously recognised them all and justified their place in thecourse of history. (
The Hindu View of Life
, Harper Collins, Delhi 1973, p 16.)The pluralistic philosophy of Hinduism has enabled it to absorb and nurture variousdiverse systems of beliefs. Many have evolved from this land, to address a particular situationthat developed. In other cases, one or more individual put forward a set of propositions whichis supposed to elevate the person to a higher spiritual plane. All these philosophies workedwithin the milieu of the cultural Hinduism, and never tiled to denigrate the people and their  philosophy.Hinduism has the unique history of not persecuting the Jews and permitting theZoroastrians to maintain their own religion, when both the groups had to flee their originallands due to religious persecution. Swami Vivekanand has captured the essence of this recordwhen he said:Three religions now stand in the world which have come down to usfrom time prehistoric - Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. They allreceived tremendous shocks, and all of them prove by their survival their internal strength. But while Judaism failed to absorb Christianity and was drivenout of its place of birth by its all-conquering daughter, and a handful of Parseesis all that remains to tell the tale of their grand religion, sect after sect arose inIndia and seemed to shake the religion of the Vedas to its very foundations, butlike the waters of the sea-shore in a tremendous earthquake it receded only for awhile, only to return in an all-absorbing flood, a thousand times more vigorous,and when the tumult of the rush was over, these sects were all sucked in,

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