Shamar

Clearing up misconceptions about the Christian faith and defending it.


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The world we live in.

The topic trending hotly on Twitter falls under #RSSQuestionsTeresa. The entire country seems to be spouting its opinions on social media about what their particular view is on the matter of religious conversions under the guise of charity. A small faction of the people seems to be speaking up in support of the work done by Mother Teresa; many stand against her (at least that was the state when I last checked twitter this morning). Not surprisingly, the ones speaking out against her are mostly the increasingly passionate Hindus of India.

Ever since BJP came to power, outfits like RSS and VHP have come into their own, under what they see as the aegis of a pro-Hindutva government. There is nothing wrong with loving your religion—everyone should. There is nothing wrong in speaking out against the media’s lopsided approach against Hindus—the media has to be fair. There is nothing wrong with wanting to revive the glory that your religion has been robbed of due to invasions by external races. When the BJP came to power, every minority expected this revival.

What’s wrong is blending national identity with the Hindu identity for all. My identity is Christian Indian. I will never be Hindu Indian, simply because Hindu has religious connotations, and my religion is Christianity. I am proud of my religion, just as I am proud of my country and its heritage and history.

What’s also wrong is the concept of Ghar Wapasi. “It is flawed,” a Hindu friend of mine said on Facebook. I believe it’s flawed as well…just not the way he means it. If people perceive a threat and they decide to re-convert for the sake of safety, then it is as faulty as the use of monetary inducements that Christian missionaries are charged with. Conversion is something that has to happen at an intellectual level, then the spiritual level and finally at the emotional level. It applies for every person proselytizing across the world, irrespective of religion. Even conversion to atheism follows the same process.

And what’s wrong is the brutal disrespecting of other religions on social media, without sparing a thought that your friend’s list of 1500 people has friends from every religion and your words could hurt their sentiments. And this last one, perhaps, wounds the most. Personally, I have never spoken out on social media against any religion because I do not want to hurt my friends. But my Hindu friends—in their new-found voices—act derisively against Christianity on social media, and that hurts, I’ll admit it. I have to concede that they have every right to do so by way of freedom of speech and expression, but it still hurts.

All of this only reinforces my belief: Christians are my own people. As people of the Bible, our way is different. God has never encouraged us to indulge in fighting and violence or even rough speech. But standing firm in your faith in tough times and persecution…that seems to be the end-times leitmotif.

We need to get back to our own religion, our own Book to understand the world and the times we live in today. We need to read the Word to understand what is happening around us politically–both in India and globally. There has never been a better time to start.

Shalome.

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