• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Christian Missionary Role In India - 6
To help the thread back to topic:

The Wages of Calumny
Arun Shourie

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The traditions of India were rich as can be. They had attained insights of the first order. A person who has reflected on what the Buddha has to say on the workings of the mind for instance, one who has even a little acquaintance with Buddhist works on psychology will find the writings of, say, Freud to be high-school level reductionism. The traditions informed all of life: The mingling of literature art, music and religion is a ready instance.

And they were inclusive. A person devoted to a tree was not traduced as an "animist", a person devoted to a bull or an elephant, or a lion, or a snake or even the lowly mouse was not laughed away.

The objects of his devotion were received with reverence -- they became parts of a rich pantheon: The bull was honored as the mount of Shiva and one could approach Shiva only after paying obeisance to Nandi, the elephant became the head of Ganesha and the mouse his mount, the lion became the head of Narsimha and the mount of Durga, the swan of Saraswati, the peacock of Kartikeya, the snakes became the necklace and amulets of Shiva, the girdle of Ganesha.

As a confluence of the colors of the people, Rama and Krishna were pictured as having been blue, Venkateshwara at Tirupati, the child Krishna at Nathadwara, Kali in the East were pictured as pitch dark...

Nor was this artifice. The inclusiveness flowed from deep conviction, from what had been experienced at the deepest -- it flowed from experience which yielded premises which were the diametric opposites of the religions originating elsewhere.

There are many levels to reality, the traditions taught. There are many ways to realise it. The ones who have gone before have left books and suggested practices which will help you. But these are just aids, and there are many of them as persons with different tempraments, at different stages of preparation will find one device more helpful than the other.

You must yourself understand yourself, and gauge the stage at which you are. By dividing your nature and your progress you must assess the suitability of the device, of the text. All this was not licence, it was assigning responsibility, it was the call to be "mindful" to look within. It gave an unassailable sphere of autonomy to the individual.

Everything in human affairs ossifies. Many things in this tradition did too. But no one could impede reform by an appeal to the "fundamentals", for these fundamentals made the individual's own, inner experience the ultimate referrant.

That everything should reform and transform, the tradition regarded as natural. Differences were harmonised through discourse -- witness Shankara's journeys and the shastraarthas on the way.

Even Islam was eventually tempered: The Sufis who had been set upon in one Islamic country after another, so much so that secretiveness had become their mark, they did not just find a home here, they found honour, reverence.

But all this, the missionaries traduced. The inclusiveness they condemned as being a sinister stratagem to swallow up other religions. The efflorescence of different speculations they condemned as cacophony. The openness and tentativeness they condemned as intellectual flabbiness. The inner-directed search they condemned as morbid life-denial. The offering of many ways they condemned as unsettled mush.

The many gods and goddesses they condemned as chaos. What had become the norm for Islam was now made the norm for Christianity: Freedom of speech meant the freedom only to laud it, freedom of inquiry meant the freedom to discover only its glories.

The pressures were less subtle than they had been in the case of Islam, but they were no less potent. Asymmetry was the principle: As in the case of Islam, conversion was held to be, and acted upon as something that was an essential principle of Christianity; but when a person like Swami Vivekananda or Swami Shradhanand argued in favor of taking back into the Hindu fold the converts who wanted to return, they were condemned as persons who were inviting a practice for which there was no warrant in Hinduism!

The viciousness of the distortions and misrepresentations of the missionaries, the virulence of their abuse, the length of time over which they kept up the barrage -- we cannot imagine these today. Swami Vivekananda had to face these at every turn, Gandhiji knew them well.

"If all India stands up", Swami Vivekananda told the Christians in America about this propaganda, "and takes all the mud that is at the bottom of the Indian ocean and throws it up against the western countries, it will not be doing an infinetesimal part of that which you are doing to us..."

"It is not true that I am against any religion," the Swami told the Madras audience on his return from the USA. "It is equally untrue that I am hostile to the Christian missionaries in India. But I protest against certain of their methods of raising money in America."

"What is meant by those pictures in the school-books for children where Hindu mother is painted as throwing her children to the crocodiles in the Ganga? The mother is black, but the baby is painted white, to arouse more sympathy, and get more money. What is meant by those pictures which paint a man burning his wife at a stake with his own hands, so that she may become a ghost and torment the husband's enemy?"

"What is meant by the pictures of huge cars crushing over human beings? The other day a book was published for children in this country (America), where one of these gentlemen tells a narrative of his visit to Calcutta. He says he saw a car running over fanatics in the streets of Calcutta."

"I have heard one of these gentlemen preach in Memphis that in every village of India there is a pond full of the bones of little babies."

"What have Hindus done to these disciples of Christ that every Christian child is taught to call the Hindus 'vile', and 'wretches', and the most horrible devils on earth? Part of the Sunday School education for children here consists in teaching them to hate everybody who is not a Christian, and the Hindus especially, so that, from their very childhood they may subscribe their pennies to the mission..."

That is Swami Vivekananda talking about missionary propaganda a 100 years ago. And here is what Ram Swarup reads in a recent pronouncement of the Texas- based Gospel for Asia: "The Indian sub-continent with one billion people, is a living example of what happens when Satan rules the entire culture... India is one vast purgatory in which millions of people... are literally living a cosmic lie!"

"Could Satan have devised a more perfect system for causing misery?"

The blacker they painted -- and paint -- India, and Hinduism in particular, the better the sincere are inspered to leave their homes and take up the task of saving souls that are in such torment so far away, the easier it is to raise funds, and all means are automatically rationalised.

That is one point: The calumny was based on falsehood through and through. But there is another point too: Was the Christianity of the missionaries different from what they were calumnising?

A Hindu bowing to a statue of Durga was a superstitious idolator. But a Christian beseeching a statue of Virgin Mary was touched by divine devotion?

A Hindu bowing to a stone as Hanuman, and circumambulating it was an ignorant idolator. But a Muslim prostrating to the Black Stone at the Kaaba and circumambulating it was one who had broken through to a higher level of spirituality?

A Hindu bathing in the Ganges and taking its water for rituals and ablutions was a primitive, superstitious nature-worshipper. But the Christian seeking cures from the water at Lourdes, and the Muslim seeking it from the water of the Zam Zam at Kaaba and taking it for ablutions and the rest, they were merely being scientific?

The rich symbolism of the Hindu rituals, of the motifs was dismissed as mumbo-jumbo. And what of the symbolism of the Euchrist -- of eating the "body" of Jesus and drinking his "blood"? Caste and untouchability are the peculiarity of Hinduism, the missionaries insisted. Christianity (and of course Islam on the telling of its advocates) is the religion of equality -- it does not recognize castes.

In fact, castes survive among Christian and Muslims to this day -- as the Supreme Court has narrated in its recent judgement on reservations. And the Church (as well as advocates of Islam), having proclaimed for two centuries that untouchability was a curse peculiar to Hinduism, has been in the forefront in demanding that benefits given to Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes must be made available to Christian Scheduled Castes and Christian Scheduled Tribes also!

Not one missionary organisation has protested that by extending caste-based Reservations to Christians (and Muslims), the Supreme Court has put the axe to a basic tenet of Christianity (and Islam)!

Swami Vivekananda, Gandhiji and other reformers often drew the attention of the missionaries to these blind-spots. They made another vital observation. In condemning and calumnising a Hindu practice like idolatory for instance, and the beliefs behind it, the missionaries missed the deep potential which was inherent in it.

As the same human pains and predicaments made their communities -- and them personally -- seek the same sorts of solace in the same sorts of devices, they soon enough became idolators of the most primitive kind. The idol as an aid for gathering one's awareness, as the embodiment of values which by honoring it and reflecting on it one imbibed; the reverence for all animal life, the reverence for the peepul as the entry-point from which to develop reverence for all inanimate nature; each of these as a device to break down the barriers between man and animals and inanimate materials; the harmonious view of life which resulted from these in contrast with the instrumental view of the latter which man-centered traditions (Christianity, Islam more so, and Marxism-Leninism most of all) inculcated; each of these as a device, a stepping-stone in breaking mind and matter -- this great healing potential, this potential for opening horizons of a vast and deep knowledge was foreclosed by the calumny. And the statue of Virgin Mary became a mere wish-fulfilling thing.

How true the warning of the Dhammapada: "A wrong action may not bring its reaction at once, even as fresh milk turns not sour at once; like a smouldering fire concealed under ashes, it consumes the wrong-doer..."

Missionary scholarship, or scholarship inspired by the missionary impulse, has been even more lethal than the calumny. Its effects have lasted through the century, and they have reached matters far afield. A number of the notions which color our minds to this day can be traced to the seeds that were sown by that scholarship: That the white Aryans massacred and drove away the dark-skinned Dravidians, that India is not a nation but a heap, a zoo of different nationalities...

As has been shown, there was not the slightest evidence for the notions, on the contrary all the evidence pointed the other way: For dating scriptures like the Vedas, for instance, Max Mueller is the foundational authority; he dated the Rig Veda to 1200 BC not because of any evidence, he had none -- neither archaelogical nor any other kind; he put the date of 1200 BC because he firmly believed that the world had been created at 9 am on 23 October 4004 BC, and that because the Bible says so, that given the intervals mentioned in the Bible for events down to the Flood, the Vedas could not have been composed before 1200 BC! Moreover, the ones who put the notions in circulation did so, in many cases, with specific objectives - of undermining the regard of the people for their own culture, of pitting sections of them against other sections. They often explicitly acknowledged these motives in their private correspondence, which, as in the case of Max Mueller, has since been brought to light. Recall, for instance, what Max Mueller wrote to his wife about his translation of the Rig Veda: "...this edition of mine and the translation of the Veda, will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3000 years."

(For a telling and succint accounting in the case of one of these seeds, see Dr Navratna S Rajaram's important lectures: Aryan Invasion of India, The myth and the truth, Voice of India, 1993, from which the Max Mueller examples are taken).

So deeply have these notions got imbedded in our discourse, so potent is the divisive politics that swirls around them that today to show these notions up as having been put out without any evidence, as being contrary to all evidence which has come to light in the last century, as having been put out for the specific and conscious purpose of dividing and undermining India -- to do so is denounced as chauvinism and communalism!

That these notions remain so lethal to this day is not, of course, the doing of the missionaries: The principal responsibility for that lies with Indian intellectuals. But while one lense of the spectacles of these intellectuals has been fabricated by the Marxists, the other one, the original one, was certainly fabricated by that missionary-imperialist scholarship.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->You assert that you find christianity to be the most positive belief system and realisitc. I still have failed to see your enthusiasm. Your empty assertion is akin to a neo-Nazi's emphatic declaration that 'blacks are inferior beings.' No scientific evidence, rational argument is going to alter his 'belief.' He beliefs what he wants to, even if his claims are totally unsubstantiated.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Well, my friend, I'm at a bit of a loss...how does one substantiate belief in spiritual things? If I quote the Bible you guys pour scorn on it, though it is as historical a document as any other ancient text, as far as its narratives are concerned. If I quote josephus or tacitus, someone else says Christians have changed their records!! Its "heads you lose, tails I win", isn't it? ;-)

To repeat, though, I think following Christ is realistic, because Christianity accepts that human beings tend to sin moe than tend to be good...as reading through this discussion on religion will clearly show!! What venom, what sarcasm and what one-up-manship we all practise on each other, don't we? Sorry, I cannot buy the "Homo sapiens-are-divine" doctrine. Homo sapiens stink. Christians stink, as you people have been pointing out all along, and I agree. I stink. ;-)

I find it positive because after accepting that, it tells us how we can change. It tells us how God still loves us, though we choose to go our own way, hating and harming others, all of us, of all religions. It tells me that God in Christ paid the price for my sins, and can now give me a new life, slate wiped clean. It tells me I should henceforth follow God's way, not my own, and I try, though like I said, i can hardly boast about my success!! But I try. If I stop trying and give in to my old kick-the-other-fellow nature, then there is a definite break in my relationship with God, and I know forgiveness and peace only when I have broken down and said Sorry...to God and to the fellow I kicked.

If that isn't good news, what is? ;-). And you blame me for wanting to tell others about this wonderful, loving Saviour and free gift of new life?

True, many Christians have made many mistakes in the way they have done it...didn't I tell you Christians stink?? :-)

But the message of Christ is still good news, Don't throw away the message because the messengers are sometimes...often?... stupid.

Josephus' 'testimony' has been shown, even by Catholic researchers, to contain interpolations and later additions, inserted at a later date (standard early Christian practise). All the supposed 'eye-witness' testimonies have been shown to be false by experts. See http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html
But Christos will believe. They have to believe. If it falls flat on its face (it has already actually, but pious believers refuse to see it) it blows their religion's central point out the window, making a dodo out of the circa 1800+ year killing machine that is Christianity.
See http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/ (although the site imagines that Islam wasn't as bad as Christianity - it wasn't to the west but it was to the east. It also imagines Islam was more 'civilised' - but the civilisation was all plagiarised from India and Greece.)

The very few good things Jesus (one of the many called Messiah and Christ at the time, also one of the many Jesuses) allegedly said, have turned out to be statements uttered by philosophers and religious books before Jesus. Word for word plagiarism in many cases. Those plagiarised philosophers, however, didn't give rise to a murderous intolerant religion. Hence, Jesus ought to be overlooked altogether.

Sorry k.ram, mudy, admin - I promised I would not be dialoguing.
All, my humble opinion here.

Eastern religions (Hindu, Jain, Budhha, Sikh, Zen, Tao, Shinto, Baha’i, many others), have always looked at "faith" as a universal feeling which every human is capable of experiencing towards his/her Isht - or the object of reverence. And Hindus have always looked upon this human experience - the experience of faith - with equal respectfulness and reverence, irrespective of the Isht - or the object of reverence - even if the Isht is different from their own. For Hindus, of essence is the attainment of faith - while the object through which faith is achieved is irrelevant, though still respectable. And then further in the spiritual journey, all the eastern paths, especially Hindu, aim at attaining liberation from all the dualism of life, cycles of suffering, and being ultimately alone. In all eastern religions, therefore, there is a name given to that final aloneness - Moksha (Hindu), Nirvana (Buddha), Kaivalya (Jain),...etc. In this final state, all dualities are gone. The follower, his Isht, his Guru, and his faith/sadhana - all disappear into nothingness. And that nothingness these religions have deliberately refused to describe in words and instead have insisted upon the followers in "experiencing" rather than "believing".

On the other hand, in the western religions - Christianism, Judaism, Islam -impetus is upon "believing". Faith is important, but more important is the Isht or object of faith. Of utmost importance, right in the beginning as in the end, is to keep remembering that my truth is the only truth - and all other facts are non-truths. Of equal importance - especially in Christianism and Islam - is to make sure that all others have been brought into believing in my Isht. That is a favour being done to those folks whom you brought into beleiving in your own Isht. So the journey there is not towards alone-ness but of towards multitude-ness. That is why you don’t have concept of Moksha, Nirvana, Kaivalya in western religions. Although Christos may argue it is “Salvation” but just look little deeper and salvation is nothing of the concept we are talking of. That is why you dont have any tools in these religions like meditation or being alone.

The experience of eastern sages has been different. As per the deshana of Buddhas, and experience of Dhyanis - utility of the object of faith, is faith itself! Once faith is attained, the object becomes of no importance. It is like the parent pointing the child to the moon using their index finger. Once the moon is understood, finger is not important. Eastern religions treat objects of faith like the finger. While the western religions lay emphasis upon the finger and the way it is pointed.

Now, one more clear difference between Hindu and western thoughts has been that Hindus - unlike westerners - have never been demeaning and ridiculing towards the objects of reverence of others. In fact, they treat all objects of reverence - used by anyone on earth - as equally respectable and of utility. That is why you have given birth to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa who demonstrated by living like a Muslim as well as a Catholic for many months at length - to show them that the same faith can be achieved by many ways, all reach the same goal. One faith can be easier and more suitable to some - while other may be more useful and suitable to someone else. It’s a personal choice and selection. That is why Guru Nanak travels to Mecca. That is why Shri Sai Baba of Shidi doesn't hesitate to live in a mosque. That is why we dont have any thing like conversion!! What has to be converted!!

Let us remain true to Hindu principle of never demeaning anyone's object of reverence, and their teachers - fictions or real. Since others demean our reverence, we have right to defend our faith - and for sure we shall. But in doing so, I request all members not to be disrespectful to Jesus, or other non-Hindu teachers. It has never been a Hindu practice. See Vivekananda literature. He has defended Hindu faith in west very vociferously - but always being respectful to Jesus. See literature of Paramahansa Yogananda or Sril Prabhupada or Acharya Rajneesh also. All of them have always treated all the spiritual teachers of all religions with respect, or at least with indifference - but never with disrespect or abuse. Study how Chhatrapati Shivaji behaved with christo priests and muslim Mosques during his conquests - which is with respect.

So I would request everyone to stop targeting Jesus. For sure let us carry on our assault to defend our faith, but spare Jesus who doesn’t have anything to do with the Christianism we are talking about. Who knows if he would have lived today he might have been in an Ashram in India.
And another thing - either please tell me why is that religion called "Christianity" and all other religions called Isms (Hinduism, Buddhism) - or please call that religion also as "Christianism" which is more in line.

See this post: http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index.ph...wtopic=1382&hl=
ALL: The thread topic is: <b>Christian Missionary Role In India</b> - 6

This thread is NOT for discussing whethere XYZ existed or not or which book is a better read or issues like my God is bigger than your God.
That was a nice post, Bodhi; the only comment I have is that all the religions you called "western" are actually Eastern religions, as in they all originated in Asia. West Asia if you like, but they are Asian, and therefore Eastern religions just as much as the ones you called "eastern".

javascript:emoticon('Big Grin')

<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Jul 26 2006, 09:13 PM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Jul 26 2006, 09:13 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->ALL: The thread topic is: <b>Christian Missionary Role In India</b> - 6

This thread is NOT for discussing whethere XYZ existed or not or which book is a better read or issues like my God is bigger than your God.

But is it possible to discuss the "christian missionary role in India" without discussing Christ?
<!--QuoteBegin-annamma+Jul 27 2006, 09:14 AM-->QUOTE(annamma @ Jul 27 2006, 09:14 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Jul 26 2006, 09:13 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Viren @ Jul 26 2006, 09:13 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->ALL: The thread topic is: <b>Christian Missionary Role In India</b> - 6

This thread is NOT for discussing whethere XYZ existed or not or which book is a better read or issues like my God is bigger than your God.

But is it possible to discuss the "christian missionary role in India" without discussing Christ?

Missionaries aren't Jesus Christ, though they may claim to be doing the work of Christ. I hope you can understand the difference.

To start, you might read some earlier posts in this thread (or earlier versions of the thread):

The Wages of Calumny - Arun Shourie

Sins of the Missionaries: Evangelism's Quest to Conquer the World. by Stephen R. Welch

The Niyogi Committee Report - On Christian Missionary Activities
<!--QuoteBegin-annamma+Jul 27 2006, 09:11 AM-->QUOTE(annamma @ Jul 27 2006, 09:11 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->That was a nice post, Bodhi; the only comment I have is that all the religions you called "western" are actually Eastern religions, as in they all originated in Asia. West Asia if you like, but they are Asian, and therefore Eastern religions just as much as the ones you called "eastern".

javascript:emoticon('Big Grin')
Thanks annamma. Notions of "East" and "West" are relative and subjective, and date from the times when the earth was considered flat (by europeans), and when it was thought earth only consisted of Africa and Eurasia. Then Arabia, Egypt, Rome, Greece were considered west while China, India etc were east.

Since earth is round, nothing in reality is like "absolute" east or west in georaphic sense. East or West really depends upon what is the geographic datum/reference from which we are describing the destination. Therefore, these words - East or West - can not be said of geographic reference any longer. These are more designators to the thougths of school.

So Annamma, I agree with you. Jesus - and I would even say Socrates and Plato -are as eastern as Krishna, Buddha or Lao Tzu. Changez Khan even if born in Mongolia should be considered as western as Alexander. Commies anywhere in world are as western as Karl Marx, just like Indian neo-christians being as western as Martin Luther. Its not geography any more, it is the way you live.

See Manoj Kumar's movie "Purab Aur Pashchim" which deals with this debate.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But is it possible to discuss the "christian missionary role in India" without discussing Christ?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I am going to start a thread to discuss the life and teachings of Jesus and other non-Hindu teachers from Hindu stand point. But as Viren said, let us keep this thread strictly just for discussing "christian missionary role in India"

It is interesting to note how Annamma and Paulose are refusing to answer any of the powerful arguments I have presented, blasting any of the pretentions of Xtianity.

Here is a keeper. This is a 600 page PDF also available on Amazon.com.

The arguments are quite thought provoking, though the author's concept of Sri Krishna is pretty disconnected from the traditional thinking. It is pretty harsh on the traditional view of christianism, but get's it's point across well nonetheless.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Here is a keeper. This is a 600 page PDF also available on Amazon.com.

Good one.

I agree with the author's sentiments,

<i>"Today, to believe in God many Christians feel they also
must believe various fairytales that directly contradict modern
Must a person believe in fairytales to believe in God?
I hope not.
Could a religion exist that’s as thoroughly true and solid as science?
I think so."</i>

As I aksed Paulose before, why do I need Jesus to know God?

More quotes from the author,
"It occurs to me that for a short time sandwiched between billions of years I’m one person on a planet of 6,000,000,000 people.
Though my body is changing, temporary, and impermanent,
I feel there’s a presence, a consciousness, that is enduring and eternal,
that I call God."</i>

This one captures my mentality,
"I feel God’s presence but it occurs to me I don’t
not know God even a tenth as well as I want to.

God is there,waiting, even asking, to be discovered.
The pursuit of God, is this life’s purpose?

Is life a game of Hide and Seek, where at last we find
That which was here all along?"

<!--QuoteBegin-annamma+Jul 27 2006, 09:14 AM-->QUOTE(annamma @ Jul 27 2006, 09:14 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Jul 26 2006, 09:13 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Viren @ Jul 26 2006, 09:13 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->ALL: The thread topic is: <b>Christian Missionary Role In India</b> - 6

This thread is NOT for discussing whethere XYZ existed or not or which book is a better read or issues like my God is bigger than your God.

But is it possible to discuss the "christian missionary role in India" without discussing Christ?


As Viren has correctly pointed out, this is not the topic to discuss whether Jesus really existed or how strongly you believe in resurruction or that you do not believe that Jesus slept 4 days naked with Lazarus after bringing him back to life. These are your beliefs and this forum has nothing to do with this. However, I have created a new topic "Jesus never existed" for discussion about your beliefs.

I am not sure if you would still see the difference, let me illustrate with a Christian missionary role in US.

Christians believe that god created the world in 6 days (BTW why it took GOD 6 days to create world? if he/she is really god, why not create in a jiffy? These matters are part of the new topic) and created the first man adam and first woman eve from adam's rib. The theory of evolution as proposed by Darwin is disfavoured. In US christians are lobbying to make the 6 day theory primacy and relegate biological evolution to fiction and not worthy og being taught to students. Infact many christian schools in US teach only the 6 day theory. Christians can believe anything they want, but if they try to influence what other should believe or know, that is where missionary role comes into play.

The same applies to missionary role in india too. The rice-conversions in the 1960's, the cash conversions in 1990-now, the interference in politics , in supporting armed conflict in the Northeast, or blackmailing tsunami victims with food for conversion, all these are results of christian missionary roles. This is what we want to discuss in this topic.
Admin: Can you please transfer all the postings not related to missionary role in india to the jesus never existed topic.

P.O.V.’ on PBS: How Missionaries Spread the Word, and U.S. Capitalism
Virginia Heffernan
July 25, 2006
New York Times

Are evangelical missionaries good or bad? That’s the question in
tonight’s PBS documentary, “The Tailenders.” The missionaries’ smugness and
salesmanship tend to irritate other humanitarian workers, who typically
see themselves as more respectful of the people they’re tending to.
What’s more, the program implies, silencing the stomping beats of, say,
the Solomon Islands in favor of pallid “Jesus Loves Me” singalongs seems
just wrong.

But more disturbing than this, the documentary contends, is the
psychological and spiritual danger that many progressives believe is wrought by missionaries, who swipe from indigenous people their happy, peaceful
ways and stick them instead with the greed, selfishness, jealousy and
wrecked natural landscapes known to be the key features of global
industrial capitalism.

Despite a century of such complaints, however, Protestant missionaries
persist. And they’re dogged. They dress in uncool hiking clothes and
pack up uncool backpacks and buses with uncool food and uncool Bibles and
venture way the heck into the jungle where they — and this is the
subject of “The Tailenders” — learn thorny indigenous languages so they can
actually talk with people who have never heard of America, capitalism,
jihad, McWorld or Jesus Christ. Missionaries may be the most parochial
and audacious avatars of our modern world.

Still, after tonight’s effort to wrestle with this paradox, you will
not know for sure whether missionaries are good or bad. But you will talk
about it. This gorgeous, inspired and gutsy film, the first feature
documentary by Adele Horne, who also produces video art, opens up new
ideological vistas on religion, technology and globalization. It dares
viewers not to be surprised by it.

The focus of “The Tailenders” is the Global Recordings Network, founded
in 1939 in Los Angeles by an evangelical named Joy Ridderhof. She
wanted to disseminate Bible stories via phonographs and gramophones. Still
photographs bring to life her adventures among those she aimed to
convert; there she crouches, pale and delicate, with various
less-delicate-looking figures in jungles and on beaches, marveling at a tape recorder.
<b>Of the 8,000 languages and dialects believed to exist, Global
Recordings has now produced Christian propaganda in more than 5,485 of them. No linguistics department could pull this off. </b>

The idea of releasing disembodied sound on unsuspecting people — like
God in the burning bush — clearly fascinates Ms. Horne, who conveys an
infectious sense of “this blows my mind.” The ingenious hand-cranked
audio devices, engineered to be usable by people without electricity, are
presented with the amazement that only a filmmaker pious about
audiovisual technology could convey.

“Every physical movement and action reverberates throughout time and
space, for good or ill,” says the spacey- and sad-sounding narrator,
finding an analogy for the way sound echoes. “The ripple on the ocean’s
surface caused by a gentle breeze and the deeper furrow of a ponderous
slave ship are equally indelible.”

This airy poetry is anchored by down-to-earth reporting in India,
Mexico and the Solomon Islands. At one point, a missionary is translating a
message about Christian redemption into dialect. A native speaker finds
an error. As he tells the missionary, the message now says, “We will
wash away God’s sins.” Something needs to change.

Less effective than the vérité and the impressionistic voice-over are
Ms. Horne’s sporadic efforts to jam her material into an interpretive
framework. At the end of the film, which has presented disembodied audio
as a religion unto itself, Ms. Horne seems to balk at her own
originality and retreat into clichés.

The voice-over says: “Where Protestant missionaries go, industrial
capitalism follows. To convert to evangelicalism is to replace indigenous
collectivity with the pursuit of individual economic gain.”

And then there’s a lament for what’s lost. One of the converts says
that new Protestants are shunned by their villages; they’ve forgone the
religion of their parents. Only if you’ve been watching closely will you
realize that that lost religion is Roman Catholicism. These congregants
have not lost tribal practices, they’ve just moved on from the last
wave of colonial proselytizing.

Tirupati Hindu zone

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Tirupati Hindu zone

Hyderabad, July 28: The constitutional guarantee of free religious expression will now be suspended across a 322.68-sq-km (80,628-acre) area around Tirupati’s Balaji temple.

No other religion can be preached — and no mosques or churches built — in this area spread across seven hills, the Tirumala Tirupati Dewasthanam said yesterday.

The Dewasthanam till now controlled a 6,600-acre area that includes Tirumala — the small temple town housing 10,000-15,000 people, mostly temple workers — and the ban applied there. The Andhra government has now handed over to the Dewasthanam the rights to an additional 74,000 acres of surrounding hilly land, mostly a reserved forest.

The move followed a report by a panel of religious heads and retired judges that Christian missionaries were distributing pamphlets and cassettes in and around Tirumala.

A.P.V.N. Sharma, temple executive officer, said the entire area will be declared a religious and autonomous township. “Non-Hindus will no longer be employed in the service of Balaji,” he added. The committee reported that 42 non-Hindus, living just outside Tirumala, were now engaged in peripheral temple-related services, such as transport and accommodation.

Non-Hindu visitors will virtually be barred from the temple. “Even VIPs of other religions will have to sign a declaration that they have faith in Hinduism to gain entry,” a spokesman said.

The Dewasthanam took control of the earlier 6,600 acres six years ago by getting the state to forcibly resettle Tirumala town’s 2,000 hereditary residents. Their properties have been converted into lease land for the temple.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
What happened to "Jesus never existed" thread? I saw Bodhi's post when I checked last time and I wanted to reply to that. Admins are too quick to act.

We certainly need a thread to discuss problems, contradictions and myths present in christianism. Title of other thread could be changed to "Myths propagated by missionaries" or "Church: a political organization" or something like. We need the current thread to focus in activities of missionaries in India and harm they do here. In future, if another Annamma or Paulose comes to this thread, we could direct them to the other one.

When we counter church, we need to understand that the church is a very powerful organization with huge amount resources at its disposal. It enjoys patronage of many rich western governments and organizations. It employs latest marketing, psychological and media manipulation techniques. Their people infilterate into governments, political parties, NGOs and ensure that nobody could do any harm to them. They are very sophisticated in their operation. Compared to them, Hindu organizations have no real resource to fight them.

These christian organizations are engaged in a multipronged offensive against Hinduism. When Hindus counter one type of activity they would open another frontier with a different tactic and it will take some time for Hindus to recognize and counter that. As time progresses, there will be more christian converts and church will become more powerful. Effectively, Hindus are fighting a losing battle.

Effective method to counter this is to take battle to their territory. Make missionaries defensive, rather than offensive. The way to do is attack their root: question the very existence of Jesus Christ. Our objective here is not to prove if Jesus Christ existed or not. It is to collect enough evidences and arguments to tell missionaries that they are lying to us. Spread that point of view to ordinary people to make the work difficult for missionaries. If somebody wants to engage with missionaries, the thread should be a good reference.

Now, coming to Bodhi's argument against targeting Christ, I believe he is becoming too simpleton to deal with missionaries. Understand the enemy before dealing with them. Analyze how they targetted Hinduism. They started at the very root with AIT and hence they claimed Vedas and Upanishads to be written by them. Next they demonized Brahmanas. Then they made a north-south divide with dravidian race theory. Now they are doing dalit/uppercast divisions and got Shankaracharya arrested. If you want to counter this resourceful people, you need to target the root. I think this is the mistake Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahansa did. Otherwise we would not have been fighting missionaries 100 years after their death.

Coming to the argument that Jesus was in India for sometime, is there any evidence to show that the person mentioned in the Buddhist literature is the same person referred in Bible? If you google, you will get websites claiming that Jesus was in England, and if you ask Mormans, they will say that Jesus went to US after resurrection. Jesus in India theory is not accepted by prominent churches in west. Can that be another tactic of missionaries to find acceptance for Jesus in India? If he was a yogi in India, please put his picture or cross along with other dieties. Then somebody else will come and say why do worship and monkey, elephant or Kali and slowly get Hindu dieties from the scene.

Realize the threat and please reactivate the other thread.
Ashyam I agree with your thoughts. Having said that, my humble opinion is that we do not need a thread to 'disprove' the existense of a Jesus. The work has already been done by pioneers like Albert Schweitzer, G.A.Wells, Arthur Avalon (pseudonym) and the like. There is nothing I saw in the other thread that added to what they had already done.

If you really wish to take on the missionaries, lend a keen ear to what Annamma and Paulose say. What stems from their faith can be ignored as faith knows no logic. But if you can, do counter them on the contractions that fills the bible, the inconsistencies, and the very absurdities (as mentioned in Arthur Avalon's "To Justin against Christianity" book.)

Another point to make is, it is worthless to discuss the existence of Christ in a forum level, it is quite another (and this is what I want to see world-wide, is to challenge the church into public debates on their claims.) What we need is multiple debates spearheaded in every locality, to seek and understand what drives christian missionaries to claim what they claim, and to expose the flimsiness and their absurdity.

The starting point is for you to get in touch with the Upanishads and to understand your own Dharma before spearheading such a public debate.

I do see your point in saying that the current thread focuses on missionary threats. But I do not think starting a new thread to discuss Jesus would take us anywhere.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When we counter church, we need to understand that the church is a very powerful organization with huge amount resources at its disposal. It enjoys patronage of many rich western governments and organizations. It employs latest marketing, psychological and media manipulation techniques. Their people infilterate into governments, political parties, NGOs and ensure that nobody could do any harm to them. They are very sophisticated in their operation. Compared to them, Hindu organizations have no real resource to fight them.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Hence David Frawley's call for the Intellectual Kshatriya. If we are deep-rooted in Truth, then Truth itself will be our weapon. When we adhere to Dharma unflinchingly, Dharma itself will protect us.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->These christian organizations are engaged in a multipronged offensive against Hinduism. When Hindus counter one type of activity they would open another frontier with a different tactic and it will take some time for Hindus to recognize and counter that.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
When Hindus are not united, and try to retaliate (or just meekly observe) all frontiers, they lose sorely.

I quote Bruce Lee here:

<b>A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard. Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life. Do not be concerned with escaping safely — lay your life before him</b>


<b>Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.</b>
An important part of examining xtian missionary work is to look at their role in the freedom movement, since the first xtian missions were set up here, almost all of them were supporters of colonialism and taught their flock to serve the Queen faithfully (no wonder then that there are no worthwhile xtian freedom fighters), some of the letter's written by these ignorant indian xtians to the Queen expressing their faithfulness to the British crown can be found in Shourie's book "Missionaries in India", here is a sample:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->To her Most Gracious Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen by the Grace of God, Queen of Great Britain and Defender of the Faith

   We, native Christians of the Province of Tinnevelly, in the English dominions, who, by means of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, and the Church Missionary Society, have embraced the Christian religion, in number of 40,000 persons, persume to approach the feet of your Gracious Majesty, with all humility and reverence, presenting this humble memorial..... Incalculable are the benefits that have accrued to our country from the English rule... We have heard with much sorrow that there are in these times many of the kingdoms of Europe revolutions and sanguinary wars; but we have heard also, with the greatest joy, that in happy England peace and prosperity prevail... Surely then, we who enjoy these inestimable blessings, under a Christian Government, are, above all our fellow subjects, bound to acknowledge to Your Gracious Majesty our obligations to be at all times unfeignedly thankful for them; and we would also entreat, with the confidence and humility of children, that Your Majesty, agreeable to the words of Holy Writ, "Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers," will graciously extend to us your care and protection...

(Pg 117-119, Missionaries in India by Arun Shourie)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I cut out many parts of the long letter, you can read the whole thing there in the book.

So we see that the Church had no qualms supporting imperialists who were exploiting Indians, that it brainwashed it's followers to do the same but now portrays itself as the champion of Dalits and women without any shame.

In contrast Hindu reform movements like Arya Samaj stood for complete independence from the British and spread the same ideology among their followers as that b@st@rd Valentine Chirol said.

It is interesting to note that the only minority which made any substantial contribution to the freedom movement was the Sikh community and to some extent the Parsis (Madame Cama and Dadabhai).

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)