Irish Catholic priest condemns yoga as ‘work of the devil’ – Steven Alexander

Roland ColhounFr Roland Colhoun made headlines around the world when he said that practising yoga or receiving Indian head massages will lead to the “Kingdom of Darkness.” – Steven Alexander

Hindus are urging Pope Francis to discipline a Catholic priest from Northern Ireland after he suggested yoga was the work of the devil.

Fr Roland Colhoun made headlines around the world when he said that practising yoga or receiving Indian head massages will lead to the “Kingdom of Darkness”.

The priest from the Glendermott parish in Londonderry said yoga had its origins in paganism, and would draw practitioners into the “bad spiritual domain”.

There, he said, lurks “Satan and the Fallen Angels, the Kingdom of Darkness”.

Yesterday, Hindus hit back in the form of Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism.

Rajan ZedHe said that he would be “urging His Holiness Pope Francis to discipline a Derry Catholic priest who linked yoga to Satan”.

The Hindu spiritual leader also claimed that the Vatican library itself held various yoga-related books, and he would be contacting the Bishop of Derry Bishop, Donal McKeown, to let him know about them [Refer Bishop not commenting on global yoga storm].

In a statement from Nevada in the US, he called for yoga to be introduced in every school.

“Seeing the proven benefits of yoga, it should be introduced in all the schools of the world,” he said. “Incorporating yoga in the lives of the students would be a step in the positive direction.”

He said that the ancient discipline can help users to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply and get rid of stress.

Mr Zed said that yoga, “although introduced and nourished by Hinduism”, was a “world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilised by all”. 

And he claimed yoga was an “effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical”.

Fr Calhoun was thrust into the spotlight after he told the Derry Journal that yoga was essentially Satanic.

“Pope Francis said ‘do not seek spiritual answers in yoga classes’. Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk,” he said.

“When you take up those practices from other cultures, which are outside our Christian domain, you don’t know what you are opening yourself up to.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth“The bad spirit can be communicated in a variety of ways. I’m not saying everyone gets it, or that it happens every time, and people may well be doing yoga harmlessly. But there’s always a risk and that’s why the Pope mentioned it and that’s why we talk about that in terms of the danger of the new age movement and the danger of the occult today. That’s the fear.”

Fr Colhoun is not alone in the Catholic Church. In 2011, the Vatican’s own chief exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, told The Telegraph that it leads to a belief in Hinduism, and that “all eastern religions are based on false belief in reincarnation.”

And former Pope Benedict XVI, when he leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, warned that yoga, Zen, and other transcendental meditation could “degenerate into a cult of the body” that devalues prayer.

Background

In 1989, the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog warned that Eastern meditation practices such as Zen and yoga can “degenerate into a cult of the body” that debases Christian prayer. Attempts to combine Christian and non-Christian meditation are “not free from dangers and errors,” it said. The 23-page document was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) and approved by Pope John Paul II. – Belfast Telegraph, 23 February 2015

See also

  1. “Yoga and Harry Potter are evil,” says Vatican’s chief exorcist – ANI
  2. Fr. Gabriele Amorth on Yoga: A Passport to Hell? – Virendra Parekh
  3. Chief exorcist says Devil is in the Vatican – Nick Squires
  4. American pastor says yoga is ‘demonic’ – Dean Nelson

Evangelism abetted by Christian principal in a Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam college – IndiaFacts Staff

Dr M. D. Christopher

SVU College of Arts, Tirupati“Until Hindus take back their temples, it is advisable not to donate to Government-controlled temples. If Hindus really wish to donate, then they will be better served by donating it to a Hindu organization which really cares for Hindu causes and the Hindu community.” – IndiaFacts Staff

The Principal of the Sri Venkateshwara Arts College who goes by the name of Dr M. D. Christopher has been accused by the students of college and various student organizations that he is aiding Christian proselytization. If one looks at the happenings at the SV Arts College in the recent months, there is a strong possibility that this allegation is indeed true.

Evangelist literature is being distributed to students in the college campus. The manner in which the evangelist books are distributed is quite alarming and would not have been possible without the helping hand of the college administration. The students of the hostel are specially targeted for this soul harvest. Evangelical books and other literature arrived in a postal package and were addressed to each student by his name and they were in fact delivered to his room in the hostel. The students say that such distribution of books has happened many times over.

Students allege that complaints about this missionary activity to the Principal  and TTD officials have fallen on deaf ears. The students of the college directly point fingers at the Principal. The Principal has appointed to his staff a person named Rajkumar. Rajkumar is alleged to have given out the names and addresses of the students to the missionary organization distributing the literature. In spite of repeated complaints, no action was taken by the Principal. The Principal is also accused of appointing non-Hindu staff. A complete report (from TV9 Telugu) on this incident can be found here.

SVU College of Arts, TirupatiVandalism at Sri Venkateshwara Arts College

The walls of SV Arts College were painted with portraits of freedom fighters, poets and kings a couple of years back for the World Telugu Conference. The students and the local community over there were maintaining it well and keeping a watch to ensure that there were no posters/bills pasted on them.

However, a couple of days ago, miscreants disfigured these portraits by placing a Christian cross mark on the faces of the luminaries. Even the much celebrated Sri Krishnadeva Raya of the Vijayanagar empire was not spared from this crude expression of superiority of faith.

The College already facing the brunt of missionaries boiled again with student and religious organizations taking up protests. Whether this was done by mischief mongers or by Christians will perhaps be revealed in an investigation but the blame again has to be placed primarily on the shoulders of the college Principal and TTD for not keeping such vandalism in check especially when this very College with same Principal has been in the eye of storm for the past few months for missionary activities. The complete report (from NTV) on the vandalism at SV Arts College can be viewed here.

YSR taking communion from a Christian priest.TTD: Trojan Horse and a symbol of secular Government tyranny

During the YSR and Kiran Kumar Reddy-led Congress rule in Andhra, the state witnessed evangelism on a massive scale. The TTD too was not spared. There were reports in the Telugu media about the employment of Christians in TTD. Due to public outrage, a Government order was also issued directing the TTD to have only Hindus on its payroll. Swami Paripoornananda of Sri Peetam, Kakinanda had to protest again as the order was never implemented.

A Christian pastor was recently apprehended by the police after making a video of him along with his comrades visiting Tirumala and calling the Hindus as devil worshippers. The TTD staff have repeatedly failed miserably to stop such incidents. On many occasions, missionaries used to distribute evangelist material openly but the TTD was utterly inefficient in stopping this vulturesque preying on Hindus.

First, the TTD should not have hired a Christian principal or any staff it a college run by it. After reports and strong evidence of support for evangelism by this Principal, it should have dismissed the Principal. On the contrary it asked the police to lathi-charge the protesting students.

The reason for this incapacity of the TTD is because it is subject to political influence and appointment of people to positions including the Endowment / Executive Officer are appointed by the ruling party. How can the Hindu community be served if the administration is not seen as a service of the Divine but as a career option?

Many Hindus are not aware of the fact that several prominent temples including TTD which gets thousands of crores as revenue are taken over by various state governments and the most of the revenue goes to the state treasurer. This is the reason one sees many hundis placed all over precincts of Government controlled temples. Many mindless rituals are done just to extract money from the devotees worldwide. The TTD has become a master at selling tickets to various redundant rituals and utsavams.

This Government control of temples is a throwback to the colonial past where the Christian British and Muslims Kingdoms used to take over the revenue generated from temples as tax. It was also a mechanism to hurt the Hindus in terms of demography. Donations made by devotees which would have gone to the development of the poorest of the community went to a foreign colonizer. At the same time, the British government planted several Christian missions across the country which targeted the same poorer section of the Hindu demographic that would have gained benefits from the donations made to temples.

State Institute of Temple AdministrationNearly seven decades after Independence, the pattern has not changed. Secular state governments have taken over several Hindu temples, the Community’s money is looted by the government—money, which is supposed to protect the right to practice and propagate the Hinduism, one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. Hindus live in an independent and secular country but their fundamental right to freedom is severely curtailed. How is the Hindu community supposed to take care of its poorest when the community’s hard earned money is taken away from it?

The Christian community which has a huge proselytizing mission with massive funds backing it, has extensively benefited in Andhra and elsewhere as they have targeted the poor amongst the Hindus for conversions. They have gained massively in demographics due to this tyranny perpetrated on the Hindus. A foreign religion is being given such massive advantage over a native religion which swears by nationalism and deep-rooted philosophical and spiritual traditions spanning thousands of years. How long will it be before India becomes another Philippines or a South Korea, nothing more than a Christian outpost of the West.

Imagine the number of schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions Hindus could have built and sustained and how it would have changed the lives of poor Hindus. The secular state governments and the central government have become the biggest roadblocks to the prosperity and safety of Hindus.

Swami Dayananda SaraswatiThe long-term goal for Hindus should be to free Hindu Temples from Government control. There are several organizations working across the country towards this goal.

The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha already has filed a case in the Supreme Court. In a seminar on temples, I had once heard from Swami Dayananda Saraswati that none of the state governments from the south had answered the questions put forth by HDAS in the honorable Supreme Court. Given the rate at which the judiciary functions, one should expect that Hindus are in a for a long grind and by that time, severe damage would have been done.

It would be better to lobby with a supposedly pro-Hindu central government to remove the Hindu Endowments Act completely from the Constitution. Please contact the various BJP Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly and ask them to remove this draconian act that is killing the Hindu community.

Narendra Modi & Rajnath SinghThe silence of the Narendra Modi Government in this regard is disheartening. The Government is aware of the problem, it is also aware of the fact that it is the Hindus that voted them to power. It’s been nine months since the NDA came into power and yet it has not taken any concrete steps to provide equality to Hindus. Hindus need to make their collective voices heard and bring pressure on the Modi Government. If it fails to act despite this, the BJP should be shown its place in the sun.

Many times, Hindus complain that Hindu organisations could have better spokespersons to represent them in the media. However, the travesty is that people donate to a government controlled temple like the TTD in crores but not to a Hindu organization that could protect our Dharma. That should tell us something.

In the end, until Hindus take back their temples, it is advisable not to donate to Government-controlled temples. If Hindus really wish to donate, then they will be better served by donating it to a Hindu organization which really cares for Hindu causes and the community.

Tirumala Tirupathi DevasthanamsThe road ahead

The TTD has taken a token action of ordering an investigation and a criminal case has been registered. But that by itself does not guarantee that such incidents will not recur in the future. Readers are requested to call up the official TTD numbers or email them to immediately dismiss the college principal on the grounds that he happens to be a Christian. Please ask the TTD to remove any non-Hindus from its payroll be it from colleges or from temple administration and all institutions run by it. To get a swift response from the TTD, readers should contact the Executive Officer(EO).

E-mail Ids:

Executive Officer: eo@tirumala.org

Joint Executive Officer, Tirumala: jeotml@tirumala.org

Joint Executive Officer, Tirupati: jeotpt@tirumala.org

Chief Vigilance & Security Officer: cvso@tirumala.org

Public Relations Officer: pro@tirumala.org

Phone Numbers of TTD Officials:

Executive Officer: 0877-2264160(c), 4977(o), 4393(o)

JEO Tirupati: 0877-2264877(c), 4231(o)

PA to the Executive Officer: 0877-2264545

Public Relations Officer: 0877-2264392

Central Reception Officer: 0877-2263922

Chief Accounts Officer: 0877-2264752,4213

Chief Vigilance & Security: 0877-2264390

Devasthanam Law officer: 0877-2264317

Dev. Educational Officer: 0877-2264396

Dharma Prachara Parishad: 0877-2264490,92,93,94

Overseas Temple: 0877-2277718

Complaints/Suggestions: 18004254141

Article Source: IndiaFacts, 22 February 2015

 

Religious Freedom: Whose freedom is it? – Virendra Parekh

Virendra Parekh“The Church claims the right to freedom of religion, by which it means its own right to convert others, and never the other way round (recall its strong condemnation of Ghar Wapsi). Christian evangelical efforts in the world today constitute nothing less than an open declaration of war on other religions. What it forgets is that if missionaries have a right to preach the Gospel, ancient societies professing pacifist non-proselytising religions have a right to defend themselves.” – Virendra Parekh

Narendra ModiThanks, but no thanks. That would be the reaction of discerning missionaries to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much awaited intervention in the ongoing discourse on tolerance and religious freedom. He has obliged them at last, but with a twist which negates much of the favour.

On the face of it, it would be a matter of immense satisfaction to the Church that the political head of a non-Christian secular country attended a purely religious function (organised by the Church to celebrate the sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia) and spoke of ‘tolerance’, ‘freedom of faith’ and ‘the individual’s right to adopt the religion of his choice’.

The satisfaction was heightened by the context. Having availed of India’s hospitality for two days, the US President Barack Obama thought it fit and necessary to harangue us heathens on virtues of tolerance and religious freedom. “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines,” he intoned in Delhi.

The hypocrisy of this moral grandstanding was astounding. Obama’s remarks were made shortly before he flew to Saudi Arabia, a country which openly denies religious freedom in theory and practice. Pakistan routinely and systematically persecutes its Hindu and Christian minorities, but remains Obama’s frontline ally in the so-called war on terror and receives guns and dollars in large quantities. Yet “Nowhere is it more important to uphold religious freedom than in India.” Back home in Washington he bemoaned the “acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji.”

Obama also has a Christian agenda for South AsiaThe hand of the missionary network behind the remark was too obvious to be ignored. It was no coincidence that the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, which was instrumental in the blacklisting of Mr. Narendra Modi after the 2002 Gujarat violence and believes that religious freedom in India is comparable to that in Afghanistan and Turkey, welcomed the President’s remarks. As pointed out by Vamadeva Shasta [see comment below], Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, is connected to Southern Baptist groups who have global missionary networks, but would not mention this in public or condemn the bigotry of Southern Baptists, who would not accept the Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh paths as valid.

An editorial in The New York Times asked the prime minister to break his ‘deafening’ silence on religious intolerance.

And now Narendra Modi has spoken what was expected of him, but with important improvisation. For the missionaries, it is bad enough that he wants every Indian (and not just Hindus) to have equal respect for all religions. He appealed to ‘ALL’ religious groups (and not just Hindus) to act with restraint, mutual respect, and tolerance in the true spirit of this ancient nation.

He went on to say “My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence.” This reference to the right to adopt a religion of one’s choice is no doubt a big (and reckless) concession to the Abrahamic creeds. But there is a double qualification here. The right to retain one’s ancestral faith precedes the one to choose another; secondly, the change of religion has to be made ‘without coercion or undue influence’, if at all. The standard Hindu position is that we should stick to the tradition we are born into, while respecting and learning from other traditions. Modi went as close to that as possible under the Constitution.

But Hindu intellectuals and organisations need to go further.

They should ask bishops and maulavis whether they are prepared to extend the same tolerance to Hinduism and Hindus that they routinely expect from others as a matter of right. If they are, they should stop conversions and jihadi terrorism. If they are not, how can they expect tolerance from the Hindus?

Ram SwarupFor Abrahamic religions, religious tolerance and freedom of religion is a one-way street. According to World Christian Encyclopedia tolerance means that Christians should “show genuine religious tolerance to at other expressions of faith in Christ.” But so far as other, non-Christian religions are concerned, religious toleration “does not deny their convictions about Christ and his church or abandon proclamation, evangelism or conversion”. The Christians retain their right to “believe other religions false and inadequate” and to “attempt to win (adherents) to faith and Jesus Christ.” (The World Christian Encyclopaedia by David B Barrett OUP 1982 reviewed by Ram Swarup in The Times of India, July 14, 1985)

This view of religious tolerance and freedom of religion is implicitly accepted by the modern West in its dealings with other, especially eastern traditions. But they run into a big problem: How to sound liberal without ceasing to be. You scratch them a little and the old theology of Christian superiority shines forth undiminished.

In the last hundred years, western scholars have developed a new intellectual apparatus to attack non-Christian religions and gods. The language of this attack is not theological but psychological. Brazen attempts to subvert and destroy other traditions are paraded as right of the individual to practice a religion of his choice.

This touching concern for individual rights is a cloak for theological arrogance. In Christian theology, a pagan is more than just a nasty physical fact; essentially, he is a lost soul needing to be saved by Jesus and his Church missionaries. Thanks to the powerful Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsmissionary lobby in the UN, its Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states that every individual has a right to embrace the religion or belief of his choice. This has been interpreted as the right of the Church to seek converts among the world’s peoples without hindrance by whatever means and regardless of the consequences to the man and society. It has opened the doors for questionable proselytisation and conversion tactics with lethal consequences to native traditions across the world. The missionary apparatus is a real threat to the genuine freedom of faith.

The Church claims the right to freedom of religion, by which it means its own right to convert others, and never the other way round (recall its strong condemnation of Ghar Wapasi). Christian evangelical efforts in the world today constitute nothing less than an open declaration of war on other religions. What it forgets is that if missionaries have a right to preach the Gospel, ancient societies professing pacifist non-proselytising religions have a right to defend themselves.

Hindu organizations should work for a new and equitable definition of freedom of religion to end this theological warfare and bring peace among religions. The UN must recognize explicitly that countries, cultures and peoples of tolerant philosophies and religions who believe in live and let live too have a right of protection against aggressive, systematic proselytizing. The new charter will assert that an individual’s right to religious freedom includes the right to practice his faith in peace free from uninvited attacks upon his faith and family, and not to be forced to compromise his faith as price of accepting help in times of societal or personal upheaval.

M. K. GandhiThis is the view that Narendra Modi should articulate next time when he holds forth on freedom of religion. Most of the non-Christian world, targeted by the Church, will endorse this view. He could also share with his buddy Barack a few things Gandhiji said about the missionary activity and conversions.

In a note to a missionary, Dr. Thornton, Gandhiji wrote, “if the missionary friends will forget their mission viz. of proselytising Indians and of bringing Christ to them, they will do wonderfully good work. Your duty is done with the ulterior motive of proselytising. When I go to your institutions, I do not feel I am going to an Indian institution. This is what worries me.”

Gandhiji’s advice to the missionaries was five-fold. First, stop conversions altogether as “it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth.” Second, if you must convert, direct your efforts to those who are in a position to assess these matters properly. Do not target the poor, the illiterate or the destitute. Third, even for that effort, it would be better for non-Indian missionaries to return to their countries and attend to problems there. Those problems are large enough to engage all the missionaries that can be made available there. Fourth, in doing any kind of work among people, compliment the faith of the people, do not undermine it. Do not denationalise them. Finally, instead of living the life of the Church, live the life of Jesus, of piety, of the Sermon on the Mount. Let that life, that example, persuade people to embrace Christianity if they will, not this salesmanship.

Like the Mahatma, many modern Hindus have wondered why the Church cannot emulate the example of the Ramakrishna Mission and make the tribal understand his own religion better. What is the need for introducing him to Christ, the Bible and Christianity when his own objects of devotion, veneration and spirituality can serve him equally well?

Like communists, the Church too has contributed a lot to the corruption of language, loading innocuous phrases with self-serving but sinister meanings and connotations. It is time to undo the damage not just to the language but also to the thought. That will be the beginning of real tolerance and freedom.

» Virendra Parekh and is a Senior Journalist in Mumbai, writing in English and Gujarati on nationalist, economic and political themes and issues. He is the Executive Editor of Corporate India.

Narendra Modi addressing at the National Celebration of the Elevation to Sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia, in New Delhi on 17 Feb 2015_

Aggressive evangelism makes ‘ghar wapsi’ pale in comparison – Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande“The Christian percentage of the Indian populace has grown by a staggering 150 per cent. In other words, India now has more Christians than any First World country aside from the United States and Russia according to Pew Research’s Religion & Public Life Project.” – Pawan Deshpande

Ghar Wapsi event in AgraOver the past month, Indian media has tirelessly covered and attacked the RSS for its plans to convert several thousand Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. The press hubbub was largely stirred up by parties in the Opposition such as the defeated Indian National Congress, West Bengal’s All India Trinamool Congress, and the Marxist parties, which criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though these reconversions were not sanctioned by a government entity. The media glare and politicisation of the events eventually put so much pressure on the RSS that it shelved its plans temporarily.

All along, the media and the Indian Left have thoroughly scrutinised the RSS for its self-proclaimed delusional ambitions to rid the nation of Christians as proclaimed by RSS pracharak Rajeshwar Singh, “Ek din in girijagharo ki deewarein bhi gir jayengi aur hamara desh sirf hinduon ka hoga” (One day these churches will crumble and our country will belong to the Hindus alone). But the dialogue on this drive has completely ignored the unbridled conversion of Hindus to Christianity in the past few decades.

Quantifying the enormous scale of conversions to Christianity in India is difficult because the means of doing so have been secretive, as the media has largely failed to cover this issue, and because the previous government took steps to conceal India’s current religious demography.

Every decade, the Government of India conducts a national census inquiring the populace about many details such as their age, household conditions, access to utilities, literacy level, ownership of vehicles, children and many other aspects of their lives. Among these questions is a question about their religious affiliation. The last official Indian census to publish statistics about the nation’s religious demography was in 2001. At that time, 2.34 per cent of the nation’s population were reported to be Christians; 14 years have passed since the survey, and many Christians and Hindus alike estimate that this percentage has greatly increased in the intervening years.

The problem is that there are no official numbers to verify these claims. Though the census was re-conducted in 2011, the government, in an unprecedented manner, deliberately chose not to publish the census data for this question without any explanation. Why would the government hide this information? Some credible observers presume that the numbers would be hard to swallow for India’s Hindu majority—it’s quite possible that Hindus may now consist of less than 80 per cent of the population in part due to a slightly higher Muslim fertility rate—“not too large to swamp India’s Hindu majority in the foreseeable future,” the linked analysis says—in conjunction with conversions of Hindus to Christianity, the rate of which is unknown.

YSR taking communion from a Christian priest.Fearing a political backlash from Hindu voters in the 2014 elections, the then ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, known for cashing in on classic vote-bank politics and crude minorityism, likely felt that the truth of India’s religious demography was best kept secret.

With no official census figures, the next best source of data to ascertain the current Christian percentage of India is Christian missionary organisations. One of the most well regarded missionary almanacs for missionaries, Operation World—launched as a reference book and prayer guide by Patrick Johnstone and continued by Jason Mandryk and regarded by most evangelicals as the definitive volume of prayer information about the world—published that as of 2010, 5.84 per cent of India was Christian equating to 71 million adherents.

Unlike the previous government of India, evangelicals are quite proud of this as stated by Dick McClain, president and CEO of The Mission Society: “With more than 71 million claiming Christianity, India is now the eighth largest Christian nation in the world.”

If true, then, in less than a decade, the Christian percentage of the Indian populace has grown by a staggering 150 per cent. In other words, India now has more Christians than any First World country aside from the United States and Russia according to Pew Research’s Religion & Public Life Project.

India’s Muslim population as a percentage has largely grown as a result of a higher fertility rate and by undocumented cross-national immigration from Bangladesh. On the other hand, India’s Christian population has had trouble sustaining its numbers through reproduction alone. At times, the Christian fertility rate in India has plunged so much that in 2009, the churches in Mizoram and Kerala incentivized their communities to have at least four children per family. If India’s Christian population cannot grow by virtue of fertility rates, has there been massive immigration of Christians to India? No. But read on.

In 2001, according to official census data, three states in the northeast of India, namely Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya, were majority Christian. It is unknown which other states are now Christian majority, and whether Christians grew at the expense of Hindus alone, though that is very likely as Muslims and followers of other faiths are rarely reported to embrace Christianity.

In 2014, a blog post in The New York Times speculated that another north-eastern Indian state, Arunachal Pradesh, was likely home to a Christian majority, having gone from 1 per cent Christian population in the 1971 census to a 18.7 per cent in 2001. The report estimated that hundreds of thousands of inhabitants in the state had adopted Christianity in the past decade allured by promises of faith healers, and benefits administered through Christian institutions such as free healthcare and education. But Arunachal Pradesh, with a total statewide headcount of 1.2 million, alone cannot explain the large growth in India’s Christian population.

Christian Money Though an official headcount for India’s Christian percentage is unobtainable at this time, the 2010 Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) of the Indian government does offer clues on how well funded—and large scale—missionary organisations are. The FCRA was created for the Indian government to ensure that funding of Indian NGOs from foreign entities is ethical and used for good ends. For example, the act seeks to filter out funding to NGOs that indulge in activities to manipulate the country’s political system, corrupt the government, or work against nation’s interests, such as engaging in religious conversion through inducement or force.

Though well-intentioned, the FCRA does not really do its job as revealed in their annual report. Missionary organisations that engage in predatory proselytising, including conditioning of aid distributions, compose the majority of the list of the largest recipients and donors out of all NGOs in India. According to the 2011-2012 report, seven of the top 15 Indian foreign-funded NGOs are missionary Christian organisations that received a total of Rs 879 crore that year:

- World Vision Of India
- Believers Church India
- Indian Society Of Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints
- Caruna Bal Vikas
- Gospel For Asia
- Compassion East India
- Missionaries of Charity

On the other side of the money trail, seven missionary Christian organisations are in the top 15 list having provided a total of Rs 512 crore:

- Compassion International
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints
- Kindernothilfe
- General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists
- WORT & TAT Allgemeine Missions Geselischaft
- Christian Foundation for Children and Aging
- Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst

The top 15 is followed by a long trail of other churches and ministries infusing billions of dollars of funds for converting Indians to Christianity.

World Vision missionary in UttarakhandThe Conversion Wars

Taking a chapter from the playbook of Christian missionaries, the modus operandi that the RSS has adopted for reconversions has been through economic enticements rather than genuine spiritual attraction. For example, Sufia Begum, a 76-year-old former Muslim who converted to Hinduism, explained her true reason for the change of faith, “The RSS people assured us that they will provide us better place to live, better food and schooling for my grandsons. I don’t mind change of religion, as religion doesn’t give us food to eat.”

Similarly, in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, aid workers from Gospel For Asia and the Believers Church, transported hundreds of villagers of Akkaraipettai in Tamil Nadu, India, to a location six miles away. Away from the oversight of government officials, the aid workers distributed disaster relief supplies such as sleeping mats, plates, saris, 55-pound bags of rice and a book of Biblical verses that condemned alcohol and abortion. The missionaries also established an orphanage housing 108 primarily Hindu children, again outside of government oversight, and taught the orphans to recite Christian prayers six times per day.

To better protect the vulnerable victims of these conversion wars, several Indian states have proposed or even passed “Anti-Conversion Laws”. Rather than preventing conversion of faith outright, these laws typically require an individual to register with the government when they seek to change religions, enabling the government to ensure that the conversion is not being made under duress or through enticements. These laws extend the common concept of religious freedom to also encompass the right to freedom from religious intrusion and exploitation.

While many Hindu organisations support such legislation, many Christian organisations which benefit from such unethical practices have protested against these laws, claiming that they impinge on one’s freedom to adopt a new faith. Under pressure from evangelical Christian groups, such laws have drawn scrutiny from governmental bodies outside of India such as the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Shuddhi YagnaGhar Wapsi: Just a Finger in the Dyke

The RSS, Indian leftist parties and the Indian press are all guilty of portraying the ghar wapsi event as the harbinger of the eradication of minorities in India as evidenced by rhetorical statements by Rajeshwar Singh, the RSS organiser of the recent ghar wapsi, such as “Just wait and watch. 31 December 2021 is the last for Christianity and Islam in this country”.

Rather than using ghar wapsi as yet another obvious opportunity to criticise the RSS and the Modi government, the event should instead be used to force a larger, urgent and direly needed discussion regarding the ethics and practice of predatory proselytization that continues to endanger India’s religious harmony and pluralistic ethos. – Swaraja, 14 January 2015

» Pawan Deshpande is on the Executive Council of the Hindu American Foundation, and a CEO of a software company based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Missionary Target
Missionary Target Window

See also

Philippines: Asia’s most Catholic nation purges street children for Pope’s visit – Charlie Campbell

Pope Francis Manila

Charlie Campbell“Children are summarily kept for anything up to three months without charge, with little ones sharing cells with young adults. Many fall prey to serious sexual and physical abuse: Kids just eight-years-old are often tormented into performing sex acts on the older detainees.” – Charlie Campbell

Manila street girl chained to pole.Pope Francis took the helm of the Catholic Church last year, vowing to refashion the institution “for the poor.” Yet during his recent five-day visit to the Philippines, where he presided over Mass for more than six million rapturous worshippers, it appeared many of the nation’s most impoverished were cruelly banished from view.

As the Pontiff touched down in Asia’s most Catholic nation, reports emerged that street children had been rounded up and caged in order to sanitize Manila’s streets. Local authorities vehemently denied this was a case, pointing out that the accompanying photographs of an emaciated toddler and young girl handcuffed to a metal pole had in fact been taken months earlier.

However, rumors continued to swirl as more anecdotal evidence arrived. So was the Philippine capital purged of unsightly urchins? In a word, yes, although only a small fraction of this was anything new.

According to local activists, street children are constantly being rounded up across this sprawling metropolis of 12 million. This is generally for vagrancy and petty crime — they are often scapegoats for the deeds committed by organized gangs — and, although numbers are hard to pin down, the Pope’s visit seemed to herald a slight uptick.

Street child in a Manila prison.“There’s definitely been a ramp up,” Catherine Scerri, deputy director of the Bahay Tuluyan NGO that helps street children, tells TIME. “They were definitely told not to be visible, and many of them felt that if they didn’t move they would be taken forcibly.”

Those detained end up a various municipal detention centers sprinkled all over Metro Manila, says Father Shay Cullen, the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated founder of the Preda Foundation NGO. These local adult jails each adjoin euphemistically named “children’s homes,” which, like the adult facility, has bars on the windows.

Children are summarily kept for anything up to three months without charge, with little ones sharing cells with young adults. Many fall prey to serious sexual and physical abuse: Kids just eight-years-old are often tormented into performing sex acts on the older detainees, says Cullen. (Amnesty International documented such abuses in a December report.)

“They are locked up in a dungeon,” says Cullen, explaining that some 20,000 children see the inside of a jail cell annually across the Philippines. “We keep asking why they put these little kids in with the older guys.”

Nevertheless, Philippines Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman explicitly denies that homeless children were rounded up for the Papal visit, highlighting that they were, in fact, central to the 78-year-old Pontiff’s reception. Some 400 homeless kids — albeit in bright, new threads — sang at a special event (and posed awkward theological questions.) 

Street children in a Manila prison.Any children detained, explains Juliano-Soliman, were “abandoned, physically or mentally challenged or found to be vagrant or in trouble with the law, and we are taking care of them.” Father Cullen’s allegations, Juliano-Soliman suggests, are a sympathy ploy to win donations “One can’t help but think it’s a good fundraising action,” she says wryly.

However, Juliano-Soliman did confirm that 100 homeless families — comprising 490 parents and children — were taken off the street of Roxas Boulevard, the palm-fringed thoroughfare arcing Manila Bay along which Pope Francis traveled several times, and taken about an hour and a half’s drive away to the plush Chateau Royal Batangas resort. Room rates there range from $90 to $500 per night.

This sojourn lasted from Jan. 14, the day before Pope Francis’s visit, until Jan. 19, the day he left. It was organized by the Department of Social Welfare’s Modified Conditional Cash Transfer program, which provides grants to aid “families with special needs.”

Juliano-Soliman says this was done so that families would “not be vulnerable to the influx of people coming to witness the Pope.” Pressed to clarify, she expressed fears that the destitute “could be seen as not having a positive influence in the crowd” and could be “used by people who do not have good intentions.”

For Scerri, though, this reasoning doesn’t cut it: “It’s very difficult to believe that children and families who have lived on the streets for most of their lives need to be protected Protest against incarcerated children in Manilafrom what was a very joyous, very happy, very peaceful celebration.”

In fact, families involved were only told two days prior that they were to make the trip to Chateau Royal Batangas. “Many felt that if they didn’t participate that they would be rounded up,” says Scerri, adding that those who returned to their usual digs by Malate Catholic Church found large signs had been painted in the interim that prohibited sleeping rough.

Ultimately, whether jailed or stashed in a resort, “there’s nothing new,” says Father Cullen. “Every time dignitaries come it’s a common phenomenon for more children to be locked up.”

So where did Manila’s street children go? The truth is that most people didn’t really care, just as long as they did. - Time, 21 January 2010

See also: Children caged to keep the streets clean for the Pope: Police round up orphans and chain them in filth during pontiff’s visit to Philippines.

» Charlie Campbell is TIME Associate Editor based in Hong Kong. His focus is Southeast Asia.

Pope Francis in the Philippines 2015

And the Lord did protect the Holy Father from the temptation of Manila street children with the help of a Catholic police force who locked them up with adult offenders!

Ghar Wapsi: Counterattack from Hinduism – Virendra Parekh

Virendra Parekh“Like a slow but deadly poison, conversions are sapping the lifeblood of Hinduism. However great and noble Hinduism may be, if there are no Hindus who practice it, it will be consigned to the museums and monuments like several other religions of the ancient world. Long before that Hindus will have disintegrated into an amorphous mass of humanity and India as an old civilisation will have disappeared.” – Virendra Parekh

Hindu activist raising the Bhagwa Dwaj over a Cross.One thing is common to mullahs, missionaries and Marxists: when they are given a dose of their own medicine, they cry foul. If you join (or are made to join) their fold, you are exercising your basic right to freedom of thought, belief and conscience. If you leave their fold and return to your roots, you are reviled as an apostate or renegade. If feasible, appropriate penalty will be visited upon you. Simultaneously, the event is denounced as an assault on freedom of thought etc. It is a one-way street.

The orchestrated campaign by the Church and its cronies in the media against return of a handful of people from Islam and Christianity to Hinduism (rightly called Ghar Wapsi or returning home) is in line with this thinking. Islam and Christianity aim at conquering the world by all means, fair and foul. They do not easily reconcile to the loss of what is already conquered, however tenuously.

For once, RSS has shown strategic brilliance. The numerical significance of Ghar Wapsi events held so far is zero. But they have tremendous symbolic value. By demonstrating that religious conversion is a game that two can play, RSS has succeeded in putting this burning issue at the centre of public debate.

Mohan BhagwatEqually significant is what Hindu organizations are saying in defence of Ghar Wapsi. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has said that the Hindu society is rightfully claiming back its lost children who had been taken away by force, fraud and allurement, that others have no right to complain about it and that a Hindu reawakening does not threaten anyone except those with a subversive agenda. His comments drew sharp reactions precisely because they were too accurate for the comfort of his targets.

Hindu organizations would do well to stick to this line of argument. They should be especially wary of “freedom of religion” argument which equates their activity with those of the missionaries and Tablighis. Bringing back Muslims and Christians to their ancestral religion is not the same thing as conversion by proselytizing sects. The two are based on entirely different premises, driven by very different agendas and have diametrically opposite consequences on the society and the state. They are as different as healing is from wounding, rejoining is from rupturing and strengthening is from subverting.

In its present context, the issue is essentially social and political. Its spiritual and philosophical aspect, such as it is, can be dealt with summarily.

The most fundamental Hindu objection to conversion can be simply stated: the basic doctrine of Christianity is just not tenable. The essence of Christianity is a belief, a particular claim: Jesus is the only son of God and he has atoned for the sins of mankind for all time to come by his crucifixion and resurrection. Salvation of the mankind, its escape from eternal perdition, lies in giving up worshipping false gods and accepting Jesus as the sole saviour.

In the nature of things, such a dogma can never be verified or proved. Repeated, emphatic assertions, quotations from the Book, and books based on the Book are all that is offered as evidence. This is a curious way of arguing. The book assumes what is to be proved, asserts it and you cite the book as your authority or proof. Elsewhere, it would be rejected as circular reasoning, but in a Christian preacher it makes for a brilliant and clinching argument.

The truth about the Dogma, the Book and the Saviour has been known all along, best of all to the Church. The facts questioning the dogma and challenging its tall claims have been in the public domain for decades, if not centuries. That knowledge has not prevented the Church from forging the missionary apparatus as a formidable instrument of aggression. The sole purpose of that apparatus is to supplant other religions and faiths and plant Christianity in their place.

The Church claims the right to freedom of religion, by which it means its own right to convert others, and never the other way round. What it forgets is that if missionaries have a right to preach the Gospel, ancient societies professing pacifist non-proselytising religions have a right to defend themselves. When food or service is offered as a right of the giver, the recipient has a right to look into his motives.

Arun ShourieChristianity uses the language of theology, but its objectives are political. It aims at conquest of the world by decimating other traditions, converting people and capturing territories. Large sections of Hindu society have never concealed their discomfort with conversions carried out by missionaries – especially the means employed by them to win converts. As Arun Shourie points out, conversion of even one person causes grave disruptions. His family is torn apart. Tensions erupt in the community. This is all the more so because after conversion, and sometimes even during the process of conversion itself, the converters make the person say and do the things that grievously offend the original community of the person: the individual is led not just to repudiate but denounce gods and rituals in which he grew up, to do things which are forbidden in his original religion or community – eating beef for instance.

These things do not happen naturally or even accidentally. They are designed carefully and deliberately. The objective is to snap dramatically and finally with a violent psychological blow the residual bond that may still have survived in the individual’s mind. That makes it that much more difficult for him to return to his original community. On the other hand, the abuse that he may have hurled at the local gods or goddesses, the food that he may have eaten after the ceremony, makes the original community distance itself from him, to turn its back on the convert, as it were. As the man is no longer able to return to his original family and community, he becomes that much more dependent on his new family and community. The result is great discord and animosities – all in the name of God and love.

Such conversions are happening at an alarming pace all over the country. There is a very sophisticated operation in place by the evangelical groups, with a clear target for souls, marketing campaigns, mass prayer and fraudulent healing meetings. Evidence is available in plenty on videos on YouTube, social media, press reports, and on the ground. Pastors have been openly tweeting about souls converted, and saving people from idol worshippers. These evangelical groups are like hyper-growth startups with a fund-raising machine and a roadmap for acquiring followers and ‘conquering new markets’.

What is true of Christianity is even more so of Islam. Islam is the most divisive and destructive ideology that India has encountered in her history spanning over millennia. No other discord or disunion can match the deep psychological, social and political cleavage driven by Islam in the Indian society. From Afghanistan to Assam and from Gilgit to Rameshwaram, we are one people divided by Islam. Remove it, and this ancient land will regain its natural unity.

Change of circumstances has forced Christianity to become more polite outwardly; but Islam continues to suffer from a high degree of self-righteousness, arrogance and aggression fuelled by petrodollars. It is still dreaming confidently of making India Dar al-Islãm once again.

Like a slow but deadly poison, conversions are sapping the lifeblood of Hinduism. However great and noble Hinduism may be, if there are no Hindus who practice it, it will be consigned to the museums and monuments like several other religions of the ancient world. Long before that Hindus will have disintegrated into an amorphous mass of Swami Dayananda & Narendra Modihumanity and India as an old civilisation will have disappeared.

Make no mistake about it. Almost unconsciously, Hindu society is drawn into a battle which is literally a matter of life and death. This is a war that the Hindu society did not ask for. But this is a war that it must fight and win, if it wants to survive. Every section of the Hindu society, right from the prime minister to the detached sannyasin can and must play a role in this struggle.

A strong anti-conversion law can be of some limited help; much will depend on its implementation. And implementation is directly linked with political will. That is why such laws at state level have not made any difference.

First and foremost, Hindu society needs clarity of vision. Hindus must realize that Christianity and Islam are not religions but political ideologies inspired by imperialist ambitions. These ideologies came to India as accomplices of Islamic and Western armies. Just as Islam and its alien followers conquered our land, destroyed our temples and monuments, and killed and enslaved our people, so also they converted some of us to their own creed. These sections of Hindu society which were forced or lured into the folds of these ideologies have to be brought back into their ancestral fold.

This is what reconversion is all about. At political level, it is a process of completion of our independence. At social level, it is about removing the alienation of some sections and reintegrating them with their ancestral society, strengthening the national mainstream in the process. This is opposite of conversions to Islam and Christianity. Hindu organizations should resist attempts to equate the two.

Hindu reformers, Hindu organisations and sannyasins should usher in a social revolution to erase caste prejudices and reunite Hindu society on the basis of spiritual values.

Learn the truth about this powerful, CIA-sponsored Christian missionary NGOThe government of India should recognize the threat to the national security posed by conversions, spell it out publicly and move to ban them in border states like Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. It should choke the flow of foreign funds to organizations linked to Church or Islamic movement and deny visas to ‘social workers’, preachers and other busybodies from the foreign countries. These funds and men should be recognized as sources of trouble and prevented from entering the country.

Since schools and colleges, clinics and hospitals and financial organizations are used as the main agencies (weapons?) for conversion, the government should focus on providing these services in ample measures to people who need it the most.

Hindus should be allowed to manage their temples so that the wealth and income of the temples could be used to promote Dharma, Sanskrit language and literature and fight machinations of alien religions through well-managed charities.

Hindu intellectuals should work tirelessly to change the nature of public debate by taking on the ignorant, prejudiced and anti-Hindu ‘liberals’. They should speak the truth in an informed and authoritative manner about Hinduism and its self-declared enemies, about the threat to social cohesion and national security posed by predatory religions and about the ways to strengthen the national mainstream.

Sita Ram GoelUntil a favourable climate is created, Hindu organizations should carry out reconversions in a low-profile manner, away from the glare of publicity. They have nothing to gain by revealing their hand prematurely.

The beginning of the debate is just that: the beginning. There is a long and arduous journey ahead. As Sita Ram Goel said, wining back its own lost children is the minimum task which Hindu society has to set before itself. The maximum task is to carry the campaign against these ideologies into their own homelands, and to free large sections of mankind from the abominable superstitions which breed intolerance and aggression.

» Virendra Parekh is the Executive Editor of Corporate India and lives in Mumbai.

Proselytisation in India: A critique from a Dharmic perspective – Krishen Kak

Religious conversion is the cause of religious conflict.

Krishen Kak“Just look at the Bible’s virulence for us Pagans. Mr Alexander himself shows he is aware of the staggering degree of violence the Bible actually represents. It actually teaches violence against nonbelievers. Why is he not critical of the widespread distribution of Bibles? The Bible should be banned if we are to be ‘truly secular,’ no?” – Dr Krishen Kak

Dominic of Caleruega1) Background

A correspondent recently sent me a print-copy of Mr C. Alex Alexander’s “Proselytisation in India: An Indian Christian’s Perspective” describing it as “a fair and reasonable analysis”. Indeed, Mr Alexander’s careful and obviously well-intentioned analysis is a treat to read, forefronting a Christianity that is affable, benign and irenic, with recommendations by him to suit. Unfortunately, and I do not question Mr Alexander’s own good faith, this version of Christianity he presents is a mask.

I think the problem is “in the nature of the beast” itself. That a dog has slavering fangs and a waggety tail makes no difference to a mouse. Both are ends of the same dog, and the dog is in its very nature hostile to the mouse – thousands of years of evolution hasn’t changed that, and here we’re talking just 1500 or 1600 years (to take figures given by Mr Alexander).

I write, therefore, from the perspective of a mouse (or rat, if you prefer! – the behaviour of the dog doesn’t distinguish between them). I do not go into the wider aspects of proselytisation – its ethics, commerce, politics, and violence have been elaborated by David Frawley and others (and are available on the web), and Mr Alexander himself shows he is quite aware of them. I go primarily into the validity of the distinction Mr Alexander draws between what he calls, on the one hand, Western Christianity and, on the other, Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, as antithetical forms of Christianity.

And as for my zoogenic reference, well, Mr Alexander identifies Revelations with Christian fundamentalism. But that is not necessarily so, Mr Alexander, not at all so. Even the legendary and vastly popular Pat Boone (whom Mr Alexander will no doubt remember from his younger days) in what became a bestseller sang of Revelations as “A Wonderful Time Up There”!

Now, Rev 13.7-8 makes quite clear that all Pagans are worshippers of “the beast” who represents the Devil (Rev 13.2; 20.2), and those who are not Christians are “dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev 22.15). So if this damned pagan following Rev 13.10 returns a little of the compliment, a good Christian should not take offence but should recall Matt 5.39 and turn the other cheek. As for the canine analogy, the label “Domini Canes” (Dogs of the Lord) used to be a popular one in Europe for Christian missionaries (S. R. Goel, Papacy: Its Doctrine And History,1986:45).*

So, let’s take this a step at a time.

2) Christianity is an exclusivism

What Mr Alexander calls Abrahamic faiths are also called prophetic monotheisms or, most accurately, exclusivisms (refer N. S. Rajaram’s excellent little 1995 monograph Secularism: The New Mask of Fundamentalism* for the distinguishing characteristics of an exclusivism – though he repeats the common error, as we shall see, of believing the USA takes its secularism “very seriously”, p. 15). Over the last 1500 years, the exclusivisms that really mattered all over the world are the three proselytising ones: Christianity, Islam, and Communism. Since we’re discussing mainly the first one, I shall say “Christianity” but request you to remember it is an exclusivism, and much of what is said about it applies as well to Islam (as Mr Alexander himself notes).

The defining/canonical/identifying text of Christianity is the Bible. There are no two opinions about this, and a good Christian must subscribe to the Bible as the text of Christianity. Then, whether it is divinely-worded or humans have worded it, and how different Christians interpret different bits of it, or how many different versions there are of it is a matter internal to Christianity. It is something like the Ramayana, of which there are two dozen and more versions, but the non-Pagan clubs them all as one “Hindu epic”.

Whether the dog itches on its nose or its toes makes little difference to the mouse. It is the same dog.

Jehovah: Angry sky god of the Jews and "father" of Jesus (Michelangelo)3) The essence of Christianity

The Bible has two parts, the Old Testament and the New, and there are no two opinions that both are integral parts of the faith and of the defining text. The Old Testament is about the Christian God (that is, God with a capital G, sometimes “Jehovah”). The New Testament is about someone called Jesus who, most emphatically, by definition, cannot be God since there is only one God, his father.

The God of Christianity, like the God of Islam, is an angry God, a vengeful God, by his own description “a jealous God”, a punishing God (Exodus 20.5). Qualitatively, there is little to choose between Jehovah and Allah. Both, according to their respective texts, thirst for the blood of their nonbelievers.

Now, Jesus is variously described in Christianity as a messiah, a prophet, a messenger, the son of God, even the son of Joseph (St John 1.45), and the Son of man (St John 1.51). A holy ghost in some mysterious way impregnated a human female and Jesus was in due course born (since Mr Alexander favours analogies, we may compare Agni carrying Shiva’s seed to the human Krittikas. However, all Western authorities, including Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, describe this as a myth so, by analogy, we must assume Matt 1.18 is also a myth).

A plain reading of any Bible shows it ridden with contradictions. Common through all these contradictions is a jealous God and his agency called Jesus. Both the God and the agent are to be taken on blind faith. All humans should believe in them, and this becomes the justification for proselytisation which in turn reaps a “harvest of faith” necessary to feed very powerful, expansionist, strongly hierarchical, political and business patriarchies. Those who don’t – or won’t – believe are threatened with a dire fate.

4) The authority of Jesus

It is not entirely clear whether Jesus was human, after his mother, or divine, after his putative father (St John 7.42 has “the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David”, which could make David the ancestor of Jehovah). Both Jesus and his mother are worshipped, though the latter has not been elevated to godhood (there are no goddesses in Christianity). Nevertheless, whether human or divine, Jesus is still not God and can never be, because there is only one God who is his father Jehovah and who is eternal. If Jesus and his father are one (St John 10.30), and Jesus was a historical figure, then in some inscrutable way Mary was impregnated by her own son to give birth to him. I mention this merely to suggest that the creation stories of the Christians are no different from those of the Pagans, and if ours they call myths and our beliefs mythology (as in “Hindu mythology”) so are theirs myths in a Christian mythology. Yet proselytisation requires us to believe the latter as The Truth.

Therefore, the God of Christianity, the God of the Bible, is the God of the Old Testament. By definition – he is omnipotent, omniscient, and so on – he can never be “over-ruled” by his son or by anyone else. And a good Christian must believe in this God because, by Christian definition, there is no other. Whether or not Jesus is divine, he is not God and therefore in no way can he over-rule his father who is The Only God. The final authority in Christianity, by its own logic, cannot be Jesus but is Jehovah.

Whatever the version of the Bible (and Mr Alexander makes much of this), the incontrovertible essence of all versions is that of a jealous God, and a son eternally obedient to the father (“Then answered Jesus … Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” – St John 5.19).

Even a plain reading of St John shows that Jesus is essentially a rajdoot of Jehovah, though there is much laboured effort to identify the agent with the principal (the Nicene Creed “consubstantiates” the two). The rajdoot loyally tries to present his Chakravartin Samraat as a kind, caring, loving raja – whereas the raja by his own admission is quite the contrary. Mr Alexander realizes this and tries to gloss it by describing the God of the Old Testament as “Judaic” but, pray, what other God is there of the Christians?

Jesus5) The message of Christianity

Now let us see what this God and his son say to humans.

The Old Testament is replete with instances of Jehovah’s lust for the blood of nonbelievers.

I do not know whether Jehovah has genes but if he is the father of Jesus, then Jesus has Jehovah’s genes. Mr Alexander quotes verses from the Gospel according to St John to reflect the “compassion and infinite love” preached by Jesus. These must be the genes from his mother, because there are sufficient instances everywhere in the New Testament to show he really remained his father’s son:

He that is not with me is against me…. – Luke 11.23, Matt 12.30

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division – Luke 12.51

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword – Matt 10.34

But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me – Luke 19.27

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned – Mark 16.16

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved – Acts 4.12

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son – 1 John 2.22

(And even in his views of women, he took after his father – see 1 Tim 2.11-15 and Koenraad Elst, The Psychology of Prophetism, 1993:98).*

No mincing of words – Jehovah and Jesus tell us Pagans in no uncertain terms what they have in store for us.

Even in St John:

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God – St John 3.18

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him – St John 3.36

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins – St John 8.24. And from St John 16.7-9, it is clear that “sin” is not to believe in Christ.

St John 4.13,14; 5.22-30; 8.44 are variations on the same theme. And there are numerous similar verses elsewhere in the New Testament.

Can there be any doubt that, in Christian theory, we Pagans are sinners, condemned to the wrath of God, unless we believe exclusively in Jesus/Jehovah?

6) The practice of Christianity

Now which words of the New Testament should Christians (or for that matter, Pagans) believe? The ones quoted by Mr Alexander, or the ones quoted above? And what about the Old Testament? By definition, is not the Old Testament, that has God speaking, more authoritative than the New Testament, in which his son tries to present the faith as a berceuse?

So what do Christians like Mr Alexander do? They treat the text as a menu and pick and choose (this is best exemplified in the USA in what can be called “cafeteria Christianity”).

And how has Christianity dealt historically with this apparent paradox? Very shrewdly, and in the same way. It picks from the New Testament for preaching, but the Old it practises. Mr Alexander’s quote of Bishop Desmond Tutu sums this up. Here is another account: “It has been said of the missionaries that when they arrived they had only the Book and we had the land; now we have the Book and they have the land…. When the missionaries arrived they fell on their knees and prayed. Then they got up, fell on the Indians, and preyed.” (Vine Deloria, Custer Died For Your Sins, University of Oklahoma Press, 1988:101).

And what should pagans do?

That there are different interpretations of Christianity is of real moment only within Christianity. There are different breeds of dogs – some are bred for their slavering fangs, others for their waggety tails. But to the mouse they are all the same species and, no matter the breed, they share the distinguishing characteristics, the jatidharma, of dogness. Whether the canines are bared, or the tail is wagged, it is a given that the dog is the enemy of the mouse, and for its survival the mouse judges dogs as evolutionary experience has taught it. By the behaviour of dogs. By the practice of Christianity. Dogs may fight each other, but a mouse is their common prey. Christians may quarrel with each other, as Mr Alexander recognizes, but the overwhelming global Pagan experience of Christianity is in our extermination.

Therefore, whatever the confusions within Christianity, Pagans to survive must take a murine perspective, must view Christianity as mice view a dog. Nowhere, but nowhere, in the world where the exclusivisms have conquered have they allowed significant Pagan populations to survive. Nowhere in the territories of these monotheisms is there a meaningful survival of any pre-monotheism, any Paganism. India is the home of the world’s last major Paganism, and the Domini Canes war upon us.

7) An exclusivism is a fundamentalism

Mr Alexander refers to the “fundamentalist varieties of both Christianity and Islam”. There is, in fact, no other. The monotheisms, by their own definition, are fundamentalist, are exclusivist. Their God, whether Jehovah or Allah, demands exclusivity on pain of punishment or death – “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me….” (Exodus 20.3). Canis is carnivorous, as a species hostile to all mus. Sure, in unique situations, a mouse may frolic between a dog’s paws, as the lion may lie down with the lamb, but then neither the dog nor the lion are being true to their jatidharma. From the Pagan perspective, a good monotheist would be one who in effect is a bad Christian or Muslim.

Mr Alexander argues only against “religious conversions attempted through physical coercion or material inducement”. But why religious conversions at all? The right to convert is not a universal human right (Arvind Sharma, MLBD Newsletter, Sept 2003:16). If Pagans wish to pray to Jesus/Jehovah, the Paganism does not prevent them. They need only simply do so. Why is a “conversion” needed? Not because of the pluralism, but because of the exclusivism. It is the exclusivism that requires the rejection of pluralism. It requires the Pagan subscribe only to Jesus/Jehovah (or Mohammad/Allah) to the exclusion of all others. A pluralism would add the new ones, the old ones perhaps just fading away, but an exclusivism requires the formal rejection of the old ones. The old gods must be denied by the new believer. The Pagan “converts” exclusively to the belief stated in the Nicene Creed. The Islamic equivalent is the awal kalma. The pluralism is a palimpsest, the exclusivism is an eraser. That is why all conversions by these monotheisms are violent.

“Pluralistic Indians” cannot be of “all religious faiths” because the monotheisms in their very nature are not pluralistic. Monotheists must choose between being good Indians and poor Christians/Muslims, or good Christians/Muslims – and illiberal Indians. I’m told this was recognized as far back as 1918 in Maharam vs. Emperor (AIR 1918, Allahabad, 168) – a person worshipping a Hindu god couldn’t be a Christian in law. To be a Christian requires adherence exclusively to Christianity, unlike for the Hindu who can claim to be both Hindu and Christian simultaneously (a concept clarified to USCIRF on Sept 18, 2000 by Arvind Sharma, see MLBD Newsletter, March 2003).

The tail cannot deny the teeth, and the teeth require something to chew on. Converts. Even Mr Alexander recognizes this – in the Indian Orthodox Church the breakaway CMS and later what became the Mar Thoma Church were teeth asserting themselves.

Prof Vine Deloria: It has been said of the missionaries that when they arrived they had only the Book and we had the land; now we have the Book and they have the land…. When the missionaries arrived they fell on their knees and prayed. Then they got up, fell on the Indians, and preyed.8) The reality of proselytization

Mr Alexander then has “fundamentalists of all religions”. Obviously he now includes us Pagans. He needs to read his Shakespeare; Shylock’s famous speech that points out “The villainy you teach me, I will execute”. The so-called fundamentalism of the Pagans has been learnt from and is in reaction to that of the monotheisms. This is implicit in Mr Alexander’s absence of surprise at the emergence of “Hindu nationalism”. After centuries of a generally “sordid history” of Christianity, the last Pagans are learning to fight back.

Mr Alexander recognizes the politics, the commerce, the aggression and violence of Christianity but tries to extenuate the sordidness by calling it “Western” or “Judeo-Christian” Christianity. He is wrong. Mr Alexander recognises proselytisation is violence, but he prefers not to see that it is integral to Christianity. Not Western, not Judeo-Christian, nor any other breed; it is in the nature of the beast itself – and, Mr Alexander, the beast is inherently himsak. To survive, it needs to create a global imperium managed in the name of Jesus/Jehovah by a privileged clergy. It is this reality – (“They came with the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. First they stole gold. Then they stole the land. Then they stole souls” – Dine Navajo Literature) – that is masked by the evangelion, the good news: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations” – Mark 13.10.

Mr Alexander himself says the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches “did not develop the same degree of fixation about proselytisation as their Western counterparts did”. Please note very carefully – that notwithstanding Acts 16.6 (“… and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia”) – they never repudiated, never denied proselytisation. They only did not develop it to the same degree. Mr Alexander is open to Indians demanding we be “shielded from intrusive evangelical activities through the use of democratic means” (emphasis mine). He criticises only the means adopted to proselytise, he never questions the need or the act itself. Yet he is critical of Pagans trying to save themselves (he lumps “reverse conversions” with foreign-engineered Christian evangelism/Muslim fundamentalism, and all three are “destructive to India’s time-tested culture of religious tolerance”). Note how he qualifies the proselytisation by the monotheisms, but he extends no such charitable explanation to the shuddhikaran. Read and understand him carefully. Jesus is still Jehovah’s son.

Mr Alexander is critical of the “militant adherents” of the exclusivisms. But a plain reading of the identifying texts of the exclusivisms reveals that the exclusivisms in their essence are militant. Their God is militant. Their history is militant. Their practice is militant. Western or Eastern. Teeth or tail. What difference does it make to the mouse? The dog remains a carnivore.

And it is not true that “religious peace prevailed there [the southwest coast of India] only because of the non-proselytising nature of the early followers of Christianity”. It prevailed there because the Paganism is inclusivistic (early Christians were persecuted elsewhere in the world, weren’t they?) and it prevailed only till the Christian teeth had been sharpened enough to be bared, till the jatidharma could be revealed, soon after 1836 AD. Mr Alexander makes much of Indian pluralism as if it is a kumbha in which the waters of all “religions” (including Hinduism, Christianity and Islam) can mingle freely. He treats the Paganism as a “religion”. But the Paganism itself is the kumbha, is Indian pluralism. It is not distinct from it. It is the exclusivisms that are inherently, qualitatively, and violently distinct, and their poison is corroding the kumbha.

9) The extraterritorial loyalty of the evangelists

Mr Alexander himself notes the grave political danger to the independence and integrity of India because of “off-shore proselytisation” (implicitly, he finds nothing wrong with the on-shore kind).

The lairs of the beast are not in India. The creature’s primary loyalty is extraterritorial. His own example of the Indian Orthodox Church declares this (the other churches are all foreign-based and foreign-funded anyhow). After the Mar Thoma split, the Indian Orthodox Church split again to create the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church with its extraterritorial loyalty. What is clear, even from Mr Alexander’s account, is that the extent that Indian Christians (like his parents) can consider India their home is not because they are good Christians first but because they are good Indians first.

10) Minorityism

What is “generalized bashing of minorities”? From where has this kind of religious distinction come? The Paganism doesn’t teach it. And who defines a minority? Both Islam and Christianity in India are indivisible parts of huge extraterritorial violently world-conquering religions. Mr Alexander himself notes the enormous Christian threat to India, with Christian mercenaries, sorry, missionaries, already spread and active all over India. The subcontinent was partitioned because of the machinations of the monotheists. Now, within India, the northeast has already been conquered by the monotheisms. So has Kashmir. Yet these are “minorities”. Read the scholarly Religious Demography of India by A. P. Joshi, M. D. Srinivas, J. K. Bajaj of the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai.

Which refugees from religious persecution or otherwise who found sanctuary in India needed “minority” protection to survive? And which did not flourish? Jews, Syrian Christians, Zoroastrians, Dawoodi Bohras, Ismailis, Bahais – you name them, all prospered. Why? Indian pluralism, remember? Who poured the poison of minorityism into the kumbha? Whose, Mr Alexander, is “the continuing obsession” to exploit the so-called secular “guarantee of religious freedom”?

But when these “minorities” identify themselves as part of world-dominating movements, prevalent and spreading in lands across the globe, then it is the Paganism in India that needs to be protected as a “minority” because Paganism survives nowhere else in the world (it has been destroyed almost everywhere else by our “minority” religions, hasn’t it?). If eradicated from India, where will Pagans then find a home?

Paganism is now a minority in the world. The Kashmiri Pandit Pagans who’ve been exiled from their homeland cannot be a “minority” because officially “minority” Islam that has destroyed the KP as a Pagan community refuses to agree. And, as Mr Alexander notes, Christianity expresses not one word of concern for the Pagans. Instead, it seeks to fill the vacated space with its missionaries (Tariq Mir, “It’s conversion time in Valley”, The Indian Express, April 6, 2003). Such is our lopsided guarantee of religious freedom to the monotheisms.

George Bush11) Secularism

Does Mr Alexander seriously believe as practicable or even remotely acceptable to Christianity and Islam (and the countries they control) the limiting of United Nations rights to the “truly secular” (whatever that means)? He seems to think “Western democracies which advocate a strict separation of church and state” are truly secular. But consider the USA, Mr Alexander’s own home for over four decades. The USA may have laws that separate Church and State, but its ethos, its polity is so permeated with Judeo-Christianity that this has become there what Robert Bellah and others call “a civil religion”. Judeo-Christian images and symbols are widely prevalent and the President of the USA in his public persona repeatedly invokes the blessing and support of the (“So help me….”) God of the Old Testament. Mr Alexander notes the Christian rhetoric and imagery used by the US President to justify the American invasion of Iraq, and he realizes the partisan nature of USCIRF. He believes “the UN may in fact be the last best hope for mankind” and yet the so-called secular USA had no difficulty imposing its aggressive Christian will on that world body. So is the USA “truly secular”? Mr Alexander wants “the practice of one’s faith should be a personal affair and of no concern to others”. He should teach this first to his proselytising co-religionists.

If the Bible can be widely distributed, even in hotel rooms, why not the trishul? Like the former, the latter is only a symbol, no? The National Commission for Minorities sees no objection to the trishul. Nor does the Rajasthan High Court. Mr Alexander suggests the trishul represents or can give rise to violence. But just look at the Bible’s virulence for us pagans. Mr Alexander himself shows he is aware of the staggering degree of violence the Bible actually represents. It actually teaches violence against nonbelievers. Why is he not critical of the widespread distribution of Bibles? The Bible should be banned if we are to be “truly secular”, no?

No, Mr Alexander, this whole business of “minorities” and “secularism” is very tricky indeed. As I repeatedly try and show in Vicharamala, Nehruvian secularism is a curse and sarvadharma sambhava a pernicious fallacy. “Secularism” arose as a reaction and antidote to Christianity. Bharatvarsha never suffered a comparable situation. The Supreme Court recently reminded Mr Narendra Modi of his rajdharma. Is the Pagan dharma the same as a monotheistic religion? Is dharma only a private matter, as Mr Alexander states “religion” should be? The whole issue of “secularism” and “religion” and the procrustean chopping of dharma to fit “religion” is another matter altogether.

12) The historicity of Jesus

As for the historicity of Jesus, this too is a matter internal to Christianity. S. R. Goel provides a fascinating discussion and notes Pope Leo X admitting “It has served us well, this myth of Christ” (S. R. Goel, Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression, 1994:32).* N. S. Rajaram updates the discussion in his Profiles in Deception (2000).* If Jesus was not the historical figure he is claimed to be, then the redemption, his miracles, crucifixion and resurrection could never have happened, so that rather knocks out the “truth” of the New Testament, indeed, of Christianity. If there was no Jesus, what happens to what Mr Alexander calls “the tenets” and “the spiritual dimension of Jesus’ teachings”? Who said his sayings and of what worth become they? Of what “truth” are the claims for Jesus in the Nicene Creed? And if the New Testament is myth (consider again, Mr Alexander, the description of our Pagan “religious” beliefs as “myth”) and, therefore, imaginary, forefronted again becomes the Old Testament God in all his angry glory.

Anyhow, for the mouse, whether the dog is domesticated or feral, it still kills mice, doesn’t it?

As an aside, while on myths and historicity, Mr Alexander as a former Indian Christian may find illuminating Ishwar Sharan’s The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple (1991).*

John Paul II & Alan Basil de Lastic13) Physician, heal thyself first

Mr Alexander is surprised by “the muteness of liberal Indian Christians”. He notes the “outrage” of some Hindu religious leaders to the Pope’s 1999 EccIesia in Asia. He does not tell us whether any Indian Christian religious leaders expressed outrage too. If I recall correctly, none did.

Mr Alexander hopes “liberal Indians of all faiths will debate this issue with their fundamentalist counterparts”. Since when has fundamentalism been open to reason? The fundamentalists have only one objective – conversions, towards world-domination. Towards this end, all means are fair. So, for example, as we see of Christianity, love is preached and war is practised. Mr Alexander may find educative Arun Shourie’s Missionaries in India (HarperCollins, 1997) and Harvesting Our Souls (ASA Publications, 2000) to decide whether such debates make the slightest alteration to the monotheistic mindset and missionizing agenda. As for debates between the two monotheisms, Mr Alexander may find edifying the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent experience of Islam

In fairness to Mr Alexander himself, his is a sensitive account, presented plausibly and sweet-reasonably, conciliatory in approach and lulling in tone. His recommendations are anodynic. But their fundamental premise is false.

I agree entirely with Mr Alexander that if Christians (like him) are concerned about the violent Pagan reaction to Christianity, they should set their own homes in order – first. If “Muslim and Christian clerics must learn to tone down their assertions of monotheistic superiority”, who can make them do so except their co-religionists? Yet “25 million Christians who believe in India’s pluralistic tradition” cannot produce even one spokesperson to counter Mr John Dayal. Cannot? – or will not? After all, Mr Dayal and Archbishop de Lastic in “sowing seeds of discord” are only being true to Christ’s injunction – Luke 12.51 and Matt 10.34 – and, since Christ was obedient to his father, this is then what Mr Alexander’s own God wants of them.

If, as Mr Alexander claims, Christianity is really about wagging tails and not slavering fangs, it is not enough to write about it in a site read (I guess) mainly by Pagans. Why do monotheists remind Pagans of love and peace and brotherhood, and not their own aggressive fellow-monotheists? We Pagans always have and are quite willing to welcome wagging tails. But the globally dominant experience of the Pagans has been, and Mr Alexander seems to realize this, of slavering fangs. If there is “generalized bashing”, surely this is because all dogs snarl. All churches proselytise – the difference, as Mr Alexander points out, is only of degree. After centuries of a “sordid” experience of Christianity from which “liberal” Indian Christians and their churches still have not publicly and effectively dissociated themselves, they can hardly blame the pagans for lumping all Christianity as one.

Hindu boy with a swastik drawn on his head during a upanayana ceremony.14) Conclusion

If the mice are to stop fearing the dog, at least in India, then the dog needs to be domesticated (Indianised – its home and loyalty within India) and muzzled. Its tail will still wag freely but, as Mr Alexander wisely advises, its “voice will be stifled” and, importantly for us Pagans, its teeth will not bite. Mr Alexander presents his Christianity as a cuddlesome pup. But it is clear he hasn’t de-fanged it. Pups grow into dogs, and then they bite.

The quickest, most effective way of doing this is, as Mr Alexander suggests, a uniform civil code (the domestication) and, as Mr Alexander does not suggest, a complete ban on proselytisation (so it can’t bite – Israel has just done so: [Israel bans Christian missions]. There’s also the abrogation of Art. 370, in regard to Islam.

But Christianity and Islam will never agree. And why they will not is the issue that should really concern good human beings like Mr Alexander. Because the same “why” is also why a mouse, lulled to sleep by a dog, will never wake up.

Since Christian missionaries are the Lord’s Dogs, let me conclude with a piece of ancient Pagan wisdom that we forget to our peril:

“You may have a dog sweated, or rubbed with musk if you choose, his tail still remains curled” (Vishnu Sharma, The Pancatantra, Penguin, 1993:96). – India Facts, 2 January 2015

*Available from Voice of India, 2/18 Ansari Road, New Delhi 110002, Tel 2327-8034, Fax 2328-2047.

» Krishen Kak is a retired IAS officer and co-editor of Vigil’s “NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry”. He lives in New Delhi.

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