Interview of a Christian Evangelist in India

via iVarta.com published on September 17, 2008

Interview of a Christian Evangelist in India

By: Bandyopadhyay Arindam











The
world today could have been a much better place for all of us, had we
all refrained from trying to prove the superiority of our own
religion………..

This is a hypothetical interview of “Father Johnson’ after his award
by the Government of India for his exemplary work in India in
enlightening the people in the path of the ONLY God. Father Johnson
returned to the USA after 10 years of service, to uplift the people of
India in the name of God. The interview was taken in July 2005 by a
journalist in Houston, USA……

Welcome home Father. You have been in India for 10 years, where “our mission’ is still going on. Tell me Father, how is India?

India is a fascinating country, a land of contrasts. Modern India is
the largest democracy, the budding economic superpower, with the
second-largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world. India is
also the only surviving ancient civilization with over one sixth of the
world population. At one time, not so long ago, when Europe was in the
“dark ages’ and America was not even “discovered’, India was a far
advanced and developed country with a contribution of over 25% of world
GDP till the 17th century and far advanced in all aspects of life, be
it knowledge, philosophy, science, mathematics, arts, astronomy or
navigation.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, (1850-1919), American poet and journalist, wrote “India
– The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious
ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true.
Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers
who founded the Vedas.”

Dick Teresi, American author of “Lost Discoveries’ mentioned “Some
one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the
earth was round and circled the sun….Two thousand years before
Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that
gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun,
the most massive object, had to be at its center….Twenty-four centuries
before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held
the universe together….. The Sanskrit speaking Aryans subscribed to the
idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat
one…..The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the
earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were
convinced it was 100 million years…”

Despite all its riches, history says that India never invaded any
country. On the contrary, India has been repeatedly assaulted and
conquered by numerous invaders and has been ruled by “foreigners’,
first the Muslims and then the British for over a thousand years.
India, before the advent of the British rulers, was a rich and
prosperous country. Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland (1842-1936), Unitarian
minister and reformer, wrote that “…when
the British first appeared on the scene, India was one of the richest
countries of the world; indeed, it was her great riches that attracted
the British to her shores. For 2,500 years before the British came on
the scene and robbed her of her freedom, India was self-ruling and one
of the most influential and illustrious nations of the world ….. This
wealth was created by the Hindus’ vast and varied industries.”

What about Hinduism as a religion?

Hinduism has a deep philosophical and spiritual heritage that has
repeatedly mesmerized the world including western scientists, leaders
and philosophers. Despite propaganda to the contrary, Hindus, like us,
believes in one Supreme God but they do so in many forms, that helps to
develop personalized relations. Hinduism is the oldest major religion
in the earth with 900 million followers. Unlike monotheistic
institutionalized, religions like Judaism, Islam or Christianity, it is
not based on any single prophet or scripture, but allows its followers
all the freedom to pursue God and Truth in their own way, while living
harmoniously with all creation.

We know that the Hindus are tolerant of other religions. Recently,
UNESCO pointed out that out of 128 countries where Jews lived before
Israel was created, only one, India, did not persecute them and allowed
them to prosper and practice Judaism in peace. Similarly the
Zoroastrians, when driven out of Persia by Islam were given shelter by
the Hindus in India and still coexist in India peacefully. Very
recently, the Dalai Lama, driven from Buddhist Tibet, has been accepted
with open arms. Such is the ethos of Hinduism and India.

I have heard that Mark Twain once said that “In religion all other
countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire’. I have also read
Arnold Toynbee’s writing “…at the religious level, India has not been a
recipient; she has been a giver. About half the total number of the
living, higher religions are of Indian origin’. What do you think about
it?

We know India gave birth to religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism,
and Jainism. Hinduism, though the predominant religion, has, to quote
Aldous Huxley, “never
been a persecuting faith, have preached almost no holy wars and have
refrained from that proselytizing religious imperialism which has gone
hand in hand with political and economic oppression of colored people.’

What many do not know and I will not elaborate further for obvious
reasons, is that there are researchers who think that the teachings of
Jesus Christ have something to do with the ancient wisdom of Vedas. The
Hindu concepts of “karma’, and “reincarnation’, which are part of the
New Age Movement that we see today, were not unknown to Jesus.

Then Father, why do we need to convert people in India?

You see, we in the western world, have the “white man’s burden’ of
civilizing the rest of the world. We also have the need and desire to
spread the message of Christ, since we believe that it is the ONLY way
to salvation and all other nonbelievers will go to hell. The faith in
Christianity is being eroded in Europe and America. That is why our
Pope on his visit to India said, “Just
as in the first millennium, the Cross was planted on the soil of
Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can
pray that in the third Christian millennium a great harvest of faith
will be reaped in this vast and vital continent.’

Why do you target India?

India is the right country because Hindu Indians are generally
peace-loving tolerant, law abiding people who are truthful and
virtuous. India”s devotion to being good rather than being clever comes nearer the heart of a true civilization,
said W. J. Grant, in his book, “The spirit of India’. The unsuspecting
Indians have always welcomed everybody on their shore and still keep on
doing so. You cannot say the same about a Muslim country or of
communist China. You see Hindus are such naive – they go out of their
way to say that “all religions are same – they all lead to God’. Christians and for that matter, no other religion, says that.

Where does your resource come from?

There are five major aid-giving countries, viz., USA, Germany, Britain,
Italy and the Netherlands. According to the available data, in the last
decade alone, foreign aid organizations received more than 2.5 billion
dollars. This is only official statistics. According to the record and
report of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, the
statistics about the foreign aid being received by Indian Non
Government Organizations shows that 80% of it is meant only for the
Christian organizations that have been buying their ways into the
Indian society and converting unsuspecting people under the guise of
social service.

How powerful is Christianity in India?

Oh, though we are only 2.4% of the population officially, we have a
large control over the country because of our economic invasion. You
see, the present leader of the main political party of India is a Roman
Catholic with close contact with the Vatican. There are Christian Chief
ministers in 5 out of 29 states. Because of the British rule of India,
we have a large section of the leaders of India who look up to us.
Believe me, we are the second largest land owners in India. We own and
control 80% of the Indian media and newspapers. We overtly or covertly
have alliance with key political associations. So it is very easy for
us to influence the right people.

You must have a very organized system?

Yes, we do. Have you heard about the Joshua Project? It identifies and
highlights the people groups of the world that have the least exposure
to the Gospel and the least Christian presence and shares this
information to encourage pioneer church-planting movements among every
ethnic group. The Joshua Project has identified the North India Hindi
belt as “the core of the core of the core” because of its population
density (40% of the Indian population- the states of Bihar, Madhya
Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh lies in this region); it is the
religious hub of India; and it has the smallest Christian presence in
India. Thus detailed plans have been drawn up to target India’s 75,000
Pin Codes.

The Seventh Day Adventists owes its Indian success to Canadian
evangelist Ron Watts, President for the South Asian Division. When he
entered India, in 1997, the Adventist Church had 225,000 members after
103 years of operations. In five years, he took it to 700,000.

Some methods used include the 10-Village and the 25-Village Programs,
which involve five sets of laymen, under guidance from a regular
pastor, who identify 10 or 25 villages in close proximity. Once the
villages were selected, the teams would approach the leaders of each
village and invite them to send two leaders to a 10-day seminar at a
nearby resort, at the organization’s expense. It is before no time that
the local leaders will then start working for our faith and
organization. In 1998, there were seventeen 10-Village Programs and
9,337 were baptized. In 1999, forty programs were held and nearly
40,000 people baptized. Under the Christian Andhra Pradesh Chief
Minister Samuel Reddy, the Adventists shifted to a 50-village plan.
They began baptizing at the rate of 10,000 persons per month.

The US-based Maranatha Volunteers International provides buildings for
the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They are committed to build 750
churches in 2 years in India. The Oregon based, Fjarli family have a
goal to build 1000 churches at a rate of 1 per day.

How do you carry out conversion attempts?

You see the local people are so simple and naïve that they do not have
any clue as what out motive or means are. We target mostly the poor,
illiterate, tribal people because they are the easiest to convert. We
do that by various means – we establish schools, hospitals that overtly
or subtly promote our faith, we allure them with money or goods to the
needy when they convert, we “stage’ miracle cures, we use our influence
on the media, we use our experts in propaganda, we promote the
influential people and so on. We use the money sent to us by
unsuspecting religious and faithful Christians from all over the world.
We have numerous NGO and AID organizations to funnel the money into the
country. There are a great number of missionaries of various
denominations who are working there, all literally competing for the
most number of converts. The Southern Baptists alone are a group that
has nearly 100,000 career missionaries in North India, all working to
spread our “good word.”

We convince the “natives’ by our appearances and even use their own
culture. A native converted person will continue to use his Hindu name
so as not to alienate himself. Some of the numerous Catholic priests in
Southern India dress like “sannyasis’ (monks), and call their
organizations “ashramas’ (hermitage). This is to make Christianity more
similar to the Vedic traditions. Bharat Natyam, the classical dance of
India, is also taught in the Christian schools, but with Christian
symbols and meanings replacing the Vedic. This is all in the attempt to
actively sway Hindus over to Christianity. The Evangelical Church of
India (ECI), established in 1954, targets the slums, scheduled castes
and scheduled tribes, in cities and villages. Its logo depicts a cross
struck deep in a lotus, the seat of Hindu divinity.

Is the so called caste system in India an advantage?

The “Caste-ism in India’ is a boon to us. Though Varna or caste was
once an essential part of the culture, based on occupation and
vocational skills, which kept the civilization going for over 5000
years, caste-ism is a degenerated socio-political system now that has
been declared illegal. However it is one big weapon against Hinduism.
We have learnt from the colonial British that it is very easy to divide
the population on the basis of caste and religion based politics and we
use it to our own interest to the maximum. We join the anti-Hindu
forces and help to keep the stigma of caste-ism alive for our own
benefit. We target the “untouchables’ (the unprivileged people, that
has so marvelously crafted to be a result of the Hindu religion and not
the social system) and convert them in the lure of “liberating’ them.
However I must confess that we maintain their “untouchability’ by not
allowing them to mix with the general Christians, maintaining separate
entry to churches and even giving them separate churches and
cemeteries.

We also use opportunities that God gives us. During natural disasters
like floods, earthquakes and the recent Tsunami, taking advantage of
the need, we were able to convert successfully entire low caste
villages in Tamil Nadu to Christianity with the lure of money and aid.

How successful are you in your conversion attempts.

Oh we are doing a good job. The Northeast Indian states like Assam,
Nagaland, and Manipur, have witnessed a surge of nearly 200% in their
Christian population in the past 25 years. Their grasp is so strong now
that practicing Hinduism is forbidden in some areas. Hindus can no
longer do worship or “puja’ in the open because of our influence. In
another northeast state, Tripura, where there were no Christians at the
time of India’s independence, 55 years ago, there are now over 120,000
today. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where
there were only 1710 Christians in 1961, but over 1 million today,
along with over 780 churches. In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh,
churches are coming-up every day in far flung villages and there is an
attempt to set-up one near Tirupati, the world famous Hindu temple.
Many of the North-East separatist movements, such as the Mizo or the
Bodos, are not only Christian dominated, but also sometimes function
with the covert backing of the missionaries. Christian Nagaland
terrorists have been killing non-Christians for decades on end. More
than 20,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam and
Manipur in the past two decades. We understand that there are some
social problems that crept up – the northeast states are the highest in
India in terms of drugs and AIDS related problem – but we accept that
as “casualties of war’ –that should not deter us from our goal.

Do you face any resistance?

Of course we do. But we brand any resistance as “Hindu fundamentalism
or militancy’ and the media and our favorite leaders take care of the
rest. We have set the mind of the unsuspecting population in a way,
that whenever any of our people are harassed, attacked or killed, from
any reason including their own faults, the blame automatically goes to
these so called “Hindu fundamentalist’ and even though almost all of
these instances are later proved to have nothing to do with these Hindu
groups, the initial hue and cry that is raised makes sure the memories
persist in the mind of the populace and the sympathy stays with us.
There are instances when nuns have been proved to be raped by
Christians, but the blames continues to stay with the Hindus.

Is there any legal barrier?

Yes there are some rules and laws that sometimes impair our activities. The Indian Supreme Court had declared that: “The
right to propagate religion does not mean the right to convert…
Conversion done under allurement, use of force and fraud in which the
poverty or ignorance of the individual is taken advantage of, is not
only undemocratic but also unconstitutional…Respect for all religions
is the foundation of secularism whereas the seeds of conversion lie in
religious intolerance.”.
Anti conversion laws have been passed in various states. But as I said, we have our ways.

Sometimes the law does get us though. We had some instances where
members of our faith have been convicted with resultant imprisonment or
expulsion. As in churches all over the world, some clergymen have been
penalized for cases of sexual exploitation, including pedophilia. But
that does not deter us from our goal and our almighty Lord takes care
of our soul.

How satisfied are you with the progress of the missions?

It is really satisfying. We find enormous pleasure in converting the
Hindu “pagans’. However I wish we could do more. I wish I could say
like St Francis Xavier, during the Goa Inquisition in 1560, “When
I have finished baptizing the people, I order them to destroy the huts
in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of
their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could
never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which
fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those
who had been idolaters.”

Thank you, Father for your time and honesty.
Thank you, my son. God bless you.

Epilogue

“Christianity offers nothing that is not already available somewhere in
the many forms of Hinduism. Hinduism never rejected the teachings of
Jesus. Those who have converted either agreed with a gun pressed at
their skulls as in Goa, or because it provided an escape from caste
tyranny, as well as a guaranteed professional advancement. Through its
Vedic legacy, Hinduism respects all faiths. It clearly states that God
is one, but has many forms. The Christian message must sound
preposterous: that God is indeed one, but has only one recognized form,
his son. The “savages” of India were sophisticated – so sophisticated
that the imperialist mixture of church and state in Europe could not
grasp such sophistication….”
(Paul William Roberts, author of, “Empire of the Soul: Some journeys in India’)

Bandyopadhyay Arindam


References & Notes:

1.Stephen Knapp: The war against Hinduism. (July, 2001),
2.Indian contributions to American and Global progress
3.Francois Gautier: Are we heading towards a Christian India?
4. Sandhya Jain: Is there imperial design behind conversion overdrive?
5. Joshua Project Overview:
6.Maranatha volunteers
7. Fjarli family

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