Issues for Christians & Missions
to think about

Greetings in the matchless name of Jesus. In some recent happenings a troubling question comes to my mind, can one be effective in ministry amongst major religions without understanding their religion and culture? The apostle Paul at Athens (Acts 17) took time to understand the religion of Athens by visiting their places of worship and studying their writings. He then found a common ground and doctrine to present the Gospel. Today many think that one can be effective in ministry without knowing anything about the religion and culture of those they are ministering to. Is this so? What do you think?

The religion and culture of India is highly misunderstood, and mission strategies are based on this misunderstanding. The term Hinduism was coined by the British about 200 years ago to denote all religions and worships outside of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Many think that Hinduism with its millions of gods is the dominant animistic religion of the Hindus and the caste system is an integral part of their ancient culture. However this is not true since the ancient culture of India has been one of equality and love for all communities & nations. The caste system is about 1200 years old and is the taproot of racism (based on color) in the world society, which developed less than 200 years ago. For instance why would Shakespeare write Othello (early 17th c AD) where a black North African man marries a white European woman if racism existed in his time?

Today mission strategies like the people movement approach have ignorantly brought the caste system & racism into the Church, and, the Church has become ineffective. The crucial thinking in this strategy is not to disturb the culture of the people involved in the movement into the church, and casteism & racism is considered part of the culture. Let’s say that there was a people movement amongst Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), how would the church handle it? Would it cater to them by having a separate church so that they would feel comfortable? Would you wait 3 to 4 generations before addressing their racist attitudes? By the way didn’t Hitler say that he was a Christian?

It is commonly thought that Hinduism is the religion of the Brahmins, Kshatriyas & Vaishyas, and, the rest (apart from the religious minorities I’m sure) were animists. If mission strategists think this way then their strategy is way off course, since understanding the religion and culture of the target group is essential in developing the right strategy. Unknowingly the church is working to preserve brahminism! I guess that is why God has raised up men and women like the Deivanayagams to bring to light the true religion and culture of the Dravidians who constitute 88% of our population so that we can have the right strategy.

Another common misconception today is that Hinduism is very ancient and that it is founded on the Vedas. For example it is commonly stated that ‘Buddhism was up against Vedic scriptures’, but, is there any evidence for this? The bibliographical evidences indicate that the Vedas are written in the Grantha and Nagari scripts, and according to tradition Veda Vyasa, a Dravidian, compiled and gave written form to the Vedas. The Grantha script belongs to the southern group of scripts and Veda Vyasa being a Dravidian would certainly have used it. Since the earliest evidence for Grantha is only in the 5th c. AD, the Vedas were written rather late. What is more significant is that the Vedas have no relevance to the religion of the Hindus, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism.

The first evidence of Sanskrit is seen only in 150 AD and the neglect of Sanskrit by Asoka, if the language was in use, would be contrary to his practice since his inscriptions are even in Greek and Aramaic apart from Prakrit. In any Sanskrit literature such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras or Bhagavad Gita, the Christian influence can be seen since they were all written after the 2nd c AD. History reveals that the doctrines of incarnation, divine fulfillment of sacrifice, salvation by faith and total surrender to God are not seen in the Indian religions and worships of the pre-Christian era.

Scholars define that while worship is universal, a religion requires literature, philosophy or theology. Before Christ, only two religions existed in India, Buddhism and Jainism, which were agnostic religions. The worships could be broadly classified as Dravidian worship, which is evidenced from the Indus Valley civilization, and the later Vedic worship of the Brahmin ancestors. The Vedic religion reflected in the RgVeda is mainly concerned with the propitiation of divinities associated with nature. The important were such gods as Indra, Varuna, Agni, and Surya, who later lost their significance. The Vedic worship songs existed in some oral form and were later compiled and given written form by Veda Vyasa, after the 2nd c AD since Sanskrit did not exist before that. Of all the religions and worships in India before Christ, we find that Buddhism and Jainism were the dominant religions and they were ethical agnostic religions with strong compassion for all creation, but no room for God. Also there was no caste system in India at this time and this is evidenced by Megasthenes.

After the birth of Christianity, we see a new religion arise in India based on a monotheistic doctrine. Scholars indicate that the cult of Siva or Saivism emerged first, and the Vishnu-Krishna cult or Vaishnavism came later as another denomination. Siva was probably the first and only God of the monotheistic religion of the Hindus.

How did this religion arise, since there was nothing in India before Christ to catalyze it? The Dravidian and Vedic worships were polytheistic, and the two religions, Buddhism and Jainism, were agnostic with no room for God. The only logical answer is Christianity in India by the apostles of Christ. South India had excellent trade relations with the Roman Empire during the 1st c AD, and this leads to cultural and religious exchanges. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is clearly seen in the Saiva Siddhanta literature.

Thus in any Sanskrit literature the Christian influence can be seen since they were all written after the 2nd c AD. For instance in Buddhism, the Hinayana scriptures (in Pali) are the main source for our knowledge of the historic Sakyamuni, while the early Mahayana writings are in Sanskrit. The concept of a divine savior seen in Mahayana Buddhism is clearly the influence of Christianity.

During the time of the Rajputs (from 7th till about the 12th c AD) the Brahmins in cooperation with the Rajputs devised the caste system to gain and maintain control over India. The Brahmins became the religious leaders while the Rajputs were the political rulers. In the 8th c AD Adi Sankara, a south Indian Brahmin, wrote an interpretation for the earlier theistic writings. However, he twisted the earlier theistic writings and developed an atheistic philosophy called Advaita based on monism and cycle of birth. Since the Brahmins controlled the religion, they used this philosophy to destroy the theistic faith of the Hindus. Two other interpretations written by other south Indian Brahmins arose to somewhat offset the startling error of Advaita. They were Vishishtadvaita by Ramanuja (11th c AD) and Dvaita by Madhva (13th c AD). However, these were incomplete and supported the caste system. The fullness of the truth is seen only in Saiva Siddhanta where Meykandar’s Siva Gnana Botham sets the standard for the truth.

The caste system is deceptively maintained by the philosophies of monism and cycle of birth. Monism (which leads to pantheism) brings a false sense of unity and hope by the deception that no matter what path is chosen, ultimately we will all end up in the same place. However this false sense of unity is soon disturbed by the social disparity which becomes apparent, and this is where the cycle of birth is utilized. It is taught that the one enjoying the higher status is due to his/her karma in the previous birth, and if one would presently follow dharma, i.e. Manu Dharma (the law of the caste system) in this birth, then he/she could also enjoy the higher status in their next birth. Interesting!

The vicious scheme of the caste system, also called brahminism, is still in practice today and many think that it is an ancient part of our culture. However, this is not so, the Dravidian culture is one of equality and love for all communities & nations. The so-called Aryans constitute about 12% of India’s population, and the rest who are Dravidians (the so-called Sudras and Panchamas) constitute 88%. Through the caste system Brahmins have maintained Political, Economic and Religious control over the Dravidians for the last 1200 years. Slowly the political and economic controls are changing today due to the democratic process, however, the religious control is preserved unfortunately by the constitution. The RSS and its sub organizations are working hard deceptively to preserve brahminism, and the religious wing of the RSS, the VHP, has continuously distorted historical facts concerning religion and culture in India to their advantage.

William Jones translated Manu Dharma, the document on the caste system from Sanskrit to English about 200 years ago. This poison then spread throughout Europe and evolved into global Racism based on color. The Encyclopedia Britannica states,

The 18th century was predominantly environmentalist in its outlook; the science of that day tended to attribute social behavior either to climatic and geographical environment or to sociocultural factors. Racism as a widely accepted "scientific" theory of behavior did not appear until the 19th century, which was the age of racism par excellence. Although Charles Darwin himself was not a racist, his theory of biological evolution was extended to social evolution, giving birth to the theory of social Darwinism. Mankind was regarded as having achieved various levels of evolution, culminating in the white-European civilization. These stages of evolution were thought to be related to the innate genetic capabilities of the various peoples of the world. By the second half of the 19th century, racism was accepted as fact by the vast majority of Western scientists, and various forms of it were popularized through the writings of Joseph-Arthur, comte de Gobineau. Houston Stuart Chamberlian, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Rosenberg, and Adolf Hitler.  

Remember Hitler claiming to be an Aryan! Globally racism is less than 200 years old.

Today these anti-Christian roots in India are becoming a global issue through the New Age movement. Christians worldwide are slowly loosing their faith in Christ & the Bible, and they are falling into New Age thinking, which is based on monism and cycle of birth. The New Age has become a sort of religion and many Christians have no idea what its basic doctrines are.

Recently there was an article against conversions in the Times of India titled “Mission Impossible” by M V Kamath, dated October 13, 1999. First he justified the murder of the Staines and Arul Doss. He then writes, “Christian missionary efforts at conversion under the guise of social work do not take place in places, say, like the Brahmin-dominated ward of Mylapore in Chennai. They are conducted in poor, illiterate and innocent tribal areas and in remote jungles far from the prying eyes of authority”. For the last five years this research has been proven amongst the Brahmins of Mylapore. We not only had a social aspect to our ministry, but we also declared openly that we were missionaries. The VHP is well aware of my research and has not been able to refute it.

Many Christians in North India do not realize that the roots of Hindu Religion are in Tamilnadu. Their founding saints - 63 Nayanmars of Saivism and 12 Alvars of Vaishnavism were all from Tamilnadu and the evidence for early Indian Christianity has been buried all these years in Tamil Literature. In these last days God is enlightening the Church with answers to tear down arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we can then take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Christ commanded us to make disciples and we cannot compromise truth to bring the multitudes into the Church. What is needed is an open forum for discussing religious issues based on truth and facts so that the deceptions can be exposed. Then with these ancient strongholds to the Gospel destroyed, we can effectively do the work of the ministry as Christ has commanded us.

Dr. Alexander Harris

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Is Conversion Violence on Hindus and Hinduism?

Mr. M. V. Kamath's Challenge in Times of India
Can missionaries work in a place like the Brahmin-dominated ward of Mylapore in Chennai?

Recent Strategies of Communal Forces in India
|Vedic Valley Theory| |Holes in Vedic Valley Theory|
|Conversion is Violence on Hindus| |Religion by free choice|
|Is the Pope a Hindu?|
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A Bible Prophecy Concerning America?
|Is America, the Great Whore in Revelation?|

The Urgent Need of the Hour
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