M.M. Dutt

~ I just came across Micheal Madhusan Dutt (1824-1873) almost randomly on the net. I had never heard of him before.  I think this brief bio is worth a read. There are lessons to learn.

“Michael Madhusudan Dutt was born to Rajnarayan Dutt and Jahnabi Devi in Sagordari, Jessore District in East Bengal (now in Bangladesh). Rajnarayan Dutt was a famous lawyer. Madhusudan’s formal education started in a school in the village of Shekpura, where he studied Persian. His intellectual and literary talents and imagination were quickly recognized. His parents decided to give him an English education, so he studied European literature at home before being sent to the prestigious Hindu College in Kolkata (i.e. Calcutta) in 1833.

Fifteen years after his death, Dutt’s work began to get the recognition it deserved. The next generation of Bengali writers and scholars praised his work and argued that it was among the best poetry produced in the language. Dutt’s work thus helped shape Bengali language and literature.”

“My fallen country! Where abide
Thy envied splendour and thy glory now,
The Pathan’s and the Mughal’s pride,
Spread desolation far and wide
And stain’d thy sinless brow.

~ Excerpt from King Porus.

  • Apparently this was a pro-freedom poem in response to the British yoke.
Advertisements

The Church in India…

tgc_logo

The following is a really good article posted over at The Gospel Coalition. The title is “The Gospel in India” and it is by Aubrey Sequeira. It is worth reading twice at least.

Here is an excerpt:

” … Recently, I had the opportunity to interview three faithful Indian pastors. Vivek Jones oversees the Marg family of churches, a vibrant gospel-centered church network with three congregations in the city of Pune, an urban hub in Central India. He also gives leadership to E3 ministries and is associated with Acts 29 in the India region. Edison D’Souza pastors Cross Cultured Church in Mysore, a growing and largely unreached city in Southern India. “Harry” (name changed) pastors a church in a historic northern Indian city and is involved in planting healthy churches across the rural landscape.

This interview offers insights into the state of the church in India, the encouraging and discouraging aspects of ministry there, how Western believers can more fruitfully serve their Eastern brothers, and more. … “

~ Two quick comments:
(1) I resonate with a lot of what is said in the post.  A lot of what was mentioned there –  the good and the bad – have been my observations from my times spent in and out of India.

(2) In the post, there is this movement mentioned, viz. the hyper-grace movement. I had never heard of it before. So I googled it. Here is a post on the concept of hyper-grace at gotQuestions.org, “What is hyper-grace?”

Also: 8 Signs of ‘Hypergrace’ Churches by Joseph Mattera over at CharismaNews

Religious Pluralism (2)

The dialogue between Connie the conservative & Libby the liberal continues…

(1) Libby: I am a very open-minded person. I am a religious pluralist who teaches that all religious views lead to salvation.
Connie: My religion teaches that it only provides salvation. Can you accept that?
Libby: No. I cannot.
Connie: Then you reject my view in which case you are not really a religious pluralist or somewhat surprisingly, religious pluralism is exclusivistic.

(2) Libby: One religious view is no better than the other. All views are equally good.

Connie: (1) My view is that not all views are equally good which is affirmed by your “All views” view. (2) If all views are equally good, then you should not go around trying to convince others of your “All views” view because it is no better than any other. (3) If all views are equally good then I am consigned not to adhere to any religious view because I cannot decide which one to go with. I am doomed to live like an atheist, no?

(3) Libby: You should not try to convert others to your view.

Connie: What are you doing right now?

(4) Libby: It is arrogant to claim that your religion is superior to another.

Connie: The claim you just made is arrogant for the same reasons.

(5) Libby: All religions teach the same thing.

Connie: Its hard to dignify this assertion with an answer. The only possible way for someone to assert this is by being extremely ignorant of what every world religion teaches.

Religious Pluralism (1)

Excerpts from a dialogue between Libby the liberal and Connie the conservative …

(1) Libby: “Christianity fulfills Hinduism and other religions which aren’t really false but really just incomplete.”

Connie’s Response: “How arrogant of you claim that your Christianity fulfills our religion! Why not we say that our Religion fulfills yours???”*

*Note: I have actually observed this response coming from Hindus in India. These are not theoretical answers.

(2) Libby: “All religions are lead to God.”

Connie: “How arrogant of you to say that? I am a practitioner of a religion that is non-theistic. You are giving the lie to my faith practice.”

(3) Libby: “If you were born in India, you would be a Hindu. If you were born in Iran, you would be Muslim. You don’t really know the truth. You just believe what you do because what you believe in is determined by where you were born.” (Religion is not really true/ All religions are true.)

Connie:  “Yes and if I were born in Sweden, I would be an atheist. And if I were born where you were, Libby, then I would be a pluralist like you. I guess then that I really really would not know the truth.”

(4) Libby: All the religions are like 5 blind men grasping an elephant. Each grabs a different part and so describes something different. But it is all the same thing.

Connie: “If that is the case then ALL of us and that includes YOU are consigned to be able to only describe a part of the elephant since we are all blind. Why is it you are able to describe the whole elephant and the rest of us, lesser mortals, just the trunks, the tails and so on? How is it that you are so privileged? You can see and we are blind?”

(5) Libby: Sincerity is what counts, no matter the religion. If you are just sincere with what you believe, not matter what it is – then you will be accepted by God or Whoever or Whatever…

Connie: Can I be a sincere Satanist? What about the suicide bomber? Would he stake his life on beliefs that he did not sincerely hold?

~ Brett Kunkle of STR.org on “Why Isn’t Sincerity Enough To Save Someone?”

The Temple of Love – 1932, India in the Past

The following video is a wonderful snapshot of India back in 1932. I don’t know why its titled as The Temple of Love, but it is. What is particularly interesting is how India was very clean back then. I think that this lends credence to the idea that, by in large, pollution is an inorganic phenomena. It really is – Pollution is plastics, vinyl, styrofoam, exhaust fumes, etc.

William Carey’s Observations of Suttee (i.e. Sati)

I have been taking some notes on some gruesome practices in the Indian past for which missionaries played a key role in eradicating. The fact of the matter is that, contemporary India is far more sanitized than the India of yestercentury – and we have missionaries to thank for this. I post these little unseemly vignettes of the Indian past because currently many missionaries of times past are being accused of having said unkind and harsh things about Indians.  For example, they have said things like Indians were steeped in darkness or mired in ignorance. You may read the following excerpt on Sati by William Carey and my other posts on the topic and decide for yourself if these accusations against the missionaries are justified or unjustified.


sati
.
“. . . As I was returning from Calcutta, I saw the Sahamoron, or a woman burning herself with the corpse of her husband, for the first time in my life. We were near the village of Noya Serai; (Rennell, in his Chart of the Hoogly river, spells it Niaserai.) As it was evening, we got out of the boat to walk, when we saw a number of people assembled on the river side.
.
I asked them, for what they were met? and they told me, to burn the body of a dead man. I enquired, whether his wife would die with him? they answered, yes;and pointed to the woman. She was standing by the pile, which was made of large billets of wood; about two and a-half feet high, four feet long, and two wide; on the top of which lay the dead body of her husband. Her nearest relation stood by her, and near her was a small basket of sweet-meats called kivy. I asked them, if this were the woman’s choice, or whether she were brought to it by any improper influence? They answered that it was perfectly voluntary. I talked till reasoning was of no use, and then began to exclaim with all my might against what they were doing, telling them that it was a shocking murder. They told me it was a great act of holiness, and added in a very surly manner, that if I did not like to see it, I might go further off, and desired me to go. I told them that I would not go; that I was determined to stay and see the murder, and that I should certainly bear witness of it at the tribunal of God. I exhorted the woman not to throw away her life, to fear nothing, for no evil would follow her refusal to burn.
.
But she in the calmest manner mounted the pile, and danced on it, with her hands extended, as if in the utmost tranquility of spirit. Previous to her mounting the pile, the relation whose office it was to set fire to it, led her six times round it, at two intervals;that is, thrice at each circumambulation. As she went round, she scattered the sweet-meats above mentioned among the people, who picked them up, and ate them as very holy things. This being ended, and she having mounted the pile and danced as above mentioned, (which appeared only designed to shew us her contempt of death, and to prove to us that her dying was voluntary) she then lay down by the corpse, and put one arm under its neck, and the other over it; when a quantity of dry cocoa leaves and other substances, were heaped over them to a considerable height; and then ghee, or melted, preserved butter, poured on the top. Two bamboos were then put over them, and heldfast down, and fire put to the pile, which immediately blazed very fiercely, owing to the dry and combustible materials of which it was composed. No sooner was the fire kindled, than all the people set up a great shout, “Hurree Bol, Hurree Bol!” which is a common shout of joy, and an invocation of Hurree, the wife of Hur or Seeb. It was impossible to have heard the woman, had she groaned, or even cried aloud, on account of the mad noise of the people, and it was impossible for her to stir or struggle, on account of the bamboos which were held down on them like the levers of a press. We made much objection to their using these bamboos, and insisted that it was using force to prevent the woman getting up when the fire burnt her. But they declared that it was only done to keep the pile from falling down. We could not bear to see more, but left them, exclaiming loudly against the murder, and full of horror at what we had seen. . . .”
23
. . . In the evening I went to a village, called Chattera, accompanied with brother Ward. I preached to an assembly in the street; but just as I was concluding, all the people ran away. On enquiring the cause, I was informed that a man had died, and his widow, a fine young woman of the age of fourteen, was going to be burnt with him. I entreated her to desist, and remonstrated with the brammhans from their own shasters, but in vain. We left the place with horror, and she suffered soon afterwards. . .
.
* One more thing needs to be added. Since polygamy was also practiced in India yestercentury, there were also cases of sati practiced where multiple wives (even up to 50) died on the funeral pyre.

Leper Burning & Burying In India

The following are notes from a very old book, On the Custom of Burying and Burning Alive of Lepers inIndia, By Dr. Archibald Campbell published in 1868.

“I BEG leave to bring- to the notice of the Society that two new and very savage rites, which are still practised in Rajpootana and other parts of India, have only now been brought to light, notwithstanding the very long period of our intimate acquaintance with the Hindoos, and the great number of acute observers and eminent men who have written on their habits and customs. One is the burying alive of persons afflicted with leprosy ; the other—if possible still more inhuman—is the burning alive of the same objects of commiseration.

~ I must say that this practice is quite a contrast to Mother Teresa’s practice of picking up lepers from the roadside – at risk to herself – and then taking them in and taking care of them.

lepers

“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

~ Matthew 25:37-40

Sati ( Suttee) – Notes

s

“The burning of widows (called “suttee,” literally “faithful wife”), i.e. the cremation of wives on the occasion of their husband’s death, in India was also gradually restricted by the English. It is true that they at first tolerated this ritual, which Alexander the Great had discovered in the Punjab in 326 b.c., contenting themselves with official registration of the cases, but they finally made up their minds in 1829 to forbid the burning of widows. But in those regions of India not directly under the control of the English the importance of the prince continued to be measured by the number of wives who were cremated at his burial.”
The Point:  Suttee had been around in India since the time of Alexander the Great. The ritual has a long history.

Some Notes on Thuggery

The following comes from the article Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice Vindicated? by Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher. Dr. Schirrmacher is speaker for human rights and executive chair of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, speaking for appr. 600 million Christians. He is also director of its International Institute for Religious Freedom (Bonn, Cape Town, Colombo). He is member of the board of the International Society for Human Rights. You can go to his website here: http://www.thomasschirrmacher.net/

t

“From the thirteenth century a.d. at the latest, when for the first time a Sultan had a thousand of them incarcerated in Delhi, the Thugs (“stranglers”) in India offered sacrificial victims to the cruel goddess Kali, whereby they were throttled (strangled) in an extensive ritual involving a noose. The thousands of victims were hunted down in a series of raids. It was not until 1799 that the British became suspicious, but despite this very few “stranglers” were captured before 1830. Eventually Captain William Sleeman was commissioned to put an end to the evil which continued to claim thousands of innocent victims each year. By 1837 Sleeman had captured 8,000 of the about 10,000 “stranglers,” each of whom had killed up to 250 people.* When in 1876 the future King Edward VII visited India Thuggery had been destroyed, and all he could do was speak to an old Thug in prison.”

* Emphasis mine

A Quick Jot from The Life of William Carey – Burying Widows Alive

wcWilliam Cary was a missionary to India. His campaign against sati or widow burning was instrumental in getting it banned in 1829.  One thing that is not well known is that in addition to sati there also was another form of ritual widow death practiced. This was one where the widow was buried alive. Here is an account of the latter from the book, The Life of William Carey, DD: Shoemaker and Missionary, by George Smith.

“The burying alive of widows manifests, if that were possible, a still more abominable state of feeling towards women than the burning them alive.  The weavers bury their dead. When, therefore, a widow of this tribe is deluded into the determination not to survive her husband, she is buried alive with the dead body.  In this kind of immolation the children and relations dig the grave.  After certain ceremonies have been attended to, the poor widow arrives, and is let down into the pit. She sits in the centre, taking the dead body on her lap and encircling it with her arms.  These relations now begin to throw in the soil; and after a short space, two of them descend into the grave, and tread the earth firmly around the body of the widow. She sits a calm and unremonstrating spectator of the horrid process.  She sees the earth rising higher and higher around her, without upbraiding her murderers, or making the least effort to arise and make her escape. At length the earth reaches her lips – covers her head. The rest of the earth is then hastily thrown in, and these children and relations mount the grave and tread down the earth upon the head of the suffocating widow – the mother! – Why, my dear friend, the life of the vilest brute that walks upon the earth is never taken away by a process so slow, so deliberate, so diabolical as this.

“Every year more than seven hundred women (more probably fourteen hundred) are burned or buried alive in the Presidency of Bengal alone. How many in other parts of India?”

~pg. 74

Lyrics for “I Am A Rock” ~ Simon & Garfunkel ~ Comment on this later…

I Am A Rock

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark
December
I am alone
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow
I am a rock,
I am an island

I’ve built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
I am a rock, I am an island

Don’t talk of love
Well, I’ve heard the word before
It’s sleeping in my memory
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried
I am a rock, I am an island

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one, and no one touches me
I am a rock,
I am an island

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries



To the above, piece the together the following by John Donne (1572-1631):

No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

Taken from:  Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions – MEDITATION XVII. by John Donne

An Old Man’s Story – Autobiography of Guru Charan Bose – written around 1876 (?)

Pasted below is the autobiography of Guru Charan Bose. I found it here at archive.org. The text there is riddled with grammatical errors which could not have come from the author as at times there are strange symbols (e.g. ‘■’, ‘»’) spliced into the text. Hence I am working on editing a copy here. Feel free to read it, however keep in mind that I am not done with the editing.


AN OLD MAN’S STORY by Guru Charan Bose

Being an Auto-Biographical Sketch by Guru Charan Bose !

I was born at Bagbazar, in the northern division of Calcutta on the 1st of January 1826, My revered father (peace be to his memory) represented the ancient and well known Bose family of Bagbazar, the founder of which settled in Calcutta during the Mahomedan period, when the Maharatta Cavalry, composed of males and females, undertook plundering expeditions against Bengal and its. principal towns, and committees depredations: upon their cattle, flocks and crops.

According to the time honored custom of the higher grade df Kaesto families, as soon as I was six years old my father placed me under a Guru mohasae to get an elementary education in Bengali. Under his tuition, I learnt to read and write my mother tongue and to cast accounts.

I continued under him for four years, making pretty fair progress in the rudiments of the Bengali language and when 1 completed my tenth year, I was transferred to an Anglo-Vernacular school, commonly called the Hare school, because the late D. Hare, whose name is a “household word” among the
people of Bengal, was the founder and the superintendent of it; I studied English as well as Bengali in this institution for a period of five years. I was a rigid Hindu up to the fourteenth year of my age; my faith in idolatry, and the rites and ceremonies which popular Hinduism prescribes, was very firm. I had an imperfect knowledge of Christianity. Bat this period, under divine grace became a crisis in my life. The English education which I received in the Hare school opened the eyes of my understanding, and I perceived the folly of image worship. My faith in Hinduism was shaken; it failed to satisfy my spiritual cravings.

I felt myself a great sinner; my sinful propensities were very powerful; they got the better of my reason and conscience: I had no control over them. I stood in absolute need of power from God to effect the purification of my heart, the government of my passions, and the union and communion of my soul with Him.  But this was not to be found in Hinduism, or in any other non-Christian religion of the world.  All of them insist upon the doctrine of good works. I found that I had not the power of performing good works. “When I would do good, evil was present with me.” So I gave up the open worship of idols, and joined a debating club, the members of which professed themselves to be theists, and who in their meetings freely discussed theological subjects.  Like the Brahmos of the present day they believed in one God, but ignored a written revelation. Their teaching, aimed at the moral, social, and intellectual improvement of Hindu society; but they were bitterly opposed to the Bible and the Christian religion, of which they had vague and hazy ideas.

They cared very little about the invisible realities of the unseen world which the Bible reveals. There were sometimes very warm discussions in the club, but in nine cases out of ten the members hopelessly differed from each other, and seldom was there any thing like rational conclusion on the points under debated. They believed in the existence of God, but maintained, like the Agnostics of modern Europe, that He was “unknown and unknowables.”  As they were unbelievers in a revelation they could not point out any reasonable atonement for the sin-sick soul, anxious to be purified from its natural corruption, perversion, and pollution.

My mind was at this time in a very unsettled state, so far as religion was concerned. I had very little of that peace of mind, which I afterwards enjoyed when I became a Christian. I believed in a personal God, that He was a hearer and answerer of our prayers, therefore I prayed to Him day and night to lead me to the truth.  And gradually I was led to it. I commenced to read the Bible and the evidences which proved its genuineness and authenticity. I cultivated the acquaintance of educated native converts, and European missionaries, by whose assistance I made considerable progress in my enquiries after truth. For three years I continued my enquiries, so that when I was eighteen years old I was fully convinced of the divine origin of Christian God. The Lord in answer to my prayers opened my mental eyes; all doubt and unbelief were by degrees removed, from my mind. I found out that Christianity was the only religion which suited my condition as a helpless sinner; its wonderful plan of salvation through a crucified Saviour, who by His precious death on the cross satisfied Divine mercy and justice, made a great impression on my mind. The study of the Mosaic dispensation, as revealed in the Old Testament, convinced me that the religion of Christ was not a new religion, “a cunningly devised fable,” as many half-educated and well-educated Hindus now-a-days believe, but founded on historical facts; that it was the perfect development and fulfillment of that ancient religion which was revealed in the Law of Moses; that it was as old as the creation, older than all the religious systems palmed upon the world by philosophers.

The Christian religion is built upon the promise made to the first man and woman immediately after their fall from a state of original righteousness.  “And I will put enmity  between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” ( Genesis 3:15)  It teaches that Jesus the son of Mary, of the family of David, was born in Bethlehem. In Him believers beheld the glory of the promised Messiah. That He was the “Word of God, the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” And though this logos theory has been a stumbling block to the unbelieving world on account of its mystery, yet humble minded men, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, have believed in it, “The Divinity of Jesus Christ is the science of sciences .”

I was now in the eighteenth year of my life. I fully believed in the inspiration of the Bible. The doctrine of vicarious atonement made by Jesus Christ produced a deep impression on my mind. I openly declared my faith in Him, and resolved to embrace the Christian religion by public baptism. This resolution of mine alarmed my relatives and friends beyond measure. They persecuted me day and night. Sometimes they would try to dissuade me from my purpose, but failed to do so. I was narrowly watched by them, they snatched away my Bible and every religious work I had in my possession, and consigned them to the flames. I was strictly forbidden to visit Missionaries and native Christians on pain of incurring their displeasure.

My faith in Jesus gradually increased. I made up my mind to leave home and take shelter wherever I could find it. I consulted my Christian friends, and they sent me to the old Bishop’s College at Shibpur; this was in September 1842. I was then a married man; I had a child-wife when I left home. I spoke to her about the step which I was going to take and advised her to follow me, but she was too young and ignorant to appreciate my motives. So she absolutely refused to comply with my request.

I believed I should be quite safe in Bishop’s College from the persecuting attempts of my relatives and friends. But it was far otherwise; I encountered there heavy trials.

One afternoon when I was reading the Bible in a quiet room upstairs my youngest brother stepped into the room, and informed me that my mother and some other relatives had come from Calcutta in a budgerow and wanted to have an interview with me. Without any suspicions in my mind, and moved by filial respect, I hastened to the College ghat, got into the budgerow, and took my seat. My mother and other relatives hemmed me on all sides and then raised a howling cry, holding me fast, and persuading me to give up the idea of becoming a Christian and to return home.  My situation in the boat was most trying. I was alone there, entirely in the power of heathen relatives, whose sole object in coming to Bishop’s College was to take me back home by brute force if persuasions failed. My fears and suspicions were confirmed when I found out that a number of open boats filled with latials (bludgeon men) surrounded our budgerow. The flood tide had just set in with great force. A cousin, who was naturally of a violent disposition, caught hold of my clothes. The females kept on their lamentations. My poor mother overpowered by grief struck her head on the floor of the cabin, beseeching me to change my mind.

All of a sudden, at the command of my cousin, the budgerow was under weigh, and the open boats, filled with latials, more than one hundred men in number, surrounded it. They rowed towards Calcutta. My situation was the most critical that could be imagined. I was placed upon the horns of a dilemma. Natural affection on one side, and the salvation of my immortal soul on the other, struggled in my mind for mastery. I had learned to pray, and faith in Jesus got the victory.

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5)

I said, “Blessed Jesus uphold me by Thy Spirit, and deliver me from my troubles.”  The Lord heard my prayers, and saved me from death and heathenism.

~~~~~~

The College authorities having learned that my heathen relatives by a combination of lies and subterfuges had enticed me into their boat and were dragging me home against my will and inclination, lost no time in chasing them and coming to my rescue, The late Revd. A. Street, the then Professor of the Bishop’s College., with the assistance of the College students and, servants, stepped into a boat belonging to the College, and rowed straight towards the latials, whose prisoner I was. The river in
front of Garden Reach became the scene of a naval engagement on a small scale.  The fighting on both sides was very earnest. Several persons were seriously wounded. The latials, being skillful swimmers jumped overboard and took to the shore. My heathen relatives were left in the lurch. When they found that their mercenary protectors had deserted them they were at their wits’ end. Their anger knew no bounds, and they vented all their fury on me, as I was the author of all their troubles. They threatened to kill me; they command me again and again to change my mind and to deny the faith. But I turned a deaf ear to their threats. Although the event happened nearly half a century ago, and is ” a thing of the past, yet it is fresh in my mind.  It was a season of fiery trial to me.

When my cousin found that I would not yield to his wishes, he caught hold of me bodily, brought me out on the deck of the boat, and after beating me “black and blue” with a cudgel, pitched me right into the middle of the stream.  Being the time of the full moon, the tide was very strong, and it carried me away to a good distance. I fancied that I was going to have a watery grave. Suddenly the back of my head struck against the rudder of another budgerow riding at anchor not far from the shore. I caught hold of the rudderbands with both arms and clung to them.

Professor Street and his followers came to my rescue. They picked me up in their boat, and carried me back to the College premises. I suffered most grievously from the effects of the beating for a few days. As soon as I felt better I was anxious to undergo the rite of baptism, so I came back to Calcutta. I was introduced to the late Bishop Dealtry, who was then the Arch-deacon of Calcutta and Secretary to the C. M. Society. He baptized me in Christ Church, Cornwallis Square, in the presence of a large number of Calcutta people, who were drawn to the Church more out of curiosity then any thing else, as conversions in those days from the higher classes were ‘ few and far between.’

I now found rest from the persecuting attempts of my Hindu relatives, whose conduct towards me was as kind after my baptism as before it was cruel. Before my baptism, I was employed as a teacher in the Hare School, but I was now obliged to resign the appointment, as I was strictly forbidden by the rules of the school to teach and preach to the boys my newly adopted sentiments.

When thus thrown out of employment, I became homeless, penniless and friendless. But the Lord raised a number of Christian friends and sympathizers to assist me with money and good advice. They kindly offered to help me to secular employment, under Government, or in private firms.  But as I expressed a desire of being employed in Mission work, in November 1842 the Calcutta Corresponding Committee of the C. M. Society appointed me as a Missionary labourer in the Agurparah Mission with the late Revd. F. J. DeRozario, whom the Lord has recently called to the home above.

In this Mission, I laboured with head and heart for a long time. In fact I spent the best part of my life here, teaching in the large Anglo-vernacular school, preaching in the villages round about, and helping in the church services I have mentioned before that I was a married man. I had left a child wife at home. Her parents, after my conversion, narrowly watched her. They adopted every measure in their power to prevent her from joining, or rather rejoining me. Thus, for a period of full nine years I was separated from her.

During this interval I did not forget my Christian duty towards her. I prayed to the Lord often to restore her to me and made several desperate attempts to rescue her from heathenism and its concomitant evils. But I met with defeat and disappointment because the Lord’s time had not come.  At last in 1851, the Lord heard my prayers. All obstacles were removed.  My father-in-law, who had hitherto opposed ” tooth and nail ” my wife’s coming to me, departed this life.  My wife became of age to think for herself. Believing that the Lord’s time had arrived I renewed my attempts with redoubled zeal. I made her restoration to me a matter of earnest prayer. I was allowed access to her late father’s house. I ascertained from every source that was open to me that my wife, in her heart, was quite willing to join me though, on account of the false modesty and timidity common in Hindu families, she could not say so. I was advised to have recourse to law. With the kind assistance of the late Revd. Mr. Outhbert, one of our former secretaries , Mr. M. Wylie, the then head of the Calcutta Police, and a few sympathizing friends I adopted legal measures against my wife’s guardians. My efforts at last were crowned with success. With the full and free consent of her heathen relatives, my wife joined me. I stayed in Calcutta for a short time and then took her to the Agurparah Mission, After carefully instructing her in the principles of Christianity, she was baptized on the i5th of August 1852, by the late Revd. T. Sandys, our veteran Missionary, in Christ Church, Agurparah.

I continued to work in the Mission happily. My long connection with it was prosperous. There were many interesting conversions from the English school. The Lord also blessed me with a large family and “supplied all my need.” My income was limited, and I lived as the phrase is “from hand to mouth,” yet I managed “to make two ends meet.” I was never in actual want.  I fully realized in my life the meaning of the aphorism. “The blessing of the Lord it maketh us rich.” “Having food and raiment I  was content therewith.” My Bible taught me that wealth in this sinful world could not augment my happiness. The rich in the parable who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared surreptitiously every day died, and lifted up his eyes in hell.

‘But poor Lazarus was carried by ministering angels into Abraham’s bosom. In 1878 my health entirely gave way.  Malarious fever broke out at Agorparah and in the adjoining villages like wild fire, people died like ants and flies. With a large family I suffered most grievously from malaria. I became quite unfit for active service, the hard work of the English school and the malarious fever told severely on my constitution. I was then in the fifty-fourth year of my life. In this -hour of distress, I cried unto the Lord and he delivered me from my troubles.

“Call upon me in the time of trouble; so that I will hear thee, and thou shalt praise me.” (Psalm 1:15).

My sons were at school at the time, and too young to help me in supporting the family. I applied through the Secretary to the Calcutta Corresponding Committee of the O. M. Society. The committee (I will never forget their kindness) allowed me to quit Agurparah, and to reside in Calcutta, sanctioning for my supplement the allowance which I now draw.

I have been residing in Calcutta for the last ten years.  I am now in the evening of life, an invalid, in the neighborhood of seventy, the scriptural period of human existence; but though I have lost considerably the buoyancy and energy of youth and manhood, yet I thank God I am not quite bed ridden.

I try to promote His glory so far as health permits, realizing in my life his gracious promise “They shall bring forth fruits in old age.” (Psalm 92:14) .

“And even to your old age, I am He ; and even to hoary hairs will I carry you” (Isaiah 46.4).

When I take a retrospective view of my chequered life, I find my trials, temptations, shortcomings, imperfections, and frailties have been very many, that I am an ” unprofitable servant,” ” the vilest of vile ” and “my righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” My hope is on the Cross. “The blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed me from all my iniquities.”

Nearly half a century ago, when I left home for Christ, I was alone. I had none to share with me my joys and sorrows. I was persecuted right and left. I was thrown by my cruel relatives to the mercy of the waves to meet with a watery grave. And yet when I cried, like Jonah of old, the Lord, heard me, ” put of the depths He delivered me.”

I am now gray headed and gray-bearded, blessed with a Christian family, all the member of which, except one, have been, by the grace of God, settled in life. There is nothing to disturb my Christian peace. If it be admittedly that old age to a. Christian is the childhood of ‘immortality, “I realize it to a great extent. I can therefore take-up the Psalmist’s words and say, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to me? I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living, I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:12-13).

The best preparation for death and higher life is to be “steadfast in faith,” “to watch and pray.” I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord that He has always led me by His spirit to contemplate death and the invisible realities of Heaven. I am therefore ready to depart this life. The Blood of Jesus has cleansed me from my past sins and created in me a sure and certain hope of life eternal. But should it please the Lord to spare my life longer (I dare not ask to live for His will be done on earth as in heaven) I will consecrate it to His service: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

TRUE SAYINGS.

The Bible is an infallible guide, which tells us how to become right with God, Look at these true sayings:

“How then can man be justified with God, or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” Job 25:1.

“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” Proverbs 20:9.

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not” — Ecclesiastes 7:20.

“There is none righteous; no, not one.” — Romans 3:10.

“They are all gone out to the astray, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good no, not one.” — Romans 3:12

Does your conscience echo these words, and constrain you to admit, “I have sinned?” Then look again

“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8.

Jesus Christ ‘His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” — I Peter 2:24.

Hear His own gracious words —

“If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink.” — John 7:37.

“Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” – I John 6:37.

“He that heareth My word and believeth in Him that sent Me hath everlasting life, and shall not come in to condemnation but is passed from death into life.” — John 5:24

“Christian Tract and Book Society, 2nd Edition:23, OhOWKINGhbe. Feb. 190^.
THE OLIVE ELECT KIOAL PRINTING WORKS.” 1

More on this can be read at: Bishop’s College Calcutta 1820-1870.

Another biography of Gooru Charan Bose can be found in Rebecca J. Parker’s book, Children of the Light: Stories of Indian Christians (1940)

India on National Geographic Covers…

On the side I have been collecting certain issues of National Geographic. In particular I have been collecting the ones with something India related on the covers. My goal is to eventually frame them and put them up on a wall.

So I decided to go online and see what I could find, and here is what I have so far found:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rabindranath Tagore and the Song of Songs (i.e. Song of Solomon)

(I am moving this post from another blog of mine to this.)

I have been skimming through parts of Lover’s Gift, by Rabindranath Tagore, and cannot help but suspect that Tagore had crossed paths with Song of Songs – a book on love and lovers, found in the Bible. Tagore quite simply had to have read it at some point in his life. There are things in there that just are very reminiscent of Song of Songs.

Anyway, take a look a the following excerpts from Lover’s Gift and then take a look at Song of Songs in either the KJV or the NIV. God Bless!

From 31 ~ A Posy

“My flowers were like milk and honey and wine;I bound them into a posy with a gold ribbon, but they escaped my watchful care and fled away and only the ribbon remains.

My songs were like milk and honey and wine, they were held in the rhythm of my beating heart… the beauty I loved was like milk and honey and wine, her lips like the rose of the dawn, her eyes bee-black.”

From 15

Her neighbors call her dark in the village – but she is a lily to my heart, yes, a lily though not fair. Light came muffled with clouds, when first, I saw her in the field; her head was bare, her veil was off, her braided hair hanging loose on her neck. She may be dark as they say in the village, but I have seen her black eyes and am glad. …

She is dark as the message of shower in the summer, dark as the shade of flowering woodland; she is dark as the longing for unknown love in the wistful night of May.”

From 13

“Last night in the garden I offered you my youth’s foaming wine.”

From 30

“The Spring flowers break out like the passionate pain of unspoken love. With their breath comes the memory of my old day songs. My hear of a sudden has put on green leaves of desire. My love came not but her touch is in my limbs, and her voice comes across the fragrant fields. …”

From 2

“Come to my garden walk, my love. Pass by the fervid flowers that press themselves on your sight.”

From 3

Proudly step into my orchard, my queen, sit there in the shade, pluck the ripe fruits from their stems, and let them yield, the utmost, their burden of sweetness at your lips.”

Secularization, Modernization and India

I have tried before to jump start a series of blog posts on Secularization, Modernization & India… It has not worked to well, because the topic is so daunting and I always feel like I have not done enough research.

I wanted to blog again on this recently – but am going to drop it for now due to time constraints and work on other stuff. Perhaps another day.

In the meantime, here is an outline of my thinking… some of which may be subject to change in the future.

I. Introduction
   A. Recent History – 1950s and onwards
   B. More Recent History
II. Definitions: Vocab Gab
   A. Secularization theory
   B. Secularization
   C. Modernization
   D. Secularism
   E. Secular
      1. Non-western context: affirm all religions/views
      2. Western context: Affirm no religions
   E. Modernity
      1. Harold Netland discussion
         a) Postmodernity
         b) “culture of modernity”
      2. Christian Smith’s multiple modernities
III. Data arguing against Secularization theory from other countries
   A. General cases: Indonesia, Japan, the Global South, Saudi Arabia
   B. Detailed case examination: India
      1. Historical & Theological explanations – India vs. Europe
      2. Sociological explanations – India vs. Europe
IV. Conclusions, Implications & Implications for the Church
   A. Conclusions
      1. Modernization does not necessarily lead to Secularization
      2. Revisit data from other countries
      3. Revisit data from India
         a) Secularization theory failed disastrously in India
         b) Missionary schools (Duff) data should have been enough to predict the failure of secularization theory
   B. Implications
      1. Modernization and religion can coexist.
      2. Modernization will bring about religious pluralism
         a) internet bringing knowledge of other religions to your bedroom
      3. Europe is the anomaly – exceptionalism at least on the surface
   C. Implications for the Church
      1. Our Self-understanding
      2. The Evangelion & the surrounding culture
      3. Missio Dei & other cultures

What A Surprise? The Toilet Was Invented In Mohenjo-Daro

“It has been argued that the sophistication of a civilization can be measured by the sophistication of its sanitary arrangements, and the history of the toilet seems to bear this out.”

(~ Taken from pg. 56 of Levy, Joel. Really useful : the origins of everyday things. Willowdale, Ont: Firefly Books, 2002.)

Most people might think that the toilet is some kind of a Western invention.  Not quite.  In fact, the toilet was invented by the Indus Valley civilization way back in 2500 B.C.  Research indicates that this is the first civilization to have a highly advanced toilet and drainage system.

The wealthy citizens of the cities of Mohenjo-Daro had their own private toilets. These toilets were equipped with wooden seats drained by way of a brick based sewage system.  The system was quite thorough and even included manholes.

That said…I must say one other thing – even though we Indians – Indian men anyway – have graduated from wooden seats to porcelain thrones, not too many of us have taken advantage of this.  Perhaps this has to do with our agrarian roots.  You see, I have seen many a man driving along a road, and then when a certain biological need occurs, he pulls over to the side of the road and does some farming.

Farming? How?

Well. He either waters the plants or fertilizes the soil!

Other Jots and Tittles: The following also were invented in India, but never really took root there: Kung Fu, the Guitar, Zero (it was not the Arabs!) and Chess.

Finally – Given that civilized West eats with forks and the civilized East (Chinese, Japanese, etc.) eat with chopsticks and we Indians eat with our hands, are we uncivilized barbarians?

No.

Just think of it this way.

Look at your hands. We Indians eat with 2 forks and 10 chopsticks!

The world has yet to catch up with us.

IndusRiver
Indus River ~ Courtesy Wikipedia

Conversion / Anti-Conversion Outline…

Conversion & Anti-Conversion

I. Conversion
    A. Definitions
        1. dictionary/legal definitions
            a. =df renouncing one religion and adopting another
        2. religious definitions
II. Philosophical Issues
    A. Tolerance – not sure about this
    B. Rights & Freedoms (e.g.conscience, religion, etc)
III. Theological Issues (Xtn)
    A. Agents involved in conversion
    B. Usage of terminology
IV. Motivations
    A. Conviction of the truths of another religion
    B. Social Protest
    C. Force – What makes sense and does not makes sense
        1. : It makes sense that if someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to convert, then this is an attempt to force conversion.
        2. Invalid: What does not make sense is that in Orissa, a threat of divine displeasure (i.e. preaching Hell) is considered and attempt to force conversion.
    D. Fraud
        1. Orissa: misrepresentation or any other fraudulent contrivance
    E. Allurement – what makes sense or what does not make sense
        1. It makes sense that a conversion in which a person offers a bribe, then allurement has been used unlawfully to attempt to convert someone.
        2. Madhya Pradesh: offer of any temptation in the form of – (i) any gift or gratification either in cash or kind; (ii) grant of any material benefit, either monetary or otherwise.
        2.1. What does not make sense: If you tell someone that they are going to Heaven if they do certain things, then this is considered allurement.
    F. Inducement
        1. Orissa: the offer of any gift or gratification either in cash or in kind … including the grant of any benefit, either pecuniary or otherwise
V. Conversion & Law
    A. International Law Documents
    B. Indian Constitution – Article 25 especially (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion)
        1. Article 25 and its relation to other articles
        2. Article 25 and its relation to Universal Declaration of Human Rights
        2. Article 25 and its relation to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other Human Rights documents
VI. Anti-Conversion Laws
    A. Arguments for Anti-Conversion Laws
        1. Protection of Freedom of Religion
        2. Protection of Freedom of other freedoms (e.g. conscience)
        3. Prevent FFA/I (Force, Fraud and Allurement/Inducement)
    B. Arguments against Anti-Conversion Laws
        1. Poor definitions (See above)
            a. Force
            b. Fraud
            c. Allurement
        2. Discriminatory
            a. Dalits
            b. Women
            c. Minors
        3. Philosophical foundations – incoherent
        4. Reconversion issue: While conversion is illegal, re-conversion is not, even if you became a Xtn at age 8 and now at age 22 want to re-convert to Hinduism. Talk about bias!
            a. You need a visa to go from the USA to Russia, but to come back from there, you do not need one. Just walk right back in and do not even go through customs.
        5. Unconstitutional
        6. Violates many basic human rights/freedoms
            a. Freedom of thought/conscience
            b. Freedom of Religion
            c. Freedom of Privacy
                i. In Madhya Pradesh, Priests have to provide the time, date and location of the conversion ceremony to the District Magistrate, 1 month prior to the ceremony. They also have to provide the names and addresses of all the persons to be converted to the DM 1 month prior to the ceremony. Failure to do either of these will result in a fine of 5,000 rupees or a one year prison sentence or both.
            d. Freedom of Speech, etc.
        7. Sexist and Discriminatory: Penalties of breaking Anti-Conversion laws are higher if you convert a dalit, a tribal or a woman (instead of a man). They are considered inherently more naive.
        8. Anti-Conversion laws have actually resulted in an increase in attacks on minorities
        9. Fails to take into account how conversion is understood in various religions
    C. Forerunners
        1. Madhya Pradesh
            a. The Madhya Pradesh Act (Dharma Swatantraya Adhiniyam) of 1968
        2. Orissa
            a. The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act of 1967 / Act 2 of 1968
    D. Subsequent States
        3. Arunchal Pradesh
            a. The Freedom of Indigenous Faith Act of 1978
        4. Gujarat
        5. Chhattisgarh
        6. Himachal Pradesh
            a. The Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 2006 (Congress party)
        7. Uttarakhand.
    E. Repeals & Rebuffs
        1. Tamil Nadu
        2. Rajasthan
    F. Fallout of Anti-Conversion Laws
        1. Increase in Attacks
            a. Numerous cases…
        2. Misunderstandings – ad all conversion apparently

Gandhi Stamps …

I accidentally ran into some Irish stamps on Gandhi on the Net. I was kind of surprised that Ireland had made Gandhi stamps. They were quite nice, so I decided to see what other countries (in particular European ones) had made Gandhi stamps. I found a lot of them and here I am posting some that I like.

Ireland (or Éire):

Gibraltar

~ A lot of people think that those words, “hate the sin, love the sinner” come from the Bible. They do not. They actually come from the Gandhi. The principle is present in the Bible though.

(“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? ~ Matthew 5:43-46)


~ I find it funny that a stamp from Netherlands has Bapu written on it. You would think that only Indian stamps would have that.

Last but not least is one from Macedonia. I like the way the artist made his head like an oval. Almost like an egg. Just kidding.

Macedonia
Macedonia

A comment in passing: Now – There’s been a book written recently on Gandhi. A new biography. The book makes and implies some controversial claims and repeats some facts that should be pretty old facts to Indians. If you know what book I am talking about fine … what I want to say is simply this… take it with a good sized grain of salt. Americans and Europeans also have their own biases and quite frankly agendas.

Ok. One last thing:

Here is a website with many more Gandhi stamps:  http://gandhistamps.com/

Notes on Indian Anti-Conversion Laws (2)

The following are notes from : Traditional Values, Governmental Values, and Religious Conflict in Contemporary India” by Robert D. Baird.  It is from the Brigham Young University Law Review and you can access it by clicking on the link.

Background:
~ Baird points out that in 1967 and 1968, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh passed anti-conversion laws.  These laws were challenged and the cases went to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the anti-conversion laws and did so by making a distinction between  the right to propagate and the right to convert.  Propagation was legal, whereas conversion was deemed not to be a fundamental right.

With reference to Article 25(1), Chief Justice Ray writing for the Court would say the following:

What the Article grants is not the right to convert another person to one’s own religion, but to transmit or spread one’s religion by an exposition of its tenets.  It has to be remembered that Article 25(1) guarantees “freedom of conscious to every citizen, and not merely to the followers of one particular religion and that, in turn, postulates that there is no fundamental right to convert another person to one’s own religion because if a person purposely undertakes the conversion of another person to his religion, as distinguished from his effort to transmit or spread the tenets of his religion, that would impinge on the “freedom of conscience” guaranteed to all the citizens of the country alike.”

~ Baird does not comment all that much on this unfortunately because it does not make sense.  In the little that he says, he states:

“Whatever else might be said about these bills and their treatment by the Supreme Court, they at least present a constriction upon religion as constitutionally understood.”

Baird then goes on to point out a court case where an 81 year old priest, Fr. Brigit and 50 year old nun, Sister Ekka were tried, sentenced and imprisoned for violating the MP Acts.  They apparently failed to register the conversions.  (According to the MP Acts, you have to hold an official conversion ceremony, invite certain public officials and register the conversions by providing personal information of the converts. Failure to do so will result in imprisonment.)

Ok. Going back to Justice Ray’s comments.  He basically states the following:

[1] Article 25(1) gives the right to propagate but not the right to convert.
[2] Article 25 also provides freedom of conscience to everyone without exception.
[3] On account of freedom of conscience being given to everyone, you cannot convert anyone (i.e. conversion is wrong).
[3.1] For a person X to convert a person Y in a manner distinct from propagation would be for X to violate Y’s freedom of conscience.

This does not make sense.

~ What [3] seems to be saying is that conversion and freedom of conscience are mutually exclusive. You cannot convert without violating one’s freedom of conscience. Why? Why think that this is the case? I am not a lawyer but this seems to me to be wrong.

~ Perhaps that is why the Chief Justice also said “…if a person purposely undertakes the conversion of another person to his religion, as distinguished from his effort to transmit or spread the tenets of his religion…”

~ I find this to be problematic as well. Does the Chief Justice mean that X can undertake the conversion of Y in a manner that may not be distinguished from propagation? If so then there is some sense in which conversion and propagation are the same activities! So why legalize one and make illegal the other???

Chief Justice Ray’s reasoning seems to be awry.

Notes on Indian Anti-Conversion Laws (1)

Of late I have taken an interest in the anti-conversion laws in India. They seem to be unconstitutional and also seem to be violating many human freedoms. It is hard for me to believe that such laws exist – but exist they do in India. Anyway, I have been doing a little research on them on the side. Here are some notes.



The following excerpt is from: India’s Constitution and Individual Rights: Diverse Perspectives by Abhishek Singhvi*

It is from The George Washington International Law Review, 4-November-10, volume 49, pg. 334

* Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India; Member of Parliament; Former Additional Solicitor General of India; National Spokesperson, CongressParty; Chairman, Law & Human Rights Department, Congress; Former Vice President, Supreme Court Bar Association. Ph.D. 1986, CANTAB–Trinity College; M.A. 1981, CANTAB–Trinity College; B.A. 1979, St. Stephen College, Delhi University.

The trinity of words—”profess,” “practice,” and “propagate”— reflects one of the most comprehensive constitutional declarations upholding freedom of religion. Each word has a different core and a different context, but the problem is more of implementation than of constitutional ideal. While the right to hold and express religious beliefs is well-established, the right to practice connotes the freedom to enjoy and realize those beliefs.  Propagation is the right to communicate beliefs or to expound the tenets of one’s religion without any forcible conversion.  The issue of where propagation ends and forcible conversion begins remains a vexed one in real operational terms. The operational management of this dilemma has been left to individual states. While some have passed anti-conversion statutes, many others have not. The issue is less one of constitutional interpretation and more one of political rhetoric. As such, the state laws rarely have been successfully implemented to secure conviction for forcible conversions.

~~~> My comment as to the last sentence:
Unfortunately these state laws have been successfully implemented to secure convictions of people falsely charged with forcible conversions.

Aside:  The latest George Washington International Law Review has an article titled:  Ending Caste Discrimination in India: Human Rights and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Individuals and Groups from Discrimination at the Domestic and International Levels.  It is written by Jeremy Sarkin and Mark Koenig.

Shourie on Jesus’ Last Words

A short whiles back I more or less read Arun Shourie’s book, Harvesting Our Souls. The book was filled with numerous errors – not just about the Bible but many other things. I think the publisher failed to ensure a proper proofreading.

Anyway, Shourie made a claim in this book that Jesus’ last words as given in the 4 different Gospel account are hopelessly contradictory. I decided to check it out and put the relevant passages in an Excel table to see what I get. What I found was that Jesus’ words as given in the 4 different accounts mesh quite well, one with the other.

I thought I would blog my findings but am not able to post the excel table here due to the width constraints of this blog. So I opened up a divshare account and uploaded it. The file can be accessed here:
The Last Words of Jesus

Anyway…

Keep two things in mind w.r.t. the relevant passages:
1) There are somethings that Jesus says loudly (i.e. He cries out) and some things softly (i.e. much less loudly). Only those who are at the base of the cross can hear the things that he says softly. John is one of them (John 19:250
2) Jesus cries out two times.

w.r.t = with respect to

Conversion (2) ~ Theologically Speaking . . .

A Thought Experiment – The False Motives Charge

Suppose a car, the Maxxo has been produced by a certain company, Maxxxine Motor Corporation, and that this car has a major engine defect. At a certain stage in the life of the car, the engine will blow up. Now the manufacturers discover that such a flaw exists and decide not to recall the car on account of saving $$$ and avoiding bad publicity.

Now Sanju is a private mechanic who has friends who work for this company and hears about the defect. So he goes around trying to warn everyone he knows. No one believes him however. They think that he is just trying to make an extra buck. Mechanics are not known for being trustworthy anyway.

One fine day, Sanju is working in the auto-shop, when Manju drives in with a Maxxo X9. Sanju complains about a dead light. Sanju listens to Manju but knows that the flat tire is not the biggest problem here. However when Sanju tries to warn Manju about the engine defect that will result in a blown up car, Manju does not listen. Manju assumes that Sanju is a chaloo, simply trying to make extra dollars and so angrily drives away.

The next day, Chang drives into Sanju’s shop with a Maxxo X9 and begins talking to Sanju about a horn problem. Sanju offers to help Chang, but does not say anything about the defect. He decides that he will wait. While he genuinely wants to help Chang with the horn problem, he also wants wants to help him with the defect problem. Perhaps he can explain later.

Later comes. The horn is fixed. Chang is happy with Manju’s work. Manju has been hoping to tell him about the defect does tell him. Chang does not believe him and leaves.

Now time passes. Chang has other problems with the Maxxo X9 and he keeps coming back to Sanju. In all instances, Sanju fixes everything because these are real problems, but he also has a hope of being able to tell Chang about the defect. He is after all concerned for him.

Does Sanju have a false motive in fixing the guy’s car?

Suppose Sanju does try to tell him once or two times more about the defect and Chang does not listen. Now if Sanju continued to do the other minor fixes on Chang’s car, because he was genuinely concerned for Chang and his car, would that mean he was being irrational?

Conversion (1) ~ Theologically Speaking…

(1) The term conversion in Christian theology refers to two things:
(1.1) repentance:A turning away – from sin.*
(1.2) faith:A turning to – Jesus Christ.

So, conversion = repentance + faith. Both events take place simultaneously.

Additionally, conversion is a transaction between an individual and God. A person, P may meet a Christian, C who then explains the Christian message and upon which P converts. Strictly speaking it is incorrect to say that P was converted by C. You can say that “P converted” or that “P was converted by God”, but it is wrong to say that P was converted by C. Conversion is ultimately a work of God. You will not find such language used in European and American Christian books by in large.

Think of it this way. Quite often when P converts, we say that P is born-again. Can we say that P was given birth to by C? No. This was a work of the Holy Spirit. I think that it is best to avoid statements of the form, “P was converted by C.” I in fact think that using such erroneous language is a help to those opposed to the Christian faith.

*Christianity teaches that human nature is inherently corrupt. There is something wrong with us. Our default position consists of a bent to selfishness.

(2) Blog on this later … why is conversion good…
(2.1) It is commanded by God.
(2.2) It glorifies God.
(2.3) It is the only antidote for the corrupt human heart.
(2.3) There are numerous accounts of dramatic changes in some pretty wicked people.
(2.5) A converted person is spared from going to Hell.

India’s Anti-Conversion Laws – Articles of Interest

I have been looking up articles on anti-conversion laws in India. I have found some good articles that I think are worth reading. It is amazing how prejudiced and manipulative the Indian government is as regards this issue. Anyway, take a look.

(1) RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN INDIA AND ANALYSIS OF THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS By James Andrew Huff @ the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion

~ The article is particularly good because it discusses (1) the history of anti-conversion laws in India, (2) some differences between the Indian government and the US government and (3) how the various articles of the Indian interact with each other and also with other documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and so on.

I do not recall the article talking about the differing penalties incurred if the person who has been converted is either a woman or a Dalit. What this means is that if an upper caste male converts to Christianity after talking with say a Christian pastor, then the pastor will be fined a certain amount and be sent to prison for good whiles. On the other hand if a woman converts after talking to the Christian pastor, then the fines are much higher and the prison term much higher. The reason for this apparently is that women are deemed to be more naive than men. Yes. This is sexist and it is the law of the land.

(2) FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS IN INDIA: AN OVERVIEW By Saadiya Suleman

~ I have not read this article yet so I do not know as yet where it falls. I will read it later.

(3) ~~~>”RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACTS”: ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS IN INDIA @ the ACLJ, the American Center for Law & Justice

~ The article is just 6-1/2 pages long and you will find a lot of good information here all in one place. I would say that this article is one of the best starting points in studying the issue.

(4) Religious Freedom and Religious Persecution Issues In India by the ECLJ, European Center for Law and Justice and also the ACLJ, the American Center for Law & Justice

~ I have not read this as yet, so cannot comment on it.

(5) India’s Anti-conversion laws loaded in favour of majority Hindu religion @ All India Christian Council

~ Good article that discusses the problems with terms like force, fraud and allurement. These terms have not been properly defined.

(6) Anti-Conversion Legislation in India @ Conservapedia

~ Discusses the issue of a person’s privacy in religious matters being violated by Indian laws. If you want to convert, you basically have to file some paperwork several days in advance (sometimes a month) and then the powers that be have to attend the conversion event which has to be public, etc.

(7) International Religious Freedom Report 2008 @ the website the United States Department of State – the US. Govt.

~ I have not read this as yet, but in skimming through it, I find that it interesting to note the US government keeps tabs on what is going on in India. Many incidents of violence against religious minorities are here recorded. They probably also keep tabs on certain politicians and their activities. This is wise as some of these guys are very corrupt.

(8)Freedom of Religion” Legislation in India: The Hindu-Christian Debate on Religious Conversion, Kim, Chang Hwan

~ I have not read this either but hope to.

(9) Freedom of Religion and Right to Conversion by Justice M.N. Rao

~ Have not read this yet. It is on my TO READ list.
~ Note: If you plan on printing it, make sure to either adjust the font (very small size) or to copy and paste into word and then adjust the font size.

(10) Study of Discrimination in the Matter of Religious Rights and Practice by Arcot Krishnaswami, (c) 1960. @ the UN.

~ I am not finished with this as yet. It is worth a look because Krishnaswami will discuss the philosophical & theological underpinnings of the idea of conversion. E.g. John Locke on Tolerance.

A Couple of Comments:
(1) In India, the term secular mean roughly, “equality to all religions”. In Europe and in the USA, the term secular roughly refers to the idea that all religions out to be avoided. It is atheistic in scope.

(2) None of the documents discuss, what I would like to call, Cyber-Conversion. What if you convert by way of an international chat group? How will the Indian government prosecute someone who is in Sweden, who “converts” someone in India.

Odd But Interesting Statistic

It is interesting and odd to note that 73% of Indian Christians agree with the statement: I am proud to be an Indian.

As compared to

71% of Hindus

and

60% of Muslims.

Why do I find this to be odd?

I say odd because Christians are often charged with being unpatriotic.

Also… another stat about in India in passing:

~ Christians are the second-largest provider of health care and education after the ______________.

Can you fill in the blank?

Answer: government.

What the heck – one last stat:

~ Churches run more than ___% of the hospitals and health care centers in India.

Try and guess this one also.

What % do you think?   

Answer: 25% !

I got my stats from the April 2007 issue of Touchstone magazine.

I have also read elsewhere that Christians run ~ 40% of the orphanages in India.

This is particularly startling when you realize that Christians are only ~2.5 % of the population of India!

Incidentally – I got the first flag above, the Indian one at Wiki at this url:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indian_flag_tri_colour.jpg

While it is excellent artwork, my grouse with it is the following:  If it does not have the wheel in the center then is it the Indian flag?

No. Its really the Irish flag which is the 2nd flag below.  Ok… well not exactly. Almost the Irish flag.

The Cross and the Violin – Edward Payson Scott

In 1863, an American Baptist Missionary, Edward Payson Scott went out from the town of Nowgong to the Nagaland accompanied by no one but his Mikir teacher. The local British officer in Nowgong and some of his friends tried hard to dissuade him. It was too dangerous. The wild tribes would kill him. Scott however felt that this God was calling him to do this and so had to go. The British officer offered to send some troops along with him for his protection. Scott declined. He was a man of peace and the Good News that he was taking was one of love and good will. So he went alone accompanied only by his Mikir associate.

Three days later, they approached a ridge near the village. As he and his associate descended, the Naga villagers who became alarmed came running out to them brandishing their spears. They formed an attack formation around them and aimed their spears. The Chief then told them to halt and go no further. He stated that he knew they were of the Moha Rani – the Queen of England’s man.

So what did Scott do?

Not knowing what to do, Scott for whatever reason, pulled out his violin and started playing Issac Watts hymn, Alas And Did My Savior Bleed singing the words to it in their dialect.

Alas! And did my Savior bleed,
And did my sovereign die?
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

The villagers were astounded.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown,
And love beyond degree!

They all dropped their spears. Edward Payson Scott was their friend.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”
~ Isaiah 52:7

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I got the story from Baptist Missionary Magazine, vol 81, No. 6, June , 1901.  Pg. 216.   The story is also in The Growth of Baptist Churches in Nagaland, by Puthuvail Thomas Philip (Guwahati: Christian Literature Centre, 1976, 1983), 53

George Carey’s Workshop

I got the following excerpt from George Oommen’s article, Protestant Christianity in India in the book, Indian Christianity / edited by A.V. Afonso.
New Delhi : Distributed by Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 2009. Oommen in turn got it from C.B. Firth’s An Introduction to Indian Church History, 1983. It is a description that William Ward recorded in 1811.

“As you enter, you see your cousin, in a small room, dressed in a white jacket, reading or writing, and looking over the office, which is more than 170 feet long. There you find Indians translating the Scriptures into the different tongues, or correcting proof-sheets. You observe laid out in cases, types in Arabic, Persian, Nagari, Telugu, Panjabi, Marathi, Chinese, Oriya, Burmese, Kanarese, Greek, Hebrew and English. Hindus, Mussulmans and Christian Indians are busy – composing, correcting, distributing. Next are four men throwing off the Scripture sheets in the different languages; others folding the sheets and delivering them to the large storeroom; and six Mussulmans do the binding. Beyond the office are the varied type-casters, besides a group of men making ink; and in a spacious open walled-round place, our paper-mill, for we manufacture our own paper.”

Saintly People

People ask:
~ If X was so good, how could a good God reject him? Because after all there is something wrong in rejecting the good. If you reject the good, you must be bad.

I ask:
~ If Christ was so good, how could a good X reject Him? Because after all there is something wrong in rejecting the good. If you reject the good, you must be bad.

Why would a good person reject Christ?

Why would a good person reject what is good?

Tolerance and Intolerance

The words “tolerance” and “intolerance” are loaded words. Quite often when we see them being used by the media, politicians or some agenda driven social advocacy group we need to carefully examine exactly how these terms are being said and used.

For example, just because a person says that they are tolerant does not mean that you ought to pat them on their backs and say “Bravo!” Likewise just because a person, say Pyotr says “Olga is intolerant!” does not necessarily mean that Olga is a bad person. It depends on the situation. Maybe Olga and Pyotr share the same office space and Olga does not like it when Piotr smokes in the office.

Anyway . . . In thinking about this a bit and reading a little, I have tried to put together a chart to help us understand these concepts better.  Here it is and my explanations will follow.

I see tolerance and intolerance as being on a sort of a continuum waxing narrow as we go towards one extreme and broad towards another.  The first two forms of tolerance that I would like to describe are what I would categorize under the heading, Vulgar Tolerance.

1) Broad Tolerance: This describe a sort of an anything-goes, “Oh. Look at me. I’m so open-minded!” tolerance.  This is perhaps the most facile, namby-pamby usage of the term tolerance that we find in currency.  It is characterized by a lack of thought.

2) Permissive Tolerance: This is a form of tolerance that is not based on “respect and positive valuation, but on permission.”[1] The best way to understand this form of vulgar tolerance is to just see some examples.

Example:
Suppose you heard people say the following:

“I can tolerate those Chinese people.”
“I can tolerate Olga.”
“I can tolerate his bad habits.”
“I can tolerate you!”
“I can tolerate Americans.”

In permissive tolerance, approval is absent. Additionally, while there is a sort of an acceptance involved, there is also some sort of a negative estimation involved.

3) Truth-Based Tolerance/Intolerance: As I said previously, not all tolerance is necessarily a good, nor is all all intolerance necessarily a bad. However any tolerance or intolerance that is based on truth is good. Truth is the balance. Truth-Based Tolerance/Intolerance sits in between the two extremes.

Example:
~ If you find yourself unable to tolerate Vladmir’s 24/7 vodka drinking habits and your lack of tolerance is based on such things as his drunkenness at the office, his bad breath, excessive trips to the Lu, etc., then you are right to be intolerant.

The key question here is … Are my attitudes and actions based on the truth?

Finally . . .

4) Narrow Tolerance: is basically Zero Tolerance or Intolerance. This form of tolerance like Broad Tolerance is also characterized by a lack of thought. It is of the form held by racists or other prejudiced individuals. They simply do not like someone or something and their reasons for this, if any, are weak.

One last comment: There is that old adage, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” which actually came from Gandhi, not Christ. This fits in with the above. Think about how it fits in.


Source:
[1] Christianity and Human Rights: Christians and the Struggle for Global Justice, by Frederick M. Shepherd.
~ The idea of Permissive Tolerance can be found on page 51.