Saturday, December 29, 2007

PACKING UP

As many of you are celebrating in the New Year Monday night I should be somewhere over the Atlantic on the way to my fourth India trip. As always, I'm looking forward to seeing the brethren there and praying we can have doors of opportunity open to us.

Travel to India wouldn't be, well, travel to India without something dramatic going on. Two years ago it was the Mumbai train bombings, last year it was a massacre committed by separatists in the Northeast. This year it is anti-Christian riots in Orissa state:
Twelve village churches were burned and ransacked in eastern India over Christmas as Hindu extremists clashed with members of the Christian minority.

One person died and more than 25 were injured in the violence in Orissa state.

It was sparked after Hindu hard-liners objected to the scale of a Christmas Eve prayer vigil, according to the Catholic Bishops Conference in New Delhi....

The violence is part of periodic flare-ups between Christians and followers of India's dominant religion who accuse the missionaries of trying to convert low-caste Hindus.

Missionary activity is a source of serious tension in parts of India where hard-line Christian groups talk of "liberating" low-caste Hindus.

Rising anti-missionary sentiment has caused several Indian state governments to pass anti-conversion laws which India's Christians - who represent 2.5 per cent of the country's 1.1 billion population - are fighting in court.

On the bright side, none of us are traveling to Orissa state. However, this year one of our team members ran into visa problems, the first for anyone in our groups traveling to India.

A lot of the unrest is a reaction by the fundamentalist Hindus against modernization. They view Christianity as a Western religion in many ways. Of course, the real threat to them isn't Christianity, but secularism resulting from a more educated population. Few educated individuals are going to believe Hindu mythology with much fervor. It's much easier to riot against something tangible like Christianity than secularism.

Please pray for our safe journey and that our time in India will go well. I hope to post updates here as Internet access and time allows.

4 comments:

SP said...

It's not to be construed that I support the riots. I have nothing against christianity but I have complaint against the christian evangelists who see opportunity in poor hindus and hospital sick for conversions.This I consider trechery and service with riders.

Your story of putting the blame on hindus for the riots is pathetically one sided. The docile hindus, especially oriyans, have been provoked by the mischievous christian missionaries who went on conversion spree with enticements among the rural and tribal poor. This has caused social tensions among these people when the neo converts resort to belittling of hindu Gods followed by attack on an octagenerian tribal Hindu guru.The leftist and pro minority English press always projects the Hindus in bad light covering up the root cause.

Well when the survival of hindus is threatened in their own land they ought to retaliate for survival. Oh Bishops Stop this obnoxious parctice of conversions through monetary enticements.

Alan said...

The 'docile Hindus'?

I in no way support monetary enticements for some sort of 'conversion'. No conversion that is bought is a conversion at all. However, your creative understanding of events bears little resemblance to reality. Around 80% of Indians are Hindus, as opposed to around 2%-3% who are Christians. Who is trying to survive in such a situation?

As I said in my post, Hinduism is not threatened by Christianity in India, but rather by secularism and practical agnosticism.

World Evangelist said...

Good luck and God bless you in your travels and in the work you do in India Alan. I just got home 3 weeks ago from a five week stay in Secunderabad. The work was great and very rewarding, but it was a far more tense atmosphere this trip than during my last visit in 2004. Be careful Brother!

Robert L said...

Alan and uphold you and your team before the Throne of Grace. India can be difficult but I know our Lord is more powerful. Please be careful, enjoy your trip and encourage the believers.