Christianity Vs. HinduismI am not against Christians. But I don't like what Christianity preaches. Abuse other religions? Grow up kids...get a life.
Posted September 23, 2005 Rama Rao Vijayawada
The recent cyclone in Andhra Pradesh, India has played havoc causing immense loss of life and property. It has already resulted in the death of more than 60 people, several thousands injured and significant damage to property.
Apart from the immediate deaths and destruction, local people are also worried about the long-term effects of the cyclone. It is estimated that millions of people along the coastal regions could end up in dire poverty because of the damage from the cyclone.
Even as they are trying to figure out the extent of the losses suffered, even people living in the plains, who until recently considered themselves immune to such calamities, are starting to wonder how they became victims of this tragedy. They are looking for reasons beyond those offered by the government and the scientific community.
Many victims say that all these events are due to their losing the blessings of their Gods and inviting their wrath because of the sins they have committed. Some have started to wonder if their conversion to Christianity could have led to their losing the grace of local deities, many of whom are considered to be guardians of the villages from precisely these kinds of calamities. They note that Christian missionaries required them to abuse Hindu Gods and village deities as a pre-condition to receiving money for converting to Christianity. An old lady lamented in Telugu, *"Dabbuki kakkurthi padi devullani tittamu; ippudu emayyindo chudayya, tinadaniki ginjalu kooda levu, cheesina papalu oorikene povu"* (Out of greed we converted and abused our Gods; now look what has happened, we are left without even food. We are taught a lesson for our sins and crimes).
The sentiment appears to be prevalent across all the affected districts of Andhra Pradesh and is particularly strong in temple towns such as Rajamundry and Bhadrachalam. In Eluru, which saw major destruction from the cyclone, converts to Christianity are blaming each other for breaking the gigantic Hanuman statue and inviting the wrath of the "monkey God." The situation is not that much different in Rama's temple town, Bhadrachalam. Many converts have thrown away chains with crosses and have started wearing chains with pendants of 'Veeranjaneya,' the form of Hanuman as a protector of good and destroyer of evil.
Local pastors and church leaders are worried about the effect of the cyclone and the resulting soul-searching engaged in by the villagers. They are worried that people may return to their native faith, Hinduism and nullify the millions of dollars and years of effort they have poured into evangelization activities in these villages. One pastor claimed that the community is so angry that not even one person may return to his church. He is keeping indoors as he is afraid to venturing into the village. Other sources indicate that the local pastors are turning to their church authorities for guidance in handling the situation.
A senior church member said that high level meetings are going on between senior church members and their superiors in the USA regarding the cyclone relief. One strategy emerging from these meetings seems to be to target only so-called "un-reached" regions and going for mass conversion using relief material as the bait. A church consultant based in US suggested that missionaries should totally avoid regions with some church presence. He fears that in these regions the converts would demand extra money as a fallout of cyclone and convert back to Hinduism or Islam if their demands are not met. He also suggested that pastors should leave those regions immediately and flock to the "un-reached" regions so as not to raise any suspicion among their communities. It seems that he is a strong proponent of 'No-extra-payments after conversion' rule.
Similar incidents were visible in the aftermath of the tsunami in Tamil Nadu. People stopped going to churches after it was found that areas dominated by Christian converts were the ones worst affected by the tsunami whereas water just surrounded Hindu temples leaving the premises dry. During the tsunami, the Our Lady of Good Health church, the famous Catholic pilgrim centre in Velankanni turned into a burial ground. Subsequently people have abandoned this church and consider it as a cursed place as it was built over an existing temple.
The church's spin doctors are however working overtime to try and use the human tragedy to further the missionary agenda. Employing the same strategy that was used during the recent December tsunami, missionaries have been preaching to locals that the cyclone struck because people did not convert to Christianity. Rev. Kim Hong-do of Seoul's Kumnan Methodist Church, the largest Methodist church in Korea, gave a sermon on January 2 in which he said that the victims of December 26 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that devastated much of South Asia were killed because they didn't believe in Jesus.
¶ 10/04/2005 10:17:00 AM