Contributed by Prabhala
Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who is believed by Christians to be the son of God. Christmas is a big holiday season in Europe and North America and other nations. The economics is huge. USA alone spends about 600 billion dollars in the season. Although the festival is celebrated with much fanfare and happiness in Europe and NA, the attendance at churches is decreasing in these countries. In contrast, Church attendance is 90% in Latin American and Christian African and South East Asian nations. Hence, in order to spread its gospel, the church to has identified hotspots in Latin America (Brazil), Africa (Nigeria), China and in South East Asia (Indonesia, India).
Although in India, official statistics estimate 2.5 % of the population to be Christians, general consensus places the figure at about 5-6%, while scarier estimates mention much higher figures. Predominant presence of the Christians in India is in south and north-east of the country but the church has successfully broken into North India and neighboring Nepal in spite of anti conversion laws in some states of India and in Nepal.
Churches in India get hyperactive during Christmas. All sorts of public gatherings (called Prayer and healing meetings, 2nd coming of Jesus gatherings etc.) are organized across the states (more importantly in central and south India). It is a big occasion for the churches to raise money, travel to the hinterlands of the country in the guise of singing groups and of course induce conversions. The recent arrest in Madhya Pradesh of carol singing groups trying to convert people is a case in point – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-42363561.
Churches go overboard in the celebrations. In the coastal states miles and miles of stars are everywhere. Pamphlets, Gifts, Books are distributed and gatherings organized. Political leaders are eager to join the celebrations to protect their vote banks.
The ongoing inculturation in India is a serious issue. If it is not addressed in time it can tear apart the social fabric of the country. Over the years, the church has got smarter; they understand that if they accept Hindu culture, traditions merge them into Christian practices; the process of converting Hindus can be hastened. Hence, they are now using Hindu culture, customs and dressing methods to to entice Hindus into their fold. Increasingly we find that –
- Gradually churches are now being called temples – They are now called “Devuni Gudi” in Telugu. Church architecture is being replaced with Hindu temple architecture
- Candles are being replaced with Hindu Oil lamps
- Churches are using Hindu worship methods – Sahasranamam to Jesus
- Churches are now being called Ashrams
- Fathers and Sisters are calling themselves as Acharya and Sadhvis
- Bharatanatyam is being taught in Christian schools replacing Vedic mudras with Christian mudras
The above methods were deployed earlier in Christianizing Europe, Latin America and Africa.
“Christianization (or Christianisation) is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire groups at once. Various strategies and techniques were employed in Christianization campaigns from Late Antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages. Often the conversion of the ruler was followed by the compulsory baptism of his subjects. In some cases there was evangelization by monks or priests, organic growth within an already partly Christianized society, or by campaigns against paganism such as the conversion of pagan temples into Christian churches or the condemnation of pagan gods and practices. A notable strategy for Christianization was Interpretatio Christiana – the practice of converting native pagan practices and culture, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses, due to the Christian efforts at proselytism (evangelism) based on the Great Commission. “ Source – Wikipedia
Clearly India should stand up to the continuous attempts to destroy its culture and hijack its people from their roots. The church is pulling no stops to take Christians in India away from their ethnic identities and cultural values. It is using propaganda to distance our people from their age old practices. It is now or never for this country to stop this inculturation.