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    The Gospel Truth etc...

    I wish to start a thread stipping away the gloss of all religions and get to what the reality was on the ground. What were the "saintly" missionaries up to in India over the years? What did the Mughals do there? How about the Hindus in years past? I don't want to start a religious war here, only a discussion of wrongs with the intent to move forward from the awful truth. No faith has ever been totally clean.

    #2
    Originally posted by TOMASSO:
    No faith has ever been totally clean.
    Not so much the faith as its followers.

    Comment


      #3
      Yeah, I'd buy that in bulk! Thank you for a positive first response. I know I'm asking for the axegrinders by starting this thread, but I want to read the bare facts of the bad actions that put people off to the only thing that can give "man" direction.

      Comment


        #4
        You got positive comments only because i feel your intention is more indeed to seek out information.

        The same cannot be said about some trouble makers plagueing(sp) these forums...

        Its 5:32am and my mind is kinda blank...stomach is full though coz i just had some tuna 'n' pasta! Anyways i dont think i`ll be able to come up with anything remotly intelligible at this moment. Later on i may revisit and add my thoughts to this thread

        Comment


          #5
          Tomasso: it matters little what I believe or think but since you have taken the time to start a thread, I will first provide threads to what is available and arguments that I consider valid. You can read these and decide for yourself. Refereces to books that are not online, hopefully you can get them at a library.

          This URL does not relate to South Asia per se but it gives a lot of the same arguments that have been used there. I will be posting others. please go to the URL and there is a link to an extensive bibliograpy. There is plenty to read since the atrocities committed in the name of the Prophet of Peace are nearly countless. Please visit the home page of the site and there is plenty more.
          ******************************************* http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/consequence.html

          The Root Causes of Religious Atrocities
          We have seen that simply claiming that Christians are good people and good people don't commit atrocities is logically flawed. However before going through the unpleasant task of chronicling the horrible consequences of Christianity it is important to look at one more defense often heard from believers. The defense is normally stated as such:
          While it may be true that some Christians committed horrible acts, they did this in spite of the teachings of Christianity. True Christianity would not have advocated such horrible actions and atrocities.


          Note how the defense now has shifted from what constitute a real Christian to what constitute true Christianity. Here we will see how the acts of intolerance and atrocities are direct consequences of the Christian theological paradigm.[a]


          Monotheism, the belief in one exclusive god, is fundamentally intolerant.
          It is fundamental to Christian theology that God and his purpose are, in the final analysis, inscrutable to finite human minds. However his commandments must be followed.
          Finally, ethics and morality are ultimately rooted in God's commandments, not in a reasoned analysis.
          These three tenets, when applied singularly or as a cocktail, are largely responsible for the atrocities and horror we will be looking at.
          The Particularism and Exclusivity of Monotheism
          In his book One True God: The Historical Consequences of Monotheism,[1] the University of Washington sociologist Rodney Stark, postulated that the root causes of intolerance seen in monotheistic religions are the exclusiveness and particularism that are embedded within it's very definition.
          Monotheism by it's very nature is the antithesis of polytheism. Note that polytheism is the belief in many non-exclusive deities. A person can go to one temple to ask a favour from the goddess of love and go to another the next day asking for help with money issues from the god of wealth. Polytheistic deities offers specialized services and are thus, by their very nature, non-exclusive. Thus there is never a need for adherents to a certain deity in polytheism to actively sought the overthrow or suppression of other gods.

          Monotheism, however, is the belief that there exists only one god. All other gods are, by definition, either false or attempts by devils to fool their adherents. Embedded within this belief is an automatic contempt for polytheistic gods. This tells us why monotheism will always be intolerant of polytheism.

          Furthermore, because there is only one god, he gives only one coherent message. Thus monotheism is also particularistic. Not only is there only one god, there is only one true message and only one true religion. This leads to both internal and external conflicts.

          In trying to find and understand the one true message theologians read and interpret scriptures. Yet this is the very cause of heresy. For heresy, by definition, is an interpretation of the same message in a method different from the group which ultimately won the battle (and the right to call their interpretation "orthodoxy"). All monotheistic religions show this tendency to splinter. In first century Judaism we find such factions as the Essenses, the Pharisees and the Sadducess. The Jewish Talmud noted that there were twenty four different factions altogether. In Islam we have the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Sufis. In Christianity we have from the earliest days various groups such as the Gnostics, the Patripassians, Sabellianism, Dynamic Monarchainism and Arians. Even today we find Christianity splintering into more than 20,000 denominations.

          Obviously if monotheistic beliefs could not even reconcile themselves with factions who share the same scripture (but a different interpretation of it), their attitude towards other monotheistic religion with different scriptures are even worse. This position is simple to understand, for outsiders, or infidels, do not even accept the authority of the scriptures. Classic examples of these are the various crusades between Christendom and Islam.

          For Christianity we find proof of this intolerance within the Christian scripture itself.

          While intolerance plays a major role in the historical horrors perpetrated by Christians and Christianity, two more tenets of Christian theology is required to make the cocktail really explosive.

          Back to the top


          The Inscrutibility of God's Mind
          Another basic tenet of many monotheistic religion, including Christianity, is that God is all wise and his wisdom is impenetrable to the human mind.[b] This idea, that God's wisdom is beyond human comprehension is dramatically emphasised in the book of Job. For this is what the author had God rhetorically asking Job:
          Job 38:4-5; 16-18
          Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
          Tell me, if you have understanding.
          Who determined its measurements-surely you know!
          ...
          Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
          or walked in the recesses of the deep?
          Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
          or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
          Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
          Declare, if you know all this.


          With the advent of modern science of technology the passage sounds dated to us, but the message to believers in the past must have been clear: who are you to question god's wisdom?

          The message was well understood by Christian theologians. Martin Luther (1483-1546), for instance, asserted that if God asked him to go to the field and eat corn, he would do it no matter how ludicrous it would seem.[2]

          Luther's Catholic rival, St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), has the same teaching. He thought that founder of the Society of Jesus or Jesuits, in his book Rules For Thinking Within The Church taught a simple rule for believers to follow when their reason contradicts their faith: "If the church should have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appear white, we ought in like manner pronounce it black." [3]

          Thus whether god is speaking through the bible or through the church, his commandments are not to be questioned but to be followed.

          This is the second item of the explosive cocktail. Now we go to the final one.

          Back to the top


          God's Commandment as The Ultimate Moral Yardstick
          Although Christians do believe that some moral values are "built-in" to the human psyche (see for instance Romans 1:19,20; 2:14,15); in the final analysis, an act is moral or ethical only because god commands it. This is clearly stated in the the section of Moral Law in The Illustrated Bible Dictionary:
          The Scripture...taken as a whole, is our rule, our only rule, of faith and practice, and as a revelation of God's will, is binding on the consciences of all Christian men.[4]


          We know from the Bible that god has commanded actions which under any circumstances would be considered barbaric and rivalling the achievements of Hitler and Stalin. One case to point is the commandment for the Israelites to slaughter the inhabitants of Canaan who were then living in the land promised to the former. Let us see these passages:

          Exodus 23:23-24
          When my angel goes in front of you, and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivities and the Jebusites...you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars into pieces


          Deuteronomy 20:10-17
          "When you draw near a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if its answer to you is peace and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labour for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the Lord your God gives it into your hand you shall put all its male to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the cattle, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemy, which the Lord God has given to you. Thus you shall do to all the cities which are far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. In the cities of these people that the Lord your God gives you an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittites and the Amoriotes, the Canaanites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded."


          This commandment, of course, was faithfully carried out by Joshua. The story of this genocide is given in Joshua chapters 1 to 12. Below are a few sample passages:

          The Conquest of Jericho
          Joshua 6:16-17; 20-21
          Joshua said to the people, "Shout! for the Lord has given you the city. The city and all that is in it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction..."
          ...So the people shouted and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat; so the people charged into the city and captured it. Then they devoted to destruction by the edge of the sword all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep and donkeys.


          The Conquest of Ai
          Joshua 8:18-25
          Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Stretch out your sword that is in your hand towards Ai; for I will give it into your hand." And Joshua stretched out the sword that was in his hand toward the city. As soon as he stretched out his hand, the troops in ambush rose quickly out of their place and rushed forward. They entered the city and took it, and at once set the city on fire. So when the men of Ai looked back, the smoke was rising to the sky. They had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back againsts the pursuers. When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that the smoke of the city was rising, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. And the others came out from the city against them; so they were surrounded by Israelites, some one one side, and some on the other; and Isreal struck them down until no one was left who survived or escaped...When Israel had finished slaughtering all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and when all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai, and attacked it with the edge of the sword. The total of those who fell that day, both men and women, was twelve thousand-all the people of Ai.


          It is interesting to hear the comments of the Illustrated Bible Dictionary on the massacre of the Canaanites:

          It is enough that Joshua clearly knew this was the will of God, who employs his terrible agencies, famine, pestilence, and war, in the righteous government of the world. The Canaanites had sunk into a state of immorality so foul and degrading that they had to be rooted out of the land with the edge of the sword. "The Israelite's sword, in its bloodiest executiuons, wrought a work of mercy for all countries of the earth to the very end of the world."[5]


          Notice then the actions of Joshua are justified because it was the will of God. Nevermind that the Canaanites were considered "immoral" simply because they worshipped other gods (e.g. Numbers 33:52, Deuternonomy 7:4-5).

          This is the third element of our cocktail. We will now see how these elements work whether singularly or mixed together.

          Back to the top


          The Consequences of the "Cocktail"
          We shall now see how all these three elements (intolerance, inscrutibility of God's wisdom and the definition of morality as what is commanded by God) were the underlying causes for many horrible acts perpertrated by Christians throughout history.
          Thus Christian intolerance of outsiders and heretical insiders, mixed with the other two elements, had resulted in:


          the persecution of pagans
          the persecution of heretics,
          the crusades against Islam,
          the inquisition against the Albigenses,
          the Spanish inquisition against closet Jews and Muslims,
          the wars of religion between Catholics and Protestants
          the anti-semitic persecutions that had plagued Jews since the advent of the Christian myth of their responsibility for the death of Jesus.
          That this intolerance leads many times to the killing or massacre of the opposition, makes perfect sense for the believers. For wasn't Joshua commanded to kill the Canaanites because they were of other religions?
          The second and third elements of the cocktail when mixed together had also resulted in much suffering.


          The perpetuation of slavery in Christendom until faily recent times was due largely to the fact that the Bible did not condemn slavery. Thus it was never considered immoral to own slaves.
          The subordinate position of women in Christendom was rooted in the Bible and the teachings of the church fathers (who were merely following through on the Bible's teachings on this).
          The medieval witch hunt which resulted in the death of an estimated two million people was the result of a consistent application of the two principles above in intepreting Galatians 5:19 and Exodus 22:8.
          The case of Dr. Simpson and the resistance of the Scottish clergy to the use of anesthesia during childbirth is another example of how Christian morality is not premised on the reduction of human pain and suffering but on what the Bible (hence God) commands.
          It is clear therefore, that the atrocities and injustices above were committed, not in spite of Christianity, but because of it.

          Back to the top


          Notes
          a. Of course, more enlightened, liberal Christians no longer hold such views. However it remains true that throughout the bulk of its history, most Christians, and more importantly the ecclesiastics and tehologians held such views. Furthermore, even today, fundamentalists and conservative Christians continue to propagate such ideas to the detriment of all.
          b. I can personally vouched for how widespread this belief is. Since I started this website, I have received numerous e-mails from believers chiding me for "daring" to question "god's word" and for being "arrogant" to the point where I dare to compare my mind to his. Persumably these people think that one should not even try to apply reason in examining one's beliefs. Sad.

          References
          1. Stark: One True God: p116-122
          2. Montgomery, Damed Through the Church: p60-61
          3. Ward, Dictionary of Common Fallacies II: p87
          4. Easton, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary: p475
          5. Easton, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary: p393



          [This message has been edited by OldLahori (edited June 12, 2002).]

          Comment


            #6
            Here is a URL for the famous apology of the Pope. It is from Australia, but it covers in gist the great favor done to mankind by the Holy See! One only has to see how difficult it has been for the victims of Pedophilia in America to extract any kind of apology from the Church that can do no wrong, to put even this in perspective!

            ********************************************

            http://www.thebug.com.au/27mar00pope.html
            Pope says sorry

            Here is the complete text of the Pope's recent unconditional 2000 Jubilee apology to the world for any excesses of the Catholic Church worldwide since its inception. It is translated from the Pope's native Polish and The Bug apologies unconditionally for any errors that may have occurred in translating his popecyclical into Australianese.



            Gidday.
            From time to time, you all make mistakes.
            And the Catholic Church and all of its many thousands of practitioners are no exception, past and present Popes excluded, naturally.
            The Catholic Church is a broad spectrum 40 plus church that has only ever wanted the very best for the world's people and if it has made any mistakes in the heady pursuit of that laudable aim, we're ... I mean the rest of the church is sorry.
            The church worldwide is big, big business and like any business, we've been zealous in our marketing and recruitment campaigns. Overzealous? Perhaps. And if so, and if any one has been hurt by this understandable aim, sorry again.
            Just remember this. As God's chosen Christian religion, we've only tried to get as many Catholics on the ground as possible over the centuries. Think about that. How many wars could have been avoided if decent practising Catholics had been on both sides? Exactly.
            The more Micks on God's earth the better for everyone, surely. More Micks means less Muslims and Methodists. How anyone could disagree with that is really beyond this sick and frail old fellow, but enough about me.
            Let's get down to the basic areas of concern to some church knockers and their very hurtful papal smears.

            Naughty priests

            Being married to God is not a thankless task, but it can be a bit lonely at times. While the big guy upstairs gives a lot of spiritual comfort to the many priests, brothers and laymen who do his earthly work, He's not really on hand to give a big comforting hug in an hour of need, is he?
            Accordingly, scuttlebutt and innuendo arise from time to time that some priests resort to physical contact with members of their flock and some even allegedly engage in sexual congregation.
            Now it is true that after a big Sunday service with full-blown exorcism, and long after the church has been de-flocked, things can get a little heady.
            You're still on a high after that riveting hour-long allegorical sermon based on St Peter's struggle with the Holy Sea of Galileo after his outboard motor conks out. The incense is still in the air, the incantations of the flock urging you to forgive them linger in the rafters, and of course there's that communal church wine to be polished off, the flesh of Jesus to be wolfed down.
            So it's understandable, perhaps, that in moments of quiet reflection in the sacristy when those sweet little clean-faced altar boys have helped you out of your surplice, and then shamelessly sashay around as they disrobe from their cute little faded red vestments to reveal those very kissable dimples on the backs of those precious, spotty little knees, things can sometimes get a tad in hand.
            The church will not take such incidents lying down, of course, and where alleged cases appear, will take quick and decisive action.
            Just the other day, for example, my cardinals told me that a Christian brother in a rural Queensland boys school was rumoured to have been having an unholy alliance with an underaged male student cum choirboy.
            Guilty or innocent, this brother has been giving his marching orders and is now doing pastoral work in St Pedo's Refuge for Orphaned Boys with Bottoms Like Peaches in a completely different state. That clearly will give him time to reflect on any misdeeds on his part and a chance to start afresh by imparting God's will on his dear little charges.
            While a case such as this is largely unsubstantiated and helps fuel an anti-Catholic media hell-bent on reporting on the hundreds of priests who go through the court system each week around the world, the church still apologises unreservedly for any pain and suffering that may have been caused in the pursuit of the church's aims, especially before the introduction of KY Jelly.

            The Holocaust

            Much has been written about the alleged lack of support given by the Catholic Church to the Jewish people during World War 2, and especially their victimisation during the Holocaust or, as it's known in the Catholic Church the German Inquisition.
            But to be brutally honest, you had to be there to understand what was going down.
            And you've got to admit the Wermacht was looking pretty good there for a while, with a string of quick victories over a lot of easy-beat countries.
            They looked pretty good in their snappy uniforms, too, and seeing a lot of them were Catholic, it didn't make all that much sense to make too much noise over any alleged victimisation of the Jewish people with their beards, funny black hats and ridiculously high money-lending interest rates. Besides, if Jesus was really the King of the Jews, the Jews are the world's most unrepentant republicans, are they not?
            Still, the Catholic Church should have read the tide of war much quicker than it did, and should have taken a more noble stand when it became clear the hopes of the Third Reich and the Jewish and Gypsy communities were going up in smoke.
            Once again, oopsy daisy. Forgiven?

            Spanish Inquisition

            No one, not least of all everyone else in the Catholic Church hierarchy, expected the Spanish Inquisition to last as long as it did. Now it's true that perhaps a few people were unfairly victimised in the pursuit of pews-stacking by some overzealous church people for 800 years or so. For this, the church apologises unconditionally, although torture would not have been necessary if heathen folk had just confessed their sins quickly and been rewarded with a quick and painful death. No, we were wrong in that particular inquisition and as soon as one of my predecessors realised that, the inquisition was smartly closed down in the 1910s. That won't happen again.

            B. A. Santamaria
            Sorry.


            Anyone who wanted to buy hill-top land in Brisbane during the time of Archbishop Duhig.
            Sorry.


            The high-ranking church elder who scarpered with the money set aside to build Cathedral Place in Brisbane
            Sorry.

            Hitler
            Okay, sure he was RC to the day he finally bunkered down and died and we're sorry for that. We apologise unconditionally for the monster who presided over his High Mass.

            The Crusades
            A bit over the top. Sure.

            The Spanish conquistadors of 16th Century Mexico and Peru.
            Nice outfits but once again, perhaps a bit heavy-handed.

            Archbishop George Pell of Melbourne.
            We are so very, very, ****ing sorry.

            Contraception
            If anyone has gotten pregnant or caught a really nasty disease because of the church's total ban on contraception, sorry. But how on earth is the church going to be able to do its much-needed pastoral work in all those overcrowded, Catholic-worshipping dirt-poor third world countries if we allowed those little black and yellow *******s to slip on a ribbed rooster-spur condom whenever the need arises or let their sheilas pop a little red pill whenever they felt like it. Of course we're sorry for the AIDs scourge and all those messy backyard abortions using knitting needles, but for God's sake, spare a thought to Catholics in well off places like Australia. All those little old ladies in their purple hairdos get enormous pleasure dressing up every Sunday and heading down to their local church on the hill to hear all about the church's good pastoral works in those third-world ghettos. Do you want to deprive them of that pleasure? Of course not. No one would. And where would Mother Theresa be today if we allowed contraception? Still dead, sure, but an absolute nobody! We feel very, very sorry, for anyone who would have wanted that to happen.

            Inter-denominational marriages
            Sorry for making everyone else raise their kids as Catholic if they marry a Catholic. But as I said earlier, religion, like politics, is a numbers game. And you're not in the game if you ain't got the numbers. Right?

            Crackdown on the Third Right.
            We make no apology whatsover for the church's efforts to prevent the rise of neo-nazism, and will continue to do so unless it really looks like taking hold this time round.

            The future
            Many of you are probably aware that there isn't much time left on this mortal coil for this frail, old infallible Pope. But rest assured that when my turn for a spin in the PopeMobile finally goes up in a puff of white smoke to announce a new, improved Papa Habemus, I've more or less ensured that my successor will be even more right-wing and dogmatic then I could possibly have ever been. Unbelievable but true, I know. This means that nothing will really change in the way the Catholic Church does things and virtually ensures a similar apology to this one by whomever is in this chair wearing the funny costume, pointy hat and wielding the big stick come the year 4000.
            Sorry about that.


            Comment


              #7
              Here is a URL to Saints who were terrible murderers and unfortunately are still saints with beatific poses in Stained Glass windows around the world!
              How about an apology where they are no longer considered saints but damned to brimstone and fire for their hellish deeds?
              *********************************************

              http://www.holysmoke.org/haught/murder.html
              Murder in the Name of Religion

              (Free Inquiry, summer 1990)

              By James A. Haught

              When you think of saints, you envision stained-glass pictures of piety. But the truth can be horribly different. Consider Pope Pius V:

              When he was Grand Inquisitor, he sent Catholic troops to kill 2,000 Waldensian Protestants in Calabria in southern Italy.

              After becoming pope, he sent Catholic troops to kill Huguenot Protestants in France. He ordered the commander to execute every prisoner taken.

              Pius also launched the final crusade against the Muslims, sending a Christian naval armada to slaughter thousands in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

              And he intensified the Roman Inquisition, torturing and burning Catholics whose beliefs varied from official dogma.

              After his death, he was canonized a saint. He still is venerated by the church.
              It is as if Adolf Hitler were elevated to sainthood.

              Or consider Saint Dominic, the king of torture. He founded the Dominican order, whose priests were judges of the Inquisition. They presided while screaming victims were twisted and ripped on fiendish pain machines until they confessed to thinking unorthodox thoughts. Then the Dominicans led the broken "heretics'' in grand processions to the stake.

              The priests also tortured thousands of women into confessing they were witches who had sex with Satan, changed themselves into animals, flew through the sky, caused storms, and the like. The "witches'' also were burned for their confessions.

              Or consider Saint Cyril, whose monks and followers beat to death the great woman scientist, Hypatia, director of the Alexandria Library, for her scientific approach to nature.

              Or Saint Pedro Arbries, a Spanish inquisitor who tortured and burned former Jews for harboring their old beliefs. An ex-Jew assassinated him, and he was canonized as a martyr.

              I was a newspaper church columnist for many years. Endlessly, I heard ministers proclaim that religion instills love and compassion in believers. It's a universal message. Meanwhile, back at the paper, our headlines said:

              "Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs Massacre Each Other in India''
              "Protestant Gunmen Kill Catholics in Belfast, and Vice Versa''
              "Shi'ites in Iran Hang Baha'i Teens Who Won't Convert''
              "Christian Snipers Pin Down Muslim Machine-Gunners in Beirut''
              "Hands and Feet Chopped Off Under Islamic Law in Sudan''

              Politicians always call religion a mighty force for good. President Reagan labeled it "the bedrock of moral order.'' They say it builds brotherhood.

              But Christians killed 3 million Jews during Europe's centuries of religious persecution, before Hitler secularized the process.

              And the Reformation wars pitted Catholics and Protestants in a ghastly century of slaughter.

              And the Third World today still sufferes bloodbaths caused by religious tribalism.

              There's a tinge of the Twilight Zone in the constant declarations that religion creates love, when opposite results are everywhere.

              Did religion make Saint Pius V loving as he killed Waldensians, Huguenots, Muslims and nonconforming Catholics?

              Did it make the Ayatollah Khomeini compassionate as he ordered the hanging of Baha'is and demanded the assassination of a "blaspheming'' British writer?
              Did it make the Aztecs affectionate as they sacrificed and skinned maidens to appease a feathered serpent god?

              Did it make brotherhood in Lebanon, where religious tribes wreak endless warfare?

              Religion always is hailed as the cure for the world's evils. But, too often, it's the problem, not the solution.

              Comment


                #8
                Here is a URL to a site of an Indian Catholic Priest on history of christianity in India. This is as a gentle and good face on this history as can possibly be put on the facts. Please go to the URL and there are links to detailed history. The Church's actions were no different in India than what they were in Europe. Many Historians doubt the myth that Thomas the desciple is the one that landed in India. But then Indians have always big on weaving Myths and discounting history.
                ********************************************** http://members.tripod.com/~Berchmans/chridx.html
                Christianity in India*

                Introduction

                Whenever I introduce myself as a Catholic priest from India, many Americans ask me questions like: "Do you have many Christians in India?" "Is not India a Hindu country?" "When did Christianity come to India?" "When did you get converted to Catholicism?" "Are your parents Catholics?" Some are surprised to hear that India is not a Hindu country but the largest secular democratic country in the world with religious freedom, and that there are many Muslims and Christians in India. Some are spellbound when I say, in teasing, that Christianity came to India long before America was found out, and even before many European countries became Christian. Many people in the West are misinformed that Christianity in India is a European contribution. In fact, Christianity in India is as old as Christianity itself, and it was brought to India by a disciple of Christ himself. The people who know about the early Church in India have other questions: "How can the apostle Thomas come to India when there were not much transportation facilities?" "Was this Church Catholic?" Well, this web site is to help you with some information concerning Christianity in India.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Here is a URL to a history site. I doubt either the Muslims or the Hindus will completely agree with the summary given. But I think it is a pretty darned good summary. Obviously I disagree with parts of it here and there.

                  Sorry for all the cut and paste guys, but I had promised Tomasso in another thread that I will provide him with some material to read.

                  ******************************************** http://www.fsmitha.com/h3/h09ind.htm
                  INDIA, FROM 500 TO 1200 CE
                  ..
                  .

                  The great Gupta empire, from roughly 300 CE, had come to an end around the year 500, and India was vulnerable to invasion -- as the western half of the Roman Empire had been a couple of centuries before. It was a part of the times. In the 400s, Samudra Gupta had repelled an attempt at invasion by the Hephthalites -- also called the White Huns.
                  The Hephthalites were a nomadic people who lived in tents and were often in search of pasture, moving to coolness in summer and to warmth in the winter. In the late 400s they defeated the Persians, and they moved eastward into Transoxiana. Dissension within the Gupta royal family weakened their empire. Perhaps aware of this weakening, in the early 500s the Hephthalites again moved across the Hindu Kush and into the Punjab and Kashmir. The Hephthalites then advanced into the Ganges Valley in search of plunder. There they ruined cities, towns, trading centers and Buddhist monasteries. The great city Pataliputra was reduced to a mere village of people.

                  The Hephthalites withdrew from their plundering the Ganges Valley and continued to hold territory in the Punjab and Kashmir. With the Gupta empire gone, the Hephthalites became the superpower in Middle Asia. Piandjshent, sixty-five kilometers south of Samarkand, was their power center. Then they were attacked by a Persians and Turk alliance. In the late 550s this coalition defeated them militarily, the Persians pursing the Hephthalites in revenge for the defeat the Hephthalites had given their forefathers a century before. The Hephthalites vanished as a power in Middle Asia and it is believed that they reappeared later in Central Asia as those called Avars.

                  Rule in India was once again divided among numerous kingdoms. Profitable trade with the Roman Empire had ended, and by the mid-500s India's trade with Persia had also declined, which brought decline to some of India's cities.

                  Hindu Variety

                  Hinduism, meanwhile, remained a religion with much variety. It was less organized and less concerned with heresy than Christianity, and it developed new trends. A movement called Bhakti -- meaning devotion -- had arisen among some of the poor in southern India and it would spread to the north. It was another move away from the religion of aristocrats. Bhakti worshipers rejected Brahmin scholarship and ritual Brahmin sacrifices, for which they lacked time as well as money. And being of lower caste, Bhakti adherents rejected, or at least minimized, caste. The followers of Bhakti practiced humility and sang of their adoration and love for a generous, merciful, supreme God. As in Christianity, women were encouraged to participate and Bhakti had some upper class devotees. And some within the Bhakti movement were made saints.

                  Hinduism changed again when Krishna became a god apart from Vishnu. Rivalry between Vishnu worship and the worship of another god, Shiva, had grown. The worshipers of Shiva tended to be rural, more intense in their devotion and more concerned with sin, especially the sin of carnality, while the worshipers of Vishnu were more urbane and moderate. The rural Shiva worshippers were closer to fertility worship than the worshippers of Vishnu, and some devoted to Vishnu derided the followers of Shiva as phallus worshipers. The priests of Vishnu worship tended to be Brahmins and saw their god Vishnu as both a god of love and a protector of order. They thought themselves more dignified than the priests of Shiva, and they saw themselves as maintaining Hinduism's noble tradition.
                  More variety came in the 600s after twelve worshipers of Vishnu began wandering through southern India singing songs in praise of Vishnu. These singers believed that worldly enjoyments were ultimately unprofitable and that only a loving surrender to Vishnu was durably satisfying. They sang in temples, villages and markets. The number of singers grew. A book of four thousand of their songs was to be compiled in the 900s and would become the prayer book called the Tamil Veda.

                  Also in the 600s some Hindus, including worshipers of Vishnu, became involved in rituals called Tantrism. While acknowledging the supreme authority of the Vedas, the Tantrists brought offerings of fruit and sweets to the icons of their gods. Their rituals celebrated the power of motherhood, and they saw birth as the highest form of divine strength.

                  The Rule of Harsha Vardhana

                  In the 600s Buddhism made a comeback after a warrior-king from north of Delhi, Harsha Vardhana, managed to unify much of India's far north. Harsha supported Buddhism and tried to emulate the Buddhist monarch Asoka. He made the killing of any creature or the eating of any flesh within his empire a capital offense -- with possibility of a pardon.

                  Harsha's rule began in 606 and extended to the Himalayas in the north, to Punjab and Bengal. He wanted to India as had the Maurya or Gupta empires, but in 630 he was stopped at the Narbada River by Pulakeshin II, of the Chalukyan dynasty, centered at Badami (Vatapi).

                  Harsha died in 648, after which no heir was able to hold together his empire. Fragmentation of his empire ensued, while in southern India the Pallava dynasty, centered at Kanchipuram, often warred against the Chalukyan dynasty, the Chalukyan dynasty coming to an end in 767.

                  Islam Arrives

                  Pirate raids by Indians against Muslim shipping on the Indian Ocean were followed by a reprisal invasion of the Sind near the Indus River delta. No Indian force drove the Muslims out of the Sind. The conquered area was not rich enough in agricultural potential to induce the Arabs to establish themselves there permanently, and the Muslims left on their own accord. .

                  In the 800s the faith of Islam was well known in India, and Hindu intellectuals were aware of Muslim criticism of their faith. Led by a philosopher named Shankara (788-850) a few Hindu thinkers set out to defend Hinduism, especially against the Muslim charge that Hinduism was idolatrous. Shankara systematized the intellectual tradition of the Upanishads. Defenders of Hinduism claimed that, properly understood, Hindu rites helped simple folk along the path to a pure and transcendent belief in one god and to an absolute truth beyond sensory experience. Shankara gave a new impetus to orthodox Brahminism. He traveled about India, founding many religious schools and was to become a most revered Hindu leader.

                  India remained disunited and therefore weak militarily, and in the late 900s, from an independent kingdom centered at Ghazni, and through the Kyber Pass, Muslim Turks from Ghazni began raiding temple towns in northwest India. These Muslims on horseback terrorized and carried back home as much booty as they could, much of it wealth stolen from temples. The raiding stopped around 1010 after the Indians agreed to pay tribute to the ruler of Ghazni -- Mahmud. Here was the traditional act of submission, the Indians sending to Ghazni annual trains of elephants laden with gifts.

                  The agreement between the Muslims and the Indians broke down and the raiding resumed. The raiders believed they were wielding the sword of Muhammad and smashed more Hindu temples. They slaughtered or enslaved thousands, leaving survivors shocked and disappointed that they were not being protected from harm by their god Shiva.

                  Mahmud broke the power of the local rulers in the areas that he raided. He shattered the economy of northeastern India, and with the riches he stole from India he financed campaigns in Central Asia and erected buildings and magnificent mosques in Ghazni. He turned Ghazni into a world center of Islamic culture. The precious metals taken from India's temples had put wealth back into circulation in Asia's economy -- much as Alexander's conquests had freed the gold of Darius III and stimulated the economy of his time.

                  Mahmud's empire then destroyed itself in civil war. In 1151 Ghazni was in ruin. A new dynasty came to power that expanded as far as Khurasan. This was the Ghurid empire. From it, Muslim warriors went eastward into India, not just to raid but to stay. They fought their way to Delhi, reaching that city in 1193, overwhelming fierce Hindu opposition along the way. And by 1202 they had conquered the most powerful kingdoms along the Ganges River.

                  The Ghurid invaders were unimpressed by Indian civilization and did not convert -- as some others had before them. Unlike these others, the Ghurids saw their religion -- Islam -- as superior t to the religion of those they conquered. Coming across Buddhism the Ghurids saw it as debased idol worship. Where they found Buddhism they tried to destroy it. They sacked Buddhism's major centers, slaughtering many Buddhists and sending Buddhists in the thousands fleeing to Nepal and Tibet, where Buddhism was to flourish while vanishing in northern India. The Ghurids also despised Hinduism, but their slaughter and enslavement of Hindus and the ruination of Hindu holy places was ineffective in diminishing that faith. The Hindus were too numerous.

                  Muslim rulers in northern India refused to allow Hindu temples to be rebuilt, but the Muslim rulers in India had little success in winning converts to Islam. The Muslim invasions had created hatred among the Hindus. Only on the fringes of Hindu society in northern India were people attracted to Islam. Without temples, Hindu ceremonies became more public and plebeian, often performed in a town's public square, with worshipers winding their way through the streets. Without temple ritual, communion with God involving ecstasy increased, and people practicing this became key figures in Hinduism -- while Sanskrit, the traditional language of the Brahmins, declined further toward a language of a learned few.

                  Stagnation and Economic Decline

                  Since the early 900s, feuds over possession of land were common -- between principalities and between families. Vendettas developed between families, and wars over land developed between small kingdoms, principalities, and minor potentates. Potentates had risen to power through war, and many of them wished to perpetuate their image of military prowess and to acquire more land -- land being the major source of status.

                  A disparaging remark by a rival was justification for starting a war, and wars were made into grand pageants. Wars were also glorified in literature -- as they had been in the story of Krishna in a chariot with Arjuna. Death on the battlefield was seen as the highest possible honor. And the dead warrior's wife was obliged to join her husband in death -- a ritual sacrifice called suti.

                  Since the 900s, the wealthy had been acquiring a greater share of land. Wealth had been accumulating at the top of Hindu society. Estate owners often lived in great splendor while using others to work their lands. A few princes had thousands of servants and hangers-on. A few had harems, and their families wore extravagant clothes and jewels. Much of Indian landowning was becoming hierarchical, with landowners giving to others the right to rule and manage portions of their land. A greater percentage of agriculture was being taken from free peasants, and more of those who worked the land were laborers bound to the land, locked in place by their Sudras caste -- the caste of menials.

                  Agriculture in India was not growing as it was in Europe. There was not the beef industry in India that in Europe was supplementing diets. In India the veneration of cattle was inimical to a cattle meat industry. Much of Indian agriculture had been mere subsistence farming, and some of this continued, while agriculture on the big estates remained inefficient.

                  Trade within India had diminished with the fragmentation of power and as wealth was hoarded rather than invested -- hoarded either by wealthy individuals or by religious establishments. Roads did not disappear or fall into disuse, but they deteriorated significantly.

                  Trade with foreign peoples continued -- the Indians continuing to export rice, other cereals, coconuts, spices, sugar, woods, dyes and precious stones. And the Indians imported perfumes, finished cloth including silk, wax, precious stones, gold, medicinal herbs, ceramics and metal wares. But much of this trade was handled by foreign merchants -- mainly Muslims. Brahmins were much like the Confucianists in their opposition to trade, the Brahmins making involvement in foreign trade -- as well as farming -- and overseas travel forbidden to their class.

                  Growing cotton was a big part of Indian agriculture, and with the Muslims in India came a new method of working cotton -- the Carder's bow, which was an improvement over beating the cotton with switches or twigs. The spinning wheel was also making its appearance, which greatly increased cotton production. But in general, India's Hindu kingdoms showed little interest in improving conditions for the merchant or in improving technology for manufacturing or for those laboring in agriculture. Religious contemplation was esteemed while concern with material matters and techniques were disparaged. Handicraft was considered a lowly occupation. Work in mechanics and construction was disparaged.

                  By the 13th century many trade guilds were disappearing, and many trade connections were coming to a close. Goods leaving India's southern shores, like other Indian overseas trading, were passing into the hands of Muslims. It added up to something less than a significant growth in India's merchant and middle class. Despite the intelligence of the Indian people, opportunities for economic advance and upward mobility were weak. Rather than India becoming a power that was to journey and extend its influence abroad, foreigners were to continue coming to it. In the coming centuries India would fall behind western Europe in industry, as well as agriculture, and what would be leaving India would be emigrants.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Tomasso: Here is an article by a French Catholic who has lived in India. There really is tons of material out there. Missionary behavior in Pakistan is no better!
                    ******************************************* http://www.stephen-knapp.com/christi...n_in_india.htm

                    Christian Persecution in India: The Real Story

                    We have heard about what the Christians in India have called the persecutions against them. However, there is much more to this story than we often hear, and there are certainly two sides to it. The following is a first-hand investigative article that relates what has really been going on with the Christians in India, much of which has been kept from the public. This shows the duplicity in the Christian activities in India. This article, by Francois Gautier, is reprinted from the "Annual Research Journal, 2001" published by the Institute for Rewriting Indian [and World] History.



                    [This message has been edited by OldLahori (edited June 12, 2002).]

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                      #11
                      Old Lahori, thank you for the effort you have made to post some religious history for me and others. I will read these passages from time to time, as I must be in proper frmae of mind to do so, also much subject matter dealing with Indian history is more complicated than US history. One of my major complaints is the attitude of some missionaries towards cultures that were extremely important to world culture. Christianity should not contradict itself, ever, in practice. This is true for any faith, as well.
                      The Aussie critique is uncalled for. Humor over respect is the theme. I give the tenets priority over practices any day. Bin Ladin and worse does not influence my opinion of Islam, nor do the Zionist/religious Jews.

                      [This message has been edited by TOMASSO (edited June 13, 2002).]

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