Proselytisation in India: A critique from a Dharmic perspective
A correspondent recently sent me a print-copy of Mr C.Alex Alexander’s “Proselytisation in India: An Indian Christian’s Perspective” describing it as “a fair and reasonable analysis”. Indeed, Mr Alexander’s careful and obviously well-intentioned analysis is a treat to read, forefronting a Christianity that is affable, benign and irenic, with recommendations by him to suit. Unfortunately, and I do not question Mr Alexander’s own good faith, this version of Christianity he presents is a mask.
I think the problem is “in the nature of the beast” itself. That a dog has slavering fangs and a waggety tail makes no difference to a mouse. Both are ends of the same dog, and the dog is in its very nature hostile to the mouse – thousands of years of evolution hasn’t changed that, and here we’re talking just 1500 or 1600 years (to take figures given by Mr Alexander).
I write, therefore, from the perspective of a mouse (or rat, if you prefer! – the behaviour of the dog doesn’t distinguish between them). I do not go into the wider aspects of proselytisation – its ethics, commerce, politics, and violence have been elaborated by David Frawley and others (and are available on the web), and Mr Alexander himself shows he is quite aware of them. I go primarily into the validity of the distinction Mr Alexander draws between what he calls, on the one hand, Western Christianity and, on the other, Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, as antithetical forms of Christianity.
And as for my zoogenic reference, well, Mr Alexander identifies Revelations with Christian fundamentalism. But that is not necessarily so, Mr Alexander, not at all so. Even the legendary and vastly popular Pat Boone (whom Mr Alexander will no doubt remember from his younger days) in what became a bestseller sang of Revelations as “A Wonderful Time Up There”!
Now, Rev 13.7-8 makes quite clear that all pagans are worshippers of “the beast” who represents the Devil (Rev 13.2; 20.2), and those who are not Christians are “dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev 22.15). So if this damned pagan following Rev 13.10 returns a little of the compliment, a good Christian should not take offence but should recall Matt 5.39 and turn the other cheek. As for the canine analogy, the label “Domini Canes” (Dogs of the Lord) used to be a popular one in Europe for Christian missionaries (SR Goel, “Papacy: Its Doctrine And History”,1986:45)*.
So, let’s take this a step at a time.
2) Christianity is an exclusivism
What Mr Alexander calls Abrahamic faiths are also called prophetic monotheisms or, most accurately, exclusivisms (refer NS Rajaram’s excellent little 1995 monograph “Secularism: The New Mask of Fundamentalism”* for the distinguishing characteristics of an exclusivism – though he repeats the common error, as we shall see, of believing the USA takes its secularism “very seriously”, p.15). Over the last 1500 years, the exclusivisms that really mattered all over the world are the three proselytising ones: Christianity, Islam, and Communism. Since we’re discussing mainly the first one, I shall say “Christianity” but request you to remember it is an exclusivism, and much of what is said about it applies as well to Islam (as Mr Alexander himself notes).
The defining/canonical/identifying text of Christianity is the Bible. There are no two opinions about this, and a good Christian must subscribe to the Bible as the text of Christianity. Then, whether it is divinely-worded or humans have worded it, and how different Christians interpret different bits of it, or how many different versions there are of it is a matter internal to Christianity. It is something like the Ramayana, of which there are two dozen and more versions, but the non-pagan clubs them all as one “Hindu epic”.
Whether the dog itches on its nose or its toes makes little difference to the mouse. It is the same dog.
3) The essence of Christianity
The Bible has two parts, the Old Testament and the New, and there are no two opinions that both are integral parts of the faith and of the defining text. The Old Testament is about the Christian God (that is, God with a capital G, sometimes “Jehovah”). The New Testament is about someone called Jesus who, most emphatically, by definition, cannot be God since there is only one God, his father.
The God of Christianity, like the God of Islam, is an angry God, a vengeful God, by his own description “a jealous God”, a punishing God (Exodus 20.5). Qualitatively, there is little to choose between Jehovah and Allah. Both, according to their respective texts, thirst for the blood of their nonbelievers.
Now, Jesus is variously described in Christianity as a messiah, a prophet, a messenger, the son of God, even the son of Joseph (St John 1.45), and the Son of man (St John 1.51). A holy ghost in some mysterious way impregnated a human female and Jesus was in due course born (since Mr Alexander favours analogies, we may compare Agni carrying Shiva’s seed to the human Krittikas. However, all Western authorities, including Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, describe this as a myth so, by analogy, we must assume Matt 1.18 is also a myth).
A plain reading of any Bible shows it ridden with contradictions. Common through all these contradictions is a jealous God and his agency called Jesus. Both the God and the agent are to be taken on blind faith. All humans should believe in them, and this becomes the justification for proselytisation which in turn reaps a “harvest of faith” necessary to feed very powerful, expansionist, strongly hierarchical, political and business patriarchies. Those who don’t – or won’t – believe are threatened with a dire fate.
4) The authority of Jesus
It is not entirely clear whether Jesus was human, after his mother, or divine, after his putative father (St John 7.42 has “the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David”, which could make David the ancestor of Jehovah). Both Jesus and his mother are worshipped, though the latter has not been elevated to godhood (there are no goddesses in Christianity). Nevertheless, whether human or divine, Jesus is still not God and can never be, because there is only one God who is his father Jehovah and who is eternal. If Jesus and his father are one (St John 10.30), and Jesus was a historical figure, then in some inscrutable way Mary was impregnated by her own son to give birth to him. I mention this merely to suggest that the creation stories of the Christians are no different from those of the pagans, and if ours they call myths and our beliefs mythology (as in “Hindu mythology”) so are theirs myths in a Christian mythology. Yet proselytisation requires us to believe the latter as The Truth.
Therefore, the God of Christianity, the God of the Bible, is the God of the Old Testament. By definition – he is omnipotent, omniscient, and so on – he can never be “over-ruled” by his son or by anyone else. And a good Christian must believe in this God because, by Christian definition, there is no other. Whether or not Jesus is divine, he is not God and therefore in no way can he over-rule his father who is The Only God. The final authority in Christianity, by its own logic, cannot be Jesus but is Jehovah.
Whatever the version of the Bible (and Mr Alexander makes much of this), the incontrovertible essence of all versions is that of a jealous God, and a son eternally obedient to the father (“Then answered Jesus…Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” – St John 5.19).
Even a plain reading of St John shows that Jesus is essentially a rajdoot of Jehovah, though there is much laboured effort to identify the agent with the principal (the Nicene Creed “consubstantiates” the two). The rajdoot loyally tries to present his Chakravartin Samraat as a kind, caring, loving raja – whereas the raja by his own admission is quite the contrary. Mr Alexander realizes this and tries to gloss it by describing the God of the Old Testament as “Judaic” but, pray, what other God is there of the Christians?
5) The message of Christianity
Now let us see what this God and his son say to humans.
The Old Testament is replete with instances of Jehovah’s lust for the blood of nonbelievers.
I do not know whether Jehovah has genes but if he is the father of Jesus, then Jesus has Jehovah’s genes. Mr Alexander quotes verses from the Gospel according to St John to reflect the “compassion and infinite love” preached by Jesus. These must be the genes from his mother, because there are sufficient instances everywhere in the New Testament to show he really remained his father’s son:
He that is not with me is against me…- Luke 11.23, Matt 12.30
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division – Luke 12.51
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword – Matt 10.34
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me – Luke 19.27
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned – Mark 16.16
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved – Acts 4.12
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son – 1 John 2.22
(And even in his views of women, he took after his father – see 1Tim 2.11-15 and Koenraad Elst, “The Psychology of Prophetism”, 1993:98*).
No mincing of words – Jehovah and Jesus tell us pagans in no uncertain terms what they have in store for us.
Even in St John:
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God – St John 3.18
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him – St John 3.36
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins – St John 8.24. And from St John 16.7-9, it is clear that “sin” is not to believe in Christ.
St John 4.13,14; 5.22-30; 8.44 are variations on the same theme. And there are numerous similar verses elsewhere in the New Testament.
Can there be any doubt that, in Christian theory, we pagans are sinners, condemned to the wrath of God, unless we believe exclusively in Jesus/Jehovah?
6) The practice of Christianity
Now which words of the New Testament should Christians (or for that matter, pagans) believe? The ones quoted by Mr Alexander, or the ones quoted above? And what about the Old Testament? By definition, is not the Old Testament, that has God speaking, more authoritative than the New Testament, in which his son tries to present the faith as a berceuse?
So what do Christians like Mr Alexander do? They treat the text as a menu and pick and choose (this is best exemplified in the USA in what can be called “cafetaria Christianity”).
And how has Christianity dealt historically with this apparent paradox? Very shrewdly, and in the same way. It picks from the New Testament for preaching, but the Old it practises. Mr Alexander’s quote of Bishop Desmond Tutu sums this up. Here is another account: “It has been said of the missionaries that when they arrived they had only the Book and we had the land; now we have the Book and they have the land…..When the missionaries arrived they fell on their knees and prayed. Then they got up, fell on the Indians, and preyed” (Vine Deloria, “Custer Died For Your Sins”, University of Oklahoma Press, 1988:101).
And what should pagans do?
That there are different interpretations of Christianity is of real moment only within Christianity. There are different breeds of dogs – some are bred for their slavering fangs, others for their waggety tails. But to the mouse they are all the same species and, no matter the breed, they share the distinguishing characteristics, the jatidharma, of dogness. Whether the canines are bared, or the tail is wagged, it is a given that the dog is the enemy of the mouse, and for its survival the mouse judges dogs as evolutionary experience has taught it. By the behaviour of dogs. By the practice of Christianity. Dogs may fight each other, but a mouse is their common prey. Christians may quarrel with each other, as Mr Alexander recognizes, but the overwhelming global pagan experience of Christianity is in our extermination.
Therefore, whatever the confusions within Christianity, pagans to survive must take a murine perspective, must view Christianity as mice view a dog. Nowhere, but nowhere, in the world where the exclusivisms have conquered have they allowed significant pagan populations to survive. Nowhere in the territories of these monotheisms is there a meaningful survival of any pre-monotheism, any paganism. India is the home of the world’s last major paganism, and the Domini Canes war upon us.
7) An exclusivism is a fundamentalism
Mr Alexander refers to the “fundamentalist varieties of both Christianity and Islam”. There is, in fact, no other. The monotheisms, by their own definition, are fundamentalist, are exclusivist. Their God, whether Jehovah or Allah, demands exclusivity on pain of punishment or death – “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me…” (Exodus 20.3). Canis is carnivorous, as a species hostile to all Mus. Sure, in unique situations, a mouse may frolic between a dog’s paws, as the lion may lie down with the lamb, but then neither the dog nor the lion are being true to their jatidharma. From the pagan perspective, a good monotheist would be one who in effect is a bad Christian or Muslim.
Mr Alexander argues only against “religious conversions attempted through physical coercion or material inducement”. But why religious conversions at all? The right to convert is not a universal human right (Arvind Sharma, MLBD Newsletter, Sept 2003:16). If pagans wish to pray to Jesus/Jehovah, the paganism does not prevent them. They need only simply do so. Why is a “conversion” needed? Not because of the pluralism, but because of the exclusivism. It is the exclusivism that requires the rejection of pluralism. It requires the pagan subscribe only to Jesus/Jehovah (or Mohammad/Allah) to the exclusion of all others. A pluralism would add the new ones, the old ones perhaps just fading away, but an exclusivism requires the formal rejection of the old ones. The old gods must be denied by the new believer. The pagan “converts” exclusively to the belief stated in the Nicene Creed (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11049a.htm). The Islamic equivalent is the avval kalma. The pluralism is a palimpsest, the exclusivism is an eraser. That is why all conversions by these monotheisms are violent.
“Pluralistic Indians” cannot be of “all religious faiths” because the monotheisms in their very nature are not pluralistic. Monotheists must choose between being good Indians and poor Christians/Muslims, or good Christians/Muslims – and illiberal Indians. I’m told this was recognized as far back as 1918 in Maharam vs. Emperor (AIR 1918, Allahabad, 168) – a person worshipping a Hindu god couldn’t be a Christian in law. To be a Christian requires adherence exclusively to Christianity, unlike for the Hindu who can claim to be both Hindu and Christian simultaneously (a concept clarified to USCIRF on Sept 18, 2000 by Arvind Sharma, see MLBD Newsletter, March 2003).
The tail cannot deny the teeth, and the teeth require something to chew on. Converts. Even Mr Alexander recognizes this – in the Indian Orthodox Church the breakaway CMS and later what became the Mar Thoma Church were teeth asserting themselves.
8) The reality of proselytization
Mr Alexander then has “fundamentalists of all religions”. Obviously he now includes us pagans. He needs to read his Shakespeare; Shylock’s famous speech that points out “The villainy you teach me, I will execute”. The so-called fundamentalism of the pagans has been learnt from and is in reaction to that of the monotheisms. This is implicit in Mr Alexander’s absence of surprise at the emergence of “Hindu nationalism”. After centuries of a generally “sordid history” of Christianity, the last pagans are learning to fight back.
Mr Alexander recognizes the politics, the commerce, the aggression and violence of Christianity but tries to extenuate the sordidness by calling it “Western” or “Judeo-Christian” Christianity. He is wrong. Mr Alexander recognises proselytisation is violence, but he prefers not to see that it is integral to Christianity. Not Western, not Judeo-Christian, nor any other breed; it is in the nature of the beast itself – and, Mr Alexander, the beast is inherently himsak. To survive, it needs to create a global imperium managed in the name of Jesus/Jehovah by a privileged clergy. It is this reality – (“They came with the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. First they stole gold. Then they stole the land. Then they stole souls”, http://www.indigenouspeople.net/navajo.htm) – that is masked by the evangelion, the good news: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations” – Mark 13.10.
Mr Alexander himself says the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches “did not develop the same degree of fixation about proselytisation as their Western counterparts did”. Please note very carefully – that notwithstanding Acts 16.6 (“…and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia”) – they never repudiated, never denied proselytisation. They only did not develop it to the same degree. Mr Alexander is open to Indians demanding we be “shielded from intrusive evangelical activities through the use of democratic means” [emphasis mine]. He criticises only the means adopted to proselytise, he never questions the need or the act itself. Yet he is critical of pagans trying to save themselves (he lumps “reverse conversions” with foreign-engineered Christian evangelism/Muslim fundamentalism, and all three are “destructive to India’s time-tested culture of religious tolerance”). Note how he qualifies the proselytisation by the monotheisms, but he extends no such charitable explanation to the shuddhikaran. Read and understand him carefully. Jesus is still Jehovah’s son.
Mr Alexander is critical of the “militant adherents” of the exclusivisms. But a plain reading of the identifying texts of the exclusivisms reveals that the exclusivisms in their essence are militant. Their God is militant. Their history is militant. Their practice is militant. Western or Eastern. Teeth or tail. What difference does it make to the mouse? The dog remains a carnivore.
And it is not true that “religious peace prevailed there [the southwest coast of India] only because of the non-proselytising nature of the early followers of Christianity”. It prevailed there because the paganism is inclusivistic (early Christians were persecuted elsewhere in the world, weren’t they?) and it prevailed only till the Christian teeth had been sharpened enough to be bared, till the jatidharma could be revealed, soon after 1836 AD. Mr Alexander makes much of Indian pluralism as if it is a kumbha in which the waters of all “religions” (including Hinduism, Christianity and Islam) can mingle freely. He treats the paganism as a “religion”. But the paganism itself is the kumbha, is Indian pluralism. It is not distinct from it. It is the exclusivisms that are inherently, qualitatively, and violently distinct, and their poison is corroding the kumbha.
9) The extraterritorial loyalty of the evangelists
Mr Alexander himself notes the grave political danger to the independence and integrity of India because of “off-shore proselytisation” (implicitly, he finds nothing wrong with the on-shore kind).
The lairs of the beast are not in India. The creature’s primary loyalty is extraterritorial. His own example of the Indian Orthodox Church declares this (the other churches are all foreign-based and foreign-funded anyhow). After the Mar Thoma split, the Indian Orthodox Church split again to create the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church with its extraterritorial loyalty. What is clear, even from Mr Alexander’s account, is that the extent that Indian Christians (like his parents) can consider India their home is not because they are good Christians first but because they are good Indians first.
What is “generalized bashing of minorities”? From where has this kind of religious distinction come? The paganism doesn’t teach it. And who defines a minority? Both Islam and Christianity in India are indivisible parts of huge extraterritorial violently world-conquering religions. Mr Alexander himself notes the enormous Christian threat to India, with Christian mercenaries, sorry, missionaries, already spread and active all over India. The subcontinent was partitioned because of the machinations of the monotheists. Now, within India, the northeast has already been conquered by the monotheisms. So has Kashmir. Yet these are “minorities”. Read the scholarly “Religious Demography of India” by A.P.Joshi, M.D.Srinivas, J.K.Bajaj of the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai.
Which refugees from religious persecution or otherwise who found sanctuary in India needed “minority” protection to survive? And which did not flourish? Jews, Syrian Christians, Zoroastrians, Dawoodi Bohras, Ismailis, Bahais – you name them, all prospered. Why? Indian pluralism, remember? Who poured the poison of minorityism into the kumbha? Whose, Mr Alexander, is “the continuing obsession” to exploit the so-called secular “guarantee of religious freedom”?
But when these “minorities” identify themselves as part of world-dominating movements, prevalent and spreading in lands across the globe, then it is the paganism in India that needs to be protected as a “minority” because paganism survives nowhere else in the world (it has been destroyed almost everywhere else by our “minority” religions, hasn’t it?). If eradicated from India, where will pagans then find a home?
Paganism is now a minority in the world. The Kashmiri Pandit pagans who’ve been exiled from their homeland cannot be a “minority” because officially “minority” Islam that has destroyed the KP as a pagan community refuses to agree. And, as Mr Alexander notes, Christianity expresses not one word of concern for the pagans. Instead, it seeks to fill the vacated space with its missionaries (Tariq Mir, “It’s conversion time in Valley”, The Indian Express, April 6, 2003). Such is our lopsided guarantee of religious freedom to the monotheisms.
Does Mr Alexander seriously believe as practicable or even remotely acceptable to Christianity and Islam (and the countries they control) the limiting of United Nations rights to the “truly secular” (whatever that means)? He seems to think “Western democracies which advocate a strict separation of church and state” are truly secular. But consider the USA, Mr Alexander’s own home for over four decades. The USA may have laws that separate Church and State, but its ethos, its polity is so permeated with Judeo-Christianity that this has become there what Robert Bellah and others call “a civil religion”. Judeo-Christian images and symbols are widely prevalent and the President of the USA in his public persona repeatedly invokes the blessing and support of the (“So help me…”) God of the Old Testament. Mr Alexander notes the Christian rhetoric and imagery used by the US President to justify the American invasion of Iraq, and he realizes the partisan nature of USCIRF. He believes “the UN may in fact be the last best hope for mankind” and yet the so-called secular USA had no difficulty imposing its aggressive Christian will on that world body. So is the USA “truly secular”? Mr Alexander wants “the practice of one’s faith should be a personal affair and of no concern to others”. He should teach this first to his proselytising co-religionists.
If the Bible can be widely distributed, even in hotel rooms, why not the trishul? Like the former, the latter is only a symbol, no? The National Commission for Minorities sees no objection to the trishul (http://outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?id=139692). Nor does the Rajasthan High Court (http://outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?id=140367). Mr Alexander suggests the trishul represents or can give rise to violence. But just look at the Bible’s virulence for us pagans. Mr Alexander himself shows he is aware of the staggering degree of violence the Bible actually represents. It actually teaches violence against nonbelievers. Why is he not critical of the widespread distribution of Bibles? The Bible should be banned if we are to be “truly secular”, no?
No, Mr Alexander, this whole business of “minorities” and “secularism” is very tricky indeed. As I repeatedly try and show in Vicharamala, Nehruvian secularism is a curse and sarvadharma sambhava a pernicious fallacy. “Secularism” arose as a reaction and antidote to Christianity. Bharatvarsha never suffered a comparable situation. The Supreme Court recently reminded Mr Narendra Modi of his rajdharma. Is the pagan dharma the same as a monotheistic religion? Is dharma only a private matter, as Mr Alexander states “religion” should be? The whole issue of “secularism” and “religion” and the procrustean chopping of dharma to fit “religion” is another matter altogether.
12) The historicity of Jesus
As for the historicity of Jesus, this too is a matter internal to Christianity. SR Goel provides a fascinating discussion and notes Pope Leo X admitting “It has served us well, this myth of Christ” (SR Goel, “Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression”,1994:32)*. NS Rajaram updates the discussion in his “Profiles in Deception” (2000)*. If Jesus was not the historical figure he is claimed to be, then the redemption, his miracles, crucifixion and resurrection could never have happened, so that rather knocks out the “truth” of the New Testament, indeed, of Christianity. If there was no Jesus, what happens to what Mr Alexander calls “the tenets” and “the spiritual dimension of Jesus’ teachings”? Who said his sayings and of what worth become they? Of what “truth” are the claims for Jesus in the Nicene Creed? And if the New Testament is myth (consider again, Mr Alexander, the description of our pagan “religious” beliefs as “myth”) and, therefore, imaginary, forefronted again becomes the Old Testament God in all his angry glory.
Anyhow, for the mouse, whether the dog is domesticated or feral, it still kills mice, doesn’t it?
As an aside, while on myths and historicity, Mr Alexander as a former Indian Christian may find illuminating Ishwar Sharan’s “The Myth of St Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple” (1991)*.
13) Physician, heal thyself first
Mr Alexander is surprised by “the muteness of liberal Indian Christians”. He notes the “outrage” of some Hindu religious leaders to the Pope’s 1999 “EccIesia in Asia”. He does not tell us whether any Indian Christian religious leaders expressed outrage too. If I recall correctly, none did.
Mr Alexander hopes “liberal Indians of all faiths will debate this issue with their fundamentalist counterparts”. Since when has fundamentalism been open to reason? The fundamentalists have only one objective – conversions, towards world-domination. Towards this end, all means are fair. So, for example, as we see of Christianity, love is preached and war is practised. Mr Alexander may find educative Arun Shourie’s “Missionaries in India” (HarperCollins, 1997) and “Harvesting our Souls” (ASA Publications, 2000) to decide whether such debates make the slightest alteration to the monotheistic mindset and missionizing agenda. As for debates between the two monotheisms, Mr Alexander may find edifying the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent experience of Islam (http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/5983_373744,00430005.htm)
In fairness to Mr Alexander himself, his is a sensitive account, presented plausibly and sweet- reasonably, conciliatory in approach and lulling in tone. His recommendations are anodynic. But their fundamental premise is false.
I agree entirely with Mr Alexander that if Christians (like him) are concerned about the violent pagan reaction to Christianity, they should set their own homes in order – first. If “Muslim and Christian clerics must learn to tone down their assertions of monotheistic superiority”, who can make them do so except their co-religionists? Yet “25 million Christians who believe in India’s pluralistic tradition” cannot produce even one spokesperson to counter Mr John Dayal. Cannot? – or will not? After all, Mr Dayal and Archbishop de Lastic in “sowing seeds of discord” are only being true to Christ’s injunction – Luke 12.51 and Matt 10.34 – and, since Christ was obedient to his father, this is then what Mr Alexander’s own God wants of them.
If, as Mr Alexander claims, Christianity is really about wagging tails and not slavering fangs, it is not enough to write about it in a site read (I guess) mainly by pagans. Why do monotheists remind pagans of love and peace and brotherhood, and not their own aggressive fellow-monotheists? We pagans always have and are quite willing to welcome wagging tails. But the globally dominant experience of the pagans has been, and Mr Alexander seems to realize this, of slavering fangs. If there is “generalized bashing”, surely this is because all dogs snarl. All churches proselytise – the difference, as Mr Alexander points out, is only of degree. After centuries of a “sordid” experience of Christianity from which “liberal” Indian Christians and their churches still have not publicly and effectively dissociated themselves, they can hardly blame the pagans for lumping all Christianity as one
If the mice are to stop fearing the dog, at least in India, then the dog needs to be domesticated (Indianised – its home and loyalty within India) and muzzled. Its tail will still wag freely but, as Mr Alexander wisely advises, its “voice will be stifled” and, importantly for us pagans, its teeth will not bite. Mr Alexander presents his Christianity as a cuddlesome pup. But it is clear he hasn’t de-fanged it. Pups grow into dogs, and then they bite.
Thr quickest, most effective way of doing this is, as Mr Alexander suggests, a uniform civil code (the domestication) and, as Mr Alexander does not suggest, a complete ban on proselytisation (so it can’t bite – Israel has just done so:
http://www.whtt.org/whtt.shtml?rpr/ChristiansUnderAttack.htm). There’s also the abrogation of Art. 370, in regard to Islam.
But Christianity and Islam will never agree. And why they will not is the issue that should really concern good human beings like Mr Alexander. Because the same “why” is also why a mouse, lulled to sleep by a dog, will never wake up.
Since Christian missionaries are the Lord’s Dogs, let me conclude with a piece of ancient pagan wisdom that we forget to our peril:
“You may have a dog sweated, or rubbed with musk if you choose, his tail still remains curled” (VisnuSarma,”The Pancatantra”, Penguin, 1993:96).
*available from Voice of India, 2/18 Ansari Road, New Delhi 110002. Tel 2327-8034. Fax 2328-2047