Fixing a Christian
The United States
of America is a land of sharp contradictions when it comes to matters of
faith. On the one hand, it is the land of Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine,
James Madison and Mark Twain who distrusted or denounced or ridiculed the
Christian dogma and scripture in unmistakable words. On the other hand,
it is the land of the most fanatical and fundamentalist Christian sects
each one of which will have not only the USA but the whole world exclusively
for itself. On the one hand, it is a land where the spiritual vision of
Hinduism and Buddhism finds ready audience, and flourishes. On the other
hand, it is a land where blind belief systems like Christianity and Islam
whine and whimper, and brainwash any number of victims. The key to understanding
the scene lies in the history of this land.
which characterises the biblical creeds was unknown to the Pagans who had
lived for long and in peace with their environment and every variety of
worship in the vast stretch which is now known as the United States. But
the scene was disturbed from the early sixteenth century onwards when wave
after wave of Christian sects from Europe poured in, destroyed the Pagans
as well as Paganism, and occupied the whole place. Most of these sects
were Protestants, the Puritans from England and elsewhere being the dominant
element among them. They were fleeing from persecution in Europe at the
hands of the Catholic Church and other Protestant sects. They viewed themselves
as the chosen people and looked forward to creating a total Christian society
in accordance with their own tenets in what they viewed as the Promised
Land. But as has been usual with Christian sects throughout the history
of Christianity, it was not before long that these sects fell out among
themselves, and took to heresy-hunting and witch-burning.
The Promised Land
was heading towards becoming another hell like Europe when fortunately
for it the European Enlightenment entered it in the eighteenth century.
The founding fathers of the Republic and the framers of the United States
Constitution were secularists who believed in the freedom of religion and
left the choice of belief to individual conscience. The warring Christian
sects were thus kept at bay, and Deism and Atheism came to flourish with
increasing speed. Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Hinduism also entered
the scene, significantly since the second half of the nineteenth century,
and the US people started getting informed more and more about spiritual
traditions which were radically different from Christianity. The USA became
a melting pot of faiths as it had been a melting pot of races, peoples
and cultures. It continued to be honey-combed with Christian sects and
cults which multiplied fast and into thousands. But, by and large, it remained
a land of liberal humanism..
USA was becoming a land of big money and big business, particularly during
the twentieth century. Christianity followed suit and became a big business
through the mechanism of missions sent out for saving the heathens in Asia
and Africa. Huge amounts of money were collected from gullible Christian
communities by portraying the heathens as starved in body and soul and
hungering for Jesus Christ. Media power was used to the hilt. Missions
provided lucrative careers to crude and illiterate cowboys trained for
a few months in seminaries which went on multiplying. Multinational corporations
also moved in to help the missions because the culture which the missions
spread increased the demand for US manufactures. The State Department and
the Pentagon saw the missions as useful agencies for gathering intelligence
and planting misinformation. All in all, Christian sects could collect
and spend billions of dollars and employ millions of people for selling
Jesus Christ like fast foods and other items of modern consumerism. it
is not unoften that we hear scandals about how some clever people embezzle
big slices of money collected for missionary work.
Ram Swarup reviewed
in The Times of India dated 13-14 March 1988 the Mission Handbook
North American Missionaries Overseas published in the USA in 1986.
He quoted several books on how Hindus and Hinduism are viewed by some Christian
sects in the USA. The Texas-based Gospel for Asia group looks down upon
Hindus “as a living example of what happens when Satan rules the entire
culture”, and sees India as “one vast purgatory in which millions of people…
are literally living a cosmic lie!” Dayspring International, a Virginia-based
evangelical organisation, describes India as a land of “division, despair
and death” in a television programme and quotes Mother Teresa in holding
that India was “in dire need of Jesus.” In fact, Mother Teresa is often
quoted by and shown on Christian controlled electronic media in the USA
for painting India in the darkest colours.
The top TV Evanglist,
Pat Robertson, has become well-known in recent years for his loud-mouthed
harangues against Hindus and Hinduism. He is leader of the Christian Coalition
and represents the conservative Christian community as well as the Christian
right-wing of the Republican Party in the USA. He is also a billionaire
businessman whose empire has its tentacles in all corners of the world.
He reaps rich rewards from diamond and gold mines and thousands of acres
of rain forest in Zaire. President Mobutu of Zaire is notorious for human
rights violations, and has been debarred from entering the USA. But Robertson
has tried to pressurise President Bill Clinton for lifting the ban on Mobutu.
Successive US ambassadors in Zaire have complained that Robertson is undermining
US foreign policy in that part of the world. In any case, Robertson got
shot into fame when he made a bid for the US presidency in 1988.
On 23 March 1995,
Robertson appeared on the “700 Club” TV show which he controls, and started
by saying that Hinduism was devil-worship and despicable idolatry responsible
for India’s poverty and other ills. “Of all of India’s problems,” he proclaimed,
“one stands out from the rest. That problem is idol worship. It is said
that there are hundreds of millions of Hindu deities. All this has put
a nation in bondage to spiritual forces that have deceived many for thousands
of years.” According to him, Hindus “are out to kill other human beings
in the name of their God.” And he appealed to his countrymen to keep Hindus
and Hinduism out of the USA. “We are importing Hinduism into America,”
he mourned. “We can’t let that stuff come into America” he warned. At the
same time, he assured his audience that Hindus were hungering for and in
desperate need of Jesus Christ.
I came to know
of the whinings of this Christian windbag from an article in the monthly
Hinduism Today which had given his address and advised Hindus all
over the world to register protest. The first thing I did was to airmail
to him a copy of Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression in order
to let him know what we Hindus think of the garbage he is out to sell.
I followed it up with a letter dated 15 July 1995 which read as follows:
Dear Mr. Robertson,
Some friends in
the USA - the country of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Walt Whitman
and Mark Twain, and a land par excellence of liberal humanism have drawn
my attention to your recent fulminations against Hinduism, Hindus, and
My first reaction
was sheer amusement at this latest spectacle of patent Christian tantrums.
I am familiar with what Christian theologians, missionaries and windbags
have been saying about our religion, our people, and our country since
the days of St. Hippolytus (230 AD), more particularly since 1542 AD when
that Patron Saint of Pirates, Francis Xavier, reached our shores. Thousands
of shelves in hundreds of Christian seminaries in India and abroad are
laden with the pornography which soldiers of the Only Saviour have produced
down the centuries.
also know that you have to make a living for yourself,1
and collect money for maintaining the giant missionary apparatus in this
country as well as keeping within your fold the rice Christians you have
managed to collect during the past four hundred years. I can see that the
only way you can do it is by selling to your gullible people the Big Lie
that we are an accursed rabble hungering for Jesus Christ. You are neither
the first nor likely to be the last in this cynical enterprise. I have
witnessed how Mother Teresa has flourished and become a world figure by
plying the same trade with a straight face.
On second thoughts, however, I have
decided to pen the line that follows.
Firstly, I plead
that we are living in an age when sinners are coming forward to apologize
to the sinned against. I cannot believe that you are unaware of how the
Germans have apologized to the Jews and the Japanese to the Koreans. And
I think it is high time for Christians to apologize to the Hindus. The
crimes which Christian missionaries have committed in this country since
the days of Francis Xavier have been documented by Christian scholars themselves.
Secondly, I wish
to point out that you have got your priorities wrong. Instead of trying
to save the Hindus, you should better try to save whatever has survived
of the totem by which you swear. I have airmailed to you a copy of Jesus
Christ: An Artifice for Aggression in which I have compiled the conclusions
of Christological research in the modern West. It is too late in the day
for you to exercise yourself about Hinduism and the Hindus. It may be more
profitable for you to address your own dwindling flock in what was once
known as Christendom.
Thirdly, I like
to draw your attention to the fact that we Hindus are an ancient people
and have survived many storms including those mounted by Islam and its
elder blood brother - Christianity. We were here long before your Jehovah
and Jesus were invented by the diabolical drives in human nature and hurled
upon an unsuspecting humanity. And we will be here
long after the Bible starts selling as waste paper on pavements around
the world. Try to remember the fate of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the
Collected Works of Lenin and Stalin.2
is a spiritual culture which is intrinsic to the human species, and has
never been in need of big battalions, or big money, or big media in order
to back it up. Hinduism knows how to find its way to human hearts, no matter
how desperate the effort of contrived creeds to shut them tight against
all higher aspirations. Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma, the Perennial Wisdom
and Virtue. It is no use spitting at the Sun.
Sita Ram Goel Mr. Pat Robertson,
CBN, 977 Centerville Turnpike,
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA 23463-0001,
Bharat J. Gajjar who lives and works in Washington had contacted Robertson’s
Christian Broadcasting Network and protested against the venom being vomited
by its star performer. He received a letter dated 4 August 1995 from Robertson
Thank you for
contacting CBN concerning our program presentation on Hinduism. I appreciate
this opportunity to respond to you.
I’ m sorry you
objected to my comments. It is not my intent to offend anyone because of
their religion, and I want you to clearly understand that I do believe
in religious freedom. It is guaranteed in the Constitution of the United
States and everyone has the right to believe as they wish. However, though
I respect the rights of others, please understand that I have a responsibility
to speak the truth. The truth is that the Hindu faith has absolutely nothing
to do with God! The Bible tells us that there is only one way to hit the
mark and that is to come to Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am
the Way, the Truth, and the Life: NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME.”
I don’t make the
rules - God makes the rules. He said if you don’t come through Jesus Christ,
there is no entrance into heaven. Those who believe they can come to God
any other way, whether it be by New Age, Hinduism, Mohammed, or through
any other person or thinking are being deceived.
It is our continual
prayer at CBN for all people to come to a saving knowledge of the truth
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God is not willing that any should perish.
Thank you again for this opportunity to respond to you.
Yours in Christ,
A copy of
Robertson’s letter to Gajjar was received by Ram Swarup. He wrote the following
article which was published in several US periodicals including Hinduism
invited many critical comments from the Hindus. To one such Hindu critic,
Bharat J. Gajjar, Robertson replied. This reply is as important to the
American Hindus as his earlier TV statement which HINDUISM TODAY reported
[July, 1995]. The reply is in some ways more than a fulmination. It is
a credo, an ideological statement and deserves a different kind of notice.
Moreover, Robertson’s mental blocks are not his alone but widely shared.
Therefore, to discuss them would be all the more useful. I shall therefore
reply to his reply here.
In his letter
to Mr. Gajjar, Robertson says that he had no intent “to offend anyone,”
and that he wants it to be understood that he believes in “religious freedom”
- this is reassuring after his previous performance. But he also adds that
while he respects the rights of others, he has “a responsibility to speak
the truth.” He tells us that “the truth is that the Hindu faith has absolutely
nothing to do with God!” He adds in lively Americanism that “there is only
one way to hit the mark and that is to come to Jesus Christ. Those who
believe they can come to God any other way, whether it be by New Age, Hinduism,
Mohammed or through any other person or thinking are being deceived.” At
the end, he modestly states, “I don’t make the rules - God makes the rules.”
The reply is brief
but rich in traditional Christian theology. It reveals in a clear profile
the unchanging face of Christianity, a Christianity which still lives in
medieval times and refuses to change. It gives in a few sentences the most
important elements of Christian theology: a single or exclusive God, an
equally single and exclusive channel of reaching him and a conception of
truth which requires no self-preparation, a truth which is ready-made and
can be had by simply looking up a particular book.
First, about Hindus
having no God, though they have more often been accused of having too much
of it. Let us readily admit that Hindus do not have a God of the Biblical
tradition, the God of Robertson’s familiarity. Their God is not Jehovah,
an exclusive God, a jealous God, a God that denies other Gods. In the Vedas,
the oldest scripture of the Hindus, Gods are often invited to “come together.”
They are praised “conjointly” and it does not offend any one of them. Vedic
Gods live in friendliness, they do not deny each other.
was shared by the Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and most other advanced
cultures and peoples. The Greeks had no difficulty in recognizing their
God in the Gods of the Hindus. It is the Semitic tradition which sees their
devils in the Gods of others.
view derives from another basic Biblical concept - that their God is the
only one, the only true God. True, this view implies that there are other
Gods, but it is freely and repeatedly stated that they are “false”, they
are “abominations”, and they are to be dethroned.
Hindus have no
God of this description. True, they too often describe their God as one,
ekam, but they also call him many, aneka. Strictly speaking,
Hindus do not believe in one God, they believe in one Reality, ekam
sat. They do not say “there is only one God”; they say “God alone is.”
The unity of Hindu God is spiritual, not numerical. He pervades all. He
is one in all and the same in all. He is also beyond all. Semitic religions
have no such concept. Hindu spirituality is mystical and theological, not
credal and ideological.
Now we turn from
an exclusive God to an exclusive savior. The two stand together. In this
too, Robertson is saying nothing new, but repeating the old Christian doctrine
of “No salvation outside the Church”, now modified in this ecumenical age
to “No salvation without Jesus Christ.” In his support, he quotes the Bible
as his authority. This is a curious way of arguing. You assume what you
have to prove, put it in your own book and then cite it as your authority.
It would be considered dull-witted in a sophomore, but in a Christian preacher
it makes a bright and clinching argument.
work through mediators and intermediaries. In these ideologies, first there
is a God of strong preferences and hatred. He chooses a people, but even
to them He does not reveal himself directly. He makes His will known to
them through a favored intermediary who in turn has His apostles to broadcast
His message. The next links in the chain are evangelists read “televangelists”
in the modern conditions. The message is received by one but preached and
relayed by others who had no share in the revelation. Their merit is greater
if they do it with strong hands and in perfect faith and are troubled by
no intellectual scruples or conscience.
In this too the
Hindu tradition differs completely. In this tradition, God resides in man’s
heart, and He is accessible to all who seek Him in sincerity, truth and
faith. In this tradition, God is man’s own innermost truth and the seeker
finds Him in the cave of his heart. In this tradition, God reveals Himself
directly to the seeker and needs no specially authorized savior, no go-betweens.
Here we may also
make another point. Since Hindu spirituality recognizes God in man, it
also recognizes great goodness in him. On the other hand, ideologies which
deny man’s sacred Godliness also deny his essential goodness. They find
man basically sinful, and unfortunately also treat him so. Of course, no
one need deny that there is much in man which is not Godly, but let us
not make it into a dogma of the depravity of human nature. Let us also
become aware of man’s other dimension, his Godliness and goodness.
that as one goes deeper into oneself, one meets deeper Gods. An external
and impure mind gives only external Gods. This leads us to Robertson’s
idea of truth and his responsibility to speak it. In Hindu conception,
one’s truth cannot be greater than one’s seeking. In this conception, truth
does not lie in some quotable passages of a book. It has to be known through
a culture of the spirit, through great seeking, tapes, purity and
self-inquiry. Let Robertson himself find whether he fulfills this condition.
is yogic. It is found everywhere, though not always equally developed.
It is found among the wise men of Egypt, Greece, Mexico and China. Today,
it is in its most preserved form in Hinduism. Hinduism preserves the ancient
wisdom of many nations and cultures, their Gods and their insights which
they lost under the onslaught of monolatrous creeds. Spiritual humanity
needs renascent Hinduism for its self-revival.
to keep out Hindus from America. But would he be able to keep out Hinduism
from the seeking humanity? Hinduism resides in all seeking hearts and whenever
man’s seeking, for Gods becomes spiritual, Hinduism, or the tradition of
Sanatana Dharma, automatically comes in. In what way and how long
could man’s innermost truth be kept away from Him?
Several months have
passed but Robertson has neither replied to my letter nor commented on
Ram Swarup’s article. Does he feel surprised by the discovery that Hindus
can also hit back? For a long time, Christian warriors have been used to
Hindus taking it lying down. Or does he feel confident that he can take
in his stride the recent Hindu re-awakening as well? His predecessors in
the Christian missionary enterprise had felt the same way.
I did not know at that time that Robertson was a business tycoon and a
big moneybag on his own.
The last two sentences in this para comparing the Bible with the works
of Hitler, Lenin and Stalin were censored out by most papers which published
this letter; such is the awe inspired by this wicked book.
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