Monday, November 14, 2005

A Short Reply to India's Anonymous Commenter

I am glad that the anonymous commenter left his/her thoughts about the caste system in India and elsewhere.  Anonymous brought up many issues for thought, and before I continue with the description of the trip to India, I want to address some of the concerns that have been brought up.

First off, I want to assure Mr. Anonymous that I want India to prosper and be successful.  If I could snap my fingers and make poverty go away, I would do so in a heartbeat.  As for why I don’t bring up the “caste system” in the Philippines or Brazil or elsewhere, it is because I am unaware that it exists.  And if it does, let me go on record as saying that I hate it there as well.  The reason I did not mention Japan’s cast system or some other system is because I did not just return from those countries.  Fair enough?  I’m not going to defend discrimination of any kind based on race, creed, or tribe in any country or religion.

For the non-Indian readers of this blog, I ask you to please read the comment that anonymous left.  I believe that you will find them insightful as to the attitudes of some in India towards the West.  In his comment, anonymous insinuates that it was an “Aryan group” from central Asia that made up the caste system and Hinduism.  Further, it is said that Hugo Chavez is feared because he is upsetting “the Christian caste system.”

I grieve that the word ‘Christian’ can even be used to modify the word ‘caste’ in anyone’s mind, but anonymous certainly believes it.  There is nothing Christian about the caste system; it is evil.  You cannot support it from Christian Scripture.  The good news of Jesus Christ overthrows discrimination; it certainly does not condone it.  Jesus Christ came to set men and women free from sin and its penalty.  Further, the fact that God became man elevates the status of every man, woman, and child on this planet.  Jesus was born as a poor carpenter’s son from Nazareth.  There is simply no way that a Christian can excuse prejudice of based on birth or privilege.

But I want to make a point that Anonymous did not address.  Really, all he has done is attempt to distract from the issue.  The fact of the matter is that discrimination is apparent and obvious in India, despite Mr. Anonymous’ protests.  It does no good to point to another country and ask us to decry unfair treatment there.  We’re dealing with India where the caste system is alive and well.  

What bothers me is that I saw persecution of Indian Christians by Indian Hindus on Indian soil and I saw that the Indian government was reluctant to prevent it.  I know for certain that much of this persecution comes because many are jealous that the Christians are taking outcaste orphans, caring for them, educating them, and elevating their status.  I also saw that Hindus were angry because people, of their own will, were converting to Christianity because of the truth about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What makes me sorrowful is that Mr. Anonymous and others in India associate Christianity with the un-Christian conduct of the British and others during colonial rule.  What Mr. Anonymous seems to forget is that my country was once a colony as well, and that religious freedom was one of the founding impulses of this country.  Legally, Christians have religious freedom to an extent.  Practically, they are persecuted, beaten, ostracized, and some have been killed.

The bottom line is that the caste system is just another expression of human sinfulness.  It is simply another form of discrimination, and discrimination is common to every country, culture, and nation.  But it was worse in India than I have ever seen, even in South Louisiana.  

Finally, Mr. Anonymous asks what I will say when India is richer than other countries.  I will say, “Hooray for India!”  And, I will cheer for their cricket team.  I hope that India prospers; I truly do.  But my greatest concern is that Christians are allowed to practice their religion without fear of abuse, and that they can evangelize and share their faith without fear of retribution.


centuri0n said...

Brad --

I stopped by because of the comments you left on the blog, and I have a couple of things to note:

(1) The Bible does not endorse a caste system. Taken on-whole, all methods of distinguishing men by race or nation or economic status are abolished in Jesus Christ. We all come to him as disgusting beggars.

(2) The Bible does not endorse any particular culture. In fact, the Gospel is itself a culture which is supposed to invade every tribe, every tongue, every nation and turn it away from sin and toward Jesus Christ.

(3) There are no Christians I know who are 100% on-board with the above two statments. Even the ones who agree with me theoretically demonstrate (as I do) that we are not perfect. So if, for example, Americans attend churches by choice based on the general economic class of the congregation (and they do), they are as-guilty as Indians who allegedly believe the Gospel and still abide the caste system. Thank God for Jesus Christ who died for our stupid, selfish sins.

So if we are going to defend the faith, we ought to reform our minds and hearts and admit when we are stupid fools who do not reflect the cross of Christ so well. Honesty is the best policy.

Last thing: whenever someone starts bringing in examples from all kinds of unrelated sources, you can bet he's not a rational person. The matter of whether there is a Japanese caste system has nothing to do with whether there ought to be an Indian/Hindu caste system.

Anonymous said...

"...has nothing to do with whether there ought to be an Indian/Hindu caste system."

This is a load of nonsense, so you are saying all Hindus somehow like discrimination, but you are such a wonderful person ?
Your basic point I get is that India has a caste system that prevents upward mobility, yet the richest Industrialist in India is a Muslim, the Prime Minister is Sikh (2% of the population), The most powerful person and head of the ruling party (Sonia Gandhi) is a White Christian. The President is Muslim. So to state once again, I would like you to show how in the Industrialized/Urban parts of India, caste plays a major role in determining a job.
The so called caste conflicts in India are due to Landlord/ landless peasant issues, and here everyone sympathizes with the plight of the poor, and people realize that the solution is more Industrialization, and reduction of the workforce that depends on Agriculture (currently 60%). Belief in Christianity does not appear to have won their God's favor in poverty reduction in Phillipines, Brazil, Africa etc... In addition, Non-Christian countries like Japan have prospered and done very well.

Why did I bring up caste/ ethnic issues in other countries ?

One of the primary reasons is to destroy this notion that somehow India has a unique caste system, that's not found anywhere else.
Also, when someone get's on the high horse and starts giving moral lectures, it's important to point out flaws in their behavior.

I think it's very arrogant of people to accuse all 1 Billion Hindus of being bigots, especially when the accuser has a less than stellar record himself.

Anonymous said...

Here is what Kipling himself has to say about this:

"A Fool Lies Here..."

Now it is not good
For the Christian’s health
To hustle the Aryan brown,
For the Christian riles
And the Aryan smiles
And he wearth the Christian down;
And the end of the fight
Is tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear,
“A fool lies here
Who tried to hustle the East."

— Rudyard Kipling

Regarding the Aryan Invasion theory...

The Aryan invasion theory is a 19th century bigoted colonial theory that states that all of India's achievements were done by a White Aryan race.
This has been proved to be false. The word Aryan is a sanskrit word meaning noble and refers to Brown people. There is no such thing as a White Aryan, that's propaganda that started in the 19th century carried over by the Nazi's.