One of the things I’ve come across while out here is dealing with other faiths. Of course they exist in the UK too, but our beliefs tend to be worn under the surface with only a few choosing to make visible statements about it. I also have a tendency to stick inside the Christian bubble, which while very comfortable, is not really what we’re called to do.
In Bangalore 80% of the population are Hindu and the signs are everywhere. The temples are present on almost every corner; their bright colours and elaborate details beckoning the eye. In my office there are even small shrines next to the printer, something completely unthinkable in Britain. Today is also a public holiday dedicated to Ganesha, one of the gods in the pantheon.
It is particularly the pantheon aspect that has got me thinking. One of the things I’ve heard from Christian’s talking about India is that when people come to know Jesus from a Hindu background, they sometimes just add Him to their existing set of gods rather than clearing the slate.
I’ve been reading the book of Daniel recently and I can see how this affected Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 4. Although he sees God’s power firsthand, he still relies on his old gods and astrologers before consulting Daniel. In contrast Daniel only ever went to one person with his questions, however big or small.
We’re not immune in the West though. Each one of us has a past and something that we loved before we met Jesus. It’s all the more dangerous for not being a six armed elephant headed deity with a name, but something hidden. Something we may not even know ourselves.
1 Corinthians 11:30-32 (HCSB translation)
This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.
John 8:31-32 (NASB translation)
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”