Christianity, Hinduism and Maoism
Relations between Christians and Hindus appear to have been strained recently, as militant Hindus have accused Christians of making ungodly alliances with Maoists to weaken Hinduism. Dion Forster mentioned Christianity and Hinduism in a comment on my previous post, and I’d no sooner read that than I came across the following (hat-tip to egregores): U.S. Catholic Magazine: Bishop applauds abolishment of Nepal’s 239-year-old monarchy:
The bishop of Nepal described the recent abolishment of Nepal’s 239-year-old Hindu monarchy as ‘truly a great achievement.’
Catholics, ‘as citizens of the country, deserve to be proud, and we rejoice with the nation and our brothers and sisters. We thank God for his blessings,’ Bishop Anthony Sharma of Nepal told the Asian church news agency UCA News May 29.
Nepal’s Constituent Assembly voted overwhelmingly to abolish the monarchy May 28, a day after its members were sworn in in the capital, Katmandu. The assembly gave the king 15 days to leave office.
e g r e g o r e s: On the Christian-Maoist United Front against Hinduism also posted this:
The article below, by Vishal Arora, originally appeared on the Christian website Compass Direct News (“News from the frontlines of persecution”) in Januray of 2008. It was later taken down when they realized just how embarrassing the article is because of its frank references to the close relationship between Christians and Maoist terrorists in India. The article can still be found in various places on the net if you search on the original title of the article “Maoists Said to Recruit Victims of Violence in India“. The copy below was found at the website of an outfit calling itself “Human Rights Without Frontiers” (they appear to be a thinly disguised advocacy group supporting western based Christian missionaries).
I had linked to the original article in an earlier post on Lies, damned lies, and the “persecution” of Christians in India, but I just today discovered that the link is dead – so I am posting the article in full here.
Now I’m no fundi on Indian and Nepalese politics, and I record these links for information, to see what some people are saying. The main conclusion I draw from them is that Samuel Huntington was right in his “clash of civilizations” thesis, when he suggested that in the post-Cold War era international conflicts would not be between competing ideologies such as capitalism and communism, but rather between competing civilisations based on religion. As things have developed, however, and as these reports illustrate, there is a tendency for religions to spawn ideologies, which, though they are linked to their parent religions, often contradict their values. So Hinduism has spawned Hindutva, Islam has spawned Islamism, and Christianity has spawned Christianism. In parallel to these there is the rise of militant atheism, especially in the West; not entirely unprecedented, of course–in the Stalinist era membership in the League of Militant Atheists in the USSR rose to over 11 million in the 1930s, but fell off in the 1940s when Stalin sought the support of the Church in the Great Patriotic War.
The alleged alliance of Christians and Maoists in India and Nepal would no doubt have been very surprising to people in the Cold War era, and I also wonder if there are any Maoists left in China now.
Apart from noting the existence of militant Hindu, Islamic and atheist movements, there is not much I can say about them, or at least about what can be done about them. That is up to Hindu and Muslim theologians, and possibly atheist atheologians.
But as a Christian missiologist I can say that that growth of Christianism is a cause for concern, and fuels the clash of civilisations. The response of Christian theologians, when they have bothered to think about it at all, seems mostly to be denialist. They tend to deny that there is such a thing as the “clash of civilizations” and say that the aim of Christianity is peace and love, and just hope that the Christianists will go away. But perhaps the time has come to do a bit more theological analysis, and to make it clear that Christianism is heretical. It affects both East and West. The USA may have the so-called religious right, but Orthodoxy has groups like Pamyat.
That is a bit of a digression from where this post started. Catholic bishops supporting democracy in Nepal is a far cry Christianism, and its certainly a lot better than falangism in Spain and Lebanon. It’s a bit surprising if Maoists support democracy, but if they do, bully for them. I don’t have strong feelings for or against monarchies either way. I’m neither a monarchist nor a republican, though if one does have monarchies I have a preference for constitutional democratic ones. But I recognise that many “republics” can be and have been undemocratic as well. But where it does link up is that the situation in Nepal does seem to be developing along the liens of a clash of civilisations, and that is where one needs to be careful.