Christian missions and colonialism

(Lakshmi Mehta) #1

Continuing the discussion from Christianity goal and Karma goal:

@san asked in a previous discussion -

Recently , Most challenging , I am questioned from one non believer from India that “why foreign colonial ruled them over 200 years and he consider all foreigners like American, Europe people are Christians. “
It’s very hard sometimes to disclose that all who foreign rulers ruled before in India are not truly Christians.
I think this the one hard area we need to be prepared to answer .
What do you think ?

(Lakshmi Mehta) #2

@San, what I am hearing in your question is, “Aren’t Christian missionaries responsible for British colonialism in India”?

While many critics of the Christian faith in India have blamed the evil of colonialism of British India on Christian missionaries, it is not a well-founded assertion supported by facts. Vishal Mangalwadi tackled this with a well-researched response in his book, “India- The Grand experiment” in response to attacks by a prominent Indian scholar on this very same question. A draft of the book is available for free here. It’s a very well-researched resource. The central thesis of the book is about the role of evangelical revival in influencing the attitudes of the British Parliament for the benefit of Indians rather than their exploitation. There is no doubt that corruption and administrative chaos marked the British rule in Eastern India that devastated the Indian economy, but this was not driven by Christian ideals but by greed and power. What seems to have been forgotten by those who accuse Christians of colonialism is the work of Christian missionaries before British imperialism such as St. Thomas and the work of British evangelicals like Charles Grant, William Wilberforce, William Carey, Charles Trevelyan, who succeeded in turning the evil of colonialism into a blessing for India through reformations in areas such as modern education, political freedom, economy and the abolition of child sacrifice and widow burning. Charles Grant and William Wilberforce advocated for missions in India in the British parliament and paved the way for Bible translation and development of Indian languages. William Carey’s missionary work established universities in India and taught the gospel with a view to transform cultures based on Christian ideals such as love and human dignity and opened schools for all castes. Charles Trevlayan, a British East India servant spelled out that the aim of educational mission in India was to India British rule. Vishal Mangalwadi quotes Nani A. Palkhivala, an Indian ambassador to the USA from th 1970’s in his book

“ . . . paradoxical as it may seem, if India is a free republic today, that is also the consequence of the British rule. Indians fought and fought valiantly, to get rid of foreign domination. But it is probable that, up to now, India would not have shaken off the domination of Indian rulers but for the notions of freedom imbibed from the days of British rule.”

In one of Ravi Zacharias books, Ravi recounts of a time when he visited Mahatma Gandhi’s small home, he was surprised to find in the front veranda a banner on which was written a quote from Bertrand Russell:

“It is doubtful that the efforts of the Mahatma would have succeeded except that he was appealing to the conscience of a Christianized people” Ravi was amused and said it was: “A banner quoting Bertrand Russell, the atheist, in the home of Mahatma Gandhi, the pantheist, saying that his non-violent approach succeeded because of the Theist!”

So we Indians are actually indebted to Christian missioanries. I hope this is a helpful start to your question.

(Sanjib ghosh) #3

Dear @Lakshmismehta,
Praise God,
Heaps of thanks for giving such brief.
Yes , I agree and I personally aware of this history and facts .
Thanks for giving source to read and research.
It will help me to be prepared and to answer.
I will continue encourage you continue this topic about Karma vs Grace, it will open up many thoughts to know and be prepared.
May I request you a book you mentioned about Ravi ‘s, which book that is?

(Lakshmi Mehta) #4

@san, you are absolutely welcome! Here’s a resource you can listen online about Ravi’s statement which I quoted from-

I think the book is -