Hi @Yuven204, its great to hear of your successful completion of your dissertation. Congratulations! Though your father has not fully accepted your new faith in Christ, its encouraging to know that he made a trip all the way from India to Netherlands for your graduation and that speaks of his love for you! I praise God for your boldness in starting a conversation with your father about faith. I know it’s not easy and can be an emotionally charged experience. I pray that God will give you the wisdom and words that speak to your father’s heart in these conversations.
I have not directly dealt with the question of performing funeral rites as its usually the male children or male relatives who perform the rites. I can however understand to a certain extent the pain of a hindu father’s heart, both for himself and his children when traditional rituals are not followed. There could be sense of shame among relatives, fear of curses, remorse about parenting and feeling false guilt of bad karma.
Scripture tells us to honor our father and mother but not when that would dishonor God. A really difficult path to tread but may the Lord give you strength and He will!
Matt 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Ps 45: 10 Listen, daughter , and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. 11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord. (Daughter hear can mean ‘Israel’ or the ‘church -the bride of Christ’)
As a Christian we could attend a Hindu funeral, pray for our family, provide comfort for our family members in every possible way but we would have to draw the line if it comes to bowing down to another god or performing rituals that come out of another spiritual/religious authority. What you may need to focus on in the conversation is clarifying your intentions, so that your honorable choice is not interpreted as a dishonorable one and ease any fears he may have about the curses.
We have the confidence of God’s protection only when are trying to be in His will. We are free from all curses in Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, says the LORD.
Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
You may want to start with acknowledging the many ways you have experienced your father’s love and that you would do everything in your ability to honor him to the extent your faith allows. One question to ask may be - Wouldn’t external conformity to rituals which you didn’t truly believe in, amount to hypocrisy and an offense to God? Your father may agree with you on the importance of choosing our convictions over hypocrisy.
You could also agree with him that you see ‘love for the deceased’ behind the Hindu traditions that offer hope for a better reincarnation through the rituals. Christianity offers a different hope without rituals but it acts in love too ….its a hope of eternal life free from all suffering in the presence of God. Jesus promises in John 11:25-27. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. 26 And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” Another question that comes to mind is – What would be greater love? One based on fear of curses or one based on a conviction of truth after considering facts?
So as you believe in Jesus’s words, you can share how the deepest desire of your heart is for your father to have the best life in heaven, which to you seems more important than rituals. Though he may disagree with your convictions, he may over time respect you for your fervor. A lot of the resistance we face in our Hindu families tends to be spiritual and we will have better conversations when we are soaked in prayer. May God guide you in Christ.