(Sunday, February 3, 2013) Many times as I look at the Indians around me, the ones who aren’t Christians, I wonder what life looks like from their perspective. If I lived in their body, what would I be thinking at that very moment? Or course there is way of knowing for sure, but I’d like to give it a shot. It’s impossible to stereotype 1.2 billion people, but as best as I can understand it here’s a very simplified version of their view of the world and life.
In America we think in terms of individual privacy and achievement. We are upwardly mobile, trying to improve ourselves and our place in life. Challenges are to be overcome. We have support and resources to help us achieve our goals. To understand traditional Indian thought you must forget all that. Individuality is not emphasized. Independence is thwarted. Dependence on family is fostered from young on. Life is seen as hard and painful, but we get what deserve based on our past life (karma) so why fight it, why try to change it, why seek to improve yourself or others. What is, is. There is a new upper class of educated Indians who are more Western in their thoughts, but this is what has been the mind set of the masses for centuries. This is how they cope.
Daily existence is all that matters. They do it again the next day and the next until life is over. Life isn’t meant to have meaning so they don’t look for any. Life is cheap, of little value. There will always be another one, and it may be better than this one. Emptiness, meaningless and hopelessness are just under the surface. And driving all that is fear: fear of upsetting whatever gods there may be, good or evil, fear of what will happen next, fear of pain and loss. Appeasing the gods may cut down a bit on the suffering one is certain to face, but maybe not. Thus in these mindsets apathy reigns.
There are some, especially in the large cities, who are influenced by media and are more Western in thought, but they are the minority.
The Muslim world view is a bit different but equally empty and, if anything, even darker. Their religion only brings fear because Allah is capricious and without mercy or love. He is a god who judges and punishes, and there isn’t much a person can do except try to obey in all things and perhaps avoid the worst of his wrath when one dies.
And if you happen to be a Hindu or Moslem woman, it’s worse yet. You are seen as of less value than a man, a commodity to be used and discarded when finished. You are given no opinions, no needs, and no desires – just serve the opinions, needs and desires of men.
So you see the great difference that Christianity makes! The hope, the assurance, the empowerment, the meaning and significance that come only in Jesus are absent. What dissimilarity to a world system that rejects Him. The contrast between light and darkness is apt and true. No wonder the enemy tries to keep this great nation in darkness. No wonder he fights the light. But Jesus is the hope of all mankind, the hope of India. And the light is slowly but surely spreading and growing. Christianity is the fastest growing religion in India. India’s population is 74.3 percent Hindu, 14.2 percent Muslim, 1.9 percent Sikh, 0.82 percent Buddhist, and 5.8 percent Christian, according to Operation World. ‘Christian’ includes Roman Catholics (a large number here), liberal Protestantism and all the cults and sects as well.
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” … I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Spend some time contemplating how much your faith has impacted your world view. Without Jesus or His Word, how would you see your life and future? Try to imagine facing each day without any awareness of Jesus or the Bible. How empty it would be! Pray for the billions throughout the earth who wake up to just such a world each day.