Dilemma of Multiple Faiths Co existing
- Dear friends,
This dilemma will be correctly understood only by a person brought up
in a city like Bombay where there are numerous other religions and
cultures to cope with.
I grew up in Bombay and have very good friends who r Hindus, and they
r great human beings. They come home for Christmas, and so expect me
to visit their homes on Diwali and Ganapati festivals. When we go to
Ganapati festivals, their is the idol of Ganesha at their homes and
all bow down to it. U become conspicuous if u do not bow down in front
of the idol. Remember that Hindus have many dieties and they worship
all of them, perhaps that is why they have difficulty in
understanding that it is a sin for us to bow down before the idol.
So what does such a person do? Go and bow down before the idol and sin?
Or stay away and create ill-feeling? Also understand that these are
the people u have grown with, shared ur little joys with, cried
with , laughed with.
Another point in the same context is - My Hindu friend is as grown up
as I am with abt the same understanding and reasoning power. I respect
him and his reasoning, so I bow down before his God, not because it
is my God, but because my friend sees a God in it, and I respect that
sentiment. Pls Comment..
In this context, let me put a reference too in the Bible -
When Na'aman came to Elisha and was cured of leprosy by the power of
the prophet,he said to Elisha -2Kings 5 :18,19"....when my master
goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm,
and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the
house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter"
19 He(Elisha) said to him, "Go in peace."
Those who have not experienced this may find it difficult to
understand this dilemma .Pls understand and comment.
- Read the comments on working priests and various professions they take up,
especially in the USA. But let us be frank and give due credits to those
who deserve it as there are many exceptions. I have recently asked one of
the priests why he and 'kochamma' have not taken up teaching especially
when he was in North India before and there were lot of opportunities to
become the Principal of a school or college. The answer was, 'I will not be
able to concentrate on my church activities as well as fulfill the
responsibility towards the parishioners if I take up another job. Kochamma
needs to look after our children and home affairs and as such she has also
not taken up a teaching job although we both are suitably qualified for
teaching jobs. I need to prepare minimum two sermons and lead 2-4 prayer
groups a week and it all takes up time. I think there are several of our
priests in this category who needs to be appreciated for their dedication
towards their service.
Kurien Varghese (Kuwait)
From the desk of Moderators:
We are to be very objective when we discuss these subjects, although we respect and honour the freedom of expression by all the members. It is a fact that as per the prevailing system none of our priests will be able to look after their family needs without venturing in to certain other professions whichever suits the individual. Knowing its limitations, we understand the church permits this. Regarding to the "nobleness" of the professions, all professions should be considered as noble till the time we practice within the christian boundaries. When we critisise priests working in USA, etc the ground realities in these countries one should not forget, many of them are struggling and sacrificing a lot to do justice to the cause of the church and its members. It is better, let us leave such matters to the conscience of the individuals who are not just ordinary people.
This note is in general on the discussions on the subject matter, and not exclusively related the above message.
- I would like to share with you what I was reading related to the
disputes in the Church of Apostles and how they peacefully solved
the issues. A model for us today in our Church.
Acts 15 (NIV):
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit
the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord
and see how they are doing."
37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,
38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted
them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.
Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to
the grace of the Lord.
41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Disputes can sometimes be for the good. It is because of the
difference in opinion that Malankara Orthodox Church now has some
vision in India. We feel guilty that we didn't do anything in India.
Many of our missionaries including Mar Osthathios Petros (Kandanad)
is a result of the division in our Church. He baptised many to the
But there is a time for union after parting, like Paul and Barnabas.
This is the ripe time for it. We know that though Mar Barnabas and
Mar Paulos parted in dispute, they reconciled later. They didn't
allow the difference to grow in to revenge and un-Godly ways.
It is OK to have difference in opinion, it is OK to be angry, but
keeping that for too long and allowing it to develop to revenge
to the extent of harming each other and bringing disgrace to Christ
among non-Christians is sin.
1 Corinthians 3 (NIV):
3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling
among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos,"
are you not mere men?
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants,
through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only
God, who makes things grow.
21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours,
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death
or the present or the future--all are yours,
23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
What, after all, is Mar Thoma Mathews 11? And what is Mar Ignatius
Zakka 1? Only servants, as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
All of these disputes we see in Malankara and other Orthodox Churches
worldwide was there in the early Church too. Some of us say "we belong
to Thomas (India)" and others say "our churches belong to Peter
(Damascus, Anthioc)". But the truth is that it was Christ who sent
both Peter and Thomas with authotiry to establish His Church. They did
their duty very well and received the "crown of Martyrdom" in
What we do? We fight against each other and destroy the Church they
planted by their hard work and life and bring disgrace to the name of
Christ. Why can't we atleast use the intelligence commercial companies
use to forcast the future. Christ appeared to Thomas, just like he
appeared to Saul (Paul), encouraging him to go to India. We were all
gentiles, whether we are Syrians or Indians or Copts or Ethiopians or
Armenians or Chaldeans. It is only because of the hard work of
Apostles, James (Jerusalem), Paul (for every one), Thomas (India),
Peter(Anthioc, Rome), Bartholomew (Armenia), Matthew (Ethiopia), Mark
(Egypt), Thaddeus (Babylon) that we are called by the grace of Lord.
Let us keep this in mind while we once again approach the Apostles
Feast by the grace of the Lord.
- Dear all members,
This greeting is coming from probably the most far East point. We are in
Auckland, New Zealand and are close to the international date line. Our
church doesnot have a parish or congregation in this country. But through
our contacts, we have now started a prayer group of about 5 families with
Being at the place where the day starts ahead of all others, perhaps our
sandhya namaskaram here is the forerunner of all the sandhya namaskarams in
the Indian Orthodox Church everywhere.
Regarding our church worship, our family goes to the Russian Orthodox church
in our area. This church uses the Russian Language and we stand there
silently praying. Occassionally they have English prayers which we attend
with enthusiasm. The priest is very friendly and has interest to know about
our church and customs. For example, he started kaimutthu after Evening
prayers, when he came to know that we have that practice in our Indian
Our Lord comforts saying "Do not fear O little fold of sheep!" We request
all members to pray for this little fold in this small island.
My God bless us all
Sam & Molly
We're excited to hear about such a Prayer Group in New Zealand. May God bless His sheep behind this prayer group. Best wishes and prayers always.
- Hello to all, This brief note in response to the comments in the last days net by Rev.Fr.C.C.Mathew from America. Church ofcourse is a divine institution govern by God as we believe. So dont be a pessimist ,be an optimist. God will do what is needful for the time irrespective of place or person. But for its effective application, the church need to be CHURCH in its real sense. To be frank Iam doubtful about the genuinety of the present concept of the church. Does the church convey its real message for the time? Are we ready to practice the real sharing and sacrifice as our Lord told us? Optimism should go along with the virtues. LOVINGLY, FR.KURIAN DANIEL
- KC ABRAHAM wrote "meaningful activities will be more useful---"
True, activities are the products of meaningful discussions. Ideas get
limbs by imagination; meaningful discussions direct their course of action.
Some walk, some limb, some run and others fly. Meaningful discussions and
constructive criticism are vital for progress. Pruning is necessary but
please do not destroy the root.
- Reply to Mathew in Bombay and Mr. Thomas PA:
Thank you Mr. Thomas PA for the message about the early churches, apostles and the struggles they faced from within and outside. It would be great if we have more messages like that.
I ve felt the same things. My brother and I used to attend music class and often went to Hindu temples to perform with our teacher. Often there would be prayers and worship that involved everyone before the concerts. We took part in everything that they did exactly as everyone else there did (throwing rice, bowing, hovering hands above the flame etc etc). We didn't really have any bad feelings about it, but we talked about it in our family gatherings. My parents basically said that we should imagine the presence of our God in the Hindu services and statues as we take part in those services. Furthermore, to refuse to take part would be considered as an act of disrespect to everyone else there and to their beliefs. St. Paul saw some gentiles worshipping the "unknown God" and spoke to them about Jesus with reference to their "unknown God". He taught them to see Jesus in that statue of the "unknown God". I am not suggesting we convert our Hindu friends using this technique, just that Christianity is not a rigid statue as some churches would have us believe.
Furthermore, in the Bible, idolatry is not just bowing in front of an idol, there are many other hedonistic and feral tendencies associated with idolatry. This is ovbiously not in the Hindu services we attend.