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Re: Vidyarambham, a wrong Custom

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  • C. Alex Alexander, M.D.
    It is with much sadness and dismay that I read the statement(s) of Mr. Philip Oommen, given below in quotes. Starting education on Vijayadashami day will not
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2003
      It is with much sadness and dismay that I read the statement(s) of
      Mr. Philip Oommen, given below in quotes.

      "Starting education on Vijayadashami day will not increase wisdom,
      it will increase wrong influence of Hindu thoughts and teaching in
      the Church. The children will remain under the influence of demons.
      This is one of the reasons many young Christian children possess
      evil spirits which lead them to drinking,drugs, suicide etc. ( just
      like a worm enter in to an apple from the time of flower, demons
      enter the minds of children from the very small age). Sunday is a
      HOLY DAY for Christians and after Holy Qurbana, a Christian should
      not follow the Hindu custom on the pretext of secularism. Christian
      should not sleep or walk with satan. Only Satan wins in this case."

      I am stunned at Mr. Oommen's above assertions and in all humility, I
      would like to request that he (1) list those Hindu thoughts which in
      his opinion will exert a "wrong influence" and whereby children
      will be influenced by "demons" (2) offer documentation which will
      indicate that Hindu thoughts run the risk of inflicting "evil
      spirits" on Christian children and thereby make them succumb
      to "drinking, drugs and suicide", and (3)give some practical tips as
      to how one can identify "Satan" so that Christians can refrain
      from "sleeping or walking" with Satan.

      Those who have diligently studied both historical Jesus and the
      history of spread of Christianity know that Christianity too (both
      its Eastern and Western Churches) has incorporated many pre-
      Christian pagan rites and customs. For e.g., the adoration of Mary
      and Baby Jesus (from the worship of Isis and Horus of pre-Christian
      Egypt), the conversion of "God" from a Unitarian concept to Trinity
      based on Egyptian and Eastern religions such as Hinduism, the
      Conceptualization of Holy Spirit in Aramaic (Eastern Orthodox)
      as "mekhina" in a feminine form (shakti, Tao) and as masculine or
      genderless in Western Christianity, the incorporation of the pre-
      Christian (John the Baptist) Baptismal rite (originating in the
      Hindu ritual cleansing in a river to become a new "sinless" person,
      see: Gruber and Kersten's "The Original Jesus: the Buddhist sources
      of Christianity", Element Books, Shaftesbury, UK), the Easter
      Celebrations and its coincidence to spring festivals of Europe, the
      integration of St.Nicholas, Santa Claus into Christmas, Halloween,
      St. Valentine's Day etc., There are many others.

      Therefore, I am not surprised that the Indian Orthodox Church has
      incorporated (for example) the minnu/mangalsutra, 40th day rites
      after a death, vidyarambam etc. It is such syncretism that has made
      the Church remain resilient and uniquely vibrant and different from
      the proselytizing variety of westernized Christianity which has
      historically used religion as an instrument in extending its
      imperialist aspirations. The Portuguese, the French, the Danes, the
      British have all tried to either take over or influence the Indian
      Orthodox Church. They all failed in India and elsewhere because of
      the resiliency of the Eastern and Oriental Churches in becoming
      indigenized and disallowing the faith from becoming an instrument of
      statecraft. Recently, I saw another letter on this forum asking for
      involvement in proselytization along the lines of western and Roman
      catholic brands of Christianity.

      Jesus indeed was right when he warned "woe unto you scribes and
      Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye compass sea and land to make one
      proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more than the
      child of hell than yourselves" (St.Matthew 23:15).

      I remind myself everyday that it is exemplary Christian behavior
      that should be the means of witnessing for Jesus and not standing at
      street corners and calling sinners to repent lest they be struck
      down by hell fire and brimstone.

      I hope and pray that the Indian Orthodox Church will continue to
      stay away from proselytization much like all other Orthodox Churches
      in Europe, Middle East and Africa have done from the time of their
      inceptions. The overwhelming majority of our Hindu brothers and
      sisters in India respect such an ethos of the Malankara Church. Let
      us not trifle with that. Give unto Cesar what is Cesar's and give
      unto God what is God's.

      C. Alex Alexander, M.D.
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