This is meant to be a sequel to my previous post (although, chronologically, this happened a lot earlier), so, please bear with me for more on religion.
I stay in a place called Shillong, which is a couple of kilometres above the sea level. The closest airport is in the planes, in Guwahati, and from Guwahati, one has to climb up through winding hilly roads for around three hours. It was in one of such arduous climbs, that I happened to meet a theology student; well, although he liked to call himself a student of theology, he was actually a student of evangelism.
All show, always trying to be extra sweet, extra polite, and you could easily make out that he was making an effort to do so, and that wasn't the natural him. He was from Tamil nadu, studying in Shillong (Imagine, travelling all that way to learn how to evangelize). What really pissed me off was that he had the habit of prepending all his sentences with the word 'brother', the problem wasn't that he was calling me brother, the problem was that it was such a condescending 'brother'.
I asked him why he came all the way to Shillong, some four thousand kilometers away, to study, to which he replied, that he had the opportunity of being trained by someone who came from the United States of America. The british left India, but our slavery to the white skin continues. No offence to the person who came down from the US to teach about evangelism, just a reflection on our Indian mentality.
It was Durga Puja, and I told him that I'm going home for the Pujas. He started his evangelization, me his guinea pig, by asking me why we immerse the idols after the pujas are over. I was not to be put down, I know what he was driving at, and he did arrive at it later. I just told him that it is symbolical about the cycle of life, that everything came from Earth and water and thats where everything goes back. Not able to catch me there, he asked me why we worship idols. Now, here, he was caught. I asked him why do Christians have the idol of Jesus over the cross, why Christians light candles in front of the idols of Mother Mary, why Christians wear the cross around their necks. Caught off guard, he told me, "Brother. We don't do it. We are Church of Christ. We don't know if anyone else does it, but we don't put idols of Jesus in our churches". I asked him, that traditional Roman Catholicism also has idols of Jesus in their Church, and he was bold enough to say that the Roman Catholics were not the true followers of Christ. I was made to assume here that only the "Church of Christ" christian is a true Christian, the rest are all pretenders, or worse still, devil worshippers.
By this time, I was really bored with the topic, and I was trying to get away from him all the time, but he clung on. He told, "Brother, I was staying in a Hindu family before. But then, the light was revealed to me!" Great, you found light, did you? Some evangelist paid your electricity bill for a month? "We also study about Hinduism, ChIslam, Buddhism and other faiths when we study. We have to pass all those courses, before we have our certification in Theology." Good. They are professional, aren't they. They make sure that you can go back to Tamil Nadu and convert more Hindus or Buddhists.
"You see brother, Jesus is God. He is the only God." I got him here. I asked him where he learnt that Jesus was a God? He told me that it is so. I asked him, have you even read the old testament? He told me that they mostly read the new testament. I clarified his doubts that Jesus is not God, but he is the son of God, he is an apostle. I also clarified his doubts that Islam, Judaism and Christianity have a common history, and the old testament is common to all three. The fundamental difference between these three religions, I told him, is their belief who the last true prophet is. He obviously, dumbfounded, had no answer. He only told me, "Brother. I will go back and ask my sir about it."
Yea, go back, and ask your american evangelist. But don't get back to me, thats all.