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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Letter to Savio Rodrigues in response to his perplexing tweet

Dear Savio,

I had the pleasure to meet you at a conference and you came across as likeable and intelligent. And I felt, we had in common that we both grew up as Christians but realized that Hindu or Sanatana Dharma is the better option.

That’s why I was surprised by your tweet:

“I am a Christian by my faith but Hindu by my roots. That’s me. You cannot accept this fact about me, then it is your problem, not mine.”

Most Hindus don’t know the essence of the Christian faith, and you may have thought you get away with this? Or maybe you yourself don’t know the essence??

Here it is in short:

The essence of Christianity is that Christians have the right faith and will be saved and Hindus have the wrong faith and will be damned forever.  And from this follows that missionaries who dedicate their lives to save Hindu souls by getting them baptized, are doing a great job.

You would know about the claim “There is no salvation outside of the Church”. However, hopefully, you won’t take it seriously and for you “Christian faith” may basically mean seeing Jesus Christ as your guide and object of devotion, as Hindus are devoted to Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Devi….

To feel devotion for Jesus is of course fine. No Hindu has any objection. They would see you as belonging to Sanatana Dharma, which accepts many different ways to connect with the ultimate Cause of our existence, whom the Vedas call Brahman or Tat. But to declare devotion for Jesus as “Christian faith” is not honest, because it’s not true. Other conditions apply.

You would know that, as a Christian, you don’t have the option to pick and choose. You have to accept the whole doctrine of the “faith” which you may have repeated in Sunday mass umpteen times, and this doctrine postulates the exclusivity of the ‘one Lord Jesus Christ, the only son of God…. For us men and our salvation, he came down from heaven…” (Nicene Creed)

So you owe an explanation to Hindus what you mean by “I am Christian by my faith”.

If an amiable and influential person like you stands openly by his Christian faith, it will confirm Hindus in their belief, that all religions are the same, and it’s only people who misunderstand their religion, who give trouble to Hindus and not certain tenets of the religion itself.

Yet the problem is precisely with the doctrine that “there is no salvation outside of the Church”.

Please do clarify in a public post, whether you agree with this crucial tenet that there is no salvation outside of the Church and that, by extension, missionaries do a good job.

Yes, most missionaries really believe that they do a great job.

I am sure, you don’t believe this. But please…. say it openly.

And hopefully you won’t mind my plain speak…

Regards

Maria Wirth

(This article was published on the author’s blog and has been reproduced here in full.)

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Maria Wirthhttps://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com
Maria Wirth is a German and came to India on a stop over (that’s at least what she thought) on her way to Australia after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. She visited the Ardha Kumbha Mela in Haridwar in April 1980 where she met Sri Anandamayi Ma and Devaraha Baba, two renowned saints. With their blessing she continued to live in India and never went to Australia… She dived into India’s spiritual tradition, sharing her insights with German readers through articles and books. For long, she was convinced that every Indian knows and treasures their great heritage. However, when in recent years, she noticed that there seemed to be a concerted effort to prevent even Indians (and the world) from knowing how valuable this ancient Indian heritage is, she started to point out the unique value of Indian tradition also in English language.

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