How Has Christianity Fared In Its Biggest Test?

Now is the time for the great harvest, because a new window of opportunity has opened. So please open your hearts and wallets.”

This was James Vanglan writing in 1876, a missionary in India for 19 years. For 18 centuries, expectations of the coming “great harvest” of souls in India has been expected.  There live millions of Hindus waiting, evangelists have said, to hear the gospel and be converted.

These evangelists expected success. And, why not. Christianity had spread across several continents and left them majority Christian. With enough money collected in the pews India would be saved.

What has happened during those 18 centuries of money and effort? Nothing. The needle has never moved. In fact, Christianity is right now losing ground to Hinduism in India and, statistically, worldwide. Perhaps this experience with Hinduism is a lesson from which Christianity could learn something. I’ll give my own list of what the Hindu experience should teach:

1.) The Jesus/Jew story in the Bible is not compelling to millions of people. To such people either the far-fetched story does not appeal, or, there is another far-fetched story they like better.

2.) There has to be something people are dissatisfied with in their current circumstances that compels them to shop for a different or any religion. Christianity spread because people were dissatisfied with their circumstances. Hindus are not dissatisfied.

The lessons of Christianity not competing well with Hinduism may have applications in the U.S. and Europe where it is slipping. A faith needs to offer something people need.

[A link discussing this topic can be found in comments.]

 

56 Responses

  1. I’ve always felt that it is cavalier of a religious group to set up camp in a country with it’s own very ancient religion in an attempt to convert people. The zeal with which churches send missionaries to faraway places for the express purpose of telling them that their religion is wrong and their own is right is misplaced. Let other people be. Do your own thing, and let others do what they want. The whole missionary thing is a scam anyway, but don’t get me started on that.

  2. Henry

    This is really boring. We need more talk on abortions, gays, and evolution. I am really starting to lose interest in this constant drunken rant against Christianity.

        1. Define sense.There are so many meanings to that word, are you deliberately being ambiguous ?
          Perhaps there is one that you have that I don’t, the ability to sense the supernatural leading to your oft declared faith? You should be bit more tolerant of people that are lacking that gift, people that can’t see the rightness of your position, could there even be a God Gene? If so is it an anomaly, very active in some like yourself but absent in animals and most humans? Religion as a genetic aberration, something that came with evolution? useful but not necessary.

          1. Henry

            Sense as in you speaketh like you flew in on the plane from Dagobah, except you aren’t short and do not have the Spirit.

          2. Now you are being senseless, there is no force it was a story just like your Bible.
            Actually made more interesting movies though, even without Charlton Heston.

    1. Henry 12:38 This is really boring. We need more talk on abortions, gays, and evolution. I am really starting to lose interest in this constant drunken rant against Christianity

      Please be patient. These drunken rants with information about Christianity are necessary because many need to hear them. 🙂

          1. Youbetcha, the atheist great commission.

            I spreading the word as best I can. I thought today’s blog would be helpful to those in the faith who think if they just tell the tale of sin, heaven and hell people will believe it.

          2. Wanna–You have pointed repeatedly to the “hardened hearts” of some us here who are skeptics of the faith, especially entech and me. Is India’s refusal to accept Christianity for these 18 centuries an indication of hundreds of millions who suffer from hardened hearts?

            I just looked up some references in the Bible to hardened hearts. The Pharaoh who was arrogant and others who heard the story of Christianity and blew it off were said to be suffering from this malady called hardened heart. It sounds just like India–it has heard to word but rejected it.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            @ 1;12; Strange ! I didn’t bring up “hardened hearts”. One wonders why.
            Maybe it’s subliminialismish. Spooky huh.

          4. Jon @ 1:12 says Wanna–You have pointed repeatedly to the “hardened hearts” of some us here who are skeptics of the faith, especially entech and me.”

            which brings up the rather strange response:
            @ 1;12; Strange ! I didn’t bring up “hardened hearts

            Does this mean that you have never and will never talk about hardened hearts and the bound will, if so that would be a lie.
            Does this mean that you haven’t mentioned it in this thread, that is true; on the other hand no one said you did!

          5. entech 12:47 Does this mean that you have never and will never talk about hardened hearts and the bound will, if so that would be a lie

            I just brought up one of Wanna favorite topics and now he doesn’t want to discuss it. The Bible goes on at length about bound will and hardened hearts. It is the reason people don’t convert. It just seems to me preachers could go to India, explain the problem folks have there with their bound will and hardened hearts and Hindus would be sooo grateful. They would all jump up and say, “Thank you for pointing out my will is bound and my heart is hard. Now I’m Big Jesus all the way.”

          6. Wanna B Sure

            In fact, I very seldom bring up “Hardened heart”. I have however mentioned “Bondage of the Will” from time to time. A topic that seems to really iritate you boys. While the heart thingie and the will thingie are related, they are not the same. Neither one of you have independently indicated you understand the how and why. I would guess you are past the tipping point, and are unable to. Yet, now here you are, seemingly obsessing on it. This is a good thing. Like an itch, you have to scratch it, but it won’t go away. I thoroughly ‘splained the whole thing 2-3 years ago. Evidently it didn’t help then, so I won’t help you today. The more you center on it, the harder it will be to ignore it. As it has already come to be for you. Almost like loosing controll, and I’m sure that makes you uncomfortable. This is good. I’m here for you man.

          7. Wanna B Sure

            PS; Jon; your 2:54 clearly indicates you have no clue as to what you are talking about.

          8. Wanna 3:58 PS; Jon; your 2:54 clearly indicates you have no clue as to what you are talking about

            I’ve never claimed to be a theologian. This topic of bonded will or hardened heart is something more complicated than what I have portrayed here. But, in the macro picture, it is quite simple. It reflects a strategy laid out by the ancients in the Bible and continued on by the faithful today. Principle 1.) is, if one does not believe in the far fetched super natural magical thinking engaged in by the faith, there is something wrong with that person. “Bonded will” and “hardened heart” are a couple of the shortcomings of nonbelievers. Others are that the person is selfish and wants to continue unabated in their selfish sinful lives and not be punished and the person “knows” the truth and does not admit it, etc etc.

            Principle 2.) is that the god/Jesus/faith/message is never at fault or in doubt. As one of the ex preachers wrote a while back, one of the things expected of a preacher is to take God off the hook the Sunday morning after a terrible tragedy. That is, even though God loves you and wants the best for you, he allows terrible things to happen to you. Afterwards you can pray. In that way, God is wonderful.

            So, when we have a huge country like India where Christianity has tried over and over again to convert and has had no success, I think it is fair to bring up some of the sham in the faith. The Christian way of explaining why the faith is not popular there is to say it is the fault of the people of India, not the weakness of the Christian message.

            Some of us just don’t buy that.

          9. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; You must have laid awake last night, as to how to respond. This is good. That you admit to not being a theologian should reveal to you that you don’t have the depth to argue the subject in the first place. You may be surprised to know one does not have to be a theologian to understand it, but you should have at least the basics to argue against it. This you are lacking. Your 2:54 fully reveals your limitations. It is riddled with false assumptions, and just plain dumb statements. It is beyond you. Bound. Keep it up. This is interesting.

          10. Wanna 2:09 This you are lacking. Your 2:54 fully reveals your limitations. It is riddled with false assumptions, and just plain dumb statements. It is beyond you. Bound. Keep it up. This is interesting

            We have two different interests. Yours are individual trees. Mine is the forest.

          11. Wanna B Sure

            You fellers almost treat this subject as though it is “hidden knowledge”, as in gnosticism, and related sects that practice non-transparency. However it is not. It is totally transparent, and available to all. You have no one to blame but yourselves, and you reject that which gives you that freedom to do so. I can go in, I can go out, but you are bound to remain where you are. I feel your pain.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          One tree at a time, and you want to rule the forest. Sounds like a very Grimm tale. You sound like your Vanglan.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world & loose his own soul.”

            Your 6:57 is a very weak attempt to change the subject.

            Back to your subject at hand. Or have you shot your wad, and have nothing more to constructive to say.

      1. Wolfy32

        If Jon or others don’t have a clear grasp of what you’re talking about and still don’t get it (according to you) regardless of how you explain it.. .. . . . . It makes many of my points for me. If it’s that hard to grasp how is anyone supposed to grasp it…. Oh, that’s right, only those that accept Christianity without questioning anything about are able to understand because it passes all understanding.

        Got it…. Well there’s no way you can grasp the flying spaghetti monster! It’s way beyond your understanding!

        1. Wanna B Sure

          Looks like it really bothers you too. As usual, you have the cart before the horse tenderfoot. The krupper goes on the other end. (A metaphore.)

  3. Wolfy32

    Jon, Revelations speaks of the downfall of Christianity. It will be lost as prophesied. The prophecies indicate that people will suffer from hardened hearts. There will come a time when people globally will unable to be won to God. God will hardens man’s hearts for or against God. This means the harvest can then be performed. Those of God are easily found because there won’t be many left. Those not of God will be judged and condemned because they are the vast majority. Revelations predicts, prophecies, and supports the fact that Christianity will lose in the end. At least in some form.

    The ancient writer of Revelation I suspect lost hope and was trying to regain hope, and realized that even though the battle may be lost on Earth, Heaven, God, etc, will ultimately be the victor even if the whole world is destroyed.

    My thoughts are quite simple on this. If God is an all powerful being, and there’s nothing in the universe that can challenge his power. Then, how is it even a remote victory destroying most of the human population of earth and selecting a few for heaven? How is that a victory. That’s kinda like the US and Russia nuking Africa and the next day saying, we were victorious over the Africans… Really? That’s a victory? I would use “victory” loosely in that case. Revelations brags that those chosen by God and that didn’t harden against him, are might victors over the whole world. How is that a celebratory thing? Again its the victim complex. “We were oppressed all our lives finally we get to show you and what you deserve, go to hell everyone on the planet, neener neener neener, I’m going to go party with God now.”

    I’m sorry people have felt inferior and now need to boost their superiority over others with religion. I wish religion wasn’t an “us or them” religion. But more of a “we” let’s work together instead of judge others.. A’las Christians are human as much as any other human.

    1. Henry

      Wolf: “Revelations speaks of the downfall of Christianity.”

      Huh? What kind of cherries are you pickin’. Didn’t you read about the victory in Christ?

      1. Henry 1:51 Huh? What kind of cherries are you pickin’. Didn’t you read about the victory in Christ

        Isn’t “victory in Christ” cherry pickin’? Cherry pickin’ the Bible is fun. Everyone does it.

        1. Henry

          The Book of Revelation does not support Wolf’s claim of the downfall of Christianity. To arrive at such requires cherry-picking, not a general reading of the context. If the results of “cherry-picking” and the general context agree, then feel free to accuse me of cherry picking.

          1. Henry 2:24 If the results of “cherry-picking” and the general context agree, then feel free to accuse me of cherry picking.

            Both cherry picking and general content are there for the taking. I use general content for the references to homosexuality and we find there is not condemnation of it. Others cherry pick versus they think condemn homosexuality and leave their denominations to justify what they want the Bible to say.

            It’s all available to all of us. Good reason not to take the Bible very seriously.

        2. Wolfy32

          Victory over what… Going back to my original analogy of nuking Africa… What’s there to be victorious over?

          There’s nothing to celebrate about nuking a bunch of non threatening Africans. There’s nothing to celebrate about an all powerful being that could blink everything out of existence in a split second defeating us measly humans? It’s like celebrating a chess game over someone that doesn’t know how to play chess. YAAY WE WON! WOOOHOOO! Umm? the 5 year old ate one of the pieces…. heh… Not much of a victory to celebrate.

          One needs a powerful – threatening- foe (generally speaking) to have an honorable win to celebrate. None of it makes any sense to me other than to boost the egos of man.. God would have little or nothing to celebrate.. He made us.. Losing half to 3/4 of the global population would be a lost battle… But, who can he blame but himself? He made the rules and created the battle. Nothing to celebrate and many losses to mourn… Doesn’t sound very cheery to me.

          1. Wolfy32

            Henry, you take things so literally, it was just an analogy to point out, a “battle” between someone really powerful and someone really weak, is not a battle to celebrate. Revelations celebrates victory… But there’s nothing to be victorious over.

            Victory over death maybe, but, God made death an option, so how is that a victory? Lol… There’d be nothing to “win” if God is the maker of everything.

            Yaay! I won.. Oh wait, I always win… What’s the point of celebrating a victory…. Just points out how much of Christianity is for man, not for God. (Not saying Christianity is the only religion designed for man, I’m sure many others all serve man kind as well.)

          2. Henry

            Wolf: “Henry, you take things so literally, it was just an analogy to point out, a “battle” between someone really powerful and someone really weak, is not a battle to celebrate.”

            To the contrary, you do with your handling of Revelation. At the very least, you stated your nucular “analogy” very poorly.

            Seems to me you are still carrying over some of your pre-atheist tendencies and holding them very tight.

  4. Adam Heckathorn

    Wolfy I actually emerge victorious every morning over My Cat. I come down stairs She’s in My computer Chair She acknowledges My superior bulk especially around the backside and meowing Her displeasure makes a strategic retreat to My easy chair. Later after I’ve had My fill of solving world problems through facebook, this blog and a few other avenues. I head for My easy chair, coffee and book in hand once again the battle is joined but again by virtue of My large backside I emerge victorious! Truly something to celebrate perhaps songs should be written about My glorious backside but wait someone has a poem! http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182194

    1. Wolfy32

      Precisely my point. You should celebrate that your cat fears for its life and moves anytime you choose to sit down!

      1. Adam Heckathorn

        Wolfy I think perhaps You should prostrate Yourself towards My townhouse as You reply to Me. I’m not going to ask You to do it several times a day once a day should be enough because to quote Bill Murray in groundhog day I’m a god not the God. 🙂

  5. Wanna B Sure

    Who was James Vanglan 1876- India. Can’t find any reference. Could he have been full of the enthusiasm of colonialism in India and elsewhere, and projected it to mission success. There were visions of grandure- – – and arrogance.
    There is something about all the world would hear, but it does not say all would believe.

    1. Henry

      Wanna B Sure on May 6, 2015 at 4:27 pm said:
      “Who was James Vanglan 1876- India. Can’t find any reference.”

      I can’t either. I do not think it is a real source. Interesting.

    2. Josiah

      From the article linked in Jon’s first comment:
      James Vaughan, a missionary who spent 19 years in Calcutta, writing about the coming total victory of Christianity in India

        1. Henry 10:10 It is not a readily testable reference. A citation is required to go any further.

          I checked the Christian numbers. Not much variation there. Christianity has spent a lot of money in India with nothing to show for it.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        1. different name-spelling
        2. Such a long link with small print to follow, when Jon admits to not consider worthy other suggested links.
        3. If James Vanglan and James Vaughan is the same person, (hard to believe that large a typo), I can’t find anything on him for context, as to who afilliated with, funded by, from where, and why, other than the time frame and indicated writing. British Methodist ?, enthusiast? during colonialism ? That would explain a lot, including wishfull thinking, or more probably to gain more donations to support his mission from the “home folks”. This was a common practice. Do mission work someplace, then go back home and make money raising speaking tours. This would seem to be the primary motivation. A great motivation to s-t-r-e-t-c-h reality and the facts.

  6. zep

    Please let me send a special rant to you. God loves you Jon very much but please why do you always attack my God. God wants you spend time with Him in heaven. The way you are going you will seem like you want HELL. I know you do not believe in either heaven or hell, but I must share with you that Gods all of you very. I heard that we will be having a former atheist accepted Jesus Christ and will be Baptized this Sunday. The truth of God will always s be shared.

    1. zep 9:46 God loves you Jon very much but please why do you always attack my God

      I did not “attack” your god. The blog gave statistics on the failure of Christianity in India and I gave my explanation as to why the numbers are so abysmal and how Christians might learn from this. Please quote from the blog the place where I attacked your god.

  7. Adam Heckathorn

    Jon I’m beginning to believe Our Christian Friends have a dictionary We don’t have access to as words such as “attack” and “persecuted” seem to be defined in a way differing from all the dictionaries I have access to. 🙂

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