international mission

Religious violence can be the result of overly aggressive generalization

Religious violence is wrong, regardless of who is involved, but the reasons are often more difficult that simple hate, often it involves money and politics, for example consider the situation of Pentecostals in India.

Butler University professor of religion, Dr. Chad Bauman recently visited India to understand the violence against Pentecostals. He writes: “A lot of the hostility to Christianity that’s found in India today is related to their evangelism and what’s seen as a predatory form of evangelism that targets vulnerable and marginalized people. It’s also seen as an evangelism that’s funded to a considerable degree from abroad, and that is true—about $1 billion a year goes from the United States to India to mission and service organizations.”

Bauman said Christians are seen by some of the more conservative elements of Indian society as a threat to tolerance and secular society “because they don’t respect other people’s faiths… Christians are seen to be intolerant,” he said, “and so the question is: To what extent can Indian society tolerate these aggressively evangelistic Christians before the secular fabric of the nation falls apart?

“Of course, in an irony that one sees sometimes in the American treatment of Muslims, some Hindus respond to that challenge by themselves acting in extremely intolerant ways towards India’s Christians, including, occasionally, with violence.”