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Religion & Theology
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Religion and Theology (Essay Sample)

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Religion and Theology
Religion and Theology
India had various indigenous religions that were practiced and still are practiced to date. These include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism and are usually classified as Eastern religions. Classical Hinduism for instance began in ninth to sixth centuries BCE while Buddhism and Sikhism were founded in the third century BCE and fifteenth century BCE respectively (Smart & Gosling, 2001). Christianity arrived in India about two thousand years ago when Saint Judas Thomas, an apostle of Jesus arrived in India in 52 AD. He was a carpenter brought to India by a merchant who wanted him to build a temple. When he came, he succeeded in converting some Indians to Christianity and these converts were referred to as Syrian Christians. Later on other missionaries arrived in India from Europe with the Portuguese in the fifteenth century and the Germans in the eighteenth century and continued converting local Indians into Roman Catholism and Protestantism respectively.
European Christian missionaries were however met with opposition from the locals. First, the early Portuguese missionaries wanted to impose western culture onto the local people and this was met with a lot of opposition. These missionaries wanted converts to not only convert their religion but to also abandon their indigenous cultures and to adopt the western way living including the way of worship, dressing, eating, dancing to name but a few. Their approach was to lead people to renounce their respective religions and to become strictly Christian (Deol, 2000). This was seen as a threat to indigenous culture that had been in existence for many years and therefore they were strongly against it.
Secondly, European missionaries mainly targeted the Dalits who belonged to the lower caste. This group of people was poor and had the lowest status in India. Thus, they lacked basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, education and healthcare among others. On top of these, they felt powerless and intimidated and were considered to be of any little importance to the society (Jenkins, 2002). However, when the Christian missionaries came, they were more interested in this group and would “lure” them into Christianity through humanitarian deeds such as provision of food, clothing, healthcare and education. This was met with great opposition especially by those who belonged to the higher caste who now felt threatened by the rising status of the Dalits. In retaliation, they began to oppose the Christian missionaries who they believed were responsible for that.
Thirdly, European Christian missionaries came to India during the imperialism age as European powers were looking for colonies abroad to expand their empires. What the missionaries used to is that they would be welcomed to a territory by the authorities and would live among the local people and ...
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