When witnessing to our Hindu neighbours we can feel inadequate and ill-equipped. How might we engage in a way that naturally leads to Jesus. Here are some steps we might work through:
1. Enter – We need to take time to listen carefully to their worldview and understand what’s going underneath. One particular issue I’ve encountered is the incredulity of my Hindu neighbour in talking about ‘conversion’. But from their point of view, the way they understand the nature of reality means converting is a ‘non-sense’ as this Hindu saying reminds us:
“When the rain stopped falling, the Ocean gazed out at the puddles on the shore and the puddles gazed at each other and at the Ocean…All ‘faiths’ which are busy converting are stuck in Puddle vision, trying to separate the Ocean into Puddles and then gathering Puddles to make a big Puddle. They are thus revealed as being unaware of the shared essence, i.e. water. If you are aware of the essence you see the futility of the conversion game” (Satish Sharma)
2. Explore – We need to trust what the Bible says about our Hindu neighbour. They are men and women made in the image of God but who supress the truth and turn to idols to worship. One theologian notes that there are ‘magnetic points’ which shape all religion in the form of questions that are asked: Is there are a way to connect? Is there a way to live? Is there a way to be delivered? Is there a way we control? Is there someone or something above and beneath us that answers these questions? Put like this I hope we can see that lots of Hindu belief and practice attempts (wrongly!) to answer these human questions: Samsara, Karma, Moksha, Dharma, Caste, Avatars, Gurus, and Story, all display these magnetic points and help us in our understanding from a biblical perspective.
3. Evangelise – As Christians we proclaim that Jesus both connects and confronts Hinduism. He subverts and fulfils. For example, while everything in reality is connected, there is fundamental distinction between God, the personal Creator, and the rest of creation. Karma rightly wants to see everyone getting what they deserve but wrongly thinking people can pay that ‘karmic debt’ themselves. Only Jesus can pay that kind of debt. Moksha, the liberation from the ensnaring wheel of samsara, reflects the accurate feeling of us being trapped and needing escape, but this can only be found in Christ delivering us from bondage to sin, decay and death.
Enter, Explore, Evangelise and, of course, pray before, during and after your engagement.
Further resources to explore:
Daniel Strange, Plugged in (Good Book Company, 2019)
Robin Thomson, Engaging Hindus (Good Book Company, 2015)