India: So Different, So Same
Posted: July 1, 2017
India seems like such a bizarre place! On a visit, you might see festivals with bearded holy men walking on hot coals, people charming poisonous snakes, and crowds covering themselves in clouds of colored powder. People worship cows and feed milk to statues of gods.
Hindu is by far India’s main religion. It combines a big variety of ideas and customs. Hindus believe in a never-ending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. They believe in reincarnation—that after death, a person’s soul comes back in another body.
There are more than 40 festivals on the Hindu calendar. And the world’s third largest religion is filled with events to celebrate harvest times, moon phases, and the lives of almost countless gods and goddesses.
Yes, India is so different . . . but also not so different.
There are 1.3 billion people in India. And just like citizens in your town, state, and nation, they need to organize so that they have jobs, laws, education, and all the other things people need to live and get along together.
Just like you, Indian kids learn the names of their states (there are 29) and capitals, how their leaders are elected, and how their laws are made.
And just like in your country, there are Christians. That shouldn’t be surprising. It was God’s plan from the beginning.
In the very first chapters of the Bible, God says that he will bless all nations through Abraham (Genesis 18:18). Jesus commands his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) And in the last book of the Bible we read that when Jesus comes again, his followers will be gathered “from every nation, tribe, people and language.” (Revelation 7:9)
Maybe India isn’t so strange, after all.