Proselytizing drive of the Eastern Christianity in India

1. Actually, there are two questions that need to be distinguished from each other. There is, firstly, the question about the nature of ‘Eastern’ Christianity. If it is muted in its proselytizing drive in all cultures the same way and if it is ‘tolerant’ in exactly the same way in all cultures, it makes sense to ask the question whether (a) different factors in all these cultures have brought about the same effect (different ’causes’ can generate one and the same effect in differing circumstances) or (b) it is due to the nature of the ‘Eastern’ Christianity itself. Nobody is able to make such a claim today. We do not possess the theoretical apparatus which would allow us to make sense of the remarks I have made in italics.

2. The other question is much smaller in scope. It is not so much about the ‘Eastern’ Christianity as it is about the Indian traditions and culture. Have the latter muted the ‘Eastern’ Christianity in some recognizable way, recognizable, that is, when compared to its ‘Western’ brethren in India? Here, one is trying to characterize what it means to mute the ‘Eastern’ Christianity in some recognizable way.

3. With respect to the previous question, we can make some headway if we can characterize the Indian culture and develop some hypotheses about how and in what form this culture exerted its influence on the ‘Eastern’ Christianity. This is where we are now: trying to see whether it is possible at all to develop such a hypothesis. Consequently, the historical questions that you want to raise cannot even be formulated at this stage of research. And that for this simple reason: we would not how to go about evaluating any evidence that we may collect, or even what would count as evidence at this stage in the discussion. Would the number of the converted be the evidence, or the writings of the Patriarchs, or the number of social events that they organise, or …?

4. In other words, we really need to go some way in the development of our ideas before we put them to the kind of rigorous tests they must undergo, if they have to acquire credibility. I guess I am advocating some kind of patience, while fully resonating with your demands.

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