Modern India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 495 pages of information about Modern India.

XXVIII

AMERICAN MISSIONS IN INDIA

About 5,000 missionaries of various religions and cults are working among the people of India; two-thirds of them Protestants, and about 1,500 Americans, including preachers, teachers, doctors, nurses, editors and all concerned.  Their names fill a large directory, and they represent all grades and shades of theology, philosophy, morality and other methods of making human beings better, and providing for the salvation of their souls.  India is a fertile and favorite field for such work.  The languid atmosphere of the country and the contemplative disposition of the native encourage it.  The Aryan always was a good listener, and you must remember that India is a very big country—­a continent, indeed, with a mixed multitude of 300,000,000 souls, some striving for the unattainable and others hopelessly submerged in bogs of vice, superstition and ignorance.  There are several stages of civilization also.  You can find entire tribes who still employ stone implements and weapons, and several provinces are governed by a feudal system like that of Europe in the middle ages.  There are thousands who believe that marriage is forbidden by the laws of nature; there are millions of men with several wives, and many women with more than one husband.  There are tribes in which women control all the power, hold all the offices, own all the property and keep the line of inheritance on their side.  There are vast multitudes, on the other hand, in India who believe that women have no souls and no hereafter, and advocate the murder of girl babies as fast as they are born, saving just enough to do the cooking and mending and to keep the race alive.  Communities that have reached an intellectual culture above that of any nation in Europe are surrounded by 250,000,000 human beings who cannot read or write.  There are thinkers who have reasoned out the profoundest problems that have ever perplexed mankind, and framed systems of philosophy as wise as the world has ever known, and many of their wives and daughters have never been outside of the houses in which they were born; all of which indicates the size of the field of missionary labor and the variety of work to be done.

India contains some of the most sublime and beautiful of all the non-Christian religions, and perfect systems of morals devised by men who do not believe in a future life.  More than 60,000,000 of the inhabitants accept Jesus Christ as an inspired teacher and worship the same God that we do under another name, and more than three times that number believe that the Ruler of All Things is a demon who delights in cruelty and slaughter and gives his favor only in exchange for suffering and torture.  A tribe in northwest India believes that God lives on the top of a mountain in plain sight of them, and up in the northeast are the Nagas, who declare that after the Creator made men He put them into a cellar from which they escaped

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Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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