Of late I have been introduced to a huge list of documents and books on how Christianity propagates itself. I have been subjected to a whole lot of visits by people from the different dominions and pantheons of the religion. These people always come in pairs. They choose a Sunday when that is the only day you get to rest.
Every time a new pair turns up or meets me at train stations or mall entrances, they always thrust a few books and odd colored propaganda material. The only difference would be the organization that would be sponsoring the material. I have often wondered as to why such propaganda needs to happen ? If a religion is so sublime and pristine, would people not flock to that path en masse ? Why should religion be sold like a diaper – buy one get one free sort of.
And most importantly why are respectable people, who have a day job, doing this ‘canvassing’, if I may say so, for a religion that traces its origin to the very beginning of earth ? I have several well meaning friends who profess the christian faith but never one has asked me to ‘follow the path of their God’. So, why should complete strangers do this to complete strangers ?
Neither Buddhism nor Sikhism nor Jainism does this road-side selling. During my time in Tokyo for two years, never once has a Buddhist or a Taoist practitioner approached me for getting converted. Walk into rural Tamil Nadu in India and you will get at least one invitation to ‘immerse in the gospel’ staring at you from every pillar. Stand below the poster for a minute to enjoy a minute of shade, you will soon be in the company of at least two persons virtually dragging you to verbally into a ‘communion’ promising to liberate you from all sins of the earthly world.
I have been confronted by such people in Texas and in Singapore.
Just look around a parchy Tamil Nadu village. Out of the plethora of mud houses with thatched sheds would rise a two-storied building proclaiming the ‘Genesis’ and inviting you into the ‘Realm of God’. Needless to say, the building would have a luxury car parked in front of it.
Many years ago, I used to commute from a sub-urban Chennai location called Selaiyur to Central Chennai. The path used to meander through a location called Camp-Road junction. The slum dwelling adjoining Camp Road Junction had a small church spire. On a week-end, there was a congregation that had all the slum dwellers gathered in front of the church spire. There was a tele-film on Jesus that was being screened. And in a corner people queued up to receive divine blessings. The ‘prasad’ or holy food consisted of bread and a sweetened water. And the water contained some mild traces of paracetamol. The ‘devotees’ whoever had mild fever were cured in a matter of 30 minutes. And they believed that their fever went away just because of their attendance in the sermon. This would ensure their continued attendance the subsequent week as well. I suspect the local pharmacist would have been the happiest person in the locality as all his beyond expiry dated paracetamol stock would have fetched him huge gains.
Why does Christianity alone do this ? Is this ordained in the book ? What makes this ‘propagation’ a necessity ? Is it common across the different pantheons of Christianity ?
These questions have been piquing me for a long time. Therefore I decided to research upon some of the methods used in this mass canvas activity particularly targeted at the Indian subcontinent. And how is it that they have been hugely successful ? Is this not religious marketing ? Are there parallels between this evangelization and the modern marketing methods ?
The result has been mind blowing. And therefore the levels to which this ‘evangelization’ drive goes cannot be fathomed.
Let us look at some aspects of this going forward.