I’m no expert on the Bible or anything… but I’m pretty sure this depiction of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus is just a bit inaccurate:
Barefoot and wearing a sari, with a bindi on her forehead and a naked baby on her shoulder, the woman in the picture is unmistakably Indian. So is the man behind her, clad in a loincloth and turban.
It’s the Bible for Indian people, created by the Society of St. Paul, in an effort to convert Hindus.
The notes even quote Hindu scriptures, such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, to help to explain Christianity to prospective converts. “We wanted to show the parallels between the themes in the Bible and in Indian religions,” Father Tony Charanghat, a spokesman for the Archbishop, said. “We’ve put the sacred text in a local context.”
For example, when Jesus tells disciples to turn the other cheek, the notes compare this to Gandhi’s creed of non-violence. Conservatives say that such devices corrupt the Bible’s original meaning, while Hindu nationalists say that they amount to blatant proselytising.
… It features 27 sketches of typical Indian scenes: one shows a family in a slum beneath skyscrapers. Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa also feature in lengthy notes interpreting the text for Indian readers.
You know, I want to believe tailoring the Bible to fit other cultures is not going to work… That the subjects will hear the stories, but they’ll find out someone’s been lying to them about the details. And the whole conversion plan will backfire.
I want to think that… but unfortunately, I don’t think the people being targeted know enough to question what they’re reading.
I doubt they would be as enthusiastic, though, if they knew the people writing these “special” Bibles had no regard for their ancient religions/cultures at all and just wanted to find a way to convert them.
They wouldn’t be so enthusiastic if they knew the publishers just saw them as brown people with targets on their back, needing to be “saved.”
I’m also surprised Christians would let this happen without condemning it at all. Where’s the uproar from them? Isn’t this changing the sacred “word of God”?