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(LifeSiteNews― The first in-depth assessment of religions across India has found that more than half of all Christians in the nation believe in karma; that a majority don’t believe in miracles; and that only 37% are troubled about inter-religious marriages. One Indian bishop told LifeSite that the study findings were an “eye-opener” and a priest-professor told LifeSite that it reflects a failure to teach the faith adequately.

Despite some troubling findings, the survey found what might be called fertile ground for Christianity. More than 75% of Christians consider faith important, claimed to know a great deal about faith, and pray daily. Moreover, 9 in 10 Christians are immensely proud to be Christian, as well as to be Indian, according to the survey.

The study, the largest Pew research study ever undertaken outside the U.S., was “based on nearly 30,000 face-to-face interviews of adults conducted in 17 languages and 29 states and union territories between late 2019 and early 2020”.

The survey found that among adults claiming to be Christian in India:

  • 68% of Christian respondents believe in “only one God”.
  • 32% say they believe in the purifying power of the Ganges river.
  • 54% of Christians believe in karma.
  • 29% in reincarnation.
  • 1 in 5 Christians confirm praying in or performing rituals in Hindu temples.
  • 5% believe in polytheism.
  • 42% believe in fate.
  • 48% of Christians say that many religions can be true.
  • 51% do not believe in Last Judgement.

Nonetheless, more than 3 out of 4 Christians affirm their faith to be very essential in their life, they emphasize that they  know a great deal about the faith and its practices, and they pray daily.

Bishop Mar Thomas Elavanal, Chairman of the Syro-Malabar Synodal Commission for Liturgy, told LifeSite that the survey “was an eye-opener.” He pointed to the contradiction of not believing “in the One God [or] Last Judgement and believing in karma and [yet] claiming to know a great deal of their faith.”

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People of goodwill can disagree about the safety, efficacy and religious implications of a new vaccine for the coronavirus.

But, everyone should agree on this point:

No government can force anyone who has reached legal adulthood to be vaccinated for the coronavirus. Equally, no government can vaccinate minors for the coronavirus against the will of their parents or guardians.

Please SIGN this urgent petition which urges policymakers at every level of government to reject calls for mandatory coronavirus vaccination.

Fear of a disease - which we know very little about, relative to other similar diseases - must not lead to knee-jerk reactions regarding public health, nor can it justify supporting the hidden agenda of governmental as well as non-governmental bodies that have apparent conflicts of interest in plans to restrict personal freedoms. 

The so-called "public health experts" have gotten it wrong many times during the current crisis. We should not, therefore, allow their opinions to rush decision-makers into policies regarding vaccination.

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** While LifeSite opposes immorally-produced vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines, we do not have a position on any particular coronavirus vaccines produced without such moral problems. We realize many have general concerns about vaccines, but also recognize that millions of lives have been saved due to vaccines.

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Elavanal, who is Bishop of the Eparchy of Kalyan in the Indian state of Maharashtra, concedes that many Christians are influenced by other religious beliefs and are “not convinced about the uniqueness of Christ.”

Fr. Dr. Jacob Koippally, Vice-President of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences – Indian Session, told LifeSite that, with the plurality of religions in India, faith in the uniqueness of Christ must be stressed to Christian children in India.

Despite Christian teaching against marrying outside the faith (2 Corinthians 6:14), the study found that only a third of adult Indian Christians found it especially important to dissuade Christians from marrying non-Christians. In contrast, two-thirds of Hindus and more than 4 out of 5 Muslims strongly support stopping their members from marrying outside their religions.

Bishop Elavanal told LifeSite he was shocked that “for 63% of Christians, faith is not an important factor in choosing a partner in marriage.” He added, “They are more concerned about education and economic status” and fail to understand that two persons are joined by God. Jesus says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Matt. 19:6).

Elavanal said, “They are to be, one in body, mind and spirit. They must become one spiritually – sharing the same faith,”

Other key findings regarding Christians in the survey include the following:

  • 78% of Christians proclaim absolute certainty in their belief in God.
  • For 1 of 5 adult Christians, baptism is not especially important.
  • 24% believe in “only one God with many manifestations.”
  • 32% do not believe in “angels or benevolent spirits”.
  • 59% do not believe in “demons or evil spirits”.
  • 52% do not believe in miracles.

Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado, Bishop of Vasai, member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India  – speaking to Christianity Today admits, “When I, as a religious leader, talk to my own Catholic Christians, I find how little they know of the richness of their faith.”

Fr. Koippally, told LifeSite “we have failed to teach our children to love the Church.” They are, he says “in the church” rather than “being the Church.”


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