When Christians Ignore Easter for 364 Days

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Quick question – what hymns or songs did you sing this Easter morning?

Though it is the most momentous Sunday in Christianity and the most incredible event on planet earth, our fickle memories can even turn Easter into a distant memory. The tears about Jesus’ death – Good Friday – have long been wiped and so has been the Sunday sermon on Jesus’ resurrection. The final busy week of March is upon most of us, employee appraisals hang like Goliath’s sword above our heads and it’s India vs. West Indies at World Cup T 20 tonight. Thank you, but move on Easter!

As the intensity of that empty tomb in Israel dwindles down to “harmless” levels, here’s an encouragement for all Christians out there.

christian, easter, gospel, Jesus Christ, resurrection sunday, Bible, Christianity, christian faith, forgotten defeat of death, empty tomb, easter services, easter for daily life, Overcoming faith, the practical value in Jesus resurrection, the meaning of Jesus' resurrection
They forgot me on Easter!

 

Easter is more than an annual festival. It’s a quiet revolution that should rightly turn your world upside down, one day at a time.

For starters, consider what Billy Graham once said –

There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three.

The undeniable reality of Jesus coming alive three days after dying a bloody, brutal death on the cross is so solid a supernatural event, that I still wonder how as a knowledgeable Hindu, I was not aware of this truth for twenty-one years.

Continue reading “When Christians Ignore Easter for 364 Days”

‘PK’ – A Marg Movie Review

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“Believe in the God who created you, not the gods you have created.”

This line sums up the main message behind PK, Rajkumar Hirani’s movie that has the largest collection – Rs. 339 Crore in India at the time of writing this- and also has managed to stir up a controversy with some religious outfits calling for its ban claiming it had hurt their religious sentiments.

Plot

What then is PK about? The movie revolves around a benign alien played by Aamir Khan, who visits the earth to learn about it’s inhabitants. After the loss of his communication device, he soon gets named PK and begins experiencing human nature – and the human belief in gods who can help them. The movie is about his quest for the device that leads to encounters with a crowd of ”gods”, religions and godmen.

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PK Movie Poster

Enjoyable yet makes you think hard
Right from the beginning, the movie had my wife and I laughing out loud over PK picking up a local language, what with his hilarious questions and interpretations of all things Indian. Aamir Khan’s role of the child-like alien, caught unawares in a wild world, teeming with scheming people, grabs your attention. While the story is well done, this is not the only movie from Bollywood that has questioned godmen, idol worship and India’s religions. But unlike the Akshay Kumar starrer “Oh My God”, “PK” with its innocuous questions, scrutinises gods not just godmen.
The director Hirani claims to respect Hinduism. With PK, he seems to have tapped into a growing profusion of Indians who have seen through the powerlessness of idols in representing God. Indeed, that concurs with the Bible (Psalm 135:15,18, Jonah 2:8). I too believe idols can never represent the only God, who is the fullest expression of person, and therefore are a false front, a “wrong number”.

What didn’t make sense
All movies inform. They make an attempt to transmit to viewers the key message the director wants them to leave with. I feel Hirani does a great job asking questions we all need to hear about our gods. Unfortunately, I found PK’s answers too shallow.

1) PK leaves God undefined
“Worship the God who created us”? Well, WHO created us?

A main element of worship is finding satisfaction in the object of worship. Does he expect us to worship someone we do not know? In fact, almost every religion will claim to be the One direct link to the Creator God.
Is Hirani suggesting we chuck the claims of all religions because they are man-made? Is that not the creation of another man-made faith? Who is to say then, which man-made faith should we follow? Rubbishing all religions in a superficial manner is just throwing the baby out with the bath-water.

2) Will the real children of God please stand up?
While it would be ridiculous to expect ‘PK’ to be Christian in it’s world-view, PK uses phrases like “we are all children of God”. It seems Hirani doesn’t mind borrowing from religions for the sake of argument. But what if the Creator God has to say something about what kind of children mankind really are (Eph 2:3)? PK seems to question all assumptions, but this one is left untouched. Probably for good, because the movie would not have had the impact it generated. It’s after all a movie, not a documentary.

3) The total rejection of fear in religion
While there has been an abuse of fear for personal gain, which I strongly oppose,  is fear always manipulation? What if the Creator God values justice so much that He will not spare even His own Son Jesus to see that justice is done? Some faiths might value people enough to warn them about the God’s punishment for those who are unjust in any manner.
Maybe fear is not always bad. Is that not why we warn children not to play with fire?

4) Contradiction regarding the Christian faith
Hirani’s accuracy in relaying the message of Christ dying for the sins of people is commendable. But he has not done enough research on, at least, the Christian faith. One person in the movie actually says, “if God wanted me to become a Christian, He would have made me to be born in Christian family”. This misunderstanding of the Christian faith, now propagated, saddens me.

The notion that you become a Christian by being born into a Christian family seems to make sense, right? But can a child born into a family of doctors be declared a doctor?

That makes no sense at all! Hirani actually contradicts himself here because PK says earlier in the movie that “no one is born with the stamp of religion”. Then how did the Christian child come with the stamp of Christianity?

The Bible says we are ALL born sinners, displeasing God with our selfish hearts from birth. No one can become a Christian on their own without surrendering to Christ and believing in His mind-blowing sacrifice for their sins, displaying the Creator God’s true love towards people who don’t deserve it. I expected a noted film-maker like Hirani to not promote basic misunderstandings about faiths. I only hope his depiction of other religions in ‘PK’ have been accurate.

5) God is obliged to answer us. Really?
“PK” also portays the popular idea that God will help us in trouble, or when we are in need. Which is why we see Aamir Khan’s character running from temple to mosque to pray for his device. Interestingly, the Bible gives no guarantee of answered prayer.

Even Jesus’ final prayer to avoid his own murder, gets a ‘No‘ from his Father, God. Why? Does not God love people?

God loves us best by doing His good purposes, not ours. This is a hard pill to swallow for me too, but our nation needs to know this God, not some butler who exists to serve our needs.

Why I would not want to be PK
I loved the character ‘PK’. He is unassuming, something we all cannot be easily. He is shown to be the ideal we need to be. But I don’t need to be like PK. He seems to be content with enquiry after enquiry.

Though questions are important, we were not made to just ask questions.

I love being like Jesus, because my personal questions of life, death and true satisfaction have been graciously answered in Him.

Wish someone had taken the trouble to tell PK life is not about our questions or our needs- it is about a relationship with Jesus, that only He can grant us.

Go watch it!
But I realise it’s easy to throw stones at a movie that stands out shining among many others that ruin our lives starting with lousy posters. So, here’s to PK for raising some excellent, relevant questions, for talented acting and a hilarious yet touching story-line. Go watch it before that spaceship leaves.
And if you have questions that make your life lool , I suggest you bring them to the Bible.

What did you like or not like about ‘PK’?  Please share your comments below.

– Aravind Pulickel

Disclaimer: This blog post only expresses the author’s personal views for which the author claims sole responsibility. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the view of Margfamilies. Those who find any content here objectionable, may contact the author at aravind (at) margfamilies (dot) com for clarification.

A Letter to a Re-conversion Candidate

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Dear Re-conversion candidate,
There has been a lot of uproar over recent re-conversions that some Hindu groups conducted in Agra. There is word that more re-conversions from Islam and Christianity to Hinduism are coming in the near future.

As a fellow Indian & a Christian, I want to encourage you :if you wish to re-convert from the Christian faith to Hinduism, please do so – I support you!

If your faith in Jesus Christ has been unable to give you ration cards & a hassle-free life, blame it on our Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ!

He is unfortunately not like so many affluent Gurus our nation has harvested. He is the very Son of God, but He never chose a good life anyway and he didn’t even get a decent death. In fact he promised that we, His followers will face the same opposition & sufferings  He faced  (John 15:20). So why should you follow this troubled path to follow Him?

Also to blame are FALSE Christian teachers who may have TOLD you that you will get all you want in life if you follow Jesus- shame, shame– they seem to not even know that Jesus is not a wish-granting guru but the Final Judge (Acts 10:42).

It is also possible that you were part of a church where the brothers and sisters did not share their possessions with you out of love as Christ has taught us by His supreme example. If they have not done this, and if you are jilted & are moving away, I apologize on their behalf. There is no excuse, but I request you – please forgive us. We are hopefully, learning.

Finally, though I love you, the fact is – it becomes easier for me when so-called Christians choose to follow who their god truly is- money and comfort. Your “re-conversion” helps me see that your conversion was never genuine. It sobers me up and helps me when I know who is truly Christian and who is not.

Your friend & fellow citizen,
An Indian Christian.