How The Bible Globalized Modernity
In my last lecture in Spain, at the beautiful Cullera beach, I discussed how God has been fulfilling his optimism inspiring promise to fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).
Spanish explorer, Vasco de Gama, reached India in 1498 via the Atlantic Ocean. That began India’s interaction with the west. For three centuries, until January 1800, India and the West interacted with each other primarily in terms of profit and power — trade and conflict. Then came the Bible.
In Bengal, on the banks of river Hoogly, began the Baptist mission at Serampore. One of its focus was on Bible translation, publication, and distribution. Thanks to the West, India was forced to engage with the Bible’s ideas. The Bible’s light questioned India’s cherished beliefs:
Is widow burning piety or abomination?
Is untouchablity holiness or sin of not loving your neighbous as yourself?
Is worship of idols and nature, appeasing God or infuriating the living God?
The Bible’s challenge to India’s deeply held beliefs began India’s reform and renaissance. Given that I have less than an hour, I will focus my attention on how the Bible brought to India,
(1) A biblical linguistic revolution – creating all modern Indian languages
(2) How it transformed Indian agriculture, horticulture, and milk production
(3) How the Bible changed Hindu (legal) marriage from polygamy to monogamy.
(4) How the Bible made India a nation and a free nation.
Please pray that 320 evangelical professionals who gathered for the conference will catch a vision for a biblical reformation. Spain should have been Europe’s greatest nation. But it crushed 16th century reformers. May God raise up another generation of reformers.
Prof Vishal Mangalwadi directs the Centre for Human Resource Development in a Unversity in North India. He has authored 20 books and lectured in 40 countries. His exposition of Indian philosophy and Western thought and culture In books such as “The World of Gurus”, and “The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization” are studied at university level.
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