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Today’s question is: Esther Dhanraj attacks Brahmin woman Jaya Sudha’s conversion to Christianity. Is it right?
Good question. Esther Dhanraj continues to attack Christian Faith in her videos. I gave the link below and you can watch her video so that you can better understand my response here.
First, why would anyone become a Christian? Our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ said in John 6:44, ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him’. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. It is God who draws you to Jesus. Once God draws you towards Jesus, you will fall in love with Jesus and become a Christian. It is hard to say what God uses to draw you to Christ. God has millions of ways to draw your attention to Christ. God’s grace reaches people of all races, of all backgrounds, of all religions and of all castes. No one can stop when God decides to draw someone to Jesus. God loves Brahmins. God loves their precious souls. And God calls them to Jesus. It is futile to stop God when He is working to save a soul.
Coming back to Esther, she says, ‘My dad was a Brahmin. One Christian man targeted my dad when our family was in stressful circumstances and our family converted to Christian Faith. Having realized that mistake, I left Christianity and went back to Hinduism’.
This is one of the most common arguments against conversions to Christianity. Let us call it the ‘Dad in distress’ argument. ‘My dad was in distress. He was an emotional wreck. And Christians targeted him’. If you look at her words, she is insulting her dad’s wisdom. One of the great values taught in Indian culture is respect for your parents. It does not seem Esther has much respect for her dad. She implies that her dad did not make an intelligent decision to become a Christian. This ‘dad in distress’ argument is fallacious. Her hatred of Christianity exceeded her respect for her dad and she did not hesitate to throw her dad under the bus. I have great respect for her dad. He was genuinely following Jesus, enough to give a Bible name to his daughter. Not many parents in India give Bible names to their children. Her dad, a Brahmin convert, gave her a Bible name, Esther. I think that is great faith in God and the Bible.
My dad became a Christian and changed his name from Subba Rao to John. He also gave me a Christian name ‘Paul’. My dad told me, ‘you shall be called Paul’. When I went to medical school, there were over 150 medical students in my class. I was one of the two in the class with a Christian name. I can tell you that my dad’s conversion was real. He used to say, ‘I believe Jesus loved me and died for my sins. He rose again from the dead on the third day. One day in heaven, I will see Jesus.’ My dad’s conversion to Christianity was genuine. Until his death in 2018, he followed the Lord closely and faithfully.
Some people say, you converted for material things. My grandfather was a landlord. He donated his own land to the poor. My dad donated many acres of his own land to the poor. My mum donated her gold to the church. So, the allegation that my family converted for some material benefits is completely false.
They say, ‘if you become a Christian, there must be some selfish reason. You cannot become a Christian out of genuine conviction and genuine love for Jesus.’ That is not right. I come across Christians who become Hindus. Recently I was taking a walk in Denver, I met many former Christians chanting Hare Rama Hare Krishna mantras in the street corners. I respect their decision. I said to myself, ‘Maybe they liked some aspects of Hinduism that they became Hindus’. Esther should give some benefit of the doubt to people who become Christians: ‘maybe they really love Jesus and became his follower’s. She should start with her own dad: ‘Maybe my dad really loved Jesus and followed him’, ‘maybe my dad really made an intellectually honest decision that made sense to him’.
In the video, Esther says even Jaya Sudha converted to Christianity because Christians targeted her when she was in distress. Let us call this ‘damsel in distress’ argument. A variant of love jihad argument: ‘Christians targeted this woman when she was in distress’. But I call this ‘generalization fallacy’. Her ‘dad in distress’ argument became ‘damsel in distress’ argument. ‘If this is true for my dad and it must be true for everyone’.
Jaya Sudha acted in more than 350 movies and became a well known movie actress in South India. She is from a respectable family. She has money and fame. She has more to lose than gain by becoming a Christian. She often says, Jesus gave a direction to my life. I am touched by his love and became a Christian’.
So, Jaya Sudha has been following Jesus for many years. My brother owns a Christian store in Hyderabad, India. One day she stopped to buy a Christian book from our bookstore in India. My brother was in the bookstore that day and he said, ‘today Jaya Sudha stopped by our bookshop to buy some books about Jesus’. She is a busy and famous actress in India. Why would she take time to a Christian book store to buy books about Jesus? It seems she is genuinely interested in Jesus. She is not playing games.
I personally know many rich Indian women who became Christians out of convictions. We should also give the same privilege to Indians from lower socioeconomic status. We should not say, ‘rich people’s conversion is genuine but poor people’s conversion is fake’. Esther says, ‘Poor people become Christians for stuff’. She should also stop insulting the poor people of India who become Christians. The poor of India sacrifice anything for God. Suggesting that they would sell their devotion and allegiance for a bag of rice is highly offensive and disrespectful. They may be poor financially but they still have the capacity to make intelligent decisions. Most of them genuinely love Jesus and became his followers out of convictions. There may be some people here and there who become Christians for financial gains but saying ‘everyone is going for money and stuff’ is not right.
A person living in poverty will have both physical needs and spiritual needs. There is nothing wrong with meeting both needs. What is the point of the story of Good Samaritan?
The Good Samaritan saw someone fallen on the roadside, beaten and abandoned. He saw someone in distress and in need. He went to help him. Wherever you find someone in need, help them in every way possible. If someone is hungry, feed them, if someone is naked, clothe them. If someone is homeless, give them housing. In obedience to their founder’s commandments, Christians started schools, hospitals, orphanages, old age homes, housing colonies to serve the needs of people in India. They also preached the gospel of Christ. Doing both is in accordance with the commandments of Lord Jesus Christ.
Esther Dhanraj is a well to do woman. India has hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty. There is nothing wrong to give basic necessities to those people and to tell them about Jesus. There is nothing wrong for a person living in poverty to accept material benefits and to become a Christian at the same time.
So, my advice to Mrs.Esther Dhanraj is, ‘please stop insulting Hindus who become Christians’. If you want to fight Christians, go ahead and fight. But it is futile to try to stop God. As Jesus said plainly in John 6:44, ‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him’. If God draws someone to Jesus, you cannot stop him.