Explaining christianity

Hi
I was born in a Hindu family but have decided to become Catholic when I turn 18 this year in December. I started reading the bible (app. No money to buy a book yet) and have tried my best to live as it commands.
Anyways, being Hindus, over here they have this big festival where they make statues of a Hindu god Ganesha and for ten days straight they dance on the street for no apparent reason.
All that aside, my mom wanted to bring one idol home when it starts in august. She asked me if I agreed and what followed was not very good.
Me: Um . . . yeah but I don’t think I’m going to do all that now.
Mom: Why?
Me: Nothing. ( I hesitate but after many questions I give in. I open the app and show her the verse which talks about idolatry.)
Mom: (Reading aloud) Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them (idols) nor serve them (I try to take it away before she could read the rest, but fail) for I the LORD thy God am a jealous god, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
Me: oops
Mom: You want to follow this god? One who punishes children for what their parents did?
Me: (meekly) It’s a figure of speech.
Mom: (Screaming) But you should know that it’s wrong! Will you follow a book or will you do what’s right? All gods are the same! They just show themselves to people in different areas differently!
Me: (retaliate) Whoa! Excuse me but that is -
Mom: Why don’t you believe in Hindu gods?
Me: (without thinking) because you believe in a god who got his head cut off and replaced by an elephants head ( I admit I shouldn’t have said it) and in monkeys that can fly, and there is even a legend explaining that we are white and have grey eyes because we came out of ash when in reality we came from the middle east not 500 years ago! (I didn’t really say that:o but its true)
Mom: (Silent for a minute) Everyone in the world looks at Ganesha (elephant god) as a symbol of love and wisdom while you say this! We light candles for Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) to bring wealth into our homes. You believe a person could live for hours after being nailed to a cross?
Me: Yeah they really used to do that
Mom: No one can survive with a nail through their head (I swear she actually said that)
Me: It was the hands and feet (Long argument after that with both of us claiming the truth. She gave up and was convinced later)
Mom: But why do you hate everything in India? You have a severe anti- India sentiment! ( I kind of do because of the holier than thou ( westerners) attitude in EVERY single person. But that’s not important)
Me: All I’m saying is that I’m not going to do the ceremony. I didn’t say anything bad about your beliefs so I expect everyone to do the same for me.

The argument dragged on for an hour after that. I got tired and went to bed. She stood beside me, and saw me with joined hands. I told her that I was praying as I do everyday, and reluctantly agreed to pray to Hindu gods also.

So you see, this is the problem I have. I talked to my little brother about Christianity and he liked it. I want to tell my mother too, but don’t have the patience for another argument. She believes Jesus existed, but has a problem with sole worship as these guys have a theory that all gods are same. Is there any way I can evangelize her and other people in the family without openly speaking? I don’t believe in idol worship at all, and I need to figure out something before the end of august or I’ll be forced to hold that idol.
Please suggest a way I can tell them about christianity

You have my utmost sympathy. My mother has no religion but absolutely hates Catholicism for reasons that have nothing to do with the religion itself. In fact, I think she would be quite happy if I had become Hindu instead of Catholic.

Your mother is hurt and offended because she feels you are rejecting her. It isn’t about your religion as much as she fears she will lose you. You can love your homeland without observing it’s religious customs. Be kind to your mother (remember the 4th Commandment) and show her that you will never reject her or India. Emphasize the love that you have found in your Creator. What you read was from the Old Testament. Do not forget that Jesus is the New Covenant and while he did not abolish the Law of the Old Testament, His greatest commandment was for us to love one another as He loves us.

In future conversations, be respectful of your mother’s beliefs. Show respect to gain respect. Remember that she is not condemned if she does not become Christian. She is among the invincible ignorant, which means she cannot reject what she doesn’t know.

As for me, I don’t discuss religion with my mom. For now, that is best. Her issues with the Church have everything to do with her anger at my father.

Is there a Catholic Church where you can speak with a priest? It would be very helpful for you to seek guidance and spiritual direction. I’m sure they have seen young people torn between two religions before and can advise you in the best way to handle this.

God bless!

(formerly known as “lutheran farmer”)

You have to be careful with saying things like that, they are not helpful for your mother or for you as they are more on the level of insults, they will only upset your mother foremost then encourage her to fight, and she will end by thinking that you have gone off the wrong path. This looks (I’m not saying it is and I know you said these things without thinking) like disobedience, instead you have to communicate obedience to the will of the True God.

Just a couple of tips,

A better way that this could have played out is if it began with you saying “But mom, I had thought so, and I really am convinced that this is the True God that has been looking after us all this time, and I don’t want to disobey Him”.

You see that by being open like this it becomes a more rational discussion and will encourage her to take you seriously and listen to you, instead of fighting.

Another one would be to stay calm. I know this can be difficult and I know that being forced into explaining the faith can be difficult too, since we worry about making a bad impression, and this can make us more volatile, I am the very same way myself and when I was younger than you (though I’m 21 now) I was really bad for this.

But don’t worry, whenever anyone asks you something about the faith that you don’t understand, you don’t need to worry about thinking of something on the spot, what you should do is simply admit that you don’t know, but promise to research it and then make sure you do it. This way is far more beneficial, logical and takes a lot of weight off your shoulders. I think it was Fulton Sheen who said that Catholicism is like a lion in a cage, you don’t need to defend it, you simply open the cage!

The Catholic Answers website is brilliant for looking up answers to questions, though there are of course many other sites too.

For this particular point that your mother brought up, I have found a good article for you. Not everything on this entire website is good, though, so I wouldn’t encourage going through it all, but with quickly looking this up for you this article does do a very good job by way of explanation.

carm.org/bible-difficulties/genesis-deuteronomy/do-sons-bear-sins-fathers-or-not

(Deuteronomy 24:16)–“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.”

(Ezekiel 18:20)–“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”

I hope this helps,

God Bless!

I think it’s the exclusivity claim that bugs followers of polytheistic religions. The first Christians were called atheists and sometimes persecuted for refusing to worship the Emperor or participate in any of the rituals of everyday civic life that incorporated pagan practices, and there were lots of those. India of course has some experience of being ruled by monotheist foreigners, Muslim then Christian, and that didn’t always go well.

The feeling tends to be that they are happy to recognize your God as a god but expect you to do the same for theirs and are puzzled that you don’t. There is no easy way round that. However, you are not the only Christian in India, do you have any contact with other local Christians and what do they advise? Also, perhaps you need to look into the Christian theology of the Incarnation. Hindus might be happy to think of Jesus as an avatar of the Divine One like Krishna but there is, as far as I know, no Hindu equivalent to incarnational theology. Closely related to the Incarnation is Mary the Mother of God. If you can describe the unique role of our Lady in the economy of Salvation it will help people to understand more clearly the uniqueness of Jesus.

I just came back from the Middle East. Yes, many in my parish were from India. Find a local priest to help you. Especially as a new Christian, you do not need to know all the answers. You can incorporate some of the good traits of Hinduism, like humility, as you continue to learn more about Catholicism.
Your mother will be pleased to learn that the 4th commandment is “Honor your Father and Mother.” This is the only commandment that contains a promise, “that you may live long in the land.” At 18, it is easy for passion to turn to argument. It is unlikely that you have learned to restate what the other person is saying. Be patient with yourself, and especially with your mother. Go to her. Without compromising your new found Faith, let her know that you love her.

:mad: Your mother didn’t read the entire paragraph!!!

Keep reading!!! Onward to knowledge!

Exodus 20:6
But treating with mercy the ones who love Me and keep my commandments, down to the thousandth generation.

:crying: The awards are more abundant than the punishments!
:bowdown2: Blessed be the name of the Lord!

I agree that this is probably true. You are rejecting the religion in which your mother raised you. She probably sees this as a rejection of herself. I remember when my older sister told my mother that she was leaving the Church. You never heard such a commotion. Like the OP’s mother, my mother took it personally.

This is a big issue in Asian countries where traditions and filial piety ranks high. I am lucky as my grandpa converted to Catholicism so the whole family is Catholic(except for one). It is so difficult that one has to “betray” his culture, his ancestors in order to worship a “foreign Western God”. However, I do see with more internalisation as world borders come down, more will turn to Christianity as shackles from the past come loose, smaller families and fewer kids, work outside one’s home city/province/country leads to a less homogenous family unit and less pressure to maintain cohesiveness of religion. For those burdened with Chinese major/minor Gods, breaking away to the one true God is relatively easy and logical. Why worship many gods when one can do? A God that can’t be bribed whereas some of these gods require a “gift” in return for some blessings. And if the gift is not forthcoming, woe to the blessing seeker as some of these gods can be rather vengeful.But Jesus is a foreigner as some oldies would exclaim! But he is Asian too! West Asian actually I would counter. After all Buddha was Indian and not Chinese anyway and the so-call gods in Chinese religion typically are man-made e,g god of war Kuan Kung, Buddha was a mere mortal etc. Really nothing divine about them and they don’t really create anything unlike the Abrahamic God. And very rarely you hear these gods depicted as a god of love.

Asia is fertile grounds for Christianity. But like in most things, evangelization in these waters need planning and strategy that fits the locality. Worship of the ancestral dead now has transformed to respect for the dead for Chinese Catholics. We maintained the 10 commandments in worshiping God only as well as honoring your parents. No we don’t burn hell money, just prayers, candles, flowers and sweep the graveyard clean twice a year. Once on Ching Ming Festival and another on All Souls Day. For Indians, probably other innovative ideas may help to overcome resistance from the elders.

One of the things that Catholicism has been able to do throughout history is to Christianize many pagan customs and traditions. The Christmas tree, for example, comes from a pagan Roman winter festival. Yet the evergreen tree has been transformed to represent eternal life. Yes, it has since been secularized, but that is a different issue.
I wanted to relate what you are facing to an article I read many years ago related to Native American culture, conversion, and the Communion of Saints. The author, a Native American, related the tradition of the 14 Generations. Each generation gives honor to the seven generations that walked the Earth before it and is responsible for the seven generations to come after it. As the author learned about the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Communion of Saints, he could connect it to what his tribe taught about the 14 Generations. The Saints are watching over us, cheering us on as we run toward the finish line. When you come into the Church, the saints join us in the Mass.
As you learn more about the Catholic Church and what She teaches, you will be able to make your own connections between those cultural traditions that can be transformed versus the ones that must be rejected out of hand. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in actually using these traditions to explain what you have discovered in Catholicism to your mother. Be patient.

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