Student - 26 januari 2017

Spare me the sermons


It’s been a couple of months that I have been living in Wageningen and I have noticed that religious groups are pretty active here. I was under the impression that they were quite passive and welcomed those who ‘volunteered’ to join. But one Sunday morning, a knock on my door made me wiser.

I was taken by surprise when two elderly gentlemen were standing on my doorstep asking me if I wanted to discuss the Bible. I was not sure how to react, given that these gentlemen were quite senior and seemed very persistent about helping me learn more about their religion. I stood in the doorway listening to them for around 20 minutes before I finally mustered the courage to tell them that I was not interested. Even then, I was told to ‘think about it’ and that they would come by again to check on me.

Religious groups are pretty active here. I avoid eye contact for fear of being subjected to a sermon again

The encounter left me quite stunned because in my country, religion is considered to be a private affair and it is not common to meet people who actively evangelize. I happen to see these people quite often in the Netherlands and do my best to avoid eye contact for fear of being subjected to a sermon again!

Madhura Rao, MSc student of Food safety, from India

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NL: Preek

Op een zondagmorgen werd er aangeklopt bij Madhuro Rao uit India. Voor haar deur stonden twee oudere mannen die vroegen of ze wilde praten over de Bijbel. Omdat ze aarzelend reageerde, zagen de mannen hun kans schoon. Na twintig minuten bracht Madhuro uiteindelijk de moed op om ze weg te sturen. Ze bleef verbijsterd achter. ‘In mijn land wordt religie beschouwd als een privézaak en kom je niet vaak mensen tegen die actief evangeliseren.’ Als ze nu weer Nederlandse geloofsovertuigers tegenkomt, slaat Madhuro haar ogen neer. ‘Uit angst dat ik wéér een preek over me heen krijg.’

Re:acties 1

  • Maarten

    Mudhura's experience is a good example of a difference in culture and religion. The urge for people to tell others about their belief strongly depends on the specific religion. For instance, in India 80% of the people is Hindu. Hinduism is an extremely variable religion, with many different gods and religious groups. In Hinduism, there is no necessity to convince people from another religious group to belief in your specific ideas and honour the same god or gods as you do. In addition, there is not the notion of a heaven or a hell, but when you die your soul returns to a 'fountainhead'.
    In contrast, in the Netherlands the main religion is Christianity, and Madhuro met christians. In the Christian belief, there is much more the urge to evangelize. Christians belief in a heaven and a hell, and life here is seen as a 'preparation' for eternity. Only the belief in Jesus Christ can bring you into heaven. Therefore, it is crucial to belief in Jesus, not only for the sole christian, but also his dear neighbours.
    So, although Madhuro seems to dislike the people who talked about the Bible, actually those people meant the best with her. They wish you to come into heaven, and it would be unthankful if you would blame them!

    • fret

      I hope Mudhura will really think about it because since it is a difference in culture it is important to adapt to the Dutch culture of discussing religion and preparation for eternity. I strongly hope she will consider it to open her door again the next time and be more open to these Christians since it is most important to believe in Jesus Christ to prevent she will be send to hell right away. Please Mudhura, consider to change your mind before you finish you go back to your home country