A vision for family religious education for Christian families in India

Antony Arulsamy, Fordham University


Throughout human history, family has been an enduring institution of interdependent relationship and a primary place for nurturing children. In spite of the modern day strain and secularization, religion and family remain strongly affiliated in India. The interviews conducted among Catholic families in seven states of India confirm this affiliation. Yet, religion, like caste and dowry, has become a divisive factor in today's Indian context. The foundational premise of this study is that a proper understanding of religion is needed, which is possible only through education. It is in this context that this study examines the meaning of religion and education and their intrinsic connections to religious education. It is argued that a deeper and broader understanding of religious education can prophetically speak to the vision and practice of family religious education among Christian families in India. In this study, the historical perspective on the Indian family from the Vedic period to the present times aids the reader to understand the background of Christian families in midst of predominantly Hindu families in India. Against this background the Christian understanding of family is explored in the Christian scriptures, specifically the teachings of Jesus and Paul. This scriptural examination brings out the inherent conflict between one's biological family and being a disciple of Christ. Bearing in mind this conflict may foster broader understanding and practice of religious education among Christian families in India living a religiously saturated culture. Therefore this study proposes a vision of Indian family that aims at highlighting Gospel values which bring harmony in the midst of various faiths in India. Family religious educational ministry in India should emphasize the spread of a comprehensive and humanizing counter-culture against the culture of hatred and violence in the name of God. The curriculum of family religious education should infuse Indian Christian families towards gender justice and a preferential care of those pushed to the fringes of society on account of exploitative systems such a caste, dowry and family violence. Thus, a vision for family religious education among Christian families in India is one of the most urgent and practical needs for the challenges confronting the Indian society.

Subject Area

Religious education|South Asian Studies

Recommended Citation

Arulsamy, Antony, "A vision for family religious education for Christian families in India" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3309252.