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The Urantia Book in India

Sue Tennant
Sue Tennant
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The Urantia Book in India

By Sue Tennant

Sue had an opportunity to visit India in November 2006 and gather information on The Urantia Book context in India. Here is her report.

Last November, after visiting our FreeSchools in Bihar, India, I met with Rev. Ashish Amos in Delhi. Amos heads up ISPCK (Indian Society for the Promulgation of Christian Knowledge) and they have printed and distributed The Urantia Book in Asia for us. I was looking for an update andin a nutshell was told sales are poor but gifts are strong.

The Indian Context

Amos explained that there are 19 constitutionally recognized languages in India, 1200 recognized dialects and 1800 unrecognized dialects. Literacy runs at 38% but only 2% are literate in English. 330 million people live below the poverty line (living on less than $2/day). 85% are Hindu, 2.5% are Christian. Only .002% of the population can afford to buy a book. The population is 1.1 billion. If our market is 5% of over 21 million eligible book buyers, it could be as much as 100,000 books in India.

Integrity And Staying Power

ISPCK was founded in India in 1711 and serves Asia and Africa. Over the last 20 years, Christian publishing houses have struggled. ISPCK is one of 4 out of 35 to survive. Ecumenical, with full media services and a strong force for Interfaith Dialogue, they publish 74 titles a year on theological, interfaith, social and environmental issues. They also provide anti-poverty programs such as women's empowerment, child care, and education. They are a well rounded Christian publishing/ service organization.

Free Urantia Books

Amos explained that Protestant seminary students face financial challenges in India. After 4 years of study, the burdens eliminate 50%. Once qualified, income is only $40/month. ISPCK helps by subsidizing text books and upon graduation, gifts a set of books including a Bible, Bible Concordex, several ISPCK publications and a Urantia Book. So far, 5,081 Urantia Books have been gifted. No one knows to what extent these ministers actually study The Urantia Book or use it in their ministries. But of the 132 theological colleges in the ISPCK jurisdiction, only 6 refused the book. Their reason: "It discounts the whole work of Christ."


Amos told us that a Bible-looking book like ours is of little interest to secular book stores in Asia. Amos recommends that we continue to gift the remaining books to seminary students and consider reprinting a Urantia Book that is specifically designed to look Indian and appeal to the Asian market. He urges us to take out information about American organizations and include a special Indian introduction. He also recommends aggressive book promotion with reviews, publicity, advertisements, and in-store marketing.

Problem for Christianity in India

India's substantial quality education infrastructure is thanks mostly to centuries of perseverance by Jesuits, Christian nuns and other missionaries. But today, Hindu fundamentalism has caused a Christian backlash. 8 of 24 states have outlawed proselytizing. Each month ISPCK receives over 200 hate mail and many evangelical pastors are in jail.

Our Challenge

Travel in Asia is cheap and appeals to many hundreds of thousands of young people and retirees. Book stores in travel centers feature many English books like A Course in Miracles and Conversations With God. Since The Urantia Book does not represent a particular religion but rather is a revelation to all religions, including Christianity, making the book available in these special markets is our challenge. We need to consider if our association with ISPCK maximizes this potential or if a secular book production company would do better. We need a well-designed quality book, at the right price, widely distributed throughout Asia.