To the right you will see a costume for Carnival in Trinidad, and I can tell you this is NOT one of the more revealing ones. Usually in Feb. Trinidad has their equivalent of Mardi Gras and everything you associate with Mardi Gras is there double.
When slavery was outlawed in the British Empire many from India were brought to Trinidad as indentured servants--they worked for X number of years, then were freed. Today the population of Trinidad is about half Indians and half West Indians--Trinidad is the largest concentration of Indians outside of India itself. Most of the Indians are nominally Hindu and the West Indians are nominally "Christian"--you know what sense I'm using Christian here.
On many levels the 2 cultures have mixed and coexist more or less peacefully--curry and roti are now endemic in West Indian food. But there is always a contrast drawn between the two cultures and one of these areas is in religion. In reality most of the people on both sides are not anything religiously--they don't attend worship, pray only occassionally, but if asked would acknowledge being ________ .
In talking with Hindus and former Hindus, frequently they bring up the disconnect between "Christian" morality and Carnival, which usually lasts a couple of weeks and is a time of hedonism--drinking, partying, dancing, prancing nearly naked through the streets to the accompaniment of music, liquor, and open sex. These "Christians" claim to be the moral ones, who worship the one true God, but look how they act.
In contrast, the Hindu festival of lights, Divali, which takes place in Dec. is quite different. It is touted as the largest alcohol free party in the Caribbean and is well organized with fashion shows, flea markets, etc. None of the debauchery associated with Carnival is part and parcel of Divali.
What a sad commentary on "Christianity"--it is known for it's immorality while Hinduism is known for the lack of alcohol. Is it any wonder most Hindus in Trinidad won't even consider Christianity? With what they see of it, why would they? Like many others all over the world they reject Christianity, without having ever seen the real thing.
It's no different in the United States, or anywhere else for that matter. As people see the hypocrisy or just the simple foolishness practiced in the name of Christianity, it's no wonder they reject it--I do to. I was talking to a lady yesterday whom I see about once a week. Something came up that I was studying with our neighbors, whom she also knows and something was said about "church". Dana and I have been trying to find an opening to talk to her, but nothing, until yesterday. "I'm liking what I'm hearing about your church more and more" she told me, then related why she stopped going to the Roman Catholic church--the priest was falling asleep during his sermon, drunk from the "wine" of the Lord's supper. And she is not alone--people just like her are everywhere. They're looking for fulfillment, know they need God, but haven't found Him in "organized religion".
There is nothing we can do about other churches, but let us never be the one someone points to as the reason they've rejected Christianity. The devil provides them with enough excuses, let's don't give them any more.
But we also need to understand where people are coming from and approach them from this point of view. When people tell me about abuses in other churches, I will agree with them that that is not right and talk about that we try to do ONLY what the Bible says. At least in the Caribbean most people feel you should do what the Bible says, so we get away from "churchanity" and get back to real Christianity.