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Featured Hinduism and Christianity

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by sayak83, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member

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    Recently, a podcast show was aired where the leader of a Hindu association in UK was in a discussion/debate with a Christian apologist who was claiming the superiority of Christianity and Jesus over other world religions and religious figures (here Krishna specifically). The discussion was a civil one, but I do not think that Dipen did a good job in articulating the ideas driving Hinduism that makes it distinctive. Watch the episode here:-

    Unbelievable? Krishna, Christ and Hinduism debate – Ken Samples and Dipen Rajyaguru : Saturday 04 March 2017 2:30:00 pm - Premier Christian Radio

    My own preliminary views on the matter that I posted in the comments might be useful to kickstart a discussion here. So here they are:-

    I am a practicing Hindu. I personally found the above discussing a bit scattered in terms of content. After carefully looking at Christianity over a course of 6-7 years (I went to Bible study circle out of interest with a group of my Christian friends), I would have to say that Christianity does not stand up well against either Hinduism or Buddhism. I would mention certain basic points:-
    1) No eternal Hell:-Firstly Hinduism does not believe in the concept of eternal Hell. While the concept of the ultimate state of existence, moksha, differs a bit between the schools, most agree that all beings attain it over the course of their (multiple) lifetimes.

    2) No place for original sin:- Hinduism does not believe that there has been any alienation between the world and its material condition and God (Brahman). The world is not not fallen, and humans are not alienated from God. This world of shape and form retain its original nature as the aesthetic expression of creativity of Brahman (lila) and will never lose it.

    3) Origin of Suffering:- Some beings, over the course of their many lifetimes, temporarily becomes too enamored with the moment-by-moment unfolding of this world and forget that they are more than changeable, mortal selves that is their outer form. This forgetting causes them to assess their condition differently than they would have if they remembered their correct nature( as part of Brahman connected to the world of shape and form as locii of creative action). Actions and decisions they then make out of this ignorance create conditions that put them out of sync with their own true selves and this disjoint is perceived as suffering.

    4) Diversity of practice:- Since the problem is forgetfulness of the self and its true relationship with both the world and the transcendental reality, the solution is practices that help one remember them. There are many modes of doing this, and one can latch on to any or multiple combinations.

    a)The theistic strands do this by love and worship of God or Gods (Bhakti-Yoga) who are personal manifestations of Brahman who, knowing their own correct nature, seek to aid more forgetful beings in their own path to realization. That is the nature of Gita, where Krishna instructs Arjuna in this vein. Forms of Mahayana and Pure Land Buddhism are also of this nature.

    b) Meditative strands where, instead of building a loving relationship with a God, one looks within oneself through meditation and self reflection (yoga) to uncover one's true nature as Atman who is non-different from Brahman. The Upanisads encapsulate this insight while the Yoga texts describe the disciplines by which one achieves this. It is to be noted that Buddhist meditation practices are essentially of this vein though there are differences between Hindu-s and Buddhist on what is the nature of the thing that is uncovered by this. Most renouncers (sannyasins) fall in this category.

    c) Analytical methods whereby one uncovers the true nature of the world and the self through rational inquiry and philosophical and scientific investigation (Anviksiki). A very very important strand of classical and medieval Hinduism, these include the logical and epistemic investigation of realist and rationalist Nyaya school, the ontology and metaphysical investigation of atomistic Vaisesika school and the investigation of language and meaning by Mimansa school. An Indian Hindu will be practicing Anviksiki if he is in an academic discipline and his/her toil and effort in uncovering philosophical, mathematical, linguistic or mathematical knowledge would ideally be part of his yoga within Hinduism.

    d) Uncovering oneself through acting in the world (Karma-Yoga). Emphasized in the Gita, this method of how to act in the world so that it produces fruits of enlightenment is the subject matter of dharma and constitute the largest fraction of Hindu texts. They span principles of ethical action(the epic literature, the Dharmashastras), principles of politics and wealth acquisition (Arthshastra, Shantiparva in Mahabharata etc.) principles of cultural refinement, art and aesthetic (Natyashastra) and principles of lovemaking, family duties and filial relationships (Grihya-sutras, Kama-sutra etc.) While the principles are fixed, their application in the world changes as conditions of the world change. Hence texts in this subcategory continues to written in every age by the masters. Thus, the writings of Gandhi form as much a part of Dharmashastra texts as more ancient writings.

    While individuals and schools focus on different aspects of the four categories of enlightenment activities discussed above. However, a dharmic society as a whole is expected to pay equal emphasis in all four, and it is believed that all beings participate in all of the above through their multiple lifetimes.

    That's an incomplete gist. The corpus of texts and associated disciplines is so vast that no Hindu is expected to know or master all. So no Hindu can present a complete picture and one needs to talk to many to get a sense of the ecosystem of the Hindu worldview.

    Comments? Impressions?
     
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  2. omega2xx

    omega2xx Well-Known Member

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    What evidence do you have that there is no literal hell?

    If the world is not fallen, how do you explain sin and suffering? It is obvious in this forum that many are alienated from God, including Hindus

    That is just unprovable doctrine. It seems strange that EVERYONE, including you, is guilt of sin from time to time.

    More unprovable doctrine.


    Accepted by faith alone.
     
  3. wizanda

    wizanda Hairy doesn't mean scary;beard doesn't mean weird
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    Brahman is not Maya; we're in two states (Dvaita).

    There is also Hell in Hinduism, and Buddhist Lokas (Niraya).
    Yeshua teaches to lo let your works (Karma = action/works) glorify God (Matthew 5:16). :innocent:
     
  4. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member

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    I can directly quote from the Gita and the Upanisads showing that the world is of the same essence as Brahman.
    They (heavens and hells) are all non-eternal.
     
  5. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member

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    Hinduism places trust in its scriptures and its countless seers and rishi-s who affirm these ideas to be true by direct realization from the ancient times (Rig Veda) to modern times (Vivekananda, Aurobindo and many others). Do you have anything useful to say apart from you don't follow it? Its kind of obvious that in an interfaith discussion forum, people of different faiths follow different faiths.
     
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  6. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    Keep in mind I have not watched the link as of yet.

    In and of itself, how is that an argument for Hinduism, its superiority or most importantly its truth? You take it for granted that the doctrine of Hell is a demerit, but such an assumption has no basis.

    But this world is often a terrible place and human evil is so self-evident that it amazes me that anyone could seriously deny it. Is Brahman indifferent and amoral? If it is, then it is no god I recognise.

    Hindu beliefs are obviously very different than Christian beliefs. But that fact alone isn't an argument for Hinduism.

    If your goal is simply to point out that Hinduism is different to Christianity, then there's no argument to be had. But simply pointing out that Hinduism has a very different belief system to Christianity is itself no augment for the truth of Hinduism. Yet alone does it establish that Hinduism is at all more compelling than Christianity. A sentiment I'd highly reject.

    Christianity has a wide variety of practice traditions as well. The liturgy can be the most beautiful thing any human being can experience on this earth. The Tridentine Mass, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, the various styles of sacred music, icons, ect. There are also countless traditions for personal devotion such as the Divine Office, the Rosary, contemplative prayer, etc.

    And there is nothing here which the Catholic tradition can't match. We have a devotions, contemplative traditions, mysticism and rich intellectual traditions too. Try reading some of the scholastic authors such as Saint Thomas Aquinas. I do not mean to pit it against the Hindu tradition, but to point out that Hinduism has no monopoly on any of the mentioned.
     
    #6 Musing Bassist, Mar 18, 2017
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  7. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member

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    This is correct. Truth is truth. Thus if God is truly evil (for instance) and requires humans to be evil to get to heaven, that would have to be accepted. But such a world, even if true would be an inferior world when compared to a world where God is good and desire humans to be good. Analysis of superiority and inferiority can be done independently of the analysis of reality and non-reality. On that level Hindus will say that a world without eternal hell is superior to a world with one. Hindu-s will also add that their insight into the nature of reality shows that true state of affairs to be such that it reveals the transcendental reality to be both supremely good and devoid of eternal hell.

    That is your opinion. Most of us consider humans to be not particularly evil at all, but simply misguided regarding what is truly in their benefit because of their partial ignorance of their true nature (as aspects of Brahman, immortal and uncreated Atman). The suffering that exists on earth is essentially suffering that would exist if shortsighted and amnesiac people without glasses or memory aids drive cars in highways. God(s) continue to provide assistance to beings so that their ignorance is corrected. That is the role of incarnations such as Krishna etc. who appear not once, but countless times through history (and in other ways). So, no, Brahman and its personal manifestations are not indifferent to the situation.


    The thread is discussing the claim made in the podcast by the Christian apologist that certain features of Hinduism makes it objectively inferior to Christianity . The person is quite clearly an evangelical Christian. I expect a very different and richer interfaith discussion with Catholic Christianity.
     
  8. wizanda

    wizanda Hairy doesn't mean scary;beard doesn't mean weird
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    I found these books having two different theologies; Gita is Dvaita, and the Upanishads is very much where Advaita Vedanta thinking comes from.

    Bhagavad Gita 9.4
    This entire cosmic manifestation is pervaded by me in my unmanifest form. All living beings dwell in me, but I do not dwell in them.
    Bhagavad Gita 9.29
    I am equally disposed to all living beings; I am neither inimical nor partial to anyone. But the devotees who worship me with love reside in me and I reside in them.

    Saved these from the Gita, as love how simply put these over turn many thinking God is automatically in everything, and everyone....

    Makes me wonder who we should truly say, 'Namaste' to and it mean something.

    Personally question Brahman/God being like a formless evolving dynamic CPU, where it manifest reality; yet is also different from it. :innocent:
     
  9. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    If we're basing it on things we want to believe, where is that guy who believes beer will save the planet? Whether it needs it or not. (my addition to the faith)
     
  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Obviously that's what he believes. If he didn't he'd be a Hindu. Some Hindus believe the opposite. Others, from both 'sides', believe that each is right according to his/her needs.
     
  11. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    I disagree, an untruth can never be superior to the truth, as having the truth is good for its own sake. Since I reject core Hindu doctrines, Hindu statements about what constitutes a superior worldview are meaningless to me. Hindu say-so isn't an augment for anything regarding what is better to believe.

    I didn't say humans are evil, rather that they have a tendency towards it. Some fall deeper into this tendency than others, but none of us are above it completely. Catholic belief is that human beings are fundamentally good, but our natures have been wounded by an alienation from God.

    Neither is the god of the Christian tradition. We cannot by our own powers bridge the chasm between us and God, so God bridged the chasm for us by becoming one of us. Not an avatar, God truly became human.

    No doubt. I don't have much patience for fundamentalist Protestants myself.

    Nonetheless, being a Christian does mean a commitment to certain presuppositions. (My faith is summed up in the Nicene Creed) I therefore by necessity cannot accept many Hindu doctrines as having any basis in truth. We both obviously believe in the superiority of our respective religions.
     
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  12. Lorgar-Aurelian

    Lorgar-Aurelian Active Member

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    I'm not the only one that keeps saying " Well that is the pot calling the kettle black." Am I?

    In that case would you mind proving some of your doctrine? Otherwise that really is all this is. May I say though you make a fine pot.
     
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  13. Lorgar-Aurelian

    Lorgar-Aurelian Active Member

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    No one has patience for fundamentalist Christians these days. I would think it would be hard for someone not to think their religion was superior because otherwise why would you be a part of it?
     
    #13 Lorgar-Aurelian, Mar 18, 2017
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  14. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Also, historically in Europe, Christianity was one of the major reasons for studying the sciences and the Church was the preeminent promoter and financier of the sciences.
     
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  15. RedDragon94

    RedDragon94 Compassion, Independece, and Truth

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    Whoa whoa whoa, what evidence do you have that there is one apart from your Bible?
     
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  16. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member

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    Here I am more interested in clarifying what the beliefs are rather than if they are true (debate forum for that).


    I know. :)


    That is generally not a problem in Hinduism as God and man share the same essential nature in many of its traditions. An avatar like Krishna is fully God and fully human as well
     
  17. Lorgar-Aurelian

    Lorgar-Aurelian Active Member

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    That is 3 whoas. That is how you know this is serious guys.
     
  18. RedDragon94

    RedDragon94 Compassion, Independece, and Truth

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    I could've put four of em down.
     
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  19. Lorgar-Aurelian

    Lorgar-Aurelian Active Member

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    Man don't even joke about that man. That could be deadly.
     
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  20. sunrise123

    sunrise123 Darkness will pass. Dawn is almost here.
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    Personally I find the concepts of reincarnation and karma to be attractive but the Bible also talks about 'sowing' and 'reaping' so there is common ground on some parts of the theology.

    I was most impressed by Ramakrishna's statement on the Christ which has emphasized my differentiation between the Christ and the religion Christianity.

    Vision of Christ | How Sri Ramakrishna Saw Jesus Merge Into His Body
     
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