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Featured Hinduism and Christianity

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I was reflecting on the differences and similarities between Hinduism and Christianity then came across a Christian apologetic's website:

    Bible Questions Answered

    and a specific item

    I am a Hindu, why should I consider becoming a Christian?

    It is probably no suprise the author(s) are critical of Hinduism and favour Christianity.

    So I wondered how Hindus view of Christianity given India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. I have certainty encountered passionate anti-Christian and anti-Abrahamic sentiment amongst Hindus on RF that certainly matches if not exceeds negative attitudes from Christians towards Hinduism. On the other hand I've met both Hindus and Christians who have a very universal and inclusive outlook.

    I came across this article that appeared insightful.

    TRADITIONAL HINDU VIEWS AND ATTITUDES TOWARD CHRISTIANITY | Aghamkar | Global Missiology English

    I'm neither Christian, nor Hindu but wondered about the relationship between the two religions these days. Do the two religions coexist in harmony? If not, why not? What is your experience of attitudes of Hindus and Christians towards the other?
     
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  2. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    What is is you wish to debate?
     
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  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    At this stage I'm keeping it open for anyone to share their perspective if they wish. I'm not so concerned with specific ideological differences between Hinduism and Christianity. They are reasonably easily to identify and define though Hinduism will always be a work in progress for me. What is of particular interest are attitudes towards peoples of different faiths.
     
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  4. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Hindus believe in a universal soul or God called Brahman. Brahman takes on many forms that some Hindus worship as gods or goddesses in their own right. ... Hindus believe in reincarnation - a belief that the soul is eternal and lives many lifetimes, in one body after another.

    I got that off the Internet because I have not studied Hinduism at all, nope none. I don't see major issues with it right away, aside from the Jesus Christ part. So, right away, Christians are going to be all pushy about an issue that none of us could prove in a court of law.
     
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  5. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That's how I see it. Do you see any similarities between Brahman and the Christian God? Three aspects of the Hindu God are Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva.

    Trimurti - Wikipedia

    In Christianity we have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    In Christianty we have an eternal soul as with Hinduism, a concept of rebirth, but no literal reincarnation.

    RF is a good place to learn about other faiths. Some within Christianity and Hinduism will look for common ground and see both paths as valid. Other's will see the two religions as worlds apart.
     
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  6. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    You might as well ask why blacks and whites can sometimes coexist and sometimes erupt violently. Truth is, there is so much historic hangover that both sides have inherited gripes of their forefathers' forefathers.
    Hindus are generally pretty chill. But historically speaking Colonialism went hand in hand with Christianity. That tends to bring out sentiments of jealousy and spite from those colonialised. So the anti sentiments are more likely politically influenced rather than any religious arguments.

    Oh and the belief in reincarnation is optional. Some believe it, others don't.
     
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  7. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    It is useful to as ask about the relationship between American's of European descent compared to those whose ancestors originated from Africa. History is of course hugely relevant. The history of colonialism is perhaps one of the most important determinants that shaped the relationship between Hindus and Christians. Before that, India had the experience of being colonised by Muslims which I presume must be relevant. I appreciate you are one of the chilled Hindus.

    Thanks for reminding us that all Hindus don't necessarily believe in reincarnation.
     
  8. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    My uncle puts it like this.
    Political parties, much like religions, are mere fronts for duping people into fighting wars that their masters will never once see.
    I have to agree with him. History shapes our past to be sure. But to allow it to strangle our future is irrational.
     
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  9. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    To tell you honestly, just from RF only since I don't know any Hindus in person, there is a since of separation between both parties. The abrahamics see separation between me vs. them. If you arent for us, you're against us.. (Aka. If you dont follow god, you have your own rewards but not eternal ones)

    While Hindus have a culture clash with westerners and in part abrahamics. So, the idea of knowing the hindu faith, unlike abrahamics who write books about it, is very general and basic knowledge. How I see it is there is a difference between proselytizing and educating. Big difference from evangalization and talking about personal experiences with their beliefs.

    The history christianity is not at all welcoming and the bible doesnt potray human sacrifice anything other than human sacrifice regardless the nature.

    So, I can see why there are different.

    In regards to harmony, in light of the above, if both parties drop their barriers, I can see some social and environmental harmony happening. Not giving cultural secrets away but not putting a barrier between one person and another. On the abrahamic hand, if the ego and me vs. them (all abrahamics not just christian and muslim) as said above, I think some empathy would take place.

    There is an advantage of seeing in other people's shoes. Not by colors, "education", and offering basics but a general deep want not need to share with each other (not one over another; imbalanced) our individual faith and some experiences.

    Outside of that big clash towards harmony (not spiritual), I dont see an issue. Both are different religions, different outlooks, and different motives and different....

    Other than doping guards, learning about each persons culture, and empathy, there is much to learn about each other but spiritual harmony, no.
     
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  10. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    They coexist in harmony in some places and not in other places. India is too big for any significant generalization. The cause for tensions where and when they occur is usually for discrimination against Christian converts by some intolerant Hindus, or aggressive and often unethical proselytization by some fundamentalist Christian missionaries.
     
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  11. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    What is not optional in Hinduism. :p
    But Hinduism is more like this...there is a vast array of options. If your beliefs and lifestyles happen to adopt sufficiently large number of these options, then people tend to identify you as a Hindu.
     
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  12. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    True dat.
     
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  13. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Hinduism is the largest religious minority in New Zealand, with just over 2% of our population. New Zealand is a popular place for people of Indian descent who come here because of better opportunities. I imagine it’s easier to become Christian here because it’s the main religion though many migrants will initially mix mostly with other Indians.

    New Zealand is a multicultural community and the Indians are a respected cultural group. We tend to avoid discussing religion too much and one group harassing another would be unacceptable.

    One third of the medical workforce consists of overseas doctors. In that sense there’s opportunities to mix with other cultures.

    As you know I’m a Universalist so tend to see the similarities between faiths and people rather than differences.
     
  14. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    As @sayak83 wrote, there's a great diversity of beliefs. I'm not a Hindu, but I've read Ramakrishna extensively and have found inspiration from what I've read. He had a profound experience of Jesus Vision of Christ | How Sri Ramakrishna Saw Jesus Merge Into His Body as one example:

    As soon as the Master saw that person, he knew that he was a foreigner. He saw that his long eyes had produced a wonderful beauty in his face, and the tip of his nose, though a little flat, did not at all impair that beauty. The Master was charmed to see the extraordinary divine expression of that handsome face, and wondered who he was.

    Very soon the person approached him and from the bottom of the Master’s pure heart came out with a ringing sound, the words, “Jesus! Jesus the Christ, the great Yogi, the loving Son of God, one with the Father, who gave his heart’s blood and put up with endless torture in order to deliver men from sorrow and misery!”

    Jesus, the god-man, then embraced the Master and disappeared into his body and the Master entered into ecstasy (Bhav Samadhi), lost normal consciousness and remained identified for some time with the Omnipresent Brahman
    (God, the Ocean of Consciousness) with attributes.
     
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  15. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Hm. In the U.S. we're not cultural-diversity friendly. Even though we say we treat people equally, we dont. Native Indians arent seen as "U.S. Citizens" unless they agree to be recognized by the U.S. Federal Government. Of course you have minorities from gender, linguistic, racial, work status, to name a few. With religion, it is predominately christian. Not everyone is evangelist, but many people are highly conservative.

    Of course, I havent been everywhere at once, but the only place I met a Hindu was when I visited their temple. The practitioners and their elder didnt speak English but where very very nice. If there is harmony, that's pretty much the consensus.

    In the States, if you don't have the pronounced respect for people's culture in regards to identification and practice, its seen as discrimination and to others immoral. Its not the general consensus but if a Hindu was born and/or raised here or have American misinformation before they came over here, you can see the insults more than in a more universal country, I suppose.

    There is a difference in regards to similarities in the States. We are a highly individualized country. Very competitive oriented. Very Me-people. Not negative just different values. So, for example, you know I like art. In America, if I stole someone else's work and copyrighted it to my own, Im breaking the law. Its not universal but we focus on what makes us unique.

    Once you watercolor it with rays ;) you're on a sticky slope of stepping on someone else's (or their community as a whole) identity.

    To have some sort of harmony, it cant be just with people who have to be universal. Social harmony, maybe. However, cultural and spiritual? If one culture isnt universal and the other is, how can they be in harmony unless either its environmental and respect or one of us have to compromise our sense of identity for the whole.

    Universalize doesnt fix anything anymore than us finding ourselves unique and loved in our differences. Im sure there is some harmony, but I know in the States, universalist wont cut it. Our UU Church broke away from The Church (or the Church decapitated them) because the UU felt all people should worship under the same roof but what makes them distinct is they welcome all people in all walks of life.

    But, this happened because our religions wanted to keep their own identity rather than compromise for the wellbeing of the whole.

    To me, it is not negative to have our personal and individual views. No one better than the other. Just, the States take that to their advantage without us laypeople having a say beyond our voting ballets, parades, and charities.
     
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  16. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Some Hindus resent the missionary spread of Christianity after being colonised by Britian during the 18th century:

    Historically, it can be proven that some Western powers of the eighteenth century were included to encourage conversions of Hindu subjects by force. Hindu leaders attribute the rapid growth of Christianity in India to the British rule in India. In their opinion, the friendly support given by the British government officers to the missionaries enhanced the spread of Christianity. Hindus hold that undue pressure, bribes, force and other unfair means are part of the conversion strategy of the Christian missionaries. So, in the opinion of most Hindus, what Christendom has to offer is only a new materialistic way of earthly living, with added formalities, platitudes, ostentation and pretension (Pillai 1979:167). It is generally believed by Hindus that conversions have been forced or induced by material gifts by the Christian missionaries, who are often blamed for taking advantage of mans infirmities, his material needs and suffering in their propaganda for a change to Christianity. Such conversions, Hindus hold, are not ethical or appropriate. They demand that such efforts to convert people to Christianity be banned.

    Further Hinduism has often been seen as a superior religion and Christianity inferior and have low regard for Hindus that might convert to Christianity:

    To a Hindu, his religion is pure, and holy and admirable. Defecting from it, one becomes impure, polluted1 and defiled. Hindus perceive Christianity as a religion of lower moral and ethical standards. For them, to become Christian means coming down from a higher to a lower moral standard. Therefore, they not only resist conversion but oppose it.

    There are historical reasons for this perception. Saldanha, in his article, Hindu Sensitivities Towards Conversion says, The roots of this opposition to conversion reach back into the mission history of the colonial era and have to do with the manner in which Christianity was introduced in India. The missionaries were identified with the beef-eating, alcohol-drinking foreigners (1981:4-5). These foreigners, largely the Portuguese and the British, were in India basically for purposes of trade. Their lifestyle was rarely up to Christian standards. When the Hindus found that these white traders call themselves Christians, they perceived all Christians in the same manner. It is not surprising that the missionaries and their converts soon came to be called Firangis and Mlenchhas, contemptuous terms connoting barbarians and irreligious persons (Saldanha 1981:5). Such terms exhibited a certain attitude toward Christianity. Honestly speaking, the religions of India consider proselytization to be meaningless and absurd, rather a vulgarity of the hollow men of empty consciences (Pillai 1979:167). This is how most Hindus perceive Christian converts. Thus, Hindus normally keep themselves aloof from such a religion.

    TRADITIONAL HINDU VIEWS AND ATTITUDES TOWARD CHRISTIANITY | Aghamkar | Global Missiology English

     
  17. Kelly of the Phoenix

    Kelly of the Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    Unless you count what John the Baptist was supposed to be.

    At any rate, I see a lot of possible parallels, but I think the Dharmic religions have had more time to flesh things out. The Abrahamic traditions just seem like it's "Ethics 101" to "random students griping in the hallway outside an ethics class". At least if we go by just the scriptural canon and ignore side stories and commentaries. What I mean is, morality in the bible is maybe half a semester or so, whereas the Dharmic religions have post-doctoral studies to reach in terms of morality.

    The Dharmic religions aren't perfect either, but hypocrisy is something I look for and the Abrahamic traditions are overflowing with it while there are so many traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism and such that usually the plot holes have been filled in more or less by now.

    I try to read about the historical contexts of a lot of things, even the bible. While I still disagree with certain POV's, I can at least see where they got their ideas. Would Christianity even exist without Hellenization and Roman occupation of Judea? You can start to see Messiah-like stuff towards the end of the Jewish scriptures, but by then Hellenization was becoming a "problem" there. Jesus promotes peace (most of the time, anyway) because -- well, which is more likely, an ethical stance against violence for someone who committed assault and vandalism or advice to keep the Romans from turning Judea into a parking lot and ensuring the destruction of the entire race?

    I think the best we can hope for is not harmony but a willingness to get together to solve common problems.
     
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  18. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I think Ramakrishna exemplified an approach of seeing that all religions lead to the One God or Brahman consciousness. Rather than rejecting Christianity, He attempted to assimilate it and make it part of Hinduism. It is an approach I personally like but I think his movement is seen as being outside of Hinduism by many Hindus as well as followers of Ramakrishna themselves.
     
  19. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    Sure. Some are "all rivers lead to the sea" people. And some are "my way is the best or only way."
     
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  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That's a useful point. Jesus was very clear that John the Baptist was the return of the OT prophet Elijah who had been taken up in a whirlpool.

    Was John the Baptist really Elijah reincarnated?

    The Christians don't think he was reincarnated but who really knows.

    The Dharmic faiths are argubaly idealised by some in the West who are dissatisfied with Christianity. When Buddhism and Hinduism are practiced in the West, its very different from how they are practiced in lands where they have existed for hundreds if not thousands of years.

    Hinduism is unique compared to other religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, in that it is an amalgamation of multiple religious traditions. The word Hinduism has come about as a way of identifying religion that isn't Islam or Christianity rather than having a precise meaning.

    With these points in mind I'm not convinced Hinduism and Buddhism are superior religions to their Abrahamic counterparts as many in these traditions would believe.

    Everything has an historic and cultural context. Having been Christian and Christianity being our main religion its easier to have a sense of its history and be more familiar with its faults and weaknesses. Buddhism and Hinduism have a very different historic context as they emerged amidst very different cultures from our own. They are older religions and all historic/cultural truth becomes much more obscure after two thousand + years.

    I agree.
     
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