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Featured Objections against Hinduism?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by sayak83, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Hi folks,
    Based on what you have read or learnt or heard about Hinduism, what are some of your objections, concerns and or doubts about its religion/theology/philosophy etc.? I will try to engage with them to the best of my ability (other Hindu-s are also welcome). All good and sincere criticisms and objections or questions are welcome.
    :) :innocent:

    The following "objections" will not be addressed

    1) "Hinduism is wrong because God told me so" :rage:
    2) "Hinduism is wrong because it does not do God as a true religion (which is mine of course) ought to. " :imp:
     
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  2. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    I mean, I'm a materialist so I do not believe in deities or souls or spirits, but I understand Hinduism can be atheistic, but I haven't read much on how that works. :)
     
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  3. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    Namaste All,
    Why does there seem to be a lack of proof reading in Hindu Texts, have no Avatars, teachers, try to create a smaller cannon, that is more precise?

    How come though the word Atman is questioned in numerous texts about its full meanings; that some then limit it to just meaning 'Self realization', If Brahman is beyond self?

    If we were to count the Divine council found in earlier schools of thought globally, in a Hindu context, how many Avatars would be in the Hindu Divine council?

    Don't just mean the Trinity; yet all additional main key Avatars.

    And a... :innocent:
     
  4. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    I'm going to pose questions rather than objections as my knowledge of Hinduism is to limited too really do your beliefs justice. Just two for starters. :D

    1) do Hindus take a position on LGBT rights?

    2) do Hindus believe we have a responsibility to protect the environment?
     
  5. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    There is a strong strand of empirical and rationalism based investigations in Hinduism articulated not only in Nyaya but also in Vaisesika and Nyaya schools of classical and medieval Hinduism.

    The posts in this thread would be of interest
    Place of Rational Inquiry in Dharmic Worldviews

    Of specific substance :-
    Posts 1, 2, 4, 15, 19, 24, 26, 66

    and then the last page
    Place of Rational Inquiry in Dharmic Worldviews

    Posts 145, 146, 154, 156, 160.

    In these posts I (and a few others) have traced the evolution of an early form of evidence and reason based inquiry that began in 500 BCE (appx.) to a sophisticated methodology of doing an evidence and reason based investigation and a sketch of a metaphysical system that has a very modern approach to things by about 900 CE.

    Key points:-

    (1)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Arthashastra (1.2.11):- (200 BCE appx.)

    Investigating by means of reasons - good and evil in the Vedic religion, profit and loss in the field of trade and agriculture, and prudent and imprudent policy in political administration, as well as their relative strengths and weaknesses - the study of critical inquiry (anviksiki) confers benefit on people, keeps their minds steady in adversity and prosperity, and produces adeptness of understanding, speech and action.

    The study of critical inquiry is always thought of as a lamp for all branches of knowledge, a means in all activities, and a support for all religious and social duty.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    (2)
    While commenting on the Nyayasutra (100 BCE-100 CE), Vatsyyana tries to explicate what is it that distinguishes his school from the others. He writes (translation by Dr. Ganeri):-
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nyaya is the examination of things with the help of methods of knowing (pramana). It is an inference supported by observation and authority.This is called a critical proof (anviksa). A critical proof is the proof of things desired, supported by observation and authority. The discipline of critical inquiry is the one which pertains to it, and is also called the science of nyaya or writings on nyaya. But an inference that contradicts observation and authority is only bogus-nyaya.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    In a second set of important passages (which I paraphrase below) Vatsyayana lays out why its so important to learn the correct methods of knowing:-
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By cognition, a cognizer (jnani) grasps an object/objective/purpose/meaning (artha) in his conscious mind. This then creates either a desire for that object (artha) or an aversion from it. Then he makes an effort to either obtain it or to avoid it. Success is then the coming together of that activity with its reward (actually obtaining or avoiding the object (artha)) and the contentment one feels due to this. Such success can only be produced if the original cognition of the object and its qualities were veridical (as opposed to a mirage of water say). And veridical cognition can only be guaranteed if the cognition was obtained by an accredited method of knowing (pramana). Nyaya then, is the study of identifying when such accredited methods of knowing occurs and a systematic study of what is cognized through them.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The word "artha" in Sanskrit is multivalent (just like dharma). It can mean:- meaning, purpose, one's goal, the thing that is one's goal. The correct cognition (jnana) of such an artha (from the mundane to the transcendental, like the Purushartha-s) can only be guaranteed if they cognized through an accredited means of knowing/cognition (pramana), and nyaya is the study of what methods do guarantee such a thing. Crucially, while Arthashastra used anviksiki to aid one to get to one's goals; Nyaya, Vatsyayana claims, also helps one to correctly perceive what those goals (artha-s) really are or should be. This transition makes Nyaya a normative philosophical school of thought in its own right.



    (3) Mode of Inquiry

    According to the philosophers of Nyaya, every investigation begins with the arising of a doubt. The doubt can be mundane (Is this piece of information true?) to deeply spiritual/moral/philosophical (Is this right? What should I do?). Typical of the school, doubt, the font of all inquiry is very precisely defined in the sutra and then expanded upon in the commentary by several examples:-

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Doubt is the conflicting judgement about the precise character of an object. It arises from the recognition of properties common to many objects (viz. is the tall thing over there seen in the twilight a man or a post?) ; or of properties not common to any of the objects (viz. what kind of an entity is sound?) ; Conflicting testimony (viz. merely by study one cannot determine if the soul exists or not, as various texts say different things); and from irregularity of perception (mirage) and non-perception (not perceiving the presence of water in a vegetable).
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nyaya also places great stress on purpose of the inquiry. What purpose will be achieved if the doubt is resolved. Nyaya beleives that unmotivated inquiry is going to be fruitless as there will be no reason for making an honest effort for getting at a resolution.

    Once the specific form of the doubt and the purpose of inquiry has been resolved one goes to what observational data is there. The definition of observational data (drstanta) is interesting:-
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    An observational data is the thing about which an ordinary man and an expert entertain the same opinion.
    (Like everyone agrees that smoke is co-located with fire in the case of a kitchen fire.)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thus one starts the investigation with instances of observation with which common man agrees.

    An established tenet is some theory or premise that is accepted by all parties interested in the investigation. This may be due to everyone truly agrees to it, or are curious to see if accepting it on a hypothetical basis leads to fruitful results or not.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So far so good. Now comes the crucial parts of the actual demonstration that resolves the doubt (avayava). There will be a lot of work on this by both Buddhists and later Nyaya scholars. But Gautama writes down the parts of the demonstration as
    i) Preliminary statement of the thesis to be demonstrated that resolves doubt. (The hill is fiery).
    ii) Citation of reason. ( Because it is smoky).
    iii) Invoking an example ( As in a kitchen fire, where smoke is seen with fire in a kitchen.)
    iv) Application to the present case . (Similarly smoke is seen in the hill.)
    v) Conclusion:- Thus there is fire on the hill.


    Nyaya claims that a proper method of knowing the truth can be guaranteed only if the conclusion can be established by the successful formulation of a demonstration in such a canonical step by step format. Vatsyayana emphasizes this in his commentry:-
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The means of acquiring knowledge reside in those demonstration steps. The preliminary statement of the thesis is an item of testimony (agama). The reason (hetu) is an item of inference. The example is an item of perception. The application is an item of analogical comparison. The final conclusion exhibits the possibility of all these coming together in a single thesis. Such is Nyaya par excellence. Fixing the truth depends on this.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Continued...
     
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  6. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Continued....

    (5)Means of right knowledge

    Of the 16 categories that formed the subject matter of Nyaya, the means of right knowledge (pramana) is the first. Determining what are the means of right knowledge and how do you get right knowledge through them was called pramana-shastra. Gautama lists 4 methods of gaining right knowledge. They are defined as follows:-

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1) Perception is that knowledge which arises from the contact of a sense with its object and which is determinate, non-verbal and non-errant.

    2) Inference is knowledge which is preceded by perception and is of three kinds:- a priori, a posteriori and correlational (commonly seen together).

    3) Comparison is the knowledge of a thing through its similarity to another thing previously well known.

    4) Verbal Testimony is the instructive assertion of a reliable person. Reliable person being anyone, saint, noble or barbarian who as an expert in a certain matter is willing to communicate his experiences of it.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (6) Analysis of Perception

    This part is too detailed, but very interesting. See associated Posts
    Place of Rational Inquiry in Dharmic Worldviews
    Place of Rational Inquiry in Dharmic Worldviews

    (7) Means of Inference
    This part I have left out as the Buddhist analysis of inference is somewhat better (look up Dharmakirti). But Spirit Warrior covered this part from Nyaya perspective
    Place of Rational Inquiry in Dharmic Worldviews

    (8) Nyaya-Vaisesika Metaphysics and tie up with modern metaphysics
    Place of Rational Inquiry in Dharmic Worldviews

    Place of Rational Inquiry in Dharmic Worldviews

    Hope you find this fruitful. It is a summary of many things I have read, and if I have misrepresented anything of the original sources, fault is mine. :)



     
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  7. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    There is no 'Hindu' this or 'Hindu' that. We're vast. Yes, some generalising can be done, but no one person can possibly speak for all Hindus.
     
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  8. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    They do. Many in India are hostile. But I am not sure its a religious objection (based in what? Never could find out) or simply a cultural one. Many Hindu-s are quite liberal of course.
    Stances of Faiths on LGBTQ Issues: Hinduism | Human Rights Campaign
    https://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5650

    The only thing I have found is that homosexual acts among adolescent students studying in a Gurukul is not permitted (Dharmashastra), but that is more likely to prevent ragging and abuse than anything else. And anyways, the laws of Dharmashastra are not scripture and none are either binding or in use in Hindu societies today.

    Hindu philosophy and theology is very close to the Gaia hypothesis generalized to the entire universe. All beings and all natural phenomena are considered symbiotically and intimately linked to each other, needing each other for sustenance and nourishment. See this post for clarification. The scripture quote is the Brihad-aranyaka Upanisad, the oldest (900 BCE) and (arguably) the greatest of the Upanisads.:-

    Atman and Brahman in the Upanisads

    Selected texts and analysis:-

    The earth is the honey of all beings, and all beings are the honey of this earth. The radiant and immortal person (purusah) in the earth and, in the case of the body, the radiant and immortal person(purusah) residing in the physical body - they are both one's Self (atman). It is immortal; it is Brahman; it is the Whole (All).

    In this extremely poetical set of verses the seers portrays the relationship between the great natural and social elements (earth, fire, wind, water, law, truth..) and the living beings to be that of symbiotic interdependence (mutualism). Bees make honey. Thus the existence of honey is entirely dependent on the hard work of the bees. But similarly the bees eat the honey in order to sustain themselves. Thus the bees are entirely dependent on the honey for their existence.

    So for example in the second verse
    The earth is the honey of all beings, and all beings are the honey of this earth.

    The seer says that
    1) All beings are like the bees and the earth is like their honey. That is, just like the bees, the beings create and sustain the existence of earth by their activity and in turn the earth sustains the existence of the beings just like honey does for the bees.
    AND
    2) The earth is like the bees and all the beings are like her honey. That is just like the bees, the earth creates and sustain the existence of the beings by its constant action, and in turn the beings sustain the existence of the earth just like honey does for the bees.

    3) This strong mutualism goes for all elements of nature and the social world.


    The upanisads proposes a reason why this strong mutualism exists. So here

    The underlying reason, is the hidden connection (upanisada) as Ajatasatru would say, is that the person (Purusha) established in the nature of the phenomena (here earth itself) and a specific feature of the living being is identical. So again in the case of the earth, we have

    The radiant and immortal person (purusah) in the earth and, in the case of the body, the radiant and immortal person (purusah) residing in the physical body - they are both one's Self (atman).

    Thus the proposition is that the purusha (agency/powers) established in the earth and the purusha (agency/powers) established in the material make up of the body of all beings is the same and that they are both also identical (in essence) to one's Self (atman). Thus a triple identity is made. But that is not all, the seer goes on to say,

    It is immortal; it is Brahman; it is the Whole

    Thus the Purusah in the earth, the purusah in the material body of beings are not only identical to each other and to the Self in beings, they are also identical to Brahman, the one immortal entity/principle/Truth/active-power that is established in and animates the entirety of existence (the Whole/All).

    Regardless of what you think of the "why", needless to say the strong interdependent cooperative mutualism between all beings and all aspects of nature is an essential feature of Hinduism - the very heart of Dharma - out of which the metaphysical path of Brahman realization must proceed.



     
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  9. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Yes. Of course. In was never meaning to do this. :)
     
  10. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Every group has their own core texts. Sutra-s and Bhasya-s exist for this reason.

    I do not understand the question. The word is multivalent and the correct meaning can only be understood in context.

    There is no Divine council of anything of that sort.
     
  11. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I just said it so readers who might think we're some uniform thinking faith would know. Don't worry, when I or others disagree with your responses, we'll add more POVs, just to confuse everyone even more.

    Just as a simple example, questions pertaining to avatars don't apply to me, and several other schools, because we don't believe in avatars. That's just one simple example. There will be more, I suspect.
     
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  12. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Thanks very much. This looks set to be an amazing thread given the work you're putting in. Keep it up. :D
     
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  13. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Vinayaka's right. Hinduism's not a homogenous religion. There are dozens of different "Hindu" traditions and doctrines.
     
  14. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    So you don't think Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu have unity? :confused:
     
  15. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    What they do not have is a parliament or a white house where administrative matters of heaven and earth are discussed or debated. That's what a council is.
     
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  16. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Oh by the way Aryan migration debate is banned from this thread by my awesome dictatorial powers. :p
     
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  17. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Good plan.
     
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  18. Kirran

    Kirran
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    Can we just extend that to the whole forum, please? :D

    Just because I suspect someone will come out with this at some point, I'm going to make an objection:

    "Hinduism is casteist!"

    Address that, yo.
     
  19. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    Well if they've not got a democracy yet; will wait for them to evolve a bit. :p
     
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  20. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Caste based discrimination has been a regrettably feature of late classical and medieval Hinduism and much of the laws promulgated in the Dharma-shastra-s cannot be defended from modern standards. However earlier Hindu texts simply divide people by profession alone and the Upanisads repeatedly declare that any person of quality can be a Brahma-gyani, providing multiple examples to that effect. Mahabharata is conflicted about the legitimacy of the varna sytem while medieval bhakti movements often go against the hierarchical privilege of castes. So what follows:-

    1) Caste based discrimination has been a reality and continues to occur in several places in India society and is an undoubted evil.
    2) Several late classical and medieval Hindu shastra-s legitimize such discrimination, while other movements in Hinduism oppposed it.
    3) Support of caste based hierarchy is rarer in earlier dharma-shastra-s and even less in revealed and scriptural texts.
    4) Shastra is not normative and can and has often been superceded by later arguments and exegesis. It may have been a good way to organize pre-industrial system (in comparison to serfdom or slave labor in other parts of the world) but is not consonent with the principles of traditional and modern ethics and the metaphysical conclusions of Hinduism in general.
    5)Hence caste based differentiation is no longer tenable in Hinduism
     
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