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CRCulver
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« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2010, 02:31:47 PM »

Do hindus believe that we are all gods, or that when we find god in ourself that we become gods? or something like that? I know that the new agers do.

In philosophical inquiries compiled by Hindu intellectuals, yes, the supreme God is held to be identical to the Self of the worshipper: everything is one. Worship is about recognizing that oneness.

However, Hinduism in real life is a mess. The Hindu worshipping an idol of Ganesh to solve a business problem he has might never think about achieving recognition of his union with the godhead. He might not even ever think "This is just one representation of a single divine". Instead, he just goes through the necessary motions to make Ganesh solve the problem he has. Many Hindus have told me that theirs is a religion of practice, not belief. Even people who don't believe in any of the gods can remain good-standing Hindus if they carry out the rituals.

Consequently, questions that start with "Do Hindus believe..." might never cover more than a few members of the religion.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 02:33:27 PM by CRCulver » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2010, 02:57:45 PM »

Do hindus believe that we are all gods, or that when we find god in ourself that we become gods?
or something like that? I know that the new agers do.
Hinduism is a complex tradition. It is about as complex as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Baha'i put to together.

A "god" in Hinduism is simply a powerful, spiritual being; such a god is not all-powerful, or all-knowing. Humans may become gods after death if they have lived a particularly noble, compassionate, or wise, life.

But the gods are born, and the gods die. What does not born, and does not die, is called Brahman, or Shiva, or Vishnu.

And different Hindus have different ideas on the relationship between humans and Brahman.
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« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2010, 03:37:53 AM »

I have a question.

How does Orthodoxy address the salvation of people such as Hindu's, Bhuddists, Jainists, etc. I'm not talking about the 19 y.o kid in Santa Barbara, CA who becomes a Bhuddist because he thinks it's "cool."

These faith traditions have been around for thousands of years. Some claim to pre-date Judaism.

Many of the people living in the Far East have never been exposed to the truth of Christ.

So where does that leave them?

Also, if these faiths pre-date Judaism, why did God choose to reveal Himself to Abraham and his descendents?

I guess my question is, is there truth in any of these faith traditions? Has God revealed Himself through these other faiths?

I'm not sure there is an answer, but it's something I ponder as I have a lot of friends who are of different Eastern religions.

I mean, how are we to evangelize these folks?

"I know your religion is several thousand years older than mine, but it is false. Please reject the faith of both your family and your ancestors and accept Jesus Christ as your savior." Huh

What do you guys think?
look at this topic that I made.
and be sure to tell me what you think of it or else I'll think that you're ignoring me.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26717.0.html
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« Reply #48 on: April 15, 2010, 07:29:54 PM »

I have a question.

How does Orthodoxy address the salvation of people such as Hindu's, Bhuddists, Jainists, etc. I'm not talking about the 19 y.o kid in Santa Barbara, CA who becomes a Bhuddist because he thinks it's "cool."

These faith traditions have been around for thousands of years. Some claim to pre-date Judaism.

Many of the people living in the Far East have never been exposed to the truth of Christ.

So where does that leave them?

Also, if these faiths pre-date Judaism, why did God choose to reveal Himself to Abraham and his descendents?

I guess my question is, is there truth in any of these faith traditions? Has God revealed Himself through these other faiths?

I'm not sure there is an answer, but it's something I ponder as I have a lot of friends who are of different Eastern religions.

I mean, how are we to evangelize these folks?

"I know your religion is several thousand years older than mine, but it is false. Please reject the faith of both your family and your ancestors and accept Jesus Christ as your savior." Huh

What do you guys think?
look at this topic that I made.
and be sure to tell me what you think of it or else I'll think that you're ignoring me.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26717.0.html

Yes, I get the overwhelming impression from reading Genesis that Abraham, although called by God, was not even close to being the first person to know about God or have the concept of God. Think of Melchizedek, for example. In fact, the Bible explicitly states that people before Abraham always knew about God (I'm not a Biblical literalist, but I just can't ignore this).

The fact that Hindus don't (to our knowledge) know God does not preclude them having an understanding of the concept of God that is fundamentally the same as ours. The early Chrstians said that te Greek concept of Logos was basically the same idea as God the Son. I don't see why Hindu Brahman is so different either.

So, I don't see any greater a gap between Hindus and Christians than there was between the first Christians and the followers of Greek philosophies. I also don't buy the claim that Hinduism is significantly older than the worship of the One God. They are both extremely old, and we don't know when either started.
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« Reply #49 on: April 15, 2010, 08:09:15 PM »

look at this topic that I made.
and be sure to tell me what you think of it or else I'll think that you're ignoring me.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26717.0.html

Honestly, it leaves me with more questions than answers.

Oftentimes the only thing that leaves me convinced that Christianity is "the real deal" is that 11 out of the 12 Apostles were martyred. They had nothing to gain by proclaiming their faith, yet they did at the cost of their own life. That faith has been passed down and endured for 2000+ years.

That's got to mean somethingUndecided
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« Reply #50 on: April 15, 2010, 08:15:01 PM »

Yes, I get the overwhelming impression from reading Genesis that Abraham, although called by God, was not even close to being the first person to know about God or have the concept of God. Think of Melchizedek, for example. In fact, the Bible explicitly states that people before Abraham always knew about God (I'm not a Biblical literalist, but I just can't ignore this).

The fact that Hindus don't (to our knowledge) know God does not preclude them having an understanding of the concept of God that is fundamentally the same as ours. The early Chrstians said that te Greek concept of Logos was basically the same idea as God the Son. I don't see why Hindu Brahman is so different either.

So, I don't see any greater a gap between Hindus and Christians than there was between the first Christians and the followers of Greek philosophies. I also don't buy the claim that Hinduism is significantly older than the worship of the One God. They are both extremely old, and we don't know when either started.

So because you don't buy the claim they are supposed to "buy" the Great Commission?

I'm sorry, but that's lousy reasoning.

Why did God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews and the people in Israel during Christ's time, but not those in other parts of the world.

I don't doubt God or Christ, I just don't know what to think of these other faiths. So far I've just filed it under "Mystery" in my brain, but that's not a satisfactory enough answer.

I need to know how we are supposed to reach out to these people. I live in an area that is flooded with people from South East Asia and the Far East. Hindu Temples, Sikh Temples, and Muslim Mosques are quickly popping up all over the place. (One Hindu Temple bought a Byzantine Catholic Church nearby!)

If a Hindu says to me (as they have) my religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years, I can't respond with "I don't buy that."

I need a realistic response as to why Christianity is the true expression of God.
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« Reply #51 on: April 15, 2010, 10:11:31 PM »

Yes, I get the overwhelming impression from reading Genesis that Abraham, although called by God, was not even close to being the first person to know about God or have the concept of God. Think of Melchizedek, for example. In fact, the Bible explicitly states that people before Abraham always knew about God (I'm not a Biblical literalist, but I just can't ignore this).

The fact that Hindus don't (to our knowledge) know God does not preclude them having an understanding of the concept of God that is fundamentally the same as ours. The early Chrstians said that te Greek concept of Logos was basically the same idea as God the Son. I don't see why Hindu Brahman is so different either.

So, I don't see any greater a gap between Hindus and Christians than there was between the first Christians and the followers of Greek philosophies. I also don't buy the claim that Hinduism is significantly older than the worship of the One God. They are both extremely old, and we don't know when either started.

So because you don't buy the claim they are supposed to "buy" the Great Commission?

I'm sorry, but that's lousy reasoning.

Why did God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews and the people in Israel during Christ's time, but not those in other parts of the world.

I don't doubt God or Christ, I just don't know what to think of these other faiths. So far I've just filed it under "Mystery" in my brain, but that's not a satisfactory enough answer.

I need to know how we are supposed to reach out to these people. I live in an area that is flooded with people from South East Asia and the Far East. Hindu Temples, Sikh Temples, and Muslim Mosques are quickly popping up all over the place. (One Hindu Temple bought a Byzantine Catholic Church nearby!)

If a Hindu says to me (as they have) my religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years, I can't respond with "I don't buy that."

I need a realistic response as to why Christianity is the true expression of God.

Many Hindus are very proud of the age of their religion, which developed from the ancient Indo-European pantheon. To me, their religion's age means nothing. To them, it meas a lot. If reveling in the age of their religion is important to them, we can't do much about that. I barely know anything about Hinduism anyway.

But I wanted to answer your question, so I looked through the book of Acts and read every passage where the Apostles preach to pagans. Virtually every single time, the story was the same: the Apostles healed someone, an that person and everyone who saw it believed. I guess that is the answer. We need to be healing, loving people to an extent that surpasses all the world's understanding. That's the number one Biblical way to evangelize people. No magic involved. I hope this is helpful to you.
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« Reply #52 on: April 15, 2010, 10:32:21 PM »

The fact that Hindus don't (to our knowledge) know God does not preclude them having an understanding of the concept of God that is fundamentally the same as ours. The early Chrstians said that te Greek concept of Logos was basically the same idea as God the Son. I don't see why Hindu Brahman is so different either.

So, I don't see any greater a gap between Hindus and Christians than there was between the first Christians and the followers of Greek philosophies. I also don't buy the claim that Hinduism is significantly older than the worship of the One God. They are both extremely old, and we don't know when either started.

The similarities that the early Christian apologists found in Greek thought worked at the highest philosophical levels of Greek religion. Basically only a handful of educated elites accepted the idea of a single god behind the mess of Greek religion, while the masses stuck to polytheism (or even a vague sort of animism or magical thinking) as they always did. Early Christian rulers thought the rites and beliefs of the peasantry was something that just had to be wiped out by force, because you couldn't reason with these people. Similarly, only a tiny minority of Hindus have elucidated the idea of Brahman. The Hindu masses are stuck in a sort of base superstitution with no redeeming features.

As for "we don't know when either started", the historical development of Hinduism is rather well understood. Though venerated as a holy text by modern Hindus, the Vedas describe a vastly different religion (one centered around horse sacrifice, the gods Indra and Agni, and the drink soma). Most of modern Hinduism can be ascribed to a series of innovative cults that developed in the last 2500 years or so, and there's plenty of documentary evidence for when each new wave hit.
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« Reply #53 on: April 15, 2010, 10:57:06 PM »

I have actually read up on the development of Indo-European languages and religions rather extensively. Virtually every one of the vedic gods can be identified witt the Greek and Nordic gods. Originally, they were exactly like the Greeks or Vikings with respect to their religious beliefs. Over time, they became more philosophical/mystical, and, in some circles, somewhat monotheistic.

Quote
The Hindu masses are stuck in a sort of base superstitution with no redeeming features.

I don't mean to sound rude, but how do you know this?
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 10:57:34 PM by Rufus » Logged
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« Reply #54 on: April 15, 2010, 11:03:04 PM »

HandmaidenofGod,

I think about this alot too, and I think more and more people do, since we are more likely to be rubbing elbows with people with different religions and cultures now more than ever. What makes this an "existential crisis" for me is the value I put on 'knowing' a truth as a saving grace. I know we're all familiar with the basic attitude of "living the faith is more than knowing the faith" but...I think I betray myself about what I really think about this when I, for example, criticize life-long practitioners (of any religion) for "not knowing" their religion. It's the same here. This Hindu may not be saved because he does not "know" Jesus is God...but what does 'knowing' mean? What does it mean to say I 'know'? Like what was said, that desperate business man doesn't 'know' Ganesh in the same way we 'know' how Ganesh is supposed to be one aspect of the divine. Maybe his 'knowing' of Christ might be different than our 'knowing' of Him. Maybe it has to be.

I may be reading too much ochlophobist blog, but something I read a while ago discussed how even salvation within our own faith does not follow a rhyme or reason. "The works save you, except when they don't."--or something like that. I'm sure we can all come up with one legend told to us about someone getting into heaven by the skin of their teeth, while others who were diligent completely fail. I can only imagine the leaps and bounds God makes to seek out those outside the Church.

This is why I try not to despair though--I believe that the Shepherd works hard to gather His sheep, and we may not truly see the fullness of the flock (humans, angels, and everything in between) until the end of this world. I do believe that their objective beliefs are wrong, but the spiritual impacts of their (and our) beliefs are yet to be completely revealed.

As far as practical evangelizing, I don't think we should just adopt a "I'm OK, you're OK" attitude and remain completely impotent in the face of pluralism. The Church's witness to the truth isn't completely useless--She has to be the truest means for human encounter with God. For me, it's just means more patience than what I've been taught is necessary (As a black woman, I am used to the rhetoric of "making the decision right NOW before you die!"), and less of an 'agenda' -- call me a snob, but methods like "friendship evangelism" are below us. Being genuinely human seems to speak volumes IMHO, especially in a world of lock-step fad conformity. Maybe finding common values--such as charity, devotion, or family--can be as 'uniting' as it's going to get in this life. It's hard to knock reasons to not join the Church such as for family, culture or ancestry, because I know first-hand that the Church does not automatically provide these things to most American converts, and yet these things are so vital to human existence. Of course there's prayer, but that goes without saying.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 11:09:06 PM by Rowan » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: April 15, 2010, 11:17:24 PM »

Not everyone has the gift of evangelism, either. If everyone were an evangelist, the Church would be a rather empty place. We are one Body, and it contains many organs.

But if you can evangelize, by all means go for it! Wink
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« Reply #56 on: April 15, 2010, 11:35:19 PM »

HandmaidenofGod,

I think about this alot too, and I think more and more people do, since we are more likely to be rubbing elbows with people with different religions and cultures now more than ever. What makes this an "existential crisis" for me is the value I put on 'knowing' a truth as a saving grace. I know we're all familiar with the basic attitude of "living the faith is more than knowing the faith" but...I think I betray myself about what I really think about this when I, for example, criticize life-long practitioners (of any religion) for "not knowing" their religion. It's the same here. This Hindu may not be saved because he does not "know" Jesus is God...but what does 'knowing' mean? What does it mean to say I 'know'? Like what was said, that desperate business man doesn't 'know' Ganesh in the same way we 'know' how Ganesh is supposed to be one aspect of the divine. Maybe his 'knowing' of Christ might be different than our 'knowing' of Him. Maybe it has to be.

I may be reading too much ochlophobist blog, but something I read a while ago discussed how even salvation within our own faith does not follow a rhyme or reason. "The works save you, except when they don't."--or something like that. I'm sure we can all come up with one legend told to us about someone getting into heaven by the skin of their teeth, while others who were diligent completely fail. I can only imagine the leaps and bounds God makes to seek out those outside the Church.

This is why I try not to despair though--I believe that the Shepherd works hard to gather His sheep, and we may not truly see the fullness of the flock (humans, angels, and everything in between) until the end of this world. I do believe that their objective beliefs are wrong, but the spiritual impacts of their (and our) beliefs are yet to be completely revealed.

As far as practical evangelizing, I don't think we should just adopt a "I'm OK, you're OK" attitude and remain completely impotent in the face of pluralism. The Church's witness to the truth isn't completely useless--She has to be the truest means for human encounter with God. For me, it's just means more patience than what I've been taught is necessary (As a black woman, I am used to the rhetoric of "making the decision right NOW before you die!"), and less of an 'agenda' -- call me a snob, but methods like "friendship evangelism" are below us. Being genuinely human seems to speak volumes IMHO, especially in a world of lock-step fad conformity. Maybe finding common values--such as charity, devotion, or family--can be as 'uniting' as it's going to get in this life. It's hard to knock reasons to not join the Church such as for family, culture or ancestry, because I know first-hand that the Church does not automatically provide these things to most American converts, and yet these things are so vital to human existence. Of course there's prayer, but that goes without saying.


I agree with what most of you said, and often times just try to satisfy my brain with "it's in God's hands" and the best way to bring people to the faith is to live the faith.

But at some point I think if we're going to be intellectually honest with ourselves and others, we have to have some sort of apologetics to explain our faith in contrast and in context to theirs.

I'm not talking about going off into mission fields or banging on people's doors like the Jehovah's Witnesses.

I'm talking about conversations at work amongst co-workers. I ask because I've had conversations such as this, and I don't always have the answers.

Not everyone has the gift of evangelism, either. If everyone were an evangelist, the Church would be a rather empty place. We are one Body, and it contains many organs.

But if you can evangelize, by all means go for it! Wink

I disagree with you. We are all told by Christ that “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-17 (New King James Version)

We are all called to fulfill the Great Commission as set forth in Matthew 28:19. If we all followed the Great Commission, our parishes would not be empty. Nay, they would be full!

While I agree that not all are called to leave their homes in the manner that Paul and Timothy did, we are all called to be witnesses to Christ. St. Monica didn't have to leave her home to bring two people to the Church. How much more can we do in our daily interactions with our friends, co-workers, and family members?

Francis of Assisi is famously quoted as saying something along the lines of "Spread the Gospel, if necassary, use words." St. Seraphim of Sarov is quoted as saying, "Acquire a spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved."

While I am working on acquiring that spirit, I would also like to know how to address these questions.

To speak to a Christian from one type of faith background about another is easy. How do you explain the Holy Spirit to someone who has never heard of the Holy Spirit? How do you explain to a Bhuddist that we are not cannibals when we partake of the body and blood of our Lord? (A question that a seminarian friend of mine was confronted with by some Japanese students who had decided their first encounter with Christianity should be at an Orthodox Church.)

I want to know.  Smiley
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« Reply #57 on: April 15, 2010, 11:52:12 PM »

I have actually read up on the development of Indo-European languages and religions rather extensively. Virtually every one of the vedic gods can be identified witt the Greek and Nordic gods. Originally, they were exactly like the Greeks or Vikings with respect to their religious beliefs. Over time, they became more philosophical/mystical, and, in some circles, somewhat monotheistic.

It's true that the Indo-European peoples had a common stock of deities, but I wouldn't say any one people was "exactly like" another. The divine name Indra and the drink soma have no cognates outside of the Indo-Iranian branch, while the Slavs and Germanic peoples had deities that weren't even shared by their neighbours, let alone the Indo-European speakers of the Indian subcontinent.

Quote
Quote
The Hindu masses are stuck in a sort of base superstitution with no redeeming features.

I don't mean to sound rude, but how do you know this?

I've just left India after six months there where a keen concern was to better understand Hinduism in order to present the gospel to Hindus more effectively. By "no redeeming features", I mean that popular Hinduism lacks a hook that Christians could make use of. My ultimate impression was that Hinduism in its popular expressions is utterly foreign to Christian thought, more than any other religion (even polytheistic ones) I've encountered.

The real challenge with Hinduism is that Hindus judge the worthiness of your beliefs by how syncretic they are. Once you get into any idea of exclusive truth, you lose them completely.
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« Reply #58 on: April 16, 2010, 12:11:22 AM »

HandmaidenofGod,

I think about this alot too, and I think more and more people do, since we are more likely to be rubbing elbows with people with different religions and cultures now more than ever. What makes this an "existential crisis" for me is the value I put on 'knowing' a truth as a saving grace. I know we're all familiar with the basic attitude of "living the faith is more than knowing the faith" but...I think I betray myself about what I really think about this when I, for example, criticize life-long practitioners (of any religion) for "not knowing" their religion. It's the same here. This Hindu may not be saved because he does not "know" Jesus is God...but what does 'knowing' mean? What does it mean to say I 'know'? Like what was said, that desperate business man doesn't 'know' Ganesh in the same way we 'know' how Ganesh is supposed to be one aspect of the divine. Maybe his 'knowing' of Christ might be different than our 'knowing' of Him. Maybe it has to be.

I may be reading too much ochlophobist blog, but something I read a while ago discussed how even salvation within our own faith does not follow a rhyme or reason. "The works save you, except when they don't."--or something like that. I'm sure we can all come up with one legend told to us about someone getting into heaven by the skin of their teeth, while others who were diligent completely fail. I can only imagine the leaps and bounds God makes to seek out those outside the Church.

This is why I try not to despair though--I believe that the Shepherd works hard to gather His sheep, and we may not truly see the fullness of the flock (humans, angels, and everything in between) until the end of this world. I do believe that their objective beliefs are wrong, but the spiritual impacts of their (and our) beliefs are yet to be completely revealed.

As far as practical evangelizing, I don't think we should just adopt a "I'm OK, you're OK" attitude and remain completely impotent in the face of pluralism. The Church's witness to the truth isn't completely useless--She has to be the truest means for human encounter with God. For me, it's just means more patience than what I've been taught is necessary (As a black woman, I am used to the rhetoric of "making the decision right NOW before you die!"), and less of an 'agenda' -- call me a snob, but methods like "friendship evangelism" are below us. Being genuinely human seems to speak volumes IMHO, especially in a world of lock-step fad conformity. Maybe finding common values--such as charity, devotion, or family--can be as 'uniting' as it's going to get in this life. It's hard to knock reasons to not join the Church such as for family, culture or ancestry, because I know first-hand that the Church does not automatically provide these things to most American converts, and yet these things are so vital to human existence. Of course there's prayer, but that goes without saying.


I agree with what most of you said, and often times just try to satisfy my brain with "it's in God's hands" and the best way to bring people to the faith is to live the faith.

But at some point I think if we're going to be intellectually honest with ourselves and others, we have to have some sort of apologetics to explain our faith in contrast and in context to theirs.

I'm not talking about going off into mission fields or banging on people's doors like the Jehovah's Witnesses.

I'm talking about conversations at work amongst co-workers. I ask because I've had conversations such as this, and I don't always have the answers.

Oh, I agree 100%. Presenting a coherent case is important, both with the basic tenets of Orthodoxy and what catches us by surprise. When I'm genuinely stumped by something, it stays with me, so I remember to look into it later, even after the moment has passed. You never know, you may get an opportunity to talk about it again (ideally with the same person, but you never know if someone else needed to hear it more). That has happened to me before.
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« Reply #59 on: April 16, 2010, 01:16:09 PM »

I have actually read up on the development of Indo-European languages and religions rather extensively. Virtually every one of the vedic gods can be identified witt the Greek and Nordic gods. Originally, they were exactly like the Greeks or Vikings with respect to their religious beliefs. Over time, they became more philosophical/mystical, and, in some circles, somewhat monotheistic.

It's true that the Indo-European peoples had a common stock of deities, but I wouldn't say any one people was "exactly like" another. The divine name Indra and the drink soma have no cognates outside of the Indo-Iranian branch, while the Slavs and Germanic peoples had deities that weren't even shared by their neighbours, let alone the Indo-European speakers of the Indian subcontinent.

Quote
Quote
The Hindu masses are stuck in a sort of base superstitution with no redeeming features.

I don't mean to sound rude, but how do you know this?

I've just left India after six months there where a keen concern was to better understand Hinduism in order to present the gospel to Hindus more effectively. By "no redeeming features", I mean that popular Hinduism lacks a hook that Christians could make use of. My ultimate impression was that Hinduism in its popular expressions is utterly foreign to Christian thought, more than any other religion (even polytheistic ones) I've encountered.

The real challenge with Hinduism is that Hindus judge the worthiness of your beliefs by how syncretic they are. Once you get into any idea of exclusive truth, you lose them completely.
Much of popular Hinduism is bhakti, which is devotion to Deity. For many Hindus, the Deity is Vishnu, or Krishna. (Krishna is either seen as an Avatar of Vishnu, or as the GodHead in his own right.) One could draw parallels between the bhakti of Hinduism, and the devotion to Christ in Christianity. Krishna would be a good example, since devotion to him dates back to the Buddha's time, at the latest.

Also, don't forget: southern India is historically Dravidian (not Indo-European) country.
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« Reply #60 on: April 16, 2010, 01:44:13 PM »

Is the Incarnation of God all that different from the concept of avatars? It's not exacty the same, but it seems like a hook. CRCulver, does popular hinduism have any particular moral codes associated with it? If so, that could be another hook to latch onto. Please tell us what you learned, we would be interested to hear! Smiley
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« Reply #61 on: April 16, 2010, 02:19:15 PM »

Is the Incarnation of God all that different from the concept of avatars? It's not exacty the same, but it seems like a hook. CRCulver, does popular hinduism have any particular moral codes associated with it? If so, that could be another hook to latch onto. Please tell us what you learned, we would be interested to hear! Smiley
The Ramayana and The Mahabharata are both central texts in popular Hinduism. In them, the profound teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads are manifested in narrative form, involving the Avatars of Vishnu, Rama and Krishna, respectively.

Not all Hindus believe in Avatars, but the Avatar-Incarnation similarities could be a point of dialogue.
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« Reply #62 on: April 16, 2010, 02:36:41 PM »

Why did God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews and the people in Israel during Christ's time, but not those in other parts of the world.

I don't doubt God or Christ, I just don't know what to think of these other faiths. So far I've just filed it under "Mystery" in my brain, but that's not a satisfactory enough answer.

I need to know how we are supposed to reach out to these people. I live in an area that is flooded with people from South East Asia and the Far East. Hindu Temples, Sikh Temples, and Muslim Mosques are quickly popping up all over the place. (One Hindu Temple bought a Byzantine Catholic Church nearby!)

If a Hindu says to me (as they have) my religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years, I can't respond with "I don't buy that."

I need a realistic response as to why Christianity is the true expression of God.

I don't have any real answers for you, but here's a thing or two that came to mind.

First of all, there are some faulty assumptions in play with the comment that their "religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years." The assumption is that Truth is a race to the beginning, and the earliest surviving religion wins the prize. If you accept that premise, then by all means convert.

If not, I would ask how that is relevant. They might give you the whole "Older = Better" argument, but that doesn't mean anything.

The second thing you can do is ask them to substantiate the claim. These kind of pop-slogans in religious exchange do not help anyone. What do they mean that their "religion" is older? That the textual sources predate written biblical accounts?

Starting with Abraham, just about every biblical scholar will tell you that "Judaism" or whatever started out orally and might have been an orally based religion without any centralized sacred texts until around the time of the Babylonian Captivity. That doesn't mean that the creation narrative doesn't go back orally into time immemorial. It doesn't mean anything. Scholarship in antiquity is all based on degrees of probability, and all we can do is interpret what little information we have. It is essentially guesswork.

The dating of "Hindu" religious texts is done by Western European scholars. I haven't done any research on the dating of their ancient texts, but I would already assume that the majority of the dating is based on conjecture and speculation rather than hard and cold facts.

Even if many of the texts predate Jewish texts, which I'm sure they do, that doesn't mean anything. Does the religious text itself represent the way that its interpreted now? For example, did the earliest people have the same conception of Brahman that they do now? Probably not, but like early Jews didn't believe in creation ex-nihilo. My point is that all religions adapt and change. So was "Judaism" some pure monotheism from the beginning? at what point did it become something totally new divorced from what came before it? When did they move from henotheism toward monotheism?

Belief in Christ isn't about rational historical arguments that stack in His favor above all other religious conceptions. It begins with faith, belief in and confession of His Lordship and Divinity. Everything else flows from the wellspring of that faith. If He is Lord and God, then His statements are the supreme revelation to mankind, and they supersede all texts before and after Him. He is the source of Truth, and all other things must be understood in the light of His revelation.
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« Reply #63 on: April 16, 2010, 03:25:47 PM »

Why did God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews and the people in Israel during Christ's time, but not those in other parts of the world.

I don't doubt God or Christ, I just don't know what to think of these other faiths. So far I've just filed it under "Mystery" in my brain, but that's not a satisfactory enough answer.

I need to know how we are supposed to reach out to these people. I live in an area that is flooded with people from South East Asia and the Far East. Hindu Temples, Sikh Temples, and Muslim Mosques are quickly popping up all over the place. (One Hindu Temple bought a Byzantine Catholic Church nearby!)

If a Hindu says to me (as they have) my religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years, I can't respond with "I don't buy that."

I need a realistic response as to why Christianity is the true expression of God.

I don't have any real answers for you, but here's a thing or two that came to mind.

First of all, there are some faulty assumptions in play with the comment that their "religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years." The assumption is that Truth is a race to the beginning, and the earliest surviving religion wins the prize. If you accept that premise, then by all means convert.

If not, I would ask how that is relevant. They might give you the whole "Older = Better" argument, but that doesn't mean anything.

I agree, but isn't this one of the arguments that we use to affirm Orthodoxy: It is the oldest and original Church?

Quote
Belief in Christ isn't about rational historical arguments that stack in His favor above all other religious conceptions. It begins with faith, belief in and confession of His Lordship and Divinity. Everything else flows from the wellspring of that faith. If He is Lord and God, then His statements are the supreme revelation to mankind, and they supersede all texts before and after Him. He is the source of Truth, and all other things must be understood in the light of His revelation.

Again, I agree 100%. But every religion can claim the same thing- i.e. just have faith and you will understand.



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« Reply #64 on: April 16, 2010, 04:49:33 PM »

Much of popular Hinduism is bhakti, which is devotion to Deity. For many Hindus, the Deity is Vishnu, or Krishna. (Krishna is either seen as an Avatar of Vishnu, or as the GodHead in his own right.) One could draw parallels between the bhakti of Hinduism, and the devotion to Christ in Christianity. Krishna would be a good example, since devotion to him dates back to the Buddha's time, at the latest.

This is the second time I have read about the comparison of bhakti to devotion to Christ. Would Christian devotion be comparable to devotion between lover/beloved, or friend/friend (or is wikipedia not very comprehensive about the subject Wink )? Both? All?
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Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. ~Philippians 4:8; St Paul
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« Reply #65 on: April 16, 2010, 07:58:07 PM »

Much of popular Hinduism is bhakti, which is devotion to Deity. For many Hindus, the Deity is Vishnu, or Krishna. (Krishna is either seen as an Avatar of Vishnu, or as the GodHead in his own right.) One could draw parallels between the bhakti of Hinduism, and the devotion to Christ in Christianity. Krishna would be a good example, since devotion to him dates back to the Buddha's time, at the latest.

This is the second time I have read about the comparison of bhakti to devotion to Christ. Would Christian devotion be comparable to devotion between lover/beloved, or friend/friend (or is wikipedia not very comprehensive about the subject Wink )? Both? All?
Lover/beloved? See Song of Solomon.

Friend/friend? John 15:14 "You are my friends if you do what I command."

But Hindu bhakti isn't "simply" devotion to a "friend" or a "lover". It's devotion to God as if God is one's beloved, as if God is one's truest friend. All religions have some form of bhakti; that's just the nature of the human person, to be devoted to something or someone greater.
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« Reply #66 on: April 17, 2010, 01:01:57 AM »

Quote
I agree, but isn't this one of the arguments that we use to affirm Orthodoxy: It is the oldest and original Church?

The older=better argument is valid for Orthodoxy in comparison to other Christian groups, because we have a historical founder and an early Church to whom we can trace ourseves back. Hinduism has no "proper form" to which to compare itself, so saying it is older is sort of a meaningless statement.

Quote
Again, I agree 100%. But every religion can claim the same thing- i.e. just have faith and you will understand.

It is quite possible to acquire genuine faith in Christ if one becomes acquainted with his Teachings. This is not an uncommon occurrence. The best thing we can do is get people genuinely interested in Christ, and let it go from there. I believe one of the primary roles of an evangelist is to get people who do not have faith to understand, and then the understanding leads to faith.
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« Reply #67 on: April 17, 2010, 01:18:53 AM »

Quote
It is quite possible to acquire genuine faith in Christ if one becomes acquainted with his Teachings.  This is not an uncommon occurrence.

And of course, this phenomenon is not reported in any other faith group besides Christianity. Oh wait...  angel
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« Reply #68 on: April 17, 2010, 02:36:18 AM »

Why did God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews and the people in Israel during Christ's time, but not those in other parts of the world.

I don't doubt God or Christ, I just don't know what to think of these other faiths. So far I've just filed it under "Mystery" in my brain, but that's not a satisfactory enough answer.

I need to know how we are supposed to reach out to these people. I live in an area that is flooded with people from South East Asia and the Far East. Hindu Temples, Sikh Temples, and Muslim Mosques are quickly popping up all over the place. (One Hindu Temple bought a Byzantine Catholic Church nearby!)

If a Hindu says to me (as they have) my religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years, I can't respond with "I don't buy that."

I need a realistic response as to why Christianity is the true expression of God.

I don't have any real answers for you, but here's a thing or two that came to mind.

First of all, there are some faulty assumptions in play with the comment that their "religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years." The assumption is that Truth is a race to the beginning, and the earliest surviving religion wins the prize. If you accept that premise, then by all means convert.

If not, I would ask how that is relevant. They might give you the whole "Older = Better" argument, but that doesn't mean anything.

I agree, but isn't this one of the arguments that we use to affirm Orthodoxy: It is the oldest and original Church?

Quote
Belief in Christ isn't about rational historical arguments that stack in His favor above all other religious conceptions. It begins with faith, belief in and confession of His Lordship and Divinity. Everything else flows from the wellspring of that faith. If He is Lord and God, then His statements are the supreme revelation to mankind, and they supersede all texts before and after Him. He is the source of Truth, and all other things must be understood in the light of His revelation.

Again, I agree 100%. But every religion can claim the same thing- i.e. just have faith and you will understand.



Selam
Yeah I know, we say that orthodoxy is right because it's the oldest.
But of course there's evidence of pre historic religions being older than Hinduism, according to some historians.
So Hinduism and Christianity aren't right because they're not the oldest (unless the Genesis account is true).
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« Reply #69 on: April 17, 2010, 07:36:23 AM »

Why did God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews and the people in Israel during Christ's time, but not those in other parts of the world.

I don't doubt God or Christ, I just don't know what to think of these other faiths. So far I've just filed it under "Mystery" in my brain, but that's not a satisfactory enough answer.

I need to know how we are supposed to reach out to these people. I live in an area that is flooded with people from South East Asia and the Far East. Hindu Temples, Sikh Temples, and Muslim Mosques are quickly popping up all over the place. (One Hindu Temple bought a Byzantine Catholic Church nearby!)

If a Hindu says to me (as they have) my religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years, I can't respond with "I don't buy that."

I need a realistic response as to why Christianity is the true expression of God.

I don't have any real answers for you, but here's a thing or two that came to mind.

First of all, there are some faulty assumptions in play with the comment that their "religion pre-dates your Bible by several thousand years." The assumption is that Truth is a race to the beginning, and the earliest surviving religion wins the prize. If you accept that premise, then by all means convert.

If not, I would ask how that is relevant. They might give you the whole "Older = Better" argument, but that doesn't mean anything.

I agree, but isn't this one of the arguments that we use to affirm Orthodoxy: It is the oldest and original Church?

Quote
Belief in Christ isn't about rational historical arguments that stack in His favor above all other religious conceptions. It begins with faith, belief in and confession of His Lordship and Divinity. Everything else flows from the wellspring of that faith. If He is Lord and God, then His statements are the supreme revelation to mankind, and they supersede all texts before and after Him. He is the source of Truth, and all other things must be understood in the light of His revelation.

Again, I agree 100%. But every religion can claim the same thing- i.e. just have faith and you will understand.



Selam
Yeah I know, we say that orthodoxy is right because it's the oldest.
But of course there's evidence of pre historic religions being older than Hinduism, according to some historians.
So Hinduism and Christianity aren't right because they're not the oldest (unless the Genesis account is true).

You could make the argument that the earliest human encounters with the Divine were encounters with the Second Person of the Trinity, thus, that they were 'Christian'.
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« Reply #70 on: April 17, 2010, 12:52:27 PM »

Quote
It is quite possible to acquire genuine faith in Christ if one becomes acquainted with his Teachings.  This is not an uncommon occurrence.

And of course, this phenomenon is not reported in any other faith group besides Christianity. Oh wait...  angel

I happen to know very well that this can happen with other "faith groups," if you must use so condescending a term. That's because every religious teaching contains an aspect of wisdom and truth. No one will deny this. (Then there's Evangelical Protestantism, the antireligion that tries to convert people by taking advantage of their guilt.) So now you know we're not fools with bags over our heads. Feel better? Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue
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« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2011, 12:22:43 PM »

Apparently, there's a movement to attribute much of modern Hinduism to Christianity. One author calls this the "Dravidian Christian" movement:

Quote
The Dravidian Christianity movement has organized an entire series of international conferences over the past decade, where its scholars make outlandish revisions to Indian religious history. They claim that the Bhagavad Gita, Tamil classics and even Sanskrit originated after Christ and under the influence of Christianity. The crackpot Lemurian theory pops up as well.
....
Dravidian Christianity has penetrated high places. For instance, Marvin Olasky, an advisor to President George W. Bush, declared that "the two major denominations of Hinduism -- Vishnu-followers and Shiva-followers -- arose not from early Hinduism but from early Christian churches probably planted by the apostle Thomas in India from AD 52 to 68." He goes on to explain to his American readers how Christianity brought many key notions into Hinduism.
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« Reply #72 on: May 14, 2012, 11:49:09 AM »

Why Jesus began His ministry at age 30.
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