A Study of Religions – Hinduism: We Are All Divine

Western thought began in ancient Greece where men like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle saw that the universe had a plan and purpose. Eastern thinking says everything is temporary, changing, unreal, ephemeral and our perceptions of the world are misleading and illusory. The physical universe is a hindrance to experiencing The Ultimate Reality, which Eastern religion says is attainable within each individual by realizing intuitively that “self” is Divine and God is impersonal.

Learn what the word Pantheism means:

Pan = everything; Theos = God

Patheism = God is the world and everything in it.

According to the later Vedic literature, the highest goal of Hinduism is union with Brahma (a formless, abstract, eternal being without attributes, who was the beginning of all things, or the impersonal absolute).

A brief history: In 500 B.C, the Varna was established, adding more writings to the already existing Hindu Scriptures. Varna is a rigid castes system, or rather, a social hiercachy. In 1947 India became a nation. The government officially outlawed discrimination against the “untouchables,” the lowest on a social totem pole and considered to be sub-human (thanks to Christian missionaries).

Hinduism is not really one religion, but many religions that interact and blend with one another. There is no founder, no creedal statements of faith and no agreement upon authority. However, contradictory ideas are not a problem. You can believe in no go, many gods or none at all. All reality is seen as “one.” (Please see What’s the Big Deal About Truth for a brief explanation to the dangers of this belief system.) Despite the lack of foundation of agreement, there are two foundational assumptions found in Hinduism: Reincarnation and karma.

Reincarnation is the belief that the atman (a person’s uncreated and eternal soul) must repeatedly be recycled into the world in different bodies (animals, plants or inanimate objects). The process that takes the Hindu through the great wheel of samsra (the thousands or millions of lives, all full of suffering) that each atman must endure before reaching Moksha (the liberation from suffering and union with the infinite). Another, and clearer way to describe samsra would be this: It is a seemingly endless process of being reincarnated. The goal for a Hindu is to be liberated from this and reunite with Brahma.

Karma means “action.” It has to do with the law of cause and effect. This means merit or demerit. Karma from one’s past lives affect a person’s present life, and so on.

The three paths to Moksha are as follows:

1) The path of works (dharma): This is the most difficult path to reach liberation from suffering. It often includes Yoga (which literally means yoking or union). It is an attempt to control one’s consciousness and to make one’s atman (soul) identical to Brahma. A famous Hinduism saying is, “Aham asmi Brahma,” which means, “I am Brahma.

2) The path of knowledge (inna): This is a set of social and religious obligations that must be fulfilled. Those who choose this path must follow the caste occupation, marry within the caste and eat or not eat certain foods. Above all, one must produce or raise a son to perform the sacrificial rituals to your ancestors.

3) The path of passionate devotion: This is where one chooses to worship the gods by sexual acts. Yes, it is the most popular.

We must always be weary of subtle ways pop culture infuses pagan world beliefs into their media. Avatars are associated with Hinduism. An avatar is literally a savior, or an incamation of deity.

According to the Hindu religion, the world as we experience it is mere illusion and Brahma is the only thing that really exists and has meaning. Hinduism began influencing western culture in mid-19th century.

RalphWaldoEmerson was a leading American exponent of transcendentalism, and steeped himself in Hinduism writings. Another name you might recognize is Henry David Thoreau, who was a contemporary of Emerson and fellow transcendentalist and was inspired where he wrote Waldon and other books.

In the 1930’s, the Vedanta Society of Southern California was established. Their rally cry: “Many faiths are but different paths leading to the one reality, God.” The Beatles went to India and were taught transcendental meditation. They brought this back to the United States and other nations and it became very popular.

Teachers of the Vedanta say, “A Hindu would find it easy to accept Christ as a divine incarnation and to worship him unreservedly, exactly as he worships Krishna or another avatar of his choice. But he cannot accept Christ as the only Son of God.”

Folks, this is the kicker. This is where the passage in the Bible that talks about people telling God on judgment day, “I did all these things in your name,” yet God still punishes them to eternity in Hell, comes into effect. We can believe in Jesus and still go to Hell, because Jesus demands our undivided praise and worship. He will not share the throne with another. This is why, when I share the Gospel with people, I make it clear that in order to become a Christian, you can believe only in Jesus Christ. He will not share His glory with another, and understandably so! I don’t want someone else’s name on the cover of my book - I wrote it. But the thing is, if your stance with God is not a comfort to you; if you feel like you’re living right, but there’s a subtle uneasiness in your soul concerning your eternal fate, then that could be the mercy of God tapping you on the chest, trying to get your attention.

Consider Gandhi. He could not believe there was any “mysterious or miraculous virtue” in Christ’s death on the cross – He could not accept the Christian answer to the problem of sin, yet he felt a deep hunger for real salvation from sin. But like other Hindus, he could not see Jesus as God, but rather just one of many incarnations, or avatars, of Vishnu.

In all actuality, Hinduism is more of a philosophy than a theology. Hindus search for Brahma within themselves. Each person is “god” (or part of “god”).

I am not going to climb up on a virtual soapbox and proclaim that the cries of Hinduism are all lies from the pit of Hell. Instead I am just going to extend a thought for those who deduce by logic.

Hinduism claims that you must repeat life over and over until you have been cleansed and you can be with Brahma. If we follow this, that means we are all suffering consequences from our previous life as we breathe. This could be the worst it gets. This could be our Hell, and let me say, as much as I hate paying bills and clocking in and out from work, this is not as bad as I thought Hell would be. In fact, with enough trips to the Disneyland and a hiking excursion here and there, Hell (or, my personal suffering) is turning out to be pretty nice.

But that’s the problem. Because while I’m living this reincarnated life, I keep getting hounded by this guy Jesus with words he spoke 2,000 years ago talking about a Hell that is eternal and firey and lonely, not to mention painful and absolutely horrifying… and did I mention eternal? When I put piece those slices of imagry together, do you know what I come up with? I come up with a Hell where I am chained inside an oven, unable to die, but able to feel the skin melting off my body, but it just won’t fall. And to top it off, there’s snakes (or as the Bible puts it, worms), crawling all over me, slithering. Tickling. Biting. Snakes are my greatest fear. And as if it can get worse, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, but I know for a fact that no one is around who can or will deliver me. I have no hope, and I absolutely know it without a shadow of a doubt. I never sleep, though I’m tired. I never rest, though I’m exhausted and thirsty. I never eat, though I’m famished beyond repair. I’m always and forever burning, my flesh sizzling like metal soaking in acid. And I never lose my fear of the snakes that continually slither around my naked body. I’ve been scared of snakes all my life on earth, and I will never learn to get used to them in Hell.

I don’t know about you, but I would rather not take my chances believing that I can get to Heaven any other way than Jesus. Because He is the one figure in all of religious history who makes the biggest threat and demands the most. But lest we tremble before Him in vain, let us not forget that He also gave the most. He is the only religious figure in history who gave His life for anyone who would follow Him. Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, Brahma, none of them gave a rip about you, and they’re either dead or non-existent.

I’m crying as I’m writing this, because I’m realizing that Jesus didn’t ask enough of us, as far as I’m concerned. He’s only asking for our devotion. He doesn’t want you to change your dietary habits or obtain a certain amount of knowledge, or fulfill some good-deed quota. He just wants your love, just as He has already given you His. And He promises an eternity of bliss and Life if only we will accept Him as the one and only, unrivaled God of the universe.

That’s it.

I’m sorry for toeing the soapbox, but hear the truth and receive it. Give up your sins; you know what they are. I have to repent from something new every day. But it’s because it’s the least Jesus can ask for. He could have asked for so much more. He could have had us die for our own sins, or be reincarnated for thousands or millions of years until we earned purity. But He paid the price that you owe for your sins. The least you can do is thank Him and accept Him.

Need an editor? Click here.

[Image Credit]

About adoptingjames
My lovely wife and I are foster parents, dog owners, home owners, and Christians. I am a blogger, book editor, and author. On my blog you'll read about adoption, faith topics, inspirational thoughts, and a whole lotta Disney/Pixar lovin'! For the most exciting read ever, check out my suspense/adventure novel, The Man in the Box. You. Will. Love it.

38 Responses to A Study of Religions – Hinduism: We Are All Divine

  1. linneann says:

    Powerful. I feel like if people would just give the real Jesus a chance, they couldn’t help but fall in love with him. As far as the jealousy of God goes (something I used to misunderstand), here’s how I see it now: what groom is going to tell his bride, “Once we’re married, you can have as many lovers as you want”? And what bride would want him to?

  2. wazl says:

    So, do you think people explain why believing in Christianity is a good way to stay out of sink with Brahman using the same logic you did? What you wrote didn’t use logic to determine or demonstrate anything, you used conjecture and speculation.

    You’re a Christian right? Worry about being a good Christian, and let Hindus worry about being good Hindus eh?

    Not trying to rile you up, just want you to realize that it’s not okay to call that logic. Believe it if you want, but don’t tell me it makes sense.

    • Not riled at all, and thank you for your comment. The only way a Christian can truly be a “good” Christian in God’s eyes is to spread the Gospel of His truth. To not do that, would be to make a mockery of our Lord Jesus Christ and show nothing but contempt and hatred for you.

      • wazl says:

        I’d have to agree, that there is nothing wrong with trying to spread the gospel. I suppose my issue with your post is that your argument was heavily flawed. I’m just asking that you revise your points to be more convincing.

        I retract my previous statement about being a good Christian, by the way, having been proven wrong there.

  3. Wazl, what’s a “good Christian”?

  4. writinggomer says:

    Excellent article on a tough subject. If only the eyes of all people would be opened, before it is too late. Unfortunately, that will never happen. Thank you for writing this.

  5. Spider42 says:

    Hi, just wanted to leave a comment after reading this with some thoughts that came to mind. Just so you know before I do (since it’s relevant), I was born into a Hindu family but have never been a huge fan of it – or most any religion actually – but my reasons for that are separate and for another debate/conversation. Over the years I’ve read The Gita, The Bible, Koran, Buddhist literature, Norse lore and a number of other texts of religious and spiritual nature because my own nature is a very questioning one (part of being a writer I suppose) and I felt the need to satisfy myself about my choices as I went ahead and you never know where faith might strike in any case.
    I’m by no means an expert on any, just well read and sharing an opinion. Just that.

    That said, I just wanted to point out certain things I thought you should know and also certain misconceptions I perceive with some of the material/info you’ve shared:

    Actually, this got so long, I’m going to make a post about it! Thanks! :) If you are inclined to read my counter-points/ramblings, drop in and check it out. ;)

    Cheers!

  6. nancyola says:

    I’m a Christian and I was getting a little nervous about your long explanation of Eastern religion. I tried that for a year or two before the Lord showed me “He” is one true God. Glad you agree on that point.

  7. Very well written and helpful. At first, I thought you were making a case for Hinduism, but after reading your graph on hell… my doubts were calmed. Thank you for your clarity and attention to the subject.

  8. There isnt a Good Christian, a Good HIndu or a Good Jew or Muslim. There are good human beings and bad human being. A good human being serves humanity and cares about self and others alike. Religion are nothing but merely a political doctrine developed loosely on the reveleations by the then prophets. Although all those who are considered prophets said mostly the exact same message from one creator, the establishment of a formal and culture based religion basterdized the motive of developing good human beings. Just my humble opinion.

  9. great blog…. Me, I come from an extremely new age background (star signs and reiki and read tarot cards,karma, witchcraft etc etc etc etc) …. Jesus found me and blew my whole worldview apart. I pray people’s worldviews get blown from your blogging. bless you!

  10. Pingback: We Cannot Put God into a Testtube | Timothy J. Hammons

  11. Pingback: Buddhism – The Search for Nirvana « adoptingjames

  12. Pingback: Hinduism: We Are All Divine « Inspirational Christian Blogs

  13. Thank you for your succinct explanation. I lived in India for 3 years, not by my choice or design, so I arrived with no ideas/opinions whatever. During this time I studied all the religions practiced there and saw how they played out in everyday living. When I finally understood the Hindu paradigm it made me sad and depressed on their behalf – India is what it is because of its religion, and even the Dalits (untouchables) are totally fed up and leaving it for other religions. The upper castes find this threatening because then who would clean the toilets with bare hands, handle dead bodies with bare hands, be road cleaners, cremation workers, leather workers, carcass skinners, and so on? Being upper caste is a cushy arrangement and they like things the way they are, with institutionalized oppression for nearly 3000 years. Americans fascinated by and practicing their sanitized western form of Hinduism don’t understand even a fraction of how it works.

  14. Pingback: The Difference Between Religions and Cults « adoptingjames

  15. makagutu says:

    Thanks for following my blog :) .
    But as a response to your post, don’t you think if you applied the same reasoning you have applied to dismiss the other prophets to your religion, would you not come to the same conclusion?
    The idea of hell, why would someone suffer for eternity while you lived on earth for just a brief moment? to what end is this eternal punishment?
    And if as you say, on judgement day, it will still be God deciding who goes where, why bother with it now? it’s not up to you.
    So don’t cry my friend, be happy. Go out there and live a full life knowing you have one life and it is here. You have a responsibility to make it the best it can be. Make merry, take risks, make friends, help a person in need and so on.
    I think it’s only fair that we also fair with all intellectual honesty to look into the history of Gods and see what people over the ages have seen or dealt with the question of god. In fact i find the Buddhist concept to be close to reality, that man must transcend the gods and see himself at the top.

  16. qmbs says:

    I celebrate that Jesus like Buddha clarified our world view, but the fact remains that Christianity is an Eastern religion forever changed by Rome. To know God, I think we must know our history and celebrate our shared values with the most common shared feature being the continuation of our species.

  17. hmm….im really distressed by what you say here about christ being the ONLY saviour! how can that be? how can you say that with such conviction? what makes you think that christ was the only one who came to save the world? ….wake up, for your god’s sake, man! you need to take those blinkers off your eyes and see what else exists…then you will see…its not only christ….taking the long view…we are all standing on the periphery of a great big wagon wheel, looking towards the centre…where we all want to be….some of us will choose to go around the wheel in a reducing spiral, gradually coming to the centre…..some of us will choose to go straight down the many spokes…in the end, we WILL all get there..some earlier and quicker than others….your views seem to be typical of the bible-bashers i have seen all my life…and let me say…im not attacking you at all…there are similar people in many beliefs…who believe only theirs is teh right way…..but listen to this….none of you saying that yours is the only way were alive when christ was there….none of you have seen his hell or heaven…yet you all blindly follow without questioning! what if it’s all a fairy story….and at the end of it all…all we will see is what have created in our minds during our lives? then what?

    • Then we are to be the most pitied. But, if as you say, we all make it to the “centre,” then we win in the end, either way, right? The difference with us is, we certainly will not lose in the end, whereas if you are wrong, and Jesus and all of us “Bible-bashers” are right, then you will be the most pitied.

  18. gita4elamats says:

    jesus weeps…

  19. yarnspinnerr says:

    The hindus call their religion sanatan dharm that simply means eternal duty.
    I would refer you to a book ‘ The secret history of world’ by Mark Booth. It clarifies many doubts we all have. :-)

  20. Lashell Kubicek says:

    Hinduism is a great religion just like Islam and Christianity.”

    Remember to browse this useful online site
    http://www.prettygoddess.com

  21. bavash says:

    Hi. On the subject of spirituality, I believe that, if one does believe in a “God” and if one has a uniquely personal relationship with said “God” (by whichever name one chooses to refer) there is no need for anyone other than the person involved in that relationship to question that belief.
    Let each person believe that which satisfies his/her soul.
    The debates on religion are endless. There are always zealots – in every sect – who will deem “their God” the greatest.
    Does it really matter?
    In the final analysis, as Mother Teresa said, it is only between you and “God.”
    Name, don’t name… Makes no difference. God is within each one of us. All we need do is take an honest look inside.
    God bless! :)

    • “Let each person believe that which satisfies his/her soul.” I am on board with religious freedom – I advocate for it strongly. Remember though, that what satisfies the Christian soul is the commandments of Jesus Christ who says that we must spread His Good News to the ends of the earth. And His Good News is nothing less than that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Sharing that truth claim with everyone brings satisfaction to my soul.

      • bavash says:

        “Being (someone) on board with religious freedom,” it stands to reason that every version of “God” is respected, and that denouncing any one of those versions would render one a hypocrite.

        I trust that you will continue to spread God’s word, as a responsible and tolerant follower of the word of Christ. God Bless!
        Dr Bavashnee Chetty

  22. joelle says:

    Much controversies have followed after the release of this post, but I must say I admire your way of handling conflict, with gentleness and respect. Also, the courage of posting different religion beliefs are just commendable. Thank you for such great posts!

  23. Interesting post! I was born into a Christian family but never felt at ease with the turn-or-burn arguments. I feel more comfortable with the philosophy that Christianity is but one path to God.

    I just don’t agree with evangelism – telling someone else that their way of serving and knowing God just doesn’t sit well with me…

    Quick question – you mention that Christianity influenced the status of the ‘untouchables’. Please elaborate? :)

  24. Interesting post! I was born into a Christian family but never felt at ease with the turn-or-burn arguments. I feel more comfortable with the philosophy that Christianity is but one path to God.

    I just don’t agree with evangelism – telling someone else that their way of serving and knowing God is wrong just doesn’t sit well with me…

    Quick question – you mention that Christianity influenced the status of the ‘untouchables’. Please elaborate? :)

  25. apoorva1992 says:

    Hi.
    This article is a good attempt at grasping grass root level knowledge of Hinduism. but i truly believe you have not understood the religion well. especially the concepts regarding reincarnation.
    I understand that you are a devout christian and your writing of this article is completely biased by that. You set out the facts pretty much up front but your opinions cloud the article.
    Also, the concept of cleansing one’s soul. let me put this simply – don’t you try to improve on yourself everyday. Similarly the Hindus believe in getting better with every passing birth till the time we are truly cleansed and one with the divine. This does not mean that your current birth is “hell” – it just means you haven’t reached the highest level yet.

  26. willeng2surv says:

    Really nice job on this. I’m pretty well versed in most religions but understanding Hinduism is definitely not my strong suit. This helped me understand it – I appreciate it. I need to study Hinduism more in the future to help me witness to those Hindus that I may come in contact with in the future. Thanks for the follow – you’ve got a lot of good info here. I look forward to reading more…

  27. linesbylinda says:

    I am the way, the truth and the light. Jesus said. Great analysis of one of many religions but my hope is in Jesus blood and righteousness, not because I am perfect but I have faith in Jesus and the life He laid down for me and all who believe. God bless!

  28. I have four things to say:

    1. Excellent post!
    2. Check out “The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha” by Ravi Zacharias
    3. If we follow a dead Savior, we will end up just like him/her
    4. Jesus is Risen – Amen and Amen!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,199 other followers

%d bloggers like this: