Looking at Hinduism
Becky Lynn Black
Have you ever taken a road trip? What’s the first
thing you decide? Where to go! Even if all you plan to do is drive
around and return back home, you’ve decided where to go.
Then you plot the way of getting there. You submit
yourself to the truth of a map. If the map says “Turn right on Hwy
735”, then you turn right onto Hwy 735.
Finally, you accept the reality of the limitations
of your vehicle. You know that if the tires are worn, you better have a
spare one. You accept that your vehicle will not run if there is no gas
in the tank.
As I’ve studied Hinduism, it seems to me that those
who believe in this system of philosophies are taking road trip to an
unknown destination, they have no authoritative plan to get there, and
they deny the limitations that accompany humanity. Furthermore, they
know that if they don’t get to wherever they are supposed to get to
before the end of their life, then they have to start all over again in
a new life.
Judaism can point to the escape from Egyptian
bondage in about 1300 BC, Christianity can point to Jesus Christ in the
year 33AD, Islam can point to Mohammed in the early 7th
century AD, but there is no single person or year that indicates the
origin of Hinduism. It is a sort of ‘coming together’ of different
philosophical views rather than a fixed set of beliefs. Because its
origins are so distant and vague sometimes it is called the “oldest
living religion.” The name “Hindu” is a reference to the people living
across the Indus River, which begins in the highlands of Tibet and flows
through northern India and down through Pakistan; it is the name
foreigners gave to the Indian people. Whereas other major religions may
have several “branches” or variations, Hinduism takes diversity to a new
high with thousands of variations.
Buddhism (which developed about 500 years before
Christ lived on earth), grew up side by side with Hinduism….each
influencing the other in the development of deities, rituals and
philosophies. As it is today, here are the basic ideas of Hinduism….
- Karma. This is the idea that
action and reaction are opposite and equal. This means that for
every choice I make today, there was something in my past, or there
is something in my future, that is equal and opposite. All of Life
is connected. It’s not only connected, it’s repetitive (circular).
So following the end of the current life comes life in another form
and the choices of this life affect the events of the next life.
This is one of the teachings of Hinduism that breeds such
hopelessness. Its followers cannot point to exactly what they did
in a past life that is responsible for their horrible state in this
life (so they cannot learn from it), but they are certain that
whatever it was it justifies their situation today. So, in a sense,
they feel that they brought bad things on themselves by their
choices in a previous life.
- Freedom of belief. Since
Hinduism is at its core a synthesis, a conglomeration of various
belief systems, supposedly there is a great tolerance of other
belief systems. Certainly some Hindu leaders (like Gandhi) were
peace-lovers. However, this toleration has a limit. Some Hindus
have shown religious violence against other religions. And some say
that Hindu nationalists present the greatest challenge to
Christians, far more than extreme Islamists. A simple reading of
the news reflects horrible atrocities done Hindu against Hindu. The
tolerance of Hinduism seems to stop where personal desire starts.
- Man’s primary purpose. Hinduism
teaches that man’s primary purpose is the realization of his oneness
with the god, the ultimate Brahman, the source of all things. And
it teaches that all of man’s problems come when he fails to connect
to this oneness. How does a good Hindu connect with God? Through
developing his inner spiritual life, that spiritual essence within,
so that wisdom, peace, joy and harmony flow against the current of
the material world. How the Hindu defines his god varies greatly.
Basically, they can choose whatever god-form they want. Listen to
how one Hindu described his Hindu religion: Hinduism does not
dictate what a person should think about God, that is considered a
personal view, 'Mata' (opinion) or 'Pantha' (road). That is why
Hindus may be polytheists, monotheists, monists, or even atheists.
Even in one family, persons may hold different views. In my family,
I am an atheist, but all others are polytheists….Each creature is
free to choose his own path. All creatures take several births,
depending on his effort, until they understand GOD and they merge
with HIM. A Hindu teacher described the god of Hinduism like
this: Hinduism believes that there is only one
supreme Absolute called "Brahman". However, it does not advocate the
worship of any one particular deity. The gods and goddesses of
Hinduism amount to thousands or even millions, all representing the
many aspects of Brahman. Therefore, this faith is characterized by
the multiplicity of deities. The most fundamental of Hindu deities
is the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - creator, preserver and
destroyer respectively. Hindus also worship spirits, trees, animals
and even planets.
This sounds like the people at the
Areopagus in Athens! Paul preached to them about their “unknown
god”..the one true God, Jesus Christ..in Acts 17:22-31: “Men
of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I
walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even
found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you
worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who
made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and
does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human
hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life
and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of
men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the
times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did
this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find
him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and
move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are
his offspring.’ Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not
think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image
made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such
ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he
has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he
has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from
- Sin. In Hinduism, sin is not
the breaking of a firm moral code (as with Islam and Christianity).
Rather it is any action or thought or value that disrupts the
harmony and peace between living things. And ancient Hindu sage
explained: In the eighteen puranas of Vedavyasa, two sentences
are important: To help others is merit, sin is to trouble others.
Social calm is very important in Hindu culture. For this reason the
caste system was developed; every person had a place in society, and
each was to move only within his particular sphere. Submission to
the caste system of social order has spiritual repercussions. “Sin”
is refusal to comply with social order. Hence, there is much peer
pressure and intimidation in the Hindu culture. Hinduism is a way
of life dominated by a conglomeration of philosophies. Only today
is the concept of individual rights, of women’s dignity, and of
children’s needs beginning to be recognized.
To summarize and compare the religion of Hinduism
with Truth as we know it in the Scriptures…
- There is no absolute sin or moral code in
Hinduism; anything that disrupts is a “sin”. The idea of God
being absolute righteousness and man being born in a depraved
(sinful) condition is foreign to this religion. It does not share
our concept of sin with a price tag. The need for a Savior is a new
idea to them. Though they try to remove the concept of absolute sin
from their conscience, the Scriptures say that God has placed this
awareness in every human being. Read Romans 1:16-23…”I am not
ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the
Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a
righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is
written: “The righteous will live by faith.” The wrath of God is
being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and
wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since
what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made
it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s
invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been
clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men
are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither
glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking
became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they
claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the
immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and
animals and reptiles.
So Hindus are not looking for a release from the
burden of their sin through a Savior, or Messiah, or a Prophet. Hindus
wash in the River Ganges, they mutilate their bodies, they revel in
pleasures….trying to always connect with their self-described god, but
never coming to the full knowledge of the Truth. Who will tell them of
- Any form of spirituality is OK in Hinduism….as
long as it doesn’t disrupt society. Each person can concoct
their own god and find their own way to experience their god.
Ultimately everyone’s god is part of the one great god. The
Scriptures teach us, however, that Truth is absolute; it does not
change from person to person, nor from generation to generation.
The Word of the Lord lasts forever. If we reject that Truth and
make our own laws, each person doing what is right in their own
eyes, there is a great price to be paid. God is not mocked;
whatever a man sows is what he will reap. When he sows rejection of
the Truth, he will reap destruction. Can God be God if he is simply
a concoction of man’s desire and imagination?
- Hinduism teaches that resident in each
creature is a speck of god, and his purpose in life is to
have a fuller realization, a greater connection with this god.
If that connection cannot happen in one lifetime, then it requires a
2nd lifetime, and a 3rd, and a 4th,
ad infinitum. The creature will continue to have re-births until he
connects adequately with the god, and is then launched into Nirvana
(heavenly bliss and freedom). The burden of connection rests with
the creature. Yoga, meditation, chants, rituals…anything is allowed
if it helps the creature to connect with his god. In Hindu temples
this could even include the ownership of young girls and boys. Amy
Carmichael’s ministry was largely to rescuing these innocent lives
from these things.
Can you see the hopelessness of Hinduism? Can you
see the failure to deal with the sin nature of man? Hinduism is largely
a philosophical matter, a playing with the mind, an adjusting of
spiritual realities to fit individual desires.
Though Hinduism has been strong in the regions of
India for thousands of years, it did not come to the USA until the
1960s. During this time in our history, our young people were looking
to overthrow the restraints of society. They did not like “the
establishment”. They did not want restrictions on relationships with
the opposite sex. They discovered the ‘liberating’ highs of drugs
brought back from Vietnam. And to go with all this so-called freedom,
they looked to Hinduism as a viable religion for them. Today you can
find Hindu temples scattered across our country. But there is a country
where about 80% of the population is locked into the hopelessness of a
vague collection of philosophies, searching for a god of their own
making, never knowing how to find him, and knowing that their spiritual
life will go in circles for generations if they fail to merge with him.
In recent weeks 10 million of these precious souls came together
at the River Ganges to bathe as a spiritual exercise in their attempt to
merge with their gods.
Who will introduce them to the God who became Man
in order to be man’s mediator? Who will show them the way off their
spiritual treadmill? Who will lead them to the only successful
Treatment for the ache in their souls, an ache that comes from sin in
the true concept of it?
How many minutes did it take you to read this
article? It took me 7 minutes. During the time it took me to read this
article, 238 new babies were born into a Hindu family in India….and 70
people following Hinduism in India passed into eternity without a
(Next report: the Peniel Gospel Team.)
February 10, 2013
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