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Hinduism

Written by: Computers for Christ    Posted on: 04/29/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

                               HINDUISM

     We have difficulty in explaining the religion of HINDU, due to the innumerable customs, concepts and beliefs that have been absorbed, as well as, the numerous branch-off religions that have come from HINDU.  We will endeavor to qualify our comments due to this vast base of thought that Hindu is comprised of.      The earliest form of Hindu can be referred to as pre-Vedic and began about 3,000 years ago.  Very little is known of the Indians who lived in the pre-Vedic period in the Indus valley of Northern India or the Dravidians of the Indian Peninsula.  By the time of Abraham, these people had developed a civilization resembling the Mesopotamians. Their polytheistic religion, a sort of proto-Hinduism, was in some ways a form of witchcraft.  The pre-Vedic Hindus especially worshipped a MOTHER GODDESS and a horned god in the posture of a yogi.  They offered sacrifices to the various gods, but did not maintain any temples.      The VEDIC period began around B.C. 1500, when a central Asian people called the Aryans invaded Northern India and eventually took over the Southern Indian area.  These light-skinned conquerors imposed their Vedic civilization and religion on the Indians.  Vedic religion differed greatly from the Dravidian religion - the Aryans worshiped the powers of nature rather than images.  The most important of their gods were INDRA, a god of the atmosphere and stars, VARUNA, a sky god, and AGNI, the god of fire.  There were many, many other gods, one of which was SOMA, the god of the soma plant.      The Aryans developed an elaborate system of sacrifices which later led to the formation of a priesthood (the Brahmins).  They also absorbed the Dravidian gods and concepts into their religion, and this assimilation resulted in a complicated array of gods and goddesses.      The Vedic period was followed by the Upanishadic period, about B.C. 600.  During this time Hinduism began dividing, into the popular religion of the masses and a more philosophical religion.  The Upanishads were sacred books which reinterpreted the Vedic religion and boiled all gods down into a single principle or absolute universal soul.  This monistic or pantheistic viewpoint held that the universe is God, and God is the universe.  The impersonal universal soul was called Brahman, and this form of Hinduism was called Brahmanism.      During the Upanishadic period, the Hindu concept of salvation shifted from an emphasis on fulfillment and on life to an emphasis on release and escape from life.  Life on earth began to be viewed quite pessimistically as the doctrines of KARMA and SAMASARA grew.      The law of karma was a moral law of cause and effect, which COULD NOT BE VIOLATED!  It was called "the law of the deed" and one could build either good or evil karma depending on his or her deeds.      The doctrine of SAMASARA - transmigration - taught that all life goes through and endless succession of rebirths.  EVERY living thing is on the wheel of life, and each new rebirth depends upon the karma built up in its past lives.  Salvation is defined as the "breaking away from this wheel" could be achieved by philosophical speculation on the words of the sages and by meditation.  Release and liberation from the wheel of life (moksha or mukti) would finally come when one realized his individual soul (the ATMAN) was identical with the universal soul (Brahman).      Hinduism was now so philosophical in theory and so corrupt and legalistic in practice that reform movements arose within it.  Two of the most known were BUDDHISM and JAINISM.  Another reform was a movement back to the worship of a supreme personal God.  Not that Hinduism became monotheistic; polytheism was never really eliminated. Instead, a TRIAD of Hindu gods was often used to represent the impersonal and absolute Brahman (neuter).  Brahma (The masculine form of the word Brahman) was regarded as the Creator, VISHNU as the Preserver, and SHIVA as the Destroyer.      Many Hindus (referred to as VAISHNAVITES) chose to worship the god VISHNU and his 10 incarnations.  These incarnations, called AVATARS, or descendants of God to earth to save the world from grave perils were a fish, an amphibian, a boar, a man-lion, a dwarf, PARASURAMA, RAMA, KRISHNA, BUDDHA and KALKIN, who is YET TO COME... The seventh and eighth incarnations of VISHNU, RAMA and KRISHNA, are the most important and are worshiped more than VISHNU himself.      Other Hindus (referred to as SHAIVITES) worship the god SHIVA and his wife, who is variously represented as DURGA, KALI, SATI, PARVATI, and best known as DEVA.  Many of these representations are sinister and blood-thirsty.  Among the KALI worshipers is a cult known as the SHAKTI, which encourages such immoral practices as temple prostitution.      After the time of Christ, philosophical Hinduism was dominated by VEDANTIC thought.  The VEDANTA, a philosophical hindu book based on the earlier Upanishads, teaches that man needs liberation, Individuals go through stages of wanting pleasure and worldly success.  If they mature, their desires may turn to self-renunciation and moral duty (DHARAMA).  But the deepest need, whether people recognize it or not, is for liberation (MOKSHA).      MOKSHA occurs when a person extends his being (SAT), awareness (CHIT), and bliss (ANANDA) to an infinite level.  Since Brahman, the impersonal absolute, is infinite being, awareness, and bliss, the only way a man can obtain MOKSHA is to come to the realization that his hidden self (ATMAN) is actually the same as Brahman.  TAT TWAM ASI (used in TM) means "Thou Art That" is the term for coming to this realization.  Salvation is achieved by detachment from the finite self and attachment to reality as a whole.  This is called NIRVANA or "State of Passionless Peace."      AS there are MANY teachings as to HOW one reaches this state, we will not delve into them.  It is sufficient to comment that Hinduism created the CASTE system.  Originally there were but four caste - Brahmins (Priest), Kshatriyas (warriors or rulers), Vaisyas (Craftsmen, farmers,artisans), and Sudras (Servants).  Below these were the "uncaste" or "untouchables." Today, there are now over 3,000 subcastes that have been created.

                         BIBLICAL EVALUATION

     In philosophical Hinduism, God is generally an IT, not a person as in the Bible.      In popular Hinduism, there are great multitudes of gods (3 Million by one count!) and goddesses.  This is polytheistic and idolatrous according to God's Word.      Popular Hinduism abounds in immoral practices, superstitions, fear and occultism.  Demon worship and possession are also integral to Popular Hinduism.      The caste system is rigid, unjust and cruel.  There were very few attempts to reform this system UNTIL Christianity was introduced and began to influence Hinduism.      There is no recognition of sin and moral guilt.  Sin is an illusion.  In an ultimate sense, man is God.  He is therefore not separated from God by his sin, as the Bible teaches so clearly, and human experience confirms so deeply.      Hinduism is a system of works.  Forgiveness of sins does not fit into the picture of KARMA (Law of cause and effect).  Each person has many lives in which to achieve 'salvation'.  There is a slow, evolving process toward the highest level. (SATORI)      Hinduism denies the exclusive claims of Christ and despises the Christian teaching that Christ is the ONLY way to God.      When we REALLY look at this religion, we will come to a 'realization' that ALL CULTS HAVE THE SAME BASIC FOUNDATION as Hinduism!  Mormonism, JW, The WAY, etc all have similar heresies and false teachings that LOCK a follower into a system that keeps the follower from the saving knowledge of JESUS.      The 'toleration' of faiths in America has given rise to the practice by many young people into forms of Hinduism and its derivatives, such as TM.  Hinduism claims to be tolerant of all faiths and believes that "all faiths have truth" and can be assimilated into Hinduism.      Christianity is the ONLY faith and religion that offers a REAL solution to the problem of SIN.  ONLY the vicarious work of JESUS the CHRIST adequately copes with man's sinfulness.  Hinduism, Christian Science and others only COVER UP sin as being an "illusion."      It is imperative that Christians DEFINE THEIR TERMS, because our terminology has TOTALLY different meanings to a HINDU.  Salvation and other terms just do not mean the same to a Hindu as they mean to a Christian.  Explain your meanings in clear, concise words to avoid this problem.  In fact, this is the best way to talk to anyone who does not KNOW CHRIST as personal Lord and SAVIOUR!      One other area to witness to is the area of AUTHORITY.  Ask a Hindu what AUTHORITY he represents (basis of teaching, etc).  The normal response will be for him to allude to the many Christian sects, but the Bible is CONSISTENT and harmonious in its picture of God's plan of salvation.  The Hindu works all contradict one another at some point or another - NO HINDU CAN ASCRIBE TO THE HINDU SCRIPTURES CONSISTENTLY BECAUSE OF THE SERIOUS CONTRADICTIONS!      Bring them to Christ.  Show them RELEASE and FREEDOM from their SINS through the FORGIVENESS of their sins from the payment of JESUS CHRIST on the CROSS AT CALVARY.  To this end, we pray.

Computers For Christ - San Jose

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