Religious bigotry and exclusivity

A BYE PRODUCT OF THE ONLY WAY DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIANITY VERSUS THE RELIGIOUS LIBERATION THEOLOGY OF ONLY HINDUISM (2009)

 Balgrim Ragoonanan

This presentation may
also reflect an aspect of the narrow and restrictive pathway offered
for salvation by the Christians versus the broad and expansive pathway
of the Hindus, although it is not the gist of the paper.

 

This paper is to be taken only as a working framework for further discussion against religious proselytizing and the Christian one way doctrine to salvation.

 

Those
who do not support religious proselytizing can find the appropriate
lawyers to develop a case against religious proselytizing as an abuse
of human rights versus
the freedom of speech and the freedom to practice a religion in peace without intrusions.

 

The freedom of speech argument is a false one when it comes to religious proselytizing and must be debunked at the onset. We know that although freedom of speech is sacred to many, it is still over-ruled under certain conditions that incite violence and family and community disturbances.

 

Since I am neither a lawyer nor a theologian, I will leave it up to the theologians and lawyers to take this argument and re-frame it around the law and theology to show the illegality and intrusions by religions into the lives of others for the specific purpose of influencing them into another way of life and religious beliefs.

This is the least I can do to help in the struggle against aggressive religious proselytizing and the belief in a doctrine that speaks of a single pathway to salvation which is the backbone of religious proselytizing. For me, my writings are seva, or a service to man as a service to God. It is not about persecuting/prosecuting anyone, but to highlight the problems involved, and trying to put a stop to aggressive religious proselytizing and the false doctrine of an only one way to salvation.

Not all religious proselytizing may be wrong, I must agree, like reaching out to those who do not already have a religion and those who are seeking information for more information about God, etc. When religious proselytizing is presented as an only way for salvation, then it becomes dangerous for the goal of unity and harmony of any nation. Harmony and unity are the bed rock and foundation of any society or nation and are among the highest goals of all  and when observed well. It ensures social harmony at other levels everywhere around the world.

 

Religious proselytizing, particularly in India, appears to have gotten out of hand due to an inflow of an abundance of money from outside India. It requires some immediate intervention and regulation of how money is used for influencing fear and disruptions in Indian societies. Many governments already have all kinds of control over the security of their countries, but many others leave themselves wide open when it comes to religious practices that are not indigenous to a country. There are all kinds of issues for national and international security when free and uncontrolled religious proselytizing is left to foreigners as social services and education of the poor

 

Proselytizing was recently banned in Shree Lanka for many reasons.
I suspect other countries are looking for ways to stop it without
endangering their economies and secular government policies.
Many will agree, after studying aggressive and unscrupulous religious proselytizing that China may have been wise not to let it in.

Bhagawan Shri Sathya Sai Baba is a spiritual teacher and a mystic of the highest order, and I and many more put our full faith in his teachings. He rejects any claim of a single pathway to God and encourages all to follow their own chosen pathway very closely and deeply, and incorporate his teachings in as they apply. He has never yet told anyone to leave any religion and follow him. He repeatedly says that he did not come to found any new religion, but to teach man the power of self confidence in his own divinity. It speaks to the truth that not every religion has the whole truth, but only some of the truth. I knew this fact in my heart even before I ever came to know about Sathya Sai Baba.

I struggled for years for the real answers as to why religious proselytizing on the basis of salvation in Jesus alone is wrong. This struggle may have resonated in other peoples hearts, as I shared my feelings about Jesus and Christianity with them. I was never convinced that I had the answers to advance a good argument against religious proselytizing and Jesus as the only way.

I
felt deeply confused that some would believe that God did not have
other human manifestations over the ages before the advent of Jesus,
and would consider
 one human manifestation of God, as Jesus, to be the only way to salvation. I felt that such a doctrine was only an interpretation that was used by many Christians to manipulate a monopoly on God.

I
felt that it was wrong not to believe that God had previous human
incarnations, and how could anyone prove that it was not so, especially
when what Jesus is presumed to have said about salvation in Him alone
was also said in a variety of ways by other incarnations of the same
principle of God as man.


For me, God manifests as a teacher of the Supreme Eternal Principle, only one person at a time, as per history according to Hinduism. It would be logical for each incarnation of the God principle to advise all followers to take refuge in Him alone among other teachers of spirituality and religions of the time.

I strongly object when Christians say that the body of Jesus points the only way to salvation. That may be true for many, but it does not negate what others may have said earlier along the same line about taking refuge in them alone, especially when many believe that God manifests as a teacher from time to time to restore dharma when it is on the extreme decline. 

 

Proselytizing in the belief in only one way to God has always posed a most troubling problem for me. I always believed it to be wrong and misleading, but I did not stop there, and went on searching for the answers in the depth of my heart as to why it was wrong.

I was never satisfied with how I discussed the wrongfulness of the only way doctrine in discussions. That is why, perhaps, it showed up as a confusing theme in most of my earlier discussions about Jesus and Christianity when I attempted to negate the only way belief.

This paper started out as one to show no difference between racial and religious bigotry and the emphasis of racial bigotry only as legislated as hate crimes in some countries. It is an attempt to put a new argument in a framework for further development by others, especially with the right theological framework for an argument against the one way doctrine and Jesus as the only pathway to God also as a breeder of hate crimes.

I surprised myself to learn that discussions of spiritual matters on Internet forums have had a tremendous, ongoing, positive impact on the transformation of my own heart, as well. I often found myself alone trying to advance an argument as to why the one way to salvation via Jesus is totally wrong, but my lack of confidence in the discussions drove me to inquire further in my own heart for answers.

I am most thankful for forum discussions that led me to a search for new information and a new understanding of why religious proselytizing is absolutely wrong. It surely lends to a new personal growth producing experience for me.

 

 

Aggressive religious proselytizing in India is creating huge divisions in its society as never before. In a meeting of Hindus with a Cardinal of the Vatican, the Cardinal is reported to have said that he would send a message to the grassroots that religions should not divide communities but foster unity for the country's progress.

 

The statement also said that passing on religious traditions to the next generation preserves a heritage and nourishes culture. Besides, it included a statement about the legitimacy of all pathways to God.

 

Cardinal
Tauran, a godly man of deep reflection, has imparted a refreshing new
perspective on the Vatican’s relations with Hinduism and other oriental
faiths. In an interview last year, he had categorically stated that “he
would be travelling to India soon and there he wanted to give this
message that all religions are equal
.” We mustn’t get the impression there are first-class religions and second-class religions, he is reported to have said.

 

Who
is not confused when the highest authority in Christendom says Jesus is
the only way for hundreds of years and then turns aro
und later and says not so. "Even Pope John Paul II has said that "salvation is not denied to non-Christians"

Can
it just be another example of how theologians and even the
representative of Jesus on earth interpret the word of God to suit the
needs of the time?

 

It may constitute a clear case for debunking forever the Church doctrine of aggressive proselytizing and a one only religion for salvation.

When the Pope is reported to have used the word "not denied," the immediate question is by whom? Then he is clearly speaking about the God of all to confirm that all pathways lead to the same God.

 

We complain vigorously about the slightest racial bigotry we encounter, yet when it comes to religious bigotry, we encourage it with vigor as a virtue, and believe that religious bigotry comes directly from God Him/Herself, especially about an only pathway to God.

We often believe that there is nothing we can do about religious bigotry since it is propagated by God and contained in Christian scriptures. Yet it is widely known that many believers of the same one way to salvation doctrine, and who may not have believed
in every word of God went out and founded new legitimate branches of
the same religion, rejecting some interpretations of scriptures and
accepting others as the true words of God.

 

So there is undoubtedly something we can do about religious bigotry other than abandoning the Church or religion.
Documenting the confusions and misinterpretations of the word of God
surely weakens the argument for an only one way to salvation.


Many people are beginning to believe that it is not God who made religious bigotry. It is believed that man himself created religious bigotry, the same way man made many religions out of the one religion of nature and power worship which is indigenous to early man. It is called Sanathana Dharma (Eternal Truth)
etched in the hearts of man just waiting to be activated when man turns
to God in his heart as a prompting of the heart versus God on the
outside as eternal witness
.

Yet we know how the word of God is often changed and interpreted as religious proclamations and injunctions, according to beliefs and convictions of conveniences opposed to what
was supposedly meant. The Ten Commandments may be a prime example of
interpretations of God's words. What can be clearer than how we
interpret the
Ten Commandments of God and often ignore them, but hold on to other words as if our lives depended on them? Yet no one is prepared to speak about the real meaning of all the various interpretations and hidden versions of the same Ten Commandments that no one speaks of, and which do not show up in scriptures which they present as the words of God and which may be on the open market. 

It
is one thing to have faith in scriptures and God, but another to
interpret parables, aphorisms, mythologies, passages, etc., and pass
them off as conveniences to suit our fancies and passions regardless of
our goals,
forgetting who gets hurt in the implementation of a one way only doctrine.

We go on to quote God by saying that He
said that He did not come to make peace but to bring a sword to divide
families. We are so proud of what this stands for, yet we fight over
racial bigotry
alone as if there is any significant difference between religious and racial bigotry. We claim that the same God in whom we believe abhors racial bigotry now creates religions out of bigotry.

Perhaps
some wise one will define the differences between racial and religious
bigotry. Who can prove that God Himself created religious bigotry and
that it is not
only how one interprets scriptures? Go out and spread the word said Jesus, but later St Paul said not in Asia. This is as clear as daylight. How can it be interpreted otherwise when the same God as the Holy Spirit is believed to have restated what He may have intended.

 

Spreading the good news means only that, nothing else, and not even to convert anyone.
So new words had to be introduced in scriptures to make some beliefs
forceful and aggressive, especially when none of the discip
les were around some three hundred years later at the council of Constantinople when scriptures were written and re-written, rejecting and including who said what.

Undoubtedly most, if not all Christians, accept the Bible as it is, but how many really know the
history of the writing of it? Do they really take the time to compare
one version of the Bible from another? Do they know anything about the
different translations one from the other or what the original Bible looked like? Most Christians proclaim that they alone have the whole truth. If they truly believe they have the whole truth the question remains why there are so many different Christian beliefs and denominations today.

 

Some now say that religious proselytizing is tantamount to Anti-Semitism of the twenty first century–nothing but hatecrimes and bigotry.

The
non-proselytizing religions must concentrate on developing new language
for highlighting aggressive religious proselytizing that reflect
it
as "Truth Bashing" and "Religious Bigotry." This can be the first step
in preparation for bringing the matter as an abuse of human rights to
the attention of American Courts
, International Courts and the UN.

Religious labeling is the only one way to convey the truth about religious bigots, haters and bashers and who they really are. It is one way the non-proselytizing religions can defeat the pleasure that others take in spreading their only one way to salvation demonic falsehoods. It can be a taste of their medicine.

The
proselytizing religions take pleasure in demeaning other religious
philosophies and practices to win their games of falsehoods. The Jewish
people fight racial and religious bigotry by labeling their opponents
as Anti-Semites and Racists when one goes on ethnic and religious
bashing spree
s. That attitude surely works well in defeating religious and ethnic demonic bashing.

There may be some Hindus, Jews and others in the state of New Jersey, in the US, who may be working on developing a study group for confronting, at the Court level, the issues of religious bigotry and religion bashing. The Courts must be pulled into the discussion fray to show abuse of such freedoms and their effects as confusion, misinterpretation, misrepresentation, abuse, other human rights violation, hate crimes and religious bigotry.

Many
people are still hoping that the issue of religious freedom to
proselytize will be considered bogus and accepted as an infringement on
human rights, as well as constituting legitimate hate crimes. Most
criminal and civil laws were developed by Christian law makers as they
went on their colonizing sprees. They gave themselves the advantage for
religious
proselytizing by calling it religious freedom, but in looking at the
issues closely, they are nothing but bogus arguments
for freedom of speech and choice while spreading divisions and hate in families and communities to secure their goal of divide and be ready to take over and rule.

A
lot will have to be developed to show how some scriptures can be used
to propagate hate crimes and abuse, and how they infringe on the civil
rights, especially of the
economic poor and uneducated or poorly educated.

Proofs
of salvation will have to be produced to win the argument for religious
proselytizing because the doctrine of "one way only" is the core of
religious proselytizing
in favor of salvation by a one way only.

Other
proofs in favor of success in human transformation achieved by the
works of religious proselytizing will have to be produced to defend
their dogma in a one way only
doctrine.
It will require vigorous questioning in the context of law and justice.
Yes, it will take much thought to develop the necessary support to show
how intrusions into the religious beliefs of others are deliberate,
often uninvited and nothing but infringements on personal individual
rights.


Intrusion
is often offensive when others are not seeking another religion.
Uninvited house visitors who readily share religious information with
anyone of another religion must stop. People who already know you have
a religion by the religious symbols, like grottos and prayer flags in
your front yards are the most disrespectful among all the
proselytizers.


Right to privacy and freedom of choice must be issues for questioning in religious proselytizing. The freedom from some “religious salesmanship and cash for converts" are legitimate issues. Spreading fear of a devil is brain washing. The devil cannot be proven, and it is not a universal concept of fear.
Protecting people from unscrupulous proselytizing are the same as
protecting people from uninvited commercial salesmen and advertisement
by inperson house calls and by phone which is still being addressed in the US as harassment and family intrusions.

 

We
must ask and compare the differences between asking one about his
religious beliefs and status and asking another about his citizenship
or immigration status which is objectionable in the US and even illegal
under certain conditions
, when asked. 

But the most convincing argument must be on how, when and by whom scriptures were written to bias and propagate religious bigotry and religious hate crimes.

 

The
non-proselytizing religions must show how differences and disrespect
between the proselytizing and non proselytizing religions
affect
each other. Concrete proofs that poverty and human suffering are not
about religion, but about poor education and lack of equal
opportunities must be a part of the argument for fixing by Court
intervention.


Most certainly, the proof of the religious rape of the poor must be directed also at scriptures that especially preach only one way to salvation. When most people are looking for choices today, some are still trying to restrict such options with their only way doctrine. There is enough economic poverty everywhere to show that Christianity and Islam are not the only choices or even the answers to economic poverty.

Religions that preach the legitimacy of the only
way to God must be made to document their claims of salvation as a
verifiable fact. The proof of the truth of such a doctrine would be
sufficient to overrule any
and all
contravening issues about the legitimacy of religious proselytizing,
and no one will ever have a quarrel with such a doctrine.


The
history and development of scriptures that promote the one way only
doctrine must be a part of the argument for the acceptance and
legitimacy of all pathways to God
since it is nothing but a monopoly on God and salvation.

The proof
that no one has any advantage over religious thought for human
development via religious practices must also be a part of the argument
about salvation.


In the final analysis, no one will be able to prove anything than personal experiences
of transformation of their hearts, and people of all religions can
readily do so to show that no religion has any advantage over another,
except a well laid out path to salvation
which is well known in Hinduism and perhaps in other religions.

It requires a forceful argument against religious proselytizing in order to place a final court injunction on all proselytizing, universally, through the International Court of Justice and the UN.

 

We live in a different world from the days of the early Christians when inquisitions and torture could result from any questioning of so called religious truths.
Religious proselytizing can lead to religious persecution and further
lead to self hate and self loathing. Such hate endangers the lives of
millions of people when power is grabbed by some of these self haters.

 

The reporting of both Adolf Hitler and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having Jewish ancestry may be only two prime examples of possible self hate and self loathing because of hate for possible Jewish ancestral
heritage. But who knows how many more there may be among Muslims,
Christians and Hindus who despise their ancestral heritage?

 

We knew of another leader of possible self hate as Mohammad Ali Jinnah of Hindu ancestry, the father of Pakistan. Jinnah had no problems with the massacre of more than a million Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan upon their independence from England. His only goal was for exclusivity for a minority Muslim population and a homeland for another group of Indians, just because they belonged to a minority religion. 

Today
man is hungry for a new kind of stimulation for heart fulfillment, as
he is not satisfied with his old menu that has brought him mistrust
about greed, corruption and excesses in the Church of his pride.
Besides, the education levels in the West has increased tremendously,
and man is able to think
independently of others, and look for personal experiences of God from his religious teachings. Only Hinduism offers such an expansive claim of God for man to explore and a significant difference between religions.

 

In
India, Africa and some other places, the education levels are still
lagging behind or even non-existent in some places there, so it is
claimed as fertile ground for harvesting souls by those who wish to exploit the poor and uneducated. They begin by planting the seeds of hate and division in communities and society for winning souls.

Church
leaders and administrators lived like princes on the contributions of
the poor over the years, and that is now becoming well known today when
Church scandals are beginning to rise beyond the capacity of the Church
coffers to cover up these scandals or fight them off. They are now
forced to find new hunting grounds after two t
housand years of draining the resources of followers of Christianity in the West, even when Jesus asked them to spread the good news, but not necessarily to go out and convert them, more than two thousand years ago.

Religious proselytizing had its day for filling the coffers of the Church, and it is now time to call for an end to these practices. Today Christianity is dwindling in the US to about seventy percent and below fifty percent in Europe. The Church is most anxiously looking for new sources of income from India, Africa, South America, Russia and elsewhere, under the guise of saving souls through aggressive religious proselytizing.

 

It
is heart breaking to see the unscrupulous means by which some new
Christian aggressors are prepared to harvest souls for Jesus everywhere
, by means of offers of "cash for converts" and spreading fear of a devil among families. They
are even competing among the different Christian sects for new converts
because of the drop-out rate in their respective Church
es even when some of them do not subscribe to a one way only doctrine.

The
Church in Europe has dwindled to below fifty percent while in the US it
is about seventy percent. Church properties in the US and Europe are
now being bought up by people who follow non Christian religions as new
migrants move to the West.


The
study of all scriptures is historically filled with problems of no
understanding, miss-understanding, poor understanding and a host of
interpretational problems around concepts, parables, aphorisms,
metaphors, mythologies, etc., often only propped up by both love and fear of God and only a fear of a devil.

Serious
questions about understanding the true nature of God arises all the
time. The exact meaning of the words of God in scriptures, as well as
their implementation now poses new problems for the Church as education
levels begin to rise in the West and people are encouraged to verify
the truth of
religious doctrines as has always been common among Hindus.

Misunderstanding
is perhaps the single reason why all interpretations of the word of God
are to be questioned vigorously and then examined under a microscope
when it is presented in scriptures as gospel truth. The history of such
examinations is long and wide when they are examined from the
perspective of hundreds of religious sects, branches of religion
s and break away religions.

The
result of confusions over words and concepts in scriptures are
evidences that the word of God may be dubious for students of
scriptures, and filled with contradictions which are not as acceptable
in the West as they
may be in the East where seeming contradictions could mean Maya, illusion, veiled, a lack of understanding or ignorance. As long as God, as man, is not around to clarify His words, then man is free to accept scriptures any way he wants only with faith in God and scriptures,
and so we see this demonstrated by the establishment of new religions
out of the same frame of other well established religions.


Only strong and unwavering faith in scriptures allows for conventional interpretations of scriptures. But who can say that the Holy Spirit is enough to convince anyone that any interpretation of scriptures is from such a God. That will not hold up in any court of law.

The result of interpretations
of scriptures brings religious doctrines into question, and is subject
to serious questioning. They cannot always be considered the true word
of God, but only interpretations that vary from theologian to
theologian. When the word of God emerges hundreds of years later as
scriptures
, and the same scriptures underwent and are still undergoing numerous revisions, how can they remain unquestionable as the true word
of God? They become even more questionable, since we know what happens
when information is passed down in a chain of communication from one
person to another when memory and retention of information is not an
art or a science.


Ancient
religions had a well established, sound system of memorization in place
for passing down information considered revelations. The word of God
was memorized and conveyed down the line in set patterns by a well
established oral tradition for hundreds of years. Later, information
was written down and preserved on tablet forms. Therefore, memory of
original information in the Jesus tradition must be questioned
vigorously, and examined for corruption as the true word
s of God.

The oral tradition of passing down revealed information from God is not in the Jesus tradition, even when the Jews had an oral tradition of preserving information.
Any attempt to say it is so is a bogus argument, especially when it is
well documented in the New Testament how unimaginative the Apostles
of Jesus were, and how they seemed to have understood very little of what Jesus meant. One can say that the Holy Spirit entered into them later after Jesus departed, as in the case of Saul, now St Paul, and did their teaching for them, but that is not an argument for truth in a court of law.

As
long as Christian theology is not examined and questioned vigorously,
it will always remain contaminated by unintended meaning. Besides, no
one can prove that any human being is God, anyway. Faith together with
a transformation of the individual heart is the only proof of God in
the Hindu tradition, and that is not acceptable in a Court of Law
either. Neither is the Christian tradition able to offer proof of God
in a Court of law as to what He said.

The end result of questioning who is and is not God, brings the law to bear on scriptures as not always being truthful, and therefore, anyone is free to interpret scriptures as they pertain to his needs for transformation into pure hearts.
The free interpretations of scriptures are based on personal
understanding and judgments for one's own way of spiritual and
religious life. It dilutes the authority of God for how one conducts
one's own life, and it negates the beliefs in a doctrine of an only
one way to salvation.

Hindus understand God as eternal witness, and man's destiny is in his own hands. Man
does his best in following proscriptions and injunctions laid out in
scriptures, and hopes that God in his heart, as conscience, is enough.
His belief in the principle of Atman as the principle of God
within will always guide him when he turns to God in accord with the condition of his heart.

The
ongoing issue for many is not in the historicity of any authority in
whom a particular religion is based, but in the interpretations of
ancient and modern scriptures that result in dynamic personal spiritual
change from the understanding of old and new theologies of all
religions. Historicity is no proof of God. It only speaks to miracles
and supernatural acts performed at a particular time when man did not
have the tools at his disposal to dispute them. "He said so" is no
proof at all, but for only those who believe He is God. How many human
beings were believed to be God
as a result of miracle performances? Who can tell what miracles mean? They could be illusions/delusions or occult powers for all we know.

When others say they believe that the principle of God manifested as man before the advent of Jesus, it becomes an untruth for Christians. They say that is not possible because the earth is dated approximately thousand years and man had not yet fully developed to need God. But they ignore that the advent of Lord Krishna, as God, was only five thousand year or so ago. Yet scientists can prove that the age of the earth and man’s existence on earth is much longer than six thousand years. However, Christians go on to believe that all things are possible with God, except when He came as Avatars of God in India very much earlier than the advent of Jesus.

Many people perform miracles today, but who is ready to call them God? Christians simply brush them off by saying many will come in His name, but beware of their false promises. But that was the same argument
of the highly religious and intellectual Jews, and they rejected Jesus
as a false prophet over two thousand years ago. The real answer is that
the
ancient Jews were very intellectual and religious, and could immediately recognize any imposter claiming to be God.

 

The Romans, in their eagerness to continue in their tradition of mythical Gods, grabbed on to a then mystical Jesus as their answer for continuing their traditions of mythical Gods and continued their ancient Roman religion around Jesus for reuniting their people under their existing religious traditions in the Roman Empire.

History
is filled with evidences of syncretistic introductions between
scriptures to create new and modern liberation theologies in almost all
religions. In Black churches they call it Black liberation theology.
This is a fact that must be seriously considered when speaking about
the truth of scriptures, especially when religions borrow from each
other, but claim exclusivity and continue to profess that they believe
in only one way to salvation.


No
one can say with certainty that all new meanings and understandings of
scriptures make anyone any wiser about the one way to God doctrine. It
certainly speaks to the truth of many pathways to God more than
anything else
, especially when Christian theologians seek to augment their theology with Eastern religious thought. It is no secret that many Christian theologians traveled to India and are still doing so for studying Hindu theology which Christians now call liberation theology introduced as Christian liberation theology in the West for expansion of their limited understanding of God and theology.  

There are numerous well reputed theologians, like Chardin, Merton, DeMello and others who accepted the principle of syncretism
and introduced Eastern theology into Western thought to enrich
Christian theology and the spirituality of their congregations. It ha
d its tradition in Judaism prior to the days of King Constantine who sought to unify the old Roman Empire when religious thought flourished around the oppression of the Jews and the importance of a savior.

The
result of syncretism is that most people are now beginning to depend on
conscience to bring new understanding to scriptures. They claim to be
their own authority in discerning truth from untruth, and so they
continue exploring all religions for coming up with new philosophies
, and so they believe they are pouring new wine in new bottles, when they are really pouring the old wines of India in the old wine bottles of the Roman Empire. They did so in the spirit of syncretism which is now widely acceptable in religious thought and practice.

Those
who profess to know scriptures, too, are now making allowances for new
understandings only as a way of accommodating new thought and
preserving the integrity of their scriptures and religions, without
losing membership. The Internet is laden with new interpretation and
re-interpretations of Bible teachings that will make your head spin and
call into question what is the true word of God and why there are so
many interpretations. Therefore, there must be a call for another
interpretation of the one way doctrine, as well.


The
history of misunderstanding of scriptural truths and the adaptation to
them result in new beliefs which are far reaching and wide,
particularly as they relate to an only one way to salvation doctrine.
It is nothing new, and the proof is in the number of religions that
emerged and are still emerging from a mother religion under the name of
syncretistic religions and reformations. It has its history in the more
recent Semitic religions, as well as in the older Aryan and Mongoloid
religions that also have many sects of their own.


Devotees
of God depend on theologians for a more and complete understanding of
what is understood from scriptures, but they continue to look to
conscience for confirmation of what they believe. So in many religions,
people are now encouraged to ask questions and search for answers from
their hearts. This was not always true of all religions, especially
Roman Catholicism. As a result, deeper meaning is gained personally as
we concentrate, contemplate and meditate on what is not fully
understood. What is revealed in scriptures must be approved by
individual conscience, making religious beliefs a dynamic function of a
changing world and
of expanding minds.

The
goal of religion is often lost in a changing world that questions what
is right and wrong at any given time and what is essential for one's
own personal development through religious beliefs. It is a process in
moving along the continuum of self realization and salvation.


While many Hindus may come across from time to time as being forceful about what they say and write, they wish no ill will towards anyone. All that most Hindus
ask for is a little room for themselves and others to practice their
religions as they wish in a community spirit of peace and harmony that
is free from the exploitation of anyone's meager financial resources
and any semblance of brain washing
with the fear of a devil and an eternal hell.

The Hindus of India are proud of their big hearts when it comes to religious freedoms, protecting religions and legitimate religious
beliefs. They are always ready to accommodate anyone from religious
persecution since they firmly believe that all roads lead equally to God
, something that Pope John Paul II also advocated and was about to proclaim before his demise a few years ago.

 

Christians must also accept that religious persecution in India is as abhorrent to Hindus as the slaughter of the sacred cow on Indian soil.

Many
Jews were the first people persecuted in their own home countries and
moved to India were they found a home and remained model citizens.
The Syrian Christians found a home in South India and lived there for hundreds of years,
practicing Christianity without any problems whatsoever. The Parsis of
Persia, now Iran, found the same religious harmony for practicing their
religion in India. Lastly the Baha'I's of Iran settled in India as a
result of religious persecution in Iran, and now, like the Parsis, they
are among the most prosperous citizens of India. Most of them were
persecuted only for their unique religious practices that were
different from the majority religious practices in their own original
homeland.


It
is said that Hindu scriptures only point the way, but in the end, it is
the individual Hindu who must decide what is good for him in his
journey to salvation in Godhead. The principle of God outside the Hindu
heart is always eternal witness, while the same principle of God inside the heart is the prompting of his will. In the depth of Hinduism is found only a principle of God as being-awareness-bliss, not a being, but the principle of being and nonbeing for becoming.

The broad mindedness of Hinduism is pointed out in Hindu scriptures in chapter eighteen of the Gita, one of the Hindu scriptures.
Lord Krishna said that we can listen to what he has to say, but in the
end, we are free to do as we please with what He taught.


It is also pointed out that in Uttar Kaand, a part of the scriptural narrative of the history of Lord Rama, that Lord Rama said the same thing–we are free to do as we please after pondering on what He said.

Perhaps selfdetermination is a function of the Absolute Eternal Divine principle
that allows man to be the creator of his own destiny in one incarnation
or multiple incarnations. Man earns the freedom from limited free will
to do as he pleases without infringing on the right of others. Man is
endowed with the will to chart out his own destiny. Man corrects his
own mistakes
called sins when he wants, and with God's grace he does so without any fear of any eternal hell or damnation, but through the love of God, fear of sin and observing duty in society.

The
Lord waits patiently for the transformation of human hearts as long as
it takes for salvation. One single act that demonstrates the purity of
the heart is enough to win the grace of God for salvation, according to
Hindu scriptures.


Nothing
is compulsory in Hinduism. It is perhaps why Hinduism is the oldest,
continuous, living religion that is ready to make an accommodation for
all other religio
us
belief systems, except an only pathway to God. For this reason,
Hinduism remains as strong and as equally fulfilling as any other
religion. The measure of personal fulfillment is often in personal
experiences which
are seldom
hailed out from roof tops or from broadcasts. One could argue, though,
that Hindu prayer flags in front of Hindu homes are symbols
and advertisements that signify thanks to God for every little success in life.

Hindu
gurus and pundits often make another significant point about Hinduism.
It is most noteworthy for strength in religious beliefs and practices.
It is often said that among all the proscriptions and injunctions in
Hindu scriptures, if we adhere only to one with love, that is enough.


Pundits
and teachers put it simply in the following way; "we ask you to do a
hundred things as religious practices and devotion to God, but if you
do only fifty with love, that would be enough." Then the pundits go on
to reduce the numbers by half until they come down to one practice with
love, and they say "that will be enough"
.
Such is the loftiness of Sanathana Dharma as a way of life. It is
nothing like Christianity that says unless you follow the words of God
you are damned forever
in hell, because it means you do not love Jesus.

But more important than Hindu beliefs in God is detachment from the fruits of all actions that constitute “nish kama karma”, all for the good of society by service to man as service to God.

 

Hindus
also believe that at some point in time, particularly in the stage of
Sanyasa or renunciation, after developing loving relationships with God
and having completed the previous three stages of life successfully,
the Hindu must abandon all attachments to God as well as to religion, in order to attain salvation in Godhead in any one lifetime.

A heart-felt understanding in the principle of the Eternal Supreme Absolute is necessary as it relates to self inquiry and man’s relationship with that principle of the Supreme. It is a proper and complete understanding of oneself as the Atma (Atma Gyan or knowledge of the self) through other religious practices and philosophies that man attains salvation in any one lifetime.

 

God and religion then becomes culture for man without
attachments to either God or religion. The devout Hindu then becomes a
model of spirituality for the community, and by his actions, he lifts
others out of their daily struggles
and morass. He then becomes the highest Karma Yogi, and lives the teachings of Karma Yoga (service to man is service to God) as a shining example to all others with example being the greatest of all teachers.

 

The paragraph below is a quote from the teachings of Bhagawan Shri Sathya Sai Baba about the importance of the family unity and its preservation. The slightest attempt to created divisions in the family unit will bring suffering to the world.

 

Family
is the most important functional unit in the world. If the family is
running on sound lines, the world will also run smoothly. If the unity
among the family members suffers even to a small extent, the world will
face the repercussions. Every family should strive for achieving unity
and harmonious relationship among its members. There is nothing that
cannot be achieved with unity. Take for example, the five fingers in
the hand. When the five fingers work together, they can accomplish any
task. Share your love with everybody. Love alone confers purity and
sacredness to life.

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