Category Archives: Hinduism & Buddhism

Theism vs Panentheism

https://i2.wp.com/www.rivieraucc.org/files/Panenthesim.png?resize=376%2C289

(Image courtesy riveraucc)

Is this a diagram of orthodox Christian theism?

By Spencer D Gear PhD

Panentheism means ‘”all in God.” It is also called process theology (since it views God as a changing Being) [Geisler 1999:576].

This is the person’s retort to my teaching at: Is Panentheism true Christian teaching?

Does Christianity affirm this understanding of God? This person’s responses are in red font.

1.    The Judeo-Christian God is outside the universe

The biblical teaching is that the Judeo-Christian God had to be outside the universe for him to create the universe, which is external to him.

1.1   Illogical that God is outside the universe

Regarding my statement that the God who is outside the universe created it, you stated:

This is not logical. I feel this is a lame attempt to explain how evil can exist alongside God.  What did God use then, to create the universe?  This does not resonate with me as I believe it is quite logical that God is all therefore there is nothing that is not God.  God may be “outside” the universe, however, this does not mean that the universe is not God.  He may not be in this universe, however, this universe is in him.

Take a listen to an interview with leading Christian apologist, born in India, the late Ravi Zacharias, about the problem of evil and God:

It is perfectly logical if you take the biblical text of Genesis 1 seriously. Your response indicates to me that you haven’t done an exegesis of Genesis to arrive at an understanding of how God created the heavens and the earth. In Scripture, He tells us specifically but you don’t seem to want to accept God’s view, but instead take the line, ‘This does not resonate with me’.

That sure sounds like Frank Sinatra’s worldview, ‘I did it my way‘. I’m trying to be kind in my understanding of your analysis of the origin of the universe, but I find some contradictory and nonsensical things in what you wrote here, for example:

clip_image003‘I believe it is quite logical that God is all therefore there is nothing that is not God.’ If I’m to take that at face value, there is nothing – including you and me – that is not God. I can assure you that I’m a sinful human being who has been redeemed by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). I am not God. My car, house and the beautiful Australian landscape are not God. They are separate from God because they are created things and are in need of creators.

clip_image003[1] If the universe is God, then this keyboard on which I type, computer screen, PC hard drive, office chair, and my meal tonight are God. Surely you know that is nonsensical thinking.

1.2 Genesis 1-2 disagrees

It seems to me you need to do some reading and study of the first 2 chapters of the Book of Genesis. I recommend H C Leopold, Exposition of Genesis, vol 1 (available online).  Genesis 1:1 (NIV), the first verse of the Bible, is teeming with meaning, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’. This sentence is so full of meaning because it declares to us:

    (a)    God did several things (all stated in this verse) at once. These are …

    (b)    God is the Supreme Being who created the universe. Before the universe came into being, there was the Person, God. We know He is a person because he created personal beings, Adam & Eve.

    (c)    God exists independently of matter and sequential time. He is independent of space and time. This is possible because some of His prominent attributes are declared in this verse.

    (d)    According to this verse, before the creation of the heavens and the earth there was nothing. ‘Theologians speak of God’s immensity, infinity, and transcendence to describe this and our minds race at the thought of it, unable to take it in. All we can do is acquiesce and worship’.

1.3 God’s creation of everything in the universe

Genesis 1:1 teaches that everything that exists in the universe was created by God. There is a special Hebrew verb used in this verse which is translated ‘God created’. For this act of creation the verb b?r? is used. When this verb appears in the Old Testament, God is always the subject, stated or implied. Yes, human beings also ‘create poetry, music, literature, construction work, etc, but there is nothing to compare with God who creates. It is used in Gen 1:1, 21, 27 and Gen 2:4.

In Gen 1:21 and 27, creation does not exclude pre-existing material. However, in all of these verses, the emphasis is on the ‘achievement of something completely new’. The point of these verses is that the All-Powerful God created the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo). Eastern creation stories from Egypt and Mesopotamia assumed their gods worked with existing materials.

Can you imagine the power of the God who created the entire universe? But there is more to the what of creation …

1.4 God and creation of darkness

Genesis 1:2 states, ‘Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters’. What does it mean that it was ‘formless and empty’? God’s initial creation out of nothing was on in its final form.

What God initially brought into being was “t?hu vab?hu,” a “formless and empty mass.” Initially, the created universe had no distinctive shape; its structure would be formed by the artistry and design of God. In this sense, we are like God. We, too, fashion and mold and make things that are often beautiful. It is, in part, what Genesis 1:26–27 means by saying that Adam was created “in the image of God.” Man, too, creates, or better, re-creates, shapes his environment in such a way as to reflect something pleasing and good. Once man fell, this capacity became as much a liability as a blessing: his capacity to fashion became a means to idolatry (Derek Thomas, Table Talk, ‘Creation Ex Nihilo‘, January 2006).

In Scripture, God doesn’t reveal Himself in anyway that resembles ‘it is quite logical that God is all therefore there is nothing that is not God‘. Your view promotes panentheism, i.e. the world is in God; nothing is not God. To be honest, this is a self-construct, although there are many followers. See the panentheist supporter, Dr Marcus J Borg (1997). The God we never knew. He died in 2015, so now knows the truth about his view of God.

News from the Diocesan Worship Adviser - The Church of England ...

(photo of Michael W Brierley courtesy Diocese of Worster, UK)

 

Other panentheists include Michael W. Brierley, a Church of England priest in the diocese of Exeter UK  and Philip Clayton, contemporary American philosopher of religion and science, Claremont Graduate School of Theology.

Imagine having a minister of a Christian church who did not accept that God who lives outside creation, created the universe. That’s what we have with Michael Brierley, an Anglican priest in the  UK. This is a demonstration of how far the Anglican church has moved away from orthodox Christianity, to accept a leader who is a panentheist.

2.    Lucifer is part of God

In my discussion about the origin of Satan, you responded:

Once again, this does not quite sit well with me.  If Lucifer created the 7 deadly sins then he truly is a part of God to be able to create at all.  There must be trillions upon trillions of different endings to this story if we have the ability to choose.  Only God knows which ending is the true ending then. How can God create what he doesn’t know?  Why was there ever a choice if God didn’t have a full understanding of the negative choices that can be made?

2.1 Subjective opinion is not good enough

clip_image005‘Once again, this does not quite sit well with me‘ is a subjective response that is open to other kinds of subjective responses, e.g. The ‘7 deadly sins’ nails areas of my life where I need to be right with God. May I suggest you move to the more objective position: What does God say about these sins in Scripture? I need to be obedient to him.

clip_image005[1]    ‘If Lucifer created the 7 deadly sins then he truly is a part of God to be able to create at all‘. This is your hypothesis. We know Lucifer did not create the 7 deadly sins. It is a misinterpretation to make the 7 deadly sins an indicator for your panentheistic theology. Besides, all sins are forgivable by God, except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29).

clip_image005[2]    ‘How can God create what he doesn’t know?‘ He knows everything because of his attribute of omniscience, so there is nothing God doesn’t know (1 John 3:20; Psalm 139:1-4; Acts 1:24).

Your God is too small and has the wrong digestion system. I suggest you read a sound book of Christian theology on the attributes of God. I’m thinking of Norman L Geisler, Systematic Theology in one volume. I could never find your God in Scripture. God knows everything he created. How do we know? He told us so: Psalm 147:5; 1 John 3:20; Acts 15:18).

Are the 7 deadly sins found in the Bible? Yes and no! In Proverbs 6:16–19 you can read of 7 things that God detests.

When God created human beings he didn’t create robots. He produced men who raise cattle and work in offices, women who raise children at home while others choose to go into many occupations in the work force. Wouldn’t it be a horrible world if you or I could not make choices of what we eat and which brand of steak is preferred?

clip_image005[3]    ‘Why was there ever a choice if God didn’t have a full understanding of the negative choices that can be made?‘ Your premise is false. God had a full understanding of the negative choices people would make (see verses above), but he chose to create people with free will, knowing the consequences. Remember that the one who created everything from nothing, knew what people would do with their free will, provided a way of escape. It was redemption for sinners who respond in faith to Jesus, the one who shed his blood for our atonement (cleansing of sin).

3.    No place for evil side with God

You wrote: ‘there is no place for this evil/negative side to exist within God ‘. This causes your worldview to come crashing down in the heap of panentheism. If there is no place for evil within God, how can you justify this statement: ‘God is all therefore there is nothing that is not God ‘? If ‘God is all‘, then ‘God’s “all” includes evil and the negative side‘. Are you prepared to defend that position in the public square: Facebook, Twitter, online forums, letters to the editor that the terrorist monsters, the rapists and Hitler exist within God? Is he the holy God of justice or is he some other ‘person’ who has an image generated by panentheism?

4.    Darkness is not separate to God

clip_image007 You wrote: ‘To suggest that the darkness is separate to God would give the impression that God is up against another entity separate from him.  I can’t gel with that.

Neither does it gel with me either. Here’s why: In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus told the story of the ungodly rich man and the godly beggar. When they died, the rich man went to Hades (for punishment), while the beggar went to Abraham’s Side (heaven). The rich man in Hades was experiencing ‘agony in the fire … this place of torment’ (vv 26, 28). It was conscious punishment. See also Matthew 12:36-37 and Luke 12:47-48. This article explains the biblical teaching: Is God in hell?

clip_image007[1]  ‘I haven’t read anywhere in the Bible that in the beginning there was God and the Word and darkness‘.

I can’t believe you’ve made such an uninformed statement. Take a read of these early verses from Genesis 1: ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day’ (Gen 1:1-5).

There you have it right before your eyes that in the beginning there was God and darkness. Where does Scripture affirm that the Word was in the beginning? It’s in John 1:1, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’.

Who is ‘the Word’? ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’. So, John 1:1 teaches that Jesus was the Word who was God. However, this One who is God also became a human being, the God-man who was ‘the Word [who] became flesh’ (John 1:14) and lived on earth among human beings.

The Bible contradicts your view that there was no darkness separate to God as He created darkness. May I suggest you do more careful reading of Scripture to arrive at an accurate understanding, instead of imposing your panentheistic views on Scripture.

5.    Why I will never support panentheism

Figure 2The references you have provided do not convince me that there is something that is not a part of God that can then go up against him’.

I can guarantee you that I’m not a part of God, although I have Jesus living in me, because of salvation through Christ. I don’t expect to convince you from Scripture that the almighty God is the Creator who created the universe from outside the universe. Here is why I’m not a panentheist:[1]

a. The nature of God.

The Bible teaches nothing about the panentheist God who has two poles. The biblical God is self-existent and this includes many supernatural attributes.

b.    The nature of the universe.

Instead of the universe being processed (changing), the Christian God is immutable (changeless) and the evidence he provided in the reliable Bible (using historical criteria) is that God created the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing)..

c.    Miracles

Since your view is that the world is in God, it conflicts with the almighty God who demonstrated many miracles throughout history. He can do that because he stands outside of the universe. In your worldview, there is no need for supernatural acts and in fact they are impossible.

d.    The nature of human beings

Your worldview allows for human beings to be personal and free. But your view is that humanity was co-created with God and is of God. This is radically different to the Christian view of original sin and the need for a Saviour to cleanse us from sin through repentance and faith.

e.    Ethics

Do you believe there are absolute values? Are the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) always true or are they in process and can change?

In the words of Dr William Lane Craig, these are three reasons why I am not a panentheist:

1) Does God act as a cause outside of nature or are acts of nature acts of God without an external cause outside of nature? The Bible teaches that God on occasion acts as a cause outside nature. The effects of such actions are called miracles. The supreme example is the creation of the universe itself. We have good evidence for such a transcendent cause, e.g., evidence for the beginning of the universe and evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, which cannot be accounted for by wholly natural causes.

2) Is the universe eternal? If the universe is eternal could God be the cause of the universe’s existence? The Bible teaches that the universe is not eternal but was created by God at some time in the past, a view that is confirmed scientifically and is eminently reasonable philosophically. Setting aside philosophical arguments against the eternality of the past, there is no reason that God could not create an eternal universe. For any time t, the universe would depend for its existence upon God at t, whether or not there were moments of time earlier than t.

3) Can God be the universe and exist apart from the universe at the same time? Obviously, if God = the universe, then since the universe cannot exist apart from the universe, neither can God exist apart from the universe! But I think the more appropriate question is whether the universe could be a part of God. Biblically, that’s ruled out, and most of the traditional theistic arguments rule it out as well. God and the world are ontologically distinct (Panentheism).

f.    The nature of biblical revelation

I consider one of your greatest issues with biblical Christianity is that you will not accept Scripture at face value. When the eternal God stated he ‘created the heavens and the earth’ from outside of the universe, you reject this and impose your panentheistic interpretation on it. The presuppositions of panentheism drive your views of reality. You seem to impose them on Scripture and don’t want to admit what you do. Nowhere in Scripture have I read anything that looks like ‘the universe is in God’.

6.    God is sinful

‘Because God is all creating does not mean He is not sinless.

By this statement, are you contending that God is sinful – He is not sinless? Sadly, you don’t understand how a sinful person could cleanse the sins of all people throughout human history who have responded to Jesus in repentance and faith.

6.1 Jesus is sinless

Your view flatly denies biblical teaching on the need for a sinless Saviour who was a sacrifice to cleanse human beings of their sins. These are but a few examples:

clip_image0092 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV): ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’.

clip_image009[1] 1 Peter 2:22 : ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth’.

clip_image009[2]Hebrews 4:15: ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin’.

clip_image009[3]1 John 3:5: ‘But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin’.

So, God the Son, one person in the Trinity, was sinless.

 

6.2 What about God the Father?

clip_image011 Numbers 23:19: ‘God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind’. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?’

 

clip_image011[1]Deuteronomy 32:34: ‘I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he’.

 

clip_image011[2]1 Samuel 15:29, ‘He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind’.

 

clip_image011[3]2 Timothy 2:13: ‘If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself’.

 

clip_image011[4]Titus 1:2: ‘… in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time’.

 

clip_image011[5]Hebrews 6:18: ‘God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged’.

 

clip_image011[6]James 1:13: ‘When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone’.

 

clip_image011[7]1 John 1:5: ‘God is light; in him there is no darkness at all’.

 

I could provide additional Scripture to support the teaching on God, the Holy Spirit, who is not a sinner.

7. Theism vs Panentheism

Norman Geisler has provided this helpful summary of the differences between orthodox theism and panentheism (Geisler 1999:576):

Theism Panentheism
God is Creator. God is director.
Creation is ex nihilo. Creation is ex materia.
God is sovereign over world. God is dependent on world.
God is independent over world. God is dependent on world.
God is unchanging. God is changing.
God is absolutely prefect. God is growing more perfect.
God is mono-polar. God is bi-polar.
God is actually infinite. God is actually finite.

 

Where can panentheism be found today? It can be found in Hinduism, Sikhism, certain mystical Jewish traditions, Taoism, some Christianity where it is also called process theology (including the Eastern Orthodox Church. Unitarian Universalist Church),  some Sufi Islamic saints and thinkers had panentheistic views, and Gnosticism.

8.    Main issue

In my view, your main problem is that you choose not to accept the Scripture at face value but replace it with the irrational reasoning of panentheism that does not match reality. This is called eisegesis of any form of literature. It is based on the NT Greek preposition eis, which means ‘in/into’. So, when you read your worldview into the text, you come up with an interpretation that does not come out of the text.

9. Works consulted

Geisler, N L 1999. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.

10. Note

[1] These points were made by Geisler (1999:577-578).

Panentheism - Wikiquote

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 July 2020.

Abstract pink lines. Vector — Stock Vector © emaria #6500803

Abstract pink lines. Vector — Stock Vector © emaria #6500803

The Hindu worldview clashes with reality

clip_image002

Hindu Murti idol: Sri Parvati Devi (image courtesy Wikipedia)[1]

By Spencer D Gear PhD

1. Introduction

When I personally visited India in 1964 I was shocked by the widespread poverty:

clip_image004

(India: image courtesy qrius.com)[2]

clip_image006

(India: image courtesy pixabay)[3]

The Brookings’ Institute concluded in 2019:

According to our projections, Nigeria has already overtaken India as the country with the largest number of extreme poor in early 2018, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo could soon take over the number 2 spot (Kharas et al 2018).

1.1 Underlying causes of India’s poverty

K B Napier’s assessment was

just 5% of the castes are of this highest group, the Brahmins. The remaining 95%, the ‘untouchables’ or Dalit, are the lowest of the low… they are considered to be unclean or worthless. The others in this evil system of the lowest caste, are the OBC’s (Other Backward Castes). Though slightly higher than the Dalits, they are still separate from the Brahmins, and are just as poor as the Dalits.

Hinduism strictly keeps this cruelty going and so 95% of the population are poor because of this godless religion. And even when Brahmins emigrate to the West their mind-set is the same.

Even if they receive extra food, clothes and even a basic education, they will never be accepted by the foul Brahmins, who see them as no more valuable than dirt (Napier 2014).

A pilot study conducted by Melinda Johnson (2015) of the University of North Georgia in Goa, India, explored ‘the relationship between religious beliefs and causal attributions of poverty’ in Hinduism and Islam. She tested the hypothesis:

Based on these different religious beliefs regarding poverty, it is my hypothesis that the perceptions of poverty and of the poor will be vastly different in individuals from different religious backgrounds. I believe that individuals of Hindu backgrounds will have more internal causal attributions and descriptors of guilt or shame associated with poverty whereas those from Islamic backgrounds will have more external causal attributions and less negative views associated with poverty (Johnson 2015:4).

Her summary conclusion was that substantial differences between Muslim and Hindu views of the hypothesis were confirmed. The Hindu community reported an internal-individualistic cause, which probable relates to the version given in the Hindu Scriptures.

By contrast the Muslim community reported an external-structuralistic[4] cause for poverty. Therefore, the Hindu view sees the wealthy in a positive way, compared with the negative for the poor. By contrast, the Muslim community identified the wealthy with a person’s access to education, opportunities afforded them within society, and status (Johnson 2015:10)

Johnson found in Goa, India that the cause of poverty described by the Hindus related to internal views, i.e. to the teaching of the Hindu Scriptures. By contrast, the Muslims blamed human factors in the culture.

1.2 Hindu idolatry

Idolatry is a core Hindu practice. Leading Hindu Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru, wrote:

You can worship a man-god and be a Hindu. You can worship a woman-god and be a Hindu. You can worship a cow and be a Hindu. You can worship a tree and be a Hindu. Or you don’t worship anything and you can be a Hindu.[5]

Thus, idol worship is central to Hindu devotion. Why worship someone of something that isn’t God? ‘In the Hindu way of life, the only important thing in human life is his liberation. Mukti is the only goal’.[6] What is ‘Mukti’? It is spiritual enlightenment that comes through Hindu reincarnation and rebirth. Mukti may be achieved by yoga.[7]

2. All religions are exclusivistic.

You might find that to be an extreme statement. Exclusivism is ‘The action or policy of excluding a person or group from a place, group, or privilege’ (lexico.com 2020. s.v. exclusivism).

We know that Christianity is exclusivistic. Jesus said: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6 NIV).

By the statement that all religions are exclusivistic, I mean that all religions have essential, exclusive values for that religion and to deny them would deny the core of the religion.

Let’s seek a few examples outside of Christianity:

clip_image008Could you imagine the atheistic system without the belief that there is no God? Atheism is exclusivistic. See my article: Does atheism have a creed or a system of beliefs?

clip_image008[1]The core teachings of Buddhism are:

• The Three Universal Truths;

• The Four Noble Truths; and

•The Noble Eightfold Path.[8]

clip_image008[3]The five pillars of Islam are its core values and practices:

  •  Profession of Faith (shahada). The belief that “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God” is central to Islam.
  •  Prayer (salat). Muslims pray facing Mecca five times a day: at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and after dark.
  •  Alms (zakat). In accordance with Islamic law, Muslims donate a fixed portion of their income to community members in need.
  •  Fasting (sawm). During the daylight hours of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, all healthy adult Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink.
  •  Pilgrimage (hajj). Every Muslim whose health and finances permit it must make at least one visit to the holy city of Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia.[9]

I encourage you to listen to the 1-minute podcast by Ravi Zacharias: All Religions Are Exclusivistic.

2. What are the core Hindu beliefs?

Dr Amrutur V. Srinivasan, founder of the Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society, USA stated that Hinduism is not an organised religion with a systematic approach to teaching its value system. Instead, there are ‘local, regional, caste, and community-driven practices [that] influence the interpretation and practice of beliefs throughout the Hindu world’ (Srinivasan n.d.).[10]

He teaches these as the common beliefs among Hindus:

2.1 Truth is eternal.

‘Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth: the very essence of the universe and the only Reality. According to the Vedas, Truth is One, but the wise express it in a variety of ways’.[11]

Concerning truth, the Bhagavadgita states:

‘The non-existent has no existence; the existent does not not-exist. (Thus) the seers who have seen the essence of That reached the conclusion about the two’ (The Bhagavadgita 2:16).

‘It is neither born nor dies. At no time it did not non-exist in the past; will not non-exist in future; or will not become existence again. Unborn, eternal, permanent, and the most ancient, this is not killed when the body is killed’ (The Bhagavadgita 2:20).

Jayaram V, a Hindu, maintains

our world, our lives and our very existence do not qualify as truth. There is nothing here or on other planets or the entire universe, which fits perfectly in the concept of truth as envisaged in Hindu scriptures…. Our minds cannot grasp absolute truths because they are not conditioned or created to grasp them’ so the Hindu Scriptures do not promote (Jayaram V 2000-2019).

2.2 Brahman is Truth and Reality.

‘Hindus believe in Brahman as the one true God who is formless, limitless, all-inclusive, and eternal. Brahman is not an abstract concept; it is a real entity that encompasses everything (seen and unseen) in the universe’.[12]

Notice Srinivasan does not refer to Brahman, the Hindu one true God, by a personal pronoun but by the neuter, ‘it’. So, everything is in God, Brahman.

2.3 The Vedas are the ultimate authority.

‘The Vedas are Hindu scriptures that contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages. Hindus believe that the Vedas are without beginning and without end; when everything else in the universe is destroyed (at the end of a cycle of time), the Vedas remain’.[13]

The Vedas (pron. Vay-dez) are available online at: Hinduism – Sacred-Texts

Michael Gleghorn of Probe Ministries (2010) summarised the ‘ultimate authority’ difference between Hinduism and Christianity:

The Bible is a book of history and there is a huge wealth of evidence from archaeology and extra-biblical historical sources to commend it to us as such. What’s more, it claims to be a revelation from the one true God, who created all things. This claim is either true or false. While I believe that there are good reasons for embracing the claim as true, I cannot prove this with absolute certainty. Nevertheless, we must do our best to examine the various claims of the different religions, compare these claims with all the evidence we can find, and attempt to decide which (if any) are actually true.

But here’s my point. Suppose that Hinduism is true. What follows from that for me as a Christian? If the material world is ultimately maya, and its reason for being is simply lila, and if all is one, and Atman is Brahman, then (sooner or later) I will realize this and get off the wheel of rebirth. It may take many lifetimes, but I will eventually realize that all is one, that I am Brahman. Nothing (of eternal consequence) follows from my temporary ignorance.

But now suppose Christianity is true. What follows for those who do not come to Jesus alone for salvation from the holy wrath of God against our sin? Eternal punishment away from the presence of God, the only true and ultimate Source of all that is true, beautiful and good. In light of all the evidence that Christianity is really true (here I must simply refer you to our website), and since we must make some sort of choice regarding these issues, and since absolute certainty may not ultimately be possible, it seems to me that the safest bet is on the God of the Bible. Of course, in the long run, we must each be willing to take personal responsibility for the choice that we make – and be willing to accept the consequences that follow from it (Gleghorn 2010).

The reason why any ancient history publication, including the Bible, Qu’ran and the Vedas cannot conclude with ‘absolute certainty’ is because, at an historical distance it is so difficult to describe with 100% accuracy what happened.

See my article: Evidence for the afterlife to confirm a method for checking the historical reliability of the Bible.

2.4 Everyone should strive to achieve dharma.

‘Understanding the concept of dharma helps you understand the Hindu faith. Unfortunately, no single English word adequately covers its meaning. Dharma can be described as right conduct, righteousness, moral law, and duty. Anyone who makes dharma central to one’s life strives to do the right thing, according to one’s duty and abilities, at all times’.[14]

2.5 Individual souls are immortal.

‘A Hindu believes that the individual soul (atman) is neither created nor destroyed; it has been, it is, and it will be. Actions of the soul while residing in a body require that it reap the consequences of those actions in the next life — the same soul in a different body.

‘The process of movement of the atman from one body to another is known as transmigration. The kind of body the soul inhabits next is determined by karma (actions accumulated in previous lives). Learn more about Hindu funeral customs’.[15]

2.6 The goal of the individual soul is moksha.

Moksha is liberation: the soul’s release from the cycle of death and rebirth. It occurs when the soul unites with Brahman by realizing its true nature. Several paths can lead to this realization and unity: the path of duty, the path of knowledge, and the path of devotion (unconditional surrender to God)’.[16]

3. Christian challenges to these Hindu beliefs

How do the above Hindu teachings conform with or contradict Christian theology?

3.1 Is the eternity of Hindu truth the same as Jesus’ truth

Within Hinduism there are contradictory teachings of the eternal. For example,

Many followers of Hinduism believe that Hinduism is an eternal religion (Sanatana Dharma). Now for many writers, scholars and historians of Hinduism, who prefer to follow the historical timeline to discuss the origin and growth of Hinduism, this poses many problems.

For example when someone writes that Hinduism evolved over a period of time through a complex historical process, those who faithfully adhere to the Puranic timeline and view every modern interpretation with doubt and derision raise their eye brows and accuse one of diluting the meaning and value of Hinduism. They wonder how a religion can be eternal and evolve at the same time. According to them either the religion is eternal and permanent or it is evolutionary and ephemeral. Both cannot possibly be in the same space, they argue….

For example when someone writes that Hinduism evolved over a period of time through a complex historical process, those who faithfully adhere to the Puranic timeline and view every modern interpretation with doubt and derision raise their eye brows and accuse one of diluting the meaning and value of Hinduism. They wonder how a religion can be eternal and evolve at the same time. According to them either the religion is eternal and permanent or it is evolutionary and ephemeral. Both cannot possibly be in the same space, they argue….

Then there are some aspects of Hinduism, especially the rituals, some practices and divinities, the ethics and the laws governing our social and religious conduct, which undergo change from time to time. If this is not so, Hindu women would be still committing sati and young girls would be still getting married as a matter of rule. We have come a long way from the time of human sacrifices to the present day of sacrificing our egos and energies in the service of God (Hinduwebsite.com. 2000-2019).[17]

clip_image010What is the teaching of the eternity of God in Christianity?

We know that:

  1. There is no time in God’s being. He is timeless. See Psalm 90:2, ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God’ (ESV). Also refer to Rev 1:8.
  2. God sees all of time simultaneously or vividly. See Psalm 90:4, ‘For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night’ (ESV).
  3. Yet, God takes action in time. Jesus came ‘when the time had fully come’, born of a woman, under the law, to redeem those under the law (Gal 4:4-5) [with help from Grudem 1999:76-78].

Therefore, I find Wayne Grudem’s definition of God’s eternity to be affirmed by Scripture: ‘God has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in his own being, and he sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in time and acts in time’ (Grudem 1999:76).

So, the information about God loving Jacob and hating Esau does not have a ‘centuries after the fact’ dynamic when we understand God’s attribute of eternity or infinity because God is timeless in his being. This kind of understanding is seen in verses such as Eph 1:4 where God states of Christians that he chose us in Christ ‘BEFORE the foundation of the world’.

Systematic theologian, Henry Thiessen, wrote that

by the eternity of God we mean His infinity in relation to time; we mean that He is without beginning or end; that He is free from all succession of time; and that He is the cause of time.… That God is eternal is abundantly taught in Scripture…. Eternity for God is one Now’ (Thiessen 1949:122, emphasis in original).

Thiessen refers to Gen 21:33 (‘the Everlasting God’); Ps 90:2 (‘from everlasting to everlasting you are God’); Ps 102:27 (‘You are the same, and your years have no end’); Isa 57:15 where God is ‘high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity’, and 1 Tim 6:16 where the Sovereign, King of kings and Lord of Lords is the one ‘who alone has immortality’ (all citations are from the ESV).

3.2 How do Brahman truth and reality compare with Jesus’ truth and reality?

I agree that Christianity claims to be the truth and reality (John 14:6). How do truth and reality compare with other religions? The fact is that every major religion in the world claims an exclusive core.

Hinduism, for example, is often represented as being the most tolerant and accepting of other faiths. That is just not true. All Hindus believe in two fundamental, uncompromising doctrines—the Law of Karma, and the belief in reincarnation. These will not be surrendered. In fact, Buddhism was born out of the rejection of two other very dogmatic claims of Hinduism. Buddha rejected the authority of the vedas and the caste system of Hinduism. The issue here is not who was right or wrong. The truth is that they were systemically different—both claiming rightness (Zacharias n.d.).

You will see this Hindu Brahman truth and reality played out in the discussion which follows, ‘Discussions with a Hindu’. Brahman ‘truth’ includes the doctrines of the Law of Karma and reincarnation. These are opposed to the biblical teaching of what happens at death. See my articles:

Image result for color image cemetery" What happens at death for believer and unbeliever?

Image result for color image cemetery Those who live and believe in Jesus Christ shall never die,

 

Image result for color image cemetery Will you be ready when your death comes?

‘What is truth?’ This was Pilate’s great question to Jesus Christ (John 18:38).

One dictionary definition is: Truth is ‘genuineness or veracity’; ‘that which is true; a fact; a reality; that which conforms to fact or reality; the real or true state of things”.[18] Another dictionary adds that truth is ‘The quality or state of being true; that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality’ (Lexico.com 2020. s.v. truth).

This is confirmed by my Greek word studies of aletheia which state: ‘John uses aletheia regularly in the sense of reality in contrast to falsehood or mere appearance… The revealed reality of God’[19] Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says of aletheia: ‘The word has an absolute force … not merely ethical truth, but truth in all its fulness and scope, as embodied in Him’ (Vine 1940:159).

When we apply this to Jesus, this is an amazing statement. Jesus is saying, ‘I am ultimate reality. I am the root of what was, what is, what will come, I am the foundation of all that is genuine, factual and real in the world. Everything flows from Me’.

Jesus is the truth. However, Jesus is one Person in the divine Trinity. Of the Lord God it is written: ‘The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures for ever.’ (Psalm 119:160 ESV).

God revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14). To the unbelieving Jews, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58) and they wanted to stone Jesus. No wonder. He was not claiming to be like God, or sent by God, but he was claiming to be Yahweh — the “I AM.”

When I speak out against abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality; make a stand for justice for oppressed people; when I proclaim the atonement and salvation through Jesus Christ alone; when I practise biblical ethics on the job; when I write letters or articles for newspapers or magazines, my aim is never to promote my own opinion. My sole desire is to proclaim Jesus Christ as the ultimate reality of all that exists and has existed and will exist.

We do the greatest disservice to you, and especially our young people, when we ask them to experience Jesus without an understanding that we are talking about truth.

3.3 Do the Vedas have ultimate authority?

clip_image012 How can the Vedas proclaim ultimate authority when there is so much in them that is contradictory and conflicts with reality?

Flower17 Gandhi promoted non-violence as synonymous with Hinduism.

Flower17 However, the Hindu tradition for a long time recognised the use of violence to protect one’s state and people from external attacks.

Flower17 Another tradition renounced violence at the time the Upanishads were being promoted. This tradition claimed violent actions, by the law of karma, would produce more violent actions (Hinduism on peace and violence).[20]

Flower17 So, which is it? Violence to protect Hinduism or Ghandi’s non-violence?

Flower17 My ‘discussions with a Hindu’ (see below) demonstrate that Hinduism does not have its feet firmly planted in reality.

Consider these Hindu examples of contradiction regarding the origin of creation:

Veda mentions different gods as the creator of the universe, Rig Veda 2.20.1; 2.13.5 says Indra created the earth, Rig Veda 10.82.1 and Yajur Veda 17.25 says Vishwakarma created the heaven and earth, Rig Veda 10.190.3 says Dhatar created the heaven, earth, sun and the moon. Atharva Veda 9.5.20 says that the breast of the God Aja became the earth, we read in Purusha Sukta that the feet of the lord became the earth, all these Vedic verses contradict each other. Atharva Veda 13.1.6 states that Rohita created the heaven and earth. A verse states that Prajapati created the universe, another verse in Yajur Veda 14.30 states that Prajapati prayed to a Divine Speech and thence earth and heaven were produced. Some also say the creation took place after the association of father and daughter mentioned in Rig Veda 10.61 (Razvi 2014).

Read more of Sulaiman Razvi’s website for further examples of contradictions in the Vedas.

There have been apparent contradictions in the Bible, but they have been addressed in these publications:

Flower23Craig Blomberg 1987. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. Leicester, England/Downers Grove, Illinois. Inter-Varsity Press.

Flower23 Craig Blomberg 2016. The Historical Reliability of the New Testament. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Academic.

Flower23 Bruce, F F 1943/1959 (rev). The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing.

Flower23Kitchen, K A 2006. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Flower23 Kaiser Jr., W C 2001. The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant? Downers Grove, Illinois/Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press.

3.4 What is dharma and should everyone strive to achieve it?

As explained in 2.4 above, dharma means to pursue good works and righteousness. This is good works’ religion and is contrary to a Christian understanding of salvation that is by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9) and is demonstrated by doing good deeds (James 2).

There is no dharma in the Christian faith because dharma means ‘right conduct, righteousness, moral law, and duty’ practised at all times. That is not Christianity that is associated with the Holy Spirit enablement in the true believer. Yes, the Christian believer is expected to grow in his/her faith through sanctification but it is not a human beings righteousness that makes him/her righteous with God

The difference between dharma in Hinduism and Christianity revolves around an understanding of Christian salvation. How does a person become a Christian? These are some biblical understandings:

1. God is the author of salvation, ‘You have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about’ (Eph 2:8-9 ERV).[21]

2. To receive this salvation you need to hear it proclaimed publicly in person, by radio, TV, on the Internet, or by reading: ‘So faith comes from hearing the Good News. And people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ’ (Rom 10:17 ERV).

3. What will be the content of this proclamation?

(a) ‘All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness’ (Rom 3:23 ERV). Our being sinners keeps us out of God’s kingdom, so this needs to happen:

(b) ‘When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death [spiritual and physical]. But God gives his people a free gift—eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom 6:23 ERV).

(c) How do you receive this gift? ‘If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from death, you will be saved. Yes, we believe in Jesus deep in our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we openly say that we believe in him, and so we are saved. (Rom 10:9-10 ERV). Belief from within you of Jesus’ resurrection is needed to become a Christian. This is faith without doubting who Jesus is. He’s the one who died, was buried and rose again for salvation (see also 1 Cor 15:3-4).

(d) This Good News of Jesus Christ is available to all people: ‘Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 ERV).

(e) Believers must continue trusting Christ to receive ultimate salvation: ‘But the one who remains faithful to the end will be saved’ (Matt 24:13 ERV).

(f) What has God done for the person who has received salvation? ‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom 5:1 NIV). What does it mean to be ‘justified’ by faith in God? We are ‘brought into right relationship with God, a condition he describes as “peace with God”’ (Brauch 1996:646).

Explained in more technical Greek terms, ‘justification by faith’ means, ‘The participle is causal: “since we have been declared righteous,” causal as introducing the effect. The cause is objective and outside of us, for God in heaven on his judgment seat made this declaration in regard to us; the effect is subjective, within us, the reaction that should follow in our hearts: “peace let us go on having, and let us go on boasting,” etc. (Lenski 1936:332).

Justification by faith means more: Since believers have been declared righteous by God, there will follow peace in their hearts. It is the Almighty God on his judgment seat who makes a judicial decision for all genuine believers in justifying them. He will not declare you unrighteous again, but you will demonstrate your faith by action:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:14-17 ERV).

Therefore, the Hindu understanding of dharma is radically different to the Christian teaching on salvation as a gift of God, belief in Christ, justification by faith, and good works that follow and demonstrate salvation.

3.5 Are individual souls immortal?

The Christian teaching is: ‘God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might for ever’ (1 Tim 6:15-16 NIV).

So there is only One, God Himself, who is immortal, never having a beginning or end.

However, what happens to believers and unbelievers at death? My response is in the article: Immortality of the Soul

My conclusion is that described by Robert Morey:

The immortality of the soul for all people is the teaching of orthodox Christianity and has been throughout its existence. Of course there have been a few exceptions, but these have been infinitesimal compared with the millions of orthodox teachers and followers in the history of the church. This led Robert Morey to state correctly: “From the classic Greek philosophers to the present time, the immortality of the soul has been accepted as immediately reasonable and virtually self-evident. . . For nearly two thousand years, with rare exceptions, Christians have generally believed in the immortality of the soul” (Morey 1984:68-69).

Immortality of the soul means that eternal salvation is the experience of the Christian from the moment he/she is committed to Christ as Saviour and Lord. Death means immediate translation into the presence of the Lord in Paradise for believers. For unbelievers, the immortality of the soul means continuous existence in the place of eternal punishment – Hades/hell – at the point of death. Denying the immortality of the soul is denial of orthodox biblical teaching.

To the question, “Are human beings immortal?” the answer is, “Yes, in the sense that their existence never ends.”

This is a teaching that in no way resembles the Hindu immortality of the soul.

3.6 What does it mean that the goal of the individual soul is moksha?

This is ‘a belief in the possibility of liberation and release (moksha) by which the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara) can be resolved’ (Kahn Academy, Beliefs of Hinduism 2020). [22]

Since moksha and samsara are involved in rebirth of those who have died and returned to the physical earth, it directly contradicts the Christian version of the soul. What happens at death according to Scripture?

gold foward button ‘Just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment’ (Heb 9:27 NLT). There is no moksha and samsara here. Kama and reincarnation are inventions of Hinduism.

gold foward button Where will the unbeliever in Christ go at death?

gold foward button What is the destiny of the believer in Jesus? He said: ‘I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life’ (John 5:24).

gold foward button What is the future for the person who is not a Christian at death?

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done….

But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile (Rom 2:5-6, 8-9).

The Christian understanding of the afterlife is radically different to that of Hinduism. See: The Intermediate State for believers and unbelievers: Where do they go at death?

4. Discussions with a Hindu[23]

Here I share a lengthy online discussion I had online in an Australian, secular e-journal, On Line Opinion. The conversation began as comments to the article, Do we have free will? but the discussion moved to other subjects where he shared dimensions of his Hindu beliefs and worldview.

Kewal[24] the Hindu:

‘This article [Do we have free will?] demonstrates the kind of absurd conclusions reached by those who glorify the objective and deny the subjective’.[25]

Kewal:[26]

‘Nothing in the objective world, INCLUDING INTELLIGENCE, can disprove determinism, so those who worship the physical and deny the reality of themselves and God, can never be convinced. You are looking for evidence in the wrong direction – look inside instead and find all answers within!

‘Yes, determinism is not real, but only because the world around us itself is not the ultimate reality.

Spencer:[27]

How can the ‘objective world’ of ‘determinism’ be proven if it depends on the evidence ‘inside’ each individual? That appeals to existential experiences that vary from person to person.

Do you suggest my answer may be different to yours, but that is the ‘answer’ for you and me? What if my internal evidence encourages me to hate and kill those who are violently angry with me?

How can that work itself out in an Australian culture that is plagued by existential meaninglessness. I was a counsellor and counselling manager for 34 years and these people came in droves.

The experience within has led many a person to commit suicide and heinous crimes.

Kewal:

I did not understand your question: “How can the ‘objective world’ of ‘determinism’ be proven if…”, because it cannot, because the theory of determinism is false. But as I told JP, it cannot be disproved either except by oneself, for oneself. So those who rather believe in determinism have the free will to do so!

The truth is the truth, regardless whether knowing it is liable to produce crime and suicide. You may however prefer for some people not to be aware of it – and this is already the case.

The ultimate truth is God, that there is nothing but God, that you are God and the world is your playground and you can do with it as you please, but others are also God and what appears to you to be different persons, your person and other persons, are actually all one and the same.

When you know this truth, you understand that you cannot truly kill others or yourself.

With the exception of the most heinous psychopaths, there is a natural mechanism by which those who feel guilty and liable to do harmful things would, in order to limit their violence, never allow themselves to expand and know or even understand this highest truth. In fact they would not even allow themselves to believe that they have any free will – they consider themselves victims and blame their circumstances, so they find determinism a convenient excuse. You could explain to them otherwise, but they just won’t get it, they won’t believe, they won’t understand – not until they are willing to review their crimes, confess and repent.[28]

Spencer:[29]

You stated:

The ultimate truth is God, that there is nothing but God, that you are God and the world is your playground and you can do with it as you please, but others are also God and what appears to you to be different persons, your person and other persons, are actually all one and the same.

So, can I as God, create rain to end the drought for outback Australia? If the world is my playground, why can’t you and I cause paedophilia, crime and violence to stop?
Or is your definition of ‘God’ different to my understanding?

Kewal:[30]

You understand God?

Then whatever you understand is incorrect because God cannot be understood. To understand means to grasp by one’s mind, but no mind can grasp God.

The reason you cannot do all those things that you listed is that, for the time-being, you have taken upon yourself the roll/costume of a human and these are beyond a human’s capacity.

Yes the world is your playground and this is one of the games you play there (and games without a villain or two can be quite boring). You seem to take this role very seriously, but once you had enough, you may withdraw from the game and cast off that costume, just as you can always wake up from a dream (just on a grander scale), unscathed.

Spencer:[31]

To a certain extent I agree with you. God is incomprehensible (Psalm 145:3; Romans 11:33-34), and yet He can be known at the same time (2 Peter 1:2-3). I understand the Almighty God to the extent he has revealed Himself to us. This is part of that revelation:

“They [sinful, wicked people] know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. SO THEY HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR NOT KNOWING GOD.
“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:19-23).

Throughout Scripture God has provided details to understand Him better.
We won’t ever understand God comprehensively, However, He can be known genuinely, personally and adequately. He is the personal God who has definite attributes (characteristics) and He has personally revealed them to us.

See, “What are the most important things to understand about the nature of God? (Got Questions Ministries)

Kewal:

Exactly, God can be known but not understood![32]

Spencer:[33]

It is not exactly like that in my understanding. Why? Job 36:26 asks: ‘How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out’.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t pursue an understanding of God as He has revealed many of his attributes to us. See: Understanding God.

Kewal:

In response to another person’s statement, ‘I suspect that all forms of life have some degree of free will – even plants and earthworms’,[34] Yuyutsu replied:

A precondition for free will is to have a subjective sense of will. Otherwise, it is just physics in action.[35]

Another asked: ‘At what point of their development does a human gain free will’?[36]

Kewal’s reply was:[37]

Never. A human is just a body, so are mice and frogs and plants and earthworms.
YOU have free will, or at least a subjective sense of will, but your human does not.

Kewal:

A person is a physical object, so are animals, so are computers, so you can even speak about air and water “deciding” to flow in this or that direction, in fact every sub-atomic particle or wave constantly “decides” what to do – they might not have a FREE will, but they still have a WILL.

If that’s all there is to “will”, if we are only discussing physical mechanisms, then obviously there is no free will. Also, if that’s the case, then all that is left is a technical study of those mechanisms and frankly, I wouldn’t find this interesting.

However, the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) definition is quite different from the broader intuitive sense of WILL, including as presented by this article’s author. According to the broader sense, I may, for example, have the will to fly, yet my body doesn’t comply so it “decides” to stay on the ground and obey the law of gravity.

While there can be faculties of OED-style will, There cannot be a “faculty of free will”. Free will means that it is YOURS alone and independent of external factors. You may claim that free-will doesn’t exist – OK, many do, including the author, it’s called “determinism”.[38]

Spencer:[39]

You stated that ‘A person is a physical object, so are animals, so are computers, so you can even speak about air and water “deciding” to flow in this or that direction’.
Are you affirming that a person is only a physical object? Are we body/physical and there’s no more to us?

Kewal:[40]

We CAN pursue an understanding of God and it is an excellent practice which prepares and purifies us to become better recipients of divine grace. Yet what we end up with instead, is direct knowledge of God rather than mere intellectual understanding of words and formulas.

A person is only a physical object. YOU, however, are not a person nor a physical object.
The word ‘person’ comes from Latin ‘persona’, an actor’s mask. While we are wearing this mask, this costume of a human person, we are not it!

This mask has no will, how less so a free will, but by God’s gift, we do.

Spencer:[41]

A person is only a physical object? YOU, however, are not a person nor a physical object.
The word ‘person’ comes from Latin ‘persona’, an actor’s mask. While we are wearing this mask, this costume of a human person, we are not it!

To the contrary, ‘person’ was used before the Latin:

1. ‘Then Peter opened his mouth and said, “In truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). ‘Respecter of persons’ = Greek, proswpolempetes. It is a compound word, of ‘proswpon‘ = face or person, and ‘lambanw‘, I take or take up.

2. Also, in Romans 2:11 it states, ‘There is no respect of persons with God’.

A person or a human being consists of the physical body and the unseen part which the Scriptures variously describe as soul, spirit, heart and mind.

Jesus taught other people and his disciples: ‘For what will it profit a man [human being] if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul’ (Mark 8:36)? Thus, human beings as persons are more than physical matter.

Kewal:[42]

Yes, if you wish to go into subtleties, then a person also includes a mind which is not normally considered physical, but is a subtler body of ours which does not completely dissolve when our gross human body dies.

Neither body nor mind have free will, so it would be more accurate (though it would confuse everyday language) to describe them both as physical. The mental body, however, being more subtle, is more directly illumined by God’s light than the physical body, thus free will seems to emanate from the mind more than from the physical body – but even this is still an illusion as the source of free will is God alone.

P.S. The first two verses you quoted are about God’s lack of discrimination between Jews and “gentiles”. As for the third verse, no one can lose his soul – but one can corrupt their mind, thus lose contact between body and soul, which is what the verse refers to.

Uke:

He replied to Yuyutsu:[43]

You wrote: ‘A person is a physical object …’

That’s Nazi language, Yuyutsu. The German Nazis of Adolf Hitler dehumanized their victims, negating their personal identity as human beings, and tattooed them with numbers. They did this to demonstrate that they were nothing more than objects.
I do not know why you persist in declaring that “a person is a physical object” but, whatever the reason, it reveals a complete lack of sensitivity (and humanity) to the horrors of the Holocaust (or Shoah) and the suffering and humiliation of the families and friends of the six million innocent, civilian, Jewish victims.

An object, in its philosophical sense, is “a thing external to the thinking mind or subject” (OED).

In the case in hand, Yuyutsu, you are the “thinking mind or subject” and you designate “a person” (any person) as the “external thing”. I find that particularly degrading, demeaning and insulting. Is that how you consider your wife and children, your friends, acquaintances and fellow human beings? Are they all just “physical objects” or things ?
You who are so religious, claiming in previous threads on this forum, that you, yourself, are God, that I am God and that other people are God – and now, that as persons, we are all just “physical objects (or things)”. Logically, that makes your God just a “physical object” or thing as well.

I am ready to accept the elusive games you often play on this OLO forum, Yuyutsu, and the outlandish statements you also adore making. They do not bother me. But I do not accept your indifference to Nazi genocide and crimes against humanity.
Violent words engender violent action.

Adolf Hitler wrote in his book, Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”):

The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous … effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand [Mein Kampf, chapter 6].[44]

Kewal’s response to Uke was:[45]

Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. Hitler was correct in claiming that we are not humans, but he believed that some (like Jews) are lower than humans, while I claim that we all are far higher than humans. In fact, calling us “human” is a degrading insult to who we really are – God!

Cogno jumped it:[46]

So Yuyutsu, according to your view point I have a physical human body but which is detached from me.

Indeed what you’re saying is that this body of mine really has nothing to do with the “real me” or in other words this body and me cannot interact in anyway (eg, it cannot be controlled by the me).

Thus if my body was to murder someone than I’m in no way responsible.
Have I got this view-point of your’s right?

Kewal:[47]

Your body cannot murder. Your body can kill just as a gun or a hammer can, but no sane judge would prosecute a gun or a hammer.

Now your body is not completely detached from you because your mind has attached itself to your body while you identify yourself as your mind. Your mind interacts with your body and can influence it to a certain degree, while you can freely choose to control and train your mind to follow the straight and narrow.

The mind is like a wild horse that needs to be broken. If you fail to control your mind and your mind then causes your body to murder, then you are responsible.The mind has no free will and is set on its long-acquired habits. If you do not intervene and leave it in automatic-mode, then it will pursue its preset goals, most often to acquire, through your body, immediate sensual pleasures, and it would do so blindly at any cost. Training the mind to change its habits, is a long and arduous project – sometimes it seems impossible, but it actually is possible.

Uke to Kewal:

You wrote : ‘Hitler was correct in claiming that we are not humans, but he believed that some (like Jews) are lower than humans.…’

So do you, Yuyutsu. Like Hitler, you claim that “a person is a physical object” – which is why I protested so vigorously in my previous post. In fact, my whole post was entirely devoted to this single declaration of yours that I found particularly shocking and totally unacceptable.

But you obviously preferred to ignore it. You did not offer the slightest explanation, let alone justification.As I already pointed out in my previous post, the only logical conclusion that one can draw from the fact that you also declare that you consider yourself, myself and other people to be God is that you consider your God to be a “physical object” (or thing) according to your own definition of us all as “persons”.
You have a double – perhaps even a triple – conflicting discourse, all versions of which are totally irreconcilable. I say “perhaps triple conflicting discourse” because you indicated on a previous thread that you know nothing about God because, according to you, God is undefinable.

Perhaps you are not aware of the totally confused and conflicting nature of your discourse, or perhaps you do not want to admit it, or, for some reason which I ignore, perhaps you are simply unable to admit it, or, at least, offer some explanation for it.
If it’s any consolation, Yuyutsu, allow me to add that I see no reason to doubt your good faith.

Nevertheless, I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about it, whatever the reason, and see no point in continuing this conversation.
Sorry, Yuyutsu

Kewal:[48]

He responded to another person who asked, ‘Did you type up that last message to [Uke] and me?

I am asking that same question myself and I don’t have a clear answer. For writing this message, my body was obviously only used as a tool by my mind, my keyboard too, so just as it would be insane to claim “my keyboard did it”, the option of “my body did it” can also be safely discarded.

But was the message written by myself or by my mind? Was my body instructed to write the message by my independent free choice, or was this instruction done automatically by my mind due to its ongoing habits?

It is hard to tell. It is pretty tricky to tell.

Overall and over the long term, I can control and direct my mind, but have I done so in this particular instance, or did I lapse and just allowed my mind to automatically do its thing? Was I actually involved or was it just a case of one part of my mind influencing another part of my mind? This requires very deep reflection and honesty!
clip_image014

Alternately, if we transcend the personal level and look at this question at the level of the Absolute Truth, then I as God either wrote both that message, signed “Yuyutsu” as well as the next message, signed “Not_Now.Soon”, or I wrote neither of them because none was ever actually written as the world and time itself are just an illusion.
However, a learned theoretical answer is not very helpful and not as beneficial for spiritual growth as the answer I could obtain by sincere and intense contemplation.

Spencer:[49]

Which God/god are you writing about?

Kewal:[50]

God. Is there more than one?

Spencer:[51]

You were the one who stated you were God and I am God. I can assure you that I’m NOT the Lord God Almighty who created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
I’m a created human being who has eternal salvation, thanks to Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that I have accepted by faith, thanks to God’s grace (Eph 2:8-9).

Kewal:[52]

You will certainly attain eternal salvation, may God bless you sooner rather than later, yet your human will not survive as it will go to the worms.

Nor can your puny mind which believes that you are just a small entity, separate from all others, survive the light once you are with God.

It is our greatest malady that we forgot who we are, our infinite worth and unlimited glory, instead identifying ourselves as mere human-beings.

Salvation is when we wake up from this delusion of smallness, to realise who we truly eternally are and always were.

Spencer:[53]

That might be your view, but it is not that of the biblical Scriptures.

clip_image016(image courtesy Pinterest)

“… Believe in the Lord Jesus , and you will be saved, you and your household” is the Bible’s teaching (Acts 16:31).

“Jesus said to him [Thomas], ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:6).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

There is no hint of waking up from my delusion of who I was and am eternally.
Your view of salvation is not coming from the Christian Scriptures. What is your source of information about salvation?

Kewal:[54]

My source of information is scripture, mainly the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita, including not just my private reading but also scripture-classes that I am so fortunate to attend.

The question of free-will for example is addressed in the first khanda of the Kena Upanishad.

I accept Jesus’ famous statement: “No one comes to the Father except through me”, because I believe Jesus to be among those relatively-few who knew who they truly are: God. Thus when Jesus said “me”, he didn’t refer to that specific human, son-of-Joseph-and-Mary who lived 2000 years-ago, but rather to who he truly is.

The bible is not explicit about who we are. It discusses the origins and the fall of mankind and how to remedy it, but nowhere does it says “and that is what you are”. Genesis 3 for example speaks only in third person: “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?””, or “To the woman he said,…” – it never claims that you are that man/woman to which God spoke, it just instructs you how to use your free will correctly in conducting that human which you (falsely) consider to be yourself.

Spencer:[55]

‘The bible is not explicit about who we are. It discusses the origins and the fall of mankind and how to remedy it, but nowhere does it says “and that is what you are’.

That’s false! ‘So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27).

Also, after listing a range of sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10), the apostle Paul, in the Christian Scriptures, stated: ‘Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Cor 6:11).
Human beings are a unity of the physical (body) and the immaterial (Eccl 12:7; Matt 10:28; 1 Cor 5:5; 2 Cor 4:16; 7:1; James 2:26).

The Bible describes the invisible, immaterial aspects of people as soul, spirit, heart, intellect, will, conscience, and emotions.

‘I accept Jesus’ famous statement: “No one comes to the Father except through me”, because I believe Jesus to be among those relatively-few who knew who they truly are: God. Thus when Jesus said “me”, he didn’t refer to that specific human, son-of-Joseph-and-Mary who lived 2000 years-ago, but rather to who he truly is’.

That’s an Yuyutsu eclectic invention. It does not come from the biblical Scriptures but from the mind of Yuyutsu. You also want to integrate Hindu and Judeo-Christian Scriptures to get your view of God and Jesus. God said not to do that:
clip_image018 ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me’ (Isaiah 45:5).
clip_image019 ‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ (John 17:3).

It was you who stated you are God and I am God. No sir! There is only one true God, the LORD, and he is not Yuyutsu or OzSpen.

Kewal:[56]

I wholeheartedly agree that God is neither Yuyutsu nor OzSpen. All I was saying is that neither am I any of those, nor are you.

I could go over your biblical quotes one by one if you want and explain why I can accept them within the framework of my theology, but I don’t have the time to do so today, nor sufficient time until next Thursday, if you wish to wait.

Spencer:[57]

With that statement and others, you have violated the law of non-contradiction because it was you who stated: “The ultimate truth is God, that there is nothing but God, that YOU ARE GOD and the world is your playground and you can do with it as you please, but OTHERS ARE ALSO GOD…”[58]

‘I could go over your biblical quotes one by one if you want and explain why I can accept them within the framework of my theology, but I don’t have the time to do so today, nor sufficient time until next Thursday, if you wish to wait’.

There is no point as you promote syncretism of Hinduism and Christianity and dealing with my ‘biblical quotes’ will produce only another mixture of syncretism, in which I have no interest.

Why? “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

The one God is revealed in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.

Kewal:[59]

There is no contradiction: What You and I and everyone else truly are, is God, not “Yuyutsu” or “OzSpen”.

I respect your wishes not to discuss any further and wish you well. May God speed your blessings.

Spencer:[60]

You stated: ‘The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita tell us that the only difference between us and Jesus is that Jesus already knew that he is God while we are yet to discover the same’.

clip_image021The Christian Scriptures provide a very different picture of the nature of human beings. We are not discovering we are God.

Instead, we KNOW we need a Saviour because we, as human beings, recognise we were dead in transgressions and sins before Jesus, the Saviour, set Christians free from ‘the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient’ (Ephesians 2:1-2)

Most people I speak with don’t want the word SIN mentioned because it is not a problem to them. However, the big problem for all humanity is our sinful nature from birth. We then live among those who are disobedient to God, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we are by nature deserving of God’s wrath (Eph 2:3).

Those who don’t know and serve God are not discovering that we are God, as you say, they are not even seeking God because they are “dead in their sins”, with passionate desires and inclinations of their sinful nature.
One Christian writer used Ephesians 2:1-5 to provide this penetrating assessment:

The reason we need a Savior is not just that we are in the doghouse with God and need to be forgiven for offending his glory. We need a Savior because we are in the morgue. In the doghouse you might whimper. You might say you are sorry. You might make some good resolutions. You might decide to cast yourself on the mercy of God. But what can you do if you are in the morgue? (Piper 1985)

Kewal:[61]

Thank you for the quotes and the assessment: I agree. Yes, we are born and live in sin and death, yes we need a saviour.

The depiction of the nature of human beings is the same in Christian and Hindu Scriptures, but what the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita add is: “Yes, this is indeed the nature of human beings, but WE – YOU and I, only SEEM to be human beings, it is only an illusion. So long as we delusively believe ourselves to be human beings, we live in sin and death, and suffer accordingly, but salvation comes when, by God’s grace, we wake up and shake away this illusion. Once we awaken from this nightmare, we recall who we really are, who we always truly were, which is God.”

Spencer:[62]

No, it’s not the same. Nowhere do the Christian Scriptures state that people “ONLY SEEM to be human beings, it is only an illusion”. That kind of statement doesn’t match reality. Christian aletheia (truth) is that which conforms to reality.

I can assure you that when I’ve had my FIVE open-heart, valve replacement heart surgeries that the cardiac surgeon was operating on a real human body. I have a zipper of a scar down my chest to prove my real heart and body have been cut wide open for the surgeon to operate on a real, genuine, human body.

There was no body of illusion here. The pain experienced was in a real human body. The holes from the tubes draining my stomach had to drain the blood and other gunk, not from an illusion, but from a real human body. I have scars to prove it.

I pop 19 pills into my body every day to keep the body – not an illusion – functioning as well as possible.

This is but one example of how the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism have teachings that do not conform to reality.

Kewal:[63]

‘Nowhere do the Christian Scriptures state that people “ONLY SEEM to be human beings, it is only an illusion’.

You stated: I am not familiar enough with all Christian Scriptures, especially with the mystical compilations of Christian saints, to tell whether or not this is the case, but if you mean the bible only, then I agree that the bible does not address this.

The Jewish Kabbalah, however, does and agrees with the Hindu scriptures on this matter.

I am sad to hear about your heart condition. Jesus too had his body punctured and underwent horrendous physical pains, but he did not complain, because he did not identify with the human body of his. It was only his body that was on the cross and it was only your body that was on the operating table.

I thought you may be interested in reading the deathbed account of the Australian spiritual teacher, Barry Long: http://www.barrylong.org/statements/what-it-is-to-die.shtml

Spencer:[64]

Barry Long died on 6 December 2003 from prostate cancer. He examined “another paradigm” about eternity. That paradigm included, “When I realise God or Self I realise the ultimate of my Self-knowledge up to that moment – that I and God or Self are one” (Long 2019).

This is from your Hindu worldview.

Since you aren’t ‘familiar enough with all Christian Scriptures’ to understand what the Bible says about our eternal destinies, I remind you there is no need to speculate about Self-knowledge and our being God or Self. That’s an illusion from Hinduism.

The biblical Scriptures are very clear that human beings are made in the image of God. They are destined for one of two places in eternity: eternal life through Jesus Christ or eternal damnation (see Matthew 25:46, “They [the unrighteous] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life”).

You failed to address the falsehood that the body is an illusion.

My heart condition was used as an example to demonstrate we are not illusions but are real people who experience real pain in our real physical bodies.

Try telling an accident victim that his or her physical body is an illusion!

Kewal:[65]

To spend either eternal life or eternal damnation, you must at least be eternal, but the human body is not, it goes to the worms. By God’s grace, nor is one’s unrighteousness eternal either.

The world is an illusion, or more accurately not-the-truth: the only Truth is God. It doesn’t, however, help to tell this to accident-victims who are in great physical pain: at this time they have no ears to hear this highest truth.

Spencer:[66]

Kewal: ‘To spend either eternal life or eternal damnation, you must at least be eternal, but the human body is not, it goes to the worms. By God’s grace, nor is one’s unrighteousness eternal either’.

You again are giving me your Hindu worldview. You contradict the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, which match reality. Human beings are body and soul/spirit. I agree with you that the body goes to dust, whether in the ground or through a crematorium fire. However, human beings are not an illusion but have a spirit/soul that continues beyond the grave.

The apostle Paul put it this way: ‘For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Phil 1:21). How can it be gain if we only are human bodies that are eaten by worms?
Eternal life or eternal damnation is given to human beings on the basis of how they respond to Christ’s offer of salvation (Matthew 25:46).

Kewal: ‘The world is an illusion, or more accurately not-the-truth’.

That is not true again! You regularly make statements that don’t match reality. In this world, I sit on an actual office chair as I type this message on the keyboard of a real computer. I’m about to go to an appointment and I drive a real car down an actual freeway. There are real trees on either side of the freeway.

The appointment is with a real professional who is not an illusion. By the way, this lawyer is not God, either. He’s a professional solicitor who is really a man to whom I speak – not an illusion.

Your worldview whistles in the wind of unreality.

Kewal:[67]

Spencer: ‘You contradict the Judeo-Christian Scriptures’.

Regarding the Christian Scriptures, it is yet to be seen, but at least the Jewish Kabbalah agrees with me. As I mentioned earlier, Christian Scriptures also consist of the accounts of Christian mystics and saints, though I only glimpsed some, so I am not in a position to comment.

Now even if there are contradictions with Christian Scriptures, this does not necessarily imply a contradiction with Jesus Christ’s teachings.

‘Human beings are body and soul/spirit’.

True. The spirit lasts longer than the body, the soul lasts longer than the spirit, but neither lasts forever.

‘Eternal life or eternal damnation is given to human beings’.

Fine, but you are not a human being, nor do human beings last for eternity. I agree that both life and damnation can last a VERY long time.

‘In this world, I sit on an actual office chair’.

The chair is only relatively true, relative to the world, yet the world itself once never existed and eventually will no longer exist. Only that with is eternal and immutable can rightly be called “Truth”.

Spencer:[68]

Kewal: ‘Christian Scriptures also consist of the accounts of Christian mystics and saints’.

Please state who they are and in which books of the Bible they are located (giving chapters and verses).

‘Now even if there are contradictions with Christian Scriptures’.

Your hypothesis again, with no evidence to support your claims.

‘The spirit lasts longer than the body, the soul lasts longer than the spirit, but neither lasts forever’.

You didn’t get that teaching from the biblical Scriptures. There you’ll find ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ are interchangeable descriptions of the immaterial part of human beings.
The Christian Scriptures sometimes describe a human being as “body and soul” (Matt. 6:25; 10:28). Other times a person is “body and spirit” (Eccl. 12:7; 1 Cor. 5:3, 5).
At death, sometimes it is described as the soul departing (Gen. 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21; Acts 15:26). At other times, it is the spirit that is given up (Ps. 31:5; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59).

When it comes to explaining the immaterial element of the dead, it is called both soul and spirit (1 Peter 3:19; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9; 20:4). The terms are used interchangeably.

Kewal: ‘You are not a human being, nor do human beings last for eternity. I agree that both life and damnation can last a VERY long time’.

Telling me over and over that I am not a human being doesn’t reinforce your claim. I’ve repeated examples to you of how your human beings as illusions come from a Hindu philosophy that doesn’t match reality.

I am a physical being with a soul who has a conscience and I can engage in rational thinking. It seems like your worldview prevents your accepting the reality that every person is a human being.

How do I know I’m a real human being? The surgeon has operated on my real, pumping heart and replaced mitral and aortic valves with artificial ones. My cardiac surgeon did not operate on an illusion. He cut open a real chest bone to replace real, leaking valves with artificial ones.

clip_image022How I looked a week after open-heart, valve replacement surgery. This is not a photograph of me.[69]

Have a guess what? I was in a real hospital theatre in which I was operated on. There were real cardiac surgeons and assistants, nurses and other attendants in the theatre. Domestic staff assisted me in hospital.

I wrote: “In this world, I sit on an actual office chair.”

You responded: ‘The chair is only relatively true, relative to the world, yet the world itself once never existed and eventually will no longer exist. Only that with is eternal and immutable can rightly be called “Truth”’.

That is nonsense. I bought my real chair from Officeworks, not because it was ‘relatively true’ but because it actually existed. I roll an actual office chair on a plastic office mat to and from my PC keyboard. I have a mug for tea in front of me. My CPU is so real I can touch it. Same with my printer. It broke down at the weekend and I took it to my IT professional son who fixed a real printer.

It’s time for you to come out of the world of illusion and into the world of reality.
Your comments do not give credence to your philosophy of life.

Kewal:[70]

Spencer: ‘Please state who they are [mystics and saints] and in which books of the Bible they are located’.

I referred to other Christian Scriptures, though as mentioned, I’m not familiar enough with all Christian Scriptures. My Christian friends tell me that there is vast mystical literature of Christian saints. I was recommended Saint Augustine’s “City of God” and the writings of Thomas Aquinas, but regrettably they still sit fresh and new on my bookshelf as I never got around to read them. I know much more about Judaism and Hinduism, but sorry, one never has enough time to study everything.

Spencer: ‘There you’ll find ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ are interchangeable descriptions of the immaterial part of human beings’.

The bible uses three different Hebrew words: “Nefesh”, “Ruach” and “Neshamah”: three out of five levels of the soul: http://www.rabbidavidcooper.com/cooper-print-index/2010/11/8/2358-five-dimensions-of-the-soul.html

Spencer: ‘I’ve repeated examples to you of how your human beings as illusions come from a Hindu philosophy that doesn’t match reality’.

It is the world which Hindu philosophy considers an illusion, rather than human-beings in particular, for that which is transient cannot be the real. Whether Hindu philosophy matches at least some of the Christian schools of thought is yet to be investigated, but the ancient Hindu seers only observed the reality and used sharp logic to analyse it. Our senses are not designed to capture reality, but only to support the physical survival of our bodies. Our minds too are biased and distort the reality.

Spencer: ‘He cut open a real chest bone’.

Science tells that what seems as chest bone is just a collection of molecules and that matter itself is only a concentrated form of energy. The Upanishads predicted this finding and teach further that energy itself is only a concentrated form of thought (would it perhaps correspond with the biblical concept that “In the beginning was the word”?). Anyway, there are several layers of this “onion” and if you peel them all away to examine what they truly are, all you find is God.

Logically there cannot be anything/anyone but God, for otherwise God would have been limited and subject to competition.

Spencer:[71]

I asked you, Posted by OzSpen, Thursday, 24 January 2019 8:10:01 PM: “Would you please supply New Testament evidence where Jesus stated he was a Yogi or used the thinking of a Yogi?”

You avoided that question and gave the miracles of Jesus as examples of the work of a yogi. Similar ‘miracles’ could be performed by a witch in the occult. Would you call that witch a yogi? You stated:

First I don’t understand what you mean by “the thinking of a Yogi”. Being a Yogi does not imply any particular pattern of thought, but rather the freedom from thoughts. A Yogi controls his thoughts rather than having wandering thoughts control him/her.

You were the one who stated:

There is no contradiction between being a Yogi and the Son of God: a Yogi is someone who controls their (sic) mind, whose thoughts do not waver, thus is able to concentrate and affect energy, thus matter, like the wonders that Jesus performed.[72]

That is the content to which I referred with ‘the thinking of a Yogi’.
I do not find a word in the New Testament that confirms your understanding of the attributes of a yogi in Jesus. Jesus was not a yogi but God Himself.

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs that his followers saw, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you can believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Then, by believing, you can have life through his name” (John 20:30-31 ERV).

Thus, Jesus performed miracles, not to demonstrate he was a yogi but that people would believe he was the Christ, the Son of God – affirming his divinity – and to grant (eternal) life to those who put their trust in him.

Kewal:[73]

We are just discussing the same, only from two different perspectives, using different terminologies.

Is the sun rising in the east, or is it the earth that turns around its axis while revolving around the sun? Both statements are true, they just come from two different perspectives. Fighting over which view is correct, is plain silly. Saying that Jesus performed miracles ONLY as a Son of God is like insisting that the sun gives us light and warmth only because it rises in the east.

Yogis do not perform miracles because they want to demonstrate that they are yogis: attempting to do so would be a perversion and would anyway fail because instead of concentrating on their object, or ideally on God, their mind would wander thinking “Oh, I want to prove that I am a Yogi…”.

As for witches, they have an unusual degree of concentration, which is in common with Yogis and allows them to concentrate long enough to affect energy and matter to some significant degree, but their concentration is imperfect and is eventually broken by their dark desires, bringing about their downfall.

Earnest disciples too can be blessed to have a span of concentration on God, including in the form of Jesus, thus bring about minor miracles. However, their concentration is temporary and fragile. We hear of their success stories, but not as much of their [human] failures. I don’t know about the Christian view, but Judaism forbids and considers it a sin to rely on miracles (http://www.aish.com/atr/Relying_on_Miracles.html, http://theruminativerabbi.blogspot.com/2014/02/relying-on-miracles.html). Yes, miracles MAY happen, but one should never jump off the roof thinking “God will send me a parachute”.

Spencer:[74]

You stated: ‘We are just discussing the same, only from two different perspectives, using different terminologies’.

To the contrary! We are discussing Jesus and what he did from 2 radically different worldviews – Hinduism and Christianity.

Jesus performed miracles so that people would ‘believe that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. Then, by believing, you could have life through his name’ (John 20:31).
He did not perform miracles and then go to the cross to be slaughtered for the world of sinners to demonstrate he was a yogi or a Hindu Yogi. He did it to provide eternal life for all who would trust in Jesus.

Kewal[75] [76]

This storm in a teacup within Christianity is due to the faith in the permanency of matter, that is closely related to materialism. We know that all the atoms of our body are replaced every 7-15 years.

We also know that atomic particles (and thereby the matter comprising them) are not stable either – they can be created at any time and are eventually destroyed.

If we are to get back our old bodies when resurrected, then the question arises, “from where and when exactly?”. If we got back every molecule we ever had then we would weigh tons and also as our old cells pass through the food-chain and are recycled into other humans (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtLVMgcBbAI), we would be quarrelling over our body’s atoms: “that’s mine, no that’s mine…”.

Once we understand that matter is not permanent, but only a concentrated form of energy (E=mc²), which in turn is only a concentrated form of mind, we need not fuss over which particular bones and flesh Jesus was resurrected with and will find it silly to ask whether or not all the calcium atoms from the bones of his original corpse were present in his resurrected body. For a great Yogi like Jesus, assembling a new body from thin air or from the sun’s rays is a very simple task!

Spencer[77]

Your view is that, ‘if we are to get back our old bodies when resurrected, then the question arises, “from where and when exactly?”’ You haven’t read the book of Scripture carefully. This is what it states:

“50 Brothers and sisters, here is what I’m telling you. Bodies made of flesh and blood can’t share in the kingdom of God. And what dies can’t share in what never dies. 51 Listen! I am telling you a mystery. We will not all die. But we will all be changed. 52 That will happen in a flash, as quickly as you can wink an eye. It will happen at the blast of the last trumpet. Then the dead will be raised to live forever. And we will be changed.
“53 Our natural bodies don’t last forever. They must be dressed with what does last forever. What dies must be dressed with what does not die. 54 In fact, that is going to happen. What does not last will be dressed with what lasts forever. What dies will be dressed with what does not die. Then what is written will come true. It says, “Death has been swallowed up. It has lost the battle.” (Isaiah 25:8)” [1 Corinthians 15:50-54].

Your claim is that ‘for a great Yogi like Jesus, assembling a new body from thin air or from the sun’s rays is a very simple task!’

Your worldview is affecting your identification of Jesus. He is not a Yogi but the Son of God: ‘When they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those in the boat worshiped Jesus. They said, “You really are the Son of God!”’ (Matthew 14:32-33).

Kewal:[78]

Thank you for the good quote, famous through Handel’s Messiah!

I disagree that a body, any body, can last forever, but yes, it is possible to obtain a subtle body that lasts a very long time – thousands of years if not millions: perhaps this is what the verses refer to?

There is no contradiction between being a Yogi and the Son of God: a Yogi is someone who controls their mind, whose thoughts do not waver, thus is able to concentrate and affect energy, thus matter, like the wonders that Jesus performed.

Spencer:[79]

Kewal: I disagree that a body, any body, can last forever, but yes, it is possible to obtain a subtle body that lasts a very long time…. PERHAPS this is what the verses refer to?

The verses do not mean that. Please read 1 Corinthians 15 in context.

Part of this Scripture states:

“42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…. 50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable”.

First Corinthians 15 does NOT teach that a physical body lasts forever because ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’.

I do wish you’d take the time to read the biblical texts so that you don’t come up with your contorted interpretation. You stated:

There is no contradiction between being a Yogi and the Son of God: a Yogi is someone who controls their (sic) mind, whose thoughts do not waver, thus is able to concentrate and affect energy, thus matter, like the wonders that Jesus performed.

There is a radical difference between the two. The Bible doesn’t use those exact words from Jesus, ‘I am God’. See the example of Jesus’ words from John 10:30, ‘I and the Father are one’. Notice the reaction of the Jews who heard his statement:

They wanted to stone him to death but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ (vv31-32) “‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (v33).

Jesus was no Yogi; he was God Himself.

Uke:[80]

He jumped in with these comments:

To all and sundry,

I must say I am deeply impressed by all those on this forum whose imagination is so rich and whose willingness to believe is so extensive when evoking possible scientific explanations of the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
It elicits my curiosity as to how this may be justified, given the following:

1. For an explanation to qualify as scientific, it seems that an independent researcher should be able to replicate the experiment, under the same conditions, and achieve the same results. How could this apply in the case of the claimed resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth?

2. It seems that the only two events subject to “almost universal assent” among historians are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus). Therefore, is not the claimed resurrection of Jesus simply a question of faith (until further evidence comes to light)?

3. In 1 Corinthians 15:14 (NIV), Saul of Tarsus declares : “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”. The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is the basis of Christian hope and faith. But his resurrection has never been historically established. It, too, is purely a question of faith.

In other words, Christian hope and faith relies on a hypothetical event whose occurrence also requires hope and faith in order to be believed.
I can understand that some Christians feel the need to exercise their imagination in order to find a more solid base for their faith than simply piling up successive layers of faith, one on top of the other. There must be a limit to where you can go with that – even for the most gullible of individuals.
Hence the unfalsifiable pseudo-scientific theories expounded here.

Spencer:[81]

Uke, you wrote:

I must say I am deeply impressed by all those on this forum whose imagination is so rich and whose willingness to believe is so extensive when evoking possible scientific explanations of the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Do you know what historical science is? Or are you confusing it with empirical experimentation of repeatability? Seems so?

Your presuppositions are thundering, ‘I have my own anti-Christian axe to grind and I’ll use this forum to my advantage’. Those presuppositions are demonstrated by these statements:

clip_image023 ‘all those on this forum whose imagination is so rich’;
clip_image023[1] ‘willingness to believe’;
clip_image023[2] ‘evoking possible scientific explanations’;
clip_image023[3] ‘Christian hope and faith relies on a hypothetical event’.
clip_image023[4] ‘some Christians feel the need to exercise their imagination’;
clip_image023[5] ‘Hence the unfalsifiable pseudo-scientific theories expounded here.’
Each presupposition has UNPROVEN written over it. Again, you wrote:

For an explanation to qualify as scientific, it seems that an independent researcher should be able to replicate the experiment, under the same conditions, and achieve the same results. How could this apply in the case of the claimed resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth?

Could you replicate Captain James Cook’s voyage up the East Coast of Australia in 1770 using your definition of science? Again, you don’t know how to investigate history using the historical method.

Christian hope and faith don’t rest on a hypothetical event (your view) but on an historical happening. It is faith founded on the facts of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The research has already been done for you to disprove your ‘hypothetical event’ by Prof Dr N T Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (SPCK 2003 – 817pp).

Kewal:[82]

You (OzSpen) wrote: “First Corinthians 15 does NOT teach that a physical body lasts forever because ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’”.

There are numerous reasons why a physical body cannot last forever. The reason provided in Corinthians is just one of them, yet other reasons pertain to all bodies, not just gross-physical.

OzSpen: “There is a radical difference between the two (worldviews of Jesus”.

Granted, Jesus is God, but it is not an either-or: nothing precludes Jesus from being both God AND a Yogi.

Spencer:[83]

Kewal, you stated: “Granted, Jesus is God, but it is not an either-or: nothing precludes Jesus from being both God AND a Yogi”.

Would you please supply New Testament evidence where Jesus stated he was a Yogi or used the thinking of a Yogi?

Kewal:[84]

OzSpen stated: ‘Would you please supply New Testament evidence where Jesus stated he was a Yogi or used the thinking of a Yogi?’

First I don’t understand what you mean by “the thinking of a Yogi”. Being a Yogi does not imply any particular pattern of thought, but rather the freedom from thoughts. A Yogi controls his thoughts rather than having wandering thoughts control him/her.
Now why would Jesus tell his Jewish disciples that he is a Yogi? If he did then they wouldn’t understand it anyway! He also didn’t tell them that E=mc² as they wouldn’t understand it either because their grasp of both physical and metaphysical sciences was quite primitive, nor was it necessary for them to understand it.

Spencer:[85]

This was your view: ‘We are just discussing the same, only from two different perspectives, using different terminologies’.

To the contrary! We are discussing Jesus and what he did from 2 radically different worldviews – Hinduism and Christianity.

Jesus performed miracles so that people would ‘believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Then, by believing, you can have life through his name’ (John 20:31).
He did not perform miracles and then go to the cross to be slaughtered for the world of sinners to demonstrate he was a yogi or a Hindu Yogi. He did it to provide eternal life for all who would trust in Jesus.

Kewal:[86]

clip_image025OzSpen wrote: ‘To the contrary! We are discussing Jesus and what he did from 2 radically different worldviews – Hinduism and Christianity’.

Not so radically different, compared for example with the atheist perspective that Jesus either never existed or never performed miracles, or with the Jewish perspective that Jesus was a scoundrel which deserved to be crucified (and where “Messiah” means a powerful king who conquers all surrounding lands and restores the nation of Israel to its former glory and beyond).
At the end of the day, Jesus was who he was. You could look at him from so many angles, but all words would only be reflections on Jesus, incomparable with his actual and ungraspable presence.

Words do not grant eternal life: it is the knowledge of God which does, rather than mumbling the correct formula. Formulas are good and important because they can inspire us to live righteously and to seek God, but left on their own they are only barren intellectual acrobatics. When trusting in Jesus brings one to dedicate their life to God, then they have eternal life through Jesus’ name.

Ideas cannot save us: effective believing should consist of much more than holding and entertaining an intellectual idea that X is Y. By going on the cross, Jesus demonstrated that his teachings of love were not merely intellectual ideas. It is his living teachings that save from death, if followed, rather than merely recited.

Spencer: ‘He did not perform miracles and then go to the cross to be slaughtered for the world of sinners to demonstrate he was a yogi or a Hindu Yogi’.

No Yogi, Hindu or otherwise, does so. I will repeat: it is a perversion. Only insecure people have this perverse need to let the world “know” who they are.

Spencer:[87]

Kewal wrote: ‘Not so radically different, compared for example with the atheist perspective that Jesus either never existed or never performed miracles, or with the Jewish perspective that Jesus was a scoundrel which deserved to be crucified (and where “Messiah” means a powerful king who conquers all surrounding lands and restores the nation of Israel to its former glory and beyond)’.
We are worldviews apart.
Let’s leave it at that.

Kewal:[88]

In a later post on this topic, Kewal made this statement, ‘Knowing God ends all suffering’.

Spencer:[89]

I couldn’t let him get away with this Hindu view that doesn’t match reality, so I responded:

That’s as you see it from your worldview. The facts are that I’ve had pain throughout my long life, starting with 3 bouts of rheumatic fever as a child right through to 5 open-heart, valve replacement surgeries.

To say that my knowing God has ended my suffering, including a stroke and its aftermath, flies in the face of reality. You’re promoting an illusion. God has not ended suffering in my Christian life but he has used it for His purposes:

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4).

Thus, it is false to say that God ends all suffering, unless you mean after death.
In this life, there is a purpose in trials and suffering for Christian believers. God uses difficulties to mature our trust in God.

Kewal:[90]

First, your conclusion: ‘In this life, there is a purpose in trials and suffering for Christian believers. God uses difficulties to mature our trust in God.’

Is true for everyone, not only for Christian believers.[91]
Spencer wrote: ‘To say that my knowing God has ended my suffering, including a stroke and its aftermath, flies in the face of reality.’

There is difference between knowing God and having information ABOUT God. The information may be correct and wonderful to have, but it is still only information, it is still only on an intellectual/theoretical level: an analogy would be the difference between passing a driving theory test and actually knowing to drive. Knowing God Himself is a total and direct experience beyond anything which words can describe. Such knowledge ends all suffering.

Spencer: ‘Thus, it is false to say that God ends all suffering, unless you mean after death.’

Whether you continue to live or die after knowing God, is truly up to God, depending on whether you still have a calling in this world to serve others who still suffer. As far as you are concerned, once you know God, life or death, pleasure or pain, are all the same, you no longer care about it either way.

Spencer:[92]

You assume you know the nature of my relationship with God. How can that be when you don’t know me personally?

Kewal again:

‘An analogy would be the difference between passing a driving theory test and actually knowing to drive. Knowing God Himself is a total and direct experience beyond anything which words can describe. Such knowledge ends all suffering.’

Are you stating that you know God and I don’t? In your Hindu worldview, does my giving examples of suffering in my life demonstrate to you that I don’t know God?

Don’t you ever experience trials, difficulties or sufferings in life?

By the way you speak of “knowing God” as if there is one God to know. One estimate has been that there are 330 million Hindu gods. How can Hinduism be both monotheistic and polytheistic? A Hindu website stated: ‘I am pretty surprised as to how … they arrive at 330 million. In fact there are billions more…. There are infinite Gods. What made them stop at the doors of few hundred millions? I don’t know’. (Sanskrit Magazine).[93]

Kewal:[94]

Spencer: ‘You assume you know the nature of my relationship with God. How can that be when you don’t know me personally?’

I don’t know you personally, but the fact that you complain about suffering means that you do not yet know God. Yes, you may have much information about God, so do I, but we still suffer until we know God in fact, directly.

Once you experience God as the only reality there is, the only truth, the only joy, everything else fades into insignificance, including pain. Yes, even if you know God, when undergoing surgery the nerves still fire and inform the brain that something is broken in the body, so the sensation of pain is still there, but living in the constant joy of God, you no longer interpret it as “suffering”.

Spencer: ‘Are you stating that you know God and I don’t?’

No, neither of us does and only a few living do. Knowing God is a long-term project, it takes lifetimes, but is the only worthwhile pursuit.

Spencer: ‘In your Hindu worldview, does my giving examples of suffering in my life demonstrate to you that I don’t know God?’

The fact that you have physical pains does not demonstrate so, but that you complain and feel bad about it does.

Spencer: ‘Don’t you ever experience trials, difficulties or sufferings in life?’
Yes.

Spencer: ‘By the way you speak of “knowing God” as if there is one God to know.’
Why “as if”?

Spencer: ‘How can Hinduism be both monotheistic and polytheistic?’
The link you provided already explains it.

Let me summarise/reiterate: we differentiate between ‘God’ with a capital ‘G’, and ‘gods’ with a small ‘g’. Since it is nearly impossible to worship God who has no attributes, Hindus use the god(s) that are personally most appealing to them as representations of God for the sake of worship. Christians, Jews and Muslims, on the other hand, use only one particular god to approach God – Hindus have no problem with their choice, provided that this Abrahamic god is the most appealing for His worshippers.

Spencer:[95]

Kewal wrote: ‘The fact that you complain about suffering means that you do not yet know God’.

False again. I have mentioned sufferings but not complained about them. I’ve told you God’s purpose in my trials according to James 1:2-4 (NIV).

Kewal: ‘living in the constant joy of God, you no longer interpret it as “suffering”’.

I understand it as pain and trials that are real and not an illusion.

Kewal: ‘Knowing God is a long-term project, it takes lifetimes’.

I agree that it’s a lifelong project, but you and I only have one life: “just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Kewal ‘Since it is nearly impossible to worship God who has no attributes’.

To the contrary, God has many supernatural attributes, including: Independence (aseity), unchangeable in being, infinite, omnipresence, unity, knowable, spirituality, invisibility, omniscience, wisdom, truthfulness, goodness, love, holiness, righteousness/justice, jealousy, wrath, will, omnipotence, sovereignty, perfection, blessedness and beauty (all supported by Scripture).

Kewal:[96]

Spencer: ‘I have mentioned sufferings but not complained about them’.

Yes, you know the theory (as per James 1:2-4), but do you actually live it? Could you honestly say that you have no wish, weakness or preference whatsoever to have this pain and [what you experience as] suffering stop/gone?

Spencer: ‘I understand it as pain and trials that are real and not an illusion.’

Pain is an essential ingredient of the world and of existence, but its sting is only relative to the realness of the world. Knowing God, you realise the illusion that the world is, that the only reality and truth whatsoever, is God.

Spencer: ‘but you and I only have one life: “just as it is appointed for people to die once’.

People die only once, but you are not a [singular] people – you only temporarily assume and identify with a mortal human body, that is not you!

Spencer: ‘To the contrary, God has many supernatural attributes’.

And so it is useful and practical for us to believe as a way of endearment and showing our love to God. Hindus too believe so while suspending the theological understanding that it is impossible for the human mind to conceive of God and that any attribute (natural or supernatural, including existence itself), positive as it may seem, would have placed an unacceptable/ridiculous shackle of limitation on God.

In a way, you could say that the attributes you listed are the reflection of God upon this world, a way to feel God’s presence so long as we hold this world to be true, but then we ultimately need to go beyond and experience God directly, where no words can describe.

Spencer:[97]

Kewal: ‘Could you honestly say that you have no wish, weakness or preference whatsoever to have this pain and [what you experience as] suffering stop/gone?’

With that question you imposed your worldview on me. I pray for God’s will in my sufferings: healing or God’s higher purpose. The Christian Scriptures assure us: ‘Here is what we can be sure of when we come to God in prayer. If we ask anything in keeping with what he wants, he hears us. If we know that God hears what we ask for, we know that we have it’ (1 John 5:14-15).

Kewal: ‘Pain is an essential ingredient of the world and of existence, but its sting is only relative to the realness of the world. Knowing God, you realise the illusion that the world is, that the only reality and truth whatsoever, is God’.

Not so! Pain is real and so is the world of the heavens and the earth. To claim the world is an illusion and God’s truth is the only reality belongs to one foot planted in the air.

clip_image026Ganesha is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon

Kewal: ‘People die only once, but you are not a [singular] people – you only temporarily assume and identify with a mortal human body, that is not you!’[98]

When I (singular) breathe my last breath, my mortal body will go to the grave or the crematorium to become dust. My soul goes to be with Jesus: ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain’ (Phil 1:21).

Spencer:

Kewal: ‘In a way, you could say that the attributes you listed are the reflection of God upon this world, a way to feel God’s presence so long as we hold this world to be true’.

You have turned my words into what you want them to mean and they are false. God’s attributes relate to his character. They are: (a) The incommunicable attributes of God, e.g. his eternity, self-existence, etc. and (b) communicable attributes, e.g. spirituality, goodness, love, etc.

Kewal:[99]

I am not trying to persuade you, I merely am answering your questions. Regarding my holy scriptures, when you live in a house of glass it is unwise to throw stones.

Your faith in the world and in your senses seems greater than your faith in God, in the seen more than in the unseen. This is not religion, it is materialism.

Within a few decades we shall both leave this world behind and our senses will turn into dust. For the religious, this is a cause for great joy rather than for sadness, for once we stop craving for the world and its sensory pleasures we will remain with God forever.

Kewal:[100]

That you pray to God in your sufferings is excellent, but completely avoids my question. Have you truly no weakness whatsoever of selfishly preferring to not have pain? If so then you are a saint!

Pain is real only to the extent that the world is real. That the world is an illusion and God’s truth is the only reality is planted securely in scripture, the Upanishads.
The Upanishads delve into the nature of God, His perceived “with-qualities” (saguna Brahman) and the final Truth of their absence (nirguna Brahman). There is much theological material online, but you would find most of it difficult due to the use of Sanskrit terms. I found this excellent and deep discussion here that uses only minimal Sanskrit: http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2008/05/god-as-both-nirguna-brahman-and-saguna.html
An excerpt:

Since we cannot form in our mind any clear and accurate concept of infinity, whatever our mind imagines God to be is not the absolute truth about him. All his divine qualities or attributes, such as his omnipresence, his omnipotence, his omniscience, and his omnibenevolence or all-embracing love, are perfectly true from the limited perspective of our mind, but none of them really define his absolute and infinite reality. His infinite reality transcends all qualities and attributes, and everything that our mind can possibly conceive.

Spencer:[101]

clip_image028Kewal wrote: ‘Pain is real only to the extent that the world is real. That the world is an illusion and God’s truth is the only reality is planted securely in scripture, the Upanishads’.

That’s a sad statement about the irrelevance and lack of truthfulness of the Upanishads.

By following the text of the Upanishads, you are jumping off the cliff of reality into unreality.

No matter which way you try to persuade me, the fact remains that the world in which you and I live can be seen, felt, touched, smelt and digested. It is NOT an illusion. It is real and the Upanishads have a message that doesn’t match reality.

If I were in your presence, both of us would see real persons – not an illusion. Why can’t you admit you’ve been sold a lie?

Kewal:[102]

I am not trying to persuade you, I merely am answering your questions. Regarding my holy scriptures, when you live in a house of glass it is unwise to throw stones.

Your faith in the world and in your senses seems greater than your faith in God, in the seen more than in the unseen. This is not religion, it is materialism. Within a few decades we shall both leave this world behind and our senses will turn into dust. For the religious, this is a cause for great joy rather than for sadness, for once we stop craving for the world and its sensory pleasures we will remain with God forever.

Spencer:

I chose not to pursue this conversation because we were spinning the wheels of dialogue. I exposed the untruth of his Hindu beliefs, where they don’t match reality. He would not address this critique but kept returning with the mantra like, ‘Pain is real only to the extent that the world is real. That the world is an illusion….’

I will now examine this extensive dialogue with Kewal to uncover …

Inconsistencies in his Hindu worldview

clip_image030 I have attempted to expose the unbiblical teachings of Hinduism in Section 3. In my interaction with Kewal, you will note further irrationality in this Eastern religion philosophy. I’ll mention only a few of these:

This will be only a partial list of the irrationality of the Hindu worldview from my conversation with Kewal:

clip_image032He opposes those who glorify the objective and deny the subjective.

Is it objectively true that I have a car in my garage and I can drive it on the freeway? Should I depend on my subjective feelings when my wife dies? Is the subjective experience with God more reliable then the God-breathed Scripture?

clip_image032[1]Determinism is not real because the world is not ultimate reality.

This is one point with which I have some agreement. We must not confuse determinism with God’s sovereignty. This world is deteriorating and will one day pass away. It is not ultimate reality because human beings and the universe are destined for new heavens and a new earth (Rev 21 ERV).

clip_image032[2] ‘The ultimate truth is God, that there is nothing but God, that you are God and the world is your playground and you can do with it as you please, but others are also God’. Kewal, the Hindu, claimed

Hitler was correct in claiming that we are not humans, but he believed that some (like Jews) are lower than humans, while I claim that we all are far higher than humans. In fact, calling us “human” is a degrading insult to who (sic) we really are – God!

This is a sweeping and erroneous teaching of Hinduism that is not grounded in reality. People are human beings made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). The Bible teaches we are persons, consisting of body and soul/spirit. Psalm 8:5-8 (NLT) describes the nature of human beings:

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.

Thus, human beings are ‘a little lower than Elohim’ (v. 5). They are not Elohim/God. The understanding of the nature of God in Hinduism is in conflict with Christian theism.

Hinduism has some parallel with the cult of the Mormons. The Latter-Day Saints understand

all people as children of God in a full and complete sense; they consider every person divine in origin, nature, and potential. Each has an eternal core and is “a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents.”[103] Each possesses seeds of divinity and must choose whether to live in harmony or tension with that divinity. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all people may “progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny.”[104] Just as a child can develop the attributes of his or her parents

over time, the divine nature that humans inherit can be developed to become like their Heavenly Father’s.[105]

This is based on a distorted view of the nature of God and of human beings. It’s a theology out of the minds of Mormonism.

clip_image032[3]‘God can be known but not understood’.

At face value I accept this statement. God has revealed himself through the Christian Scriptures but they need to be read and interpreted to know and understand God.

clip_image034Moses breaking the tablets with the Ten Commandments, from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle.[106]

The greatest problem I have with that Hindu statement is the nature of God. Christianity and Hinduism do not represent the same God.

Idol worship is forbidden and Christians are told to flee from idolatry. See: Ex 20:3-6; Ex 32:1-6; 34:2; Isa 45:20; 1 Cor 10:7, 14, and 1 John 5:21.

See Luke Wayne’s (2017) article on Do Christians and Hindus worship the same God? He wrote:

clip_image032[4]No, Hindus and Christians do not worship the same God. There is no meaningful correlation between the God of the Bible and any of the millions of Hindu gods, nor can God be identified with Brahman, the ultimate, divine essence of the universe in Hindu thought. They are not only different in name, but also in their core characteristics. Also, the God of the Bible very clearly distinguishes Himself from the gods of the nations. The Triune God of Scripture is not one idol among many local gods, nor is He a generic deity that can be claimed by just any religious expression. The LORD is a very specific God and is not the object of Hindu worship.

‘A person is only a physical object. YOU, however, are not a person nor a physical object’. However, he did admit when I challenged him: ‘Yes, if you wish to go into subtleties, then a person also includes a mind which is not normally considered physical, but is a subtler body of ours which does not completely dissolve when our gross human body dies’.

So he admitted: (a) A person is not a physical object, but (b) a person includes a mind that is a subtler body that doesn’t completely dissolve when our human body dies. So, the human person is not physical and some of it does not die at death.

What a contorted and contradictory statement! What more can I say about the law of noncontradiction. You have it in that statement. It’s a flatly illogical statement. This law of noncontradiction states: ‘A cannot be both A and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship’. Or to put it another way, ‘If something is true, then the opposite of it is false’.

Ravi Zacharias, born in India, made this interesting assessment of Eastern philosophies and it applies to Hinduism: ‘Most Eastern philosophers despise the law of noncontradiction, but they cannot shake its life-sized reality. The more they seek to attack the law of noncontradiction, the more it assaults them…. One might as well talk of a one-ended stick as to deny the law of noncontradiction’ (Zacharias 2004:176).

clip_image032[5]‘Your body cannot murder. Your body can kill just as a gun or a hammer can, but no sane judge would prosecute a gun or a hammer’.

The gun would not go off and the hammer would not hit anything unless a human being pulled the trigger and sledged with the hammer.

What illogical nonsense that a human being cannot kill with a gun or do damage with a hammer. That is like saying, ‘Hitler did not kill the 6 million Jews in the gas chambers. It was the gas that did it’. To live a philosophy of such an illusion would cause chaos if practised in Australia. What horrible evils would be perpetrated in the name of ‘human bodies can never murder’.

clip_image032[6]‘For writing this message, my body was obviously only used as a tool by my mind, my keyboard too, so just as it would be insane to claim “my keyboard did it”, the option of “my body did it” can also be safely discarded’.

Again, this is a statement of stupidity. It has its feet firmly planted in mid-air. The fingers on my body are typing this message. That’s the truth. To say otherwise is insane, yet Kewal wants to label my view as insane while it is his that is not grounded in reality.

clip_image032[7]‘The world and time itself are just an illusion’. Welcome to the brave new world where time is not a fact and the world/universe cannot be seen but is an illusion/false impression. I’ve just heard the thunder, saw the lightning, and saw the rain in the storm that has passed over my property. It’s not real, but a fantasy says Kewal, the Hindu.

There are too many holes in the Hindu worldview to attract thoughtful people. Yet many people practise yoga, an ancient Hindu technique for exercise, meditation and visual imagery.

The practice of yoga is much more than a system of physical exercise for health. Yoga is an ancient path to spiritual growth, and originates out of India where Induism [Hinduism] is practiced. The practice and goal of yoga dates back to the Upanishads, written between 1000-5000 BC (History of Yoga).

In the classical yoga tradition, it came from Hinduism. However, modern yoga as practised in the West is from the exercises and poses side and has moved away from its spiritual and religious connections. However, even in modern yoga there can be some chanting (yoga journal: yoga poses).

clip_image032[8]‘The depiction of the nature of human beings is the same in Christian and Hindu Scriptures, but what the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita add is: “Yes, this is indeed the nature of human beings, but WE – YOU and I, only SEEM to be human beings, it is only an illusion’.

Here he goes again with his philosophical proclamation. When I visit my Dr soon for a procedure, I’ll have a great deal of difficulty convincing him that he’s not operating on a human being but is dealing with an illusion.

What is the meaning of ‘physical’? It is ‘relating to the body as opposed to the mind…. Involving bodily contact or activity…. Relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete’ (Lexico.com 2020. s.v. physical’.

What does physical mean to the Hindu? This Hindu website stated:

No one can dispute the fact that, at any given moment, the world in which we live is real. It does exist in some specific form and state, independent of whether we exist or not. It is real in the physical sense. It is also tangible to our senses. We experience its existence in innumerable ways in our minds and through our senses all the time. Right now at this very moment we are in a real world. We cannot say the world is an illusion, unless we have lost our minds literally. This does not mean it is not an illusion. This is the paradox, the real truth, to understand which we have to go deeper into ourselves to discover our true nature and the meaning of self-absorption (The Definition and Concept of Maya in Hinduism).

clip_image036 (image courtesy YouTube)

So, human beings exist as physical beings with minds and senses and the world is not an illusion, but we need to go further into ourselves to discover the ‘real truth … self-absorption. For the Hindu, human beings are physical but their true nature is not physical. That’s violating the law of noncontradiction.

Jesus said to his disciples when he encountered the sick and the diseased. What did Jesus do with this sick man who was ‘an illusion’?

One day Jesus was teaching the people. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there too. They had come from every town in Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. The Lord was giving Jesus the power to heal people. There was a man who was paralyzed, and some other men were carrying him on a mat. They tried to bring him and put him down before Jesus. But there were so many people that they could not find a way to Jesus. So they went up on the roof and lowered the crippled man down through a hole in the ceiling. They lowered the mat into the room so that the crippled man was lying before Jesus. Jesus saw how much faith they had and said to the sick man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:17-20).

This was a real, paralysed man and the crowds around Jesus caused the people to lower the man on a mat through the roof. Jesus healed the man and forgave his sins. He did not heal and forgive an illusion that encountered the real truth of self-absorption.

‘To spend either eternal life or eternal damnation, you must at least be eternal, but the human body is not, it goes to the worms. By God’s grace, nor is one’s unrighteousness eternal either’.

Yes, the physical body becomes dust and is eaten by worms. Ecclesiastes 12:7 (ERV) states the theology of death clearly:

‘Your body came from the earth.
And when you die, it will return to the earth.
But your spirit came from God,
and when you die, it will return to him’.

There is more to the human body than flesh that becomes dust and is eaten by worms. The holistic human has a spirit that came from God and returns to God at death.

clip_image032[9]‘The spirit lasts longer than the body, the soul lasts longer than the spirit, but neither lasts forever’.

This is a confusing worldview. I agree that the spirit/soul lives longer than the physical body. That might be what the Hindu Scriptures state but the Bible confirms that at death the spirit/soul goes to God to be judged (Heb 9:27) and the body becomes dust (Eccl 12:7). However, there will be resurrection of the bodies on Jesus return (see 1 Cor 15:42-44 ERV):

It will be the same when those who have died are raised to life. The body that is “planted” in the grave will ruin and decay, but it will be raised to a life that cannot be destroyed. When the body is “planted,” it is without honor. But when it is raised, it will be great and glorious. When the body is “planted,” it is weak. But when it is raised, it will be full of power. The body that is “planted” is a physical body. When it is raised, it will be a spiritual body.

clip_image032[10]It is arbitrary fabrication to state the spirit lasts longer than the body and neither lasts forever when the soul/spirit goes to be with God at death (2 Cor 5:8 ERV) and the new body comes from the grave on Jesus’ return (1 Cor 15:42 ERV).

The Son of God was a Yogi who controlled his mind.

What is a yogi? The person is a practitioner of yoga who may be married or unmarried and may have formal religious ties or no ties.

According to Paramhansa Yogananda, a yogi engages in a definite, step-by-step procedure by which the body and mind are disciplined, and the soul liberated. Taking nothing for granted on emotional grounds, or by faith, a yogi practices a thoroughly tested series of exercises which were first mapped out by the early sages.[107]

In the most well-known Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, it says, “The true renunciate and the true yogi are those who perform dutiful actions without desiring their fruits, not those who, eschewing self-offering, act with ego-motivation, nor those who (in the name of renunciation) eschew action”[108] (The Yogic Encyclopedia).

Jesus did not practise a step-by-step procedure to become a yogi. He existed eternally (John 1:1), became flesh as the son of God and born in a manger after Mary’s miraculous impregnation by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18-25). He was baptised by John the Baptist and lived a miraculous life on earth. This led to his execution for the sins of the world, under the reign of Pontius Pilate. He was buried but in 3 days rose miraculously from the grave. He was seen for 40 days by his disciples before he ascended back to the Father.

clip_image032[11]These are not the steps or life of a yogi. They demonstrate Jesus’ becoming flesh and dying for the sins of the world – not the work of a yogi. It’s a big stretch to label him as a yogi.

‘Knowing God ends all suffering’.

This is a lie. Try telling that one to Job in the Book of Job who suffered this suffering:

One day Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house. A messenger came to Job and said, “We were plowing the fields with the oxen and the donkeys were eating grass nearby, when some Sabeans attacked us and took your animals! They killed the other servants. I am the only one who escaped to come and tell you the news!”

That messenger was still speaking when another one came in and said, “A bolt of lightning struck your sheep and servants and burned

That messenger was still speaking when another one came in and said, “The Chaldeans sent out three raiding parties that attacked us and took the camels! They killed the other servants. I am the only one who escaped to come and tell you the news!”

That messenger was still speaking when another one came in and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house. A strong wind suddenly came in from across the desert and blew the house down. It fell on your sons and daughters, and they are all dead. I am the only one who escaped to come and tell you the news!”

When Job heard this, he got up, tore his clothes, and shaved his head to show his sadness. Then he fell to the ground to bow down before God and said,

“When I was born into this world,
I was naked and had nothing.
When I die and leave this world,
I will be naked and have nothing.
The LORD gives,
and the Lord takes away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”

Even after all this, Job did not sin. He did not accuse God of doing anything wrong (Job 1:13-22 ERV).

Then, what did his wife do?

His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your faith? Why don’t you just curse God and die!”

Job answered, “You sound like one of those fools on the street corner! How can we accept all the good things that God gives us and not accept the problems?” So even after all that happened to Job, he did not sin. He did not accuse God of doing anything wrong (Job 2:9-10 ERV)

The New Testament confirms God has a purpose in allowing suffering to continue:

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be (James 1:2-4 ERV).

Suffering is real. I urge any Hindu to go into any hospital in Australia or India and share the message, ‘God ends all suffering’. I hope hospital staff would quickly escort the person off the medical premises.

A time will come when God ends suffering. When will that be? God will not allow the present unjust suffering to continue. Human beings will not annihilate themselves with atom bombs and other warfare. Instead, Jesus will return to earth: ‘He has a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: “King of kings and Lord of lords’ (Rev 19:16 NET). That’s when suffering will cease.

The Book of Revelation 6-19 explains how God gets rid of everything through worldwide destruction. At that time, suffering and pain will end as God brings in a kingdom of righteousness, justice and fairness.

clip_image032[12]‘Once you know God, life or death, pleasure or pain, are all the same, you no longer care about it either way’.

This is another example of avoiding the issue. When I know God, from a Christian and biblical view, life will continue until death, at which time I’ll enter the presence of God (2 Cor 5:8). It’s avoidance to say pleasure and pain are the same. Pleasure brings contentment; pain comes from some malady or affliction a person experiences.

In his book The View from a Hearse, Joe Bayly tells the story of two men who came to comfort him after the death of his three sons. The first came with answers. He said that God had a plan, that God could work it out for good, and that God would give Joe strength. The second man came simply to sit with Joe. He did not speak unless spoken to, but he prayed with Joe and sat in silence with him. Joe writes that though both men had good intentions, he couldn’t wait for the first man to leave and he couldn’t bear to see the second man go (Ortlund 2020).

clip_image032[13]‘People die only once, but you are not a [singular] people – you only temporarily assume and identify with a mortal human body, that is not you!’

The Christian Scriptures confirm that people die only once and that death is followed by God’s judgment (Heb 9:27). I also agree that I’m only temporarily in a mortal human body – from conception to natural death.

clip_image032[14]However, to say that my natural body that breathes, grows, is productive in employment and ceases life at death is not ‘me’ is nonsense. My body and its consciousness are what constitute Spencer, the person, on this earth.

‘Pain is real only to the extent that the world is real. That the world is an illusion and God’s truth is the only reality is planted securely in scripture, the Upanishads’.

Here the Hindu promotes another example of the law of noncontradiction. Pain in the world is real but it’s not real because the world is an illusion. The law of noncontradiction must be maintained for a conversation to be sensible. Words have meanings. The law of noncontradiction is implicitly assumed in every conversation.

To say that the world is real and the world is not real leads to silence in a dialogue. People are brought to a halt in their dialogues. I experienced frustrations like this in my discussions with Kewal. He constantly made contradictory statements. I had to give up on the conversation as we were going nowhere.

When Hinduism faces reality

It teaches a philosophy and religion that is not grounded in reality but promotes reality as illusions. I recommend listening to:

snowflake-redJourney from Hinduism to Christianity’.

snowflake-redWhy a Hindu priest left the religion’.

snowflake-redHinduism: A Christian perspective’;

snowflake-redWhat Christians should know about Hinduism: Origin, Symbols, and Beliefs’.

 

5.  Works consulted

Brauch, M T 1996. In Hard sayings of the Bible, W C Kaiser Jr., P H Davids, F F Bruce, & M T Brauch. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Brown, C 1978. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Vol 3). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Gleghorn, M 2010. ‘You should come to Hinduism’, Probe Ministries, 11 February. Available at: https://probe.org/you-should-come-to-hinduism/ (Accessed 20 January 2020).

Grudem, W 1999. Bible doctrine: Essential teachings of the Christian faith. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press (published by arrangement with Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan).

Jayaram V 2000-2019. What is truth? Hindwebsite.com. Available at: https://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/essays/whatistruth.asp#bl02 (Accessed 14 August 2019).

Johnson, M D 2015. The Blame Game: Perceptions of Poverty among Hindus and Muslims in India. Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research (online): Vol. 4, Article 15. Available at https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1134&context=papersandpubs (Accessed 19 January 2019).

Kharas, H; Hamel K; & Hofer, M 2018. The start of a new poverty narrative. Brookings (online), 19 June. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2018/06/19/the-start-of-a-new-poverty-narrative/ (Accessed 15 August 2019).

Lenski, R C H 1936. Commentary on the New Testament: The interpretation of St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers (this was originally published by Lutheran Book Concern, assigned in 1961 to Augsburg Publishing House. This is a limited edition assigned to Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, second printing 2001).

Long, B 2019. What it is to die. The Barry Long Foundation International (online). Available at: http://www.barrylong.org/statements/what-it-is-to-die.shtml (Accessed 21 January 2020).

Morey, R A 1984, Death and the Afterlife. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers.

Napier, K B 2014. Hinduism – the cause of India’s poverty. Christian Doctrine (online), 8 November. Available at: http://www.christiandoctrine.com/in-the-news/religions/1138-hinduism-the-cause-of-indias-poverty (Accessed 19 January 2020).

Ortlund, G 2020. A deeper look at what the Bible says about pain and suffering. Explore God (online). Available at: https://www.exploregod.com/what-the-bible-says-about-pain-and-suffering-paper (Accessed 22 January 2020).

Piper, J 1985. Why we need a Savior: Dead in sins. Desiring God (online), 8 December. Available at: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/why-we-need-a-savior-dead-in-sins (Accessed 10 January 2019).

Razvi, S 2014. Vedic contradiction: How the creation came into existence.

Truth about Hinduism (online). Available at: https://vedkabhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/vedic-contradiction-how-the-creation-came-into-existence/#more-1192 (Accessed 20 January 2020).

Srinivasan, A V n.d. Core beliefs of Hindus, from Hinduism for dummies (2011). Available at: https://www.dummies.com/religion/hinduism/core-beliefs-of-hindus/ (Accessed 6 February 2019).

Srinivasan, A V 2011. Hinduism for dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Thiessen, H C 1949. Introductory lectures in systematic theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Vine, W E 1940. An expository dictionary of New Testament words. London: Opliphants.

Zacharias, R 1990/2004. The real face of atheism. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.

Zacharias, R n.d. Point of exclusion. RZIM (online). Available at: https://www.rzim.org/read/a-slice-of-infinity/point-of-exclusion (Accessed 20 January 2020).

6.  Notes


[1] Wikipedia 2019. Murti (online). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murti (Accessed 23 January 2020).

[2] Available at: https://qrius.com/india-is-no-longer-home-to-worlds-most-poor-heres-what-the-brookings-report%EF%BB%BF-says/ (Accessed 15 August 2019).

[3] Available at: https://pixabay.com/photos/girl-boy-brother-poor-slums-india-2754233/ (Accessed 15 August 2019Z).

[4] Structuralism is ‘a way of studying human culture, for example language, literature, art, or anthropology, that emphasizes the importance of its basic structures and the relationships between its parts’ (Cambridge Dictionary 2020. s.v. structuralism).

[5] Sadhguru 2013. Idols in the Hindu Way of Life – Why Are They Worshipped? (online), 28 January. Available at: https://isha.sadhguru.org/global/en/wisdom/article/what-is-enlightenment-can-spiritual-practices-enlighten-me (Acessed 23 January 2020). Also available at: https://isha.sadhguru.org/au/en/sadhguru (Accessed 23 January 2020).

[6] Ibid.

[7] Sadhguru 2019. What is enlightenment? (online). Available at:

[8] An exposition of these core beliefs by a Buddhist on the faculty of a Buddhist University in Thailand is at: https://www.unhcr.org/50be10cb9.pdf (Accessed 19 January 2020).

[9] This explanation was taken from THE MET 150, 2000-2019. Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/140005957 (Accessed 19 January 2020).

[10] However, this material appears to be adapted from Srinivasan (2011).

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] op cit Jayaram (2000-2019).

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Eternal and temporal aspects of Hinduism (online). Available at: https://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/essays/sanatana.asp (Accessed 20 January 2020).

[18] Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language (unabridged). Collins World, (1977. s.v. truth).

[19] Brown (1978 3:889-890).

[20] Georgetown University 2020. Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs. Available at: https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/hinduism-on-peace-and-violence

[21] ‘The Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) is an English translation of the Bible by the World Bible Translation Center (WBTC), a subsidiary of Bible League International. It was originally published as the English Version for the Deaf (EVD) by BakerBooks.

Deaf readers sometimes struggle with reading English because sign language is their first language. The WBTC created a translation to make reading the Bible easier for them. The EVD used simpler vocabulary and shorter sentences. One of the basic ideas that guided the work was that good translation is good communication.

In 2004, a major revision was finished. It uses broader vocabulary. The EVD was left unchanged, so it and the ERV now have different texts’ (ERV: Version Information).

[22] Available at: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/south-east-se-asia/india-art/a/beliefs-of-hinduism (Accessed 20 January 2020).

[23] This interaction is based on a back and forth by Yuyutsu with a Hindu worldview and others on a secular Australian e-journal forum, On Line Opinion. They are comments in relation to the article by Louis O’Neill, Do we have free will? Published on 5 November 2018. Accessed 9 January 2019. My pen name is OzSpen.

[24] For Yuyutsu, I have used the pen name of Kewal, a Hindu name meaning, ‘Only’. See: https://www.onlymyhealth.com/baby-names/meaning-of-name-kewal-1374485543 (Accessed 27 January 2019).

[25] Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 5 November 2018 9:34:36 PM.

[26] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 2:35:18 PM.

[27] I am Spencer, with the pen name of OzSpen. Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 7:08:51 PM.

[28] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 11:21:59 PM,

[29] Posted by OzSpen, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 9:24:02 AM.

[30] Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:22:00 AM.

[31] Posted by OzSpen, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 7:40:31 PM.

[32] Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 8:17:20 PM.

[33] Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 11 November 2018 8:21:25 PM,

[34] Posted by Banjo Paterson, Thursday, 8 November 2018 9:42:35 AM,

[35] Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 9 November 2018 9:38:03 AM.

[36] Posted by thinkabit, Friday, 9 November 2018 5:36:51 PM.

[37] Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 9 November 2018 5:55:48 PM,

[38] Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 11 November 2018 5:17:44 AM.

[39] Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 11 November 2018 8:26:10 PM.

[40] Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 11 November 2018 9:08:36 PM.

[41] Posted by OzSpen, Monday, 12 November 2018 8:22:57 AM.

[42] Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 12 November 2018 9:32:23 AM.

[43] He went under the pen name of Banjo Paterson and was posted by Banjo Paterson, Monday, 12 November 2018 9:11:56 AM,

[44] A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust: Hitler on Propaganda. Available at: https://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/people/DocPropa.htm (Accessed 9 January 2018).

[45] Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 12 November 2018 9:32:23 AM.

[46] Posted by thinkabit, Monday, 12 November 2018 9:18:25 PM.

[47] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 1:14:59 AM.

[48] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 5:03:10 AM.

[49] Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 12:06:28 PM.

[50] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 12:13:57 PM.

[51] Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 7:14:36 PM.

[52] Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 14 November 2018 10:50:00 AM.

[53] Posted by OzSpen, Thursday, 15 November 2018 6:27:49 AM.

[54] Posted by Yuyutsu, Thursday, 15 November 2018 10:22:03 PM.

[55] Posted by OzSpen, Friday, 16 November 2018 9:46:28 AM.

[56] Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 16 November 2018 4:01:58 PM.

[57] Posted by OzSpen, Friday, 16 November 2018 6:51:17 PM.

[58] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 11:21:59 PM.

[59] Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 16 November 2018 7:07:39 PM.

[60] Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 18 November 2018 8:06:55 PM.

[61] Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 18 November 2018 9:32:16 PM.

[62] Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 18 November 2018 10:01:35 PM.

[63] Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 19 November 2018 9:39:03 PM.

[64] Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 6:36:42 AM.

[65] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 8:37:40 AM,

[66] Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 9:19:41 AM/

[67] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 10:19:33 AM.

[68] This consists of 2 posts, one continued after the other: Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 12:19:48 PM and Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 12:26:45 PM.

[69] Image courtesy HeartValveSurgery.com, 31 October 2007. Available at: https://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/heart-surgery-blog/2007/10/31/broken-sternum-recovery/ (Accessed 23 January 2019).

[70] Posted by Yuyutsu, Thursday, 22 November 2018 4:22:41 PM.

[71] Posted by OzSpen, Saturday, 26 January 2019 8:40:20 AM

[72] Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 6:49:32 PM

[73] Posted by Yuyutsu, Saturday, 26 January 2019 11:40:27 PM.

[74] Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 27 January 2019 11:25:38 AM.

[75] Yuyutsu interacted with me further in the comments to the article, ‘A former dean of St George’s cathedral runs afoul of the evangelicals : Comments’. Available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=20118&page=1 (Accessed 4 February 2019).

[76] Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 21 January 2019 3:54:15 PM.

[77] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Monday, 21 January 2019 6:51:09 PM.

[78] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 6:49:32 PM.

[79] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 8:46:55 AM.

[80] Ibid., Posted by Banjo Paterson, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 8:51:14 AM,

[81] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 9:55:52 AM,

[82] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Thursday, 24 January 2019 6:34:04 PM,

[83] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Thursday, 24 January 2019 8:10:01 PM,

[84] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 25 January 2019 6:46:03 PM.

[85] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 27 January 2019 11:25:38 AM.

[86] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 27 January 2019 12:56:15 PM.

[87] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 27 January 2019 8:10:35 PM.

[88] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 9:17:56 AM,

[89] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Thursday, 31 January 2019 8:02:23 PM.

[90] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Thursday, 31 January 2019 8:33:12 PM.

[91] That is not true according to James 1:2-4 as it is addressed to brothers and sisters in Christ.

[92] Op cit., Posted by OzSpen, Sunday, 3 February 2019 7:00:23 PM.

[93] Hinduism, 19 January. 300 million Hindu gods – Is it really true? (online). Available at: https://www.sanskritimagazine.com/indian-religions/hinduism/330-million-hindu-gods-is-it-really-true/ (Accessed 23 January 2020).

[94] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 4 February 2019 1:09:40 AM.

[95] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Monday, 4 February 2019 7:34:52 AM.

[96] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 4 February 2019 8:36:53 AM.

[97] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Monday, 4 February 2019 7:11:12 PM,

[98] Image courtesy Wikipedia 2020. Hinduism (online). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism#Practices (Accessed 23 January 2020).

[99] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 6 February 2019 8:07:32 AM.

[100] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Tuesday, 5 February 2019 12:21:33 PM.

[101] Ibid., Posted by OzSpen, Tuesday, 5 February 2019 12:47:00 PM.

[102] Ibid., Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 6 February 2019 8:07:32 AM.

[103] “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129.

[104] Ibid.

[105] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (online), Becoming like God. Available at: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/becoming-like-god?lang=eng (Accessed 21 January 2020).

[106] Image courtesy Wikipedia 2019. Idolatry (online). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idolatry (Accessed 23 January 2020).

[107] Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 24, “I Become a Monk of the Swami Order.”

[108] Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 18, “The True Yoga.”.

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 23 January 2020.

clip_image037clip_image037

Is reincarnation taught in the Bible?

(Reincarnation in Hindu Art, image courtesy Wikipedia)

Spencer D Gear PhD

It is not unusual to encounter people (Christians) on Christian forums who claim they believe in reincarnation and state they are Christians. They try to defend their views from reinterpretation of Scriptures such as Hebrews 9:27.

1.  What is reincarnation?

Reincarnation refers to the indestructible soul, but not in the presence of the Lord God Almighty.

The Western definition of death is known as “the irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity”. Although this is true to define the end of someone’s life, there are many who believe that there is more to life even after death. Those who worship Hinduism believe that death does not necessarily mean the end. They follow the idea of reincarnation which means that the soul is indestructible and repeatedly takes on a physical body until moksha. Moksha is a term in Hinduism which refers to the various forms of liberation or release which occurs when the cycle of dying and rebirth ends. It is the central concept in Hindu tradition and included as one of the four main goals in human life (Reincarnation in Hinduism).[1]

So reincarnation involves death of the physical body, taking on a new body and this happens over and over with a cycle of dying and rebirth.

2.  An encounter with a Christian reincarnationist

clip_image004 Of Hebrews 9:27, his view was it is used

‘almost universally as the Scripture that refutes reincarnation. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,…“. For a long time, I could not resolve Scripture with my personal experience. Then it hit me – that passage does not necessarily say that men only live once. It may only say that after every lifetime, there is a mandatory judgment (some call it a “life review”). The phrasing is a bit clumsy; perhaps it is even intentionally so?
There are Christians who believe in reincarnation. I guess I’m one of them’.
[2]

Issues emerging from that comment include:

  • Heb 9:27 is one verse used to refute reincarnation but there are many others that teach what happens at death for believer and non-believer.
  • Scripture and personal experience clashed but he got himself out of the bind by reinterpreting Scripture according to a reincarnation view. This means:
  • Another world view determined this theology and he was not listening to biblical content.
  • Men don’t die only once. After every lifetime (over and over is inferred)), compulsory judgment follows judgment.
  • His reincarnation theology does not stop him from being Christian.

clip_image004[1]Again: ‘Yes, but my point is that Hebrews 9:27 does not necessarily say we only die once, it may say (paraphrasing) that for every death there is a separate judgment. In other words, suppose you had 6 successive lives- after each death, there is a mandatory judgment. 6 lives, 6 judgments’.[3]

Concerns again from this comment:

   clip_image004[2]Heb 9:27 doesn’t necessarily say dying only once. How does he know that?

 clip_image004[3]How does he know that it may mean 6 successive lives are followed by deaths and 6 judgments?

clip_image004[4]He reiterated, ‘Begging to differ, but it does not say “only”‘.[4]

He’s moved in Heb 9:27 from ‘does not necessarily say that men only live once. It may only say that after every lifetime’, to …

‘it does not say “only”’.

3.  Some orthodox Jews teach reincarnation

These are examples.

Eminent Jewish scholar and researcher, Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin serves as content editor at Chabad.org, and writes the popular weekly Ask Rabbi Y column. Shurpin is the rabbi of the Chabad Shul in St. Louis Park, Minn. (USA)

In one of his columns, he wrote:

Every descent of the soul into this world has a specific Divine purpose. This is the case whether it is the soul’s first descent or a subsequent reincarnation. There are many aspects of gilgul haneshamot—reincarnation of the soul—that are complex and intricate beyond the scope of this response’ (Why & When Does Reincarnation Occur?)

Vector image of reincarnation The situation becomes more bizarre with his referral to …

the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, explains that only reincarnations into human beings is limited to “three strikes and you are out.” These souls can still continue to be reincarnated, first as kosher animals, and then, in decreasing order, as non-kosher animals, plants, and even eventually as inanimate objects, as long as the need exists.[5]

He turned to Rabbi Yeshaya HaLevi Horowitz, as provided by the Kabbalists, in his classic work Shnei Luchot HaBrit (Shaloh) for an explanation of why reincarnation was needed in the Jewish world. The three reasons are:

1. There are some sins for which the cleansing in the spiritual realm alone does not suffice. Thus souls who have sinned and have not properly repented whilst alive, are sometimes forced to undergo a second round of life in this world as rehabilitation for sins previously committed….

2. Reincarnation provides an opportunity for souls to perform those commandments that they were unable to do in a previous incarnation….

3. There are some souls who do not descend for their own growth or perfection. Rather, the only reason they return to this earth is to benefit others. This can be to help out an individual or the entire generation, spiritually or materially (Horowitz in Shurpin).

It is important for the emphases of my article to note that Shurpin provided not a shred of biblical evidence to support his view.

My Jewish Learning website has an article by Rabbi Louis Jacobs[6] who is (What Judaism says about reincarnation) is unafraid to denounce reincarnation: ‘there are no references to the idea in the Bible or the Talmud , and it was unknown in Judaism until the eighth century CE, when it began to be adopted by the Karaites [a sectarian Jewish group] (possibly, it has been suggested, under the influence of Islamic mysticism)’.

Rabbi Louis Jacobs said: ‘Some modern Jews are attracted to the occult and believe in reincarnation. Otherwise the doctrine has had its day, and is believed in by very few modern Jews, although hardly any Orthodox Jew today will positively denounce the doctrine’.[7]

4.  Biblical reincarnation is Greek to me.

I asked this person on the Christian forum: Do you read NT Greek? If you do,

you will know that the Greek uses hapax in Heb 9:27, ‘it is appointed for people to die hapax‘. What is the meaning of hapax? Does it mean to die multiple times, 10 times, twice or once?[8] I was trying to get out of him how he KNEW Heb 9:27 did mean one or only once.

How did he know that it doesn’t include the meaning of ‘only’ when you don’t read and understand Greek? Let’s check the leading Greek lexicon, Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich (1957:89) which gives the meaning of hapax:

clip_image006  ‘As an actual numerical concept, ‘I was stoned once’ (2 Cor 11:25); in Heb 9:26 we have the Greek phrase phanero? hapax, speaking of Jesus ‘has appeared once’ – numerically.

clip_image008  BAG includes this example under the ‘actual numerical concept of once’ = once only. Why did Jesus appear this one time? Verse 26 states: ‘to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself’. He came only once, hapax, to do that. How often was Jesus sacrificed for sin? The same number of times a person dies (in v. 27) – only once.

clip_image010  BAG again places hapax as an ‘actual numerical concept of once’ in Heb 9:28: ‘prospher? hapax eis anapher? hamartia‘ = offered once to bear sins.

So the once in Heb 9:27 means one time only, numerically. There is no second time death and rebirth over and over. Reincarnation is not taught in Scripture.

So Jesus paid the price for sin only once, just as human beings die only once. A. T. Robertson, the leading Greek scholar of the 20th century, stated: ‘Once for all to die, as once for all to live here. No reincarnation here’ (Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol 5, p. 404).

In Job 16:22 (NLT), Job spoke of his death: ‘For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return’. There is no hint of reincarnation here. What could be clearer than Job 7:9-10 (NLT)?

Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes,
those who die will not come back.
They are gone forever from their home—
never to be seen again.

Here are a couple articles that oppose transmigration of the soul in the Bible:

clip_image012Reincarnation in the Bible’;

clip_image012[1]What does the Bible say about reincarnation?

5.  Time for more Scripture twisting

Try this one for bending Scripture to make it fit one’s own preconceived ideas:

Speaking of Scripture, there is an interesting passing reference to what may be reincarnation. John 9:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

The disciples ask Jesus if a man sinned before his birth. Thus it’s a question about reincarnation. They ask in a rather nonchalant way, as if it’s not even an unusual topic. The Lord answers it another way, but the argument goes that if there was no such thing, wouldn’t He have come right out and said, “There’s no such thing as reincarnation”?[9]

Another Jewish leader, Rabbi Menachem Posner, twists Scripture to make it support reincarnation:

These are not places which shout “reincarnation” in bold letters but they do form part of a greater picture.

Ecclesiastics 1:4: “A generation departs and a generation comes.” If this would refer to the normal flow of generations, a generation cannot come after the previous generation has gone. Rather this refers to the same soul(s) returning in consecutive lives.

Job 1:21: “Naked I left my mother’s womb and naked I shall return there.” Who comes back to their mom’s womb? Enter reincarnation.

These are just a few samples. There are a number of such places scattered throughout the Torah. The bulk of what we know about reincarnation is from the Oral Torah and these are just a few places where this dynamic is evident in an almost offhand manner in the written part.

The question remains though: Reincarnation is a major theological issue. Why is such a major issue not explicitly discussed in the Written Torah?[10]

The answer is simple. It is not found in the first five books of Moses (Torah) or the rest of the Old Testament. It is not a teaching of the New Testament. I’ve provided examples of Scripture twisting by Jewish leaders to try to make the OT fit with reincarnation. The end result is Scripture manipulation.

The fellow on that Christian forum was engaged in a similar kind of promotion of false doctrine while trying to make it look like he knew what he was talking about. The hapax factor found him out.

6.  Conclusion

Reincarnation is ‘the belief that the soul, upon death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form’ (Dictionary.com 2019. s.v. reincarnation). It also is called rebirth and transmigration, referring to human being’s soul being reborn in another body. Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation.

The primary reason for reincarnation is ‘that a person may be reborn successively into one of five classes of living beings (god or human or animal or hungry ghost or denizen of Hell) depending on the person’s own actions’ (vocabulary.com n.d. s.v. reincarnation). This is designed to cleanse in the spiritual realm of sins not forgiven in the first life.

It was seen that a few orthodox Jews have engaged in, (a) invention of the doctrine, or (b) eisegesis of a couple OT texts to try to support OT reincarnation.

It was shown from the Greek hapax that there is no biblical validity in promotion of reincarnation as, ‘Everyone must die once. Then they are judged’ (Heb 9:27 ERV). Hapax refers to the numeral one or once.

Therefore, any kind of Christian or Jewish promotion of reincarnation is a hoax.

7.  Works consulted

Arndt, W F & Gingrich, F W 1957. A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature.[11] Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (limited edition licensed to Zondervan Publishing House).

8.  Notes

[1] Cindy Cheng 2017. Anthropological Perspectives on Death (online), 17 February. Emory WordPress Sites.

[2] ChristianForums.net 2019. Why do so many Christian believers do not believe in the possibility of reincarnation? KevinK#8. Available at: https://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/why-do-so-many-christian-believers-do-not-believe-in-the-possibility-of-reincarnation.79566/ (Accessed 6 June 2019).

[3] Ibid., KevinK#10.

[4] Ibid., KevinK#14.

[5] Shurpin’s footnote at this point was:

There is, however, an important distinction between souls that reincarnate into human bodies and those that reincarnate into other creatures. When a human soul incarnates into an animal, it does so merely as an observer. That is to say that this creature is like any other creature of its kind, except that a reincarnated soul is trapped inside. The excruciating pain and sorrow the soul experiences while trapped inside the animal, forced to live and observe the life of this creature while powerless to control its behavior, serves to rehabilitate it.
Additionally, while this soul cannot really rehabilitate itself as it has no control over the action of the creature, it can sometimes be rehabilitated through the actions of others, for example, by someone reciting a blessing over it, if it is kosher (footnote 5, Why & When Does Reincarnation Occur?’)

[6] My Jewish Learning 2002-2019. What Judaism says about reincarnation. Available at:

[7] My Jewish Learning. What Judaism says about reincarnation. Available at: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/reincarnation-the-transmigration-of-a-jewish-idea/ (Accessed 14 September 2019).

[8] Ibid., OzSpen#24.

[9] KevinK#37. After this post, he made no posts regarding content of reincarnation.

[10] Menachem Posner 1993-2019. Where is reincarnation found in G?d’s word, as opposed to Man’s word? (online) Available at: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/474456/jewish/Where-is-reincarnation-found-in-Gds-word.htm (Accessed 14 September 2019).

[11] This is ‘a translation and adaptation of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches Wörtbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur’, 4th rev and aug ed, 1952 (Arndt & Gingrich 1957:iii).

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear.This document last updated at Date: 14 September 2019

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Visualization and Affirmation

 

(image courtesy sherrysnider.com)

By Spencer D Gear

Contact (May 1997) recommended visualization [which is also known as guided imagery] and affirmation for “harnessing the power of the mind toward achievement and goals.” That is not what those involved in occultism say. David Conway, in Magic: An Occult Primer, exposes some of the agenda of visualization:

By now the adept has visualized the required forms, and, it is hoped, contacted their astral equivalents. In addition the force behind these forms will have been admitted into the circle. At this point we come to the most important part of the ritual… We shall flick the switch that lets in the cosmic power….

To do so he must temporarily lose his reason, for it is reason which bars the doors of the conscious mind where the astral world lies waiting. The way to open these doors is to assume a state of unreason similar to the divine frenzy of the Bacchantes. Like their delirium the aim of such unreason will be to receive the deity that is being invoked….


At last–and he will certainly know when–the god-form will take control of him… While the power is surging into him, he forces himself to visualize the thing he wants his magic to accomplish, and wills its success” (Conway 1973, pp. 129-32).

As articulated above, these deities being invoked often have very evil ramifications. However, nowhere in Contact‘s promotion of visualization was there even a hint of people losing their reason and unreason taking over. Instead, it was the road to mental health. The research literature and personal experience of occultists confirm that visualization is sometimes associated with horrific evil. Why was there no warning in your article?

“Many new age disciplines offer various techniques of visualization as a help to contacting the spirit world” (Ankerberg & Weldon 1991, p. 148). Hunt & McMahon show where such visualization may lead:

It promotes the unrealistic attitude that, rather than face a problem in the real world, the solution is to fantasize a different illusion, which becomes one’s new `reality.’ Instead of correcting this madness, many psychologists encourage it. In fact, a growing number of today’s psychotherapies are based upon this very theory. Such therapies incorporate visualization and the acting out of fantasies, a process which encourages the idea of escaping from problems rather than confronting them and working out a real solution (1988, p. 210).

Dennis Livingston of New Age Journal understood the implications when he criticised new age guru, Shirley MacLaine

I found the implications of her philosophy basically cruel and callous. . . MacLaine’s basic truth is that we create our own reality. . .
Are you poor? You chose poverty because you need to learn certain lessons. . . Do you have cancer? . . . Did you lose a loved one? . . . You participated in creating that reality . . . nobody is a victim . . . evil is just a matter of your point of view.
It sounds like the perfect yuppie religion, a modern prime-time rerun of nineteenth-century Social Darwinism. Both blame the victim. Only now, the poor are not poor because they are ‘unfit’ . . . [but because] they want to be poor . . .
If I were a dictator, I could think of nothing better than to have a nation dedicated to following MacLaine’s agenda (1987, p. 79)

Former occultist, Johanna Michaelsen, believes that “without a doubt one of the most powerful techniques being used to initiate the next generations into the New Age religion is visualization.” She is clear about its intention to help people “look within themselves to discover and release their divinity. . . It is not a neutral technique” (1989, p. 109). Even church leaders have wrongly bought into this technique. Michaelsen said that

in personal interviews with Witches I have been told that their covens have `laughed themselves silly’ at how the church has so wholeheartedly adopted their occult techniques, thinking that as long as they tagged `Jesus’ at the end of them that they were perfectly okay. In my own earlier days I used extensive guided imagery/ visualization techniques for developing psychic powers and mediumship. . . It was a colossal shock to me to discover that virtually the same techniques I had practiced as a occultist were being used in the church” (1989, p. 110).

Yet, Contact wanted to promote visualization as a road to mental health. I appeal for an honest evaluation of the techniques being advocated.

Works consulted

John Ankerberg & John Weldon 1991, Can You Trust Your Doctor?: The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family. Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc.

Contact, Issue 10, May 1997, produced with assistance by the Bundaberg Consumer Advisory Group at the Office of the CDO for Mental Health, PO Box 2730, Bundaberg 4670, Australia; phone (o7) 4151 8111. The newsletter offers the disclaimer: “The opinions expressed within `Contact’ are not necessarily endorsed by those who produce, sponsor or fund this newsletter.”

David Conway 1973, Magic: An Occult Primer. New York: Bantam.

Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon 1988, America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers.

Dennis Livingston 1987, “Taking on Shirley MacLaine,” New Age, November/December.

Johanna Michaelsen 1989, Like Lambs to the Slaughter, Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers.

 

Copyright (c) 2007 Spencer D. Gear.  This document last updated at Date:  9 October 2015.

The dangers of Eastern meditation

(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

The front page of a mental health newsletter was lauding the benefits of meditation. [1]  It advocated transcendental meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, concentration, walking and standing, visualisation and affirmation, and mantras and chants. However, the writer wanted to deny any association with Eastern religion, claiming that “stereotyped images” associated meditation with “dark-skinned people of Asian or Oriental descent.”

What are the benefits of meditation?  According to the newsletter’s writer, “In reality, meditation is all about relaxation, contentment and awareness. It is all about `stilling the spontaneous activity of the mind.'”

The accolades continued: “Through the deep relaxation that meditation can bring, comes an altered state of awareness. This altered state of awareness can take people from aggressive to tranquil, from fearful to confident, from doubtful to positive and from discontented to understanding.”

If this is the case, people should be flocking in droves to such a panacea. Many are, especially to the new age movement’s techniques. However, does Eastern meditation only lead to mental health? Does an altered state of consciousness only produce tranquility, confidence, a positive attitude and understanding?

Let’s get some facts straight. Meditation is Eastern religion. When Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came to the West with his promotion of transcendental meditation (TM), he made it clear that it was a Hindu religious practice whose purpose was to produce “a legendary substance called Soma in the meditator’s body so the Gods of the Hindu pantheon could be fed and awakened.” [2]

What happened to Carole is just one example, that could be replicated many times over, of how meditation can go wrong — badly wrong! She began hatha yoga lessons and received her mantra, the word of power from Swami Rama.

As he laid his hands on her head, Carole said that “currents of electrical energy began to permeate my head and went down into my body… It was as if a spell had come over me, the bliss that I felt was as if I had been touched by God. The power that had come from his hand, and simply being in his presence, drew me to him irresistibly.” [3]

As the “electrical currents” continued pulsating, she experienced wonderful, powerful forces and energies. Thoughts kept impressing her mind, “Meditate, meditate. I want to speak with you.” Carole said that “it was a miracle. I was communicating with the spirit world. I had found God. ” While sitting in the darkness of her living room, she began to repeat her mantra. “A presence seemed to fill the room. I began to see visions of being one with the universe and the magnetic thoughts were now leaving and I was hearing a voice, which identified itself as Swami Rama, saying he was communicating with me through astral travel.”

Carole explains how the love and flowers turned to disaster. “Within one week, after meditating many hours each day and still in constant communication with this spirit, forces began to come upon me and gave me powers to do yoga postures. I was floating through them, the forces giving me added breath even. . . postures that before would be very painful to do.” [4]

After two weeks of daily meditation, Carole’s world crashed. She “became engulfed in a nightmare of utter dread and terror. Voices which once claimed they were angelic turned threatening, even demonic. She was brutally assaulted, both physically and spiritually. During meditation, in the midst of being violently shaken, she could sense that the very same energy received at initiation, energy which was now felt to be personal, was attempting to remove her life-essence from her physical body.”

In her words, the energy would “literally pull the life from my shell of a body.” She sensed an overwhelming hatred directed toward her, as if “monstrosities of another world were trying to take my very soul from me, inflicting pain beyond endurance, ripping and tearing into the very depths of my being.” [5]

There was nobody to help her. The attack eventually subsided, but there was more to come. Nothing could stop the assaults as she pleaded with the spirits. They ignored her. Her husband was powerless.

Noted neurosurgeon, Dr. C. Norman Shealy, a former Harvard University professor and author of Occult Medicine Can Save Your Life, entered the picture. He was unable to help and referred Carole to spiritist, Dr. Robert Leichtman. Dr. Leichtman admitted that Carole’s situation was not uncommon among followers of Eastern gurus. He told of people dying as a result of similar psychic attacks. But he, too, was unable to help.

After admitting herself to hospital, there was still no relief. When she returned home the attacks continued with incredible torment. “Although she was terrified of death, death was now her desire.” She was wishing to take her own life but was too fearful of dying.

In desperation, she admitted herself to the hospital. Once again, she was placed in a locked ward. She felt that there she would die — alone and in torment.

Carole is alive and well today. She is free from the spirits. Even her psychiatrist is amazed at the miraculous transformation. How did it happen?

Carole attributes both her health and her life to “a living Jesus Christ who delivered her from a desperate plight.” As she reflected on her predicament, Carole “is awed that such terrible destruction could be purchased at the price of a simple, supposedly harmless form of meditation.” [6] It started with a mantra associated with yoga.

Carl was a qualified psychologist with a degree in physics. He had a personal interest in religion and parapsychology and was excited by Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception. He cultivated altered states of consciousness, reincarnation, research and astral travel. Gradually, Carl admitted to himself that a deep alteration was taking place inside of him. After years of research and experience, he was consumed by the forces so evil that he became an incoherent vegetable requiring exorcism and was hospitalised for 11 months. He concluded:

“Solemnly and of my own free will I wish to acknowledge that knowingly and freely I entered into possession by an evil spirit. And, although that spirit came to me under the guise of saving me, perfecting me, helping me to help others, I knew all along it was evil.” [7]

Warning signs are required on cigarette packets.  Why shouldn’t people be warned of the dangers of Eastern meditation?

Endnotes:

[1] Contact, Issue 10, May 1997, “a monthly Newsletter for people interested in mental health in the Bundaberg [Qld.] district.”
[2] Art Kunkin, “Transcendental Meditation on Trial, Part Two,” Whole Life Monthly, September 1987, 14, 17, quoted in Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1988, chapter 3.
[3] Carole’s story is told in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Coming Darkness (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1993),p. 19f.
[4] Ibid., pp. 20-21.
[5] Ibid., p. 21
[6] Ibid., pp. 22-23. These authors state that the story is “condensed and edited from material sent, May 28, 1981.”
[7] Malachi Martin, Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans. New York, NY: Bantam, 1979, p. 485, in John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Can You Trust Your Doctor?: The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family. Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1991, p. 153.

 

Copyright © 2007 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 15 October 2015.

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