I have been thinking about fundamentalists’ claims that everyone apart from “true Christians” will go to hell and be eternally tortured. They often try to reconcile this with a good, merciful and loving God by saying “it is written, it is the Law, and God cannot disobey the Law”. Unlike Christianity Hinduism does not have a definitive book. There are the Vedas of course, but these are more works of praise to God than Law or rules, and these are supplemented by agamas from each school. Christians, like Hindus, believe that God is omnipotent. It seems to me that if God writes the Bible as a definitive book that he must follow from that point until eternity then this is limiting his omnipotence. Metaphorically speaking God has created a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it; the Bible.
That is fair enough, but if God creates this rock which is so heavy that even he cannot lift it so that it will crush most of humanity forever then this cannot be an all-loving and good God. The God who would do this is not the God that I worship.
Many Christians are extremely insulting about Hinduism and other religions. They call us ignorant, dumb, followers of Satan and mock our beliefs and practices. They tell converts that they should not associate with non-Christians, and sometimes even incite violence, trickery, deception, and destruction of shrines. You only have to look at some of the comments by Christians on this blog to see the degrees of hatred. These Christians honestly believe that this is what their religion teaches.
In contrast, many Hindus believe that Jesus was a guru, and that his teachings do not incite this type of behaviour. I have looked at the teachings of Jesus and I have come to the conclusion that many Christians have misunderstood the real meaning of the teachings of Jesus. In short, what the many missionaries teach is not in accord with the true teachings of Jesus.
Jesus as a Guru
If Jesus is seen as a guru, and the gospels as the teachings of Jesus become clear. When Jesus says to Thomas In John 14:6-7
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.
This is an explanation of the Guru student relationship. Many gurus would say the same thing to their students, but this would not exclude the possibility of other gurus. Many sayings that are taken as instructions to be exclusive and divisive by the Christian Right are in reality simply instructions to keep firm to the guru-shishya relationship.
Jesus’s words on Other Faiths
From the way that many modern Christians behave you would expect Jesus to be full of condemnation, insults, and irreverence for the Roman and Greek gods. In fact, Jesus never said anything negative about these beliefs. Having queried this on a Christian board someone eventually came up with two passages from Jesus: Continue reading