Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

HINDUISM

Hinduism contradicts Biblical Christianity, so both cannot be right. In this article, my purpose is to point out what I consider to be flaws in Hinduism, and also contrast Hinduism with the Bible. It is not my intention to hurt anyone, just to put forth facts and logical arguments.
 
There is no defining authority on Hinduism. For the purposes of this article, I will consider any text or practice that purports to be Hindu to be Hindu. Let's consider some features of Hinduism.

Deities

The following are some of the gods of Hinduism:- 
  • Ganesh, the half-human, half-elephant god of good fortune who is honored in western India.
  • Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the chief gods according to some Hindus.
  • Kali, the blood thirsty goddess of eastern India (see image). Notice her necklace of skulls and skirt of severed arms. She seems keen to collect the blood dropping from the head she holds.
  • Shiva, Kali's male partner, lies prostrate under her feet.
  • Ayyapan is the offspring of the extramarital affair that Shiva had with Mohini, the female incarnation of Vishnu. 
  • Wind, fire and rain are worshiped in the Vedas; the sun and the moon are also deified - progenitors of the solar and lunar "dynasties".
  • Ram is an incarnation of Vishnu.
  • Sita was Ram's wife. She spoke rudely and foolishly to Lakshman and later acknowledged her error (Ramayana 6.113.40-46). She was tricked by Ravana, a demon from Sri Lanka.
  • Hanuman: Son of the wind and monkey-god, Hanuman constantly needs reminding about his great strength because he keeps forgetting that he is strong.
  • Brahman is the ultimate reality, the universal soul, neither personal or impersonal, neither good nor evil, unaffected by anything; its only specific attribute is that it has no attributes.
When we try to learn from Hindu texts who is the supreme God, we find the following:-
 
According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, Krishna is the supreme god, but according to the Mahabharata, he is just one of the several incarnations of Vishnu. The Shiv Purana repeatedly claims that Shiva is the supreme god. Atharva Veda Book 10, Hymn 8, Verse 1 refers to Brahma as the supreme God.
 
When Ram, the incarnation of the god Vishnu, lost his wife, he did not get her back with supernatural, authoritative power. He had to fight for her (although he did many other things with supernatural power). In the battle, when his brother got injured, Ram was helpless until a sage prescribed a Himalayan plant for his treatment. Ram, though he was god, was helpless to procure the plant; so Hanuman the monkey god flew to the Himalayas and got the plant. Sita, Ram's wife offered vows to Ganga while praying for Ram's safety. When Ram wanted to kill Bali, a bad guy, he had to use stealth because Bali had a boon that he could draw half his opponent's power to himself. Ram could not nullify this boon. Similarly, Ram could not prevent Ravana's 10 heads from rejoining themselves to his neck whenever Ram beheaded him. From all this it follows that Ram is not the supreme God. Since Ram is an incarnation of Vishnu, it follows that Vishnu or his other incarnations (such as Krishna) are not the supreme God.
 
Brahma, a god, granted a boon to Ravana, a bad guy, that no one except a human would be able to defeat him. Ravana became invincible, and such a horrible nuisance. To assuage the exasperation of the gods, Vishnu came down in human form as Ram to kill Ravana. We are not told what brought Brahma (a god) to make such a foolish decision, and what higher power prevented him from revoking his own boon. In any case, Brahma is not the supreme God.
 
Shiva had an extra marital affair and beheaded his own son Ganesh by mistake (narrated in the Bhagavata Purana and the Brahmananda Purana). The Vishnu Purana tells us that Bhasmasura the ash-demon outwitted Shiva. Thus, Shiva couldn't be the Supreme God.
 
Brahman does not do anything specific, and therefore makes no difference to anyone. Thus, he (or it) is as good as non-existent, and therefore cannot be the supreme God. Also see: Could God be a force rather than a person?
 
The Ramayana narrates that when the god Ram faced the demon army led by Khara, both he, the demons and other gods watched the omens (appearance of the sun, rain, etc) with interest. Who was responsible for the omens?  Is nature by itself superior to all gods and capable of producing omens for gods to get clues about the future? Or is there some unknown superior god who was behind those omens? Hinduism has no answer.
 
To summarize, there is total confusion in Hinduism about God's identity, nature and number.
 
In contrast, the Bible teaches that there is only one supreme God who exists as three persons, separate from His creation. The God of the Bible is not an impersonal cosmic force. There are no mini-gods and goddesses. There are however, powerful angels, some of whom are keen to deceive humans and be worshiped by them. Jehovah, the God of the Bible makes it clear that He detests idol worship and the worship of the forces of nature (Leviticus 26:1, Romans 1:22-25).

The nature of creatures

According to Hinduism, creatures are of the same divine essence as Brahman. That is, if Brahman is compared to an ocean, the creatures are like drops of water. All creatures are equivalent - that ugly crab could be the reincarnation of your mother who passed away some time back. And never take medicines to remove the worms in your gut - their lives have the same value as yours. Thus, when Hindus enjoy the benefits of medical science – which is based on the Biblical premise that human life has infinitely more worth than the life of a worm or microbe – they are being inconsistent. If we cannot put our beliefs to practice, we must question whether they are true.
 
The Bible teaches that all creatures are distinct from the Creator. Moreover, human beings are fundamentally different from plants and animals unlike other living things, man is made in God's image (Genesis 1:27) - this is of course borne out by the fact that only humans have moral/spiritual faculties. In the case of animals and plants, physical death is their permanent end. But our objective as humans is to get right with God and secure our eternity, not be merged with Him. Bible students recognize that the notion of God residing in one’s own self is a hangover of Satan’s temptation to Eve: You shall be like gods (Genesis 3:5).

Life and death

Hinduism teaches that creatures die and then are reborn as some other creatures. Each soul goes through indefinitely many lives. There is supposedly a natural law which ensures that justice is automatically served. Souls receive in this life the retribution for what they did in their previous lives. These beliefs are highly irrational and pernicious:-
  • They lead to apathy for the suffering. Philanthropy in India is negligible compared to societies influenced by the Bible. Even the little philanthropy in India today is largely due to Western influence (ideas about corporate social responsibility, human rights, etc). The battered woman, the leper and the street child don't deserve our sympathy - we are better off than them today because we were holier than them in our past lives!
  • They lead to immorality: gravity is a law of nature, so I avoid jumping from heights not because it is evil to do so, but to avoid getting hurt. If justice is a law of nature, pursuing righteousness only becomes a safety measure rather than a passion that comes out of love for a personal, just, Creator (the Biblical teaching). It is hardly surprising that Hindu countries such as India and Nepal rank high on corruption indexes and have abysmal law enforcement.
  • The idea that I'm being punished for sins that I don't even remember having committed is absolutely irrational! The fundamental principle of meting out justice is that the offender is made to understand why he is being punished.
  • It is absurd to claim that justice is a law of nature. A cosmic force, or the molecules that make up the universe, cannot distinguish between my good and bad deeds, much less hold me accountable for them!
  • There is absolutely no real evidence for reincarnation. If reincarnation were a real system established by the gods, then everyone would be able to recollect their previous lives in complete detail. The fact that they aren't proves reincarnation to be false. The few cases of people able to recollect supposed past lives are examples of angelic deception.

Salvation

In trying to attain divine-hood, creatures face the problem of karma. They sin, and this means bad karma. Creatures are punished for their misdeeds in the next life. They need to do good deeds and accumulate good karma. Once they have accumulated  sufficient amount of good karma, they get released from the cycle of births and rebirths and attain oneness with Brahman, the ultimate reality. That this is irrational can be demonstrated as follows:-
  • Either there is a supreme, infinitely good and holy, personal Creator or there isn't [different schools of thought within Hinduism don't agree with each other on this point]
  • If there is a such a Creator, good deeds cannot secure salvation
  • If there is no such Creator, moral good and bad lose their meaning. How can a cosmic force or the matter and energy in this universe transport me, a sentient being, to a state of bliss?! How can a non-perfect demi-god (even if he is a person) act as universal judge and ensure a state of perfect bliss?
The Bible makes it clear that doing good isn’t good enough to get you God’s approval:
By the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified…Even our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight” – Galatians 2:16, Isaiah 64:6
How then can we reach God? Well, actually God has reached down to us, in order to take us up to Him! God, in a stunning display of love gave His Son for humanity. His Son came to earth as Jesus Christ, suffered and died, paying the price for our sins – so now, we can escape God’s wrath by trusting in His Son:
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would even be bold enough to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life…Jesus Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed…For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast…These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” [Romans 5: 8, John 3:16, 1 Peter 2:24, Ephesians 2: 8, 9, 1 John 5:13]

Propensity for decay

Like other regions of the world, India had an advanced civilization in about 2000 BC. When the British showed up about 3600 years later, what did they find? A society riddled with superstition, poverty, lack of good leadership, untouchability, sati, female infanticide, illiteracy, and a total lack of modern scientific development. In other words, there was a huge decay during the period from 2000 BC to 1600 AD. So great was the decay that the British could conquer India despite coming from such a distant country and being vastly outnumbered. Almost everything good in India today (democracy, education, technology, etc) has come from outside the country. Despite having some of the best talent and great natural resources, India continues to languish today, crippled by corruption and bad policy. Most Hindu youth try to leave India or Nepal for historically Christian-influenced countries like the US, UK and Australia for a better life. This seals the argument.

What is the single most important determining factor in affecting the behavior of people and thus the condition of their country? Answer: their worldview. What has been the dominant worldview in India for the last 4000 years? Answer: Hinduism. The conclusion is inescapable: Hinduism leads to decay, just as the Bible decrees in Romans 1. Since Hinduism leads to decay, we conclude that it is not the true religion.

The nature of the human race

Hinduism teaches that there are four castes. These castes are distinguished by their occupations, and level of superiority. In the order of decreasing superiority, these are the Brahmins (teachers and priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (traders), and Sudras (masons, cleaners, etc). The image shows a woman belonging to the Bhangi caste, whose compulsory job is to clean up human waste. I haven't found a Hindu text specifying what caste foreigners belong to (and on what basis). The Gita mentions caste as an accepted fact, and does not specify any non-congenital criterion for determining the caste of a person, leaving the caste to be determined by birth. The Gita (18:41-44) actually says that people of such and such caste have such and such qualities - if you're from this family, you're fit to study, if you're from that family you're fit to be a servant to others, etc. These statements are enough to dismiss the Gita as being scientifically inaccurate and unfair, and above all, not from the true God. The Gita (9:32) also says that women, Vaishyas and Sudras are of low birth

The horrors of the caste system are well known. Lower caste people are forced to submit to humiliation and atrocities based on the Hindu belief that they committed bad deeds in their previous life (which they cannot remember). Their only hope according to Hinduism is to suffer in silence and hope for a better (high caste) birth in their next life. Although the caste system has been weakened in those parts of India that had some Christian influence, it still remains supreme in other places, such as rural North India. Learn more about the caste system with this award winning documentary.

In contrast, the Bible teaches that all human beings are descended from Adam and then from Noah, and thus are equal. Everyone has equal access to God. Some people are chosen for special roles (such as the nation of Israel, the Levites as Jewish priests, etc) but everyone has the same status. You will never be held accountable for sins that you do not remember committing (from an alleged past life!). God does not place limitations to your life choices (like your career, your life partner, etc) based on your birth.

Sex

Sex is a prominent theme in Hinduism:-

  • When Dashratha needed Rishyasring to offer a horse sacrifice so that his barren wives would conceive, a "harmless trick by all unblamed" was used to coax Rishyasring from his forest recluse: a group of pretty girls were sent to him. They befriended him, petted him (with graphic details specified), and got him to Dashratha. [Book 1, Canto 9, Ramayana]. The Ramayana portrays Dashratha as a righteous person.
  • "I am compelled to omit Cantos XXXVII and XXXVIII of Book 1, THE GLORY OF UM¡, and THE BIRTH OF K¡RTIKEYA, as they are, both in subject and language, offensive to modern taste. They will be found in Schlegel's Latin translation." - Ralph T. Griffith, The Ramayan of Valmiki translated into English verse.
  • Srimad Bhaghavatam 10.22 narrates how the god Krishna stole the clothes of some young girls while they were bathing. He made them come out of the water with their hands over their heads to get back their clothes. This nude parade took place in full view of Krishna's young male cowherd friends (see verse 11).
  • The Yoni Tantra, a religious text from Bengal (11th century AD or earlier) prescribes worship of the female sex organs with rituals including casual sex.
  • Ravana's description of goddess Sita in Ramayana 3:46.19-21 is pornographic. However, Sita did not sense anything amiss. 
  • Temple prostitution in Hinduism was and still is widespread.
  • "The phallus is united with vagina and vagina is united with phallus. For the sake of perpetual enjoyment here and hereafter the devotee shall worship the phallic emblem which is lord Siva Himself" - Shiv Purana, Vidyeswara Samhita, 16.104-108
  • The god Indra had sex with a married woman called Ahalya.
  • The god Shiva lost interest in Parvathi, his wife, and had a wild extra-marital affair with Mohini, the female incarnation of the god Vishnu. According to Shiva, marriage is a bondage (Shiv Purana, Rudra Samhita, Section 2, 16.33-34). The image shows Shiva cuddling Mohini while poor Parvati (Shiva's wife) looks on.
  • The god Brahma lusted after his own daughter (Shiv Purana, Rudra Samhita, Section 2, 3.21) and lusted so intensely at a bride in a wedding that he ejaculated (Shiv Purana, Rudra Samhita, Section 2, Chap. 19). The bridegroom was furious but Vishnu, another god, rescued Brahma.
  • Hindu temple sculptures in Khajuraho and Konark depict wild sexual orgies. Although the Kanchipuram Temple sculptures do not depict sex orgies, they show groups of topless women in suggestive poses.
  • Atharva Veda Book 20 Hymn 136 is so sexually explicit and obscene that it is customary to translate it only to Latin and not English.
On the other hand, some Hindus are conservative about sex and the Bhagwad Gita portrays sexual (or any physical) enjoyment as morally inferior. The demon Araka had become virtually invincible because he had never laid eyes on a woman (extreme chastity). So we have an inherent contradiction in Hinduism. Moreover, neither the ascetic or the hedonistic sections of Hinduism tell us why humans were designed to have sexuality (and not reproduce asexually like some other organisms). Thus, both the unrealistic asceticism and the shameless hedonism show that Hinduism was invented by mere people - people who could not make sense of their sexuality, NOT from the Supreme God who designed sexuality for a worthwhile purpose.
 
Some Hindu apologists defend the worship of sex in Hinduism by saying that sex is sacred and worthy of worship because it is the process that generates new life. But this is a pathetic case of confusing mechanisms with agents. It is God who created (wonderful) mechanisms for reproduction, and only He is worthy of worship. The Bible denounces the worship of created things instead of the Creator (Romans 1:25).

In contrast to Hinduism's confused obsession with sex, the Bible tells us why God created sex, romance and marriage; it presents sex as something beautiful to be enjoyed without guilt as long as it is between husband and wife who are faithful to each other for life. All other forms of sexual activity are immoral, and there are no "gods" according to the Bible, so there is no question of gods indulging in sex.

The Evidence for Hinduism

The following are evidences offered by Hindu apologists for Hinduism and my responses:-

The endurance of Hinduism proves its truth. The religions of other civilizations have given way to Islam, Roman Catholicism and atheism, but Hinduism lives on. This argument is faulty because the endurance of Hinduism has a purely natural explanation: India is a huge region and relatively isolated. So India's Hindu population became very large compared to the populations of other countries. Thus, while Muslim invaders could obliterate Egyptian religion, they failed to obliterate Hinduism. By the time the British began to rule India, religion (especially the forced kind) had lost importance in England. So the British left Hinduism alone.

The fascination of Westerners for Hinduism shows that it is true. The argument that something is true because it is one of the many white man's fads is the height of irrationality! Westerners are fascinated by a lot of other new things, like wicca, Satanism, etc. We must also note that Westerners only accept some aspects of Hinduism that appeal to them - that American lady who adores yoga is not about to jump into the fire if her husband dies. Nor will she entertain the idea that little girls are called to be temple prostitutes, or that karma decrees that if you're born into a Bhangi caste family, you must clean up the open air toilet of the whole village! 

There is power in Hinduism. Yes there is, just as there is power in reiki, voodoo, wicca, etc. But as shown in the article on New Religions the nature of this power betrays its origin to be not the Supreme Creator-God but angels, spirits and demons.

Hinduism is the oldest religion. This is merely an opinion held by some Indians who are unfamiliar with foreign history. Hinduism is not any older than the ancient religions in Egypt, China, or South America. Based on the antiquity of written records, the Sumerian civilization/religion is older than Hinduism. Archaeologists and historians recognize Hinduism as one of the offshoots of the proto-Indo-European religion.

Hinduism is appealing and intuitive. Aesthetic appeal and intuition are subjective criteria that cannot be used to establish truth.

Also see: Is Hinduism morally superior?

Scientific Errors

The following are some statements in Hindu texts about our universe:-

  • "The planet Budha (Mercury) is two hundred thousand leagues above the lunar mansions. Sukra (Venus) is at the same distance from Mercury. Ang·raka (Mars) is as far above Venus; and the priest of the gods (Vrihaspati, or Jupiter) as far from Mars: whilst Saturn (Sani) is two hundred and fifty thousand leagues beyond Jupiter. The sphere of the seven Rishis (Ursa Major) is a hundred thousand leagues above Saturn; and at a similar height above the seven Rishis is Dhruva (the pole-star), the pivot or axis of the whole planetary circle" [Vishnu Purana, chapter 7, translation by Horace Wilson]
  • "One should not approach a woman on the new moon or the full moon night; if one were to do so, one would be impotent." [Yajur Veda English Translation A. B. Keith ii. 5. 6. para 4]
  • Ramayana Book 1 Canto 41 says that the earth is supported by Virupaksha the elephant. Earthquakes are caused by his movements.
  • Ramayana 3.46.9-10 claims that when Saturn approaches the star Citra, it is ominous. And what about alignments involving billions of stars invisible to the naked eye?
  • "A menstruating woman keeps emitting the color of guilt...(the son born) of intercourse in the forest is a thief; (the son born) of intercourse with a (woman) who turns away is shamefaced and retiring; (the son born) of intercourse with a woman bathing is fated to drown" [Yajur veda, PRAPATHAKA V, ii. 5. 1.]
  • Sagar requested the god Brahma to send the river Ganga (Ganges) from heaven to earth. The proud Ganga intended to destroy the earth with the force of her fall, but the god Shiva restrained her. [Ramayana, Canto 43]
  • Atharva Veda I, 12. Prayer to lightning, conceived as the cause of fever, headache, and cough. (12th verse of 1st book)1.25 is a prayer to fever.l
  • If we don't give cows to Brahmins who ask for them, things will go bad in our life. Atharva Veda, Book 12 Hymn 4
  • Atharva Veda Book 3, Hymn 28 is a charm to avert the ill-fortune of twin calves being born.

Also see: Is the Bible consistent with scientific fact?

Parochialism

Hinduism developed in India, around the same time that advanced civilizations were being set up in other places such as China, Egypt, South America, Mesopotamia, etc. It is similar in its themes to the religions of other civilizations, but nevertheless, different in detail. All the prominent places and people in Hinduism are associated with India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. This strongly suggests that Hinduism was invented by humans. If there is a God who created the entire world, there is no reason for Him to be parochial or reveal similar and yet mutually contradictory religions to different civilizations. 

Diet

Most upper caste Hindus are vegetarian for two reasons:-

  • Meat is considered unclean or impure. But this has no scientific basis.
  • Killing animals is considered brutal. But Hindus don't hesitate to kill microorganisms and pests; no Hindu text explains why it is okay to murder millions of bacteria but not okay to kill and eat other living things.

However, even upper caste Hindus in South India eat meat - and the Vedas (the most ancient texts) prescribe animal sacrifices with priests eating the meat! The goddess Sita offered Ravana (whom she mistook for a Brahmin) pork and venison [Book 3, Canto 47, Ramayana]. Thus, food is yet another subject in which Hinduism is self-contradictory.

The Bible also has dietary restrictions that God gave Israel (as symbols of spiritual realities). Otherwise, the Bible teaches that God has given man the permission to eat meat - animal (and microbe) life does not have the sanctity of human life because unlike humans, animals and microbes are not made in the image of God. The fact that the survival and prosperity of all living things is mutually incompatible is a symptom of something having gone wrong in the universe. This something is rebellion of the species that God put in charge of the world: man. God will set things right, but there is only one way in which you can be part of the future, perfect existence God has planned for us.

The texts of Hinduism

The Srimad Bhagavatam, the Bhagvad Gita and the Shiv Purana all claim to be the ultimate revelation for the spiritual welfare of man. This is mutually contradictory. All of them acknowledge the Vedas but the Vedas do not acknowledge any of them. All the above three are thematically inconsistent with the Vedas. The SB and the BG emphasize personal devotion to Krishna and look down on ritual, sensuality and materialism. The SP emphasizes devotion to Shiva with some emphasis on ritual, sensuality and materialism. The Vedas do not give any special place to Krishna or Shiva. They are almost completely devoted to material and sensual pursuits by means of rituals designed to appease a multitude of gods.

The Brahmanas and Upanishads are both commentaries on the Vedas. The former emphasize ritual sacrifice while the latter emphasize philosophy and devotion. The Chandogya Upanishad parodies those who indulge in the acts of sacrifice by comparing them with a procession of dogs chanting "Om! Let's eat. Om! Let's drink." Thus, the Brahmanas and Upanishads are mutually contradictory.

The Brhan-naradiya Purana (17.21) claims that in the current age (Kali Yug), the only way to spirituality is to chant "Hare Krishna" rather than to ponder over Vedanta philosophy. But the Vedanta texts do not contain any such disclaimer. They present themselves as the best deal for any time. The Shiv Purana claims that the best thing for your spiritually is to listen to it being read. Again, multiple contradictions.
 
Some Hindu apologists say that different Hindu texts prescribe different things because some of them are "lower level", meant for immature or spiritually ignorant people, and others are "higher level", for those ahead on the path to "enlightenment".

Firstly: This is just an invented response, and not an argument based on the texts themselves. While many texts claim to be superior, none claim to be inferior. No Hindu text claims that it is incomplete, inferior, or waiting to be superseded by another text on its way. No Hindu text claims that after its readers have progressed, they should abandon it and shift to another text.
 
Secondly: A high school Physics textbook does not contradict a college Physics textbook although it has much less depth. However, the various texts of Hinduism contradict one another, and so cannot be viewed as a graded learning series.

Thirdly: In a graded learning series, no book claims to be the "one stop shop" for knowledge. However, SB 1.1.2 states: "this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth…This beautiful Bhāgavatam…is
sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture?" In the light of this, the appearance of later scriptures like Caitanya Caritamrita is mutually contradictory.


Therefore, the contradictions pointed to above persist. Since Hinduism is inherently self-contradictory, we conclude that it does not come from the True God.

Conclusion

The above comparison leads to the following:-

  • Hinduism is not the same (or even similar) to the Bible. Both are not different paths to the same ultimate reality or destination. At least one of these belief systems is therefore FALSE.
  • Hinduism is ambiguous and self-contradictory.
  • Hinduism is thus merely a set of religious beliefs and practices that evolved in the Indian subcontinent in the last four thousand years. It has nothing to do with the true God.

If you are a Hindu, do give the Bible a serious consideration and pray to the God of the Bible, that if He indeed is the One True God, would He please reveal Himself to you. The Lord Jesus promises a much better deal than being reincarnated as a lizard and then losing your identity after a million reincarnations.

  • "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." – Matthew 7:7,8
  • "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." – Jesus Christ, in Matthew 11:28
  • "The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." – Jesus Christ, in John 6:37
  • Also see: Evidence for the God of the Bible and  Questions Hindus ask