“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 64:6How 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]
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 Indian and Nepali youth want to leave India or Nepal for historically Christian-influenced countries like the US, UK and Australia for a better life.
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. In Romans 1, the Bible says that a society that worships idols and the forces of nature will decay.
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). Although some people say that the caste system is mutually agreed division of labour, it is refuted by Hindu texts and the practice of caste. For example, the Bhagavad Gita 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) 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. The Gita (9:31-32) 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 belief that they committed bad deeds in their previous life (which they cannot remember). Their only supposed hope is to suffer in silence and hope for a better (high caste) birth in their next life. The caste system has been weakened in some places due to secular and Christian influence, but 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.
The following are some incidents recorded in Hindu texts, and related facts:-
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 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. However, 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. Westerners are open to experimenting with many things, not just Hinduism. 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?
The following are some statements in Hindu texts about our universe:-
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.
Most upper caste Hindus are vegetarian for two reasons:-
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].
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 above comparison leads to the following:-
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.