Archive for the ‘English’ Category

A Hindus Vision from Jesus

Friday, October 16th, 2015

shutterstock_7830430

Normally I edit and summarize a persons testimony before posting it on my blog site however in this case they so beautifully articulated their point that I am leaving it in the form that it was sent. Anyway I received this email from an Indian lady who comes from a Hindu background and her message can stand by itself as it summarizes the importance of spoken Truth as found in the Biblical text. As you read her letter I hope you find it inspirational and I encourage you likewise to read the Bible beginning with the New Testament. Moreover I have written a couple of articles in dealing with the credibility of the Scripture from the standpoints of literature and archaeology which I believe offers ample evidence to its historicity.

Is the Bible Reliable?
Does Archaeology disprove the bible?

 

Dear,

Jesus paid me a visit when I was sixteen or seventeen. It was before
my world started to fall apart. And I wasn’t dreaming. I wasn’t even
sleepy. It was mid day and holidays and I was studying. It was almost
a decade ago so the details are fuzzy but I remember the odd light in
the room. You see my room faces a high rise and as such I do not get
much light through the window. It is a custom in these parts to not
turn on the lights during day time. As a result we have to do with
what little light that remains.

If I were sleepy or asleep I could have accredited the vision to the
Bible that was gifted in our school about a year ago and about which I
had completely forgot. But I wasn’t afforded the luxury. I didn’t see
Jesus. I saw the light and I saw the shadow of the cross in the light
and I heard a clear voice telling me to open the Bible. It was spooky.
I spent the next six hours searching for the paperback New Testament.

You may ask how could things plummet after that. I was a Hindu then,
heart and soul. Hindus have a strange way of assimilating all
religious deities into their faith. At that point of time I took the
Bible and the teaching in that light. It was just one other God. I
read the gospels then I went back to my old life. I had my Gods. They
were the Gods I had grown up knowing and they were the Gods who were easier to please, a gift, a flower offering and they would fulfill a
wish. They didn’t require me to submit my entire soul and it was
easier that way.

I loved a boy then. Not really a boy, a man. I wanted to be his wife
and I prayed to my Gods. I bargained with everything I had till I had
nothing left. I lost my virginity to the man. I thought that was a big
deal. Guess what. That was the beginning. When the man asked me to
have group sex with his friends I knew that was wrong. I couldn’t
stoop that low. I started hating my Gods for not making me stop to get
so low. I couldn’t face my Gods anymore.

Then I met a guy online who was a follower of ISKCON movement. You may or may not have heard of it. It is an offshoot of Hinduism that
believes in cleansing of the self through constant penance. I
submerged myself in it trying to clean my heart, my body and my soul.
They had a different interpretation of Bhagvad Gita. I read it. I read
it twice. In every line I read I found the Bible. The words I had read
so long ago came back to me again and again till I knew what path I
had to take. I left my Gita and picked up a Bible. I am trying to find
my way back to Jesus ever since.

Perhaps He orchestrated the entire thing, cleansing me of the
dependence I had on my Gods and replacing them with my dependence on Him. I know my story is crazy. I told this to one other person and he stopped talking to me after that. You don’t have to believe me. Just believe in Him. And yes He has a strange way to firm your faith.

Yours truthfully,

How to know God
Hindu Resources
English Articles on Hinduism
Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna Resources

 

 

 

Photo provided by:
“Andi Berger/Shutterstock.com”

Miracles in Hinduism

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

To begin with I believe that there are many Hindu’s who may be sincere about their beliefs but respectfully are sincerely wrong when it comes to the absolute truth of their religious claims.
One such example of this initially happened in 1995 with the drinking milk incident in which an adherent had a dream whereby they were to offer their god, Ganesha, milk by which the statue supposedly consumed which led to a hysteria of milk offerings in India and around the world at the various temples with the same miraculous outcome among it’s pantheon of deities.
Yet in spite of all of this corroborating evidence it has been proven that this miracle isn’t about the miraculous but rather it has to do with physics which explains this phenomenon as a natural occurrence through the process of capillary action which gives the appearance that the statue is drinking the milk when it is not.
I remember watching a television program about this event as debunking some of these supernatural claims among various religions and the proof came as a group of Indians watched as a Mickey Mouse figurine was given milk by which it in like manner seemingly consumed the drink that it was offered. As I observed this I could see the disappointment on a nearby Indian’s face as coming to realize that this was all false.
In all fairness perhaps this was done rather innocently as simply not realizing what had happened but I think it should be a warning to everyone that just because there are religions who make such miraculous claims as representing spiritual truth that not everything is at it may first seem or appear to be. The bible says that we should test the spirits to see if they are of God and thus it would behoove ourselves to verify events and people who claim to speak for or represent God rather than simply accepting every religious experience.
Anyway I have written more about Hinduism in some of my other articles which will hopefully be insightful to the nature of this religion.

 

 

 

How to know God
Hindu Resources
English Articles on Hinduism

The Illusion of Pantheism

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The old adage that god is all and all is god sounds something more acute as describing the camaraderie of the three Musketeers as “all for one and one for all” rather then an accurate metaphysical construct toward the nature of God which is demonstrably, fundamentally and practically flawed as incomprehensible and philosophically irreconcilable on so many levels.
First of all how is it possible for an infinite god to be anything but infinite with a corruption or change such as a fragmentation with a multiplicity of finite parts as a contradiction to gods ontology? Moreover what brought about this illusory state of ignorance away from the absolute sense of god to begin with as becoming a schizophrenic disunity? In other words how did this essential reality become an illusion? Thus if God is anything less that than ultimate then essentially god is not ultimate.
Likewise how reassuring is it that this disjointedness could ever be ultimately rejoined once again with this possibility of a relapse towards a cyclical system of samsara? Furthermore with the current population explosion what proof is there that these temporary and illusory material modes of existence are moving towards extinction resulting in a absolute state of union?
Another dilemma to the pantheistic view is that the ultimate or absolute sense of god is portrayed as being amoral and yet humanity, as god, functions as moral creatures. Again how is it possible that this higher form of amorality is able to devolve into a lower form of morality? Yet Hindus are encouraged to behave benevolently towards others which intuitively seems contrary to reaching their final amoral state. Essentially their actions, not their pantheistic philosophy, pragmatically suggest that such philanthropy is of a greater, rather than a lesser, order in comparison to its amoral counterpart especially as it contributes to the very survival of civilization, culture and society. Thus to accommodate their theory as a stepping stone in reaching nirvana or moksha is plainly irreconcilable to how they value and conduct their day to day lives. Also how can moral distinctions be illusory and virtually meaningless and then somehow mysteriously transform these meritorious deeds as making them meaningful or substantial which seems to be more like magic than ultimate truth? In reality, according to pantheists belief, there should be no need in differentiating between the acts of Adolf Hitler and say Mother Teresa since there is no real difference and to otherwise object would be to criticize god. Yet which pantheist lives beyond moral attributes as idly standing by while being morally violated which again is a testament towards the realism of a universal justice system as deliberating right from wrong? To say there is no distinction in the value between a friend giving a gift and for a thief to steal that gift is just plainly dishonest and a lie. Can you imagine a world and society that is governed without moral boundaries as having to live in a lawless state of anarchy? Basically the pantheist innately understands that there is something real and significant to having ethical standards for social engagement as something which they can not and should never be liberated from or avoid and which survives even beyond death or the grave as believing in the karmic forces of retribution which shows that moral values, according to Hindu beliefs, are significantly relevant in understanding the consequence of immorality as violating the universal principles of right and wrong/good and evil. Finally in this regards I am not saying that Hindus are immoral but what I am establishing is that they really don’t have a firm basis to act accordingly if such behavior is essentially unreal or illusional and to accommodate their belief as stating that this is merely a necessary means to the end takes special pleading which is falsified by their lifestyle. Finally to say that god is amoral is making the concept of god equivalent to that of an insane sociopath.
Another matter is that the pantheist will reject reason and logic such as with the law of non contradiction as stating that “A and non A “ are one and the same reality, and yet their daily living does not coincide with this belief system nor does their pantheistic philosophy which supports a dualism of what is true and false based on differentiating between reality and illusion. Some examples of this unfounded theory would be for the pantheist to assert that a person does not exist which ironically requires a person to exist to make such claims. Also it specifies that there are actual infinities within a time/space dimension which is a fantasy and a myth that only resides within mathematical formulations. Moreover to declare in their limited state that god is unknowable is self defeating as well as making an omniscient and absolute statement about knowledge as a finite creature.
Additionally, if the pantheist was consistent with their own doctrinal beliefs it should cause them to be skeptical of their very own statements which come from finite beings and who could be deluded themselves to invent the concept of man as being divine. Therefore they can’t really even trust their very own system of thought as being subjected to its limitations as depending on the illusory minds of human teachers and texts that may be delusional in their content of which I strongly suspect as this whole philosophical system is basically and self evidently counterintuitive as being unnatural and irregular especially as there is no confirmation or effective demonstration that supports these beliefs as being falsified through the actions of their daily lives. After all what evidence does the pantheist have to suggest that the material world is unreal? What verifiable method do they have to prove their point against a naturalistic reality? Moreover which pantheist would dare cross the street without looking both ways for traffic as only believing that vehicles are just a figment of their imagination? Consequently, it is much more conceivable to believe in a physical reality then the science fiction of the Matrix which is only the creative illusion of a Hollywood production. In addition to all of this, to state that we are merely living in a dream like fantasy world that isn’t really real but only appears that way is just plain nonsense. Thus this whole kind of irrationality regarding illusions is just unsustainable and abnormal in showing a lesser degree of probability or plausibility then its antithesis.
The other unrealistic aspect of their philosophy is that individuality or personality such as the conscience, will, emotions, and intellect are likewise illusional and are opposite to the simplistic nature and character of god and yet in reality what person does not function this way unless they are comatose? It appears that this oversimplification of god is unconvincing in light of the cosmological and teleological evidences regarding the complexity of design and origins which I have previously written about as well in other articles.

Atheist and Agnostic

Moreover to say that god is more congruent to that of a rock or a stick basically signifies that humanity is really lagging behind on the evolutionary scale of progression towards godhood. It seems like going backwards in reincarnation is a move forward as aligning oneself with god.
In regards to this whole god concept it also seems contrary to how some Hindus relate to others as differentiating between the members of their society with a caste system which treats the Dalit as sub-human. Yet to disrespect another representative of god is essentially to disrespect yourself.
Another value within Hindu society is to be tolerant in teaching that “All paths lead to God” which I have already written about in another blog and yet for the nationalistic Hindu to violently react against invading philosophies and religions shows that they really don’t believe or accept this as they see it as a disharmony to their culture by which they  vehemently attack other belief systems.

All Paths Lead to God

In conclusion this whole methodology towards pantheistic realism is really just a mirage of backwards or reverse engineering to accommodate or manage the struggle of life with its pain, suffering, and death as an attempt to erect a monument as trying to establish an institution to house all of life within the framework of a single structure. It is a reactionary attempt to explain and unify such diversity in life as trying to force a square peg in a round hole and yet it just doesn’t work that way. Therefore to make such claims of orthodoxy without orthopraxy is virtually unreal, unenlightening and unorthodox. Jesus referred to this mentality as hypocrites who pretended to be something they weren’t.
Perhaps this whole conceptual idea of illusion is a way or path of coping with the tragedy and differences of life as giving a sense of hopeful reconciliation. However to believe or desire something no matter how sincere you are does not necessary make something real or unreal for that matter. Respectfully, to think that Hindu society at large is more advanced in enlightenment based on their religious views is contrary and unfounded based on the infirmity of its society which contains many of the world’s lepers and blind which show that such practices and beliefs do not lead to a more enlightened path or society.
Lastly I would like to propose a biblical world view that has been scrutinized and yet shown to be historically and philosophically reliable as a coherent, relevant, and plausible system as an explanation to life as a defining a more probable reality.
The bible offers an overarching explanation to reality as revealing that a eternally transcendent, omniscient and omnipotent God created all realities, both physical and spiritual, with mankind as the pinnacle of His created order. Mankind is made in Gods image, though not God, as sharing in His qualities as a consciously moral and intellectual being who has the volition as a free moral agent and yet in spite of this greatness has paradoxically chose to rebel against the holiness of his Creator causing a corporate split or separation between humanity and God as mankind received a sinful nature. The good news in all of this, is that God as the sovereign potentate, as a personal and merciful being, brought forth Jesus into the world, who as Lord, became flesh and blood to save and redeem mankind in bringing humanity back to God through a reconciliatory and redemptive effort of obedience in giving His physical life as a type of sacrifice to liberate and set free mankind as offering His perfect self on the implement of human suffering, namely the cross. This legally forensic and substitutional transaction satisfied God’s justice in making this transaction a means of payment as securing salvation for those who trust in Him resulting in eternal life and peace with God in unifying us with Him as forgiving humanity in saving us from the final outcome of eternal death which would have otherwise resulted in the perpetual suffering of those who willfully reject this gracious and provisionally kind offering which in the most ultimate sense has eliminated the consequence and outcome of pain and suffering by removing the curse that had once alienated us from God. Conclusively, this may all appear as a mystery of words, terms and concepts but apart from the self attempts of human religion and its rigors of meritorious deeds, those who simply call upon His name will receive complete liberation in this life and the life to come as relationally receiving a glorious and heavenly inheritance.

John 8:36

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Mt 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How to know God
jesusandjews.com
English

 

 

 

Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics, copyright 2006 by Doug Powell, ”Reprinted and used by permission.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007

Ritual cleansing and purification

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

When you look at many of the major world religions they have some sort of cleansing ritual associated with normal life events such as with childbirth and death including their normal day to day actives of human experience as with menstruation, flatulence, sleep, sexual contact, unconsciousness, emission of blood, semen, vomit, and disease, etc.
Some of these purification rites involve ablutions such as are practiced among the Bahai Faith while others prefer their bodies to be completely immersed in water.
For the Jews this ritual involves such acts as hand washing and the Mikvah while Muslims have the Ghusl and Wudu. Hindus bathe in the holy river Ganges and practice  Achamana and Punyahavachanam. The Shintoist performs Misogi and the Native American Indian has their Sweat Lodge.
Though these religions have a vast array of differences in their world views there are some similarities or familiarities as involving some form of water which for them carries a real sense in which a person consciously discerns their uncleanness with an innate awareness that they are in some significant way defiled therefore in need of cleansing as symbolized by these actions with the use of this universal solvent as an agent of purification.
This self awareness as found in some religious expressions becomes a behavioral attitude towards having a mindful sense of a transcendent reality with a methodological approach according to the old adage of cleanliness is next to godliness. However to say that there is a correlation to this physicality or materialism as applying it as an effectual agent as dealing with divine disfavor and dissatisfaction or as an opportune to sanitize ones, so called, divine essence proves to be counterproductive  as constantly needing to repeat the same activities over and over again with an endless cycle of washings which intuitively seems to lack a complete sense or sufficient effect to sustainably cleanse. These reactions towards a need for sanctification and holiness seem to fail in creating a stockpile of merit as they are short lived as being negated with the brevity of time as they perpetually rewash themselves again and again as being subjected to their frequent immorality and imperfection as human beings. Thus it appears this need for repetitiveness to be thoroughly cleansed can’t be entirely removed in the ultimate sense as leaving some aspects of their being unclean and in need of someone else who is capable to reach the unreachable part of their self identity as eliminating the defilement of their human hearts.
Anyway there are some real practical benefits of hygiene when it comes to bathing and washing but to make a direct association between the internal and external facets of an individual through these habitual mannerisms of superficial skin deep treatments, which may be sincere and outwardly appear to be a form of wisdom, yet are unable to penetrate beyond the surface level as connecting the physical realm to that of the immaterial and immortal soul  as contributing towards an individuals spiritual well being.
Rabbi Yeshua put it this way as addressing His fellow Jews concerning such practices

Matthew 15:1-2,11, 17-20
15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
Apart from human filth the other aspect of this matter may deal with the significant sense and understanding of a deeper realization to remove the impurity of guilt and shame left behind from their moral failures. This reminds of the Shakespearean play in which Lady Macbeth shouts “Out, damned spot” concerning her role in the death of King Duncan as a need to remove the sin stained bloodshed from upon her hands.
In some respect by performing these rituals it becomes an indirect way through their actions to openly confess as recognizing their state of immorality and therefore washing becomes a way of responding according to their human ability and self effort to somehow mysteriously do the job as sufficiently dealing with their moral failures with this compulsive drive to be made clean. Again, I believe this fails to demonstrate an efficacy regardless of their awareness, desire, piety and zeal in performing these rites as the sufficient means to reconcile or ratify  these matters through the limited and dependent abilities of human factors as a somewhat penitent act to offset as to appease, gain favor and acceptance by these various methodologies. Even if all this were somehow possible then when would  it ever be enough to absolve their status or state of uncleanliness and to what degree of scrubbing can sufficiently eradicate the tattooing that has indelibly left its mark upon the heart which has pigmented the spirit and soul with death from both its past and future actions.
Conclusively there is a real conscious sense which is inherent within all mankind that we have violated the standard of a holy God as indicative with an impending sense of a future judgment for those who fail to resolve this substantial conflict.

Romans 2:14-16
14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Mankind has struggled to deal with this tension in forming or creating a delusional religious dialogue of ideologies as blazing a trail in finding a solution to navigate this journey towards enlightenment while the hostility of the deceived  anti-theistic psychopath just plainly denies the need to leave their personal abode as to venture out on a quest, which according to their belief, leads to no where as religion becomes an avenue by which weak willed persons have succumbed to the Freudian neurosis of fantasy as seeking a path to a make believe land.  So interestingly, either way, mankind has found a method to traverse or cope with this matter as to self manage this conscious appeal from the Creator.
In response to this crisis I would like to suggest a solution by means of the person and work of Christ who unlike other religious expressions isn’t about mankind trying to find, approach or reach out to God but rather it is about God pursuing mankind relationally with humanity reciprocating a trust response. Thus it isn’t according to the the strength, or for that matter weaknesses, of mankind’s personal abilities but rather cleanliness and purity has been graciously offered as a free gift resulting in fellowship and worship by which God, not us has made possible.
Titus 3:5
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
1 John 1:7 
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You may object in believing Christianity to being no different than any other form of religious expression with its cleansing sacrament of Water Baptism and in part I would have to agree with you as for some it is no more than a mere bath as going through the motions of identifying with the Church but who are in essence unclean as pseudo believers. True baptism, as a central tenet of the faith, primarily serves as an outward sign or symbol of the effectual and cleansing power of the perfect and precious life blood of Jesus which redemptively purifies all believers in judicially declaring them righteous as coinciding with the transference of the Holy Spirit as the personal change agent who through the process of regeneration brings about an inner transformation. Thus the act of water baptism is a witness or testimony to a reality that didn’t come by combining the elements of hydrogen and oxygen in order to benefit from a liquid but rather it was through the saving work of Christ and the living water of the Holy Spirit as the dynamo that inhabits a person as evidenced by a changed heart and life. It is God Himself that gives the good gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit which does not subsist through the plunging efforts of human baptizers and therefore water baptism becomes only a glimpse concerning this heavenly reality of the power of God in this womb like transaction as giving new birth to a person, not as being born of human will or origin such as with religious activities, but rather through the initiation of God as being born from above or born again through Christ and the Holy Spirit. This being born anew is not to be confused with the Hindu and Buddhist concept of rebirth, as it is the resultant work of Christ who imparts the Holy Spirit as contingent upon His initiative followed with a responsive act of faith or trust in His salvation.
The scriptures likens this reality based on future redemption of Israel according to the Hebraic prophet Ezekiel 36:25-27.

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Rabbi Yeshua said it this way during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot in

John 7:37-39
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The ancient Jews at best had a temporal satisfaction in their ritualistic duties to God but as stated in Hebrews 10 these were only symbols not the reality  themselves as Christ’s offering for our cleansing was given once and for all as the perpetual sacrificial offering as the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. To say that Jews don’t need a sacrifice today as the rituals of prayer, fasting and good deeds will suffice as being satisfactory is an act of violation and rebellion against the inscripturated word as denying the fulfillment of the Torah regarding, Leviticus 17:11.

11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

No matter how many Mitzvot you perform what surety is there that you have done enough or that your sins have been forgiven apart from the provisional sacrifice of God’s mercy and grace through the Messiah in Isaiah 53?
Likewise for my Muslim friends to deny the death of Jesus as some semblance of failure within the prophetic office entirely misses the point that this was God’s glorious plan to provide an Abrahamic type of  substitutionary atonement by means of the Messiah whose temporary disgrace and shame served as a joyous purpose and occasion as enduring the cross in leading many to glory, Hebrew 2:9-18; 12:2.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2011/07/14/crucifixion-of-jesus-christ-and-islam/

In closing Jesus can give you living water which can completely and fully satisfy  and refresh your soul and even though the heavenly Father can lead you to this water He won’t make you drink of it. So finally I would encourage you my friend, like the Samaritan woman, to simply ask for this living water which is essential towards quenching your spiritual thirst apart from false religions, cults  and philosophies which will only leave you high and dry as only being thirsty once again.

John 4:10, 13-14
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this (well) water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Lastly Jesus invites you!
 
Mt 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How to have a realtionship with God

www.jesusandjews.com/wordpress/

 

 

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007

Hindu Resources

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Ravi Zacharias (former Hindu)

www.rzim.org/resources.aspx

 

A testimony of an orthodox Hindu Brahmin who received Jesus

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbToQCbZOOo

 

Four Spiritual Laws

 

Jesus Film

 

New Testament/Bible

 

Audio Bible

Hinduism and Reincarnation

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Reincarnation is what many of the eastern religions conceptualize as a way of dealing with the karmic consequences of life after death. Hindus see life in a cyclical view of birth, death, and rebirths known as Samsara which is a direct result from the previous right and wrong actions that were administered by the individual in their former life(s) with a goal to reach the desired state of Moksha or Mukti, which is a form of salvation from the Samsara. So the ultimate fulfillment of the Hindu is to be released from this wheel of existence of “what goes around comes around” in order to achieve some form of purified state.
Some of the methods to accomplish this final state of existence or salvation comes as a   person undergoes the rigors of performing yogas based upon the elements of knowledge, devotion, and works in order to finally liberate one’s soul or atman from the materialistic realm.

However, this system of belief is not provable though it is accepted and embraced by the practitioners of the faith as a cultural expression of their religious beliefs. I recently posted a blog on life after death based on the interviews of individuals and doctors who have encompassed the globe in a search for some form of empirical data concerning this phenomena of life after death and based on their research people were experiencing either a hellish or heavenly realm as described by the biblical accounts of the after life rather than these temporal purgatorial types of judgments by means of recurrent lives.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2009/10/29/is-hell-real/

To begin with I do believe Hinduism does recognize the problem of evil and the consequences of this reality yet their views on how this is regulated varies from the data of these near death experiences that I have previously mentioned and the biblical record.

In Romans1 and 2 it states how that God has given mankind a moral compass which is hardwired in the mainframe of our being as a spiritual barometer of right and wrong to indicate to us the base nature of sin and the concept of justice or judgment. This knowledge is common and it is what makes us human yet it is the outworking of this moral dilemma that creates a divergence in Christian belief versus Hindu thought in appropriating the consequential ideas of this innate intelligence.

The bible supports a man is to die once and then face the judgment while the Hindu believes in the transmigration of the soul which leads into a renewal of ones existence resulting from a cause and effect type of relationship which will hopefully culminate sooner or later into a desired state of being.

Some of the problems that I have observed in regards to a Hinduistic worldview, which I believe are in conflict or contradictory to the sanctity of human life, is seen through treating certain animals and trees with more decency and respect than a human being. What I am referring to are the people who have been labeled and classified as the Dalits or the “untouchables” which make up almost a fifth of India’s population.

This form of racism which is much like slavery in some instances has been formally outlawed by the government but it is informally upheld by the majority of the Hindu people within Indian society.

In reality this religious oppression helps to control the political and social structures of society by depending upon these types of individuals to perform their menial tasks as servants in supporting the success of their culture and therefore this degrading and debilitating behavior towards these lower caste members are tolerated by the government as a necessary evil.

These people are said to have been born to a lower position in life due to the consequences of bad karma therefore resulting in this fatalistic habitation of oppression. Yet I wonder how the Hindu philosophy of Ahimsa can avoid its no harm policy towards these individuals who are the dregs of society.

Christian missionaries have shared the love of Christ to the Dalit’s in displaying to them the high view that God has given all mankind and the radical Hindus have revolted against this effort in forsaking Ahisma by attacking and harming both Christian Dalits and missionaries.

Yet what they are protesting is their loss of control over the maintenance of their system and they have resorted to violence and fear tactics which are contradictory to there religious views which would portray them as pacifists.

For some Hindus, Ahimsa means abstaining from meat and sacrifices yet is it acceptable to sacrifice this so called lower caste people in order to satisfy the gods of Hinduism?

Also another point of contention is the wrong assumption in Hindu thought that there is an infinite regress to human life and yet on the other hand Hindu belief supports a finite earth. Science has also asserted the position to a finite universe through their telescopes by the observation of an ongoing universal expansion that has resulted from a beginning phase termed “The big bang.”

To conjecture that the human soul is infinitely present in the finite realm of existence is just nonsensical.

Therefore if life is integral to finitude than how did the first humans appear and how did they come to participate in the cosmic realm of karma if they didn’t preexist. In other words what necessitates the first birth considering there were no previous actions committed by a non existent entity? Somehow did god undergo a big bang and now we have to piece him back together through the efforts of Moksha?

So if the evidence points towards a starting point of time how did life as we know it originate and what prompted the first birth since birthing is a result of this karmic cycle.

Also another matter as related to karma is how can you be responsible for actions that you are unaware of in the former life or how will you know whether or not you have done enough in this life to appease for former responses? Who knows where one is and where one is going and ultimately where one will end up? This only leads a person into a form of nihilism or hopelessness. In the end a person is left without a determinative plan that would secure them in obtaining the critical element of Moksha.

Also how about the hopelessness of those who would be reincarnated as lower life forms such as bugs and animals who instinctively don’t have the capacity to perform the duties of yoga or what hope is there for an individual who is contemplating their future life as a maggot?

If Indian culture is the Zenith and the spiritual center of the world which has access to the expertise of the gurus then why, based upon the logic of an enlightened society, are there so many more karmic sinners in India. After all 2/3 of all leprosy cases and over half of the blind people in the world dwell within the epicenter of this faith.

Lastly is seems to me that this broken wheel of belief  can not support or carry the load of the worshippers who have harnessed the sacred cow of Hinduism which is being guided by the reigns of the gurus in the hopes of it leading them to its ultimate or final destination.

Then again this whole system may just be an illusory mirage or maya that is sent to deceive a person into believing a philosophy that has no ultimate reality anyway.

Finally I know I have said some hard things and I do not desire to be disrespectful to my Hindu friends but I would challenge them to think beyond the cultural boundaries of their faith that has kept them from contemplating their religious system of belief. Again I am sorry if I offended anyone through this post yet it is never easy to challenge without appearing to be offensive and all I hope is that you take a moment in your spiritual journey to reflect on the validity of the truth claims concerning your beliefs.

In conclusion I believe there is hope for all people of which Jesus offers but not through the religious efforts of do’s and don’ts but rather through the simplicity of trusting in His person and work which will liberate you from the emptiness of your soul and the guilt of a condemned conscious by leading you out of the idea of rebirth towards a new birth.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 
How to know God
Hindu Resources
English Articles on Hinduism

 

 

 

Copyright permission by Bridge-Logos “The School of Biblical Evangelism”

Copyright permission by Random House Inc./Multnomah on New Birth or Rebirth by Ravi Zacharias

Is The Bible Reliable

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Upon writing this post I wanted to deal with the uniqueness of the bible which I believe gives credence to the reality of the text which ultimately points towards divine authorship.

To study further on this subject I would recommend a book that I read a long time ago called “A Ready Defense” by Josh McDowell who was an atheist turned Christian. His quest was similar to that of Lee Strobel’s who is a well known author for his “case” series of books.

When closely examining the bible it is like a jewel that is multifaceted with a beauty that makes this gem unique among other literary “gem”res.

I know that this is the same claim that others have also made by advancing their various religious world views but in the final analysis the bible as compared to these other scripts sets a precedence which places it in a class of its own.

Every group wants to claim originality, uniqueness, genuineness, and authority as it relates to some supreme or divine origin regarding their sacred text and based on what I have seen so far in regard to these books seems to be questionable based upon the shortcomings and contradictions of their varied positions of belief.

Again I understand this is the same criticism that has been leveled against the biblical text as well and the skeptic is quick to point out all sorts of problems but some are not always able to be specific in their critique.

Also I know there are difficulties within the bible that are hard to decipher but that is not enough evidence to discard its content as rubbish and poppycock.

Some of these conflicts have resulted due to the vastness and complexity of the scriptures which encompasses 1500 years of writing with 40 different authors who wrote on 3 different continents in 3 different languages. This has led to various nuances which at times may be almost impossible at points to complete rectify or reconcile due to the diversity of language and  culture.

Some things in the bible are a paradigm shift to our concept of experience such as its miraculous and metaphysical contents but this does not disapprove the bible either but rather it just leaves us with a bit of a  mystery that is not normative to our sense perception.

As regarding biblical content there are other things that just lack a fuller view of explanation and insight of which the authors didn’t leave us with nor thought it necessary to answer. As we try to fill in the blanks this often times leaves us with a misunderstanding which attributes much to the seemingly contradictions and misapplications to the contextual view which can lead towards heretical forms of teaching or belief.

The bible isn’t always an easy piece of literature to handle or piece together and it is like an onion in that every time you read through it you find another layer of understanding that was overlooked in the first disclosure. Yet just because something cannot not be fully understood doesn’t mean that is can’t be trusted. Even science has these limitations as they are just now beginning to probe into the deeper mysteries of the universe and yet the universe to us is both real and believable.

Also we can’t treat the bible like an exhaustive manual which explains every last little detail and it appears to be the Almighty’s prerogative to avoid an extensive explanation of all the complexities that interest inquiring minds. From a biblical view point there tends to be a concentration on the relevant or central points and subjects rather than always answering the questions of “why”. It’s not like we could fully fathom or understand everything anyway and at points it might be like trying to teach the theorems of nuclear science to a new born. This reminds me of Job who questioned God in his finitude which in turn God answered Job back in His infinitude leaving Job speechless.

As humans we don’t even fully understand the ancient technologies or achievements of men such as the building of the pyramids which are undeniably monumental in their presence and yet now we expect to fully comprehend the complexities of an eternal and omnipotent God?

Also some of the difficulties in the bible apply more directly to that particular point in history which would have made it more significant in relevance towards the contemporaries of that particular generation.

So maybe our ability to discern fully is diminished through this aspect of time and space and one thing that has helped in narrowing the gap of biblical doctrine has been the technological advances of archaeology and their recovery of the evidence which has helped to clarify instead of contradict the biblical text. It’s just a matter of time for some things to come into a clearer view as we unearth the next pile of dirt.

Archaeologists have uncovered habitations that were once thought to be non existent such as the Hittite civilization and they also have found historical proof for the things in the bible that at one time were put in the categorical box of mythology.

Our limitations to discern or understand can also become distorted resulting in a corrupt understanding of the text and fallibility may be on behalf of the interpreter which results in a misapplication to the scriptures but one thing is certain is that these assertions may apply to peoples perception but that does not necessitate an application to the book that is under others scrutiny.

Anyway I really don’t have enough time in this one post to write on such a voluminous work that has copious amount of scholarship dedicated to this subject. Hopefully this will serve your interest in prompting a desire for you to more fully research these claims in unlocking this heavy but accessible door as you enter into the discovery of biblical truth.

One thing that biblical literature has going for itself is that there is more manuscript evidence for the bible than any other piece of ancient literature. There are about 25,000 manuscripts in various languages that date back as early as 125 A.D for the New Testament and as far back as 200 B.C for the Old. This massive amount of manuscript helps when trying to reconstruct authenticity by analyzing possible discrepancies due to scribal fluctuations and these reconstructive efforts of scholars and linguists have resulted in more of a purified text. Most of these variances that are found are minor such as spelling errors and therefore are non consequential towards the integrity of the text.

Unfortunately we do not have the originals or the autographs but still there is only about a 100 year old time lapse between the New Testament autograph and the oldest surviving copies which is quite small considering that most of the other literature that we have from antiquity is between 400 to 1000 years removed from its original source.

Also regarding the preservation and authentication of the New Testament text is that much of it can be completely reconstructed from the quotes of the early church fathers between 97 AD to 180 AD except for 11 verses. In addition to this the lectionaries between 300-1100 AD also confirm the content for the entire New Testament.

Another thing to consider is that when there is a longer period of time between the sources there tends to be a better possibility to embellish the literature content of a document which can evolve into mythical proportions due to the inclusion of oral traditions. We discovered this when we played the game of telephone as kids. So I believe given the relatively short period of time between these manuscript sources helps to authenticate the reliability of the biblical text.

One of the main reasons why there was difficulty in the preservation and survival of these original autographs was due to the inferiority of the parchment which was largely papyrus. Animal skins were not widely used until centuries after the completion of the New Testament so in conclusion this trail of vast manuscripts has turned out to be a blessing in piecing together the textual evidence of this script without the benefits of Gutenberg’s Press.

In moving on to the Old Testament text it was passed down to us by the Massoretes. These copyists or scribes were meticulous on how they counted the number of letters, words, and lines in keeping with the accuracy of the sacred text. This kind of detail can be attributed to the consistency we see with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 which were written about 1000 years before this Masoretic text (895AD). When I was in Jerusalem I was able to see the Isaiah scroll on display at the Shrine of the Book museum.

Anyway in addition to this there is yet another copy of the Old Testament called the Septuagint which is written in Greek with the oldest copy dating back to about the second century AD which is still another piece of the puzzle to this ancient work of literature.

Now regarding the New Testament the original manuscripts were written between 45 and 95 A.D. Fortunately these documents can be ascribed to there various times based on the historical significance of well know people, places, and events. In addition to this I think one key element in determining the age of these documents is the fact that the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.  and since this is such a catastrophic event of which is not even mentioned in such significant historical books  as Acts or the gospel narratives then it becomes understandable why these books predate this particular event in history.

Also before the New Testament could be accepted as canon it had to be validated and  proven to have  an origin that would require it to be of either a first hand witness or someone closely associated with these witnesses in order to find acceptance within the  New Testament community of believers.

Nearly all the New Testament was written by the Apostles with the bulk of literature being attributed to the Apostle Paul. Others that had written books were closely associated with the Apostles such as John Mark who was a close associate with the Apostle Peter and Luke who was under the influence of Paul and there was also Jacob(James) and Judah(Jude) who were the half brother’s of Jesus. We have no reason to question the authenticity of these apostolic authors based on the dates and the acceptance of these scriptures by the followers of the early church.

Even Polycarp in 108 AD, who was a disciple of the Apostle John, mentions 15 of these NT books, not to say that the others didn’t exist, but finally through various church councils leading up to the council of Carthage in 397 AD the canon of the New Testament was determined to be closed and was fully affirmed and accepted officially even though it had already been approved within the community of saints prior to these councilor meetings. In addition to this the Jewish council of Jamnia had already determined their canon of scripture prior to this in 90 A.D by officially codifying the Old Testament text.

One of the reasons for the council was due to a reactionary response as a need to preserve biblical orthodoxy which was under attack by the various cults and heresies that were being circulated at this juncture in history. Also within these councils, which would include Jamnia, the various apocryphal literature’s were rejected as inspirational even though it was allowed within the Septuagint and later included within various Orthodox and Catholic bibles.

The early church was hypersensitive towards authentication and was very narrow concerning the inclusion of circulated texts. The church wanted to avoid the synchronization of controversial texts which is unlike some religions like Hinduism which have incorporated a synthesis of various contradictory tribal traditions as a unified text.

So the bible didn’t just come together haphazardly by the mixing and matching of mythological narratives such as what you might find in some of the ancient pagan cultures that ascribe the  events of the creation and the flood accounts as the work of  the polytheistic gods. Nor does it lend itself to the mishandling of information but rather the authors had a preoccupation for accuracy. Just read the account of the gospel of Dr. Luke who writes with the intent of precision as outlined in the introductory statement of his gospel account in Luke 1:1-4 which is described as being prepared in an orderly and precise fashion.

Though the bible may contain super-nature material it is written with the backdrop of historical narrative which is unique and separate from other mythological literature. If God is who the bible claims Him to be then the variables of His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are clearly within the range of the data that the biblical account supports.

There have also been challenges raised against the gospel accounts which can be seen by the discrepancies of inclusion and exclusion. The bible teaches inspiration with a confluence of both a divine and human element unlike Islam which teaches that the Quran was originated as a divine copy that was communicated by dictation like a stenographer.

The writers of the gospels were individuals who wrote based on their guided perceptions of the same events as it related to their distinct personalities and experience much like interviewing a spectator at a sporting event to get their reaction to the game. Not everybody is going to say the same thing because of a different vantage point in their communication of factual information and even if there is corroboration like you have in the Synoptic gospels there are still allowances for individuality. Of course this is only acceptable as long as it is not contradictory in nature.

If the church wanted to remove any perceived inconsistencies as a means to help eliminate the supposed contradictions then they would have had plenty of time to do this by now but because these somewhat controversial scriptures remain helps to prove is originality.

If we question the biblical literature then we must likewise question the historical literature of antiquity as well as all other literature even from the contemporary sources. We can’t just simply rank or categorize religion under the titles of superstition, fiction, and myth just because it pertains to religious ideologies.

We must also scrutinize what is to be considered as the standardized text book materials such as what is found in the scientific (philosophical) realms which base much of their conclusive evidence on the theory and hypothesis of their scientific methods. Yet are we religiously treating these books as sacred without challenging them by accepting the science fiction notion of such things as macroevolution which has never been proven.

Religion has been attributed as the opiate of the masses but what about the cyanide of the sciences and philosophies in spite of the teleological and cosmological arguments of which science has stumbled over in resolving and has had to shift their position from time to time in order to accommodate there faith which remains in a continued state of flux. Upon closer observation if the skeptic would remove the shutter over their instruments they may come to discover the Creator staring back at them through the lens of the microscope and telescope.

The bible was meant to be complimentary to the texts of human academia and is not to be antithetical to the precepts of life as it appears within the libraries of knowledge. However some want to create a special section that separates it from the rest of the collection of library books by attributing it to a form of  mysticism or some type of the pre-scientific beliefs of ancient tribal civilizations who were ignorant and misinformed.

Lastly this post does not answer every question to all the objections but it does show at this point that the bible is a reliable source of ancient literature. Yet what really makes this piece of work unique is the content which has it origins in a divine being.

I believe that requires something of the nature which is considered special revelation such as the fulfillment of prophecy or scientific facts that were unknown to these ancient civilizations.

A person could give the criticism that biblical prophecy is like an arrow that has been shot with the bible serving as the target which we have conveniently moved in order to achieve the bulls eye of fulfillment.

Yet there are some things of which can not be adequately refuted because of the historical nature of secondary or non biblical sources which are independent of the biblical sources.

One of these sources comes to us through the historical and archeological finds that have helped to substantiate and give credibility to the biblical text.

The scriptures themselves have made some wise towards the receiving of salvation and we see this as a response to some Jews who have come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah just from reading the Tanakh or the Old Testament scriptures. To most Jews the New Testament is an inferior secondary text but when they see an alignment between the historical crucifixion and the New Testament record then sometimes the light of revelation illuminates their mind to connect to Jesus as the supreme messianic figure in fulfillment of the Old Testament.

The Jewish community is not sympathetic towards Jesus even though we share a common belief in God and a holy book. One of the chapters that some of the religious Jews avoid is Isaiah 53 due to its prophetic significance as related to Jesus. Many times when uninformed Jews hear this segment of the scripture for the first time some immediately associate this passage with Jesus and their initial response is that we don’t believe in the New Testament without realizing that they have just heard a passage from their Hebrew scriptures.

Another prophecy, which is found in Psalms 22, depicts the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus which describes this form of capital punishment that was non existent at this point in history and wasn’t developed until later by the Persians before finally being adopted by the Romans.

Again this is another one of those scriptures that some Jews upon hearing for the first time have immediately seen as a correlation between Jesus and His death. Actually this was one of the key scriptures in which my Jewish wife came to believe in Jesus herself.

In considering the evidence of the prophetic I would like to refer to a couple of instances that would be recognized as unique outside of the resource of the bible and would be considered unmistakingly and undeniably valid without the influence of a religious text alone telling us what happened which would include the possibility of adding something after the fact.

To begin with we know that the Old Testament predates the New Testament and that is not in dispute here because of the dating of the Septuagint and the Dead Sea scrolls and therefore this text was not the invention of Christianity. The Jewish community had this text long before the advent of the new covenant era and the Jews wouldn’t even think about it as being an extension of the biblical narrative.

Yet the religious  Jews find some real problems with some of these Old Testament scriptures and they either avoid reading them or claim them to be closed or to difficult to understand especially when it comes to the possibility of seeing Jesus as the fulfillment of the text.

One thing I have discussed extensively in another blog is the seventy weeks of Daniel which deals with a historic timetable of dating which can not be fabricated or altered which specifically points to the time of Jesus followed by the destruction of the temple.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2009/06/19/jesus-the-messiah/

Also another bit of evidence and one of the greatest miracles of this modern era is the reestablishment of the State of Israel and the continued proliferation of the Jewish people against all the odds of a complete assimilation and annihilation which helps in confirming the prophetic significance of Genesis 13:14, 15 which was given as an ancient promise to Abraham concerning his offspring as inhabiting the land of Israel forever. This prophecy was given about 2000 BC and it still good for 2010 AD and beyond.

The historical rebirth of Israel in 1948 was a divine miracle which records the preservation of Israel amidst the oppositional forces of exile and the Diaspora which resulted in the inquisition, crusades, pogroms, and even the nazi Holocaust and yet they have still survived and retained their ethnic and national identity as a distinct people and therefore did not fully integrate unlike other people groups in the history of the world that had lost their homeland. The Jews may have been temporarily displaced but only to return. God was putting them on display as if to show the world his glory and greatness according to his promises which are without repentance.

In addition to this just to hear of the miraculous stories which took place among the Jewish people as they fought to retain their land is enough to make a believer out of you. To see God’s hand in protecting them from the invading armies of the surrounding Arab nations when they were out numbered and out armed was like a story right out of the bible much like David and Goliath.

There have been many great civilization come and go but Gods word will not fail. A good production to view concerning this reenactment is the movie “Against all Odds”.

In regards to science many have thought that the bible is incompatible with the advancements of the modern scientific age and yet we know that there are many well known scientists working in their respective disciplines which minimally have a theistic view as well as a portion of them clinging to the Judeo Christian faith. Here is a link that gives a partial list of these people

www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html

In conclusion this may not prove to you ever thing that you question regarding the biblical text or the God of the bible but it should cause you to hunger enough to want to investigate the buffet of God’s word as means to satisfy the hunger pangs of our human reality. Our problem is that we have a pallet that is not culinaried towards having an appetite towards our creator. Yet the bible calls to us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
How to know God

Atheist and Agnostic Resources

English Articles on Atheism and Agnosticism

 

 

 

 

AMG’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Reprinted by permission. “Josh McDowell A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Copyright 1993, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.”

All Paths Lead to God

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Some people may come to this conclusion that there is a commonality and similarity that unites all religious thought and practice under one category as God. Yet this surface level view is Titanic as navigating the waters of religious diversity with an overconfidence that only sees the tip of the iceberg as neglecting to seriously consider the massive and deceptive destruction that lies just below the surface in boarding this doomed and sinking ship as a passenger that will never arrive at a safe harbor but will, to their surprise, drown under a false sense of security in thinking it to be indestructible.

Many people fail to recognize that most of these religious world views are so antithetical and divergent that they are plainly irreconcilable. This enlightenment comes when a person studies comparative religions/cults and like a sonar they pick up the significant differences as seeing its true shape and form as outlining its danger apart from a limited view and scope.

A Hindu can say that this is not a problem as contradiction is compatible with their philosophy yet they don’t walk the talk as their everyday lives reflects logic and reason even as it applies to the ideology of religion in that radical nationalistic Hindus are hostile towards other religious movements and the eastern gurus are often eager to convert Westerners to their way of thinking.

Practically speaking this whole idea perhaps evolved as a way to problem solve the tension between their competitive polytheistic past with an attempt to bridge the gap between these paths so as to broaden the road of life nonetheless this herd mentality will lead them to fall off the cliff as following the leader of religious pluralism.

Anyway some have attempted to use the analogy of the blind men and the elephant as relating this idea about god and though there is a god concept which is common among humanity as being intuitively hard-wired into the main frame of our being this does not always lead to a truthful correlation of reality.

Just because the blind person claims they can see in describing god does not mean that they couldn’t be lying or possibly deceived. This kind of subjectivism can be misleading as the motivating factor for ones perception can be imperfect for various reasons of self interests thus following the path of a religious teacher, guru, sage, and yogi can be presumptuous. Whose to say they are really touching god at all as it may be no more than the creative and imaginative process of inventing a god after their own likeness and image to correspond to their idolatrous desires. Jesus warns that there will be false prophets or blind gurus, who as the blind who lead the blind, they will both be led astray and off course.

Here is what the bible has to say on this matter

Mathew 24:24

24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Romans 1:18-23

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

In conclusion to state that all views of god are equally valid and no one absolute view is essentially right becomes self refuting as applying to their very statement about all views being equally valid. Moreover to say that every expression is just a small part of the larger whole is conflicting as Hindus value their own uniqueness and exclusiveness as being essentially important otherwise they would see no problem or conflict as joining other groups or for that matter another unrelated religion in their experience of god. Furthermore to say that we all have just a little truth, then what reassures them that they have enough information to be effectual as being ultimately or essentially true.

Lastly it is one thing to accommodate various beliefs or belief systems but quite another to say that every belief can be proven to be equally valid or true. Thus religious tolerance is one matter while religious synthesis, relativism, inclusivism, and universalism is quite another. Forbearance is good but it does not supplant the need for a standard of truth and to say that there are “many ways” or valid paths to God will intolerably disqualify those who say there is only “one way.” Thus tolerance doesn’t become the measure of all things but rather truth spoken in tolerance and love is.

Finally, biblically speaking there are two paths that oppose one another. One is broad (many) that leads to destruction and the other is narrow (one) that leads to life. Just as most of us were given feet to walk we are also given a choice as to what path to travel. My challenge to you is will you take the broad way which merges all paths or will you dare to walk and explore the narrow way which leads to life? Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life and that none one comes to God except through Him.

Lastly God doesn’t just leave you blindly groping for the truth but rather he will open your eyes with a special revelation of who He is when you wholehearted and sincerely seek after him.

Mt 11:28-30

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

How to know God

 

 

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007

god(s) of hinduism?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Within the religion of Hinduism a person can have a ranged view of a god concept where beliefs can vary anywhere between there being no god to one god and then to many gods, 330 million. Among these diverse ideas of god(s) there exists various dimensions to the nature of these supposed divine being(s) which includes monism, pantheism, panentheism, and animism.

When analyzing these beliefs regarding the manifestations of god(s) there is a discernible and apparent contradiction which defies logic as being irreconcilable on these matters. Therefore to accept such divergent views as being cohesive or congenial within Hindu society in thinking that sects “A” and “non A” are equally factual or accurate as expressing god becomes an unlivable and unsustainable ideology based not only on religious ideas but how one may conduct their day to day secular life with a constant need for reality as centered on the law of reason.

Also the god(s) of Hinduism are placed in the mythological backdrop of tribal beliefs versus a historical context and for this reason Hinduism’s god concept cannot be substantiated or confirmed as valid entities in that their existence is based on the storyline of the legends of make believe and superstition.This view is substantiated when comparing Hinduism to the mythology of other ancient religions as with the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Germanic or Slavic civilizations of which hardly no one takes seriously today as being no more than the stuff of religious fables or folklore.

God myths are emotionally powerful in enticing others with a sense of duty as based on mystery combined with awe as connecting people to some ultimate or transcendent reality which is contained within a cultural milieu of tradition. Its effects upon an individual, family, clan and society  at large are authoritatively influential even though they may be proven to be unreliable, fictional, or fallacious over the development of time. Why these beliefs tend to survive or exist today is based on many factors which are so persuasively integrated into every aspect of society that it becomes nearly impossible to dissuade others to believe otherwise as succumbing to a herd mentality of thinking by which their personal identity is so wrapped up or involved in a cultural heritage as becoming an essential matter towards personal security. We find common examples of this in sports teams and political parties as people are more than likely going to be loyally devoted and faithful to their team or party no matter what. This also became blatantly obvious based on the atrocities of Nazism of how whole cultures and societies can be deceived in their worldview. Therefore it is philosophically possible for everyone to be wrong but not every one can be absolutely right.

Again it becomes unthinkable for most people to contemplate that their god concept which they espouse and value may be a fallacy therefore avoiding any conclusion to the contrary especially if it is confirmed by others whom they esteem and respect. Yet my concern for my Hindu friends is to not allow the cultural boundaries,societal norms, and popularity be the measure of all things but rather let it be truth even if it takes you on a different passage in life then what you have followed; and even if it means to traverse this walk alone, let it not discourage you from pursuing it no matter where it may lead or take you. Otherwise you may end up going the wrong direction towards destruction as ensuing the well traveled or trodden path of misguided multitudes.

Matthew 7:13-14

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Finally I hope that I have not upset you over the frankness or directness of this post. I know that  many uphold these beliefs out of a sense of sacredness and devotion, yet you can be passionate and sincere but sincerely wrong and that is the point  in which I lovingly challenge my Hindu friends.

In closing I don’t want to leave you skeptical about God but rather I would like to offer you an invitation to rest in the “One” who can shoulder your spiritual burdens. God bless!

Jesus said according to Mt 11:28-30

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

 

How to know God
Hindu Resources
English Articles on Hinduism

 

 

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007

Is Hell Real?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

It is easier for people to generally believe in the reality of heaven while avoiding the contemplation of the pitfalls of a hellish realm of existence for departed souls. The hell factor is a controversial subject which people try to avoid discussing and it is often treated with skepticism when taken seriously. The negative aspect of viewing hell by avoiding a non personal view usually comes as a response of indifference due to the possibilities of our individual accountability therefore this reaction is a defensive mechanism of self preservation.

Some people deal with hell by playing the game of ignorance like Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes who would emphatically state “I know nothing” when it was his job to secure knowledge and yet by his statement he attempted to rid himself of responsibility by this claim of ignoring the obvious. This wouldn’t get him off  the hook with the commandant nor will it bring us innocence before an all knowing God likewise.

The other group perhaps they know but by silencing the static of judgement in tuning off or turning down any resources that represents  biblical christianity is only a way for them to cope temporarily by escaping in dealing with the inevitable. Just watch a group of guys squirm and how fast they change the channel if a religious program comes on that has any preaching about sin. You might think they were watching a “quick draw” western based on their efficiency in handling the remote.

Anyway when dealing with sin and judgment there are warning signals that have a clear and distinct alarm system that is to awaken our conscious towards God in alerting us to the danger of eternal punishment Romans 2:14-16, 1John 4:18.

Whether we try avoiding the  alarm by ignoring its erratic modulation’s or by throwing it across the room out of irritation, it still does not remove the fact that it is time to get up .

The alarm clock like the internal noise of our conscious resonates attempting to wake us up to our moral condition and eternal destiny. We may try to counter respond to these impulses through ignorance or resistance in trying to remove the annoyance of this persistent bong yet this chime     will not be completely silenced until we no longer wake up to this life.

People have  a difficult time in believing the biblical descriptions of hell as something that would accurately be portrayed as a horrendous place of eternal torment and condemnation and it has caused people to formulate their own reality to hell.

Individuals  have removed the concept of hell altogether by declaring its non-existence or by stating if it does exist then it occupants are Satan and his entourage of demons along with the Hitler’s of our societies.

Others downplay its horrific scenes as something to be desired like a  “big party.”

Some take  a less serious view of its recourse by seeing it as only a temporal realm of intermediacy such as a purgatorial existence or maybe as a flash fire of flesh such as annihilation.

I recently watched a documentary on this concept of heaven and hell as related to near death experiences and based on the testimony of some of these secular and religious researchers they agreed that these subjects that they viewed and interviewed where having real experiences based on their perception and this death event could not be conclusively explained by preconceived expectations of death or by the hallucinatory agents of brain chemicals.

One of the secular researchers ruled out psychological interference as well because he thought it was counterproductive to fantasize about hell when you were dying.

Most of these near death experiences are becoming more frequent now due to the technological advances of reviving people and it is said that there are about 12-15 million Americans alone who have had these experiences.

One commentator says that most people undergo a religious transformation after these close encounters with death and hallucinations alone can not account for for these kind of changes.

Another researcher had done his work internationally interviewing over 300 cases and his research had indicated a consistency of testimony of  both the hellish and the heavenly descriptions as one would find in the biblical text.

As we approach the pagan festival of Halloween many people treat death/hell like they treat this holiday. Sometimes people don’t understand or care to understand about the reality of the spiritual realm behind this Satanic celebration. For them it is just a harmless game of fun  and yet like death there can be a reality and a hidden demonic element that masks itself from our plain view and “tricks” us into being deceived by thinking that the realm of Satan, demons, and hell are only the inventions of Hollywood and preachers.

Hell becomes trivialized and commercialized and before to long it no longer haunts our minds but rather it morbidly becomes desirous in establishing these new evil role models making “Harry Potter” out to be a hero or a desirable character.

In spite of this there are some who want to seriously consider the knowledge of the after life or  at least they are curious about it and this has led to the releasing of the popular books, 90 minutes in heaven and 23 minutes in hell.

I personally know a couple of close friends that had a NDE in which they experienced heaven and one lady was so awestruck by the experience that she didn’t want to come back and I remember her telling me how that her husband could not understand why she didn’t want to return to her earthly life with him and this same testimony coincides with the other people that were being interviewed on this program likewise.

The other person that I know was a pastors wife who had visited  heaven and had seen and talked to Jesus.

In many of these spiritual encounters people have claimed to have seen things that were associated with the apocalyptical literature of both the Old and New Testaments.

One other bit of evidence that substantiates these Near Death Experiences is that these people are quite in touch to the details of what is going on around them in the room while they are in a  comatose state. They can even describe details of what is going on outside of the room as their spirit is leaving their bodies. Also they were seeing and experiencing things even beyond their own mindset and exceptions which was unexplainable as well.

The secular researchers were not conclusive in their findings on this matter as they were not able to explain or pinpoint  how these people had experienced these things when it went beyond their  human capacity for experience or perception. I believe this then leaves the door open to discuss the realm of the supernatural.

So in venturing forward on this quest of life after death lets see what the bible says about hell. The word for “hell” is the Hebrew word “sheol” as found in the Old Testament. This word can be used broadly and can generally apply to the grave, pit, and the natural realm of physical degradation. It can also be used to describe the abode of the dead or a shadowy or obscure kind of  existence.

More specifically what I am interested in describing to you is not just the physical process of death which we pretty much understand  but the spiritual plane which based on these researchers is a reality that is just as real for those who have experienced these NDE’s.

The Old Testament does not give us many clues as compared to the New Testament record which makes it more definable and descriptive in the way of terms.

The prophet Daniel sets the stage for the concept of the after life in Daniel 12:2 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

So this speaks of not just the afterlife but of the concept of the “physical resurrection” which is beyond the scope of this blog but was believed by Jews and Christians as evidenced by the ossuary boxes that you find in ancient Israel which would contain the bones of the deceased. The resurrection is to be the final act of salvation of which Jesus himself has already participated in as a type of first fruits from the dead. Somehow mysteriously these resurrected bodies will be apart of our fixture of being at a final point in the consummation of human  history which for the Christian is one of the concluding acts of redemption.

Anyway back to Daniel what begins to emerge here is the concept of “eternal” life versus “everlasting” contempt. It may be easy to visualize an eternal home of bliss but the rules must equally apply bilaterally with the synonymous words of eternal and everlasting otherwise this scripture becomes a contradiction of terms.

Under the old covenant economy the view for sheol is seen as a habitation of both the righteous and the ungodly that are held in a state of being with a chasm drawn between these two existence’s. One is referred to as Abraham’s bosom where the righteous dwell and the other is a place of torment. This is best displayed with the description Jesus gives to us in the gospel narratives which describes  to a limited extent these eternal holding places which we will discuss more about later.

We get some secondary clues from the OT/NT that show some indication of the afterlife as quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22:32 concerning Exodus 3:6  where God says that I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Jesus concludes that He is the God of the living and not the dead which shows that there is a continued state of existence beyond the physical boundaries of this life.

Also in the Old Testament it refers to God gathering people to their fathers at the moment of death such as in 2kings 22:20.

We see the prophet Samuel as one who had come up from the ground to address Saul in 1Samuel 28:11-15

Also there are references to the “book of life” as those who will enter into eternal life and those who were not written or had been removed “blotted out”  which referred to eternal damnation. We see these references in both the Old and New Covenant passages such as found in Psalms 69:28, Exodus 32:33,  Phillipians 4:3, Revelation 3:5,13:8, 17:8, 20:12-15, 21:27.

Now the New Testament develops a fuller expression to the concept of hell and the righteous abode in which Jesus gives us a preview of these habitations as related to the story about the “Rich man and Lazarus” as found in Luke 16:19-31.

The rich man and Lazarus are dwelling in two conflicting environments with a gulf fixed between them as a barrier that could not be crossed. One location was contrasted with the other as it describes the rich man as being in torment, thirst, and in the agony of fire while Lazarus’ state of existence was a place of comfort.

Other descriptive words that Jesus and His apostles speak of when referring to hell, which according to the greek language of the New Testament would also include the use of the words hades or genna, are referred to in Matthew 3:12 as an unquenchable fire,  Mt 8:11 it describes outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 13:42 it is a fiery furnace, Mt 18:8 eternal fire, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 as everlasting destruction, Rev 14:10-11 as the torment that rises for ever and ever, Revelation 19:20 depicts a fiery lake of burning sulfur and in Revelation 20:10 they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The concept of purgatory does not exist in any of the canonical books as recognized by Christians or Jews.

Nor does the bible speak of “reincarnation” as the scripture says that a man dies once and then he faces the  judgement Hebrews 9:27. Neither does the bible promote “soul sleep” which confuses the physical resurrection with the reality of a spiritual state at the moment of death 2 Corinthians 5:8 says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

These people in the NDE’s immediately went into a place or a presence as described as either heaven or hell rather than a state of nothingness and in addition to this they possessed a spirit type of body. Also these NDE’s say nothing about coming back in a reincarnated form either.

I think one of the main  problems we have in accepting the biblical references to Hell is that our God concept is mis-referenced. We reason that if there is a just God who is completely good then how can he allow people to suffer eternally which doesn’t seem logical or reasonable in making any kind of sense. Yet it is equally unbelievable to think of a person obtaining eternal life based on merely the mercy of God’s free gift of grace without merit in spite of our sinful but redeemed lives.

The original intent of this hellish habitation was to be an abode  for the Devil and his angels and it was never intended for human occupation but know it is given over to all of God’s avowed enemies in the afterlife Matthew 25:41. If God is unwilling to preserve the fallen angelic host, in which we are made a little lower than, then how will we fare if we rebel against God likewise.

If our personal goal to life is a Godless existence then shouldn’t we expect to get what we desire and shouldn’t this desire be consistent beyond the realm of  this life in experiencing the next.  Why should you want God to impose Himself on you in the sweet by and by when you don’t want his influence in the here and now.

One of the resounding themes off this semi-secular program on NDE’s is that you die like you live and I say that pretty much sums up the reality on the other side of the fence.

Satans domain is antithetical to  God’s rule. God is light and hell is darkness. Hell is sorrowful and in heaven sorrow is abolished. God is love while hell is full of hatred. In heaven there is peace while hell is filled with violence, suffering, and torment.

Its funny how we want the benefits of heaven without reciprocating thanks to Him as our creator Romans 1:21. Is God to be treated like a cosmic wh-re? Using Him for the benefit of our pleasure while avoiding the responsibility of a relationship or better yet maybe we feel God owes us one.

If a persons commitment here on planet earth is a Godless existence which is diametrically opposed  to God’s  heavenly rule and reign and presence then why should a person expect to have a heavenly outcome with a God that all of their lives they have purposely avoided. Why blame God for our own position and destination when we had a choice that was easily attainable.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So what are these people like who will taste hell? Are they merely the dregs of society such as death row inmates, serial killers,rapists and pedophiles. Yes, but there is a much larger audience that  Jesus is addressing as  in Matthew 7:13,14 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it..

Rev 21:8 assigns hell to the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice the magic arts, the idolaters and all liars will have their place in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 gives an another list of hells inhabitants stating;Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

In spite of our transgressions this seemingly paradoxical situation involving sin and judgment has now evolved to the beautiful side of redemption which counteracts the effects of  these vile and wicked actions which ultimately would have earned them a spot  in the confines of hell but now these people have been gloriously translated by means of God’s forgiveness and a changed lifestyle apart from there previous way of life.

If you feel you haven’t crossed over the property line as trespassing on God’s righteousness then perhaps  we ought to look where we are standing as in Romans 6:23.

Sin is not categorized in this scripture and therefore sin is a common denominator in the equation of life as there are none who are righteous which seems to be pretty much an inclusive and universal statement.

We often trivialize our transgressions and therefore we underestimate the consequences of sin to be less than serious and critical and though everyone else’s mountain of sin may seem to dwarf our small pile of “mistakes”  your little stack may be insurmountable according to yet another person’s standard of trivial “accidents”.

Whether it is a little sin or a major sin it still carries the title of sin. Whether you steal a penny or a dollar it doesn’t matter because you are still a thief. Whether you tell one lie or million you are still a liar. We try to diminish our guilt by comparing ourselves to others.

Finally no matter what we do to showoff our “meritorious deeds” before a Holy God, He is the Judge of the universe as one who discerns mens hearts and thoughts. You can never earn justification through your acts alone and the bible compares our righteousness deeds to menstrual cloths as spoken of in Isaiah 64:6. Our works will never be good enough to keep from polluting God’s heavenly existence and dwelling. God has two realms for sin. One is the unregenerate earth and the other is hell and unless you are cleansed from sin you will in no way be allowed to hang your dirty laundry in heaven.

I don’t mean this disrespectfully but Jesus didn’t just die for the “H-ll” of it. His purpose for His incarnated state was to represent man by dieing on our behalf in taking the guilt and penalty of sin. If  we could of achieved it on our own merit by earning heaven then Christ died needlessly Galatians 2:21. A deeper look to the offense of condemnation is not only in our violation of God through sin but by shunning God’s redemptive work of salvation in the Messiah by rejecting His Son John 3:18.

One of the greatest crimes of all is to wave before God our works as a “morsel” offering versus the complete and efficacious offering of Jesus which fully satisfies God’s righteous requirements for a sacrificial offering and anything less is obscene in the eyes of a Holy God.

Remember it only took one “small” act of disobedience in the Garden to bring in a “great” flood of evil upon all of mankind thus bringing a curse to  all men. So how has your transgressions measured up to Adam’s “slip”. Are your transgressions “supersized” or “insignificant” in comparison. You be the judge.

Now getting back to the question of hell. Many people when they don’t agree or like the biblical text then they associate the content of scripture as being metaphoric thus trying to avoid its difficult application.

Yet Jesus speaks of hell in such a dramatic fashion that  He uses a hyperbole in trying to communicate to others its reality which should be avoided at all costs even if it would mean the extremes of dismemberment Matthew 5:27-30.

Based on the context of this scripture many would not take this literally nevertheless this shows a literal severity and seriousness towards the outcome of a spiritual state of existence that is more traumatic than the critical loss of even our physical components. Jesus would not say this flippantly as if there were not a hellish reality.

Finally I realize “Hell” should not be the motivation towards obedience or submission but rather “Love”.

There should be a sense of holy fear or respect for God with a balanced sense of  loving admiration.

One of the best analogies I can give you is that God is like a heavenly parent who sacrifices His  own life for the benefit of the child and even though the child is governed through the hand of correction it is for their well being and development that the “God” parent administers these actions.

Yet extending above these hands are the loving arms of God who embraces you to protect you and give you security. The hand and the arm work together to properly train the child and if done right the child should never see God’s hand as the enemy but as a means of bringing them salvation as a warning to stop.

A child who fully loves and trusts his parent understands this relationship and takes heed when the hand of God is raised knowing that it is done so only by the loving arms that are bearing its weight.

We would think it a crime for a parent to just nonchalantly just watch their child run out in the street in front of an oncoming car without saying or doing a thing. Yet would you despise a God who is trying to get your attention by yelling and pleading for your eternal soul . Would you see it as merely the fear factor or manipulation when he cries out to you “STOP” there is danger ahead.

A child would not question the urgency or the tone of a parental voice of concern and yet when God warns us about Hell then how do we take or respond to His entreaty for us to  repent.

God is calling and actually he is screaming to get our attention sometimes. Will you listen and learn to trust Him for He is a loving Father?

At the end of the blog I have a place on how to have a relationship with God and it will describe to you in fundamental terms on how to be saved and commit your life to God. It is simple process but is very profound in scope and application and it will be life changing .

Trust me I did this over 20 years ago and I will never go back to living a lie for the devil.

What life will you choose after death? Will you choice life after death or death after life?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:23.

A sobering video on “To Hell and Back”

 

 
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