Hindus, Abrahamics and Intolerants

Tathagata Roy had serious objections to painting Muslims, Christians and Jews with the same coarse brush called “Abrahamic.” These three traditions are very different in some ways; for example: Jews do not proselytize, whereas Christians and Islamists do. Then again, Christians do it by persuasion (at least at present times), while Islamists do it by force. Thus, he implied that these three are much different.

Some one could counter this argument by saying that these three Abrahamic traditions are more or less the same. All three are monotheist, supremacist and exclusivist. All three believe that salvation is possible only through their version of the faith or that they are the “chosen” people. All three believe in their own version of god and have not accepted each other’s vision of the God. Further, all three believe that Hindus are “idol worshipers” and, two of these traditions believe that on the Judgment Day, the idol worshipers will get the “Hell of Fire” while they will be “saved.” All three traditions have based their scriptures on some variations of the Ten Commandments, that are supposed to be the stern injunctions from their “jealous God” .

Being raised a Hindu, I was taught “Isvar Allah tero nam” (both Isvar and Allah are equally valid names of One God). Further, all those who have good karma will achieve moksha (salvation), irrespective of which path they follow. It is your karma, not the specific tradition, or name of God, that is important. Hinduism teaches that there is only One Absolute Supreme power and thus it is a truly monotheistic religion. But Hinduism allows abundant freedom of expression for the forms of God; therefore Hindus, in general, have no problem with the concept of Jesus or Allah as a God. As a child, I was never confused by this all inclusive, pluralistic view. Contrary to that, leaders of all three Abrahamic monotheist religions believe that a child will get confused with teachings of two different faiths; therefore, parents in an interfaith marriage must pick one of the two faiths for their children1,2, 3. If so, then whose god will win? Followers of all three Abrahamic faiths expect a Hindu spouse and/or their children to undergo Baptism, Bris or Shahadah-Sunat to publicly announce that their God will rule in their married life.

Jews may not proselytize but they consider interfaith marriages “Silent Holocaust.” In a Hindu-Jew marriage, the Jew partner may do any thing possible, including giving “conditional” love, to have their children go through the Bris ceremony and raise them in the Jewish faith only. To a Hindu spouse, and their children in an interfaith marriage, how does it matter what method — force, persuasion or conditional love — is used when the ultimate result is the same: Baptism, Bris or Shahadah-Sunat?

As Lisa Miller has explained, a Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Luckily, these days, majority of Abrahamics are no longer exclusivists and are happily tolerating spouses from other faiths in their married life. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of Americans believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. As Lisa Miller has further stated, conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, ourselves, each other, and eternity. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same.”

Are all religions the same? It depends. Religious scripture may say one thing but an individual may interpret it differently based on current understandings of their scriptures. In reality, for an interfaith couple, it is not the spouse’s scriptures but an individual’s personal faith and beliefs that count. If so, then there are only two types of Abrahamics, for that matter Hindus too, those that are tolerant and respect others the way they are; and those that are intolerant and wish to transform their spouse (and children) from other faiths to acquiesce to their intolerant view of the world.

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Also read if in relations with a Christian: Hindu-Christian Marriage, Will Gandhi go to Hell since he was not Baptized?, Bible on Hindus?, Idol-Worshippers, I am a Christian mother, I converted without knowledge of my family, I am Christian getting married to a Hindu, Do all Christians go to Heaven?, Ignorent Molly trying to convert a Krishna believer to Christianity ..a video, Namastey London movie…intolerant Christians ..a video, All religions are not same, A Hindu America?, Why I am a Hindu?, A fundamentalist Christian, Why I came back to Hinduism?, Dharma is not the same as religion, Text book on How to convert Hindu Students to Christianity,

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Other articles written by InterfaithShaadi:
Bar Mitzvah for Hindus?,
Torah on Hindus?,
Koran on Hindus?,
Bible on Hindus?,
Hindus, Abrahamics and Intolerants,
Can Allah be the Father God?,
A Jealous and Angry God,
One God, Allah?,
Idol Worshippers: Who is and Who is Not,
Circumcision: Science or Superstition? ,
Saif and Kareena: Religion and Marriage,
Religious Conversion for Marriage,
Ten Points of Interfaith Dating ,
FAQ on Interfaith Marriage,
45% of Muslims Marry outside their faith,
38% of Hindus marry Abrahamics,
Interfaith Marriages: A Message to Dharmics,
Hindu-Muslim marriages,
Hindu girl/boy, Muslim girl/boy,
Hindu-Christian Marriage,
Hindu-Jew marriages,
Meera Verses Margaret,
Marriage laws,
Follow Jesus not the church

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9 Responses to “Hindus, Abrahamics and Intolerants”

  1. Akaula says:

    (1) A hygienic Muslim Man is an oxymoron. (2) Main objection is that we don’t want population of terrorists to increase, in particular we don’t want the strength of our next generation enemies to increase. Knowing the history of Islam, doe one have to explain even such a simple thing.

  2. Susan W says:

    Factual errors abound, generally conflating Judaism with Islam and Christianity – most likely through lack of education.
    1. Jews do not proselytize, but are happy to receive self motivated converts.
    2. Judaism and Islam are in agreement as the the nature of God – while Judaism
    has certain reservations about the Christian (Trinitarian) concept.
    3. Judaism teaches that salvation is available to anyone who leads an ethical life,
    regardless of form of worship. In fact, it is easier, according to Jewish belief,
    for non Jews than for Jews to enter the “world to come.”
    4. Judaism does to believe in any “Hell of Fire”, as far as this Jew knows.
    5. The concept of “choosiness” does not imply any superiority whatsoever of
    Jews over non Jews, as persons.

    Author, do your homework and stop conflating Judaism with either Islam or with Christianity. You show a lack of respect for the integrity of all three “Abrahamic”
    religions, and do no credit either to the manifold beauties and complexities of your own Dharmic faith.

    • admin says:

      Susan W,

      It is not clear what “factual errors” are made; can you point out specifics? Your points 1, 2 and 4 are covered in the article and #5 is a matter of personal interpretation. On your #3 point “salvation is available …regardless of form of worship”, are you saying your scriptures are okay if someone worships (through) a Golden Calf, as far as the person leads an ethical life?

      Sorry you felt, “You show a lack of respect for the integrity of all three “Abrahamic” 
religions”. Agree that all three Abrahamic faiths are distinct religions. To an outsider and at bird’s eye view, there are many similarities amongst Abrahmics. Further all three are distinct compared to Dharmic faiths. All three have the same roots, some common beliefs and apostles and claims of being monotheist. Further, all three believe in the Second Commandment of not tolerating “other’s gods” (including Hindu practice of seeing God(s) in human forms).

      It is like this, a Jew may not see a big difference between Hinduism and Buddhism even they are distinct religions. However, a Hindu should not feel offended if called Buddhist, and vise a versa.

      This above article is about exclusivism verses pluralism. It is easy to discuss this topic using interfaith marriages as a tool.

      You said, “while Judaism 
has certain reservations about the Christian (Trinitarian) concept”, what does this mean to a Christian-Jew married couple? Can this couple’s children have Baptism as well as Bris/Bar Mitzvah BOTH? Can Jew-Muslim children learn from Torah and Koran side-by-side and go for the Hajj? Can Hindu-Jew children be a part of every day pooja of Goddess Laxmi, the elephant God Ganesh, the monkey God Hanuman and LORD God? If one says that these are not possible, then whose God will win?

      Should interfaith couple, as we said, “tolerant and respect others the way they are” VERSES, like you said, remain concerned about “integrity” of their individual faith and hope for “(Jews) happy to receive self motivated converts”?

      For an interfaith couple, should “integrity” be a top priority or “integration”?

      What would be good for interfaith couples, exclusivism or pluralism?

  3. Jay says:

    Judaism, Christianity and Islam are not three distinct religions in the way these religions are distinct from say Shinto.

    They are interrelated. Judaism the the fundamental religion out of which Christianity and later Islam emerged. Judaism is a non-proselytizing ethnic religion (Jewish people) from the Middle East.
    -they are Jewish people waiting for a Jewish messiah
    -but not someone who they expect to be the literal son of God
    -they have holy scriptures that they call the Torah.

    Christianity is the religion
    -where the Jewish messiah has arrived
    -and he was the Middle Eastern Jew Jesus
    -and he opened up Judaism to gentiles (everyone who was not Jewish)
    -and is considered the literal son of God.
    -in Christianity all the Jewish scriptures are accepted as is and call the Torah the Old Testament and all the scriptures in addition to the Torah in Christianity are called the New Testatment (together the Torah/Old Testament and the New Testament make the book The Bible)

    Islam is the religion
    -where the Jewish messiah has arrived
    -and he was the Middle East Jew Jesus,
    -who opened up Judaism to gentiles (everyone who is not Jewish),
    -but he was not the literal son of God, instead the Middle East Jew Jesus is considered to be another prophet,
    -in addition in Islam there was one last prophet who was not either Jewish or Christian by birth but an Arab pagan named Mohammed
    -and the Jewish scriptures (Torah/Old Testament) along with the Christian scriptures (New Testament) are considered to be corrupted and not accepted as is, and as a result the Koran has similar but different version of older Abrahamic scriptures which they considered the true versions of Jewish, Christian scriptures along with newer scriptures involving Mohamed.

    So though Judaism Christianity and Islam have differences, they are differences of competing versions of Judaism, and are not religions that are completely different from each other as they are from other religions.

  4. From http://www.EqualSouls.org

    Historically Christian and Muslim faiths have their roots in Judaism, Abraham. So at their core concepts about the soul, creation and God are all the same.

    I would like to address certain linguistic and philosophical similarities common to both Jews and Hindus, which may open up a broader discussion.

    1. Names of God
    a. The most holy of all names of God for a Jew is KNA or KANA, Rabbi’s have slapped my face when I have said this name out loud. This is considered to be the most intimate name for God in the Old Testament. Where it is translated, “I am a jealous God, have no other gods before you”, the literal Hebrew translation is, “My name is EL KNA, have no other gods before you.” This name expands to KRE ShTN as Rabbi Aryeh Kapln, in Meditation and the Kabbalah explains “On Monday, you must intertwine the associated name “KRE ShTN””

    b. From a Vedic (Hindu) view point, Kana is also an affectionate name of Krishna, The pronunciation used above “KRE ShTN” is very similar to the way south Indians pronounce Krishna.

    2. Abraham and Brahma: Very few know that there are two Abrahams in Jewish philosophy
    a. There is a description of how the universe was in chaos until Abraham appeared. It is said, “Over the whole, there hovered Tohu (chaos) and as long as Tohu dominated, the whole world was not in being or existence. When did that key open the gates and make the world fruitful? It was when Abraham appeared.” [Genesis II 4] As explained in the introduction to the Zohar The Soncino Press LTD–London New York. There is also this reference one needs to ponder It is said, “Angels are supposed to have no back and four faces, so always to be able to behold God.” [Talmud, cf. Ezek i. 6]

    b. In the First Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, there is a long description of how Brahma created the planets, stars etc. It is well know that the Brahma of this universe has 4 heads.

    3. DEMIGODS AND ANGELS have the same function in both traditions
    a. The Midrash teaches, “There is no blade of grass that does not have a constellation (Mazal) over it, telling it to grow.” [Sefer Yetzirah 4.6] “As commentaries explain, ‘God’s providence works through the angels, but the angels, in turn, work through the stars and planets. As some authorities put it, the angels are, in a sense, like souls to the stars. Thus, for example, some sources speak of the stars as having intelligence, but the commentaries note that this is actually speaking of the angels that are associated with them.'” [Sefer Yetrzirah 4.6]

    b. The Vedic conception is that there are many specially empowered demigods who help manage the affairs of the universe including the planets of our solar system. The controlling demigods, although not eternal them selves, function within various posts that exist as long as the universe exists. For example, one of the principle demigods is Lord Indra. Indra is the name of the post, but the particular demigod who occupies that post during a given period has his own personal name. Just like President of the United States is a post, but there have been many presidents throughout history.

    4. Durga in the Bible?
    a. “He summoned to issue from the side of Darkness a kind of female moon, which rules over the night, and is associated with Adonai, the Lord of all the earth. In his days, the moon was magnified and reached her fullness. A thousand mountains rose before her, and she blew them away with a puff. A thousand mighty rivers flowed before her, and she swallowed them at a draught. Her nails reached out in a thousand and seventy directions and her hands in twenty-four thousand, so that nothing could escape her. Thousands of bucklers clung to her hair. From between her feet went forth a youth who stretched from one end of the world to the other with sixty clubs of fire…” [Zohar]

    b. The Vedas describe the ghastly form of Goddess Kali, another name for the Goddess Durga. There is a reference of Goddess Kali in the Srimad-Bhagavatam in the history of Jada Bharata, when she manifested herself to protect him. It is stated, “Intolerant of the offenses committed, the infuriated goddess Kali flashed her eyes and displayed her fierce, curved teeth. Her reddish eyes glowed, and she displayed her fearsome features. She assumed a frightening body, as if she were prepared to destroy the entire creation. Leaping violently from the altar, she immediately decapitated all the rogues and thieves with the very sword with which they had intended to kill Jada Bharata. She then began to drink the hot blood that flowed from the necks of the beheaded rogues and thieves, as if this blood were liquor.

    5. (BRAHMAN) EFFULGENCE
    a. “The Most Recondite is beyond cognition, but reveals of Himself a tenuous and veiled brightness shining only along a narrow path which extends from Him, and this is the brightness that irradiates all. This is the starting point of all esoteric mysteries, itself being unknowable.” [Zohar IV 146b]

    b. The Absolute Truth is expressed as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan.” [Srimad Bhagavatam.1.2.11] Brahman refers to the impersonal all-pervasive spirit. That is the same as the brahmajyoti, the effulgence of the Lord.

    6. METATRON AND MAHA-VISHNU
    a. It is said that a personality named Metatron cooperates with God to teach the young. While God devotes the last three hours of the day to this work, Metatron is in charge during the remainder of the day. (A.Z. 3b) [Everyman’s Talmud, II, III] Regarding the revolving sword or flaming sword that revolves, it is said “the manner in which the sword rotates depends on the readiness of the individual attempting to enter. If he is worthy, it becomes the mirror through which he perceives, while if he is not worthy, he is burned out and cut off by the fire of this sword. The one who oversees the sword, preventing the unworthy from entering, is the angel Metatron.” [Meditation and Kabbalah p 80 Chapter 4, Teachings of Rabbi Abraham Abulafia] “Metatron is therefore not a proper name at all but a designation for the whole category of celestial powers performing a mission.” [Origins of the Kabbalah, III, 6]

    b. In the creative process,it is from Maha-Vishnu that all of the universes emanate, Sudarshan Cakra (flaming sword that revolves) controlled by Visnu similarly punishes and grants liberation. “Without illumination, nothing can be seen, especially in this material world. The illumination in this world emanates from the effulgence of Sudarshan, the original vision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The illuminating principles of the sun, the moon and fire emanate from Sudarshan. Similarly, illumination by knowledge also comes from Sudarshan.” [Srimad Bhag. 9.5.7, Purport]
    Also there is a series of Visnu expansions each with a chakra.

    7. THE LORD IN THE HEART
    a. When the soul is about to descend to this world, it first goes down to the terrestrial Garden of Eden and sees there the glory of the souls of the righteous, and then goes down to Gehinnom and sees the wicked who cry “Woe, woe”, and find no compassion. That holy form (God) stands by him until he emerges into the world, after which it keeps him company and grows up with him.” [The Zohar 43b] [KI TAZRIA (LEVITICUS)]

    b. In the Bhagavad-gita “Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul, Paramatma.” [Bg. 13.23]

    8. GURU AND RABBI
    a. In Judaism, knowledge is also passed from the rabbi to his students, but not everyone is qualified to become a student. “As a matter of law, the sages state that these mysteries ‘cannot even be taught to a single individual, unless he is wise enough to understand with his own knowledge.’ Even in such a case, the complete tradition was only given over to the head of the group, and he would then only instruct those whom he saw fit. Only individuals possessing the highest qualities of scholarship and piety would be admitted to the circle of initiates.” [Introduction to the Bahir, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan] It is also stated that “One who reaches the highest level cannot reveal it to anyone. All he can do is give over the keys, so that the enlightened individual can open the gates which are sealed to exclude the unworthy.” [Meditation and Kabbalah, p 79]

    b. In Vedic culture, although a guru would speak to whoever wanted to learn the Vedic science, he was traditionally very selective whom he would initiate as his disciple. He would only accept those persons who qualified themselves by humble submission and service. Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita, “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master, inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.”

    9. VEDIC AND JEWISH CALENDARS
    a. The current Hebrew year is 5767. In this calendar, the year in which Adam was created is counted as year one. If we then count the Biblical genealogies from the time of Adam, we find that over 5,000 years have elapsed since the time he was formed. However, the Kabbalists clearly say that other human beings existed before Adam, and this is even supported in scripture [Drush Or HaChaim] The fifth cycle was the one that brought life, and this took place around two and a half billion years ago. Around 974 generations before Adam, or some 25,000 years ago, man developed all of the physical and mental capabilities that we possess today…but he still lacked the divine soul that would make him a spiritual being. God then created Adam, the first true human being with a soul, ‘and He blew in his nostrils a soul of life’. [Genesis 2.7] [Sefer Yetzirah 4.15]

    b. The Vedic calendar states that Kali-yuga lasts 432,000 years, out of which we have passed about 5,000 years.

    10.The Ecstasy of Chanting The Names Of God
    a. People who have dedicated their lives to the service of God may at times feel unlimited joy or ecstasy while engaged in prayer. It is said, “Permute the letters back and forth, and in this manner, you will reach the first level. As a result of the activity and your concentration on the letters, your mind will become bound to them. The hairs on your head will stand on end and tremble. Your lifeblood is in your heart, and regarding this it is written, “the blood is the soul” [Deuteronomy 12:23]. It is likewise written, “The blood in the soul will atone” [Leviticus 17:11]. This blood within you will begin to vibrate because of the permutations that loosen it. Your entire body will then begin to tremble, and all your limbs will be seized with shuddering. You will experience the terror of God and will be enveloped with fear of Him. You will then feel as if an additional spirit is within you, arousing you and strengthening you, passing through your entire body and giving you leisure. It will seem as you have been anointed with perfumed oil, from head to foot. You will rejoice and have great pleasure. You will experience ecstasy and trembling–ecstasy for the soul, and trembling for the body.
    [Meditation and Kabbalah, Treasury of the Hidden Eden p85-86]

    b. The stage of bhava, love of God, is manifested by eight transcendental symptoms, namely inertness, perspiration, standing of hairs on end, failing in the voice, trembling, paleness of the body, tears in the eyes, and finally trance. [Srimad Bhag. 2:3:24 Purport]

    11. GOD’S BEAUTY
    a. The Jewish scriptures describe a vision of God. “His head is a treasure of fine gold. His locks are hanging, black like the raven.” In both Talmudic and Kabbalistic traditions, one of the interpretations is that it relates to a vision of God; “when He is visualized in battle, He is seen as a young man with black hair.” [Sefer Yetzirah Ch 6.1]

    b.The Vedas refer to the form of the Lord. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated, “the Lord is super excellently beautiful on account of His open and merciful smile and His sidelong glance upon His devotees. His black hair is curly, and His garments, waving in the wind, appear like flying saffron pollen from lotus flowers. His glittering earrings, shining helmet, bangles, garland, ankle bells, waist belt and various other bodily ornaments combine with the conch shell, disc, club, and lotus flower to increase the natural beauty of the Kaustubha pearl on His chest.” [Srimad Bhag. 2.24.47-48]

    • Akaula says:

      William:
      There is no word for religion in India. This notion of religion, is the projection of Colonial Christians, & to some extent by Muslims (by calling it Mazhab) on Hindus, Jainas and BAuddhas etc. Many Hindus have accepted it, during colonial period for different reasons, and has become popular term among Hindus, for lack of study of Indian traditions. So to start with one must understand (1) that Hindus do not have religion. We have a different social system and arrangement, where we have a category called Dharma, that has been mis-translated as religion. (2) However this category of Dharma is applicable to all finite entities, tangible or conceptual. Thus Space has dharma, as has stone, trees, animals and humans. Friendship has Dharma, and society has Dharma. SO you see Dharma encompasses and is present all the external world and conceptual world. (3) What is the Dharma in any particular context has to be investigated and understood. That is why Dharma Shastras are time bound and location bound in most cases that change. And that is why there were different Dharma Shastras written at different times. And are supposed to be revised with time ad need. It is not given by some supernatural entity. In Dharma traditions there is no such super-natural entity. That agains is the requirement of Semitic religious traditions, and projected on Hindus during colonial and Islamic rule of India. That Dharma has to be investigated and understood in each case, before one can make pronouncements about it. (4) There is no notion of Soul in Dharma context either, nor is there the concept of Sacred Vs Sinful. The concept Atma is very often confused, confounded with Soul. But it is not so. Here is why. (5) Should is present in only Men ptr at best also in women, in Christian and Jewish, and Islamic description. However all entities have Atma. In fact Atma is not a plurality. In fact is the singular, identified, with the fundament existent. So all entities have Atma. SO the salvation that is meant for the Soul, is neither meaningful nor applicable in the case of ATMA. One can go on, and show this whole edifice created by the Chrisyian church and projected on Dharma, is inapplicable and false construct. (6) Krishna does not appear in the Vedas, but in Bhagvad Geeta. I will stop here, this should give you the drift, that in India you are not dealing with religion. If anything you are dealing with all kinds of investigative and aspects, that has to get verification from nature. (7) another aspect that people both christians, Muslims and also current Hindus confuse id the notion of ritual. Very often people confuse ritual with religion. Thatis a false contract. Ritual is a universal phenomenon, among all social animals. Ritual form the basis of subtle communication, and change within. We have ritual, as in prom after High school graduation in USA, or graduation cermoey in Universities. We have ritual greetings used every day while meeting or while leaving. We have ritual of celebrating birth days. Ritual is universal and should not be confused with religion. Since ritual is a mechanism of interaction, it has presence in Semitic religion as well as in Dharma. But it serves two different purposes in the Dhrama and religion. Just because done sees, ritual, one should not confuse it with religion. Where as ritual is universal, the religion is not. It is the compulsion of religion following people to assume it is universal. For if it were not universal, they could not claim of “TRUE” religion VS “false Religion”. And also the divine punishment of hell and heaven could not be justified. Of course the last notion also requires the assumption of abolste free will of Man. Another assumption, that falls flat in reality.

      • mac says:

        then why do you people have LRG when hindu girl marries a HYGENIC muslim man

        • Akaula says:

          For the following reasons
          (1) We do not want the strength of the terrorists and Jehadis to increase (2) We do not want the next generation of our kith and kin to become our enemies, Jehadists and Terrorists (3) We do not want our kith hindu girls to go through the inhuman sufferings imposed and sanctioned by Islam (4) And we don’t want Hindu girls to be forced to marry father-in-laws, because they want to mimic Prophet of Islam.

          • mac says:

            All you above allegations are false without any valid proof, and this reflects your personality, SOORYY 🙂

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