“If you were born in India you would be A Hindu”

September 29, 2007

From Dr. Paul Copan and bethinking.org.

Dr Paul Copan

“There is an old parable about six blind Hindus touching an elephant. One blind man touched the side of the elephant and said it was a wall. Another blind man touched the ear and said it was a large leaf of a tree. Yet another blind man was holding a leg and thought it was a tree trunk. Still another blind man took hold of the elephant’s trunk and said it was a snake. Someone else was touching the elephant’s tusk and believed it was a spear. Another blind man had the elephant’s tail in his hand and was calling it a rope. All of the blind men were touching the same reality but were understanding it differently. They all had the right to interpret what they were touching in their own personal way, yet it was the same elephant.

People have used this old parable to share their opinion or viewpoint that no one religion is the only route to God (pluralism). Pluralists believe that the road to God is wide. The opposite of this is that only one religion is really true (exclusivism).

What could a thoughtful person say in response?

  • Just because there are many different religious answers and systems doesn’t automatically mean pluralism is correct.
  • Simply because there are many political alternatives in the world (monarchy, fascism, communism, democracy, etc.) doesn’t mean that someone growing up in the midst of them is unable to see that some forms of government are better than others.
  • That kind of evaluation isn’t arrogant or presumptuous. The same is true of grappling with religion.
  • The same line of reasoning applies to the pluralist himself. If the pluralist grew up in Madagascar or medieval France, he would not have been a pluralist!
  • If we are culturally conditioned regarding our religious beliefs, then why should the religious pluralist think his view is less arbitrary or conditioned than the exclusivist’s?
  • If Christian faith is true, then the Christian would be in a better position than the pluralist to assess the status of other religions
  • How does the pluralist know he is correct? Even though he claims others don’t know Ultimate Reality as it really is, he implies that he does. (To say that the Ultimate Reality can’t be known is a statement of knowledge.)
  • If the Christian needs to justify Christianity’s claims, the pluralist’s views need just as much substantiation.

If we can’t know Reality as it really is, why think one exists at all? Why not simply try to explain religions as purely human or cultural manifestations without being anything more?”

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Hindu opens U.S. Senate with prayer

July 18, 2007

From Gary Randall and the Faith and Freedom Network.

“Last week a Hindu chaplain from Reno, Nevada gave the opening prayer in the U.S. Senate.

Rajan Zed told the Las Vegas Sun that in his prayer he would likely include references to the ancient Hindu scriptures. And he delivered. (See CNN Video).

Thousands of calls, letters and email to the Senate leadership asking them to reconsider were ignored. Protestors were escorted from the chamber as the first Hindu prayer was offered – the first ever at the Senate since it was formed in 1789.

David Barton, the leading Christian historian in America, is questioning why the U.S. Government is seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god. Barton points out that since Hindus worship multiple gods; the prayer was completely outside the American paradigm, flying in the face of the American motto, “One nation under God.”

You have to wonder what Harry Reid and the Democratic Senate leadership were thinking. Barton says, given the fact that Hindus represent a very tiny constituency of the American public, you must ask what was the message and why is that message needed?

He said, “This is not a religion that has produced great things in the world. You look at India, you look at Nepal – there’s persecution going on in both of these countries that is gendered by the religious belief that is present there, and Hindu dominates in both of those countries.”

Barton also said that he knows of at least seven cases where Christians have lost their bid to express their own faith in a public prayer.

I find it interesting that under our First Amendment Zed enjoys freedom in this country that Christians do not enjoy in his home country. Why does Harry Reid and the Senate leadership find it necessary to offer a prayer to the myriad gods of Hinduism, when the God of the Bible has blessed America in such generous ways?

Prayer to the God of the Bible began on June 28, 1787 when the Constitutional Convention was at a standstill. Eighty-one-year-old Benjamin Franklin stood and said,

“I’ve lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs
I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot
fall to the ground without His notice, is it probably that an empire can rise
without His aid? We’ve been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord
build the house, they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, and I
also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political
building no better than the builders of Babel.”

No one can legitimately challenge the fact that the God America refers to in the pledge, our national motto and other places is the monotheistic God of the Jewish and Christian faith, yet the present leadership in our legislature once again is attempting to lead us away from this God and His principles that have provided blessing and prosperity for this country.

God help us.”


Prayer to Whom?

July 13, 2007

From Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council.

“Today, Rajan Zed, a Hindu chaplain, delivered the first Hindu prayer in the chamber of the United States Senate since the formation of that body in 1789. According to the Senate Chaplain’s office, Zed came at the invitation of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). The full text of his prayer will be included in the Congressional Record. In the United States, prayer before legislative debates or meetings dates back to June 27, 1787 when the Constitutional Convention meeting in Philadelphia was at a standstill. Ben Franklin, the eldest member at the Convention at the age of 81, stood and said, “I’ve lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” No one can legitimately challenge the fact that the God America refers to in the pledge, our national motto, and other places is the monotheistic God of the Jewish and Christian faith. There is no historic connection between America and the polytheistic creed of Hinduism. I seriously doubt that Americans want to change the motto, “In God We Trust,” which Congress officially adopted in 1955, to “In gods we Trust.” That is essentially what the United States Senate did today. “


Hindu to open Senate with prayer

July 11, 2007

From the American Family Association.

Please read this news report from OneNewsNow.com.

On Thursday, a Hindu chaplain from Reno, Nevada, by the name of Rajan Zed is scheduled to deliver the opening prayer in the U.S. Senate. Zed tells the Las Vegas Sun that in his prayer he will likely include references to ancient Hindu scriptures, including Rig Veda, Upanishards, and Bhagavard-Gita. Historians believe it will be the first Hindu prayer ever read at the Senate since it was formed in 1789.

WallBuilders president David Barton is questioning why the U.S. government is seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god. Barton points out that since Hindus worship multiple gods, the prayer will be completely outside the American paradigm, flying in the face of the American motto “One Nation Under God.”

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“In Hindu, you have not one God, but many, many, many, many, many gods,” the Christian historian explains. “And certainly that was never in the minds of those who did the Constitution, did the Declaration [of Independence] when they talked about Creator — that’s not one that fits here because we don’t know which creator we’re talking about within the Hindu religion.”

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Barton says given the fact that Hindus are a tiny constituency of the American public, he questions the motivation of Senate leaders. “This is not a religion that has produced great things in the world,” he observes. “You look at India, you look at Nepal — there’s persecution going in both of those countries that is gendered by the religious belief that is present there, and Hindu dominates in both of those countries.”

And while Barton acknowledges there is not constitutional problem with a Hindu prayer in the Senate, he wonders about the political side of it. “One definitely wonders about the pragmatic side of it,” he says. “What is the message, and why is the message needed? And will it actually communicate anything other than engender with folks like me a lot of questions?”

Barton says he knows of at least seven cases where Christians have lost their bid to express their own faith in a public prayer.

Zed is reportedly the first Hindu to deliver opening prayers in an American state legislature, having done so in both the Nevada State Assembly and Nevada State Senate earlier this year. He has stated that Thursday’s prayer will be “universal in approach,” despite being drawn from Hindu religious texts.

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