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A Look at Hinduism

                                       A Look at Hinduism
      Hinduism might seem a little strange to most of the readers in Wisconsin , but it is actually the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. It is generally considered the oldest religion in the world. However, just because a denomination has been around for a while or has many members, it doesn't mean that they have the inside track on what is the truth. We will see that true as we compare the Hindu religious beliefs with Scripture's teachings. 
             Categorizing the religion of Hinduism is somewhat confusing. Hindus have a multitude of gods and goddesses that symbolize the one abstract Supreme Being or Brahman. The most fundamental of Hindu deities are the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. But many other gods such as Ganesha, Krishna , Rama, Hanuman, and goddesses like Lakshmi, Durga, Kali and Saraswati top the popularity chart with Hindus across the world. I could give you in detail how they are the god or goddess of what they are and what they represent, but that is as only what they are believed to be in Hinduism. The Bible tells us that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6) The Old Testament tells us this in both (Deuteronomy 4:38) "Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other." and (Isaiah 45:6)"That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.The New Testament also tells us clearly, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
      Hindus believe in the repetitious transmigration of the soul. This is the transfer of one's soul after death to another body, what we'd call reincarnation. This produces a continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth through their many lifetimes. This accumulating sum of ones good and bad deeds determines how you will live your next life. They claim that through pure acts, thoughts and devotion, one can be reborn at a higher level. Bad deeds can cause a person to be reborn at a lower level and are seen as natural consequences  for one's previous acts, both in this life and in previous lives.
     However, the Bible tells us; "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."  (Hebrews 9:27) The whole idea is of reincarnation seems to avoid answering to an authority or accountability for having sinned. The Bible tells us, "For the wages of sin is death," (Romans 6:23) not spiritual rebirth or a second chance.“There is none righteous, no, not one; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10, 23) one better have faith in the only solution for sin out there, which is the shed blood of Jesus Christ Crucified.
      Traditions play a big part in how people live. Here are a few that I found out about Hinduism. Over the many years, each Hindu belonged to one of the thousands of Jãtis (communities/sub-communities) that existed. The Jats were grouped into four Varna (social castes), plus a fifth group called the "untouchables."  A person's Jat determined the range of jobs or professions from which they could choose as well having most marriages were taken from the same Jat. The system became so rigid over the many years, that there were rules prohibiting persons of different groups from eating, drinking or even smoking with each other. Thus, a person was generally born into the Jat and Varna  of their parents, and died in the same group with no possibility of upward mobility.  
      Secondly, the status of women is also mentioned as two of the negative behaviors found in Hinduism. This includes things like female feticide, the  practice of using ultrasound instruments to determine the sex of a fetus, in order to abort fetuses that are found to be female. There is also infanticide which involve the actual murder of a newborn female because of her gender, widespread neglect of girl children, and mob violence, including murders, victimizing women believed to be evil sorcerers. 
      These two things above seems to go against what the Bible tells us how people we should live together. Galatians 3:28 tells us, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (if you are Christ’s in 3:29). Saved people are to, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." (Romans 12:10) And this includes loving others as ourselves as found in Matthew 12, and which doesn't appear to allow for either of the two examples mentioned.  
      Yoga and meditation are Hinduism's "unique gifts" to the world. But are they? Sure, yoga is considered as a systematic process of spiritual unfolding. The path of yoga teaches us how to integrate and heal our personal existence, as well as harmonize our individual consciousness with their god. Devotional meditation upon their god is at the very heart of any good yoga practice. 
      The Bible warns us to, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God.....  rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) When opening up one's mind into different dimensions, like drugs, hypnosis or yoga and their meditation, it leaves one open to Satan and his influences. We are told, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) Many times the words are so right, yet one must look at the meaning behind the words.
      Have you ever wondered what that dot on the forehead means? The colored dot is a sign of piety, and reveals to other people that the wearer is a Hindu. It symbolizes  the third eye - the one focused inwards toward their god.
       My initial thoughts go to how the Bible tells us often people are, "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down," (Mark 7:13) and how Jesus told the Pharisees, "For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness." (Matthew 23:27) for similar behavior. 
       I plead with any Hindu that might read this to know that we cannot look inwards to our own understanding to find out about the one and only God, Jesus Christ. All of that piety and supposedly inward focus on God only deceives yourself. Living as a Hindu actually is based upon man-made traditions and rituals made and practiced by people that have little or no knowledge about this Jesus of the Bible. This might seem to criticize their religious convictions but these traditions of theirs go against the Bible and as it says, "the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified." (Daniel 5:23) He not only created you but also took all of your sins and failings to the cross so that anyone that believes in Him could have an eternity of what Paul described to as, "being of  inexpressible description" (2 Cor. 12:4.)  Get a Bible and start reading it for yourself all about the Creator, to learn and grow in the ways of the Lord. Learn about, "...the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes."  (Romans 1:16) There's no other way