A critical review of Rajiv Malhotra’s
Being Different – An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism
By Kalavai Venkat
“Dharma traditions resemble Silicon Valley innovation and freedom (whereas) Judeo-Christian religions come across like controlled, state-supplied, monopolistic products. Like the Soviets who believed in allowing only one airline, one brand of car, one toothpaste, (…) most Christians believe in allowing only one approach to religion.”
These are among the closing words of Being Different. Whereas most westerners and colonized Hindus implicitly assume that the west is the best and view other cultures from a Christian western viewpoint, Malhotra takes his readers through an intellectually engaging journey where he reverses the gaze on the Christian west and evaluates it using the dhārmic paradigm. Western civilization is an artificial fusion of Judeo-Christian dogmas and the Greco-Roman thought and as a result is synthetic and tension-ridden. Even the tensions that characterize the racial relationships in the west are traceable to the historical colonial conquests that were fueled by Christianity. Westerners imagine their culture to be universal but in reality it is aggressive and expansionist, and usurps traits from other cultures in the same manner as a tiger consumes and destroys its prey. One such example is the surreptitious incorporation of quotes from the Vedas into the Tamiḷ Bible. The west violently rejects what it cannot assimilate from other cultures. Liberal and conservative westerners are products of the same mindset, and their perceptions of Hindu society are identical.
Sounds like a harsh indictment of the west? It is. But it is also the outcome of a systematic analysis of the Christian western culture using the Hindu rational method of pūrva pakṣa. Malhotra argues that one must look deeper beyond the superficial similarities between religions and cultures and shows that there are fault-lines that divide the Christian western and the dhārmic worldviews.
In Judeo-Christian traditions, revelation is initiated by God, from above, with the individual being a passive and submissive recipient. This process is highly history-centric, relies upon authority that is frozen in time, and allows for no direct experience. Dogma insists that one is born into Original Sin and human existence is sinful unless one seeks salvation from a historical prophetic tradition. But this salvation does not transform man into something sublime. God always remains an external agency and all that salvation means is that one escapes eternal condemnation to hell. These history-centric beliefs of Judeo-Christian systems also fail scientific scrutiny.
Dhārmic traditions provide a refreshing contrast. The individual is free from the guilt complexes that characterize a Christian. History has no metaphysical significance in dharma. Hindu narratives, as Śri Aurobindo states, are ever present in nature because one can experience those out of one’s own efforts. The Hindu initiate is an active participant in his quest for adhyātma vidya (knowledge of the self). Unlike Judeo-Christian systems which are fossilized, dhārmic systems dynamically evolve. As a result, the teachings of a guru are as valid as the words in a sacred text. Even more importantly, the guru does not merely transmit historical sayings dogmatically but evokes the initiate’s own experiential wisdom. This is precisely why one finds welcome diversity in dhārmic traditions. Most importantly, mökṣa (self-realization) is something one can actively experience here and now and is not a chimera called heaven a baptized Christian must be content with chasing post-mortem.
Malhotra aptly points out that none of the Hebrew prophets, Jesus, or Paul allowed for individual freedom. Instead they rejected individuality as something stained by Original Sin and even salvation in Christianity is a collective exercise. This denial of individuality in the religious realm extends to all walks of western life, and contrary to what westerners imagine they are not individualistic but highly institutionalized creatures. On the other hand, dharma frees one from conditioning, celebrates individualism, and leads one to the blissful state called satchitānanda. Unless the west rejects the foundational premises of Christianity as embodied in the Nicene Creed, it is not possible for westerners to pursue internal quest.
Being Different discusses the absence of simplistic and artificial duality in dharma vis-à-vis Christian dualism brilliantly. Dharma traditions avoid artificial divides and Malhotra presents narratives from fields as diverse as music, neuroscience, and literature to drive home this crucial difference. For example, in dhārmic traditions, good and evil are always inter-connected as evident from the Hindu literary narrative of samudra manthana (churning of the ocean) where there is inter-dependency between poison and nectar. This is quite the opposite of the Christian dichotomy between good and evil. As a result, not only does Christianity seek imminent finality in the End Times but “war against evil” (which of course results in genocides) too comes easily to Christians. The western mind, as a result of this dualistic foundation, is bewildered by chaos and seeks artificial order everywhere. Dharma offers a positive alternative by balancing order and chaos. For example, Indian Classical music is non-linear and non-normative, and as a result possesses not only the musical note but also a melodic ecosystem complex called swara which has no equivalent in Western Classical music. Malhotra’s observation brings to mind Yehudi Menuhin’s rueful remark in his famous book Unfinished Journey that the tempered scale in Western Classical music where each note is adjusted up or down from its true center has corrupted western ears whereas the perfect fifth set by the tanpura in Indian Classical music is a criterion for all other intervals and has rendered the Indian ears sensitive to microtonal variations called ghamaka that westerners cannot comprehend. In an echo of Malhotra’s remark about Indian individualism vis-à-vis the lack of individualism in the west, Menuhin too remarks that whereas the Indian musician’s expressions celebrate his individual quest to unite with the infinite the western musician accepts loss of freedom for the sake of collectivism.
The unrealistic western obsession with order not only destroyed the perfect fifth but as Malhotra points out citing latest studies from neuroscience it also prevents a westerner from seeing oneself as part of the whole. For example, when shown a photograph, a westerner observes only the foreground whereas an easterner observes the background as well in a holistic manner. This ability to see the environment as inter-connected and a willingness to accept natural chaos enables a Hindu to self-organize better than westerners and to be less reliant on institutions and systems. For example, during the Hindu festival of kumbha meḻa 60 million pilgrims come together and self-organize without any agency coordinating the effort. One might also add that during disasters such as the terrorist attack on the Mumbai train system, Indians got back to normalcy within a few hours on their own whereas after the 9/11 attacks America was brought to a standstill and only a systemic and institutional galvanizing could return it to normalcy. Malhotra cautions that the willingness to realistically balance chaos and order does not mean a lack of accomplishment as evident from the fact that Indians built the most advanced urban complex of the ancient period, the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilization. On the other hand, Christian dualism and a lack of ability to balance order and chaos is a limitation of the human mind.
Another important point that Malhotra discusses is that dharma is both context-specific and non-contextual. Baudhāyana, Manu, and other writers always integrated local customs into their texts but every prescription depended on the context. This is precisely why numerous texts were written over time. Only a few aspects such as the framework of dharma remained non-contextual. This allowed dhārmic religions to become embracing, organic, and ever-progressing. Since dharmaśāstras accord greater importance to local traditions than to codified law, there was no imposition of practices from above, and as a result Hindu society experiences natural harmony. This also allowed local traditions to permeate into and influence society as evident from the examples of Pūri Jagannātha and Madurai Mῑnākṣi where tribal and urban Hindu traditions have fused. On the contrary, Christianity assumes that Semitic codified practices from a bygone era are universal and enforces them on all people at all times.
In some cases, a few sentences in Being Different could be edited to be consistent with the analyses and conclusions of the book. For example, Malhotra argues that in inter-faith dialog religious tolerance must be replaced with mutual respect and adds that “respect implies that we consider the other (religion) to be equally legitimate.” On the surface, this appears to be at odds with the Hindu tradition of pūrva pakṣa which Malhotra otherwise commendably employs. In pūrva pakṣa, one can never start with the premise that the other doctrine is respect-worthy or legitimate. One has to evaluate it without bias, as is the case with scientific evaluation, and using nyāya, pramāṇa, anumāna, etc, either accept or reject the doctrine. So, respect and legitimacy is something a religious doctrine earns as an outcome and not as a precondition. But what Malhotra actually means here (which he has elaborated in his discussion group and talks) is according mutual respect to the interlocutor and accepting the legitimate right of the interlocutor to hold on to a religious belief in private life. It does not mean that all religions are worthy of respect or that they are true. If anything, Being Different systematically deconstructs Christianity and makes a case for how the core Christian doctrines actually prevent self-realization and hence must be abandoned. The cited sentence could be reworded for better clarity and to be consistent with the narrative of the section where it appears.
Elsewhere, Malhotra writes that Constantine seized “the dhārmic message of Jesus and turn(ed) it into a political weapon.” The context is the discussion where he contrasts archetypes in dharma and Christianity. Constantine, a subscriber to the Arian ‘heresy,’ indeed used Christianity for political ends though one could disagree that the message of Jesus was dhārmic. Critical examination of the Bible by Strauss, Ehrman, Somers-Elst, etc., has demonstrated that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet and a paraphrenic, and that his words were irrational, vindictive, and violent; as Somers-Elst show, more acutely so by the time he authors the Revelation. No doubt, in subsequent centuries, a few passages resembling Hindu and Buddhist teachings were incorporated into the Bible, but as Thundy demonstrates, these were borrowed from the east and were not integral to the message of Jesus. Importantly, such passages lack a dhārmic context, and never influenced the Christian mindset which was purely conditioned by an expectation of the Apocalypse. However, it must be pointed out that Malhotra uses this sentence to challenge the exclusivist claims of Christianity as evident from his discussions with Mark Tully. Once a liberal Christian accepts that Jesus was dhārmic, he has to concede that Jesus was not unique since there have been numerous dhārmic teachers and paths. In the framework deployed by Being Different, this stance not only helps separate the co called liberal Christians from fundamentalists but also negates the foundational claims of Christian exclusivity.
Being Different implies that “kunḍalinῑ-like manifestations have occurred sporadically among Christians” even though the church suppresses such manifestations and condemns the person to mental asylum. What Malhotra means, as evident from the narrative in that section, is that while an untrained person could accidentally have some rudimentary form of kunḍalinῑ-like experience, such experiences not only bewilder that person but are also opposed and suppressed by society. He does not mean that such manifestations are integral to Christianity. Laya-krama (process of dissolution), where vāsanas (tendencies) are permanently annihilated so that one attains a state which is nirvikāra (changeless) and vaideha-kaivalya (body-less), is a central methodology to kunḍalinῑ yöga. In all of the reported Christian mystical experiences there is absolutely none where such states are described. The so-called Christian mystics are nothing more than hesychasts, and hesychasm itself is a technique that was borrowed from Buddhism and Hinduism and incorporated in Alexandrian churches. This is also evident from the crude manner in which it is incorporated into the Bible where anti-Semitic words are put into the mouth of Jesus to condemn the synagogue-going Jews and their modes of prayer (Matthew 6:5-6) and to contrast it with hesychasm. Hesychasm never matured into anything kunḍalinῑ-like as the church cracked down on hesychasts. So, hesychasm is not a kunḍalinῑ-like variant within Christianity; it is a concept borrowed from the east and synthetically imported into early Alexandrian churches, until it was purged by the mainstream. This is very similar to how yöga is appropriated as Christian yöga but condemned by the Vatican. Given the reality of Christian misappropriation of Hindu practices, an example being how yöga is crudely repackaged as pilates, one feels Malhotra could rephrase this sentence to be consistent with the message of the section where it appears.
None of these minor disagreements diminish the importance of Being Different. Any scholarly writing engages the reader and is bound to spark an occasional disagreement. The book is of utmost importance as it reverses the gaze towards the west and evaluates it using the dhārmic paradigm. It is daring, witty, well-researched, and well-argued. It is certain to inspire others to stand upon Malhotra’s shoulders and extend the gaze.
>> Westerners imagine their culture to be universal but in reality it is aggressive and expansionist, and usurps traits from other cultures in the same manner as a tiger consumes and destroys its prey.
There are more followers of Jesus outside the west today, so lets not conflate west/Christian (if you are doing that). One can see all kinds of music, language, dress, food habits etc across the world used by followers of Jesus in their worship of God. I have seen snake charmers using their snake charming musical instruments, tribals singing and dancing in their tribal style etc. Only exception are the aspects/elements of any culture (including that of western culture) which are morally violating or explicitly rejecting faith in Jesus as Lord/Savior.
>> Malhotra argues that one must look deeper beyond the superficial similarities between religions and cultures and shows that there are fault-lines that divide the Christian western and the dhārmic worldviews.
The followers of Jesus always insisted that they believe in Jesus as the Lord and Savior and in salvation through Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Followers of Jesus never denied the defining nature of this belief. (while surely, a lot of doctrinal, conceptual, philosophical etc similarities can be observed/appreciated too). Followers of Jesus are criticized for this as focusing on differences. The book 'Being Different' is a good development, in recognizing this aspect.
>> In Judeo-Christian traditions, revelation is initiated by God, from above, with the individual being a passive and submissive recipient
God as the Creator and perfect Being is the initiator of the created world, human existence and surely of salvation too. The individual has a willing/active recognition of his/her own imperfection/sin, repents before God, and recognizes/acknowledges the need for transformation, salvation and Grace of God. Jesus taught a lot of things to his disciples and gave them (and all followers) lot of work to be done, even as he left. The word passive is a complete misnomer.
>> This process is highly history-centric, relies upon authority that is frozen in time, and allows for no direct experience.
God's dealings/interventions with actual historical people is used as vehicle of revelation and proclamation of Truth (including the real/historical Incarnation in Jesus). The scriptures, therefore rooted in real history of real people, and community involved, validating and revalidating and testing to the limits, generation after generation. And experience of salvation and living relationship with God is real and direct for every follower of Jesus.
>> Dogma insists that one is born into Original Sin and human existence is sinful unless one seeks salvation from a historical prophetic tradition.
It is basic human experience that we are not perfect (don’t forget, we are standing in front of the perfectly Holy Being/God). Unless one assumes the moral standards to be very low, it is common human experience that none of us are perfect. No need of any dogma or doctrine for that. Even a 12 year old will begin to see that things aren’t just right.
>> But this salvation does not transform man into something sublime. God always remains an external agency ..
Salvation reconciles one with God, transforms us into likeness of Jesus, to be in a loving relationship with God, to do the will of God etc. As created beings we are not the Creator Himself. I know, some branches of Hindusim say that everyone is God or can be God etc, but that begs a lot of questions and is untenable
>> and all that salvation means is that one escapes eternal condemnation to hell.
That’s like saying, the only reason one lives with ones family is to escape the hot sun outside. The main reason to desire salvation is love/relationship with Holy God.
Part 2 :ReplyDelete
>> Dharmic traditions provide a refreshing contrast. The individual is free from the guilt complexes that characterize a Christian
Acknowledging ones mistakes, desiring to transform etc is not a bad thing, and not the same as ‘guilt complex’. Imagine a person without conscience and never admits any mistakes.
>> History has no metaphysical significance in dharma ... dhārmic systems dynamically evolve .. As a result, the teachings of a guru are as valid as the words in a sacred text.
In one stroke, you are saying this: It is irrelevant whether any of the avatars of Vishnu are real/historical facts or just imagination/speculation. It does not matter if Rama existed or just a made up story by some one just yesterday (please tell this to those fighting for Ram temple at Ayodhya!). It does not matter if there are no ancient texts called Vedas (or for that matter any hindu text of the past). It does not matter what faith/traditions/culture are, of Indian history (here you have repudiated almost everything of hindutva). It does not matter if there is indeed a God/Creator who loves humanity throughout history or said/did something for human salvation, morality, truth. And so on. Please note though, when you use the word evolve, you are using time/history. However, are you telling that you are (or can dynamically evolve) to more than the Vedas/Upanishads, or more evolved than Rama/Krishna etc?
>> Hindu narratives, as Śri Aurobindo states, are ever present in nature because one can experience those out of one’s own efforts.
I agree that nature is important. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (psalms 19:1), In fact the Bible says that God’s existence is made known/clear to everyone through nature and hence no one has any justification to reject/deny God.
>> Unlike Judeo-Christian systems which are fossilized
God is ever present, in love/relationship, transforming/saving people etc, so no such a thing as being 'fossiled'. The historical act of Incarnation in Jesus and salvation through the sacrifice etc are in time, but with implications for all of time (and the symbolic sacrifices offered in all religions, no longer needed, as Jesus is the real sacrifice and done)
>> Most importantly, mökṣa (self-realization) is something one can actively experience here and now and is not a chimera called heaven a baptized Christian must be content with chasing post-mortem.
The love/relationship of God is of course experienced here/now (and eternally too, in a more perfect way). And surely, love/relationship is something always actively experienced all the time. The question is, what you mean by moksha/self-realization. Realization of what? That you yourself are the God/Creator yourself (or suddenly became God), but somehow ended up doing all kind of imperfect things all the while? Or is it that some momentary emotional surge using some “techniques” and call it a bliss and realization?
>> Malhotra aptly points out that none of the Hebrew prophets, Jesus, or Paul allowed for individual freedom.
The entire Bible is about love/relationship with God, transformation, salvation, Grace of God etc. The very words love/relationship is meaningless without freedom. No one can be forced to love! It is a contradiction of terms. God's Grace/Salvation, individual moral transformation etc are presented as an invitation from God (to be accepted/rejected by individual in question).
>> Instead they rejected individuality as something stained by Original Sin and even salvation in Christianity is a collective exercise
Again, completely mistaken. There is the acknowledgement/recognition of imperfections and sin in all our lives, but the focus is on transformation/salvation/reconciliation - of each and every individual. Salvation is ultimately between God and individual. Community/People who believe Jesus as Lord and Savior, of course gather and worship, but that is not the same as institutionalism.
Dear Mr SunilReplyDelete
Please don't *ever* compare your Christian god with our beloved Hindu gods. The Christian god is jealous, intolerant, violent, promotes genocide and condemns non believers into eternal hell.
Our Hindus gods are inclusive, god for all their creations and do not condemn anybody to eternal hell and suffering.
Christians follow the injuction of their god. Wherever they went they spread killed, pillaged, looted, enslaved, destroyed and decimated non christian cultures and peoples.
In that context "The entire Bible is about love/relationship with God, transformation, salvation, Grace of God etc" is a great joke. Just ask the American Indians, Aborigines, African, etc.
Here is of Bible/Jesus/Christian verses on hate. You can now understand the reasons why Christians indulge in genocide of non Christian culture and people.Delete
JESUS ON FAMILY VALUES – Matthew 10:35-36
“For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
JESUS, ON ENEMIES – Matthew 23:33
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
JESUS, ON NONBELIEVERS – John 15:6 (KJV)
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Luke 19:27 : Jesus: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”
>> Matthew 10:35-36Delete
Jesus was telling what will happen when indoviduals follow/accept Jesus - that relatives/friends may turn against her/him etc. Jesus was not advocating that one should do that.
>> Matthew 23:33
Jesus was criticizing/condemniung the hypocrisy of self-righteous jews who boast as great religious scholars but dont understand/follow what is right/just.
>> John 15:6
Jesus was telling the parable of vine and branches, how a branch will bear fruit only when it stays with the vine, and if not, it will be "like a branch that is thrown away and withers".
>> Luke 19:27
Jesus was telling a parable/story about a King, what the king could say while rendering a judgement.
Tell us without obfucating, SunilDelete
Does Jesus condemn non believers into eternal hell and suffering?
Yes or no?
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Part 3 :ReplyDelete
>> Christian dichotomy between good and evil. As a result, not only does Christianity seek imminent finality in the End Times but “war against evil”
God is absolutely Holy/Perfect and we all fall short of that holiness and perfection. So, there is that clear distinction between Perfect Holiness on one hand and falling short on the other. What is desired is not ‘imminent finality of end times’, but transformation/salvation and reconciliation/love/relationship with God. How does an end of world help my imperfection/sin? Only salvation will help.
>> Christianity assumes that Semitic codified practices from a bygone era are universal and enforces them on all people at all times.
Not true. The Old testament has dealt with a actual nation and had context specific civil/criminal laws. Only moral law is universal as it is of the very perfect/Holy nature of God Himself (like Love). That is why, there are no bible derived codified civil/criminal laws. Of course the moral law/teachings of God/Jesus like basic human dignity/rights/justice etc may be used in deriving various civil/criminal laws. What you said is true of Islam and to some extent, Hinduism too, as practiced by some in terms of rituals, food habits, traditions etc. For example, there is no equivalent of special reverence and prohibiting eating of cow alone among all animals/plants, as a religious law/duty.
>> respect and legitimacy is something a religious doctrine earns as an outcome and not as a precondition. But what Malhotra actually means here (which he has elaborated in his discussion group and talks) is according mutual respect to the interlocutor and accepting the legitimate right of the interlocutor to hold on to a religious belief in private life.
How is this different from anything that a Christian debater would say? The person debating from a non-christian point of view is respected as a human being created in the image of God, whom God loves (and hence is loved and prayed for). Jesus has not forced anyone, so of course the non-christian debater has a right to present his arguments and chose to accept or reject Salvation through Jesus. That is an issue completely between God and the individual in question. There is really no argument in the distinction that Mr. Malhotra makes between tolerance and mutual respect.
>> If anything, Being Different systematically deconstructs Christianity and makes a case for how the core Christian doctrines actually prevent self-realization and hence must be abandoned.
The best part of 'Being different' that I agree with is the (indirect) debunking of argument that any deconstruction/criticism of anything hindu amounts to disrespect/intolerance etc. It is the Hindu commentators who make this argument, making it impossible to have a meaningful discussion. I hope the book will change that.
>> Critical examination of the Bible by Strauss, Ehrman, Somers-Elst, etc., has demonstrated that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet and a paraphrenic, and that his words were irrational, vindictive, and violent;
Untenable criticism. Jesus never used sword nor advocated. He did rightly condemn the hypocrisy of section of self-righteous jews, but was not vindictive. He did talk of end, judgment by God etc, and what is wrong with that (if it is true)
>> Once a liberal Christian accepts that Jesus was dhārmic, he has to concede that Jesus was not unique since there have been numerous dhārmic teachers and paths
A christian is one who accepts Jesus as Lord and savior and believes that Jesus is true/historical Incarnation, whose sacrifice o the cross is for salvation. All other categories like liberal, conservative, orthodox, evangelical etc are more about superficial aspects, style, attitude, manner of speech etc.
I am sincerely hoping the owner of the blog does not let the comments be a propaganda centre for bible thumpers. Eg Sunil leaves more unsaid when he claims, "A christian is one who accepts Jesus as Lord and savior and believes that Jesus is true/historical Incarnation, whose sacrifice o the cross is for salvation"Delete
What he leaves unsaid is that the Bible condemns the non christians to eternal hell and suffering, and this manual has been used justify the torment, destruction, decimatation and enslavement of non Christian cultures.
As non Christians, the above is extremely important for us to realize. Christianity and the likes of Sunil represent a serious threat to the very survival of Hindus and Hinduism.
Let us not get deceived by the gobblygook spouted by these forked tongue Christians. They have a history of perfecting it and enacting it on unsuspecting cultures all across the world. So beware.
>> What he leaves unsaid is that the Bible condemns the non christians to eternal hell and sufferingDelete
If God is the Creator, source of all that is Good/Right/Just, pleasant etc, chosing to reject God and stay away from God is a terrible condition, variously described as gnsahing of teeth, fire etc. Very little is said about hell in Bible and there are different views/interpretations about them. The reason it is not emphasized/focussed I think is because the focus/purpose is God/truth/salvation/virtue etc and not worth giving a detailed account for those who chose or determined to reject God/truth. There were people in the Bible itself who lived before Jesus or never heard Jesus. So, it is not a simplistic as you are saying - it is ultimatelty between God and individual in question. If one believes that one has been truly desiring truth, transormation, salvation, grace of God etc, there is nothing to worry. God is absolutely Just.
>> and this manual has been used justify the torment, destruction, decimatation and enslavement of non Christian cultures.
As I said, you see followers of Jesus in almost all cultures, each of them using their own culture, language, style, dress etc. You are mixing up the separate issue of colonialism and some peoples business greed etc. And as I also mentimed, there are more followers of Jesus from non-west non-white people.
Christians lie, distort, distract ... all with sole purpose of effectuating conversions. That is what you are doing right now.
But I am glad you are providing me with the opportunity to expose you and bring to light many nafarious truths about the Christian god.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
A Christian propagandist exposes himself when he is unable to respond to any factual argument. The usual Christian tactic is to claim that Jesus was an embodiment of virtues. But one merely has to read the Bible to realize that Jesus was the original Middle Eastern terrorist. For example, in Luke 19:27 Jesus displays his intolerance and urges that those who have not accepted him as the messiah should be slaughtered. Also read Koenraad Elst's "Psychology of prophetism" (http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/pp/index.htm) for a clear demonstration that Jesus was a mental patient who suffered from paraphrenia. The best way to demolish Christianity is to present the facts about Jesus and the Bible and any reasonable person will reject that religion. We need not resort to censorship. Every time Christian propagandists post irrelevant comments a non-Christian should just respond factually and show that Jesus was a criminal and a mental patient. After all, even the Bible admits that Jesus was an accused criminal who could not save himself on the cross.ReplyDelete
>> in Luke 19:27 Jesus displays his intolerance and urges that those who have not accepted him as the messiah should be slaughteredDelete
If you have seen comments above, I have ansewerd this specific question. Jesus was telling a parable/story about a King, what the king in the story could/would say while rendering a judgement, in that situation in the story.
Please tell us whether hindus will go to hell for being non believersDelete
Yes or No?
>> Please tell us whether hindus will go to hell for being non believers. Yes or No?Delete
Thats like asking whether Chinese will chose to reject and stay away from truth/salvation/grace of God. Well, some may and some may not. It is between God and the individual in question. "Hell" is nothing but a state of being away from presense/grace of God. What exatly it looks like, how long it is etc, very little is said and there are multiple interpretations. For those who desire truth/transformation/virtue etc, this the least important of questions. This is a question only if one is determined to reject truth/transformation/virtue/salvation/grace of God.
>>For those who desire truth/transformation/virtue etc, this the least important of questions<<Delete
I am sure, for your Christians, slavery, ethnic cleansing, child abuse of biblical proportions, destruction of cultures, religions, people ... is **the least important**.
That is why Christianity and genocide is synonymous. It is an integral part of your religion.
12:2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: (12:2-3)
"Ye shall utterly destroy ... their altars."
Destroy altars and places of worship of other faiths.
12:3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and
burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images
of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
12:27 And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the
blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy
sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and
thou shalt eat the flesh.
12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them,
after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire
not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods?
even so will I do likewise.
Do you think you sound convincing?
After all we are here to convince each other and/or the readers. You cannot even answer a simply question as to whether Hindus will go to hell or heaven.
Ask any christian he is very clear about it. But those who want to convert will come up with all kinds of lies and doublespeak and hide the truth.
The king alluded to in Luke 19 is none other than Jesus himself. One merely needs to read the Parable of the ten minas to understand this. This entire context is about the retribution that would be meted out to the unsuspecting when the Second Coming of the Accused Criminal (aka Jesus) happens.Delete
The usual Christian tactic of dancing around in circles and lying through the teeth when cornered will not work here. Unlike the Christians, some of us have critically and systematically evaluated the Bible. The megalomaniac mindset of Jesus imagining himself to be the king is a sign of his paraphrenia as Elst demonstrates.
>> "Ye shall utterly destroy ... their altars."Delete
In old testament, there was a piece of land, which God had deemed as ripe for judgment due to their extreme evil (earlier God had said they were not yet ripe for judgment, while Israelites were as slaves for 400 years in egypt). In a one-time act of judgment, those people were to be punished, and at the same time, Israelites were asked to settle in that land instead. And they were to destroy the places where the evil deeds were performed (including alters, which does not necessarily mean normal religious places - all kinds of evil like temple prostitution, child sacrifices, injustices, debauchery etc happen at the alters mostly). As can be seen, that was a one-time judgment (even that, did not actually/fully happen as we read later). Never outside that one piece of land (which is said to be given to Israel), Never expansionist etc. And with Jesus, there is no specific significance to even with that one piece of land also. Jesus declared even hating an enemy in ones heart is falling short (leave alone murder or genocide)
>> And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God
There were indeed animal sacrifices in the old testament before Jesus (in fact, all religions have/had sacrifices, including hinduism). This points to the symbol of sacrifice for salvation, which is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. Sacrifices no longer needed because of fulfillment in Jesus.
>> The king alluded to in Luke 19 is none other than Jesus himself.Delete
Of course, the king in the story is analogous to God who has absolute and ultimate Right/Authority. One can tell a story of, say a greedy fox which gets killed trying to do something greedy etc, to drive home, the point that it is not good to be greedy. So, a story can be told different ways. But I am not diminishing the seriousness of what it is like to deliberately/knowingly choose to stay away from the presence/grace of God. If God is the source of everything that is good/pleasant, staying away from presence/grace of God is the most terrible thing that can be (even the few times this is referred, bible does make it clear, how terribly undesirable it is).
If I reject your Christian god it does not mean I am greedy.Delete
Every sane person should reject this monstrous god and his 'holy' book called the Bible. The god/'holy' book of Christians encourages one to offer one's own daughter to a mob to be gang-raped (Genesis 19:7-8, 19:23-24), and of course the gang-raped daughters end up having sex with their own father (Genesis 19:31-36). Elsewhere, the Bible teaches that a bride who is not found to be a virgin on her nuptial night should be dragged to her father's doorstep and stoned to death in a violent mob orgy (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).
This is the kind of morality one finds in the Bible. Why should then anyone respect the god of the Bible? What makes such a god good or pleasant? A decent person should blaspheme this god and his son Jesus (we are told the father and son are the same!) and summarily reject them.
It is this god who issues terror threat to whoever refuses to accept his suzerainty. And those of us who are sensible enough to reject this terror message are threatened with hell fire and brimstone!
>> If I reject your Christian god it does not mean I am greedy.Delete
The ‘greedy fox’ is just an example of a story, just to illustrate how a story can be told in different ways. As for you, it is ultimately between God and you.
>> The god/'holy' book of Christians encourages one to offer one's own daughter to a mob to be gang-raped (Genesis 19:7-8, 19:23-24), and of course the gang-raped daughters end up having sex with their own father (Genesis 19:31-36).
That was a narration of incident that happened (not ‘encouraged’ by God) - in fact that is the place so evil (Sodom and Gomorrah), that it was destroyed. Even the second one is just a narration. Just because an incident is narrated, does not mean it is approved by God.
>> Deuteronomy 22:13-21
If you have read a previous post, I mentioned that there was the one-time unique situation of Israelites living in a specific piece of land. The uniqueness also stems from the fact that this group was also to have a series of prophets, proclaiming the arrival of the Messiah/Savior, culminating with the Incarnation in Jesus. I also mentioned that civil/criminal laws can be context specific (while moral law is universal/permanent, being of the very perfect moral/holy nature of God). So, given the unique context, there were civil/criminal/ceremonial laws, which may seem extreme/disproportionate punishment, if viewed independent of the unique context (like in this case of example you cited, the punishment of death for pre-marital sex, and hiding that fact in marriage). When some jewish teachers of the law asked Jesus about punishing an adulterous woman, Jesus said “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Genesis 1:26-27 says, God created all, male and female in His image (which introduces a moral imperative, basis of human rights etc).
Well such clever by half attempts don't fly. Nowhere does the Old Testament say that the prescription to stone to death a bride who is not a virgin is a temporary injunction. In fact, in the Bible (Matthew 5:18), Jesus clearly says that he is there to fulfill every word of the Old Testament without modifying a single letter. This means, Jesus is expected to prescribe and enforce stoning of a woman. But in John 8:7 he says exactly the opposite. This means that Jesus contradicted himself and that he was an opportunist liar (assuming one trusts the Bible as a credible text as Christians do).Delete
There is proof from the Bible itself that Jesus was a liar and lacked moral scruples. For example, in Matthew 5:43-44 he claims that the Old Testament teaches one to love one's neighbor but hate one's enemy. The reference here is to the Leviticus 19:18. But if you read the Leviticus it says nothing of that sort. It actually says that one should love his neighbor and harbor no ill will towards anyone. But Jesus unscrupulously lied just to make himself look good by falsely implicating the Old Testament. By doing so, he violated the ninth commandment against bearing false witness. So, one should conclude that Jesus was a liar and an unscrupulous fellow who violated the basic commandments.
The greedy fox analogy does not fly either. I showed that the god of the Bible is an unedifying character who deserves to be condemned and rejected. What right he and his son (the accused criminal Jesus aka Christ who is by the way the same as the father) have to judge other decent human beings who are much superior to this Christian god and Jesus? In fact, we non-Christians should judge Jesus and pronounce him guilty.
>> Nowhere does the Old Testament say that the prescription to stone to death a bride who is not a virgin is a temporary injunction. In fact, in the Bible (Matthew 5:18), Jesus clearly says that he is there to fulfill every word of the Old Testament without modifying a single letter.Delete
The specific/unique significance to that group of people (from whom Jesus was to come) itself was over, once Jesus came. When there is no more of that land/people (purpose already fulfilled with Jesus), where is the question of any civil/criminal laws or ceremonial laws like sacrifices etc. In fact Jerusalem/temple was destroyed in 70 AD and jews have not been following ceremonial sacrifices etc since, and this destruction of the temple was predicted/spoken about by Jesus himself. The civil/criminal/ceremonial regulations/injunctions were not only temporary, they were just within that specific group of people (israelites), in that specific land only. There was never a case of jews being asked to proclaim any of the civil/criminal/ceremonial aspects of Mosaic law outside. Else where in the New testament you will find clearly, the non-continuation of the ceremonial laws of sacrifices, dietary laws etc. If you read Matthew 5:17-18 carefully, what Jesus was also emphasizing is that he came "not come to abolish them (law) but to fulfill them" and “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished". So while Jesus did not come to destroy the law, he did come to do something positive about it. The ceremonial laws and rituals like sacrifices were fulfilled by Jesus' sacrifice, death and resurrection. The moral law is being fulfilled in love and in God abiding/manifesting in the life of followers of Jesus and recipients of God's Grace. The remainder of Matthew 5, Jesus clarifies and explains the moral principles/essence of the law, the fullness of the law and spiritual fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8 : "for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law". Galatians 5:14 : "For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
>> in Matthew 5:43-44 he claims that the Old Testament teaches one to love one's neighbor but hate one's enemy. The reference here is to the Leviticus 19:18. But if you read the Leviticus it says nothing of that sort
From Matthew 5:21 to the end of the chapter, Jesus was giving examples on the Jewish current understanding of the law, and the moral principles/essence ought to be (not just external, but also inward etc). In all these, including the example you gave, he begins by saying “You have heard that it was said" - meaning he was not only referring to actual scripture, but also rabbanic traditions, saying of the time etc that the people are used to being told (which includes things which are not accurately as per scripture). Jesus interacted with teachers/scholars of the jewish scripture and law all the time, and there was access to the scripture, so, there is no possibility of Jesus trying to mislead/misquote.
You have a more serious problem on your hand if you claim that the OT stood abrogated with the arrival of Jesus because Jesus says the exact opposite in Matthew 5:18 where he declares that the law would be fulfilled in every detail. For what you claim to be true Jesus should have declared, "The OT stands abrogated with my arrival, so it won't be fulfilled anymore, and only my teachings will suffice." He doesn't say so but says the exact opposite. Not only that, he ends up violating Deuteronomy 22:13-21! Paul (Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:14) too contradicts Jesus (Matthew 5:18).Delete
A critic knows the reason: the Bible was written over 400 years at the very least, repeatedly edited, and is a synthetic product. Refer Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus for details. Also Jesus was a mental patient so such folks contradict themselves. A Christian on the other hand cannot logically resolve these glaring contradictions.
I am afraid that you are entirely incorrect with your statement on Matthew 5:21 as well. There is absolutely no evidence that there ever was a variant reading of Leviticus 19:18 - prove me wrong and show me one such variant reading. If anything, unlike the Christians, the Jews had been honest in preserving their scripture. Your claim that the rabbis interpreted this verse differently is nothing but a figment of your Christian imagination - prove me wrong and show me one such variant interpretation from that period. The simple fact is that Jesus was caught lying on this verse, and I believe I was the first to ever catch this one. But I suppose it is too difficult for a Christian to accept the truth; so emulating the example of Jesus it is easier to lie and fabricate claims about how the rabbis interpreted a verse 2000 years ago! The only trouble is that unlike the Christian faithful, we critics are well informed about your Bible and are well trained in logical criticism.
>> You have a more serious problem on your hand if you claim that the OT stood abrogated with the arrival of JesusDelete
I did not say that OT is abrogated. There is the moral law of God which permeates across OT/NT, which is universal, permanent, reflecting the very Holy nature of God. Then, there is of course the Mosaic law (civil laws), introduced much later in OT itself, with specific reference to formation of people of Israel. Now, Abraham lived before Moses. So if God were to talk to Abraham about the specific Mosaic civil laws (that were to come), He would say that there will be a people called Israel from whom the Messiah/Savior will come and that group of people will also be like a nation-state with some civil laws. The purpose of formation of specific group of Israel of OT was for the coming of the Messiah/Savior/Incarnation (Jesus) through them. Therefore, you will see Jesus/NT explain how the Mosaic laws (ceremonial sacrifices etc) are fulfilled in Jesus; how the followers/disciples of Jesus who obtain grace/salvation of God are analogously, the new Israel (of course without the land/nation-state of Israel); how the moral law is being fulfilled when they show love etc.
It’s like this: Let us say, a father who has been mentoring a son into becoming a doctor, gives guidance through the life of the son, then at some point, sends the son to medical school (say, owned by the father himself). There are rules/laws pertaining to the medical school. Then there is the graduation and after. The specific rules/laws pertaining to the medical school are applicable in the medical school (analogous to Mosaic law for Israel) - not before joining the medical school (ie not before arrival of Moses to form Israel), not outside of medical school (ie not outside of Israel of OT), not after graduation (ie, not after arrival of Jesus/sacrifice/salvation, where it is fulfilled). But the essence of the guidance/mentoring is valid all through. Instead of saying that the rules/laws of the medical school are 'abrogated', the right thing to say is that the purpose is fulfilled/accomplished upon graduation. The earthly life of Jesus is the verge of that fulfillment (like say, the graduation day). So, if someone asks about one of the college rules during graduation (like, say, about a rule that says student will be suspended if not attended a class for a week), the right response would be to explain the essence behind the rule (which, in this case may be that one has to be diligent to learn). That is what Jesus did in Matthew 5.
>> Refer Bart Ehrman ..
BTW, even Bart Ehrman would agree with what I said above, in terms of how Jesus/NT relate to OT law (the way we have the text of OT/NT today). His issue is about early manuscripts of NT, which he claims is not to his satisfaction. He makes statements like he can believe only if he sees 10 copies, written within a week of the original, with no more deviation than 0.001% etc. Even he would not disagree that NT text can be established as more than 99% (with a few unresolved manuscript variants, which are of no significance). Here is Dr. William Lane Craig’s critique of Bart Ehrman's work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5u1dKk_sVM . The two gentlemen have debated as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjOSNj97_gk
>> you are entirely incorrect with your statement on Matthew 5:21 as well. There is absolutely no evidence that there ever was a variant reading of Leviticus 19:18
I have not said that there is a variant of Leviticus 19:18. I pointed out that Jesus said "You have heard that it was said .." - not the same as claiming it to be from scripture (you will have a point if he said “As written in Leviticus 19:18 ..” . Its like, what people commonly say. For example, we hear times that three wise men came to visit Jesus at the time of birth. But the text in Bible just says that wise men from east came and brought three gifts (never says that it is 3 wise men, but it very common to hear that).
First of all, Bart Ehrman doesn't say what you attribute to him. You would learn a lot by reading Misquoting Jesus instead of forming opinions based on the propaganda of Craig which you found by a Google search after I cited Ehrman! Ehrman, after a detailed analysis, demonstrates that there are more manuscript variations of the Bible than there are words in the English KJV – that is over 200,000. Likewise, Craig indulges in the usual Christian propaganda by setting up a straw-man with his claims of 99% words. All you need to do is to read about Quelle to understand how nonsensical this assertion is. But then Craig is addressing his gullible Christian audience and not the informed.Delete
Regarding Leviticus 19:18: In any case, a majority of the people would have only heard about the law and not read it because scribes were so few in those days. So, no need to split hairs about heard vs. read. No rabbi could have translated the mosaic law differently without attracting criticism (even minor variant interpretations were discussed and recorded by the Jews so it is illogical to claim that such a significant misinterpretation went unnoticed; consult the authority on mosaic jurisprudence, Haim Cohn's Trial and death of Jesus to get some idea of this subject). If you still insist that it was the case, please provide evidence. You cannot invent such claims and not back it up with evidence.
Finally, your claims about the mosaic law are again simply fanciful and actually irrational. Nowhere does the OT state or imply that the laws are contextual or time-bound. Further, if they came from the Abrahamic god, it is more problematic for you to claim that this god could not formulate laws that were eternal nor could clearly warn his followers that it is time-bound. It is also highly arrogant to claim that the entire Judaic mosaic law stands abrogated (or fulfilled by your fanciful choice of words) by the arrival of the mental patient Jesus.
Jesus contradicts himself in other places too. For example, when this accused criminal is dying, according to Luke 23:34, he says, “Forgive them god for they know not what they do.” But in Mark 15:34 he helplessly laments, “God, god, why have you abandoned me?” Now he couldn't have stated both. The Lucan statement could've only spoken by one who is serene and the Markan statement by a frightened fool. The logical conclusion is that one of the two is a latter day interpolation. You can decide which one it is.
>> more manuscript variations of the Bible than there are words in the English KJV ..Delete
Of the approximately 1,38,000 words in the New Testament only about 1,400 remain in some doubt. So, the text is about 99% established. Numbers can be deceptive (if one chooses to make them to be). For example, if a very badly written later day manuscript is found, one can just discard it and not bring into consideration, but one can choose to count that, to pop up the number of variants to create a sensation. Given the huge number of handwritten copies made, in many languages, naturally, the number of copyist variants also will creep in (if less copies were made, less variants). But putting it all together, much of text has been established.
>> Regarding Leviticus 19:18 .. If you still insist that it was the case, please provide evidence
For an example, look at http://trinitychurchprattks.org/TrinityTitforTatandAllThat.aspx (scroll down to where Matthew 22:34-40 is explained, where some references are given). Also, please note, Jews have been challenging questing Jesus all the time, they would not let go, if the statement were wrong.
>> your claims about the mosaic law ... Nowhere does the OT state or imply that the laws are contextual or time-bound .. nor could clearly warn his followers that it is time-bound.
There is a very distinct/clear forward looking element/focus in all of old testament prophecies, of the coming Messiah, of the new covenant etc. Jews already knew that there was no Mosaic (in the sense of external civil law) before formation of Israel under Moses, and they were never asked to go out of Israel to implement the Mosaic civil law, and they were coming Messiah and radical things to come. So, no surprises. Please note, Jesus was a Jew, and so are all the disciples and early followers who established the early church (with few exceptions). Jeremiah 31:31: " “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt". The NT of course explains all this, all the more.
>> it is more problematic for you to claim that this god could not formulate laws that were eternal
Not quite true. There is the universal, permanent moral law of God, which is reflected from the very nature of God. It goes beyond and above any external law anyone can make. So, it is not just murder, but hate itself. Not just adultery, but illegitimate lust itself etc. The civil/criminal laws can only regulate the external, but God's moral Law goes much beyond that, and it goes into the heart/mind. Jesus summed up the entire Law in Matthew 22:37-40 as : "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul ... Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”. The OT/NT writers also make clear, the permanence of the new covenant.
>> Luke 23:34, he says, “Forgive them god for they know not what they do.” But in Mark 15:34 .. “God, god, why have you abandoned me?” Now he couldn't have stated both.
While on the cross, Jesus is quoted as saying seven statements, including two of the above. In Mark 15:34, Jesus was quoting from the Old Testament, Psalm 22, which is one of the Messianic Psalm which the Jews are familiar with. Jesus was drawing attention to it, to show the fulfillment of the Messianic psalm in his crucifixion. The Psalm starts with "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", and goes on "All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment" (v17, 18). "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him (v27) "They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!" (v31)
You just repeat the bogus claims made by Craig without trying to address the refutations. So, let me repeat in detail one last time hoping that you would value the truth more than the Christian fiction. Craig’s claim that 99% of the NT is settled is not only false but also absurd. The books that became part of the NT themselves grew over centuries. The earliest stratum was known as the Quelle, in itself made up of multiple layers: Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. The scholarly researches of the Jesus Seminar have shown that less than 19% of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the NT were probably original and the rest were probably added over the next few centuries. All Craig displays is the Christian propensity to shamelessly lie in the justifiable hope that his Christian followers are gullible.Delete
The manuscript variations are not insignificant as you ignorantly believe. Some of the central Christian beliefs rely upon those, and Ehrman gives a detailed account. One such discussion is about Erasmus’ editio princeps, which is the basis for the KJV. Erasmus’s mss didn’t contain one key passage of the Johannine comma (1 John 5:7-8) which is the direct basis for the Christian claims of trinity. This resulted in a huge controversy and a defamation campaign against Erasmus, who agreed to reinsert it if a Greek mss was produced. One such mss was produced (fabricated) in the 16th century specifically for the purpose! Not only the Johannine comma, but also the episode of the woman taken into adultery, the last 12 verses of Mark , etc., are some other examples of verses just not found in any old Greek mss but fabricated by the Christian holy forgery mill much later. Ehrman discusses this and other details – see for example Misquoting Jesus, pp. 80-83. Just to sum up, read Ehrman to get informed instead of searching in Google and repeating the lies propagated by the likes of Craig.
In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus is referring to Leviticus 19:18, and not to the Qumran scrolls. In fact, the Qumran scrolls did not divide the world into believers and enemies. So, it is very dishonest to invoke QS when I demand evidence of a single variant reading of the Leviticus verse. Take up my challenge and produce one such variant reading since what I have stated is damning and proves that Jesus was an unscrupulous liar. Now your claim that the Jews were criticizing Jesus is false. Early Jewish critics dismissed Jesus as a fake, and instead brought up the fact that he was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier and the adulteress Mary. They did not accord any value to his teachings (which were in any case the rants of a mental patient).
You are dancing in circles with fantastic phrases such as moral law etc. Show me anywhere in the OT where it is stated that any law is time-bound. The usual lies of Christian apologists are no substitute for facts. Bluntly put, the OT laws were eternal according to the Jews and Jesus said that every word of it must be fulfilled but violated it himself.
Luke 23:34 vs. Mark 15:34: Sure, Jesus is supposedly reciting the psalms but that still does not change the fact that the 2 passages are contradictory and one of them is the lamentation of a terrified fool on the verge of his death as textual criticism has shown.
>> Craig’s claim that 99% of the NT is settled is not only false but also absurd.Delete
This is not even a conservative vs liberal issue. All well recognized scholars of NT textual criticism pretty much agree to the claim that very few words are is in dispute. One of them is Bruce Metzger, considered the greatest manuscript scholar (and teacher of Bart Ehrman). Look at what Bart Ehrman says: http://www.crossexamined.org/blog/?p=157 . Yes, there are a couple of larger text portions in the variants, which you referred, which I responded below.
>> The books that became part of the NT themselves grew over centuries.
There is always a time period when the believers/community begins to treat writings as scripture, and 'canonize'. The NT writers did not title their writings as "scripture". Some writings are immediately taken as canon, some bit later. That’s a normal process.
>> The scholarly researches of the Jesus Seminar have shown that less than 19% ..
You will have to look at the methodology by the group. For example, the Jesus Seminar begins with the philosophical presupposition that there cannot be miracles, no prophecies, no uniqueness about Jesus etc. They further make assumption that every gospel writer must have 'necessarily' updated/changed/altered things to fit to his own setting and to his audience. So, all personal claims of Jesus to be the unique Son of God, the absolute revelation of God, prophecies, predictions about his voluntary giving up his life, claims of fulfillment of OT/Messianic prophecies, incidents of miracles, resurrection etc all simply declared unauthentic based on the philosophical presuppositions!
>> key passage of the Johannine comma (1 John 5:7-8) which is the direct basis for the Christian claims of trinity
Most scholars agree that the Johannine comma (1 John 5:7-8) is probably not there in the original, and hence it is omitted in all modern translations (and explained in the foot notes). Though this is found in later manuscripts of Latin (which was the reason Erasmus was asked about this), but it is not there in any Greek manuscript before the fourteenth century. However, this verse is not the only basis for Trinity. All through the NT, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are used both interchangeably as God, and yet to be in communication/communion. (http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-text-triadic.htm). Also alluded to in the OT too (http://www.christianthinktank.com/trin01.html). None of the doctrines are dependant on one passage or one author. They permeate across OT/NT.
>> last 12 verses of Mark
The different endings of Mark is a matter of much debate. Chapter 16:8 ends so abruptly that no one believes that it is the actual ending, but there is no unanimity on whether the longer ending version is the correct one. Some scholars just assume that the actual ending may have been lost. Some others make a case that the longer ending is probable (the quoting of church fathers before the first greek mss has the long ending; the translations of aramaic, old latin, gothic, all done before the first available greek manuscript have the longer ending - so a case can be made for longer ending, but again, there is nothing in it which is not made elsewhere too.
>> I demand evidence of a single variant reading of the Leviticus verse.
I did not make that claim. I only said that hating enemies must have been a theme in various speeches/writing etc (in general) and I have shown possible examples.
>> Show me anywhere in the OT where it is stated that any law is time-bound
I already showed you with example of Jeremiah 31:31.
>> Luke 23:34 vs. Mark 15:34: Sure, Jesus is supposedly reciting the psalms but that still does not change the fact that the 2 passages are contradictory
What’s the contradiction between praying for those doing the crucifixion and claiming Messianic fulfillment by citing Psalm 22 (which includes, being the sacrifice, suffering, death and resurrection).
Analyzing the Bible in detail and refuting Bible thumpers like Sunil may have its benefits, but as I said earlier theirs is a full time occupation and paid and they can wear us out. This is not even taking into account that lying and deceiving is innate to Christians in their plan to gain more converts.
There are easier and simpler ways of refuting Christianity.
1. Judge Christianity by the actions of its adherents. That is what counts.
2. Look at Christian history... it is full of genocide, ethnic cleansing and killings of natives and non christians. The inspiration is directly from the Christian god and the bible. Christians leave a trail of death and destruction wherever they go. This is a incontrovertible fact.
3. There is not even one example of an exemplary Christian society, now or in the past. All in all Christianity is a shining example of evil.
I believe being different is a monumental work that each and every Hindu, and non westerner should read.ReplyDelete
When it comes to dealing with Christians and exposing their doublespeak .. however there are many more simpler ways of doing it.
Eg Just ask a Christian if it is true that the Bible/Jesus/Church/Christianity condemns non believers into eternal hell and suffering and ask for a yes and no answer. That should nail all their love-speak.
A major problem though is that their propensity to lie and deceive is limitless and they will will say whatever suits the occasion and their needs. Christianity is beyond the pale of dharma as we know it.
I don't think we are here to criticize Christianity or belittle it. They can have their religion as long as they don't disturb others. We are merely asking for a Mutual Respect that is all.