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Monday, October 30, 2006

The most criticized book

by Eric

Along with about 60 of my senior students from the Bible classes that I teach at a private Christian high school, I recently traveled to three different religious venues for educational visits. We visited a conservative Jewish synagogue, a Hare Krishna temple, and an Islamic mosque, spending two hours at each venue. We had visited the Mormon Battalion Center in Old Town, San Diego several weeks before.

While driving home after the Sunday afternoon mosque visit, I suddenly realized how the groundwork for all four faiths was the same. This commonality goes beyond the fact that all three deny that Jesus was God in the flesh, that they think justification before God requires effort on our part to achieve, or that they teach how a person must belong to their faith in order to get the best God has to offer.

Let me give you some hints by providing you with real quotes of these leaders:

Mormon: “We believe it’s true, but we can’t be sure it’s translated correctly.”

Jew: “It can’t be trusted historically. I believe in its spiritual nature, but I’m not foolish enough to believe in stories like the Creation account [the rabbi is an Evolutionist] or Noah.”

Devotee: “Christian leaders took the word reincarnation out of it at the Council of Constantinople in AD 550.”

Muslim: “Its stories about Jesus were written so late that we can’t be sure they are really true. In addition, Paul so tainted it with his personal philosophy.”

Can you guess what the “it” was? Were they talking about the Book of Mormon? The Talmud? The Bhagavad-Gita? The Qur’an? Guess again. In fact, all four spiritual leaders found time in their lectures to criticize the Bible and the lack of reliability they said it had. What is strange is that three of the four men (the Mormon, Jew, and Muslim) made a special point to tell the students how much they like the Bible!

Fortunately, our students have been well grounded on the pertinent issues surrounding the transmission of the biblical text. When I politely corrected the Krishna devotee about his facts and explained how it would have been impossible to have taken reincarnation out of the biblical text in AD 550 since we possess complete copies of the Bible that were copied several hundred centuries earlier, he fumbled around before finally admitting, “Well, I’m no expert on the Bible.”

I felt like saying, “No, sir, you’re not, but maybe you ought to do a little more study before stepping out on a limb and making statements to my students that have no basis in fact.” As for me, I am willing to put the Bible next to any of these religions’ writings, none of which could stand up to the historical/critical tests like the Bible. After all, it is the B-I-B-L-E, and that’s the book for me!

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21 Comments:

  • At October 31, 2006 2:50 AM, Blogger multisubj yb said…

    May like to see criticism on Bhagavad Gita: www.bhagavadgitayb.blogspot.com

     
  • At October 31, 2006 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Being a leader of your faith I'm sure you can appreciate that not every comment from every person you speak to is going to represent the overall consensus of the scripture - people are at different stages in their spiritual education and development.

    What is important about Krishna Consciousness is that is is not a religion, but a spiritual paradigm. There is no request to leave Christianity, Islam or any other faith but simply to enhance the principals leading to a greater love of God.

    As Srila Prabhupada the founder of the Hare Krishna movement said "judge by results". By looking at the Krishna Consciousness movement you will find moral people who are respectiful of other traditions while completely dedicated to God. These people pray for no less than 2 hours each day and spend the rest of their time absorbed in work for the benefit of others.

    Considering that the Bhagavad Gita can be dated at 5,000 years old and is understood to be considerably older than that in terms of its philosophy then it should be respected as the authentic spiritual tradition it is.

     
  • At October 31, 2006 6:00 PM, Blogger Eric Johnson said…

    As far as the Hare Krishna tradition is concerned, I can appreciate the amount of time and energy that the devotees give to their faith. This certainly wasn't questioned in the blog entry that I posted. However, the point of the entry was that if the Bible is the true book of God, and we do have God's Word for us today, then Krishna consciousness is just a pagan idea with no reality in truth. The devotee will need to criticize the Bible in order to make his/her faith legitimate, and this is exactly what the speaker did in this session to my students. But to say that the idea of reincarnation was somehow taken out of the Bible at the "Council of Constantinople" in AD 550 does not solve the problem for him, because we utilize manuscripts from much earlier than this time. How did they get the word out of manuscript that were several hundred years earlier? How did they add in Hebrews 9:27 and 2 Cor. 6:2 in documents we have from several hundred hearler earlier? I find it fascinating that Mormons and Krishna devotees alike have to resort to criticizing the Bible in order to make their own faith stand up.

     
  • At November 01, 2006 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for your intelligent reply. On behalf of that person who used the Bible in that way I apologise. It is in no way our process to misquote other scripture. We have two ways of proceeding - simply sticking with our own scripture (which is without question considerably older than the bible) or else praising the instruction of scripture such as the bible and encouraging followers to TRULY practice what it contains and not just put it on a shelf.

    A simple study of the philosophy of Krsna consciousness is enough to inspire any person, especially Christian. Our principle is through prayer and our interaction with one another as people to fully dedicate our lives to seeing the single loving person that is God as being in the centre of our everyday life. No monothiestic faith could have a difficulty with this. Although faiths like Christianity and Islam are new on the scene when compared to our texts we do not seek in any way to criticise them. Istead to the degree that these scriptures follow the version of Krishna Consciousness, of full devotion to a monotheistic God and a life of prayer and nonviolence, we encourage those followers in their faith. Christianity is such a faith.

    Coversely ,however, to suggest that followers of what is an older and vastly more detailed faith than any other in this world, including a vastly detailed philosophy and science should convert to a particular religion is insulting. Most learned Christians never make such a claim when we engage in interfaith gatherings or talk to senior clergy. This approach is normally left to the new on the scene type follower.

     
  • At November 01, 2006 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anonymous said These people pray for no less than 2 hours each day and spend the rest of their time absorbed in work for the benefit of others.

    Whats your point here? The bible tells us in 1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

    We could argue if we really do this we pray more than you do. Then we are not justifed by praying a lot, read, Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
    Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
    Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


    Were not justifed by praying a lot.

    Then Anonymous said Considering that the Bhagavad Gita can be dated at 5,000 years old and is understood to be considerably older than that in terms of its philosophy then it should be respected as the authentic spiritual tradition it is.

    Just because something is old and has been around a long time simply does not make it true. We read in the Bible, Satan was created before man/Humans were. What does the Bible say about Satan?

    It says, he is the Father of all lies, he was/is a murder from the very begining, Does old equel good/or truth? Not if you look at satan being older than us. Rick b

     
  • At November 02, 2006 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was in agreement with you until you replied to my previous post with two comments:

    You said: "if the Bible is the true book of God, and we do have God's Word for us today, then Krishna consciousness is just a pagan idea with no reality in truth."

    I assume (tell me if I am wrong) that you accept the Bible, meaning that you do feel the way you expressed above about Krishna Consciousness.

    Firstly I would say to you that the sole purpose of the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible are the same, so arguing is pointless. Love of God is the mutual goal.

    Secondly I would say that if you want to push the issue, and you MUST say that one belief is WRONG and another RIGHT (which seems very narrow minded as most religions have so much overlap) then considering Krishna Consciousness is older, VASTLY more scientific, VASTLY more philosophical providing an immensely detailed explanation of the workings of the universe, a detailed description of who God is as a person, what he likes and doesn't like and the practice of Krishna Consciousness leads it's followers to be happy - it is clear Krishna Consciousness is the winner. If you want to talk about what religion proclaims itself to be right then Krishna Consciousness does that too and it did it before all other religions/spiritual traditions:

    “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” Bhagavad Gita 18:66

    You have already talked about age not being relevant – take out of the mix if you want although personally I think authentic religion should always exist, and not just begin at some time. But even leaving that aside the rest is obvious.

    You said: "The devotee will need to criticize the Bible in order to make his/her faith legitimate"

    I have a great deal of respect for the Bible, as its conclusion is the same as the conclusion of our own scripture - to love and serve God. I wish you would show our scripture the same level of respect. A devotee certainly has no need to knock the Bible in order to spread Krishna Consciousness, nor have I ever heard that happen before you mentioned it. It is definitely not the way to proceed. Considering our philosophy is so vast, our faith is so deep, we have no need to dip into anything other than our own scripture. It strikes me that the preaching we have already talked about on the part of the person in the temple you visited was a bungled attempt to reach out and identify with you. He should do his research first or just stick with what he knows.

     
  • At November 02, 2006 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To "anonymous"... just a couple of comments. First, I didn't write the second post, but that's OK. Second, here's my problem with Krishna Consciousness: It contradicts the Bible. You say that you don't want to criticize the Bible, but unfortunately, the Bible contradicts Krishna consciousness.

    In addition, Krishna is not God. There is no such entity as Krishna, in fact. The Gita tells a fictional story, as I don't believe these tales are historical by any stretch of the imagination. I don't believe Caitayna from the 15th century was God incarnate. In fact, Krishna is an Eastern mythical creation, just as mythical as Vishnu, Brahman, and the pantheon of deities propounded in Hindu thought.

    My friend, the Bible contradicts your scripture because it says Jesus, not Krishna, is God Himself. He is to not only be believed in but worshipped as well. There is no other way to reach God--not through our devotion, works, etc. The only way to have a relationship with God is through a sincere faith in Jesus. Acts 4:12, 16:31, and Romans 10:9,10 do not say that chanting the Maha-Mantra almost 2,000 times a day, abstaining from meat, refraining from gambling, not intaking caffeine, etc. will ever get us into relationship with God. Rather, it's only through the mercy of the God of the Bible that can accomplish this task.

    Finally, the Bible contradicts the very idea of karma and reincarnation, which are major parts of your belief system. Here's one passage to consider on this topic: Jesus was asked about a man who was born blind. "Was it his fault or his parent's fault?" he was asked. Neither, he said, but rather he was born blind in order to bring glory to God. What a perfect opportunity to set the record on reincarnation straight, but instead, Jesus contradicts this basic Eastern teaching. No, it's only this life we have, as after this life comes the judgment (2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 9:27).

    No matter how hard you try, my dear Devotee, you will not be able to reach God through your efforts unless you have an authentic relationship with the Jesus of the Bible. My prayer is that your eyes will be opened and your faithful dedication to Krishna can become true devotion to the true God of this universe.

     
  • At November 03, 2006 5:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My simple question to you, which you didn't answer: Krishna Consciousness professes to be correct. Christianity professes to be correct. If I have to choose one why would I choose Christianity over Krishna Consciousness? No matter what way you look at it it would seem the vastly more scientific process with great philosophical depth, that describes the nature of God and how to reach Him is more likely to be correct. Krishna Consciousness is all this. Please deal with this question and this only, as this is the fundamental one. My prayer for you is that you continue your devotion and reach God in every way but in doing so avoid negating the devotion of others as this is an impediment to spiritual life.

    I will sign off as Joseph for clarity - please use a name so there is less confusion!

     
  • At November 06, 2006 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Still waiting for a reply - it's a simple question raised by your previous comments. If you do not answer I can only understand it is because you have not got one.

    Joseph

     
  • At November 09, 2006 9:36 PM, Blogger Eric Johnson said…

    Anonymous wrote: "Krishna Consciousness professes to be correct. Christianity professes to be correct. If I have to choose one why would I choose Christianity over Krishna Consciousness?"

    My response: Because Christianity is true and Krishna Consciousness is not. This seems simple enough.

     
  • At November 10, 2006 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And you are basing that on what? I'm afraid that opinions or assertions that just because someone thinks or said something it's true are not enough to criticise a serious spiritual science or establish your own position. If you must put down the activities of others you had better have good reasons to do so and not just be basing your arguments on sentimentality. Please provide those reasons or else admit that you have no basis for your argument.

     
  • At November 10, 2006 7:40 PM, Blogger Eric Johnson said…

    Obviously, this is not going to be a place to have an extended debate, but you ask for a few pieces of evidence. Allow me to provide a point or two.

    I believe that the Bible is accurate from a historical point of view. The Vedas and Bhagavad Gita have no such comparison. For instance:
    a) There was a man named Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago. The evidence that there was such a man is so convincing that even hardened skeptics agree he lived. However, the fanciful stories of Krishna/Vishnu are rejected by all but the Hindu faithful, of which Devotees are tied in (even though even traditional Hindus reject your brand of religion).
    b) This Jesus was really killed and placed in a tomb, everyone agrees. However, the question is, what happened to his body? Did it swoon? Did the disciples steal it? Was there a giant hallucination by all the disciples? These silly theories have shown to be lacking in many publications. This fact alone has caused many to become Christ followers, and one apostle said the evidence for him was undeniable (1 Cor. 15:1ff).
    c) The archaeological evidence of the Bible is far and away superior to the evidence for Krishna and his fictional accounts. For instance, scholars once doubted anything resembling Hezekiah's tunnel (circa 7th century BC) as recorded in the Old Testament ever was built. That is, until the late 19th century when such a tunnel was discovered outside the old city of Jerusalem. Or, concerning the reliability of the Bible, a find as the Dead Sea Scrolls shows that our Old Testament was accurate, as the discovery bridged some 1,000 years. It helped show that the Bible was not something that evolved over time, that what we had was really what it was.

    You know, we could go on and on, and I could show you abundance of evidence why my faith in Jesus is much more rational than your faith in Krishna, Lord Chitanyna, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, or any of your other leaders since 1965. You probably wouldn't buy it. So let me leave you with this, and I think we will end this discussion, as I have no illusions that you will be convinced. Let's say you're correct. Great, we both move on to the next reincarnated life, and hopefully I'll eventually come to my senses after having to undergo a thousand, 100,000, or maybe even a million more painful birth cycles. Most likely you won't make it there either for a few thousand cycles or more, so we're both pretty much in the same place. However, if Christianity is true and Jesus is the One whom I claim He is--the Messiah, the only one through whom eternal salvation comes--then an eternity with Him is in my future. For you, my friend, there is separation from God forever and ever. This separation will be quite painful, my Lord says, and we were commanded to avoid this choice at all costs.

    My choice seems much more secure than yours. Perhaps this will give you reason to pause and consider the ramifications that are yours if Prabhupada was a Hinduistic fraud, since all of your marbles are betting he was telling the truth. As for me, I'll rest in my understanding of Jesus and the faith I have in His life and resurrection. And I am joined by millions and millions of fellow believers, yet only thousands have ever discovered your view, since I doubt you would hold that the polytheistic Hindus have found real truth. Thus, if you are correct, it seems like there's a lot of us who are wrong. And we'll leave it like that. I pray you could be awakened to the Truth.

     
  • At November 11, 2006 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I noticed many people who replied to this post that are not christian(including Mormonism, which is not christian)has kept stressing the fact that their books are older.
    the bible maybe made more later than the other books but I thought in all off the religions, age does not matter?

     
  • At November 12, 2006 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is unfortunately ironic that the original post was about criticism, and as we do not criticise Christianity, that you have ended up doing nothing but criticising Krishna Consciousness.

    What is even more alarming is that you claim to be a teacher. The factual accuracy of what you have said about Krishna Consciousness and inferred in Hinduism in general is shocking! You clearly have no background in this area at all and since I happily conceded that we should not talk about the Bible with no knowledge of it, you must agree with this as being only right! Admit your ignorance to our practices and profess you own faith, without unfounded critical comparison, to your heart's content but do not speak so dogmatically about that which you do not know.

    Krishna Consciousness is an aspect of Vedic literature and society. This has been historically dated back well over 6,000 years and we understand it has existed for many millions of years, this age of the universe being backed up by science. Vedic literature is vast making the Bible appear like a pamphlet in comparison to its contents, although we believe a very important pamphlet so this is a fact not a criticism.

    Krishna Consciousness has huge support from the greater Hindu community, saying otherwise was another unbelievable untruth from your part. Hinduism is a collection of many different religions: theistic, polytheistic, impersonal, personal and even atheistic philosophies presented by God Himself as He has given us free will to act as we choose by His kindness, this is why we have the ability to choose bad over good. He has however also given us a handbook for the universe we find ourselves in which is the Vedic literature. It is deeply philosophical and very scientific and mathematical. By the way the initial Vedas were all composed at exactly the same time by God Himself, you are thinking of other works which have been published since by contemporary followers.

    The Vedas are there to guide us in our use of freewill to achieve anything in life, however with morality and it is accepted that the ultimate goal is loving service of God. It is established that ultimately our goal is to return to God and be with Him directly, not in a heaven which is a place of material enjoyment, but in the spiritual world which is a place where we all serve God.

    This can not be done without the mercy of God Himself, and in this way devotees aim to praise God through prayer 24 hours a day, absorbing themselves in Him. Krishna Consciousness can be achieved in one lifetime leaving your discussion of reincarnation irrelevant.

    This is our process. It is what we do. Many followers of Krishna Consciousness were devoted Christians with a deep faith in Lord Jesus who were passionate about prayer and through this were led to seek more depth and understanding as to why suffering happened in the world and ultimately as their passion for God grew they wanted to understand more about Him - how can you truly love someone without knowing of them in person. Through this they were led to Krishna Consciousness. To say that Krishna does not exist is to say that God does not exist as the word Krishna simply means 'the all attractive person'. A person is attractive if they have qualities such as fame and beauty; God has all of these, so therefore the word Krishna is a beautiful glorification of Him. God is unlimited and has many names in different traditions.

    You raised numbers as being an issue - don't count the Christians, Hindus, Hare Krishnas etc. - count the sincere lovers of God. Count how many hours a day these people pray, how humble they are in their dealings with others, how they behave in a non-violent and thoughtful way to all others, how often they visit their place of worship. This is a figure which is valuable.

    I seek not to argue with you. If you are achieving perfect love of God in the process you are following then I wish you all the best with it. But I do implore you not to be close-minded enough to think that the unlimited all-loving God who created and maintains all that is exists only in the modern teaching of Christianity and that something unpleasant awaits those who are deeply devoted to Him in other faiths - this is a contradiction of the nature of God as is described in virtually all faiths. As an all-loving person it is our devotion to Him that He accepts and not our religion, as long as we are choosing our religion based on our genuine use of intelligence (which of course He has given us) to get closer to Him. Following through from this the criticism of religion has no part in love of God, what to speak of criticism of faiths that are older, more scientific, have a deeper philosophy, more inclusive and describe the nature of God in considerable detail.

    Joseph

     
  • At November 12, 2006 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Joseph You said
    Many followers of Krishna Consciousness were devoted Christians with a deep faith in Lord Jesus who were passionate about prayer and through this were led to seek more depth and understanding as to why suffering happened in the world and ultimately as their passion for God grew they wanted to understand more about Him - how can you truly love someone without knowing of them in person.


    A;; any one needs to do is read their Bible, It tells us in genisis about the fall and how suffering came to be. Plus Gods word tells us all we need to know about him.

    Joseph said
    To say that Krishna does not exist is to say that God does not exist as the word Krishna simply means 'the all attractive person'. A person is attractive if they have qualities such as fame and beauty; God has all of these, so therefore the word Krishna is a beautiful glorification of Him.


    According to the Bible, Jesus is God, and the Bible says about Jesus, he had no form or comlieness that we would desire him. In other words Joseph, he was not very Good looking, the people, including the religious leaders could not pick him out in the crowd.

    Josepf said
    You raised numbers as being an issue - don't count the Christians, Hindus, Hare Krishnas etc. - count the sincere lovers of God. Count how many hours a day these people pray, how humble they are in their dealings with others, how they behave in a non-violent and thoughtful way to all others, how often they visit their place of worship. This is a figure which is valuable.


    You must have purposly ignored the verses I posted from the Bible from Luke 18:10-14 about praying and not being Justifed by our long prayers and many words.


    As to visting the place of worship, this means what? The Jews temple was destoryed and Jesus said it would happen, Does this mean, because they dont have a temple there not as holy as someone who has a place of worship?. Rick b

     
  • At November 14, 2006 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rick said: "any one needs to do is read their Bible, It tells us in genisis about the fall and how suffering came to be. Plus Gods word tells us all we need to know about him."

    It doesn't explain the science of exactly why each action happens and go into volumes about the details of how this occurs. God Himself provides us with this information as a basis to build our faith that we are indeed following what is true.

    Rick said: "According to the Bible, Jesus is God, and the Bible says about Jesus, he had no form or comlieness that we would desire him. In other words Joseph, he was not very Good looking, the people, including the religious leaders could not pick him out in the crowd."

    That's a little harsh, I like Lord Jesus' look :-) But yes I never questioned this. God is all things - otherwise He could not possibly be God. All is in him. So therefore he is the most attractive person. We have so much description of Krishna and he is described as being very attractive, but bare in mind attractiveness is not just physical beauty - the Vedas list beauty, fame, wealth, renunciation etc and being forms of attractiveness. As God is in full possession of all of these he is the most attractive.

    Indeed there are many names for God, in accordance with His different aspects. The coming of Lord Jesus is even foretold in the Vedic literature (rather interestingly a few thousand years before he actually came and this is an accepted fact) and he is described as the messiah and accepted as God Himself, coming in the form we are aware of. God is unlimited and as such comes in different forms for different purposes.

    Rick said: "You must have purposely ignored the verses I posted from the Bible from Luke 18:10-14 about praying and not being justified by our long prayers and many words."

    No it's about our devotion and remembering God. Prayer is the best way to achieve this.

    Joseph

     
  • At November 14, 2006 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rick said: "any one needs to do is read their Bible, It tells us in genisis about the fall and how suffering came to be. Plus Gods word tells us all we need to know about him."

    It doesn't explain the science of exactly why each action happens and go into volumes about the details of how this occurs.

    Rick said: "According to the Bible, Jesus is God, and the Bible says about Jesus, he had no form or comlieness that we would desire him. In other words Joseph, he was not very Good looking, the people, including the religious leaders could not pick him out in the crowd."

    That's a little harsh :-) But yes I never questioned this. God is all things - otherwise He could not possible be God. All is in him. So therefore he is the most attractive person.

    We have so much description of Krishna and he is described as being very attractive, but bare in mind attractiveness is not just physical beauty - the Vedas list beauty, fame, wealth, renunciation etc and being forms of attractiveness. As God is in full possession of all of these he is the most attractive. Indeed there are many names for God, in accordance with His different aspects.

    The coming of Lord Jesus is even foretold in the Vedic literature (rather interestingly a few thousand years before he actually came and this is an accepted fact) and he is described as the messiah and accepted as God Himself in a particular form. God is unlimited and as such comes in different forms for different purposes.

    Rick said: "You must have purposely ignored the verses I posted from the Bible from Luke 18:10-14 about praying and not being justified by our long prayers and many words."

    No it's about our devotion and remembering God. Prayer is the best way to achieve this.

    Joseph

     
  • At November 14, 2006 9:22 PM, Blogger Eric Johnson said…

    Joseph, you say earlier that "we do not criticize Christianity," yet you continually make the point how superior the Gita is over the Bible. In essence, wouldn't this be the same thing as "criticism"? Or will you deny that saying something is better is observation, not criticism. Because, the way I see it, your inferior view of the Bible is actually criticism to me.

     
  • At November 15, 2006 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Firstly I am responding to *your* criticism of Krishna Consciousness, and therefore of the Bhagavad Gita.

    Secondly, I never said the Bhagavad Gita was better than the Bible. I said that the Vedic literature, which includes the Bhagavad Gita, contains vast volumes of information and therefore provides a greater level of detail about the nature of God.

    This is not meant as criticism, as I fully support those who wish to study the Bible and follow its instructions. It is however meant as a demonstration of how illogical it is to say that something that contains more detail is less valuable than something which contains less detail.

    Joseph

     
  • At November 16, 2006 11:44 AM, Blogger Eric Johnson said…

    Joseph, do you believe the Bible is a good book? If so, why does it criticize reincarnation rather than accept it. After all, Hebrews 9:27 and 2 Cor. 6:2 say that there is only one life to live, and then comes the judgment. Or how about Karma? Why does the Bible record Jesus saying that a blind man was not born blind because of karma, whether bad karma coming from himself or his parents, but rather so that God could receive glory. And then he healed him! (which would have been a major faux pax if this man needed to live out his bad karma so he could maybe do better in the next life). In other words, James, how can you say the Bible has anything good to offer when it denies the very existence of a religion like Hare Krishna?

     
  • At November 16, 2006 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Firstly, I am not interested in whether the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita contradict each other or not because you have not established any reason why we should follow the Bible over the Bhagavad Gita and Vedic literature in general and this knowledge is very substantial.

    As for your references:

    1) Hebrews 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment"

    I don’t see how this precludes reincarnation. The wording is very vague with the emphasis on the judgement after, which infers karma – reaction for our actions. Once to die easily meaning after we die. Statements such as John 3:1-5 "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again." make a much stronger argument in the opposite direction.

    B.G. 2:13 clearly states: “As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” Notice the clarity of that statement by God Himself – there is no need to doubt that reincarnation is a fact when it is presented so clearly.

    2) 2 Corinthians 6:2 "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

    I don’t see the relevance of this to your point whatsoever.

    B.G. 8:5 “And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.”

    3) John 9:1–41 "As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him."

    Exactly – no sin was involved at all because this blindness was a benefit. The person either committed appropriate deeds in a previous life to deserve such fortune or was simply receiving a benediction from God.

    S.B. 10:24:13 “It is by the force of karma that a living entity takes birth, and it is by karma alone that he meets his destruction. His happiness, distress, fear and sense of security all arise as the effects of karma.” Once again clear and direct knowledge from God Himself.

    I would need to see clear Biblical statements such as “a person only lives once and is not born again” for my opinion of the Bible to be swayed. As it is I greatly respect it as a very basic but important scripture, and I emphasise once again that I do not mean basic in a negative sense, simply in the sense that there is far more detailed scripture available to us that is the direct word of God and provide more answers than we could even have questions. It makes much more sense to follow the word of God than trying to reach our own conclusions through speculation.

    In any case, we should all be promoting love of God and devotion to Him more than anything else! Reincarnation is an aspect of the science that God shares with us but ultimately it shouldn’t affected how we live each and every day. We should be encouraging each other in our devotion and not trying to find holes in each other’s scripture – doing this will achieve nothing.

    Joseph

     

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