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Till the arrival of the Europeans, the term 'Hindu' had a geographical significance and referred to the people who lived around the river Indus. It was the Europeans who coined the word 'Hinduism' to denote all the Indian religions except Muslims, Jains, and Buddhists, and the word Hindu was erroneously used for those following the religions and worship under Hinduism. When one studies Hinduism there is much confusion, but, when we systematically study the development of religion and worship in India, historically, there is clarity. Scholars define that while worship is universal, a religion requires literature, philosophy or theology. Before Christ, only two religion existed in India, and they were Buddhism and Jainism. The worships could be broadly classified as Dravidian worship which is evidenced from the Indus Valley civilization and Vedic worship of the Aryans. Of all the religions and worships before Christ, we find that Buddhism was the dominant religion followed by masses. It was an ethical religion with strong compassion for all creation. However, there was no room for God in this religion and scholars indicate that the heart of man was empty and hungry for God. Then in the 1st c AD when the Gospel of Jesus Christ entered the land of India through the apostle Thomas and other apostles, early Indian Christianity developed as Saivism and Vaishnavism. Under the influence of early Indian Christianity, Buddhism then split in to Hinayana, the original form and Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism did absorb Christian concepts from Christianity - belief in a Bodhisattva or divine savior, Buddha statues with nail piercings, etc. Early Indian Christianity - Saivism and Vaishnavism was then affected by monism which developed after 8th c AD. All religious thought can be classified into two distinct mutually exclusive classes – Monotheism and Monism. The school of Monotheism teaches that there is One God, the creator of all things including man. However, man having sinned is separated from God, and, God provides a unique Way of Salvation to man to restore his/her relationship back to God. The school of Monism teaches that there is only one reality or thing or substance; everything else is ‘maya’ or illusion. If we call this ‘one thing’ God, then man becomes God since there cannot be God and man (two things or dualism). So in the school of monism, we become God! The cycle of birth or reincarnation is the process/vehicle through which man unites into God. Monism teaches that the mind awakes or dreaming moves though maya (illusion) and only nonduality is the final truth. A key underlying practice is to 'tap' into that reality or god within oneself by meditation. In India, this philosophy historically began with the 7th-century thinker Gaudapada and it was further developed by Adi Sankara into a philosophy called Advaita after 8th c AD. Advaita claims that this truth is concealed by the ignorance of illusion. Advaita teaches that there is no becoming either of a thing by itself or out of some other thing. It teaches that there is no individual self or soul (jiva), only the atman (all-soul). Individuals may be temporarily delineated just as the space in a jar delineates a part of main space. When the jar is broken, the individual space becomes once more part of the main space. Monism corrupted early Indian Christianity, Saivism and Vaishnavism, leading it into Pantheism - millions of gods as seen in India today. Hence, a Hindu to realize the Truth needs to come to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
John 3.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Those who practice Hinduism do not believe Jesus Christ is God, came in the flesh or is the Way, the Truth and the Life. This rebellion against Jesus Christ and who He is, has condemned the entire religion...all that remains is the judgment. Hinduism is a religions based on lies, rebellion and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, and that salvation is only obtained through everything that is opposite to Hinduism. Surrenderedness, submission, mortification of the flesh all describe the life of the Christian. Hinduism along with most religions focus on self. Jesus commands us to focus on others. The Moral Law of God encapsulated in the Ten Commandments condemns you with the reality that you cannot be good enough to obtain salvation. No matter how many works you do in the flesh, you can never do enough to earn your place in heaven. Only the perfect work of Christ Jesus on the cross can you be saved. Hinduism gives its followers a false sense of security. Kind of like throwing someone a life-ring made of lead. The prophesies of the Bible have been proven to be perfectly true. Jesus Christ has been witnessed, both dead and alive by many. The Bible has withstood the numerous tests and attacks against it. You are the thief on the cross. You can either look to your own power and cleverness to save you, or you can turn to the Man hanging on the cross. When the day comes, when the sovereign God of the universe stops your heart, and calls you home, there will be no second chance. There will be no reset button...no back door. Reincarnation will not save you. Nor will your many works. You will stand before God condemned, guilty and sentenced to hell forever...unless you throw yourself at the feet of the dying Saviour and beg for forgiveness.
Why an Hindi should consider becoming a Christian: Hinduism is a religion and religion has done more harm than good in our society. Christianity is NOT a religion, it is the lifestyle of Christ. Religion is man's attempt to connect with God (sometimes through gods) while Christianity is God's attempt to connect with man through Christ. Religion teaches me to fear God with timidity, Christianity teaches me to fear God in love and obedience to His commands. Religion tells me to worship the Lord so that I can ward off evil, but Christianity tells me to worship the Lord because that's why I am created. Religion says I should put God's laws and commands in my head, Christianity says I should have God's Word engrafted in my heart and live by it. Religion tells me that salvation is the work of man, but Christianity makes me to realise that salvation is the work of God in man, given by grace.
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