Religion Thread - 6

shiv
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Religion Thread - 6

Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 06:40

The older threads are archived here

http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewforum.php?f=19

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 07:07

The following quote from the old thread sums up some of my thoughts on the "threat" to Hindus

SBajwa wrote:Thanks S.Valkan.

by Kumar
Re: the sikh priest "JS Vedanti", every time I saw his name in the news, I used to wonder whether people realize the inner similarities, especially during the 80s.


People do! but economics do not. Punjab in 80's was never a religious issue., but an economic one. Did you see the current issue over SYL canal between Haryana (Ruled by Congress) and Punjab (Akalis and BJP)?


Assuming that there is a threat from Islamism and evanjihadism it is important to define that threat in terms of where it is occurring and what sort of threat it is.

Making the simplistic assertion that Hindus and their way of life are under threat cannot gel because of at least two reasons, maybe more

1) Hindus are not under threat in many parts of India. They see themselves as perfectly free and moving ahead.

2) Hindus are not brought up to recognize the need or rationale for a jihad or crusade to protect the faith.

The particular Hindus under threat may be "under threat" from economic or other factors that make them susceptible to evanjihadism and Islamism. By assuming that that threat is a religion base one alone - we are reaching the wrong conclusions. We may start selling Hindus Hindu dharma when they want food, education or jobs.

Is it possible at all that the inexorable movement, change and flexibility that Hindu society displays is perceived as "deterioration"?

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 07:14

Here is a good, thinking article - reproduced from the old thread

http://www.india-forum.com/articles/266 ... ditions%3F

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Postby SriKumar » 30 Mar 2007 07:14

This thread's galloping at 1001 mph.
Valkan wrote:Actually the words Anantam and Anandam are identical,- Anantam Eva Anandam.

'Unhappiness' is caused by some limitations imposed upon you.

If only you were not limited by money and resources, you could obtain all the goodies that would make you happy.

If only you were not limited physically by space-time, you could do all the things that would make you happy anywhere anytime.

So, Anantam is Anandam.

Intriguing definition. Am a bit new to this sort of thing but thought I'd ask it anyway. If unhappiness is defined as that which is caused by limitations, the definition seems a bit incomplete IMHO. It does not allude to or say anything about the state of the mind (seems to be an omission, IMHO). I mean it in the sense of the saying: 'I was unhappy I had torn shoes, until I saw a person with no feet'. A person could have 10 million $ and not be happy. On the other hand, there are people with far less who certainly seem happy. Agreed that it is difficult to objectively measure happiness and I cannot supply proof, but would you not agree that there are swamijis/yogis who own nothing and are happy?

Along the same lines, all of us mortals are limited by space-time (unless you happen to be 'Q' of Star Trek :) ); therefore, by the above definition of happiness, mortals can never be happy (not so unless you bring in the issue of (self) expectaction within the definition of happiness). Therefore, would not anadam=anatham require some qualification. (Ducking for cover bigtime!!!)

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Postby ramana » 30 Mar 2007 07:49

India Seminar Comment article Misrepresenting Caste and Race

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 08:09

Excellent stuff - these reflect thoughts that i have had time and again


http://www.india-forum.com/articles/266 ... ditions%3F[/quote]

Again, please do not mistake me. I am neither attacking the swamis nor denigrating the role of Gurus in the Indian traditions. I just want you to start reflecting critically about your own answers and suggest that our problems do not know of easy solutions. We need hard labor today to even make sense of why we need Gurus or who can qualify for this. The Gurus of the twenty-first century world will not be mere 'Sanyasins', who know Sanskrit or have studied the Upanishads all their lives. We need a new breed that is at home in the modern world and has used the best scientific theories in the market place to make the Indian traditions their own. Such is the requirement for keeping our traditions alive and vibrant today.


An irreversibly large numbers of Hindus have taken up the rational thought processes and cold logic of modern science.

Perhaps this appealed to the idol worshipping Hindus precisely because his own tradition (in some remote past) stemmed from cold logic and critical self questioning and analysis.

So you have the modern day Hindu who worships cold science who goes back to his "home life" and asks a question about a chant or a ritual and gets a mumbo-jumbo reply. This has happened to me for 30 years now.

I am myself searching for answers because too many Hindus are unable to say why they are doing what they are doing. The loss of reason and the loss of rationale in the mists of time is a loss that must be stemmed and it can only be stemmed by those of us who miss it.

The vast majority do not miss it and continue to do it "because our elders did it". But while they do it they come under adverse criticism for junk knowledge as illustrated in the article.
Last edited by shiv on 30 Mar 2007 08:12, edited 1 time in total.

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in my own words..contd.

Postby SaiK » 30 Mar 2007 08:11

Gauss's law for protecting Hinduism.

The more fundamental SD becomes core, and gathers mass, the more SD flux flows out. The Cs and Ds are the surface of Hinduism.. hence, if SD can flow through them, we can measure the "SD Charge". ;).

For this, the Cs & Ds must be SD-ized (read anti-EJ-ized theistic-ally)... Give the mass enough force to discharge. Its As and Bs responsibility. The more Cs and Ds are integrated into SD, the more is the SD charge density. The more Cs an Ds discharge SD, they represent divergence. The more the surface (C & D) depends on an axis with SD core (A & B ), the more intense they could magnetize other faiths with SD, and thus have a higher SD gravity.

:wink:

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Excerpt From Emperor Julian's treatise Against the Galileans

Postby G Subramaniam » 30 Mar 2007 08:15

[url]
http://www.subgenius.com/bigfist/hallsc ... esSin.html
[/url]

Julian the Apostate (emporor 361-363 A.D.)
in his polemic "Against the Galileans." He points out that in the first
commandment, JHVH says of himself "I am a jeleous god" but in the tenth
commandment JHVH says "Thou shalt not covet." Covetting equals being
jealous in MY understanding. So the JHVH character has sinned against
himself from the very begining and non-stop ever since

Anyway, as for Julian the Apostate, he defended the old Hellenistic
religion and attempted to counter the spread of Christianity. The
Christians seemed to advance their religion through:

1. being tax-exempt
2. accumalating property of the believers by getting the church named in the will
3. acting like a second or shadow government
4. being extremely intolerant of other religions

All this undermined the ability of the empire to tax the citizens so
that they could pay for mercenaries to defend the empire. If some
little farm owner wanted to avoid taxes, he just deeded the farm to
the local bishop and the bishop took him in as a monk and cared for
him in his old age. The estates of the mediaval churchmen in France
stand as evidence of this erosion of the revenue base.

Thus you get the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Because of
tax evasion by the middle class through the abuses of the Church.

There's other enteresting reading in these books of Julian. He
says that the Christians were like leeches who sucked all the
bad blood from the Hebrew religion and none of the good.
And that the Christians fought to the death amongst themselves
over the proper method of "wailing over the corpse." A reference
to the internicine theological disbutes over nature of Jesus.

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 08:19

shiv wrote: too many Hindus are unable to say why they are doing what they are doing. The loss of reason and the loss of rationale in the mists of time is a loss that must be stemmed and it can only be stemmed by those of us who miss it.

The vast majority do not miss it and continue to do it "because our elders did it". But while they do it they come under adverse criticism for junk knowledge as illustrated in the article.


Continuing from my own post..

With cold logic, science and reason being the mantras worshipped by the Hindu, he has a tendency to reject what he cannot explain on the basis of cold logic and reasoning.

If he, for example, asks someone - why is the food placed in this particular order and served in that order on the plantain leaf at a Hindu ceremonial meal and repeatedly gets a dismissable answer like "it is our tradition" he is likely to reject it as rubbish and relegate to history one more hallmark of Hindu tradition. From the science worshipping viewpoint no tradition can score over the "ulimate and self critical truth" of scientific reason.
Last edited by shiv on 30 Mar 2007 08:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Sanjay M » 30 Mar 2007 08:21

Sikhs Dropping the Turban

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/29/news/turban.php

Personally, I've always felt that ISI deliberately had Taliban wear turbans in order as a fake mimicry of Sikhism. Notice how even the word Taliban is supposed to mean 'student' just like the word 'Sikh'. It's as if ISI was trying to make their own jihadi version of Sikhism, because Sikhs were the only military force successful in pushing northwards to take Kabul. Even the British couldn't do that.

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Excerpts from Jews for Judaism

Postby G Subramaniam » 30 Mar 2007 08:27

[url]http://www.jewsforjudaism.org
[/url]

Proof why Jesus is not the Messiah

He must be a direct male descendant of King David and King Solomon, his son -
"And when your days (David) are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers,
I will set up your seed after you, who shall issue from your bowels, and
I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and
I will make firm the throne of his kingdom forever..." (2 Samuel 7:12 - 13)

The genealogy of the New Testament is inconsistent. While it gives
two accounts of the genealogy of Joseph, it states clearly that he is
not the biological father of Jesus. One of the genealogies is through
Nathan and not Solomon altogether!

--

Question: Who is the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus?



Answer: Now, this answer depends on whether a Christian prefers the Gospel of Matthew
or the Gospel of Luke. Matthew and Luke differ in their respective accounts of Jesus'
genealogy (Matthew 1:1-16, Luke 3:23-38). Luke states: "And Jesus began to be about
thirty years old . . . the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the
son of Levi, the son of Melchi . . . the son of Nathan, the son of David. . . ."
In Matthew, the origin of Joseph is traced back to Solomon, the son of David: ". . .
and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the
father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom
Jesus was born . . ." (Matthew 1:15-16). As a result, Christians have a choice.
They can choose Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, as Luke proposes or
Joseph, the son of Jacob, the son of Matthan, as Matthew supposes

--

The respective Jewish and Christian translations of nash-ku bar (Psalms 2:12) differ
from each other. What is the proper translation?



Answer: The Jewish rendering of Psalms 2:12 states: "Do homage in purity [nash-ku bar],
lest He be angry, and you perish in the way. . . ." The Christian translation of the
Hebrew phrase nash-ku bar is "kiss the son."

The Christian translation is based on a misinterpretation. The meaning of the Hebrew
word bar is "pure" or "clear." Only in Aramaic does it have the meaning of "son."
However, in Aramaic, bar is used only as a construct "son of"
(Proverbs 31:2; Ezra 5:1-2, 6:14), whereas the absolute form of "son" in Aramaic
(which would have to be used in verse 12) is ber'a. Thus, according to the Christian
conception, the verse should have read nash-ku ber'a, "kiss the son," not nash-ku bar,
"kiss the son of." Even though "son" could refer to David in verse 12, it is not the
proper translation.

There is no compelling reason to employ an Aramaism in view of the use of the Hebrew
noun bayn, "son," in verse 7. The phrase is best rendered as, "do homage in purity,"
because kissing is generally an expression of homage, as found, for example,
in 1 Samuel 10:1: "Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it upon his head,
and kissed him." Bar, meaning "purity," occurs in the phrase "pure in heart"
(Psalms 24:4, 73:1).

The intention implied in verse 12 is: with sincerity of heart, acknowledge me,
David, as God's anointed, and thereby avoid incurring God's anger. Thus the Hebrew
phrase nash- ku bar simply means "do homage in purity," and superimposing any other
interpretation will distort the meaning of this psalm.
---

Can you give a reason why Jews say Isaiah 9:6 does not refer to Jesus?



Answer: Christian theologians argue that the name "A wonderful counselor is the
mighty God, the everlasting Father, the ruler of peace" refers to Jesus, who they
allege combined human and divine qualities. They mistakenly believe that such a name
can only be applied to God Himself. Moreover, the Christians incorrectly translate the
verbs in verse 5 in the future tense, instead of the past, as the Hebrew original reads

While admitting that "wonderful counselor" and "ruler of peace" can be applied to a man,
Christian theologians argue that the phrases "mighty God" and "everlasting Father"
cannot be incorporated as part of a man's name. Thus, they contend that Isaiah teaches
that the Messiah has to be not only a man, but God as well. That this entire reasoning
is incorrect may be seen from the name Elihu, "My God is He," which refers to an
ordinary human being (Job 32:1, 1 Samuel 1:l, 1 Chronicles 12:21, 26:7, 27:18).
A similar Christian misunderstanding of Scripture may be seen in their claims revolving
around the name Immanuel, "God is with us." The simple fact is that it is quite common
in the Bible for human beings to be given names that have the purpose of declaring or
reflecting a particular attribute of God, e.g., Eliab, Eliada, Elzaphan, Eliakim, Elisha,
Eleazar, Tavel, Gedaliah.

The fact remains that Jesus did not literally or figuratively fulfill any of
Isaiah's words. A wonderful counselor does not advise his followers that if they have
faith they can be agents of destruction (Matthew 21:19-21; Mark 11:14, 20-23).
A mighty God does not take orders from anyone (Luke2:51, Hebrews 5:8), for no one
is greater than he is (Matthew 12:31-32; John 5:30, 14:28). Moreover, he does not
ask or need to be saved by anyone (Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:42), for he cannot die by
any means (Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:30). He who is called the
Son of God the Father (John 1:18, 3:16) cannot himself be called everlasting Father.
One cannot play simultaneously the role of the son and the Father; it is an obvious
self-contradiction. He who advocates family strife (Matthew 10:34-35, Luke 12:49-53)
and killing enemies (Luke 19:27) cannot be called a ruler of peace.


---

Matthew 2:23 states: And he [Joseph, along with Mary and Jesus] came and resided in
a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled:
"He will be called a Nazarene." I don't find any such prophecy in my Bible. Am I
missing parts of the Bible?



Answer: At no point in the Jewish Scriptures is the Messiah referred to as a Nazarene.
Despite Matthew's statement, there is no prophecy, which mentions that the Messiah
will be an inhabitant of Nazareth. In fact, the town of Nazareth is never mentioned
in the Jewish Bible.
---

Question: If 'almah means "young woman" in Hebrew why did the Jewish scholar who
translated the Book of Isaiah into Greek use a Greek word for "virgin," parthenos?



Answer: The Septuagint is not necessarily a literal translation. Therefore, the use
of parthenos by the Septuagint translator of the Book of Isaiah may have best
represented his interpretive understanding of the physical state of the young woman of
Isaiah 7:14 at the time of the annunciation of the sign. Thus, its use does not
naturally lead to the conclusion that he was also speaking of virginal conception.
In fact, the presence of parthenos as the rendering of 'almah, did not give rise in
any Jewish community of the pre-Christian era to a belief in the virginal
conception of Immanuel

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Historian Edward Gibbon on Xtianity leading to fall of Rome

Postby G Subramaniam » 30 Mar 2007 08:30

[url]http://geocities.com/christprise
[/url]

Historian Gibbon accuses Christianity of destroying the Roman Empire


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sir Edward Gibbon, an historian writing in 1776 The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire describes below:

"After a diligent inquiry, I can discern four principal causes for the ruin of Rome,
which continued to operate in a period of more than a thousand years.
(I) The injuries of time and nature.
(II) The hostile attacks of the barbarians and Christians.
(III) The use and abuse of materials. And
(IV) The domestic quarrels of the Romans."

"As the happiness of a future life is the great object of religion,
we may hear without surprise or scandal that the introduction, or least the abuse,
of Christianity had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire.
The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity;
the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of military spirit
were buried in the cloister. A large portion of public and private wealth were consecrated
to the specious demands of charity and devotion, and the soldiers' pay was lavished on
the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity.
Faith, zeal, curiosity, and more earthly passions of malice and ambition kindled the flame of
theological factions, whose conflicts were sometimes bloody and always implacable;
the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods;
the Roman world was oppressed by a new species of tyranny, and the persecuted sects
became the secret enemies of the country."

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 08:31

Sanjay M wrote:Sikhs Dropping the Turban

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/29/news/turban.php


Is the dropping of turbans by Sikhs a loss?

Similarly, is the dropping of some customs by Hindus to reflect life today a loss?

After all, look at what we ask of Islamists. We ask them to change out of their fossilized belief. We ask them to drop their silly demand for women to wear port-a tents. We ask Evanjihadis to "eschew" their core beliefs.

How can we then start getting anxious about the very movement and evolution that we ask others to embrace?

Could it actually be that the success of islamism and the faith of Evanjihadis lies in their fossilization? Their resistance to change and their dogged refusal to move with times?

If that is the case - the fault does not lie with them for succeeding, but the fault lies among Hindus and Sikhs for a failure of their belief.

Would people who see a threat to Hindus please answer these questions.

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JUSTIN MARTYR - THE FIRST APOLOGY OF JUSTIN

Postby G Subramaniam » 30 Mar 2007 08:36

[url]http://www.ccel.org/fathers/ANF-01/just/justap1index.html
[/url]

JUSTIN MARTYR - THE FIRST APOLOGY OF JUSTIN

Justin Martyr 100-165 AD is one of the earliest figures in Christianity who can be accurately tracked down
In this long letter addressed to the Roman Authorities, Justin claims that virtuous pagans like Plato and Socrates
were actually Christians, inspite of living 400 years before Jesus
Justin also admits that Christianity is a copy of existing pagan religions, but he claims that this is because
Demons knowing jesus would be born, tried to forestall it by creating similar religions hundreds of years in advance
--

CHAP. LIV.--ORIGIN OF HEATHEN MYTHOLOGY.
But those who hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths
who learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the influence of the
wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the
prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire,
they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce
in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things
which were said by the poets. And these things were said both among the Greeks and among all nations where
they [the demons] heard the prophets foretelling that Christ would specially be believed in; but that in hearing
what was said by the prophets they did not accurately understand it, but imitated what was said of our Christ,
like men who are in error, we will make plain. The prophet Moses, then, Was, as we have already said,
older than all writers; and by him, as we have also said before, it was thus predicted:
"There shall not fail a prince from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until He come for
whom it is reserved; and He shall be the desire of the Gentiles, binding His foal to the vine,
washing His robe in the blood of the grape."(3) The devils, accordingly, when they heard these
prophetic words, said that Bacchus was the son of Jupiter, and gave out that he was the
discoverer of the vine, and they number wine(4) [or, the ass] among his mysteries; and they
taught that, having been torn in pieces, he ascended into heaven. And because in the prophecy of
Moses it had not been expressly intimated whether He who was to come was the Son of God,
and whether He would, riding on the foal, remain on earth or ascend into heaven, and because the
name of "foal" could mean either the foal of an ass or the foal of a horse, they, not knowing whether
He who was foretold would bring the foal of an ass or of a horse as the sign of His coming, nor whether
He was the Son of God, as we said above, or of man, gave out that Bellerophon, a man born of man,
himself ascended to heaven on his horse Pegasus. And when they heard it said by the other prophet
Isaiah, that He should be born of a virgin, and by His own means ascend into heaven, they pretended that
Perseus was spoken of. And when they knew what was said, as has been cited above, in the prophecies
written aforetime, "Strong as a giant to run his course,"(5) they said that Hercules was strong, and
had journeyed over the whole earth. And when, again, they learned that it had been foretold that
He should heal every sickness, and raise the dead, they produced Aesculapius.
--
CHAP. LX.--PLATO'S DOCTRINE OF THE CROSS.
And the physiological discussion(1) concerning the Son of God in the Timoeus of Plato, where he says,
"He placed him crosswise(2) in the universe," he borrowed in like manner from Moses; for in the writings of
Moses it is related how at that time, when the Israelites went out of Egypt and were in the wilderness, they
fell in with poisonous beasts, both vipers and asps, and every kind of serpent, which slew the people; and
that Moses, by the inspiration and influence of God, took brass, and made it into the figure of a cross, and
set it in the holy tabernacle, and said to the people, "If ye look to this figure, and believe, ye shall be saved
thereby."(3) And when this was done, it is recorded that the serpents died, and it is handed down that the
people thus escaped death. Which things Plato reading, and not accurately understanding, and not
apprehending that it was the figure of the cross, but taking it to be a placing crosswise, he said that the
power next to the first God was placed crosswise in the universe
---
CHAP. LXIV.--FURTHER MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE TRUTH.
From what has been already said, you can understand how the devils, in imitation of what was said by
Moses, asserted that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter, and instigated the people to set up an
image of her under the name of Kore [Cora, i.e., the maiden or daughter] at the spring-heads.
For, as we wrote above,(1) Moses said, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form and unfurnished: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
In imitation, therefore, of what is here said of the Spirit of God moving on the waters, they said that
Proserpine [or Coral was the daughter of Jupiter.(2) And in like manner also they craftily feigned that
Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter, not by sexual union, but, knowing that God conceived and made the
world by the Word, they say that Minerva is the first conception [ennoia]; which we consider to be very absurd,
bringing forward the form of the conception in a female shape. And in like manner the actions of those
others who are called sons of Jupiter sufficiently condemn them.

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Porphyry's against the Christians

Postby G Subramaniam » 30 Mar 2007 08:52

[url]http://www.pinn.net/~sunshine/book-sum/porphyry.html
[/url]

Porphyry's Against the Christians:
The Literary Remains
R. Joseph Hoffman
Oxford University Press 1994

Fifteen volumes long, Against the Christians was written by the Roman pagan Porphyry circa 280
and was an educated man's studied attack on Christian theology. An exceedingly powerful and successful work,
it and commentaries on it were condemned by the imperial church in 448 and burned.
Only remnants which were contained in books that were primarily about other matters have survived until the present.
As you will see, Porphyry used a literal interpretation of the Bible, a scathing wit, and an attack on
Christian's intelligence, integrity, and morals (piety, loyalty to the state, and character)
to undermine the new, up-start religion, Christianity.
--
1)
Referring to Mark 16:18, Porphyry writes: "In another passage Jesus says:
"These signs shall witness to those who believe: they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.
And if they drink any deadly drug, it will hurt them in no way." Well then: the proper thing to do would be to
use this process as a test for those aspiring to be priests, bishops or church officers. A deadly drug
should be put in front of them and [only] those who survive drinking it should be elevated in the ranks [of the church].
If there are those who refuse to submit to such a test, they may as well admit that they do not believe in the things
that Jesus said. For if it is a doctrine of [Christian] faith that men can survive being poisoned or heal the sick at will,
then the believer who does not do such things either does not believe them, or else believes them so feebly
that he may as well not believe them." page 50
--
Porphyry writes: "The God concept with which Israel began was basically polytheistic (Exodus 20:3).
God was limited in power (Exodus 4:24) and local in character (Exodus 18:5; 33:3; 14-16). The most that could be
claimed for yahweh was that as a national god he protected his people from neighboring peoples and their gods.
--
"Jewish tradition and later pagan critics knew Jesus as the son of a woman named Miriam or Miriamne,
who had been violated and become pregnant by a Roman soldier whose name often appears a Panthera in
talmudic and midrashic sources. The "single parent" tradition, if not the story of Jesus' illegitimacy, is still
apparent in Mark, the earliest gospel (Mark 6:3), as is an early attempt to show Jesus' freedom from the blemish
of his background (Mark 3:33-4)." page 122.
---
Regarding the Biblical prophecies concerning Jesus: "Porphyry notes that what is said in Hebrew prophecy
could as well apply to a dozen other figures, dead or yet to come, as to Jesus." page 131

---
"According to the early critics Tacitus, Pliny, and Aristides, Christianity was to be judged according to the
unwillingness of its adherents to compromise. They were superstitious fanatics given to outpourings of
enthusiasm, or they occasionally indulged in sexual orgies in association with their eucharistic banquets.
With the satires of Lucan, the moral critique of the church enters a new phase. Born at Samosata (Syria)
around 120, Lucian regarded Christianity as a form of sophistry aimed at an unusually gullible class of
people - a criticism later exploited by Celsus. The members of the new sect worship a "crucified sophist,"
an epithet that suggests the influence of Jewish views of the church on pagan observers. Like Galen, Lucian
imagines the Christians as men and women with little time, patience or ability for philosophy, and who are willing
to enthrone new leaders and gurus at the drop of a hat. To make his point, Lucian invents a mock
Cynic-turned-Christian priest, Peregrinus Proteus, who dabbles in a thousand different sects and philosophies
before becoming an "expert" in "the astonishing religion of Christianity. . . .
Lucian's "hero" is a shyster -the first example in literature of an anything-for-profit evangelist who
bilks his congregation. For all its looseness of detail, Lucian's portrait of Peregrinus can be
said to reflect a popular view of the Christians at the close of the second century." page 145
--
"In his comments, Celsus attempts impartiality: He is no admirer of Judaism
['runaway Egyptian slaves who have never done anything worth mentioning'] but acknowledges the antiquity of
Jewish teaching and juxtaposes it with the newness of Christian doctrine. He thinks Christian teachers are no
better than the begging priests of Cybele and the shysters of popular religions.
--
In this way, the church could be seen to have neither the wisdom
of the philosophical schools nor the antiquity of custom and law to its credit. Its teaching was merely
eccentric -sectarian in the mean sense of the word. In his hierarchy of civilization, the Egyptian were beast-worshipers,
the Jews infinitely worse in their religious practices, and the Christians renegade Jews "whom their miserable
countrymen despised and hated. " What would have aroused official distaste for Christianity, however, was Celsus'
suggestion that the Christians were "breaking the religious peace of the world
--
"Church fathers from Eusebius to Augustine were intimidated by Porphyry's challenges and arguments -
so much so that his worthiest opponent (Macarius Magnes) is not an especially articulate one, wholly unable to
play the role of Origen to his Celsus. [Origen wrote Contra Celsum, the best classical refutation of
Celsus' True Doctrine.] Constantine in the fourth century and Theodosius in the fifth decided that the only way to
overcome Porphyry's objections was to put his books to the torch. Thus, the extent of his writings against Christianity
is unknown." page 155
---
The puzzles of Christian theology are non-puzzles for Porphyry:
The pieces comprise not a picture but a muddle, and can only be slotted together by trimming edges and
omitting embarrassingly contorted segment. This, however, does not prevent Christian priests and teachers
from selling their wares as a kind of philosophy.
--
The Christian god fails, in Porphyry's view, because he epitomizes false opinion, baseless hopes.
He is changeable, fickle, unpredictable. His priests preach "mere unreasoning faith [in a God] who is gratified and
won over by libations and sacrifices," without perceiving that men making exactly the same request receive different
answers to their prayers (Marcella 23). Worse, human beings seem to believe that their basest actions can be erased by
prayer, or, caught in the web of their illogic, they become haters of the world and the flesh and mistakenly accuse the
flesh of being the source of all evil (Marcella 29). "Salvation" for Porphyry cannot begin with self-hatred or the
abnegation of the flesh.
--
"A general view of Porphyry's work yields the following picture: Beginning with an introduction in which the
ambitions of the Christians were repudiated "they want riches and glory ,
they are renegades seeking to take control" . . . , Porphyry went on to show their unworthiness.
They accepted but misunderstood the "myths" and oracles of the Jews,
then turned around and altered these to make them even more contemptible . . . .
Their religion had neither a national anchor nor a rational basis; they required initiates to accept everything
on blind faith. Moreover, the initiates themselves were the worst sort of people, moral invalids who
(cf. Celsus) found security in their common weakness . . . .
The Christians had proved that they cared nothing for those who had lived in the era before the
coming of Jesus: these could not be saved. The Christians taught absurd doctrines about the suffering of
God or the suffering of a some of the supermen god. They also prayed for the destruction of the world,
which they hated because they were hated by it - and believed that at its end they alone would be
raised bodily from the dead . . . .
--
After attacking the chronology of the
Old Testament . . . and arguing against Christian allegorical interpretation, Porphyry took up the subject of the
writers of the gospels and epistles, whom he regarded as ignorant, clumsy, and deceptive.
The fact that he wages his assault chiefly against the "pillar" apostles, Peter and Paul, suggests that
he regarded the destruction of their reputations essential to wiping out the claims of an
emergent Catholic Christianity . . . .

--
Thus Paul himself had called Christian believers "wretches"
(1 Cor. 6:9f) and promised his followers the resuscitation of the "rotten, stinking corpses of men"
(cf. Augustine, City of God 22.27). As for Peter, he had been called "satan" even by Jesus, yet was entrusted
with the keys to the kingdom of heaven . . . . The apostles proved themselves traitors, cowards,
weaklings, and hypocrites - even in the accounts written by them.

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Celsus, on the True Doctrine: Against the Christians

Postby G Subramaniam » 30 Mar 2007 09:06

Reviews at Amazon.com

Celsus On the True Doctrine, January 26, 2004
Reviewer: andrew burroughs
It is only in the time of the Enlightenment that
we again see the "Christ" debate appear again. This is a worthy translation
and easy to read. It is well footnoted. The introduction by Hoffman is excellent
and balanced. One can see why that old forgerer Eusebius attacked Celsus with
spite and concern. Celsus asks questions that we are only finally asking in the
last few years. Think about it: for over 1700 years of Western civilization,
the challenges and questions raised by Celsus, et al, were condemned and only
wispered behind locked doors. What wisdom and ideas have we lost from this
imperious regime of faith and intolerance imposed on us with fire and sword?
All that we learned from Plato we lost to faith!
--
Must Read for Students of Early Christianity........., February 28, 2002
Reviewer: fugirl

.................all of Celsus' work was destroyed by Christian emperors,
but "On the True Doctrine" is "preserved" only because it was contained, in pieces,
within polemic against the work that was written by Origen of Alexandria.
--
An impressive reconstruction, December 23, 2001
Reviewer: steve mcduffie
by the time the Roman Empire was Christianized, it had become a
capital crime to possess literature critical of Christianity.
That is why our understanding of Christian origins is so one-sided.
As even students of history know: history is written by the winners.
The book burners won. Well, almost.
And I love that he was so inundated with so many different flavors of Christianity
that he was not even aware that they are not the same cult.
I also love how he ratted them out for making corrections to the gospels
on the fly, pen in hand, during debates.
This certainly explains why there are so many textual variants in the ancient,
extant New Testament manuscripts
(for instance, there are 81 textual variations of Luke's version of the
Lord's Prayer in the ancient manuscripts).

--
Just a Thought, July 9, 2001
Reviewer: Michael Sympson

I am not sure who came first - Celsus or rabbinical libels -
to identify Jesus as the illegitimate son to a Roman solder, a
Syrian Archer Pantera. Incidentally near BingerbrŸck we excavated
the tombstone of the archer Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera
(now in the Museum of Kreuznach), whose cohort had been transferred from
Syria to the Rhine in 9 AD. He was born in Sidon, Phoenicia.
--
Rescued from the historical dustbin!, June 27, 2001
Reviewer: Geoff Puterbaugh

We don't need to ask who consigned Celsus to the dustbin of history;
the Catholic Church burned this book whenever it found it.
Obviously, Celsus was on to something. Origen the Eunuch spent many many pages
in "refuting Celsus," and, when he was finished with the "refutation,"
the order went out to burn all the copies, just in case.

This is, therefore, a very interesting early example of a totalitarian institution
"rewriting history."

The really funny part comes next. After refuting this book and destroying it,
guess who was keeping a copy for future historians to revive? The Church,
of course! Origen's "refutation" of Celsus was so extensive that he cited virtually
the entire work in the pages of his "refutation!" :-)

Celsus makes many interesting points, among them that Christian preachers
preferentially recruited uneducated people.
--

A summary of Celsus, on the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians

Link to Article

http://members.aol.com/PS418/celsus.html
--
CELSUS ON CHRISTIANITY (178CE)





CELSUS (178ECE) Wrote"On the True Doctrine, known primarily from the polemical book,
"Contra Celsum," written br Origen of Alexandria in response the Celsus's questions.
Celsus' books, along with those of Porphry and others, were condemned by order of
Valentinian III and Theodosious in 448CE. Celsus' writing is one of the few writings
made in response to christian claims that survives today in any form; the church,
beginning with its first alliances with Roman power in Constantine's time, never took
criticisms lightly; anyone with the audacity to question their claims was branded a
"heretic," and their books were banned and burned, often alongside their authors.
Celsus is one of the handful of critics who have not been written completely out
of history.

Celsus gives us a glimpse of the criticisms made against christian claims. In that
he wrote before the second century, it is interesting to note that many of his
criticisms are still with us today as topics of lively debate
--
SCRITURAL REDACTION



"It is clear to me that the writings of the christians are a lie, and that your
fables are not well-enough constructed to conceal this monstrous fiction: I have heard
that some of your interpreters...are on to the inconsistencies and, pen in hand, alter
the originals writings, three, four and several more times over in order to be able
to deny the contradictions in the face of criticism." (37).

"There is nothing new or impressive about their ethical teaching; indeed, when one
compares it to other philosophies, their simplemindedness becomes apparent." (53).
--
THE END OF THE WORLD
It is equally silly of these christians to suppose that when their god applies the fire
(like a common cook!) all the rest of mankind will be thoroughly scorched, and that they
alone will escape unscorched-- not just those alive at the time, mind you, but (they say)
those long since dead will rise up from the earth possessing the same bodies as they did
before.
--

UNORIGINALITY IN CHRISTIAN WRITINGS




"Many of the ideas of the christians have been expressed better-- and earlier-- by the greeks,
who were however modest enough to refrain from saying that their ideas came from a god or a
son of god. The ancients in their wisdom revealed certain truths to those able to understand:
"Not only do they misunderstand the words of the philosophers; they even stoop to assigning
words of the philosophers to their Jesus. For example, we are told that Jesus judged the rich
with the saying 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a
rich man to enter the kingdom of god.' Yet we know that Plato expressed this very idea in
a purer form when he said, 'It is impossible for an exceptionally good man to be exceptionally
rich.'* Is one utterance more inspired than the other?"
--
You christians have a saying that goes something like this: 'Don't resist a man who
insults you; even if he strikes you, offer your other cheek as well.' This is nothing new,
and its been better said by others, especially by Plato, who ascribes the following to
Socrates in the Crito...'ts never right to do wrong and never right to take revenge;
nor is it right to give evil for evil, or in the case of one who has suffered some injury,
to attempt to get even...'" (113).

--
"Christians, needless to say, utterly detest one another; they slander each other constantly
with the vilest forms of abuse, and cannot come to any sort of agreement in their teaching.
Each sect brands its own, fills the head of its own with deceitful nonsense...". (91).
---

"So too their fantastic story-- which they take from the Jews-- concerning the flood and
the building of an enormous ark, and the business about the message being brought back
to the survivors of the flood by a dove (or was it an old crow?). This is nothing more
than a debased and nonsensical version of the myth of Deucalion, a fact I am sure they
would not want to come light." (80).

Rakesh
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Postby Rakesh » 30 Mar 2007 09:24

rongsheng wrote:christian god's character is very interesting. Christian god's sons including Satan and christian god have similar tastes. Example :--
job 1.6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se ... version=9;
Hmmm I thought christian god only had one son. I guess not.


Job 1:6 says that and so does Job 38:7. We are all the sons & daughters of God as ultimately we all belong to him. The word “sonâ€
Last edited by Rakesh on 30 Mar 2007 09:33, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Sanjay M » 30 Mar 2007 09:25

shiv wrote:Is the dropping of turbans by Sikhs a loss?

Similarly, is the dropping of some customs by Hindus to reflect life today a loss?

After all, look at what we ask of Islamists. We ask them to change out of their fossilized belief. We ask them to drop their silly demand for women to wear port-a tents. We ask Evanjihadis to "eschew" their core beliefs.

How can we then start getting anxious about the very movement and evolution that we ask others to embrace?

Could it actually be that the success of islamism and the faith of Evanjihadis lies in their fossilization? Their resistance to change and their dogged refusal to move with times?

If that is the case - the fault does not lie with them for succeeding, but the fault lies among Hindus and Sikhs for a failure of their belief.

Would people who see a threat to Hindus please answer these questions.


Shiv, I think that Sikhism flourished most strongly during the anti-Moghul period, when society was hoping for people to step forward and fight off the oppressor. Then later on, when the war is over, society yawns and says they have no need of such services anymore, and expects them to pack it in.

It reminds me of that first Rambo movie, where after having sent a young man off to fight in Vietnam, he comes back home where they really just wish he would go away.

There's an old story about a wise man who was advisor to the king. One day he introduces his wife to his two best friends, and they spend an evening at each friend's place. The wife was impressed with the first friend, a wealthy merchant who'd wined and dined them sumptuously with many servants. She was less impressed with the second friend, who'd entertained them with jokes and stories before later walking them home, but had no expensive gifts to give. The wiseman confided in his wife that he liked the second friend more, and she was appalled. To prove his point, the wiseman had his wife approach both friends, instructing her to tell each of them that her husband was in trouble with the king. When the merchant friend heard this, he looked very worried, but shrugged helplessly, saying "Well, I feel bad about this. But I have no power against the king."
But when the second friend heard, he immediately picked up his sword and began marching towards the palace, saying "Don't worry madame, I will defend your husband with my life." The wiseman quickly showed up to stop him, assuring him that his wife was mistaken and that everything was alright. But the wife never again expressed doubt on who the better friend was.


I'm educated and an atheist, and I think religion is a bunch of hogwash.
Back in my university days, I'd hang around with my desi pals and go to parties to meet girls. Some of the older, more religious desi grad students would urge us to drop by the temple or gurdwara sometime, and we'd smile politely but roll our eyes. But when pro-Pakistani/Islamic groups would do their agitprop on campus, I'd get annoyed and make sure to show up to present the Indian side. My "secular" desi buddies preferred not to, feeling that it was politically incorrect to do so. But those more religious type of desis -- they would show up. They were not afraid.

So while I'm certainly a proud atheist/rationalist, I always make sure to differentiate myself from these pseudo-secular politically correct lefty atheists, because I consider them to be an embarrassment to atheism and rationalism. When I see them browbeating others with their politically correct rhetoric, I make sure to sound off, to put them in their place.

I like rationalism, because for me it means I don't have to turn my brain off. I wish the pseudo-secular types wouldn't see secularism as a license to their brains off, either.

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Postby ramana » 30 Mar 2007 09:53

Shiv, What you are rebelling against is mimamsa or ritualistic practices.


If he, for example, asks someone - why is the food placed in this particular order and served in that order on the plantain leaf at a Hindu ceremonial meal and repeatedly gets a dismissable answer like "it is our tradition" he is likely to reject it as rubbish and relegate to history one more hallmark of Hindu tradition.


BTW there is a definite pattern to the way the Thali is arranged. I need to look up books on Hindu food customs.

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Postby SaiK » 30 Mar 2007 10:17

dropping off good customs are definitely a loss.. bad customs a gain. now, its up to any modernizing culture to decide which to drop and which to sustain.

customs are necessary practices for socialized society, where we social animals would like to take our self esteems and associations in the society into a higher levels of lively hood.

religion should also help developing nations in bettering social customs and civil behavior as well and take a larger part in the society.

--
PS:

btw, just reminded me of thali.. in the old days we were served sitting on the floor made out of cow-dung.. dried, redone periodically. Once this old SD man came to me and said.. do you know why we did (some do even now without knowing) circle water around the leaf (banana leaf - i guess i am talking South Indian tradition.. i am not sure about this in NI) that is filled with food.

I said, religious practice. He said, you are partly true.. but there is science behind it. Answer: dried cow-dung, when sprinkled with water gives rise to methane.. and it wards off ants and insects away from the leaf served with food.

I said .. wow!~.. perhaps we have more wows, and that we need to search and identify before we drop traditions and customs. as long as we document it, and we do symbolize such traditions is good enough. may be it is not necessary to do that if one sits on a chair & dining table.

He said.. if we lose that tradition, how are we to highlight our past.. our culture is full of practices like this.. we have lost at least 70% of it already. hence, many people resort to do this blindly, without reasoning.. since they don't have time, or forgotten to get enlightened.

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Postby SRoy » 30 Mar 2007 10:32

SaiK wrote:--
PS:

btw, just reminded me of thali.. in the old days we were served sitting on the floor made out of cow-dung.. dried, redone periodically. Once this old SD man came to me and said.. do you know why we did (some do even now without knowing) circle water around the leaf (banana leaf - i guess i am talking South Indian tradition.. i am not sure about this in NI) that is filled with food.

I said, religious practice. He said, you are partly true.. but there is science behind it. Answer: dried cow-dung, when sprinkled with water gives rise to methane.. and it wards off ants and insects away from the leaf served with food.

I said .. wow!~.. perhaps we have more wows, and that we need to search and identify before we drop traditions and customs. as long as we document it, and we do symbolize such traditions is good enough. may be it is not necessary to do that if one sits on a chair & dining table.

He said.. if we lose that tradition, how are we to highlight our past.. our culture is full of practices like this.. we have lost at least 70% of it already. hence, many people resort to do this blindly, without reasoning.. since they don't have time, or forgotten to get enlightened.


That still is the practice in rural Bengal as well. We still follow it when in our ancestral place.

PS: I believe this in this thread Hindus have and will continue to score self goals. EJ and Islamist onlookers will have confirmed what they believed, that is they are dealing with a society, majority of which do not even know or understand what they follow and elite of the society look down upon others for following irrational and outdated practices.
EJ and Islamist types just need to drag a Hindu acquainted with basic English in front of a PC and say "Hey, this is what I told you, your rituals and practices are useless crap. Its superstition. This is what your elites have confirmed."
Guru's are doing a great work here, but in a wrong fora. It is a strategic forum and primary objective should be to deduce threats and dangers to national security arising out of organized religious denominations.

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Postby disha » 30 Mar 2007 10:52

shiv wrote:If he, for example, asks someone - why is the food placed in this particular order and served in that order on the plantain leaf at a Hindu ceremonial meal and repeatedly gets a dismissable answer like "it is our tradition" he is likely to reject it as rubbish and relegate to history one more hallmark of Hindu tradition.


If a person cannot explain a tradition, is it the fault of the tradition or is it a problem with the person explaining it? Doesn't it behoove for the person asking the question to find the right person to answer certain things? This reminds me of Narendranath's search leading to Ramakrishna.

This thread has been for me at the right time. I very close person to me has gone through a great personal tragedy. I saw that person, a thorough rationalist, go through the traditions and rituals without question. Some of the rituals in that person's own words were meaningless and still was worth going through it, just because those traditions and rituals were palliative from a psychological perspective.

The role of such rituals and traditions should not be minimized just because it appears meaningless when viewed from outside or is not explained properly. At the same time some traditions and rituals has to be discarded based on the "time". Also traditions and rituals cannot be viewed outside the frame of its references. Case in point the tradition of cremation and burial. Hindus cremate because they are returning the body to its constituents. Others bury because they are awaiting resurection.

Now coming to the tradition of cremation, some still stick to the "traditional" instead of opting for the modern [electricity based]. Why? For the later, the goal is to return to the body to its constituents. For the former, the means itself is the goal! As the former gain more adherents and becomes more mainstream [in some areas it already is] there will be a shift in the ritual.

I would like to take an example of Child marriage. Just 100 years back it was more mainstream. Now do the critiques of child marriage ever realize that the child marriage was prevalent in a society where the average lifespan was only 30 years? Why is delayed marriage more prevalent now? Look at the average lifespan for the answer. Also note that choices in careers has delayed the age of marriage to the point where we are seeing genetic abnormalities raised because of delayed marriage.

Anyway, child marriage was a convenient way to beat the Hindu religion with. Same goes for arranging food in a thali. Ridicule the tradition, ridicule the culture and you have a rootless population ready to be weaned away.

Moving away from traditions and rituals and to the idols, having witnessed the great discussion on the board, the question I have is how do you explain Dvaita, advaita etc to a Child? Say all of 5 years with an attention span of 15 minutes?

Saying Hanuman is better than Superman helps. Definitely, superman does not have the ability to grow in size, Hanuman has! Of course, for superman adherents calling Hanuman as a monkey god helps set the first stage. Ofcourse kids love Hanuman and Ganesha. Ofcourse if there is a kid in you, whatever age you are, you will enjoy an image of Ganesha. Reminds me of an uncle we called Ganesha uncle. His standard gift was to give away Ganesha idols in different mudras. We looked forward to those gifts! Now one way to break me is to break my traditions and rituals. Me as in the rhetorical me.

...

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Postby Rakesh » 30 Mar 2007 10:58

S.Valkan wrote:Like I said many times before, if you feel my proofs are "irrational", I would love to see a refutation LOGICALLY.


I don't see the logical reasoning behind God being present within urine, excreta, a bag of chips, a monitor, a pen, a car or a human being. If God was present within everything, then God should be present within man as well and then it is no wonder that why man in his depravity claims no responsibility for his actions, because God must be present within everything and thus God is the one who is at fault now! God must be present in Evanjehadis too and thus God is the reason why the social fabric of India is being undermined & destroyed. No wonder the EJs have free reign in India! We live in some fantasy world!

S.Valkan wrote:I did not make the claim that idols were "dumb", or that they didn't have "breath" in them, while simultaneously upholding the claim of a "living God" in the Christian tradition. You quoted it as part of your scriptural claims as to why idolatry is "wrong". In a logical discourse, if you claim something/someone as "living" while castigating the other as "dead", there has to be a logical justification. Since you accept that neither you, nor your scripture can provide sufficient proof of "breath" by the Judeo-Christian "God", the biblical argument of why idolatry is wrong is itself refuted.


If the Bible claims that idols are dumb and they have no breath in them, then that is what it is and I am standing by it. I have consistently claimed that the Bible is a matter of faith, but that faith cannot be force fed to anyone. Now you are entitled to believe – and you have clearly stated so – that the scripture does not provide sufficient proof that the Judeo-Christian "God" does not breathe. Then in your logical world, it surely must be ;)

S.Valkan wrote:It makes a statement with NO qualifications whatsoever, correct?


That is where faith comes in. You, however, want to apply logic to it. However faith & logic don't go together. Can we logically explain how much & why we love our parents? Our children? Our spouse? Not everything can be explained logically, especially God.

S.Valkan wrote: Romans 11:36 “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Please read that sentence again. It is YOUR scripture. Surely "all things" does include urine, excreta, saliva, semen, blood and drugs. So, urine and excreta are OF (ORIGINATES FROM) your "God". And they are sustained BY your "God". Also, they return TO your "God". Surely one can't deny that millions of species have been passing urine and excreta for the last so many millions of years( or about a few thousand years if you stick to the literal words of the Bible). All that urine and excreta must have originated from your "God" and must have returned to your "God", and form part of your "God" by now. So, YOUR scripture itself sustains the view that excreta and urine are part of your "God". So, why should "God" being present in urine and excreta seem irrational to you ?


SIGH! :roll: God certainly created urine & excreta, but He is not present in it. Does a shoe become part of a shoemaker, after it has been built? The shoe did originate from the shoemaker, but the shoemaker does not live within the shoe. In the same way, urine and excreta are part of the "all things" that did originate from God, but God does not live within them. That is NOT the definition of omni-presence. Is this amply clear to you now? :lol:

Read This: Of the Infinity of God, His Omnipresence and Eternity

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Postby disha » 30 Mar 2007 11:10

Continuing from above ...

Have we Indians ever wondered why several animal species are not extinct in India?

Why is that Elephant has survived? How come India is the only country on Earth with both Lions and Tigers? How come we have several populations and sub-species of monkeys? How come we have Peacock? This inspite of severe population pressure on the land over millenias.

If one notices, most of the exotic species that has survived may have survived because they were incorporated in the imagery of the common man's version of God.

Isn't that something to celebrate? Nah, it is easy to make fun of a God who rides on Peacock or a God who has the head of an Elephant! Hasn't it been proved that Elephant is the only other species other than primates who understand death? If I call somebody having an Elephantine memory, it is a complement. It is not that, that person's memory is big, it is that it is very deep - like that of an Elephants.

Instead of getting defensive about the rituals defined that as "Hindus", why should we not reform the EJs and hold some of their traditions and rituals to ridicule? I remember a particular tradition to take bathe only on Fridays. Rest of the day use ittar. In a place where there is dearth of water, and where water can be more precious than gold, it is better to institutionalize a policy of water rationing! Does that tradition makes sense in an era of piped water? Still I know of several people who stick to that tradition. Diseases be damned.

...

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 11:12

disha wrote:
shiv wrote:If he, for example, asks someone - why is the food placed in this particular order and served in that order on the plantain leaf at a Hindu ceremonial meal and repeatedly gets a dismissable answer like "it is our tradition" he is likely to reject it as rubbish and relegate to history one more hallmark of Hindu tradition.


If a person cannot explain a tradition, is it the fault of the tradition or is it a problem with the person explaining it?


Without meaning to hurt you - I would like to point out that I will not accept this as an answer because the probem is worse than you imagine.

If you spend decades deliberately asking the same questions about the same practices and you find that most of your respected "elders" are unable to supply you with an answer, it only means that a widespread knowledge of the answer has been lost some time in the past - maybe decades or centuries ago.

Finding one or more people who can give me the answer (as I have done) is of no use. My knowing the answer is worth a only fraction of the worth of a situation in which most people know the answer.

What is needed is a re-infusion, a refilling of the answers among the general population so that any question asked by any random child about any tradition gets answered by someone present, and the child does not have to spend half a lifetime as I believe I have done, only to realise in dismay that society in general have forgotten the answers.

By all means validate what I have said and gain your own experience. But I fear that my own experience is unlikely to be very far wrong.

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Postby disha » 30 Mar 2007 11:18

Rakesh wrote:The shoe did originate from the shoemaker, but the shoemaker does not live within the shoe


With all due respects - you are absolutely wrong. Look at the choos [shoes] from Jimmy Choos. Because of the shoemaker which lives in every shoe that makes it priceless!

Just like some people see divinity in hair, blood and bones. Just like that in shoes. Just like some people see divinity in shrouds, same for shoes.

Maybe you do not believe in relics. If that is the case, join the crowd. But that does not mean there is not a whole set of crowd out there who believe in relics. Infact, the whole of the post East Roman Empire now gloriously called the Holy Roman Empire was based on nothing but relics. Do you believe that if they would have obtained what we call excreta with a certified [or not] lineage, they would not have turned into relic?

Coming from the perspective of an Elephant dung beetle, the dung is the world - the giver of life and death.

Jimmy Choo
Last edited by disha on 30 Mar 2007 11:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 11:21

ramana wrote:Shiv, What you are rebelling against is mimamsa or ritualistic practices.


If he, for example, asks someone - why is the food placed in this particular order and served in that order on the plantain leaf at a Hindu ceremonial meal and repeatedly gets a dismissable answer like "it is our tradition" he is likely to reject it as rubbish and relegate to history one more hallmark of Hindu tradition.


BTW there is a definite pattern to the way the Thali is arranged. I need to look up books on Hindu food customs.


No rebellion.

A lament about the sad truth that general awareness about the rationale for most practices has been lost from the vast majority of Hindus decades or centuries before you and I were born.

The knowledge is not lost forever, but is in the process of being forgotten, and in my "search" it seems to me that some aspects of knowledge have indeed been lost forever.

I am lamenting what has already occurred and pointing out an urgent need to refuel knowledge banks about why Hindus live their lives the way they do. I learned from my parents and grandparents. Will your grandchildren learn from their grandparents? Will they learn mindless ritual that they cannot defend, or will they learn understanding of those same rituals and be in a position to impart wisdom?

The difference between an active dharma and a dying one is the replacement of ritual without understanding by practice with understanding. That is sadly lacking nowadays and has been lacking, I suspect - for at least a century. Long before your grandfather knew what was happening to his ancestral gyan.

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Postby abhischekcc » 30 Mar 2007 11:29

shiv wrote:Is it possible at all that the inexorable movement, change and flexibility that Hindu society displays is perceived as "deterioration"?


Interesting question. Let me try to figure out a solution by the negative way - that is, by first determining

One of the fundamental features of Hindu society, as prefered in the Bhagwat Dharma, is its inability to inculcate a sense of personal responsibility for their actions in individuals. The grand argument of this philosophy is the 'Dashavtar' thingy, which says that god will come down to save you. This absolves the person from personal responsibility to make a choice.

By contrast, Islam makes it the duty of every muslim to defend the faith.

So, as long as Hindus adhere to their tradition, everything is considered all right. And the greatest ambition of a Hindu is to be a husband!

The unwillingness of Hindus to fight religious persecution should be seen in this way - that he is simply not expected to fight. I assume that this is what you are refering to as decadence. This feature is Hinduism's greatest weakness and itrs greatest strength. People are responsible for 'not choosing', and for many people, being Hindu is semply 'not choosing' another religion.

Feel free to criticise and question. :) I'll be glad to answer.

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Postby Rakesh » 30 Mar 2007 11:37

disha wrote:With all due respects - you are absolutely wrong. Look at the choos [shoes] from Jimmy Choos. Because of the shoemaker which lives in every shoe that makes it priceless! Just like some people see divinity in hair, blood and bones.

Jimmy Choo


So can Jimmy Choo shoes laugh, cry, be sad, get angry just like Jimmy Choo? Come on, be realistic :) But £300 for a pair of shoes? That is extortion! I guess wealth is all relative.

disha wrote:Just like some people see divinity in hair, blood and bones. Just like that in shoes. Just like some people see divinity in shrouds, same for shoes.


People see divinity in many things, but that does not make it divine. In Exodus 32, the Israelites made a molten calf and then began worshipping it. Now we all know what happened to them. It is ironic, that what did not have a form destroyed a so-called diety that did have a form. The molten calf could not save the people that worshipped it, from the real God.

Isaiah 44:6 "Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."
Last edited by Rakesh on 30 Mar 2007 11:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby bala » 30 Mar 2007 11:38

For the Xtian faith: Is there a definition of God or is this concept/thought/entity an article of faith. If so, what mental image should one have of GOD. The other concept of Xtian Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Son is Jesus who are the Father/Holy Ghost. Are these different or are they interchangeable, depending on context.

For Hinduism: according to Valkan's excellent logical essay the only reality is Brahman which cannot be described i.e. nirguna Brahman. Hinduism does not deal with God! The type C&D folks can choose to worship GOD in any form they deem to choose including idols.

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Postby SRoy » 30 Mar 2007 11:40

shiv wrote:I am lamenting what has already occurred and pointing out an urgent need to refuel knowledge banks about why Hindus live their lives the way they do. I learned from my parents and grandparents. Will your grandchildren learn from their grandparents? Will they learn mindless ritual that they cannot defend, or will they learn understanding of those same rituals and be in a position to impart wisdom?

So Hindus are answerable to all and sundry while others can carry on whatever they like under a blanket definition of "faith"?

Where does the question of "defending" comes in?

Shiv, you'll be surprised to know I sat down in the marriage pandal in a Western suit. Nobody could give me a convincing reason as why I need to wear uncut/unsitched garments (Most Hindus of north India are not aware of this custom....though I found some folks from Himachal and Uttrakhand aware of it and following it.). It was a sort of public scene.

I made a personal decision. Fine. Now, if an EJ or an Islamist comes in says that this Hindu marriage custom makes no sense and the customs reflects negatively on my faith, I think I have a case to bang his/her head against a wall.
They simply have no case to comment. It is our custom. We exercise enough judgment and freedom to follow whatever suits us. Period.

A few customs are useless for me, but maybe important for others as they see it central to their faith (C,D type folks). We need to respect that. And we need to punch EJs and Islamists who do not respect such personal choices.
Last edited by SRoy on 30 Mar 2007 11:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby disha » 30 Mar 2007 11:42

shiv wrote:Without meaning to hurt you - I would like to point out that I will not accept this as an answer because the probem is worse than you imagine.


No hurt taken. What is the point in discussion if the discussion cannot be kept objective?

shiv wrote:By all means validate what I have said and gain your own experience. But I fear that my own experience is unlikely to be very far wrong.


That is indeed the case. Though I would like to point out that following traditions and rituals is present in all cultures. Indian or not. And for some traditions there is no explanation even in western cultures. However for most of them they do.

The problem with traditions and rituals in India is that it is both vast and deep. Think of India the size of Europe with as many nations and that represents the problem entirely in a different aspect. Further complicated by certain traditions going back several millenia.

What will help? An impassioned and objective approach to document it and research it! But would you think that as an anthropological student, my proposal to study sati would attract any research funding? When the need for is two square meals a day, any other research is esoteric at best. Oh! do not forget the additional pressure of being branded a hindutvavadi if the research shows that thing in a positive light!

...

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Postby abhischekcc » 30 Mar 2007 11:54

Rakesh wrote:
Richard Dawkins believes that the world will be better off without religion. The Wiki link you provided does say that. If Christianity is nonsense to Richard Dawkins, then I am sure he feels the same about Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc. Thus all religions are just a bunch of crap and a waste of time. How many takers do we have on the forum, who are willing to support Mr Dawkins on this?


Well, if religion is crap, then I insist that all religions are equally crap, and no religion should be consider more crappy than another :mrgreen:

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Postby disha » 30 Mar 2007 11:55

Rakesh wrote:So can Jimmy Choo shoes laugh, cry, be sad, get angry just like Jimmy Choo? Come on, be realistic :) But £300 for a pair of shoes? That is extortion! I guess wealth is all relative.


Oh common! $450 shoes is for the poor/down trodden. The real wealthy should have $2500 ones and no two same for the same day. And definitely different for every new day. It is not extortion, if it is, it would not have been sold out! This choos are just priced right!

Rakesh wrote:People see divinity in many things, but that does not make it divine.


True. Just like some see divinity in the idol of a poor bloke who is hung by nails on a wooden cross.

With the above statement no offence meant. But it is whatever in you that sees the divine in "things". For some, that thing can be a thought, for others it could be a cosmological constant, for some it is the singularity near the black hole spinning the galaxy like a sudarshana chakra, for others it is in the book and for others it is in the idols and for others it is in seeing joy in their fellow beings.

The problem stems when one group says that one set of divinity is better than other.

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Postby disha » 30 Mar 2007 12:06

SRoy wrote:Shiv, you'll be surprised to know I sat down in the marriage pandal in a Western suit. Nobody could give me a convincing reason as why I need to wear uncut/unsitched garments (Most Hindus of north India are not aware of this custom....though I found some folks from Himachal and Uttrakhand aware of it and following it.). It was a sort of public scene.


Sigh!

The reason it is supposed to be uncut/unstitched is that it is unbroken and pure, not cut [akhandit], simple and unpretentious. The garment reflects the basic soul inside and you are saying here I am what I am.

Ofcourse in a modern age, I would not want to wear say a dhoti. Not because I am ashamed of it, but I do not want to put others to shame when the dhoti I wear will fall apart because of my lack of experience. And the cycle repeats. Though I have heard that nowadays they have dhoti-pants - should try that one.

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Postby SRoy » 30 Mar 2007 12:12

disha wrote:Ofcourse in a modern age, I would not want to wear say a dhoti. Not because I am ashamed of it, but I do not want to put others to shame when the dhoti I wear will fall apart because of my lack of experience. And the cycle repeats. Though I have heard that nowadays they have dhoti-pants - should try that one.


That was the reason in my case :D

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Postby Pulikeshi » 30 Mar 2007 12:46

Rakesh wrote:People see divinity in many things, but that does not make it divine. In Exodus 32, the Israelites made a molten calf and then began worshipping it. Now we all know what happened to them. It is ironic, that what did not have a form destroyed a so-called diety that did have a form. The molten calf could not save the people that worshipped it, from the real God.


Rakesh,

Brahman, at least in my understanding, is a concept beyond any “creatorâ€

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Postby Pulikeshi » 30 Mar 2007 13:04

Typically, any religious debate between Hindus and the Judeo-Christian-Islamic (JCI) triad seems to be a parallel discourse. Here are a couple of reasons for such disconnect:

[list=a]
[*]Hindus argue abstract philosophy. JCI argue dogmatic theology or “throw the booksâ€

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Postby shiv » 30 Mar 2007 14:30

SRoy wrote:They simply have no case to comment. It is our custom. We exercise enough judgment and freedom to follow whatever suits us. Period.


I choose to take the attitude that this is not enough.

What is "our custom" will no doubt stand up to external scrutiny from an EJ/other type for the reasons you have given. But it is more likely to fall because of "internal" Hindu rejection of something that have lost touch with and they reject as part of "modernity" and peer pressure to conform to different mores

I will try and illustrate the difference between "mindless custom without understanding" and a ritual "based on understanding" using a medical analogy.

A surgeon frequently has to treat wounds that may take months to heal. There is a set procedure that the surgeon follows when he dresses the wound and he has a standard set of paraphernalia ("pooja items" :lol:) to aid him with his job. He has a set of instruments and some chemical solutions and bandages.

On the first occasion he may use a detergent or surgical spirit away from the actual wound to clean grime off the injured part. He may use another poison - hydrogen peroxide to help lift dirt and debris out of crevices, knowing that continued usage will cause harm. He may later use an antiseptic solution or cream followed by a dressing.

Very often this ritual surgical "pooja routine" is picked up by an unskilled nursing assistant. He learns that there are three or four solutions used with no idea of when and how they are used optimally, or why they are used. He just sees the surgeon using them as he pours a little of each out when the surgeon asks him.

Later, when the surgeon is unavailable, or retired, or in some other place - he starts performing the ritual of washing wounds serially with detergent, spirit, hydrogen peroxide and antiseptic and then applying a dressing. In most instances small wounds heal despite the unskilled usage, larger ones heal with delay or do not heal. If the unskilled assistant is questioned by someone as to why he uses what he does he says "Surgeon saab uses all these things"

In a society in which surgeons disappear and the "ritual" is carried on only by unskilled assistants learning from each other the "wound dressing pooja ritual" undergoes a gradual transformation into a meaningless and harmful ritual. This actually does happen time and time again - and I won't go into details of how this transpires.

Apply this story to the carefully set thali/plantain leaf. The salt in the far left corner, the khir in the near right corner (or some such thing)

It is very likely that this "ritual" was instituted for some reason.

There may just be an interesting story behind it - a great yarn. Or it may be a way of remembering what is good and healthy in a proper Vedic diet.

But the reason for the arrangement has been generally forgotten. The surgeons are gone. The ritual placement is continued without anyone knowing the reason. Under these circumstances, the practice becomes a mindless ritual whose function is long forgotten and is at risk of being corrupted or eliminated by ignorance.

This is happening to thousands of Hindu practices.

is that good? is that bad? Is there a loss? is it a gain?
Last edited by shiv on 30 Mar 2007 15:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby SRoy » 30 Mar 2007 14:40

Shiv,

A very good illustration to explain the situation to non-SD bystanders. But you should complete the story in our situation. The story that, in our case, the surgeon actively prevents and discourages the assistant from learning the basic scientific principle behind the profession. The surgeon actually quotes some Dharma Shashtra to preach the assistant to tell him that he is not supposed to look for knowledge.

Unless these surgeons i.e. the petty "thekedars" of Hinduism are outrightly culled, we'll have no hope.


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