Hinduism Trivia

To get this blog going again, I will be re-posting some of the most popular theology material from my former blog. This is from November 2008.

In one of my classes we are discussing Amy Carmichael, a former missionary to India. As part of our discussion we have researched Hinduism. I asked the students to make a list of questions they had about Hinduism so that I could dedicate a class to them. Here are some of their questions and the answers I found.

Why do they not eat cows? 
All animals are revered because they have souls just like humans. To kill a cow would be like committing murder. Plus, since you interfered with the cow’s natural death, it would have to be reborn in the same form. Cows are specifically revered because they are so important to life. Not only do they provide milk, but burning their dung can be a good insecticide and the ashes make great fertilizer.

How would other people know if other people were breaking caste
It involves the interaction of two people, so someone else will always find out. Here are the major rules of the caste system, (which is now illegal in India).

  • Caste members can socially mix with only those belonging to their caste.
  • Caste determines where each member can live.
  • Caste determines what an individual may eat and drink.
  • Caste determines how each member may earn a living.

Accepting one’s caste is seen as a key part of dharma, right actions in life. Due to the belief in reincarnation, most people believe that violations of caste will be punished in the next life.

Why do they have so many gods? How many are there?

Christians know that with Adam and Noah, there was a worship of the One True God. As people continued to rebel against God, they replaced him with their own perceptions of divinity. God is infinitely powerful. However, people rejected the idea of an omnipotent God. Therefore, they must come up with an infinite number of gods to fill His shoes. It takes an infinite number of gods with limited power to make up for One Omnipotent God.

There are two answers to the question of “how many gods”. There is only one pantheistic god in Hinduism and that is the Brahman. All gods that Hindus worship are an example or aspect of the Brahman. There are three major gods: Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer). The only total number I could find is about 330 million.

What is their theory of creation?
The Brahman has always been. The other gods emanated from it. The following is a version of their creation legend.

A giant cobra floated on the waters. Asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. He was watched over by the mighty serpent. Everything was so peaceful and silent that Vishnu slept undisturbed by dreams motion. From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, Ohm. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness and throbbing with energy.

The night had ended, Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu’s navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu’s servant, Brahma. He awaited the Lord’s command.
Vishnu spoke to his servant: ‘It is time to begin.’ Brahma bowed. Vishnu commanded: ‘Create the World.’ A wind swept up the waters. Vishnu and the serpent vanished.
Brahma remained in the lotus flower, floating and tossing on the sea. He lifted up his arms and calmed the wind and the ocean.
Then Brahma split the lotus flower into three. He stretched one part into the heavens. He made another part into the earth. With the third part of the flower he created the skies.
The earth was bare. Brahma set to work. He created grass, flowers, trees and plants of all kinds. To these he gave feeling. Next he created the animals and the insects to live on the land. He made birds and many fish. To all these creatures, he gave the senses of touch and smell. He gave them power to see, hear and move. The world was soon bristling with life and the air was filled with the sounds of Brahma’s creation.

What is the percentage of Hindus in the US? the World? 

Hindus make up about .4% of the U.S. population with 1.1 million people. They make up 14% of the world population with about 900 million people.

If they aren’t supposed to kill anything, how do they eat?

Ideally, all Hindus are supposed to be vegetarians. They get their protein from nuts, beans, and other plants. However, Shiva is a mega meat-eater, and many Hindus don’t feel it necessary to practice this.

Do they have a god of poop?

His name is Samana.


Iraq in the Bible

To get this blog going again, I will be re-posting some of the most popular theology material from my former blog. This is from October 2008.

I just received an email that was quite intriguing to me. I have received versions of this before. It’s not on Snopes in its entirety yet, so I thought I would take the opportunity to challenge it. Here’s version I received:

Read all of this one, it is interesting!!
Near the bottom will give you GOOSEBUMPS!!!
You don’t want to miss this! ((*_*) )
VERY INTERESTING-

1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq
2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!
3. Noah built the ark in Iraq
4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq
5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq
6. Isaac’s wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq
7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq
8. Jonah preached in Nineveh – which is in Iraq
9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel
10. Amos cried out in Iraq
11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem
12. Daniel was in the lion’s den in Iraq
13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the Fiery Furnace!)
14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the ‘writing on the wall’ in Iraq
15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq
16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq
17. The wise men were from Iraq
18. Peter preached in Iraq
19. The ‘Empire of Man’ described in Revelation is called Babylon –which was a city in Iraq

And you have probably seen this one: Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq !

However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon , Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia … The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris And Euphrates Rivers ..

The name Iraq means country with deep roots. Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. No other nation, except Israel , has more history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq

And also, This is something to think about: Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages …

The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

Koran ( 9:11 ) – For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle.. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; And there was peace.

(Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?!

You will notice as we proceed that this email, as with most falsehoods, has much truth. For quick synopsis, I will put three asterisks (***) before points that are entirely true, two (**) before those that are partially true and one (*) before those that are entirely false.

(**) 1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq.

The Garden of Eden was located at the convergence of the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates rivers. The latter two flow from Turkey to the Persian Gulf in Iraq. Thus based on the location of the former two rivers (which is unknown) the Garden could be anywhere between the highlands of Turkey and the bottom of the Persian Gulf.

(***) 2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!

Mesopotamia included more land than just modern Iraq, but the statement is generally true.

(**) 3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.

The biblical account of the building of the ark mentions no location whatsoever. However, this assumption is not unreasonable.

(***) 4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.

The Tower of Babel was in the land of Shinar, likely southern Iraq.

(***) 5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq.

Yep

(**) 6. Isaac’s wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq.

Nahor was a person, Abraham’s brother. Nahor’s city was in Mesopotamia, but that could be anything between Turkey, Syria, or Iraq.

(***) 7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.

Jacob met her in “the lands of the east“. The people there said they were from some of the cities in southern Iraq.

(***) 8. Jonah preached in Nineveh – which is in Iraq.

Nineveh was the capital of Assyria and is presently located in Northern Iraq.

(***) 9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.

See above.

(*) 10. Amos cried out in Iraq.

Several locations are mentioned in the book of Amos, but whenever they are referring to where the man Amos presently is, they always point to Judah or Israel. In fact there is a point (Amos 8:12-13) that the king tells Amos to leave Israel, therefore he must have been there.

(**) 11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.

It would be more accurate to say that Iraq is in Babylon as Babylon is bigger. However, the rest is true.

(*) 12. Daniel was in the lion’s den in Iraq.

By this point Babylon had been overthrown by the Persians. The new capital, where Daniel was likely located was East, in Persia (Iran).

(*) 13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the Fiery Furnace!)

The location is the same as Daniel. Whether Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael (Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednego) were children is a curious question. Also, whether Jesus was in fact the fourth man belongs to the realm of Theophany.

(***) 14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the ‘writing on the wall’ in Iraq.

See 12.

(***) 15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.

Same as above.

(***) 16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.

Babylon, yeah.

(**) 17. The wise men were from Iraq.

Matthew 2 indicates that the “wise men” that visited Jesus were from the “East”. This could be Iraq or the region of Persia–modern day Iran.

(**) 18. Peter preached in Iraq

If the “Babylon” referred to in 1 Peter 5:13 is literal, then yes.

(*) 19. The ‘Empire of Man’ described in Revelation is called Babylon –which was a city in Iraq.

First, “empire of man” is not a phrase that exists anywhere in any English translation of the Bible. Secondly, in much prophetic literature city names are symbolic. Babylon is a common reference in Revelation but it likely referred to contemporary Rome or some other future powerful city.

(*) And you have probably seen this one: Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq !

Actually, Egypt is mentioned way more, even if you include the alternate names for the region of Iraq.

(*)The name Iraq means country with deep roots. Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. No other nation, except Israel , has more history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq

Iraq is usually translated as “by the river” or “by the source.” It is a significant historical region. The land does have much history but the country does not. Prophecies are hard to associate with this region as it is impossible to determine how symbolic they are until they are fulfilled.

Another thing to remember is that Iraq didn’t exist as a country until the 1920s. It is a result of the carving up of the Ottoman Empire by the allied powers of WWI. It has no history as a unified nation before that, unless it was part of some other, larger empire (which it often was).

(*)And also, This is something to think about: Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages … The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

(*)Koran ( 9:11 ) – For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle.. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; And there was peace.

Wow. This is bad. Thanks to an article on Snopes I discovered this is totally false.

Surah 9:11 actually says, “But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We make the communications clear for a people who know.”

There is no quote like the one mentioned in this email.

So, what’s the point? The region that Iraq sits in has rich history; however, the nation itself is relatively new and does not have the significance that we often give it.

P.S. I found another source who has addressed this same issue very well that you should check out.


Son of Abraham, Son of God

To get this blog going again, I will be re-posting some of the most popular theology material from my former blog. This is from October 2008.

With my 7th grade class this week we were discussing the life of Abraham and his faith in God. I find it incredible that he remained faithful to God so much throughout his life. There was one particular aspect of his decisions and actions that caught my attention today.

Abram’s name meant father, yet at 99 years old he had no children. God chose to reverse this irony by giving him a child in his old age. So at the age of 90, Abraham’s wife gave birth to Isaac. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham as he was to be the father of many nations. Isaac was God’s provision of that promise.

However, there came a time in Abraham’s life that God told him to sacrifice his son. This was before the Law of Moses that prohibited such actions. God was commanding Abraham to cut off his link to God’s promise. The father was to become fatherless again.

Yet Abraham was not disobedient. He offered his one and only son as a sacrifice to God, and as a reward for his faith and action, God provided an alternate sacrifice.

Not only did God provide a ram in the bushes for Abraham, but he later provided a sacrifice to us. God gave Abraham a child and asked him to give the child up. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his one and only child. It was through that child that a tribe named Judah arose, and it was from the tribe of Judah that a man named Jesus came for the people of Israel.

Abraham gave his only son for God. God gave his only son for the people of Abraham.

God will not require from us anything He Himself is unwilling to do.


How to Win an Argument

442px-Brooklyn_Museum_-_Argument_Irrésistible_-_Honoré_Daumier…without knowing anything!

Yes, you too can succeed in “reasoning” your way between anyone else’s logic by the use of these clever strategies.

For a suggested donation of $20, you can read the rest of this page without feeling guilty!

Strategy #1

Pass the buck – Tell them that since they can’t prove you wrong, then you must be right!

Strategy #2

Make it true – Argue that since you are obviously right, and everyone knows it, there is no point in arguing further.

Strategy #3

You have two choices – Tell them they must believe your view or something else totally outlandish. Do not allow for a third option.

Strategy #4

It must be so – Argue that for you to be wrong, you would have to change your whole worldview, so you must be right out of necessity.

Strategy #5

Appear reasonable – Argue that your position occupies the middle ground, so the other person is an extremist.

Strategy #6

Distract them – Argue some side issue that’s much easier to win. It’s much better than losing the big one.

Strategy #7

Barrage them – Make so many points that they can’t hope to respond to them all.

Strategy #8

Go for the throat – Prove that the other person is untrustworthy and cannot be believed. Variation: Do the same for their mother.

Strategy #9

Cherry pick – Find one time when your argument proved true. Base everything on that.

Strategy #10

Emotion – Make the conclusion of the other person’s position appear so unpleasant that no one would want it to be true.

Congratulations! Now you can be a winner without even knowing what you’re saying!


Read the Deuterocanon

There are many who follow a plan, often yearly, to read the 66 books of the  Protestant Bible. However, I find it also helpful and interesting to read books associated with and important to Christianity outside the Bible. This year, I’ve come up with a plan to read these books (very slowly) throughout the year.

I’ve chosen books from 2 categories. First are the Apocrypha or Deuterocanon recognized as Scriptural by the Catholic and/or Orthodox Christian faiths. Second are books highly regarded by early Christians. Some were even considered “canonical” by a bishop or two.

Even if not considered Scriptural, none of the books on this list have been rejected as heretical by any major Christian group and are usually considered helpful in understanding the history of Salvation.

Enjoy, modify, and feel free to pass it on.


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