NW: We are All Hindus?

Hindu Temple in Tamil Nadu, India


Newsweek’s latest edition reports that there has been a shift in religious thought in the USA that makes most professing Christians closer to Hinduism than the traditional Protestant beliefs about death:

We Are All Hindus Now
NEWSWEEK – From the magazine issue dated Aug 31, 2009
by Lisa Miller

America is not a Christian nation.

We are, it is true, a nation founded by Christians, and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue to identify as Christian (still, that’s the lowest percentage in American history). Of course, we are not a Hindu—or Muslim, or Jewish, or Wiccan—nation, either.

A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.

The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there are many paths to God.

Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005.

Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

Then there’s the question of what happens when you die. Christians traditionally believe that bodies and souls are sacred, that together they comprise the “self,” and that at the end of time they will be reunited in the Resurrection. You need both, in other words, and you need them forever. Hindus believe no such thing.

At death, the body burns on a pyre, while the spirit—where identity resides—escapes. In reincarnation, central to Hinduism, selves come back to earth again and again in different bodies. So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. So agnostic are we about the ultimate fates of our bodies that we’re burning them—like Hindus—after death.

More than a third of Americans now choose cremation, according to the Cremation Association of North America, up from 6 percent in 1975. “I do think the more spiritual role of religion tends to deemphasize some of the more starkly literal interpretations of the Resurrection,” agrees Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard.


The basic Hindu idea that there will be some type of opportunity for salvation for nearly all of those that were not granted it in this life is correct.  Notice what the Bible teaches:

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:6).

The Protestant/Catholic concept that only through Christ is there any salvation is also correct.

A major problem with the Hindu view is that it is devoid of the “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)–which is Jesus (Acts 4:10).

A major problem with the Protestant/Catholic view is that they really do not understand that when Jesus died for all (John 3:16-17) that this means that He did not die just for a relative few.  And while Protestants/Catholics do believe that God is love as John wrote (1 John 4:16), they do not normally understand that God is wise enough to have a plan of salvation that will result in almost everyone who ever lived to be saved.

The Bible is clear that few are chosen for salvation now (Matthew 22:14), while others will have their opportunity in the age to come (Matthew 12:32; Luke 18:30).

But because Protestant and Catholic leaders do not normally teach this, it is little wonder that many Americans are properly rejecting the non-biblical notion that most that ever lived will be condemned to eternal torment.  There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that show that God has a plan of salvation that will result in salvation being offered to all and that nearly all who ever lived will be saved.

Some documented articles that help show this include the following:

Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG/GCI which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.

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