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The Boston Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › Interesting knowledge about Hinduism - for anyone interested ...

Interesting knowledge about Hinduism - for anyone interested ...

Anirban
Anirban_C
Boston, MA
Post #: 23
Raja
user 6429723
Natick, MA
Post #: 12
I am not quite certain about the purpose of this posting. If it belongs to the idea of "spreading hinduism," I would reject it immediately. If it is for the purpose of exposing the idiosyncrasy of ancient mumbo jumbo, I appreciate the posting. But there are a few things that I want to point out:

1. It is an Wikipedia account about a philosophy. It is just not a good enough source for any serious understanding about any subject.

2. The texts that are discussed here were written in an ancient language that I am pretty certain no "hindus" knows. So we have to rely on the interpretation of so called "scholars" of hinduism. If one can take "Bible scholars" and "Islamic scholars" seriously as people who are authentic enough to tell us about the 'truthiness' of their respective religious books, I would say, "good luck with that knowledge."

3. A philosophy that encourages to create a society based on hierarchy (caste) and has been considered valid even in the 21st century, I would be tempted to reject anything about that philosophy.

4. I fail to understand the purpose of including Max Mueller or other western "scholars" explanations about those texts to validate a religious belief (termed philosophy in this case) that was created entirely based on ancient eastern social and political context. Such attempt is rampant in hinduism, the attempt to call upon the words of western "scholars" to validate the claims of hinduism. This matter has always baffled me. Whenever I read the works of Indian philosophers who are not "blinded" by hinduisms various "superior" claims, I find them rejecting many of those claims through reasons. It is hard to find Indian philosopher who is willing to discredit hindu texts for the fear of being either prosecuted or rejected as "not open minded." One such thinker is Amartya Sen, who was rejected by majority Indians until he received his Nobel in Economy. I think, I made my point why I really don't want to listen to Max Mueller's take on hinduism, because that is not what majority hindus (devoted) consider as hinduism, either for better or for worse.

5. A specific example that is extremely hilarious: "The Vaisheshika school was founded by Kanada and postulates an atomic pluralism. All objects in the physical universe are reducible to certain types of atoms, and Brahman is regarded as the fundamental force that causes consciousness in these atoms."
This to my mind is the mumbo jumbo of ancient hinduism. First of all, I am skeptical in believing that such thing has been said in those texts. Secondly, these are the stuff that makes Deepak Chopra create his "quantum healing" thing.
Vikas R.
vrana
Shrewsbury, MA
Post #: 1
Besides the points made by Raja, it is interesting to see how Hindu philosophers include Buddhism and Jainism under the umbrella of Hinduism, completely ignoring the fact that these are two separate religions in their own right.

The fact is that the proponents of Vedic traditions ( including followers of Vedanta) used violence, persecution and repression to convert the predominantly Buddhist and Jain populations of medieval India to their religion, which was fairly easy for them to achieve as both Buddhism and Jainism were religions based on concept of non-violence.

The "Golden Period" of Gupta Dynasty claimed in the article is the time when most of the scriptures revered by Hindus (Puranas, Shashtras and Smirities) were composed as well.

It was due to the work of western indologists that these philosophies even saw light of the day. Otherwise, the orthodox priestly class of hindus had kept it all hidden from common man by forcing the population to stay ignorant using the mumbo-jumbo like karma, rebirth and what not.

Anirban
Anirban_C
Boston, MA
Post #: 24
Firstly, I must point out the fact that I am an atheist, if it has been missed by the two replies I see to my post.
I was not, nor am, nor will be trying to defend, glorify, sanctify(!) Hinduism (or for that matter any religion) in any of my posts.
Secondly, I must confess that when I posted it, I did not put any reason for my posting, because I expected to have a discussion about the "philosophy" behind the religion called "Hinduism". I found it interesting that the "philosophy" had branches which did not even have a god in it's premise. That was the whole "interesting" part of the posting. Since I had not gone through a whole "history of Hinduism" lesson before in my life, and had stumbled across some "philosophical" argument made by devout Hindus, I decided to read up (I know, in Wikipedia). And what little I read, I though was interesting from the point of view of a dedicated atheist. The invocation of the "god" part was more of a single branch, that too as an afterthought. The philosophy at best was a "naturalistic" one, at worst a pantheistic one. Subsequently, it got turned into one of the most horrible systems imaginable.

Having said that I agree with most of what the two replies have said. However, I would love to see more postings about what other people thought of the Wikipedia entry - people who have not seen the evils of Hinduism first hand.
A former member
Post #: 24
I'm curious about the "evils of Hinduism" you mention. Are you referring to Manusmriti?

I guess most "belief systems" are vulnerable to being exploited - leading to the dangerous potential of religion, and it's power of destruction in the name of complacent belief.

Not sure I would single out Hinduism though, at least Hinduism keeps to itself & does not evangelize. That limits the extent of damage by it's well meaning, but sometimes rather self righteous followers.
Raja
user 6429723
Natick, MA
Post #: 13
When you say, "in the name of complacent belief" people do bad things. That should be the perfect reason to discard all belief. Hinduism is no exception. No one should be allowed to preach "philosophy (as hinduism is called hindu philosophy)" without a shred of evidence. At least not in this 21st century.

Second thing that I want to point out is this. It is a misconception that hinduism does not proselytize. What is true though that as opposed to islam or christianity there is no prescribed protocol for proselytization in hinduism, so is in judaism (correct me if I am wrong about the latter one). I can give at least two reasons why hinduism does not have such protocol. The reason is certainly not because it is a tolerant religion, because it is not as we all know from the history books etc. The reason is because it is an ancient religion, so no major competitor (probably true for judaism too). Who will they convert? Second reason is a bit more serious, it involves the most disgusting matter of hinduism: the castes. If one gets converted to hinduism, what caste will he/she belong? There are more reasons, but I think these two are sufficient for now.
Zachary B.
zakbos
Boston, MA
Post #: 196
I'm curious about the "evils of Hinduism" you mention. Are you referring to Manusmriti?

I guess most "belief systems" are vulnerable to being exploited - leading to the dangerous potential of religion, and it's power of destruction in the name of complacent belief.

Not sure I would single out Hinduism though, at least Hinduism keeps to itself & does not evangelize. That limits the extent of damage by it's well meaning, but sometimes rather self righteous followers.

I would concur with Raja here; just as we need not single our Hinduism as being not being particularly more dangerous than other religions, we should not conclude that it is somehow more benign. As with any ideology based in irrationality, the conditioning of children, coercive social engagement, etc., Hinduism is not just a system that can be exploited -- it is a system which actively breeds in its adherents a vulnerability to exploitation.
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