[Advaita-l] [other religious paths]

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Mar 17 07:30:11 CST 2004

On Sun, 14 Mar 2004, Sanjay Verma wrote:

> Namaskaram,
>  While one may have one's own impressions of what Advaita and
> Christianity are, Swami Vivekananda would vehemently disagree with the
> statement that the "Christian message is philosophically not compatible
> with Advaita"
>  Readers may refer to the following URL for Swami Vivekananda's talk on
> "Christ the Messenger".
>  http://www.vedanta.com/getpage.cfm?file=christ.html&userid=71730725

Thankyou Sanjay for an object lesson in the dangers of aviveka when it
comes to examing religious and philosophical ideas.

Vivekananda was no scholar of christianity.  His views on Jesus in
ralation to the Jews reflect the popular thinking of 19th century that
Christ had come to replace the stagnant and corrupt religion of the Jews
but already by that time the "higher criticism" which he obliquely refers
to had come to different conclusions.  Jesus and his apostles were born,
lived, and died as Jews.  Jesus may actually have been a Pharisee. Early
Christianity was viewed by outsiders as just another branch of Judaism.
The gospels were written 50-150 years after his crucifixion by people who
had not known him personally.  It was a time when Christianity was under
severe persecution by the Romans.  The Romans were the ones who had
murdered Jesus as they were suspicious of any "King of the Jews" (as
written on the cross) who might rebel against them.  But in order to
deflect blame from themselves, the writers of the New Testament made the
Romans look good and the Jews scapegoats.  This would usher in 2000 years
of anti-semitism which would culminate in the Holocaust.

Today such views are repudiated by all mainstream churches.  When this
issue erupted again around the controversial film "The Passion of the
Christ," our local Catholic bishop wrote to his flock to remind them that
e.g. the Pope had referred to Jews as "elder brothers."  Now isn't this
the height of tragedy that a Hindu from a country that can proudly
say has never engaged in anti-semitism would repeat ideas long discarded
by the Christians themselves -- in the name of unity no less!

It is a further tragedy that there *is* stuff to learn from Christianity
(and Judaism, and Islam) but those who mindlessly think "all religions are
the same" will never know because they are too lazy to find out.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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