Thursday, September 2, 2010

Old comment on a religion article

This is an "On Faith" article in the Washington Post by Karen Armstrong titled "No One Can Have the Last Word on God" It is really good, readable article. My comment was posted on January 24, 2007. Link:

You said, "Throughout history, Jews, Christians and Muslims have all insisted that the ideas we have about the divine can never measure up to the reality itself."

I always thought Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Mormons & Sunni/Shia Muslims were pretty absolutist about their pronouncements regarding God, heaven and hell. Don't all of them say if you don't believe in their faith, then you'll go to hell? And all of them basically say that if you want to remain open-minded about your belief, then you are a pagan who will still go to hell.

In Hinduism, we believe that God created the universe out of Himself so that He is within every atom of this physical universe as well as separate and outside of it. So it is ok if pagans worship trees because God resides in those trees. It's ok if you want to worship an idol made of stone because every religious or spiritual endeavor requires concentration and that idol also has God in it. The ideal is to realize reverence for self, reverence for fellow man, reverence for animals and reverence for all of God's physical creation.

But I do think that Muslims have the last word if you burn a Koran in Saudi Arabia because they put you to death for that "crime". Muslims have the last word in Pakistan if you draw a cartoon representing Mohammad because that is blasphemy for which you get the death penalty. However as commonsense would dictate, a Hindu in India cannot take revenge or physically retaliate if someone breaks his idol. No matter how stupid someone behaves, it is still illegal to take the life of another human being so in this case, the idol-bashing Muslim can really have the last word on God that is until we naturally die and then face judgment.

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