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By on January 13, 2019

Series: Christianity and World Religions
Text: Ephesians 2: 1-10
Rev. Audrey Spencer

Introduction: In February of 2017 there was a shooting in a bar in Olathe, Kansas, just a few miles from Adam Hamilton’s church. After a verbal confrontation from a man who entered the bar, Three men were shot, one of which was killed, 32 year old Srini vas Kuchibholtla, from India. In the aftermath of the death of her husband, Sunayana Kuchibhotla, made this plea on

“Take some time to understand and embrace diversity in race, culture and religion,” she wrote. ” It is in our hands to make our society safe and secure for our future generations and create a fearless world.” Powerful words coming from a woman who had just lost her husband in a racial and likely religiously motivated hate crime.

What Christian would not wish for all people to be able to live in a world without fear? If we are to work toward that goal, we must take the time to understand our neighbors of other faiths.
What do they believe? Why do they believe it? Where do we find common ground?
When we understand the basics of their religions it can give us the basis for meaningful conversation and opportunities to better love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Hindu roots: Hindus consider their religion the oldest living faith in the world. Hinduism’s roots go back between 2,000 and 3,000 years before Christ, when various tribal groups migrated into the Indus River Valley; what is today northern India. Hinduism’s holy writings include the Vedas – hymns, liturgies and direction for the ritual sacrifices of ancient Hinduism. A later body of work was written called the Upanishads. These are technically considered part of the Vedas but serve both as commentary and as the summation of Hindu philosophy.

What Hindus believe: Hindus believe in one God, most often referred to as Brahman. This sounds confusing to Christians, because Hindu’s will speak of a variety of “deities” But Hindu’ s believe that all of these “deities”, as many as 330 million, are only manifestations of the one supreme God who created all things.

Hindus speak of God in the singular, and Hindu scriptures say that there is only one true God. To the Hindu, God transcends personality and our ca pacity to understand or comprehend. For the Hindu, God or Brahman, as impersonal. This view of God is in stark contrast with Judaism and Christianity, which believe that God is personal, knowable, and that it is possible to have a deeply personal experience and relationship with God. In Hinduism, every creature, humans and animals, have a soul, called the “atman”. This is the true self, beyond the ego or false self. For Hindus, the soul ‘s journey on earth begins in the form of an animal or a plant. And so, to be reunited with God, the soul must gain the spiritual knowledge to let go of ego and of this life, and to fulfill its duty to God. It includes acts of kindness, compassion, mercy, and love. If the soul lives out its “dharma”, it has a chance to be reincarnated as a higher life form. Here is a huge difference in Hinduism and Christianity; because Hindus believe that they have divinity within themselves, they do not believe that they are born sinners. They believe the problem with humans is not sin but ignorance. So, for them, the human struggle is not to overcome sin, but to overcome the lack of knowledge, which may be in the form of many reincarnated lifetimes. We are born, we learn, we die, and then we are reborn. Souls strive to gain knowledge and fulfill their duty to move closer to God.

Points of Connection: Hindus believe in not harming anyone or anything. This concept of nonviolence and noninjury should sound familiar to us as Christians. Jesus taught his disciples to “turn the other cheek” and ” love your enemies”, and he demonstrated this we he refused to fight back or take up anns against those who came to arrest him and to those who planned to crucify him . Paul captures this same idea when he writes in Romans, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil ,” but instead, “overcome evil with good.”

Points of Difference: For Christians and Jews, everything is contingent upon God. Another point is that while Brahman may be manifest in personal ways, God in Hinduism is conceived in very impersonal terms. Christians and Jews’ scriptures teach us as being very personal. From the beginning, God created human beings for relationship with him, to be recipients of God’s love. As I stated a minute ago, Hindu’s believe the problem of humans is knowledge not sin. Christians believe our problem is sin and God loves us so much he gives us forgiveness and life in the gift of Jesus. We can’t earn this gift of love. Christ came to reveal God to us, to heal us and to heal our world. He saves us. His life, death, and resurrection are the keys to our salvation. Chri stians believe that in yielding our lives to him, and through the Holy Spirit, we are changed and given the ability to live our faith in a way that brings healing to the world. May we be Christians who listen to others with kindness, love and compassion.


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Contemporary Worship 9:00am - Sunday Study Groups 10:10am - Traditional Worship 11:00am

7050 Village Center Drive, Austin, TX 78731 512.345.1743