Lesson 5 w/answersHinduism
In the previous lesson om the Cults, we looked at the religion and followers of Buddhism. We discovered that it is the fourth largest religion in the world, and it focuses on meditation, living a pure life, and reincarnation. Similarly, this lesson’s study involves a religion that incorporates meditation and reincarnation—Hinduism—which also happens to be the third largest religion in the world.
So get your research tools handy—you might find the Internet extremely helpful this week as has it been in the past, as well as Dr. Martin’s book, "The Kingdom of the Cults"—and answer the following questions:
- How many followers of Hinduism are there today?
- ANSWER: 425 million.
- Where was it founded and when?
- ANSWER: The Hindu religtion has evolved over time, starting before 1500 BC. It does not have a start date, a single god, or a founder. It is actually a compilation of many religious practices and gods into a single religion encompassing all of them.
- What is a henotheistic religion and how does it differ from a polytheistic religion?
- ANSWER: It is a religion which sees a single god with many other gods as subordinate—unlike polytheistics, who simply believe in many gods.
- What is the core fundamental belief of Hinduism?
- ANSWER: Reincarnation, transmigration of the soul, continues until enough Karma is earned to break the cycle and become united with the truth (Brahman).
- What is their position on the Bible, God and Theology?
- ANSWER: Hinduism completely rejects them all while accepting them as well, since they accept that all religions point to the same central truths. "The truth is one, but different sages call it by different names."
- What does the word "Hindu" mean?
- ANSWER: The origin of the word and its meaning are unclear. It is probably something derived from its location, or the Persian word for India, but its actual origin and meaning are not really known.
- What are the Vedas?
- ANSWER: The Vedas are the most important of all the Hindu sacred texts. The the four chief collections are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Vedaa. They contain hymns, incantations, and rituals from ancient India.
- What are the Upanishads?
- ANSWER: A group of primary texts, and a continuation of the Hindu philosophy written between 900 and 800 BC. Many of them elaborate how the soul can be united with the ultimate truth through contemplation and mediation.
- What do they believe about reincarnation that is different from Buddhism?
- ANSWER: They believe in the transmigration of the soul, i.e., reincarnation repeats and repeats with the soul coming back— not just in human form, but sometimes in animal form.
- What are the three goals of the Pravritti?
- ANSWER 1: Dharma: righteousness in religious life.
- ANSWER 2: Artha: success in economic life.
- ANSWER 3: Kama: gratification of the senses, pleasure, including sensual and mental enjoyment.
- Why is liberation from the samsara the supreme goal of mankind?
- ANSWER: Becasue it breaks the repeating cycle of reincarnation forever.
- What is the significance of the Red Dot worn on the forehead?
- ANSWER: It is a sign of religious piety.
- What are the four levels of the Caste System?
- ANSWER 1: Brahmins: priests and academicians.
- ANSWER 2: Kshartriyas: rulers and the military.
- ANSWER 3: Vaishyas: farmers, landlords, and merchants.
- ANSWER 4: Sudras: laborers, peasants, servants, and workers in non-polluting jobs.
- ANSWER 5: Dalit: outside of the cast system, comprised of outcasts and "untouchables."
- Who are the Hare Krishna’s and Sikhs?
- ANSWER: Sects of Hinduism.
Again, in this lesson we examined a religion that offers its followers freedom from this life and a hope that a lasting peace and freedom can be found through following the teachings and practices of works (along with the worship of many gods) in a desire to find "the truth." Again we also see a focus on mankind’s actions in its attempts to achieve inner peace, calmness through meditation, a focus on right living and clear thinking, and a striving to find happiness.
While it is difficult to believe that such goals would be wrong, and that following such a religion would lead to eternal separation from God, but this religion is mereky another form of man developing his own plan of salvation based on his world, his views, and his thoughts—not on God the Creator of all things.
God clearly tells us that His thoughts are not our thoughts, and that His ways are not our ways. He tells us that wide is path that leads to destruction and many there be that follow it. We know that He is our only salvation and He will be our only Judge. We also know that Jesus the Christ is the only truth and the only path to follow, not man’s.
I encourage you to remain faithful in this study and to commit to loving, seeking and witnessing to our lost brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends and co-workers, who have followed after such false teaching, believing these lies for the truth.
May God fill us with a discerning spirit as we continue our study. In the next lesson, we will dissect another of the world religions claiming to have the answer and attracting millions of followers; as we take a quick look at Muslims, the followers of Islam.