Connecting Devotees Worldwide - In Service Of Srila Prabhupada
|An Appeal About Us Donate Contact Us|
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Guru and Gauranga ,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada,
Okay, earlier today my good friend for some reason she just started talking about the Gospel and all. That, I had no problem with, I just sat there and listened. But then she started saying things like "If anyone isn't a Christian, they will be sent to Hell" or "Everyone must except Jesus
Christ as their savior or perish forever because he is the only way."
She explains that Jesus worked miracles, turned water into wine, made the blind see. I reply saying that I believe Jesus was a great man who tried to stand up against an oppresive Roman government. I said that I'm sure that Jesus helped many of the poor and sick. He gave them something to believe in, he gave them hope and raised their spirits, therefore "healing" many people. I say that the whole miracle thing was probably an exaggeration by one of the 40+ writers of the Bible, which was written over the course of 1500 years, and translated and re-translated numerous times.
Now this is where things went sour. I remained polite and said "No offense, I respect your belief but please do realise that you must do the same for other people too.It upset me a little because we are friends and I don't think that intolerance of opinions is part of a healthy friendship. If there is anyway to restore peace, what would be a good way of doing so? Besides i have already came across many chiristian who try so hard to convert others and sometimes they are even my own relatives..How should i react and what to do since i dont want to hurt them as well....
Krishna says: Krishna says: Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. (BG:18.66)
Dear Sonali prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances, All Glories to Shrila Prabhupada!
The following reply is just an effort to inform everyone on some simple facts about the christian tradition that will be helpful in discussions with christians in general. I am not lecturing to you, or trying to convert.
I'm Sorry you had difficulty with your friend. I have heard that there is a big problem in India with "born-again Christians" trying to convert the "Pagan Hindus". I am sorry for that. The knishta-adakari (third class devotee) believes their religion is the only one that has GOD, and they cannot see that any Faith, other than theirs, can be relevant.
I will not try to be too long in this response, but I am Eastern Orthodox Christian (Slavonic tradition), and could perhaps cast a little light on this troublesome topic. Also, as a Gaudia Vaisnava, I would like to state a few accepted facts about Jesus and the Bible.
First, it would seem that your friend is a Fundamentalist. Your friend most likely receives the bulk of her philosophy from the Books of St. Paul, and not the Gospels. Jesus speaks in the Gospels of Love and turning toward God, there is really no Hellish condemnations in His teachings (though he uses some harsh analogies against the ignorance of the day). St. Paul was a crisis manager, and his books have been misinterpreted by the lower christian churches, and so, given more weight than even the Gospel teaching of Jesus! Thus they say, "accept Jesus or perish forever".
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to give a Christian Fundie a satisfactory answer about how you see Jesus.... unless you declare Him the "only way, only savior", and convert.
So anyway, in Temple lectures, I have learned that Shrila Prabhupada declared Jesus to be a Pure Devotee and also Shakta-avesh Avatar. This means that Jesus was more than just a nice guy. He was a devotee sent by Krishna for a certain reason. As for miracles, well, there are Vaishnava saints who have been credited for miracles, so there is no reason to doubt Jesus's miraculous activities.
In regard to the Bible, I agree with you, that there are perhaps some fallible contributions to the Holy Book. However, St. John said that not all that Jesus said and did have been included in the written and lectured history; it's the traditions that matter in Original Christianity.
Most important, about the Gospels: There were a few Apostles who did gather in the cave-cathedrals of Cappradotia, Turkey and assembled the Gospels (the four which are in the New Testament). The first, most accurate Gospel is the book of Mark. St. Mark was St. Peter's secretary and organizer. He would go ahead to a city and make preparations for St. Peter's appearances and lectures. St. Mark wrote his own book about fifty years after Jesus left the planet. The book is basically the lecture-program that St. Peter delivered in his guest appearances, and is considered the most succinct knowledge that this important disciple had to dispense on the subject of his Master. If you truly want to know what Jesus's most active disciple lectured; read St. Mark's Gospel.
The other most accurate Gospel book is St. John. This book was written by St. John himself, most beloved disciple of Jesus, and is a personal, eyewitness account. Beyond these two books, you needn't do anymore research on the subject of the real, historical Jesus. So I encourage anyone to read St. Mark, and hear the basic lecture of a prime disciple. I say this with the same certainty I would for lectures from highly regarded disciples of His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada!
NOW... how to react to Christian Fundamentalists...hmmmm, that's a tough one...
They won't accept any answer, like "Jesus was a divine spiritual Master, I appreciate that.", they would answer "He Is GOD." Anything said, less than that, to a Fundie, is unacceptable. SO, my suggestion is to do a little research as I have indicated above. Get familiar with the real and accurate writings about Jesus.. St. Mark for sure, and St. John for further study.
The problem with Fundamentalists is that they use the letters (books) of St. Paul, by dissecting the books and mixing verses from the books of Romans and Hebrews to support a flawed, blood-sacrifice-heavy philosophy for eradicating man's inherent sinful contamination. This is a contrived philosophy which has poisoned the Original Christian Tradition, and this philosophy's beginning can be mapped out in late history of the developing "christian" traditions.
Anyway, that's a whole different subject. I just hope that you can use this information to find a focus to deal with the fundamentalists. I hope you will accept that I mean no criticism of you in this post, I'm just trying to dispense accurate knowledge on the subject. Responding to Fundies with good effect is difficult, and requires accurate historical knowledge (which they may still reject!). It is hard to break a stone with water.
I would be glad to field any questions, and promise to have shorter answers. :-)
Dear Rankin Fisher prabhu, my humble obeisances and gratitude onto your sublime words and extended version of your simplified truth about the Gospels! :-) I couldn't thank you more and more. One thing for sure, I can appreciate your love that you have for all of us more and more, in revealing the true teachings of Jesus. Amen & Hallelujah. Hare Krishna
agree .. :-)
Hari Bol Mataji ,
I can just laugh if my friend starts saying , if you dont believe in jesus then you are in hell .
In India especially where christian's now have many facility to preach by mercy of Sonia Gandhi ,
focus on converting hindu's to their faith ,
it would had been very nice if they focused in living what jesus preached .
Those who think i can convert & those who think i will convert are both fool's ,
because the original relationship of serving god can not be changed , weather you are muslim,hindu or anything .
Dandavats Prabhus ___\._
St. Mark Chapter 3 v. 31 - 35
There came then His brethren and His mother, and standing outside they sent unto Him, calling Him. And a multitude of people sat around Him, and they said unto Him, “Behold, thy mother and thy brethren are just outside and seek after thee.”
And He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brethren?” And He looked around at those who sat about Him there, and said, “Behold, My mother and My brethren. For who ever shall do the will of God, then they are My brother, and My sister, and mother.”
Rankin Prabhu my warmest regards.
No one except the Supreme Lord( The alpha and omega) knows Jesus that well, not even the so called Christians.
Peter disowned him and Judas who was very close betrayed him.
It is recorded in Luke 34. Jesus said ," Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."(All the people who stood watching)
It is said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. (No offences to those who have commented)
It is best to refrain from commenting on this subject without a good study of the Bible, which is one of the revealed scriptures.
Yet, it is only Krsna who truly knows Jesus and it is not vice versa. As declared by Krsna in Bhagavad Gita that he knows everyone but him no one knows.
Hare Krishna Zola prabhu,
Thank you for your comment. I had hoped not to let this thread become a Christian subject forum. But rather, a discussion to bridge the gap of understanding about the perceived Christian stereotype and the actual Original Christian Tradition.
There are many valid points to be discussed to dissipate the stereotype of the modern day "christian".
I am known among the Religious as knowledgeable, and would not dare state anything without firm knowledge. 1,000 years older even than the Roman Catholic Church, is the Orthodox, Father of the RC's. That is why I had joined this tradition. So, there may be things I say that no one has necessarily heard before. As well, I was raised as a Missionary Baptist, and know the Fundamentalist Christians philosophy very well.
I would be glad to answer your concerns (and anyone else's) privately thru IDT messages, so feel free to write me.
Hare Krsna Rankin Prabhu
Thank you for your concern.
Just wanted to dissipate this duality which is also the purpose of Jesus.
This whole Us Versus Them.
The fundamentalist Christians versus Muslims or one sect against another.
Good vs Evil.
This duality needs to be transcended for it is an exhibition of false ego.
If that were not the case then Jesus could have very easily summoned legions of Angels to fight on his behalf instead of getting crucified.
It is important for everyone to attain to the Brahman conception atleast or they will go on fighting in one name or another.
I certainly agree. I hope to show that the real tradition of Jesus is also that of the Vaishnava.. Devotion to God. I am a Gospellier. That is, a New Testament Christian who believes that what is important is the Gospel and His divine guidance. The Fundamentalist is busy making a divisive philosophy out of the Books of St. Paul. They say that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and that there is no other method for salvation in Christianity but to accept His blood-sacrifice to wash away your sin.
Once, at a Cafe, a young man sat and preached to me this line of philosophy from the Books of St. Paul.. all have sinned, wages of sin is death, and ended up quoting one verse from the Gospels.. For God so loved the world he sent His only son... (out of context). He mixed these verses to support the Fundamentalist method of Salvation.
I told the young man that I was very familiar with his preaching line, and then I asked him to repeat the philosophy.. but to only use references from the Gospels.. with the words of Jesus. He thought for a minute, and said he couldn't do it.
Yes, Jesus is a Vaishnava, and as such, His teachings are like ours.. Devotion to God.
"Love God with all your heart, mind and soul.. and Love your neighbor as yourself." These were His two great commands to us. The extra Salvationary philosophy from the fundamentalists may have some basis in how to interpret why Jesus came, but also is way out of proportion compared to His actual message of love.
I hope, without being, "US vs Them", we can examine the Jesus of the Gospels, and discern the true path to Salvation and Heaven which He had preached.
There is a simple answer to your Question.
When Jesus appeared, in that day, the Jews would Sacrifice a Lamb on an altar in the Temple, for the sins of the people. They would kill the Lamb, trail is blood around the altar, and then burn it. In this way God would accept the sacrifice and forgive the people's sins. When Jesus came to earth, He was to become the Lamb of God.
In the culture of Christianity, it is recognized that Jesus would be the sacrifice that would replace all sacrifices. Jesus's death put an end to animal sacrifice, since he was the Pure Lamb who was fit for Sacrifice, for the forgiveness of the Sins of the whole world. You ask about the "inhumane" treatment and death. Well, this is also part of the suffering that Jesus endured for Christians for their sins.
So the cross is a symbol of victory. A fit sacrifice for sin, for all who accept His way.
These events in His life were given by prophecy in the Old Testament. Jesus eluded to His sacrifice, which He knew was coming, and why He would do it.
Now, in many churches, they hang the cross, even with Jesus on it. Some have the cross with Jesus resurrected, dressed very nicely and looking heavenly (not nailed to the Cross). Others use a plain cross, as a reminder of His willing sacrifice.
In my Orthodox Church, we have the walls covered in mosaic pictures of 139 different stories of the Bible! And, the Crucifixion is only one picture among many.
Christianity appeared in a part of the world which was in great trouble. That Jesus had a pasttime which required his death and resurrection to complete the task given Him by God, is unique to His journey and to the culture of the people that He was sent to save.
PS> In some churches, the sacrifice is everything. In others, it is only one part of His Life, and the Lord's Supper is more important; in my Church, our liberation is the Resurrection, when Jesus proved He was of God and that there was a life beyond this one. Not all christian faiths are obsessed with the bloody-cross. There are other aspects to some faiths that are equally important.