I’ve decided to spend some time writing extremely short explanations about why I am an evangelical Protestant Christian instead of anything else.
I have two aims.
First, I want show how an honest person can evaluate rival religions using the laws of logic, scientific evidence and historical evidence. Second, I want people who are not religious to understand that religions are either true or it is false. Religions should not be chosen based where you were born, what your parents believed, or what resonates with you. A religion should be embraced for the same reason as the theory of gravity is embraced: because it reflects the way the world really is.
Why I am not a Hindu
- Hindu cosmology teaches that the universe cycles between creation and destruction, through infinite time.
- The closest cosmological model conforming to Hindu Scriptures is the eternally “oscillating” model of the universe.
- The “oscillating” model requires that the universe exist eternally into the past.
- But the evidence today shows the the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big bang.
- The “oscillating” model requires that the expansion of the universe reverse into a collapse, (= crunch).
- In 1998, the discovery of the year was that the universe would expand forever. There will be no crunch.
- Therefore, the oscillating model is disconfirmed by observations.
- The oscillating model also faces theoretical problems with the “bounce” mechanism.
So that’s one reason why I am not a Hindu.
(The absolute origin of the universe out of nothing is also incompatible with Buddhism, Mormonism, etc. because they also require an eternally existing universe)
18 thoughts on “Choosing my religion: why I am not a Hindu”
I had an interesting conversation with a teacher at a local community college who was teaching a comparative religion course. One of my pastors was invited to give a 15 minute presentation on what makes Christianity unique, and I tagged along. With such a short time, he focussed on the uniqueness of Jesus and on the historical reliability of scripture.
I asked one of the students in the class who I was a passing aquaintance with, if I could see her syllabus. One thing quickly jumped off the page at me, that the class would operate “under the assumption that all religions lead to the same place.” Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t that a stupid place to start in a *comparitive* religions course?
Anywho… the teacher was a practicing Hindu. After the class was over, he stayed to talk with my pastor. I asked him if that bit on the syllabus was a department requirement or something he inserted. He inserted it. So I asked him if that was consistent with Hinduism. Unblinkingly and sincerely he answered in the affirmative. So I asked if that was true through the mechanism of reincarnation. He was a smart fellow, and saw where I was going, so took it one step further and told me, “In fact, everyone is a Hindu, just some have not have the life experience built up across the span of many lives to know it.”
“It’s true, from a certain perspective,” says Ben Kenobi…
My pastor was primarily interested in asking if he knew someone who was in the final cycle of life. Hindus believe and claim that there are a small but significant number of individuals who are living the perfect life and will be released from rebirth after death. Rebirth is seen as a curse, and release brings you into a merging with the cosmic power. Their idea of God is impersonal to say the least. The professor did in fact know such a man, and my pastor noted that while he had met many Hindus who know such a person, he’d never met such a person, and asked if the professer could set that up. The professor waffled a bit, in a way typical of a gatekeeper, and ultimately agreed to set that up. My pastor never heard back from either of them. :/
Prof. should immediately be reported to the department for proselytizing.
Oh wait the community funded course is promoting something other than Christianity? Carry on then.
Only the Holy Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is allowed to preach in public.
We ALL know that. :P
Wow, nobody ever told me that the universe couldn’t contract again. That really does debunk the theory, and it comes close to debunking atheism, too. I’m pretty sure I even read some writings by Stephen Hawking as late as 2002 that talked about the eventual contraction. This news needs to get out.
But if Hinduism were true, I would prefer to remain ignorant about it anyway, considering the Hindu heaven is essentially oblivion. You’re better off getting reincarnated anyway.
I know! And hardly anyone even knows about the creation of space, time, matter and energy out of nothing, which totally disproves atheism. Or the fine-tuning argument which totally disproves atheism. Or the origin of life… well, you get the idea.
I blame the churches for this – they need to be talking about these things. Even if they are young earth, the state of the art in astrophysics needs to be communicated from the pulpit. People are dropping away from Christianity for lack of a little knowledge of science.
What I find most ironic is that the earth really doesn’t rotate around the sun.
Space is relative. The universe has no center. It is correct to make a diagram with the Earth at the center of the solar system, standing still, or the moon, or the sun.
So, philosophically, which is better? Do the scientists betray their bias about philosophical matters by not producing solar maps with the Earth at the center of the system? It’s just a matter of drawing diagrams differently.
The Sun is the center of the solar system because it has more mass and the orbiting bodies are attracted to it.
So you make a philosophical decision to place the largest body as the center, which is fair and certainly makes the diagrams easier.
But, you have to agree since the science is clear, that space is relative and has no fixed boundries, it is equally correct to put the sun as the center as it is the moon or the earth or jupiter. It looks nicer with the sun in the center, but it’s merely a judgment call.
To say otherwise is to claim that space is fixed, and it’s not.
Hindu heaven is not oblivion but union with God Spirit and finding Individual and Universal self are the same. we are both the same spirit which we fail to understand because of illusion. experience of cosmos liberates us from it.
Hindu heaven means the extinguishing of the individual self so that there is no more individual. It’s called Moksha, and it’s the end of the cycle of life, death and rebirth (samsara). Even the individual self is an illusion in Hinduism.
If I understand LCB correctly, he’s referring to the sort of effect you get when you trace lunar motion. It orbits around the earth, but the earth is travelling around the sun, so the moon does not make a circular motion. Likewise our solar system and galaxy are at motion, so the earth does not travel eliptically (I almost said circularly, Kepler forbid!) around the sun.
Did I make a good stab at where you were going LCB?
I think you will find that cosmology has moved on a lot from 1998. There are cyclic models of the universe that are consistent with observation. The truth is that there are cyclic models, models that will go on forever, and ones that will crunch – and science does not yet have a consensus on which is correct.
If you take the (unusual) approach of basing your religion on the prevailing cosmological theories, you cannot rule out those that describe a cyclic universe.
You’re wrong of course, and you didn’t cite any evidence for your view in any case.
First, give me some arguments that the cyclical cosmology is corect, and cite peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Second, name some cosmologists who have defended the cyclical model in the peer-reviewed literature.
Third, show we where the objections to the cyclical model have been answered in peer-reviewed literature
What objections you ask?
1) The cycle model was disproved theoretically by Alan Guth in 1982 in his paper in the journal Nature. (which I cited in step 8)
2) The cycle model was disproved experimentally by observations that the mass density of the universe is insufficient to force a contraction. (which I cited in step 6)
That’s two pieces of peer-reviewed literature that I cited to your ZERO. (You just linked to wikipedia, but didn’t even produce a quotation that substantiated your argument – and in any case, wikipedia is not a source)
Just making assertions doesn’t make something true – you have to be willing to change your views in response to the evidence that we have on the table TODAY. Not hope for evidence to come out that will reverse all that we have already discovered. You’re certainly free to deceive yourself, but that is not what God expects from you.
I see your template makes links in comments hard to see, I linked http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model, which has references to the work of Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok
Lauris Baum, Paul H. Frampton
as well as others
Can you please cite the papers where they substantiate your view with EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE, such as the evidence I offered? Just linking to a paper doesn’t refute my two references, and especially my experimental data. I am not so interested in whether a theoretical model can be constructed using mathematics – I want to see the experimental evidence that supports the conclusion.
The 3 objections I raised with the model are:
1) Insufficient mass-density to force a contraction – confirmed by data from balloon-borne experiments maXima and Boomerang.
2) No known bounce mechanism – proved by Alan Guth
3) The bounce would not be fully elastic due to the second law of thermodynamics – so only a finite number of bounces would be possible in any case even if 1 and 2 could be solved.
You need to produce some positive evidence for your point of view.
Here’s the abstract from one of the papers you cited:
Does that some like experimental physics, or is it speculation? They are creating a mathematical model – but they don't have any data to prove it. But I've got the data to prove that the oscillating model is physically impossible.
1) The mass density is actually very close to the critical density. The classical use of the Friedmann equations do not take into account dark matter or dark energy, or the recent observations in the microwave background that show that the cosmological constant may change through time.
2) There are theoretical bounce mechanisms (three in the link given), admittedly none proven.
3) We know that classical physics breaks down in a singularity, so the second law of thermodynamics does not apply.
Anyway, I don’t really think that there is a great justification for basing your beliefs on this type of cosmology.
I don’t think that you could place this rigour of proof on the resurrection, or that I could place the same on reincarnation.
You are simply wrong on the science, and you never cite any experimental data from peer-reviewed literature, which I did. I cited experimental data that proved that the universe would expand forever because the mass density was not sufficient to force a contraction. The oscillating model is now disproved by observation, as the steady-state model was disproved by observation before it.
Don’t project your dismissal of science on me. YOU don’t think that there is any justification for HINDUISM based on the current cosmology. I agree. But I on the other hand find that the current cosmology is EXACTLY what is predicted by monotheistic religions like Christianity. Time, space,matter and energy coming into being out of nothing in the beginning. I find GREAT justification for Christianity from science, in this area and in many others, as well!
This will have to be the last word, except to say OF COURSE I would put that level of rigor of proof on the resurrection, but obviously this would be a historical argument, not a scientific one, so it would not be testable in a lab. Instead, it would be an inference to the best explanation on the basis of the available historical evidence, which would be evaluated using standard historical rules for ancient biographies. But OF COURSE I would be appealing to peer-reviewed data, published in refereed journals by credentialed scholars, including non-Christian scholars.
Have you ever heard a debate between historians on the resurrection? In Christianity, we actually debate these things. I would think that most people simply don’t take the time to look into these things, but that in itself is a decision that we all must make. We all must decide whether religion is just customs and conventions from the society we were born into, or whether it is truth. Half my family is Hindu and the other half is Muslim. Both of these religions can be easily disproved using simple facts admitted by virtually all scholars.
[NOTE: I FIXED MY COMMENT based on some helpful criticism from Chris]
“Oh wait the community funded course is promoting something other than Christianity? Carry on then.”
I gotta say I loved this comment!