Are Hindus pagan?

Hi CAF community,

With all charity to Hindus, and prayers, I ask this question:

Are Hindus pagan?

What do you think? The poll will show.

Benedicat Deus,

I voted for neither of your options because the correct choice isn’t on the poll. Some Hindu’s are indeed “pagan” and some are not.

What exactly do you mean?

Benedicat Deus,

There are some Hindu’s who are in fact “pagan” and do worship a multiplicity of gods and there are Hindu’s who don’t share this line of thinking. All Hindu’s do not believe the same thing.

True. Thanks for the clarification.

As a whole though, I’m wondering what would you say?

Well I guess this is not a very good question. I see the problem.

Benedicat Deus,

I’m not understanding this question.

I would definitely say they are.
Though they worship three main gods, they have a host of other god including sun, wind, fire, monkeys, snakes, cows etc… which are pagan. So I think we can categorise them as pagans.

Hmm, this is a complicated question.

The vast majority of “folk Hindus”, living in villages, are polytheists, and often henotheists who believe in a local deity who has power over “their” town or village. This can sometimes turn very ugly, and cases of child sacrifice / child marriage / ritual prostitution are not unknown, though they are rarer than they used to be. That is paganism, though the PC brigade won’t like me saying so.

The second category is upper-caste Hindus who have a complex and detailed cosmology and theology. In effect, they are monotheists, but their monotheism is very different from that of the Abrahamic religions. They are often sympathetic but condescending to “folk Hinduism”, and view their own belief systems as being more highly evolved (which they are) and truer (which is also true in a relative, not absolute, sense.)

The third category, emerging these days, is popular among young and middle-aged, middle- and upper-class individuals, and can be charitably termed “New Age Hinduism.” These people reject the more obvious forms of temple worship and ritual, shun superstition in public (but often embrace it in private), but are into Yoga, New Age techniques (reiki, pranic healing, crystals, aromas, etc… :p), and the like. They believe in “God” in an impersonal sense, and often describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious”. Most popular “gurus” and “yoga teachers” cater to this audience. In fairness, a lot of poorly catechized Christians, including Catholics, can also be put into this category.

So, I voted for 1, but only because that’s the majority position. If you were to speak to the educated, upper-class Hindus who are my friends and colleagues, most of them would fall into (2) or (3), but can revert to (1) in times of need. :slight_smile:

Again, this is just one man’s observation. I’m not an authority. :wink:

I agree that it is not a good question with the emphasis that we see on trying to get along, being positive, being charitable, and see what we have in common and what is good about other religions and cultures.
If you will go to a fundamentalist Protestant site or a Jack Chick style Protestant site, you may see people there asking a similar question or making such assertions about Roman Catholics, or at least some aspects of the Catholic religion. It can be seen generally as an uncharitable and unfriendly way of relating to our neighbors.

It gets even more complicated when you consider the fact that the ancient Mediterranean philosophers, who were very much Pagan, can be considered proto-monotheists as well, especially considering that Pagans first introduced the concept of Logos.

Wikipedia has a fairly complete summary of the Hindu religion in its various forms and permutations throughout history.

Do you have a source supporting the sacrificial claim?

A few cases make it to the mainstream media every year.

The reality is that they are only the tip of the iceberg, and that often, even when the police suspects something, prosecution is difficult.

I voted Yes but would like to put an astrisk by my vote. By the traditional definition of the word, meaning worshiping gods other than YHWH, yes they totaly are. However in the west today the word pagan often refers specifically to Neo-pagans and European/near east reconstructionists. While there is a great amount of Hindu influence on Neo-pagans and Hinduism shares a common ancestor with most European forms of paganism (all are decendant from “Indo-Aryan” paganism) it is generally not grouped with them.

So, is a Hindu pagan? Yes. Would I refer to a Hindu as a pagan? No, I would refer to them as a Hindu.

I agree with this.

If we go by old Church definitions, all non-Abrahamic religions are “pagan”.

But if I called my many Hindu friends “pagan”, I’d just get a blank stare in return. Hindus are Hindus, and identify their religion as Hinduism, not paganism. That term is an external label that can be applied to their belief system, not a self-chosen descriptor.

Precisely. The word pagan has numerous meanings, being both a self descriptive term in the case of neopaganism, or an externally applied label for religions not from Abraham.

Yes we are pagans, I am a born Hindu and we worship the Sun God.

Well there you have it

No :tsktsk:

I don’t have to learn about Hinduism from you.

When people do yoga whether it is stretching or whatever they are basically bowing to the Sun God. The 15 million people or so who do yoga in the US and millions of people worldwide are already worshiping a different image of god, when you take something from someone you need to give a small credit back to them. People want yoga but they don’t want to know its origins.

The Original Teachings of Yoga : From Patanjali Back to Hiranyagarbha

Hiranyagarbha and Vedic Yoga

“Who then was Hiranyagarbha, a human figure or a deity? The name Hiranyagarbha, which means “the gold embryo”, first occurs prominently as a Vedic deity, generally a form of the Sun God. There is a special Sukta or hymn to Hiranyagarbha in the Rig VedaX.121, **which is commonly chanted by Hindus today. **”

:takethat: Hindus are indeed pagans, it is the pagan community who have not accepted and respected Hinduism as a part of pagan culture. Don’t preach my religion back to me.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit