Recently I have found myself converting from atheism to Hinduism, yet I still remain an atheist. Hinduism is one of the oldest traditions, and it’s more of a philosophy than a religion. To be Hindu, you can choose to believe in one god, several, or none.
I see the Universe as a god itself, though not supernatural. I can’t help but marvel at the complexity and beauty of it all. In Hinduism, it is believed that the godhead is expressed in many different forms, yet all are ONE. Similar to the trinity, yet so vastly different.
Here are some reasons why I found Hinduism particularly appealing:
(this is from a wonderful article I read about Hindu - Pm for links )
The embracing of women. It is the only religion where the godhead is expressed in both male and female forms. Women are encouraged, not repressed! This is very different from other religions, where women are repressed and considered subservient to men. It’s absolutely mind-boggling that Hinduism, born thousands of years before Christianity are giving women equality.
Inclusiveness: Talking about religions being out of step with present values - if you were a hiring manager and refused to hire someone because of their religion, in most countries you would be hauled into court and jailed! Yet some religions teach that their god does exactly the same thing! He runs heavens limited to members of his religion only! You could be a Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, but there is no room in his heaven for you. Hinduism teaches us that character matters! All good people can be enlightened.
Fear of God: Hindus who come in contact with other religions have come to hear these words, which are absent in Hinduism. How did this fear originate? It started with Primitive man. Living in caves more like animals, they would hear thunder and lightning from the dark clouds above, and would reason that the gods must be angry. Sure enough, in dry grass plains, fire and destruction followed, and in coastal areas, floods devastated entire villages. Hence, Fear of God! This fear has seeped into some religious teachings even today. But the amazing fact is that one of the oldest religions, Hinduism, far pre-dating some of the religions that came later, does not teach this fear of God! It teaches you to love and respect God, the very thought of God should bring a smile to your face, not fear.
Science: Christinity still struggles with the findings of Darwin, insisting that the earth is 5,000 years old, denying evolution. Hinduism teaches us that the earth is millions of years old! Hinduism teaches us that Brahma, a metaphor for the Universe, has been born and died several times. Scientists now say that there could be several universes, some dying while new ones are being created. Again, how mind-boggling is it that a faith thousands of years old, coming to the same conclusion! Hinduism also encourages the acceptance of scientific fact! It embraces new ideas and discoveries; the Universe should be understood, as we are all a part of it.
You can be enlightened in many ways: Almost all Hindu Gods are pictured accompanied by an animal. These images are teaching us to respect all nature. The images also show God in various forms, not only male and female, but as a Lingam, Halfman-HalfLion, Halfmale-Halffemale(Ardhanariswara), Gods with several arms and heads. What these images are teaching us is that God could come to us in any form. Muslims say that God is formless, we Hindus say that God is not only formless but could also appear before us in any form. How small are some religions to teach that God can only be a man and can only be addressed by just one name!
Learning from Mistakes: Amazingly, Hinduism has come up with a refreshingly different, intelligent and forward-thinking way for humans to become better people - Karma and Rebirth! The great thing about Karma is that it forces you to take responsibility! There is no King god to forgive all your sins and let you into heaven. If you made a mistake it is up to you to make things right. You don’t have to be reborn to do it, you can do it right now in this life. Karma forces you to rethink and reexamine your life and your actions. Moksha, a pure enlightened state, is the goal of every Hindu, and until you reach this stage, you are born again and again, each time receiving a new lesson from God, our Guru. For evil acts one may have committed, one is reborn and made to learn life’s lessons over and over again. People mistakenly believe that Karma means that we are punished for the sinful acts of a previous life - but that is the wrong view. Physical punishment does not make you a better student, instead God patiently teaches you to correct your ways! As I mentioned before, Karma forces you to take responsibility. Other religions have a King god who forgives your evil acts, it’s like a criminal being brought before a judge and the judge simply lets him go after a stern lecture. Has the criminal learnt anything? Has he changed? Not at all. What kind of a message is that to send to the victims of this criminal? But with Karma, there is no God to forgive away your sins, it is upto you to correct the mistakes you may have done in this life or your previous life! It is upto you to learn God’s teachings and become a better person. Karma asks you to examine your life, examine each one of your actions, reflect on them and try to become a better person! What a refreshingly unique and better way than using barbaric backward methods!
-end of article-
Do you fear God?
God should be a friend.