Christmas is a Problem

I kind of hate to confess this. Particularly since I’m just now getting to know some of you. But the truth is: I have a problem with Christmas.

December in America is a tough time for me.

A lot of people don’t understand that. They say Christmas has become so secularized that it isn’t a religious holiday anymore, just a cultural ones. If that were true, it might be okay, but there’s a lot of Christians who are upset about the commercialization of their holiday and upset that the religious meaning is being removed, so they are forcibly trying to put it back in. And (I find) being very obnoxious in the process.

Some people say, wish Christians a merry Christmas and help them enjoy their holiday and they will help you celebrate yours. Except hardly anyone knows my holidays or when they are. I have to listen to a million “merry Christmases” in December and I got maybe four “Happy Diwalis” in November.

I know, I know, I sound super bratty when I complain about this.

It’s not really a complaint. I just want to explain why I feel a little grouchy around Christmas time. It isn’t my holiday. It is part of a religion that I haven’t had happy dealings with in the past. I look for acknowledgement from the religious majority that being in the religious minority in a given country is challenging.

You can’t go anywhere in America in December without having Christmas shoved down your throat. I don’t think Christians would appreciate it if the same thing happened with the holiday of any other religion. It’s fine if you want to celebrate it, but why do I need to hear the music, see the decorations, and hear people talking about your holiday non stop for weeks? My office has Christmas decorations; the restaurant where I go to lunch has Christmas decorations; my apartment complex shoved a Christmas card under my door; the radio has Christmas music; the stores have Christmas music; message boards and emails are full of people telling me to “put Christ back in Christmas.” I can’t go anywhere without it accosting me. It’s irritating. Especially because when it was Diwali, there was no such enthusiasm!

One of the things I most love about America is freedom of religion. Most of the time I leave people alone about my religion and they leave me alone about theirs. It’s a beautiful thing!

I know I should chill and let them have Christmas. As someone on my Facebook said, that’s their freedom of speech (another freedom I value extremely highly). But our society tends to be polite in terms of limiting our speech to keep from hurting the feelings of others. Some don’t like that and think it’s too wimpy or something. They like to be mean to people in the guise of “just being honest.” I like that we take some care to restrain ourselves so everyone feels comfortable and welcome. I really appreciate the people who use “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” when speaking to people whose religion they don’t know. It’s a kindness.

What am I asking for? A realization that not everyone is celebrating Christmas. A realization that having someone else’s religious holiday in your face all day every day for a month puts one on edge.

If you are the majority religion in your country, pause for a moment to realize that it isn’t easy to be the minority. No one decorates from my holidays, but they expect me to be happy about theirs.

As I said, I know I sound like a brat when I say this, but I think we need to express our feelings so we all stay aware of how what we do affects each other. There’s a lot of people who don’t understand why they should be “PC” and say “Happy Holidays.” I am the reason. Do it for me. Because it is the bare minimum of respect to acknowledge that Christmas is not my holiday. Christ means nothing to me.

I know plenty of Hindus who celebrate Christmas because it’s just another holiday and an opportunity for fun. I’d like to get to that point. I’m working on it, but I’m carrying some resentments against Christianity that I haven’t been able to release just yet.  I worry, though, that when I have children, they will not understand why we don’t celebrate the holidays of  most of their classmates. I don’t want them to feel left out as Christmas is being forced on us. I don’t know how to balance my frustration that I don’t want to celebrate a Christian holiday with making sure my children are happy. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, as they say.

How do you feel about holidays of other religions? If you don’t celebrate the dominant holiday of your area, how do you handle explaining that to your children?

For a much better perspective on this than mine, I hope you’ll read Ending the Contrived Muslim Controversy Over the Holiday Season. I really need to borrow that person’s way of looking at it!

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mjfisher2005/posts/207116899417206?ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/mjfisher2005 Kaushiki

    Here is someone who can put Christmas in perspective much better than I. In fact, for the first time this year I am at peace with Christmas because of this little video. Jai Maa! http://www.shreemaa.org/universal-love-mitra-christmas/

    • Ambaa

      That is beautiful! I love it. I totally love it. Okay, next year at December, remind me to watch this to put myself at peace!

      • http://www.facebook.com/mjfisher2005 Kaushiki

        I’ll try to remember, Ambaa! I should remind myself, because I went through years of uncomfortable Christmases and Easters and this is the first year I have been able to completely let the old grudges and bad memories behind!

  • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com Andrea

    I love Christmas and the whole Christmas season! I grew up on it even though we weren’t a religious family. It brings back so much nostalgia and I am sure it does in the minds of many Americans, who don’t see it so much as shoving religion down others’ throats than sharing their happy memories with others, who may or may not have also experienced them, but it’s holiday cheer all the same.

    I do not like the grinchy attitudes of those who say between gritted teeth, “Merry CHRISTmas” when wished Happy Holidays. There are a lot of holidays going on during that season; why not wish them all? But at the same time, Christmas is one of them and so it makes sense to wish for that too. A bit of both-and.

    Try to see past the fundamentalists who are trying to squeeze the joy even out of their own holiday. When I was in India, we all wished each other everything, regardless of religion. Diwali, Eid, Easter, didn’t matter. Go look up YouTube videos of Christmas on Park Street in Kolkata – it is nearly as crowded as for Durga Puja!

    Personally, I see Christmas in the way that people have seen midwinter celebrations for millennia – a time to embrace the dark and celebrate the coming back of light. I’m sure you are familiar with the idea that the Christian church co-opted Dec. 25 from a Roman festival called Saturnalia so that people would convert without having to give up their revelry, caroling, and gift-giving (all part of the ancient festival – sound familiar?) I figure if it’s been co-opted once, no one will have a problem with my celebrating it in they way I want to.

    • Ambaa

      You’re right, I can co-opt it too, for my own purposes. And my extended family is Christian, so it is a nice thing to do with them.

  • Breanna

    As a Christian, I celebrate Christmas and wish most people a Merry Christmas. I do however try my best to wish people that I know aren’t Christian Happy Holidays. Sometimes I don’t remember to or get wrapped up in my own brain, but I try. I also have a belief that would get me excommunicated if I was Catholic, I believe that God came to each culture and people in a the way they needed him to and that a God of love would not make one true religion at the expense of most of His creation. So celebrating any religious holiday is a way to worship. I adored the video that Kaushiki posted. It is a fun way to look at Christmas. I know sometimes it feels like Christmas is being forced down your throats, I feel that way too when it is still October and Christmas stuff is up. I’ll keep Christ in my Christmas, because he is my path to God, but I’ll also keep the love that religion and God teach us in my Christmas so everyone else can feel it too, even if Christmas isn’t their thing.

    • Ambaa

      I love the idea that God comes to each culture in the way that they need him. And to individuals as well. That’s one reason why I feel in my heart that I’m a Hindu, because that’s the path that makes sense for my individual soul. But it’s not necessarily the right path for everyone!

      I hope that this discussion and having more friends who are Christian this year (like you, Brea!) will help me to let it go next year.

  • HARRY

    @ Ambaa

    Now don’t be so nasty. I love christmas, That’s the only time I get off (free time) in full year and it’s about family rather then religion in my case.

    I do understand your grief and pain in this but think of it as a happy times and Ambaa don’t be like that when you say that Christ means nothing to you because religious tolorence is hinduisms biggest plus point, when it says that all path leads to the same truth. So on that note grit your teeth and smile, and thik of all the good things.

    I was gone wish you Happy Holidays, but in stead I will wish you belated “” Nurtan Varsabhi Nandan”" . Did you enjoyed the Diwali? If the answer is YES then rest doesn’t matter weather they wish you or not. :)

    HARRY

    PS Peace and calm :) wish you best new year.

    • Ambaa

      :) You’re right, I shouldn’t say Christ means nothing. I certainly see Jesus as an avatar of Vishnu and I do respect him.

  • Pratheesh

    Dear Sister,

    I think most of the Americans have no idea about Hinduism and its festivals,so it might be the reason that you are not wished by others.Once people get an idea about the same,they might start wishing(depends on individuals). I am glad that you have received the true essence of Sanathana Dharma,
    (You’re right, I shouldn’t say Christ means nothing. I certainly see Jesus as an avatar of Vishnu and I do respect him.)
    The above comments of yours is the proof for the same.

    • Ambaa

      Perhaps next year I’ll throw a big Diwali party for my friends! Then I’ll celebrate Christmas with them.

      • Drekfletch

        I don’t know you or your friends, but can I say “Yes, please” on their behalf? Because, a) who doesn’t like a party, and b) many people who are respectful about diverse religions are scared of appropriation. If they know enough to know about Diwali, they know enough to be worried about turning it into something like St. Patrick’s Day. But it’s your religion, so you know what’s to be shared.

        • Ambaa

          I was thinking about inviting people to a Holi party, so that will be coming up. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

          • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com Andrea

            I want to have Holi parties here (it was one of the first festivals I spent in India) but up north there’s often snow on the ground during Holi!

      • Breanna

        I would adore that! I know so little about your religion and its celebrations that being able to go to one would be such a learning event and a fun party!

        • Ambaa

          Excellent! Let’s do it. And I promise to be less bratty next December :P

          • Breanna

            You weren’t really bratty this year. At least not to me! Love ya!

          • Ambaa

            Thanks, sweetie. You are the only reason I ever feel bad complaining about Christianity. You have respected me, cared about me, and treated my religion with respect even when I have trouble doing the same for you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mjfisher2005 Kaushiki

    There are so many festivals at that time of year! It is like one long continuous festival that never stops until January! And then there is Makar Sankranti followed closely by Imbolg and MahaShivaRatri and we are off again! Enjoy to the full extent of your capacity these wonderful spiritual occasions! Jai Maa!

  • Ashish Pandey

    Hi Ambaa,
    I think Christ is not the avatar of Vishnu ( even if he is then neither Hindu nor Christians will feel good about it, so its better not to say that) and moreover Avatars of Vishnu are mentioned in the scriptures and Christ is not one of them.

    • Ambaa

      Well, that’s something else to explore and do some research on. I’m aware that christ is not listed as one of the nine avatars, but I’m not at all convinced that he was not. He was, I have no doubt, enlightened. And thus he was Vishnu because Vishnu is God and we are all God. All is one and I believe christ knew that at a very visceral level.

      • Ashish Pandey

        Hi Amba,
        This is the line every Indian Swamy in US repeats without even understanding Christianity or what it stands for , it is same way Avi commented about our religion that it equals to Paganism. I think we should keep Indian Gods and Christian Gods separate because these 2 religions are totally different in Philosophical , spiritual and every other aspect. We are inclusive , they are exclusive , we have rebirth and Moksha, they have Judgement Day and Salvation. We do not think about being saved , while for them coming to Christ means Saved .

        Apart from this , i am pretty sure , Christ is not avatar of Bhagwaan Vishnu because , the qualities that you see in Christ , it was displayed in India by many great sages who have come to this land over the millenia, now we do not call every one of them as an Avataar of Bhagwaan Vishnu. Only Specfic people at specific time have been called Avataars of Bhagwaan Vishnu for a Specific purpose. You can read descriptions of Swamy Jeeyar on this.

        • Ambaa

          Mmm, I see your point. I think you’re right.

          1) Christianity and Hinduism as they are mostly practiced are completely opposite. (Though I think Christianity can be practiced in a more universal and accepting way, such as in Unitarian Universalists)

          2) Christ himself seems to display the behaviors of a wise/enlightened man. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an avatar. He easily could have simply become enlightened and tried to teach others to be loving and kind.

  • Avi

    If you want people to respect your “god(s)” you have to respect theirs. Saying “Christ means nothing to me” will not earn you that respect, especially when Hinduism claims that it “respects all religions” and sees them as different paths to the same God . The U.S. is a predominately Christian nation, deal with it. It is your job as a member of a minority religion to stand tall for your beliefs even if you are standing alone. I pray that you would one day revoke your resentments towards Christianity, renounce pagan forms of worship, and join “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” that is Jesus Christ. He will never love you any less, no matter how little He means to you… He simply weeps that His beloved child has strayed from the Truth and the wonderous plan He has for your life. I’m praying for you… :)

    • Ambaa

      But Christ doesn’t mean anything to me. That’s not a negative, not meaning to be disrespectful. It’s just a neutral fact.

      You can pray for me if you want, but it seems like a waste. I’m sure there are people who need prayers more than someone who is happy, satisfied, content, and at peace for the majority of the time.

      • Shantiman Shrestha

        Dear Sister !!!
        I am happy knowing that You are practicing Hinduism. As you know , I think , not necessary to say that Hinduism is very-very vast religion. It has wide range of practice , In one line you said …” But it’s not necessarily the right path for everyone!”. I am slightly disagree on this line. Because Hinduism has several path and practice such as … Samkhya, Yoga , Tantra , Bhakti, Karma yoga… etc …. just lest us look into Tantra. Tantra has 112 sutras, each sutra has very deep technique of inner transformation. All people of the world can practice one sutra among 112. One of the significant , east has 4 religions Hindu, Buddhism, jainism and Seikhism , it is proud to say that in thousands of years here never conflict between these religions. Here if violence occurred , it was because of politics not because of these religions … all these religions are based on nonviolence….these religions never tried forceful conversion with money or sword. I am from Nepal , and in Nepal we can see, Hindu and Buddhist temples are together and people practice and celebrate both religions at the same time. It is highest example or religious tolerance. And Hinduism is the mother of all these religions. Hinduism is concerned with individual inner transformation not growing it’s quantity. Hinduism has very long practice and tradition between different philosophy withing it. It consists Charbakism , which is ultimate atheist view possible on the earth which don’t believe in God , it consists Adaita , it consists Daita. It is not correct to say Hinduism just a religion … it is a way of life.

        • Ambaa

          To be honest, I agree that there is a path within Hinduism for anyone. The reason I say it’s not the path for everyone is because I hate so much when Christians tell me that I need to be Christian. I hate being told their way is the right way and so I really am not willing to tell anyone else what way is right for them!

          And you’re absolutely right, Hinduism is a way of life. And I am very happy that it is my way of life! :)

    • Ashish Pandey

      Hi Avi,

      I think Your respect for other religion is questionable , here You say that we should all respect Christ , however you want us to leave paganism and follow Christ , what kind of respect is this for our faith, Please also let me know why our Gods you mentioned as “gods” ( i think it is deliberate) rather than mentioning “Gods”.
      Well I am sure You are not aware of deep Philosophical and Philosophical Nature of Hinduism , I think you should first make yourself aware of all this and then may be you will be able to explain “why Paganism is bad?”

      • Ambaa

        You know the only possible answer he’ll be able to give is “Because the Bible says so.”

        I’ve had this argument before many a time. Somehow me not taking the Bible as an authority on anything just throws a wrench into the entire premise.

        • Avi

          To be completely honest I can’t say that I respect other religions as much as I would say I respect all PEOPLE and their freedom to choose what they believe. Also FYI I know quite a bit about Hinduism… My mother is Hindu and my father is Catholic, I was raised under both traditions but not pushed into either. I’ve gone to Catholic faith formation as well as Hindu classes. I chose for myself to be Catholic when I was Comfirmed because I felt God really reveal Himself to me and it all made sense. Sorry if anyone was offended or felt disrespected by my comment, I was simply expressing my beliefs and I will still pray for you all. God Bless!!!

          • Ambaa

            I appreciate very much that you haven’t been nasty. You’ve been gentle with your comments and I thank you for that.

    • Pratheesh

      A real belief should give the follower the right to ask questions instead of just following what is written in books.As a Hindu i can ask questions about my beliefs to any sage till i get satisfied.And your comment shows the true characteristics of Abrahamic faiths,that is intolerance.
      Thamaso mar Jyothir Gamaya.

      • Avi

        Unlike other Christian denominations whose basis is soley the Bible, the Catholic Church is based not only on Sacred Scripture, but also 2000 years of Sacred Tradition. We can call upon the wisdom of thousands of Saints and martyrs. The Church even gives us the Catechism which explains every doctrine and gives an honest and sensible answer to any question you may have about Catholicism. Finally, the central theme to Jesus’s teachings and life is Love. All of Christianity is based essentially on love… The love God has for us and how we must reflect that love with one another. Any Christian who is “intolerant” is not a true Christian. The reason many of us try to convert people is BECAUSE we love them and it pains us to see them put barriers up between them and God. The biggest problem the Chruch suffers from is lack of true faith and understanding in the Gospel and people doing very Unchristian things in the name of Christianity. Hope that clears some stuff up!

        • Ambaa

          Okay, but you have to understand that there is no barrier between myself and God. God lives in my heart.

        • HARRY

          @ Avi

          I’m happy that you have followed your chosen path in things that makes you happy. But my question is why do all Abrahamic religions ask that you convert to what ever that they follow, and says that, their’s the only path of truth and rest are all fake. I’m sure if your heart is pure and clean then, one doesn’t need to follow any path, and should qualify for the entry through pearly gate if you see my point. There are many other religions which talks about love and says that’s the only thing they preach about so why does the concept of put others souls in the hell’s fire appear because they don’t agree with your concept, opinions and faith, like I said above does it really matter if some agrees or don’t as long as they have clean heart.

          If god is forever about forgiving then where does the concept of punishment comes from. The last thing that I wanted to ask you was this, if your son or your daughter got lost coming home, do you still beat them or tell them it’s OK to get lost and be found again with out showing them the stick of punishment. The wrong is merely concept of opinion and not always right. If you see my point. I’m not saying this because Ambaa is following the same path as me because she’s not but that does not mean that her path is wrong. The only difference is she forges her own way and so do I. In the end we are all individual in our own right and both entity don’t have to do same thing if they don’t what to and also don’t have to be part of any system or concept or even faith. The things I’m saying is, there are many times my kids don’t listen to me but that does not mean that I love them any less and should punish them because they don’t do as they are told, what sort of father would I be if I did that and call my self loving because then I’m not am I. If one my son didn’t listen to me and did his own thing, as long as he was a good person that’s what matters and nothing else and being a loving father the only thing I can do and say is good luck with his life and his way that he has chosen for him self but no way in million years I would ever threaten him or try to punish for his individuality and choice. This the only part of any Abrahamic religion I can’t seem to understand why they want to do this to those who don’t agree with their concept and faith. Why is about punishing others souls when they don’t follow their system ? The only thing I understand is logic but still Why do and say this……?

          HARRY

          PS When I was five years old I used to refuse to swallow my medicine and my mother used to force feed it to me but I’m not five any longer and I’m not questioning the power of medicine but rather the method used by you guys who follow Abrahimic religions and you say ours is the only right path, if you see my point. It’s our choices and willing to respect the choices of others that makes us civilize not our religion or chosen paths and faith. Have good day.

          • HARRY

            dear god I can see loads of typos in my post replay. I think I need to check it before posting.

          • Avi

            First of all, there can only be ONE truth. You can believe what ever you want but the fact is that not all of the religions can be right. We simply believe that our Church is that truth. Another thing you need to understand is what Hell really is. God gives us free will, something no other creature on this planet has. If God forced us to follow His rules, what kind of God would He be? In every situation He lets us choose right or wrong. When we sin, God weeps. ALL sins can be forgiven if you confess them and truly repent. Hell is NOT a sentence, it is a choice. Also, contrary to popular belief, no Chruch teaching or doctrine says it is a place of burning and torture. The Church teaches that Hell is simply a place (the only place in Creation) where God is not present. Hell is eternal separation from God because that is the fate we chose for ourselves on Earth. Although many other denominations would disagree, the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus IS the way to Heaven but it is possible for a follower of another religion who does genuinely try to follow God or who has never heard the Gospel to go to Heaven. Even an atheist who has honestly tried to discover the answer to the question of God but fails to understand can recieve salvation if they lived a good life. Ultimately, or Church teaches that God is the judge, and we do not know for sure who can get in to Heaven. It is not in our place to judge whether other people are going to Heaven or Hell (Matthew 7:1) and I strongly dislike when some “Christians” condemn people. Finally, our Church also teaches that there is a third destination after death called Purgatory (Revelation 21:27). It is where you go if you have no mortal sins but are not quite clean enough to enter the glory of Heaven yet. It is a temporary realm to be cleansed before the soul can go to Heaven. We Catholics, pray for our brothers and sisters who may be trapped in Purgatory. God bless you!!

          • Ambaa

            They can all be right. They can all be ways of approaching that one truth. My parents practice Christianity in a way that is not at all contradictory to Hinduism.

            Hell does not exist. Heaven does not exist. There is no such thing as sin. God is us and we are God. All of creation is God. All is right and all is perfect.

            Don’t bother to quote the Bible at me, I think it’s bullshit.

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  • Avi

    I apologize in advance if you are at all offended by this but just out of curiosity, in fact this question is probably what intrigued me about this blog in the first place, what exactly do you see in Hinduism? How can you say all religions are right and follow by saying “Heaven does not exist?” How can you say “God is us and we are God. All of creation is God.” which is idolism at its finest? How do you believe in reincarnation, that being born into poverty is a result of your own actions? Sounds like a pretty bleak existence if you go through life only to die and do it again and again until you arrive at a very ambiguous state of “moksha.” How can you believe in Hindu mythology which no one even attempts to prove is even true? How can you believe in a philosophy that has no real explanation for the suffering in the world? How can Hinduism claim to be scientific and open to questions while at the same time the majority of it is just blind faith? How can a good religion have a billion followers yet you never hear about anything along the lines of “Hindu charity” or of the good Hinduism has done for the world? India suffers from extreme poverty because so many Hindu see it as a result of karma so no one does anything about it. How is it that so many Hindus neither know nor care about the meaning and reasoning behind the elaborate poojas and rituals they regularly perform? Seems like a religon almost entirely based on superstition to me. Sorry if you feel I’m attacking your religion (I guess I kinda am) but I’m just curious…

    • Ambaa

      “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

      I don’t believe Jesus was special. I believe he was a man and he knew he was a man. What he did, everyone is capable of. He understood that he was God, but so are we all. If only we knew it.

      I believe that the story of resurrection is actually just reincarnation. After all, the body he returned in was not recognizable to his friends and family.

      Your questions require much longer explanations than I can do in a comment, but if you keep reading, I have many posts planned about these types of issues. The nature of reality is just seen differently, I think.

      I realize that the belief in karma and reincarnation too often leads people to be passive and not help. I think that is not right. Whatever circumstances we are in may be our “fault” but that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve compassion and help. Also, we cannot judge someone else’s circumstances. Sometimes something looks like a horrible experience to us but we don’t realize that it is for the soul to learn something. Maybe something bad happens to someone who never did anything to deserve it, but it is something that will purify their soul. I believe we shouldn’t judge, but we should help people to grow beyond the circumstances they find themselves in.

      Reincarnation is the only explanation of death that makes any sense to me. It fits the evidence in the world better than any other explanation.

      There is Hindu charity. And I would like to see more of it, certainly. But Hinduism definitely believes that the purpose and cause of creation is love.

      I personally care very much about understanding the meaning and reason behind what I do. Other practice rituals without that, but their devotion is enough. Some people are built for a devotional path, others are built for a philosopher’s path. Hinduism has avenues for all.

      There is nothing that is not divine. Every molecule of creation is God manifesting. I cannot not believe that. I’ve tried. Can’t do it.

      • Avi

        Thanks Ambaa, that is one comment that I can respect you for. As much as I’m itching to address your theory about Jesus being a mortal man who was reincarnated, I think I’ll leave this conversation be. Though we have different interpretations and understandings of God you obviously have a love for Him and that alone should be reason for us not to quarrel as mutual people of faith. God bless, and I’ll be praying!

        • Ambaa

          Well, your comments inspired a post that’s going up Thursday. Should be interesting!

          • Avi

            Haha I’ll look for it!

    • Ashish Pandey

      I told you earlier also , there is difference between understanding and being aware.
      Now let me try to explain some points :
      Here we go …
      what intrigued me about this blog in the first place, what exactly do you see in Hinduism?
      Which no one else want to see.
      All of creation is God.” which is idolism at its finest? How come ?
      To understand this you have to read Srimad Bhagawatam , which is very close to Big Bang theory proposed , and also Hinduism believes in multiple Universes with multiple Lokas ( Planets or places to live in ) . Only our Ancient Sages were able to say this long before the world knew the earth was round not flat.

      How do you believe in reincarnation, that being born into poverty is a result of your own actions? Sounds like a pretty bleak existence , Again, how come?
      This is the only theory which makes any sense , How come some are born in the family of Bill Gates and some are born in Poverty, Do you have an explanation for this?
      if you go through life only to die and do it again and again until you arrive at a very ambiguous state of “moksha.”
      Well what to say to this, it depends on the perspective of the people , some will see this as a good point where you don’t have to die thinking you are going to hell and please don’t tell me if you confess then all your sin is washed off, There is no such thing as sins getting washed off , you have to pay for everything that you do and only you have to pay not your wife , nor your son or anyone , that is the law of the nature.
      How can you believe in Hindu mythology which no one even attempts to prove is even true?
      We believe because we learn the right from wrong , we learn about Dharmainstead of proving other religions to be false.

      How can you believe in a philosophy that has no real explanation for the suffering in the world?
      Only Hinduism has the answer to the suffering of the world , no other religion or sect has that , if you have the explanation please let me know.

      How can Hinduism claim to be scientific and open to questions while at the same time the majority of it is just blind faith?
      Who told you there is a blind faith , Most of the people are common people who have to earn there living by hard work , so people do not think about this as much as you would like to and hence if you look at the superficial level it will look like a blind faith , however talk to People who have knowledge they willlet you know what each and everything in Hinduism symbolize and why we do that. Moreover Grihast Ashram is also the part of the Sanskars.

      How can a good religion have a billion followers yet you never hear about anything along the lines of “Hindu charity” or of the good Hinduism has done for the world?
      I think you have a serious problem with understanding Hinduism , Hinduism always had the concept of Daan ( go look for this ).
      Most of the Hindus so far are from India , In earlier times India was a very rich country ( you can search that in History , Columbus went out to discover India )so there was no Poverty or corruption in our society at that time ( just read the memoir of ancient visitors from China and from other places have to say ). Then under Britishers we lost everything ( again take the history lessons and please read the genuine history ) , We are Independent only 60 years and we are trying to reach there and we will ,don’t worry . But you should read how people help each other in crisis in India , don’t go for International and national news , go for Local news then you will come to know how community should behave and this people are Hindus . Moreover big organizations like VHP, RSS and some Internation Hindu organizations are doing some good work in this regard. And also we do not put condition infront of People before helping them to accept our Gods and then only we will help ( Where are you ? which world are you living in ?)

      India suffers from extreme poverty because so many Hindu see it as a result of karma so no one does anything about it.
      That is not the reason for that , We are only free for 60 yrs now and we are moving forward, have patience . We may be short of Money , but we are never short of Hard Working , Intelligent People , ( whole world is aware of this) and this comes from our Hindu Teachings.You have to just read Gita to understand what i say and what Gita says ,( Lots of misconception , this is what happens when you do not have any first hand experience )

      How is it that so many Hindus neither know nor care about the meaning and reasoning behind the elaborate poojas and rituals they regularly perform?
      Again Misconception , Above answers will explain everything , Not all but many will be able to explain the rituals and moreover this comes from Practise and Traditions .
      Seems like a religon almost entirely based on superstition to me.
      Well I think this superstition makes more sense then your sensible arguments in favour of Christianity .

  • HARRY

    @ Ambaa

    Don’t be nasty to our blog friend he is only trying to save our soul from purgatory ( hanging in thin air ) or even hell. :)

    @ Avi
    I like your explanation. You are like one of the guys who turned up at my house on one hot summers day when I was 18 years old, and I thought I will be nice to them and I offred them drinks in hospitality and all I got was more then an ear full in return for that. They also wanted to save my soul in return for percentages of my earning. I would have given it to them, if it was for good purpose, but I was told that it was to built a centre to save more souls like me. I declined.

    You said god weeps every time we sin, then god will be crying forever, and assuming he is he, he will not have time to do anything else bearing in mind that there are seven billion of us on the face of this planet, and only god knows how many more there are in this universe. I am only going by on what you said.

    Lets talk about sin more further. lets say for example I was one of those guy who didn’t treat my wife fairly and with respect and she was about to leave me and I was friends with Matthew, Paul and John ( gospel writers )who were my drinking budys from pub, and I tell them of my problem and ask them to write something in their book to save my marriage by scaring my wife who believes what ever those guys write in their book, and they write that it’s sin for a woman to leave her husband, and she will go to hell or even purgatory if she was a good woman, then how is this fare to her. You see how an event turned in to a sin. Sins are an ideal concept of society and nothing more. What is sinfull to one is not to others. Do you see where I am going with this? Mistakes are an events in our life govern by time and nothing more. We don’t have to live our life to some elses concept if we don’t want to. That’s the choice one has to make.

    Regarding you explanation that yours is the only true path in the world, then rest the population of this planet is doomed acording to you. If this is the case then god failed in saving all the souls of this planet and he is not a good god is he. You also said that we have free will, I think animal also has free will too, because they also decides what they want to do with their life if given choice. Evrything depends on choice made by you me and others. The day we don’t respect this by saying that my choice is better and right one, then the choices of others, then that is the day entire planet is doomed according to me no matter who ever is the god. All tho I would have prefered if god was a woman, because then the heven would be like organised house, rather then my tool shed, and that’s not where I want to go if I can help it. :)

    HARRY

    • Avi

      Harry, so from what I understood, you are arguing that sin is whatever we want it to be? Sin is anything that separates us from God and He has inscribed in us a conscious to discern basic sins. Other sins are more complicated and if you really looked into to what the deed was you would see why it was sinful. In your scenario the man who mistreated his wife had committed sin too, as you clearly stated, he mistreated his wife… Divorce is a sin because what God has joined together in the Sacrament of Matrimony, no man can separate. Moving on, I never said the rest of the world outside my religion is doomed, I said that God alone knows everyone’s fate. Animals most certainly do not have free will, they are slaves to their primal urges and instincts to survive. They never have to make moral decisions.

  • Burnest Griffin IV

    I assumed that *you’d* be the one to say “Happy Diwali” and then teach people what that is just as people who celebrate Christmas do with Christmas and like I do with Kwanzaa (sometimes). I wouldn’t expect people to know every holiday but I do expect people to make it obvious when they’re observing one. I mean, come on! Celebrate! And bring me Indian treats!

    • Ambaa

      Good point! Next year I’ll do that! :)