Tom: In our ongoing discussion of Dave Hunt’s book, An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith, we’ve been comparing the teachings and claims of biblical Christianity with the beliefs proclaimed by other religions. So how are we going about this? Well, for the most part we’ve been checking out the sacred scriptures of various religions to see if they live up to what one would expect from a book, or books, said to come from God, and what should we expect? Well, if God is a supreme, all-powerful, all-intelligent, transcendent, supernatural being, His communication should reflect such characteristics. In fact, there ought to be plenty of evidence to support the claims that the holy books are, indeed, from God.
In previous programs, we’ve considered such sacred writings as the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, and, of course, our ongoing scrutiny of the Bible. Today we’re going to be discussing some of the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, which may not seem relevant to many of our listeners who don’t recognize it as the foundational religion of the New Age Movement, or as the religious belief system which first introduced evolution, and which gave the West such popular practices as yoga and meditation. But first, Dave, let’s give our listeners an example of the kind of scrutiny we’re talking about by applying it to the Bible.
Dave: Well, you have to examine what the Bible says, as well as what these other religious writings say. The Bible talks about real people, talks about real history, real events that are part of the history of this world. It’s verifiable. Read the Bhagavad Gita, for example—it’s mythology. Much of what you find in the Qur’an is similar to the Arabian Knights, about jinns, you know, and the spirits, and almost like the genie in the bottle.
So we simply go to the Bible or to these other writings, and what do they say? What do they talk about—or the statements of fact concerning the universe? The Bible doesn’t make any mistakes, or scientific errors. The Qur’an does. Or, let’s say, as to the origin of the universe—scientists have pretty much come to the conclusion now. Finally they are agreeing that the universe had a beginning. Well, the first three words in the Bible are “in the beginning.” There are many ways that we can analyze this.
Tom: And, again, this is what we would expect if the Bible, as it claims, is the Word of God: “Thus saith the Lord,” literally thousands of times throughout the Scripture.
Dave: And, Tom, if it isn’t, or if it is only partially, and we have to decide— “Well, it does have some errors, you know,” as modern theologians would say. But wait a minute! Then who decides what part of the Bible is true and what part is false? We also have to take the Bible as a package: either it’s all true, or we throw it out! Because if it isn’t all true, then you and I have to decide what parts are true. So, it really isn’t the authority of God anymore. We don’t have God’s Word; we’re not certain of it—then forget it!
Tom: Yeah, Dave, even as a package, we alluded to the fact that if a supreme being is going to reveal, or communicate to us, there ought to be some aspects of that that say, “Wow! This is beyond what man is able to do.” For example, the Bible is a package. It’s numerous books. We would consider it to have 66 books. They were written by 40 different men over a period of 1,600 years. Cohesive . . . these men were from different occupations, everything from Moses being trained in the court of Pharaoh, to a farmer in the case of . . . well, Amos was a sheepherder and a farmer; Peter was a fisherman; Paul was a Pharisee; Luke was a physician—different kinds of individuals in terms of their occupation, maybe their education.
Dave: Different cultures, different times in history.
Tom: Right, but this is a cohesive book! They don’t contradict one another—amazing!
Dave: Right, and it does not reflect the thinking of the culture or the age, the time in which it was written! It is beyond that. It is obviously inspired from outside of human knowledge and wisdom.
Tom: Dave, with regard to that, Moses was trained, educated, as an Egyptian, basically, in the palace, in the halls of education and learning in Egypt. But you don’t find Egyptian culture presented in . . . he penned—Moses penned—the first five books of the Bible. You don’t find any things related to that culture. That’s amazing!
Dave: Nor do you find the superstitions that would be reflected if you went back and read the writings of that day. But in these other writings, you do find these things, these supposed sacred scriptures of other religions. You will find a reflection of the age in which they were written and the wisdom that was accepted, the science that was accepted, at that time. You do not find that in the Bible at all.
Tom: Right. So our appeal here is to . . . if somebody is going to regard books, sacred writings of different religions, as inspired of God, which many if not all of them claim to be, they should scrutinize them from the criteria that we’re laying out. Is this what you would expect from a transcendent Supreme Being?
Dave: Well, Tom, probably the most important thing that you would examine with regard to these sacred writings is their revelation of God. How do they present God? For example, we mentioned the universe had to have a beginning. There must have been a time when it wasn’t here, nothing was here, no thing was here. Someone must have been here who could bring it all into existence out of nothing. Well, how does the Bible present God? Moses asked God, “What is your name? Who are you?” He says, “I AM that I am. I AM the self-existent One, whose existence depends upon none other but Himself.” God is the God—well, the psalmist said, “From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” God must be always God. You can’t become God, and He must have always been here. That’s beyond our comprehension, but also we are driven to this conclusion by the evidence and by rational thought.
Well, Joseph Smith, for example, said that God became God; once upon a time he was a man. He says that matter and intelligence always existed. No, we know matter couldn’t always exist because it’s composed of energy, and energy runs down like a clock—second law of thermodynamics. Or go to the writings of the Hindus, which you said we would get into today. We’re talking about pantheism.
You’ve been using the term “transcendent.” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came over here, and he called it transcendental meditation. It isn’t transcendent at all! It’s subscendental. You look within yourself. So the god of Hinduism—well, there are millions of gods . . .
Tom: 330,000,000 gods in the ranks of Hindu gods.
Dave: But they would talk about the Trimurti, the chief gods, and then, beyond that, Brahman is everything—the famous saying in Hinduism: “that thou art.” And the whole idea of yoga is to realize that Atman, the individual soul, is identical with Brahman, the universal soul.
But anyway, the point is in Hinduism everything is god. You’re god, I’m god, everything is god. Well, if everything is God, then nothing is God, because “God” doesn’t mean anything. If God is an ant as well as the cloud or the thunder, you have no categories. It means nothing.
Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense, because then God is sickness, as well as health; God is evil as well as good. If God is part of this universe, there is no escape from this universe, there’s no hope. And this universe is running down like a clock.
But the Bible presents God as truly transcendent. He is not part of this universe. The universe is not an extension of God. That’s why it is altogether wrong. The trend today is to try to use female language concerning God: “she” and so forth. No, a woman gives birth out of herself; the child is an extension of the woman. But God creates out of nothing, and you can only come to this conclusion. There couldn’t have been something hanging around forever that God created everything out of, because that “something” would have worn out, because things are subject to decay and deterioration.
So, unbelievable as it is beyond our comprehension, we are driven to this conclusion—there was a time when no “thing” existed, and God created this universe out of nothing. It’s not an extension of Him.
So we have a truly transcendent God. And because of that, there is a solution; there is some hope. The Star Wars Force, if there is such a thing, is running down like a clock, and one day all the stars will be burned out, infinitely dispersed, everything approaching absolute zero. All the schemes and dreams and corporate plans and ambitions of man will be like sand castles washed out into a cosmic ocean of nothingness, and it will all be as though it had never been; there is no meaning to it.
But if God is transcendent—if He is totally other than this universe that He created out of nothing—then He is not deteriorating. He is not subject to the decay of this universe, and He can recreate. He can bring a new universe into existence exactly as the Bible says. And we’re not talking about reincarnation, recycling a dead and dying universe, recycling human beings to come back again and again into this dead and dying universe. We’re talking about resurrection, which is life brought in by God himself who IS life, who is totally transcendent of others.
So, any way you want to examine this, Tom—philosophically, scientifically, historically—the Bible measures up 100 percent to truth, but these other writings do not.
Tom: Yeah, and one of the reasons we are taking a look at the writings—the sacred scriptures—of Hinduism (and some people may be thinking, Well, I rarely I run into a Hindu. I’m not particularly interested in those ideas or those thoughts. They don’t seem to apply to me, or I can’t relate to them) . . . On the other hand, many people know that even if they’re not into the New Age Movement, they know of others—friends, relatives, and so on—who are into what’s termed the New Age Movement. Now . . .
Dave: Well, Tom, as you mentioned earlier, yoga is everywhere! In every YMCA, as far as I know, they teach yoga. Yoga has really caught on in our country, but yoga comes out of Hinduism.
Tom: Dave, we’re going to address yoga, because it has to do with our news alert, but there are many other aspects of the New Age Movement, which, in effect, are Hindu beliefs, practices, and so forth, which have been sort of repackaged for the Western culture, for Western man. So a lot of people out there—my point here is a lot of people out there know people who are into the New Age Movement, into New Age concepts and beliefs. Now what we are trying to do . . .
Dave: Well, Tom, let me just interrupt here—Lawrence LeShan, for example, who was the president of the American Psychological Association—he said that psychology is founded upon the basic tenets of Eastern mysticism or Hinduism! And Carl Jung—he wrote the introductions to the first translations in Western languages of some of the books on yoga and Eastern mysticism. There is a close relationship, in many ways—the whole human potential movement, that our potential is infinite and so forth.
Tom: So, what we’re trying to do is go back to the roots of the New Age Movement, go back to the writings. We’ve done the same with regard to the Bible—we’re scrutinizing that. We’ve looked at the Qur’an; we’ve looked at the Book of Mormon. If these are foundational writings and teachings of basic beliefs, basic religions, do they hold up to the scrutiny that someone ought to use with regard to books that are claimed to be inspired—the books such as the Vedas, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Mahabharata, Ramayana. And, Dave, we can’t cover all of these, obviously, in the short time we have left, but there are some points that ought to be brought out. These are mythologies, basically, aren’t they?
Dave: We don’t even know who wrote many of them, [or] when they were written. If you take the Bhagavad-Gita, for example, you don’t have original manuscripts. Well, we don’t have original manuscripts for the Bible, but we have thousands of copies of copies, which we can compare with one another. The Bhagavad-Gita—you’ve got different translations, or different versions even, in different languages. So you are not even certain what you have. It’s a mythological story, it involves mythological characters—they never existed. Arjuna, the charioteer for Krishna—we have no reason to believe that he ever existed or that this is even a real history that is being discussed. The same would be true of the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and so forth. These are mythical stories of supposed incidents, but there’s no historical evidence for them.
Tom: Right. For example, what’s called the trinity of the Hindu godhead: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the sustainer, who supposedly was incarnated as Avatars—nine, up to this point, including Rama and Krishna. Rama, an interesting character, as it were: supposedly, his wife, Sita, was kidnapped by a demon, Ravana, who took her to Ceylon, and then Rama gets the help of the monkey god, Hanuman, and they build this causeway from India to what’s now Sri Lanka, or was Ceylon, and they win her back. Now, people who go to India, they find these temples. And in these temples to the monkey god, Hanuman, there are monkeys running around, and they are feeding these things. Now, is that reality, is that . . .
Dave: The causeway—is it still there?
Tom: I don’t know that anyone has found it yet.
Dave: Yeah, but you didn’t get to the third god of the Trimurti, Shiva the
destroyer. I’m sorry, Tom, I interrupted you.
Tom: It’s all right. Well, Shiva—his wife, Shakti—I mean, we are talking about absolute destruction. Well, Shiva is the destroyer; supposedly the Hindus believe that with destruction then comes re-creation. So, it’s this cycle that they live under of rebirth and death and rebirth and death and rebirth and so on.
Dave: Shakti—Durga, she’s also known as—Kali . . . you have the great temple to Kali in Calcutta.
Tom: This is the wife of Shiva.
Dave: That’s right, the wife of Shiva—she is even more destructive than he is. She is depicted with her foot on his head or on his throat, and the Hindu says her beauty is in her terror. You see images of her with several arms, and she is drinking blood out of a skull, you know, and so forth. It actually means force, Shakti. In Sanskrit, this is the Force; this is the Star Wars Force. This is the force, the impersonal force, behind the universe, and this is the basis of much that is taught or believed in the Western world today. So, she is actually . . . the Hindu does what he calls a shaktipat, “the Force touch.” He touches someone on the forehead . . . z-z-zip! They fall over backwards. They’re off on a trip to other planets; they get enlightenment, and so forth.
Tom: Dave, we’ve seen many of the gurus that have come from India to the West, from Rajneesh to Muktananda—they were all able to do this so-called shaktipat.
Dave: Muktananda was incredible with the shaktipat, and he brought this “enlightenment” to a number of the top psychiatrists.
Tom: Now, Dave, we’ve got about three minutes left, but the point we’re trying to make here is that people have based the application of their lives on these beliefs. For example, going back to Kali, from the 13th to the 19th century you had people running around called “thuggees,” which we get our word “thugs” from, and they’re basically kidnapping people to sacrifice them to the god—or the goddess, actually—Kali. So, our point is, if there’s no foundation, no evidence, that these things are true—that they are not only erroneous, but in some cases they are very evil, people buy into it, they practice it, and the results, the consequences, of a false belief, are absolutely devastating. Now that’s come to the West in the New Age Movement—maybe not these things as they were practiced back then, but certainly that’s what they’re from and that’s where they’re going.
Dave: But we gloss it over.
Dave: We have westernized versions, whether it’s with yoga or whatever it is. Tom, I’ve been to India, and I can tell you, I can remember being wakened about 2:00 in the morning with screams and then shouts, and I quickly dressed and got out there. You would almost be terrified to see the goddess—it was Kali they were carrying through the streets—and the look on some of these people’s faces, the fanaticism, the evil that is perpetuated in these religions!
And yet they are brought to the West, and they are honored and people even go—I mean, how many young people have gone to India and have died over there trying to get into these kinds of religions? This is superstition that has no basis in fact, and it produces evil. Why is it perpetuated? Because of the human heart that has rejected God. And yet, in the Bible we have the revelation of the true God, which brings about moral improvement, which brings salvation, which changes people’s lives, and gives them a certainty of being in heaven with Christ, with God, in the Father's house of many mansions, as opposed to these other things.
So there is a big difference, Tom, and we have to define that, which we’re trying to do. That’s why we are saying, “Search the Scriptures daily.” Let’s get back to the Bible.
Tom: Right, and what we’re seeing here is, there’s a delusion going on out there, and it’s heavy—that all of these religions are actually different paths that lead to the same place.
Dave: Jesus said it, didn’t He?
Dave: “Broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat . . . Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life,” and He claimed to be that way.
Tom: So our encouragement to listeners out there—I mean, we may have gone over some things that are bizarre to them. But more and more, although these things are bizarre, they are being accepted. If you would seek the truth, if you want the truth, if you think that some of these things that we’ve been talking about have no foundation, just check it out, look around, and our prayer is that you would be a seeker after God’s Word, God’s truth.