Posts tagged with: Hinduism

Blog author: pjohnson
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A couple of months ago Arkansas’ Secretary of State rejected the request from the Universal Society of Hinduism to erect a statue on state capitol grounds.

A good friend from college, himself a Hindu, sent me an email asking me what I thought about it. What could I say? It seemed patiently unfair: Arkansas had approved a monument for the Ten Commandments on state grounds, but rejected the Hindu organization’s privately funded statue. I commiserated with my friend, saying only that I thought it was the sign of a people—Arkansas Christians in general—who feel increasingly under attack by secularists.

My friend was incredulous. Christians feel like they are under attack? They are paranoid and delusional, he declared. They are the clear majority in this country. I tried to explain that, while this may be true, there are plenty of examples of Christianity’s diminishing influence in the public sphere: a Pew study that found a large increase in secularism, a cultural and political shift away from Christian marriage and family values, recent healthcare legislation that has forced religious groups to go to court to defend their freedom of conscience.

It wasn’t long before we were debating religious liberty in general and I found myself in the unenviable position of trying to explain why I think that Americans ought to try an tolerate the views of religious groups—even those views that we may find personally distasteful. Why, my friend asked, should we try to protect those who promote ideas that we think are wrong? That’s a good question, I found myself saying. (more…)

Thanks to P. Koshy @pkoshyin and Saurabh Srivastava @SKS_Mumbai for linking this 1996 Religion & Liberty gem on Twitter. Author Mario Gómez-Zimmerman argues that Hinduism “pre-figures capitalism much closer than socialism.” More:

As it is true for all the great religions, Hinduism warns human beings about the dangers of accumulating wealth, and at times demands them to renounce it. But in all cases, wealth is attacked because it is likely to subject man to dependency, fostering egoism, greed, and avarice, and not for being an evil in itself. In fact, wealth is considered a good to be pursued within the spheres of worldly affairs, trying at the same time to remain detached from it, which is the way to spiritual evolution. In Hinduism, this aspect is commonly referred to as renouncing the fruit of labor. It is made with the provision that renunciation must be a voluntary act, because it is acknowledged that only a few are prepared to follow the path to perfection in a strict manner. Literature on this is vast, so I will limit myself to sample what Sai Baba and Prabhupada (the first considered by many as the Avatar of our time, the second the founder of the International Society for the Conscience of Krishna) have to say about this. To quote Sai Baba: “When a man has a right to engage in Karma, he has a right also for the fruit; no one can deny this or refuse his right. On his part, Prabhupada states that, according to the Law of Karma, wealth is the result of a good previous labor, and that the Lord leaves man independent to engage in the activities proper to the material world.

Read “The Capitalist Structures of Hinduism” in Religion & Liberty.