Intolerance a Fact of Christianity? Is intolerance one facet of the doctrine of Lord Jesus

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Intolerance a Fact of Christianity? =================================== Is intolerance one facet of the doctrine of Lord Jesus Christ? According to the judgement of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta, the followers of the Hare Krishna movement are also followers of Lord Jesus Christ. But how do the modern followers of Lord Jesus feel about having Hare Krishna people as fellow worshippers in the body of Christ? According to two prominent spokespersons for Jesus--Jerry Farwell and Jimmy Swaggart--Jesus is the only way. Earlier this year Jimmy Swaggart expressed his opinion about reincarnation and the new age movement on his religious TV show. Swaggart's opinion is that unless one accepts Jesus exclusively, one cannot go to heaven. In that same program, Swaggart went on to decry the validity of reincarnation and Hindu faith when compared to the "only way". Similarly, Moral Majority and PTL spokesman Jerry Farwell appeared on Larry King's national radio program to declare that only by salvation through Jesus can one get to heaven. This type of propaganda on behalf of Lord Jesus Christ is not approved by the followers of the Vedic philosophy of Krishna consciousness. However this idea that Lord Jesus Christ is the only way back to the kingdom of God is a misunderstanding of an often quoted statement of Jesus's: "No one goes before the Father except through Me" as Lord Jesus does say. That statement of Jesus's is accepted and interpreted by Krishna devotees in a different manner than as being done by Farwell and Swaggart and other like-minded Christians. The idea is that Lord Jesus Christ was giving mankind the unadulterated path back to the kingdom of God. Any mortal man who wanted to deny the authority given to Jesus by God and claim that he can go to heaven without the mercy of saints like Jesus has no real chance of actually doing so. God observes the activities of men and when He sees that their activities are so sinful that they do not care to make any progress in understanding Him, He kindly sends some representative to Earth so that He can spread spiritual propaganda for the benefit of man's sanity. In Jesus's time just as today, men were also foolish enough to think that Jesus was another mortal just as themselves and therefore they denied to accept His messages on behalf of His divine Father in heaven. And Jesus was simply stating actual fact that He had come to deliver the divine science of God consciousness and cautioned anyone from thinking that they should neglect the divine messages. It is a great mystery that the representative of God appears before the eyes of mortal men in the flesh when in actuality such a great soul has all the powers of God--not because He is God--but because such a soul is intimately connected to God and is performing the work of God. Therefore such souls like Jesus fully represent the almighty God in heaven, and God, in turn, fully protects, guides and empowers such a divine agent during the course of His mortal activities. Jesus warned the people who generally are unaware of the spiritual science that they should be very careful and not neglect His instructions regarding the spiritual science. That's why he warned anyone from thinking that they could go to God by thinking that they could neglect Him out of their own enlarged egos. But Jesus did not mean that He was the only real spokesperson for God to be accepted exclusively among all men for all time. The same warning is equally applicable today. No one should dare to neglect the words of God and God's representative. But the disease that causes all living beings to come into this world is a strong desire to oppose God in all respects. In order to prove to everyone how strong the opposition to God is, God staged a real-life drama whereby Lord Jesus--His representative--was betrayed by His intimate disciple, mercilessly dealt with without respect and finally crucified. While those persons strongly opposed to God may go on thinking that such incidents prove how impotent the representatives of God are so that they can be tortured and killed this way under God's care, those faithful followers of Jesus can take comfort in the knowledge that by following in His footsteps, they can also be resurrected like Him and enter into the eternal and happy kingdom of God. There are many such religious real-life dramas that are put into action by the Supreme Lord throughout history and in various parts of the world. Whenever the representative of God descends or whenever God Himself comes, there is a great story behind such events. Such extraordinary events are filled with confidential knowledge concerning the true nature of reality and remains forever mysterious to those who hold tight to the opinion that the forces of nature are meant to be controlled by man until he is satisfied in all respects. Man is never independently divine. But when he serves God, only then he may revive his godly nature and become divine in that connection. Countless examples are given throughout history by the various saints and incarnations of God to show how to become divine by service to the Supreme. All such divine persons--be they the innumerable incarnations of God or God's chosen representatives--are equally qualified to make the above mentioned statement: "No one goes to God except through Me". This statement is not exclusive of any other divinity, rather, it is an affirmation that God is non-dual and that acceptance of any divine agent is as good as another providing that such divinity is indeed a bona fide agent of the Supreme. What is it that makes Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, Jews, etc., all spiritually beneficial? It is because such ideas given therein help the sleeping conditioned soul come to know about God through a gradual process of discipline and progressive spiritual culture if followed according to the original intent of their respective divine preceptors. That "if" is a "big if" because in this current age of Kali- yuga, there is every chance that any and all religious methods can become corrupted up to the point of causing great havoc upon society. That's why the Vedic Advocate wonders how deeply rooted is the present propaganda concerning the so-called supremacy of Christianity doctrine in comparison to any and all other types of religious processes. It is seen as a misinterpretation of the words of the Divinity only and not a true representation of His messages. In a conversation with a post-graduate seminarian and Clinical Psychologist recently, one Dr. J. Bairrington of Texas tells of his perplexing situation where he has to give some advice to followers of Vedic philosophy. He wondered about advising his Eastern patients about their Vedic religion. After suggesting that he should not try to convert such patients to Christianity but rather he might try reinforcing their native religious ideas, he said in one letter: "I understand what you say very well, that the Vedic Philosophy accepts Christ as the Son of God, and also accepts Buddha as the messenger of God, and accepts Mohammed as the Prophet of God. The Christian Philosophy and the Holy Bible demands that one accept ONLY Christ as the Son of God and all others as men with perhaps a deep sense of faith but not having the WORD of God as Jesus Christ DID have." Here Dr. Bairrington is also giving the idea that Christ's theology is the "only" true "word" of God, while others were not divine, but simply men with great faith. What then happens to those Easterners who seek out help from this Christian Fundamentalist/Psychologist? "Most of them accept the teachings of Jesus Christ as the Word of God. They accept his sacrifice as having been done not only for all men, but also specifically for each man who will accept Jesus AS their Lord and Savior. In taking this step of Faith they then become 'Christians', or followers of Christ and desert the Vedic Philosophy completely. They then unite with the 'Body of Christ' which in the Holy Bible are the members of His Church. They do this as an act in their search for the proper path to God." Whereas on the other hand, those who adopt the ideas given by the Hare Krishna Vedic doctrine do not at all abandon any religion. Rather, they see all paths back to God as absolutely necessary for all men who want to regain their eternal spiritual nature and make an attempt to turn their minds back to sanity. The reason why such followers prefer the Vedic culture as being propagated through the books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is that the method of reviving the connection between God and man is given in practical terms. That method is given in the Bhagavad-gita where Lord Krishna says that one should think of God, serve God and focus the mind on God always without cessation. Therefore the devotees of Krishna are always repeating the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord such as "Krishna" and "Rama" as in the Hare Krishna maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Such repetition of the Holy Name of God means that the devotee of God is requesting the Supreme Lord to appear within the mind of the devotee without interruption. It is not a method of brainwashing as charged by some critics, but such consciousness is the original condition of the living being. All the living beings are eternal parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. As such, the living beings are also eternally full of knowledge about their relationship with the Lord and are most happy in His association. But somehow or other, the living beings had desired to exercise their free will and chose to forget about God. In order to fulfill such wishes, God provides a place in the Creation whereby such unconsciousness can be given an opportunity to express itself; namely, the dark material universes known in sanskrit as "mrityu loka" or the world of death and mortality. Otherwise, full Krishna consciousness is a primeval characteristic of the eternal living beings despite any allegiance to a particular race or religion. In this way, Krishna consciousness is non-sectarian. There is never a question of conversion from one religion to another. Rather, it is the process of seeing everything and everyone as connected to God. Intolerance may be called a religion's racism but cannot be taken as the Word of God. As men were born to compete fiercely in this world through politics and warfare, when religion is used for such competition, it is usually out of misunderstanding of God's message. It is natural to feel secure, proud and safe under the expert guidance of such great religious personalities like Jesus and others. However, it is easy to become overwhelmed by zealousness and unguarded pride in the absence of such great spiritual masters. Under misguided passion, a neophyte advocate of religion may even give some contrary ideas under good intentions. However, no amount of so-called good ideas created by the fanciful human mind should infiltrate the pure messages of God which causes the adulteration and deterioration of the purity of the original divine revelation. No one should deny God's offering divine salvation for all men in the name of religious intolerance. Rather, God Himself is intolerant of such religious supremacists and He'll not tolerate such a narrow view in His name. God is offering everyone salvation but when a person thinks of and declares himself as possessing God's mercy, actually he really does not at all have it. Only those persons who never feel they deserve the mercy of God but strongly desire it; actually, they do have the mercy of God and very soon they'll be promoted to the Supreme Abode. But those who already consider themselves as "saved" by God's Supreme Grace have not as yet achieved salvation and are called "demukta manina" or falsely thinking themselves as liberated and fooling themselves. Some people are surprised that religion can be used as a tool for self- centered and self-interested motives, but everyone should know that religion is also not free from abuse. On the contrary, it has been predicted that in this Kali-yuga or the modern age of hypocrisy and ceaseless fighting over trivial matters, religion will be the refuge of the irreligious posing as religious men in order to exploit the resources of innocent followers. It should come as no great surprise that, as there is overwhelming and widespread corruption and falsity in every sphere of human endeavor such as political, familial, social and communal dealings, we must be forewarned and take a realistic view that such falsity may as well exist in the religious arena without exception to some extent. Therefore, giving a blanket seal of approval to all those who claim divine authority is not at all recommended in practicality. Such blind following of any religious authority is condemned in the Vedic literatures as well as from a common sense viewpoint also. Never do the Vedic literatures or bona fide saints squelch the intelligent questions from an inquisitive student of the transcendental science and thus encourage anti-intellectualism as popularly charged by the opponents of theism. The messages of God are Absolute Truth without a doubt, but that does not at all mean that questions into the Absolute science need go unanswered. But the researcher into the science of God must be fully satisfied in his mind in all respects about the supremacy of the position of God which will lead to the perfection of life. Such perfection is reached when a person has gained factual and nonduplicitous knowledge about the existence of God and thus has established some measure of faith in his mind that God is real. Without undergoing the process of satisfying the mind with the various concepts and arguments given in the bona fide religious scriptures about the powers and influence of God, no one can be successful in establishing a firm foundation in his spiritual journey toward God. The Hare Krishna movement has been established on this principle of presenting various transcendental ideas as given from the ancient Bhagavad- gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam and comparing them to the best of the civilized concepts moving the world today. The disciples of Shrila Prabhupada--the founder of the Krishna movement--have concluded by comparing the ideology of modern scientific and empiric movements and the ancient culture of the Bhagavad-gita, that there can be no happiness and forward march of civilization by neglecting to recognize God as the goal of all human endeavor as being done in today's secular society. However, increasingly popular is the philosophy of humanism, or the idea that man is the highest expression of intelligence along with a breakdown of traditional religious values. There is no practical need to look to a God for answers; but by human endeavor alone will the problems of life become solved until that time man has established that utopia here in the material world(?) It is not possible. Ironically, when so-called theists use religion is as a method of apartheid, it only makes it more difficult to understand the true purpose of religious life. It is impossible for any religion to insure the proper behavior of its adherents. A man claiming to be following the rules and regulations governing Christian life, for example, may not actually be doing so in truth despite all outward appearances and performances of Christian rituals and social duties. The propaganda being spread by so many atheistic and humanistic persons nowadays is based upon the inability for self-proclaimed religious men to follow their respective religious tenets. They'll find fault with the behavior of the self-proclaimed followers of religion and conclude that not only the process of atheism is conducive to a more fulfilled life, but that God and His commands are the source of a host of problems and faulty behavior for the theistic class of men. The fact that God cannot insure the proper behavior of the followers of religion is not due to the fault of the religious process, but it is due to the inability of man to act distinguish and act according to Divine instruction. One of the items that is nonconducive toward advancement in religious life is to blindly accept religious teachings and fall prey to false indoctrination in the name of God. No real religious process can support blind following, and the sober questioning of any religious authority is absolutely necessary until the mind and intelligence finds real peace without the ghosts of doubt and uncertainty. God demands one surrender unto Him utterly without reservation and the price one pays in such spiritual sacrifice is either eternal life with Him in His Supreme Abode, or in the case of surrendering to a phony agent in the name of God, one sells his soul away and cannot get to the desired Supreme destiny. The question of religious intolerance can be given more and more consideration because the world is getting smaller due to the gradual formation of one world culture. Clearly, the science of religion establishes that there is only one Supreme Divinity and that all faithful theists and thinking men should combine together to establish this practically for the cause of mankind's spiritual upliftment. In this connection, there is one verse from the Bhagavad-gita (5.29) which states that God is the Lord of the entire creation as well as all the living beings who inhabit it. And when everyone is working and dedicating his efforts into the cause of establishing God as that Supreme Lord in this godless world, such transcendental effort is the cause of liberation from all the miseries of mortal life. What sincere theist can deny that agenda of practical work? However, the manufactured doctrines of the pseudoreligious leaders of spiritual life place more importance in maintaining institutional loyalties with its concomitant material boons and thus discourage the growth of proper spiritual intelligence. Prabhupada spoke about the importance of Americans in the role of molding the quality of the world culture regarding belief in God. He said that Americans are first and leaders in everything. Whatever happens in America, the whole world wants to imitate the Americans. So Prabhupada kindly requested all Americans to take up the mission of becoming God conscious-- Krishna conscious persons--and chant the holy names of God in emotional ecstasy and love of God. Then the whole world would imitate such behavior. So, such a vision may be possible--not by the spread of propaganda for religious supremacy--but when people realize that spiritual culture is absolutely necessary for man's progress toward knowledge. What makes the Krishna philosophy unique is that it calls upon the sober intelligence in all human beings to accept the knowledge given by God without any reference to ones caste or religion and thereby overcome all types of misunderstandings about the nature of God. However, the call to bring back critical but sincere intelligence into understanding the ways of religion cannot enhance the profits of the creators of motivated religious rhetoric who work in clever theistic ways to disguise the Supreme Truth. --Vaishnava dasa

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank