Friday, May 22, 2009

Texas Faith 1: Misunderstanding (my) religion

Here is another new series,
Recently I was invited to participate in the Texas Faith Panel. This new column in the Dallas Morning News, William McKenzie/Editorial Columnist describes as follows ,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
So far last Tuesdays post has already 59 comments. Because my post just was just inserted today, due to being a new contributor, there has not been any comment yet regarding it. But I am sure some interesting dialogue will ensue in due course.

So here is the question for this week:

What don't most people understand about religious faith?

What don't most people understand about your faith tradition?

and here was the response:

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas

One item I believe that is misconceived is that many people think faith is an anomaly that only happens in religion. Often people do not see that their every day life involves faith. One can board a bus or train because they have faith that it will not fall apart. Or one will enter a building with the faith that the roof will not collapse on them.

Another item is that an atheist may think a theist does not value life and therefore the theist thinks about death and other seemingly unimportant inevitable matters. But actually, if someone values something then it is certain they would also value maintaining it. For example, if someone loves their girlfriend, then it would be quite unlikely that person would say, "I love you very much but if we break up I would be fine." Rather, if someone values something, then rational conclusion is that they would want to maintain it. Thus,those who value life are those who sincerely endeavor to understand the after life.

The single most common misconception about Hinduism is that it is a religion, rather than a family of different religions and that Hindus are polytheistic or henotheistic (all gods together represent God). Historically and in modern times, the largest religion in Hinduism is Vaishnavism, which comprises about 80% of Hindus. Vaishnavas maintain that there is one Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, also known by many names such as Vishnu. This Supreme Lord has His own cabinet of employees, devas (demigods). Just as there is only one Bill Gates but many employees who work for Microsoft, similarly there is one God, Krishna, and many demigods, Shiva, Ganesh, Indra etc. who work for God under His authority.

Hare Krishna :)
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das

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