Dallas Morning News,
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.
The Denver Broncos may be out of the NFL playoffs, but Denver QB Tim Tebow is not out of the news. In fact, the art of Tebowing , where people record themselves bowing in prayer on one knee like Tebow does, has become a phenomenon. The online world has plenty of examples of Tebowing. And the mainstream media has published article after article about Tebowing and the football player's public display of faith.
Of course, Tebow's explicit display of religion has led to a fair share of criticism. He's seen as too proselytizing or violating the biblical injunction to pray in your room.
Tebow told Fox Sports last fall that he knows about the criticism, but he's more focused on those who draw inspiration from his public prayers. Said Tebow:
"It's not my job to see people's reasons behind it, but I know [of a kid] with cancer that tweeted me, 'Tebowing while I'm chemoing' -- how cool is that?" Tebow said. "That's worth it right now. If that gives him any encouragement or puts a smile on his face, or gives him encouragement to pray, that's completely awesome."
With this phenomenon swirling around us, and the Super Bowl approaching, here is this week's question:
What is your view about his public praying and the Tebowing phenomenon that has built up around it?
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
I have not heard of Mr. Tebow before, but in regards to my own tradition, kirtan, public prayer is our essential process. You will notice that in Asian cultures spirituality is more integrated with daily life.
"By performing congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, one can destroy the sinful condition of material existence, purify the unclean heart and awaken all varieties of devotional service. The result of chanting is that one awakens his love for Krishna and tastes transcendental bliss. Ultimately, one attains the association of Krishna and engages in His devotional service, as if immersing himself in a great ocean of love."
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmrta Antya-līlā 20.13-14
"I do not know how much nectar the two syllables 'Krish-na' have produced. When the holy name of Krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert." - Vidagdha-madhava (1.15)
I feel that in the effort to make our society secular we have over emphasized atheistic mentality. Intolerance towards religious culture has become norm in many parts of the world.