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RamaRaksha
12 September 2009, 03:07 AM
Here is the link to the article:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/212155

Any thoughts?

sunyata07
12 September 2009, 12:45 PM
Namaste,

It's interesting to note how much the percentage of cremation funerals have gone up since 1976, and how so many Americans (of Christian background I'm assuming) believe in reincarnation. However, I'm wondering if this "I'm not religious, but I am spiritual" philosophy that seems to affect a lot of middle class Westerners is the indirect result of a New Age change in lifestyle we see happening around the world, or perhaps it's more to do with a genuine disillusionment with Christianity or any other dogmatic stance on religion? Could it have more to do with people becoming world-weary and becoming unhappy, what with our fast-paced modern world where everything is now commercially driven? It's certainly very interesting to see this change, and I believe it is growing more and more noticeable as time goes by. There may even come a time when, given their ethnic and cultural diversity, Christianity may not be the predominant religion of the USA. The same may eventually be true for the rest of Europe. We'll have to wait and see.

RamaRaksha
13 September 2009, 02:30 AM
I think it has to do with the fact that people change over time, their values change, their outlook changes. Unfortunately the holy books, being from a different age, obviously cannot change. So God has to be a man, in this age of equality, that seems like an outdated idea. The earth is 5,000 years old. Again, a discredited fact, which leads to the question, how come God did not know this?

One of the other reasons is the aspect of being Reborn. To me the Gift of Life is the Greatest Gift of all, what's not to like? To be savored over and over again! As I get older, like most people, i tend to reflect on the past. The missed opportunitites, the mistakes, the lost love. I love animals and in my next life I would like to be born as a Vet, a la James Herriott. I could not marry in this life, but I am sure I will in the next. That is the great Gift of rebirth.

But most have no idea of Karma or Moksha. A Hindu is not being just reborn time and again, he is working his way towards Moksha.

I believe that Rebirth may be limited to people of religions like Hinduism/Buddhism. Christians and Muslims, who don't believe in Rebirth are basically one-and-done.

sunyata07
13 September 2009, 03:43 PM
Yes, people change over time. Modern history has shown us how drastically society and its people can and are willing to change, be it either for better (abolishment of slavery, civil rights movements in 60s America) or worse (the rise of Facism in Europe). This zeitgeist of our times applies not just with ethical issues present in day-to-day living, but within political and cultural climates. Even now, the financial climate of our world is changing radically; people's attitudes are changing. Stress-related illnesses may rise, and with that people's search for peace of mind. Some may turn to religion or a spiritual path for just that.

And while more and more Westerners in the US may drift away from Christianity (the more fundamental groups, anyway) and turn to different spiritual and religious paths, it seems to me like more Church denominations are growing more desperate (and zealous) about their approaches to spreading their faith and converting people into Christians. I also find it highly disturbing that they seem to think of themselves as an army of God. Some say words are unimportant; it's the actions that count in this life, and while that is certainly very true, words speak a lot about the psychology of an individual and the group he consorts with.

I then hear stories like the controversy surrounding the Hindu invocation made in the US Congress. You get religious right-wing nuts trying to disrupt the prayer (it was the Gayatri prayer I believe), despite the fact that the US constitution states that it will "not make laws respecting the establishment of religion or prohibition the free exercise thereof". The funny thing is, I would have thought the Gayatri prayer would be the most "non-offensive" Hindu prayer to Christians as it is pretty much a universal and non-personal prayer that can be used by anyone. So maybe Christians from the future will only become more dogmatic. More open-minded Christians could very well be a thing of the past as they gradually learn to extend their tolerance and love for people of other religions and see the truth of their own religion in theirs? Again, only time can tell.

Also, do you mean to say that you don't believe Christians/Muslims will get the same chance for rebirth?

Hiwaunis
13 September 2009, 11:19 PM
Namaste,

It's interesting to note how much the percentage of cremation funerals have gone up since 1976, and how so many Americans (of Christian background I'm assuming) believe in reincarnation. However, I'm wondering if this "I'm not religious, but I am spiritual" philosophy that seems to affect a lot of middle class Westerners is the indirect result of a New Age change in lifestyle we see happening around the world, or perhaps it's more to do with a genuine disillusionment with Christianity or any other dogmatic stance on religion? Could it have more to do with people becoming world-weary and becoming unhappy, what with our fast-paced modern world where everything is now commercially driven? It's certainly very interesting to see this change, and I believe it is growing more and more noticeable as time goes by. There may even come a time when, given their ethnic and cultural diversity, Christianity may not be the predominant religion of the USA. The same may eventually be true for the rest of Europe. We'll have to wait and see.

Pranam,
What you have mentioned above may be true. But keep in mind also, burying the dead is very expensive. Cremation is cheap. I know this because this is what I do for a living. A nice funeral can easily cost $10,000. You can get by with cremating at just under $3000.

Namaste,

RamaRaksha
14 September 2009, 07:23 AM
I think the dissolutionment of the religion starts with seeing my religion sticking to old and outdated ideas. To me that is Idolatry - Idolatry is not just about praying to a stone God, but letting anything, even a holy book, come between us and God. Blindly believing in holy books (and I have disagreed with Hindus about this) against all reason, is Idolatry.

Earth is 5,000 years old? God can only be a man? God runs segregated heavens for his flock only? Day of judgement he is going to kill billions of innocents for the crime of not believing in him?

Obviously these are the views of some guys living 3,000 years ago, being attributed to God, the last 2 values are using God to proselytize. Then you start to question whether the religion has anything to do with God.

As for my not believing that christians/muslims are not going to be reborn, to me assuming such a fact would be rubbing my faith upon them. As the article states, there are quite a few christians who believe in rebirth, but they have no idea of Karma or Moksha. A Hindu is not being just reborn, he is working his way towards Moksha.

One thing I can say for sure is that those christians who are taught to believe that there is only life will not be reborn. They are one-and-done.

sunyata07
15 September 2009, 03:15 PM
One thing I can say for sure is that those christians who are taught to believe that there is only life will not be reborn. They are one-and-done.


I think the word "taught" in your last sentence is very significant. It would seem to negate your sentence on being reborn only once, but I do respect your opinion. Christians (and Muslims, Jews, etc.) are taught from birth things about God. They have no power over this as children. We are born into this world like blank slates. We are taught about the nature of the world, how it came to be, why we are here and what the meaning behind is behind all of existence. Our beliefs are based after our parent's belief. Our parent's beliefs are our grandparent's beliefs and so on.

While the individual is accountable for his actions and the choices he makes in life, he is also a product of his environment from the moment of his birth. No one can help being born into a race or a nation, least of all one's own religion. I don't think a disbelief in rebirth prevents you from rebirth. We are continually evolving, physically and spiritually. The article you've shared with us reminds us of that. :) Not fifty years ago, the idea of a Western Hindu or a Christian breaking away from his/her religion to pursue Buddhism, etc. would have been shocking, unusual and almost unheard of. Look at our world today and see the different growing spiritual and religious movements (neopaganism, New Age pantheism, etc.)!

People are changing the ways in which they see the world. The face of the world and our society is vastly different to a man from a hundred years ago and totally unrecognisable to a man from a thousand. It may take many lifetimes (heck, maybe all of us here at HDF have been God-fearing Christians and Muslims in our last lives), but I believe, or at least foolishly hope, that the idea of segregations will eventually fall away from our minds as time goes by. I am trying to do this myself when I see other people from different backgrounds, even from those I disagree with. I look at Christians, and yes, while some of the more fundamentalist types can really get under my skin at times, I know I shouldn't blame them or think them stupid for attacking other people. I tell myself this is just another life for them to learn lessons from. They're taking the long way around, I just tell myself. What love and respect they can't extend to me, I will give to them. Let time take its course. All I can do is wish them a better rebirth, and hope they can open their hearts and minds better to all things, and realise that God is not some separate being who demands your love, but is in everything and is nothing but Love.