4.11.2008

Hindu to Christian

I am editing a friend's Masters Thesis for him. He is from Nepal but has come to the states for a couple of years to work on his ThM. The title is "An Analysis of the Idea of the Atonement in Hinduism in the Light of Christianity." It is actually quite fascinating. I came across this one section in his paper that I thought was especially probing...

"Does it really make much of a difference when a Nepali Hindu becomes a Christian? Both believe in doing good works, even in loving one’s neighbors; it’s just a question of motive. Hindus accumulate merit from their good deeds to counterbalance their bad deeds. Christians says that a life full of good deeds cannot outweigh even a single sin. We must first seek forgiveness from God relying on his mercy shown to us through his son, Jesus Christ. Then, once forgiven, he enables us to do good out of thankfulness and love for him who died for us."

To someone looking in from the outside - what's the difference? Why is the change necessary?

3 comments:

jrrozko said...

I am not so sure it's "just" a question of motive. There is a difference in the motive as a beginning point, but perhaps a bigger difference in the end result. For the Hindu, good works are not only motivated by the need to counterbalance their bad deeds, but also to (hope I get this right) to improve their reincarnation status or to achieve Nirvana. Christians, on the other hand, while perhaps motivated by the actions of a loving God on our behalf, also envision a different future -a future in which God has redeemed, restored, and recreated all that is. It is into this process that we are invited to be live participants. So, from my perspective as a follower of Jesus, I am not motivated to do good works out of a sense of guilt, obligation, or perhaps even thankfulness, but rather more so out of faith, hope, and love. This, I would say, makes all the difference in the world as my good works have very little to do with me or my needs and everything to do with God and God's desire for the world.

wanderingellimac said...

Good point, JR. And I think a really valid one. But I think you are making all points that relate to the heart (which are all really good points). And they are really significant. I agree with you, let's get that straight, but when I am talking to a Hindu and pointing out the difference God will make in his or her life or pointing to other Christian Hindu's who have committed their life to Christ and saying "look how different they are" - is there really that much of a difference? I think the motive, yes, will be a whole lot different - but maybe the outpouring of those actions won't look a whole lot different. And it's hard to get people to see a heart...

jrrozko said...

Yeah, that makes sense.